Northcliffe History
Northcliffe Plaque
Northcliffe(originally named North Clough) was formed as the water from the melting ice above Cullingworth gouged out the deep ravines of this district at the end of the last Ice Age, but the earliest record of local history is in 1042 AD when one Ravenchil, an Anglo-Saxon was Lord of the Manor of Shipley.
A few years later came the Norman conquest and the small township, together with the hamlet of what is now Moorhead became the property of Ilbert de Lacy. 
After reverting to the Crown at the time of Edward I, the land was granted to Nicholas de Morays when he returned from the Crusades in the Holy Land. So began a succession of owners, most of whom acquired the title and land by inheritance or through marriage.
As the town of Bradford grew to accommodate the fast increasing textile trade, coal to fire steam power was in much demand. Small open cast mines began to be worked and the richest of the Shipley collieries was the outcrop at Shipley High Moor, with workings in Old Spring Woods and Northcliffe. The mines were worked continuously by the Jackson family as Lords of the Manor until about 1840. Evidence of mining can still be seen in the mounds of shale and delves of open cast digging in both woods.
Tythe maps around this date show fascinating field names such as High Bank, Five Days Work, Six and Eight Days Work on land which was later used as golf links by Shipley Golf Club.
When the club moved to the new course at Beckfoot, the newly formed Northcliffe Gold Club negotiated permission to play on the Moorhead course prior to their moving to their present site. The old tees and greens can still be seen on playing fields below the clubhouse.
When the fifth Earl of Rosse put up for auction much of his land and property at Shipley, the fields and woods, offered as lots 98 and 99, were described as "together forming a freehold building estate for the development of garden suburbs, an area of picturesquely undulating surface, bounded on the south side by a wide belt of natural woodland of great beauty." A newspaper report on the sale states that no bids were received for the land between Bradford Road and Moorhead Lane but that a considerable number of lots withdrawn were sold by private treaty.
Mr H N Rae MP, later Sir H Norman Rae MP, was the purchaser of lots 98 and 99, generously presenting them to Shipley Urban District Council to be used as public playing fields. A plaque on the imposing main gate records their opening on 12th June 1920, the gift of Sir H Norman Rae MP, as an open space for recreation and benefit of the public, forever.
I doubt if even Sir Norman, with all his foresight and generosity, could have envisaged how priceless this oasis "of great natural beauty" with all its wealth of flowers and wildlife would become. Surely he deserves the title of the First Friend of Northcliffe.
by the late Gladys Shuttleworth
Founder Member