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West Riding
Leeds & Liverpool Canal - Silsden (geograph 5214466).jpg
Silsden from the Leeds and Liverpool Canal
Grid reference: SE042465
Location: 53°54’50"N, 1°56’13"W
Population: 7,999  (2001)
Post town: Keighley
Postcode: BD20
Dialling code: 01535
Local Government
Council: Bradford

Silsden is a town in the West Riding of Yorkshire, on the northern slope of the Aire Valley between Keighley and Skipton. It is about half a mile from the river, and along the lower edge of the town is the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The town had a population recorded in 2001 of 7,999.


Silsden was mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book as Siglesdene, and it was then the most important village in Craven.

Generally an agricultural area, industry came with the canal and the Industrial Revolution. The town hosted a number of mills none of which now operate in their original form. There is still industry in the town, some in old mill buildings and some in a new industrial estate between the town and the river. The town retains some manufacturing.

In 1911 there was a riot in Silsden when the locals attacked the police station.[1] A very unpopular policeman had been too enthusiastic in his duties. Questions were raised in the House of Commons and it was reported in the national press. The policeman was removed from the town and no more trouble occurred.

During the 1940s a hostel was built where the fire station now stands on Elliot Street to house the refugees and prisoners of war from various countries and various camps.

In 1998 a hoard of 27 gold coins dating back to the 1st century AD were found in the town and subsequently valued at £20,000 by experts appointed by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.[2]

The Guinness Book of World Records says that the biggest onion ever was grown by Vincent Throup in Silsden, at 10 lb 14 oz.

In 2009 the new Sports Club facility on Keighley Road was built being the home of Silsden FC and Silsden Cricket Club.


While Silsden does not have its own railway station, there is a station a mile from the village in nearby Steeton. Even so, the station is well patronised by Silsden residents as it also serves the cities of Leeds and Bradford. With modern electric trains it is well used by commuters. In deference to Steeton's larger neighbour the official name of the station is Steeton and Silsden railway station.

Silsden Town Hall


Bonaparte's Restaurant, located on Kirkgate, was the subject of the first-ever episode of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares in 2004. After the show aired, Bonaparte's owner Sue Ray threatened to take legal action against Ramsay, Channel 4 and the programme makers, Optomen, after claiming that the show put her £400,000 in debt. Christine Hall, producer of Kitchen Nightmares, refused to accept the blame, stating Ray only had herself to blame.[3] The programme revisited the restaurant in the second series, but Ray would only talk to Ramsay off-camera.

In June 2006, Ramsay won a High Court case against the London Evening Standard, which had alleged, after reports from Ray, that scenes and the general condition of Bonaparte's had been faked. Ramsay was awarded £75,000 plus costs.[4]

In July 2007, the butchers and shoe shop located on Bradley Road were used in an episode of ITV's The Royal.

Outside links


  1. Daily Mirror 10 April 1911 "Mob attack police station"
  2. The Silsden Hoard
  3. "Ramsay's nightmare put me out of business" - TimesOnline
  4. "Chef Ramsay wins £75,000 damages". BBC News. 20 June 2006.