Shipley Glen Tramway is the oldest working cable tramway in Great Britain and is located near the village of Saltaire in West Yorkshire. The line was opened on the 18th of May 1895 by Sam Wilson, a local publican, showman and entrepreneur. Its purpose was intended to ease access to a number of other, now long closed, attractions at Shipley Glen, including a wooden toboggan ride and a Victorian pleasure ground and fairground which are sadly no longer in exitance, so all that remains is the tramway.
The two tram cars are linked by an endless steel cable, so as one car goes down the other goes up through the leafy wooded glen incline that is roughly 400 yards long with a maximum gradient of 1 in 7. The line was originally powered by a gas engine, but became electrically operated in 1920.
Today the tramway is run entirely by volunteers and is open in the afternoons at weekends and on bank holidays and makes for a special experience for anyone you or old visiting Shipley Glen, Salts Mill and the Airdale Valley area.
The long shoulder of heathland below Baildon Moor known as Shipley Glen has been visited for generations and was a very popular destination for the Whitsuntide Walks of the late 1800s and the first half of 20th century. Mill workers from Shipley, Bingley, Saltaire, and Keighley would enjoy the open air in their hundreds and local farms often converted a barn to a makeshift tearooms.
Today the glen is still popular with walkers and their dogs and although the Victorian pleasure ground and fairground are no more, you might be able to find the remains of Milner Field if you look hard enough and learn about the tragic tale of the cursed Yorkshire mansion that brought death and scandal to its owners.
Milner Field and the tragic tale of the cursed Yorkshire mansion blog coming soon.