Plaque 9 is outside “The Bank.” It is opposite the former Brown Muff building: look for the inscription high on the corner.
This plaque is dedicated to
Fouled by industry detritus
Sky just a dream
Brown Muff could trace its history back to 1814, when a widow, Elizabeth Brown, opened a clothes shop on Market Street. Later the shop was taken over by Elizabeth’s son, Henry, who soon went into partnership with his brother-in-law, Thomas Muff.
The original shop was replaced in 1870 by the present building, and over the ensuing decades Brown Muff became a fully-fledged, up-market department store. By the twentieth century the store was owned solely by the Muff family, who lived in Ilkley. In 1909 the family changed its name to Maufe, thus provoking the following somewhat sardonic rhyme:
‘In Bradford ‘tis good enough
To be known as Mrs Muff,
But in Ilkley by the River Wharfe
It’s better to be known as Mrs Maufe.’
At the height of its prestige, the store attracted the affluent from far beyond Bradford. Older people can still remember liveried staff meeting chauffeured cars to make sure the well-heeled occupants never had to open a door for themselves.
Brown Muff finally went out of business and the store closed on 27th February 1978. For a time a branch of Rackham’s traded from the Brown Muff building, but this too closed in 1995. The imposing building is now divided into smaller retail outlets.
Beneath your feet
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