The houses are built chiefly of stone. The streets are paved, and lighted with gas from works erected under an act of parliament, obtained in 1824, for the improvement of the town; and the inhabitants are amply supplied with water from copious springs in the vicinity, conveyed by works established under an act in 1816.
A mechanics' institution was founded in 1825, and in 1835 an appropriate building was erected for its use, at an expense of £1050, of which £200 were raised by subscription, and the remainder by a proprietary; the building contains a reading-room, a spacious lecture-room, and a library of 1000 volumes.
The worsted manufacture is carried on extensively; and there are two establishments for cotton-spinning, one of them erected about 1780, by Sir Richard Arkwright: a great part of the machinery used in the factories is made in the town; there are two paper-mills, and several large corn-mills. The worsted-stuffs are chiefly sent to the Bradford market.
The Leeds and Liverpool canal passes within a mile, and, in connexion with other lines, opens a direct communication through Yorkshire and Lancashire with the eastern and western sea-ports.
The Leeds and Bradford Extension railway, which connects the West riding with the town of Colne, in Lancashire, was opened as far as Keighley, in March, 1847. The market, which is abundantly supplied with provisions of all kinds, is on Wednesday, and there is a market for cattle every alternate Tuesday; fairs for cattle and merchandise are held on the 8th and 9th of May, and the 7th, 8th, and 9th of November. A very commodious market-place was erected in 1833, on land owned by the lord of the manor, by a proprietary of £25 shareholders. Petty-sessions are held on the last Wednesday in every month, in the court-house, a neat building erected at an expense of £700, in 1831. The powers of the county debt-court of Keighley, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Keighley. The town is a polling place for the West riding of the county.