On Ilkley Moor

Tim Binding

05 January 2012
300 pages


Tim Binding lived in Ilkley, Yorkshire, until he was seven. The place shaped his imagination and has haunted him ever since.

On Ilkley Moor is an imaginative history of a great town, a series of explorations partly factual, partly intuitive and partly personal. It is the tale of Victorian optimism – of faith in hydropathy, in manufacturing, in the railways. It is also an examination of Ilkley’s place on the faultline between the two great forces which have informed English life and culture– its rural heritage, and the industrial revolution. It is a book about the north, about industry, commerce and medicine, and, above all, it is one small story of the England of the fifties, and the lost dreams of that era. Neither a travel nor a history book, this is a moving return home to the place that made the writer what he is.

‘A prolonged act of reclamation, a metaphysical meditation on a sense of time and place . . . An evocative, resonant and sometimes disturbing book’ Philip Hoare, Independent
‘Fascinating . . . a journey into the heart of Yorkshire gone by, this is a powerful book, constantly informed by the hulking moor above the town’ Condé Nast Traveller
‘Compelling’ Sunday Times