This is an edited and expanded blog.

Two names that kept being repeated in the 1853 deed that myself and Colin Fine were analysing yesterday were Peckover and Harris. I did some research with my own library, and more later at Bradford’s Local History Library. It is clear all, or nearly all of Little Germany was built on land once belonging to Eastbrook Hall Park, a park that had a lake with a boathouse on the northeast side of a lane that later became Peckover Street.

The below is mostly from Bradford Remembrancer, Horace Hird.’

Edmond Peckover came from an ‘old Norfolk family’ and settled in Bradford as a wool-stapler. He ‘developed’ Eastbrook Hall on land assumed to have been glebe (or church) land; though Hird, as was his habit, gives no reference.

Peckover and his nephew Charles Harris founded Bradford’s first successful bank, on a narrow lane which then became known as Bank Street even before it was developed and widened.

The bank was Peckover, Harris & Co and became know as the Bradford Old Bank. It went through name changes and survived a run in late 1825 with the support of rich Bradfordians. This was the year of the last St. Blaise’s day, which was followed by the wool-combers and weavers strike, one of the most important industrial conflicts of the early factory age.

Charles Harris moved into Eastbrook Hall ‘and lived there until at least 1840’. As the deed says Harris sold the land that No. 4 is built on in 1835 to Isaac Sugden, schoolmaster. The Temperance Hall next door (later to become the Playhouse) was said to have opened in 1836, which suggests Harris was selling lots, presumably whilst living at the Hall.

The large scale Ordinance Survey map of 1848 shows only the bottom half of Chapel Built on.

The only other named resident of the Hall was a William Rouse, worsted spinner and stuff manufacturer, who lived there ‘from 1845’.

In 1867 Alfred Harris offered a hundred shares in the Old Bank towards the cost of a fever hospital, which was built to the north of Leeds Road, beyond Harris Street.

Bradford Library has very few early trade directories. The sequence runs 1856 and then 1879. Between those dates all the door numbers on Chapel Street were reversed. In 1856 number 4 was listed as 29, and the occupiers were named as Slater and Hargreaves; who turned out to be ‘bell hangers & whitesmiths’.

In 1879 No. 4 was listed as occupied by Abraham Nicholl, stuff merchant, and Wm. Mitchell, coal merchant. The next number is 10, Temperance Hall, plus another coal merchant, a printer and an agent! I have never heard of the Hall having business tenants before.

The large scale Ordinance Survey map of 1848 shows the front building on the plot had a passage through the building, hard against the Temperance Hall, but the back of the plot was open to Back Chapel Street. It also clearly shows the Hall had a stage and balcony, not very different from the layout the Playhouse has now.