Thursday, 5 November 2009

Aerial Flight

Here's a wonderful old photo of another of the Victorian rides on Shipley Glen's Pleasure Grounds. This one was apparently called 'The Aerial Flight' - a kind of cable car ride between two huge wooden towers. Built in 1889, it was dismantled in 1920. There is no trace left of this now among the rocks and heather on the Glen, as far as I can tell. You can imagine how exciting it would have been to the crowds of Saltaire mill workers enjoying an afternoon out. It amuses me that they all seem to be wearing hats!

There is a fantastic view of the surrounding area, even from ground level, on this part of Shipley Glen, so the vista from this ride must have been amazing. There is undoubtedly something interesting about being up high. The modern day equivalent, I suppose, is the London Eye or the other similar 'wheels' that appear in various city centres from time to time (see my post of Manchester, 13 July).


  1. How true. Maybe it is the power one gets from being able to look down at others. I am thoroughly enjoying your tour of Shipley Glan.

  2. Mike Short, Prod Lane, Shipley Glen16 April 2011 at 20:42

    Ahh ... look very carefully and you will find some remains of the Aerial Flight on the edge of the rocks from opposite the Countryside Centre and along down towards Old Glen House.

    I've added map references to help those of you with a handheld GPS or a large scale map.

    Start at Old Glen House and walk to the edge of the rocky escarpment. Look out for 3 large iron 'V'- shaped hoops made from railway rails sunk deep into the rocks at SE 13193 38866. These were the cable anchors for the South West tower. Sadly, no photograph is known of that tower but it must have stood some 30-35 metres further along the rocks from the cable anchors. I can find no trace of it.

    Keep walking along the edge of the rocks for about 193 metres from the cable anchor 'hoops' and look out for a deep large rectangular slot and two smaller slots cut into a rock on the edge at SE 13051 38996. This was the location of the North-East tower in the photograph above. The slots took some of the main supporting timbers. You might also notice a small iron cable-eye driven into a rock nearby that secured a light bracing cable.

    Walk on for about 34 metres and look out for another hoop (this one smaller than the ones you saw towards Old Glen House) and two heavy iron eye-spikes driven deep into the rock at SE 13027 39021. These were the cable anchors for this end of the Aerial Flight.

    From end to end, the construction was something like 227 metres long and the ride itself around 160 metres.

    Don't get these remains confused with the remains of the Toboggan Slide - you'll find them 68-70m further along the rocks.

    You might also have seen some small bent iron brackets close to the edge of the rocks at the Old Glen House end. These were not part of the ride but were fence-post brackets for a chestnut paling fence which ran from the bridleway at Old Glen House right over to the Toboggan Slide. This fenced off a large area of private land which ran right down to the bottom footpath and across to the old stone stile at the corner of what became the little Crag Hebble dam down in the bottom of the Glen. This whole area of the Glen was once completely closed to the public.

    From Mike Short, Prod Lane, Shipley Glen

  3. Mike - how fascinating - thanks for adding that information. I will go and have another walk round there and look closely.


No WV here but I've enabled comment moderation on older posts so I don't miss any of your messages. I love reading them - thank you! And thanks for visiting my blog.