Sunday, 4 February 2018

Slices of Silsden's civic life in the 60s and 70s

1965: two of the Pickles brothers, Andrew (10) and Freddie (8), present a cheque for £1,000 to consultant physician Mr Fountain of the Leukaemia Research Fund. The boys' brother, nine-year-old Christopher, had died of leukaemia. As a result, the chairman of Silsden Urban District Council, Sister Catherine Herbert, pictured second from left, was moved to choose the Research Fund for her civic appeal during her year in office. The target of £500 was handsomely exceeded. Andrew and Freddie had contributed to the appeal by selling dishcloths they had made. The family lived in Dene Grove.
About 1960: Mr and Mrs Laurie Driver (right foreground) are pictured opening a sale of work by the Women's Section of the British Legion. A lot of work obviously had gone into home-brewing, which was a popular activity in local households, making use of fruits and berries grown on allotments and in hedgerows. Manufacturing under the trade name Meddocream, Laurie Driver's ice-cream factory in Hainsworth Road and warehouse in St John Street, were widely known as were the firm's milk bars in Kirkgate (where the Chinese takeaway shop is now) and Keighley. Councillor J. J. Barker, the chairman of Silsden Urban District Council, is pictured on the right with Mrs Barker opposite him. 

1970/71: VIPs at Silsden Conservative Association's annual dinner at the Town Hall. The guest speaker was Yorkshire Television presenter and journalist Austin Mitchell (third from left), who went on to become Labour MP for Grimsby from 1977 until 2015. On the left is Keighley Tory MP Joan Hall. Next to her is Conservative Club president Jim Kirk, who was managing director of textile manufacturers Herbert Green and Green and Kirk. Mrs Edith Kirk is fourth from left and next to her are Councillor William Cathey, chairman of Silsden Urban District Council, and Mrs Mary Cathey. All three photographs in this series are from the late Neil Cathey's collection.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Loyal subjects celebrate Queen's coronation in 1953

Residents in the Howden Road area are pictured at a Weatherhead Place party to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953. Standing third from left is well-known local benefactor Mrs Duncan Smith, whose husband (next to her in the waistcoat) was a Bradford textile manufacturer. They lived at Arncliffe in Howden Road, and later at a bungalow built for them in the grounds. Mrs Smith's first name was Amy but she was always known by her husband's name as Mrs Duncan Smith. Photograph from the late Neil Cathey's collection.
Coronation Day 1953 in Tufton Street. The shop by the cobbled passage halfway along the street will be well remembered by older Silsdeners.
A wider view of Tufton Street decked out for the occasion.
Abundant bunting at Knox's mill as workers celebrate the coronation of George VI and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon as King and Queen in May 1937.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

When Yorkshire cricketer was Golf Club captain

This photograph shows a Silsden Golf Club prize night in the 1960s. In the centre is club captain Alan Mason, who was a Yorkshire County Cricket Club spin bowler. He played 18 times for the first team between 1947 and 1950 (when the star spinner was Johnny Wardle) and for the second XI between 1939 and 1950. Away from the county limelight, Alan captained Silsden Cricket Club in the late 1950s/early 1960s. He was a newspaper wholesaler and for many years ran the Sunday morning newspaper sales outlet in Briggate (see my blog of October 9th, 2014). The photograph was loaned by well-known Silsden golfer John Lamb, a former club president.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Fraternal greetings: local Buffs of 50 years ago

Among the flourishing organisations that made up community life in the past was the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes, which nationally was founded in 1822 and became one of the largest fraternal orders in the UK. Silsden had a few lodges (branches) over the years and one survives, albeit with a handful of members. Their charitable purpose continues. This photograph is thought to have been taken at a local Lodge gathering in the 1960s to mark the initiation of Fred Benson. Back row (left to right) Sid Barnes, Laurence Driver, Tom Bancroft, David Wigglesworth, Jimmy Bardgett, Roy Moorhen, Henry Bentley. Middle row: Tommy Meegan, Jim Emmott, Colin Wainright, Dennis Chapman, Colin Waterhouse (to whom I am grateful for supplying the names), Arnold Mitchell, Sunyi Polyhos, Moses Ackroyd (in front of Jimmy Bardgett}, George Heaps, Basil Wasuta, Fred Benson, Richard Chapman, David Cooper. Front row: Bill Scaife, George Smith, Joe Meegan, Bill Welbourn, Gary Thornton.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

The days when coach trips were a big part of community life

Coach trips were a regular feature of community life up to the 1970s or so when car ownership allowed for independent travel and membership of groups started to decline as families made their own entertainment. Social changes and the decline of shared experiences were hastened in the 1980s as textile mills closed and workers had to look farther afield for employment. This photograph shows members of Silsden Camera Club and their wives on an outing. The photograph was taken by the late Will Baldwin, whose wife, Brenda, is pictured third from left. Brenda died last year. Will's photographs form an important record of local life, as does the work of other Camera Club members. They include Dick Roberts, who is pictured centre (holding a brown packet) with his wife (in the white jacket) and, on the right, Brian Sunderland, who is a prominent member of Silsden Local History Group and closely involved in archiving local photographs. 
 This may have been a trip to Southport in 1969. Photograph by Will Baldwin.
Gargrave was the destination of this outing in 1967. Pictured at the front is Emily Rawson, a characterful Silsdener. On the left, accompanying the senior citizens, is Sylvia Kitchen, whose husband, Harold, was a celebrated entertainer who compiled a major collection of historic local photographs. Photo by Will Baldwin.
 No date and no identification of the occasion but a holiday outing nonetheless.
A civic send-off for this trip. Wearing the chain is Councillor Arthur Watson, who was chairman of Silsden Urban District Council from 1952-55. At the front on the left is Steve Wallbank, who was chairman of Silsden Old People's Welfare for 13 years until 1968 and a mainstay of local initiatives for senior citizens.
Members of Silsden Liberals' ladies section. On the left is Bernard Wilkinson, the coach owner-driver. 
An earlier group of Liberal Party ladies pose for the camera before their outing.
Members of Silsden Labour Party's women's section at a stop for teas during an outing.
Elliott Street was the main starting point for outings. Councillor Arthur Watson is on duty again for this exodus. On the right by the junction with Keighley Road/Kirkgate is Joe Whitham's electrical shop (now Arabesque kitchens).

 The Primitive Methodists' choir enjoying an outing, possibly in the 1920s.
Proving that the Outing Tendency goes back at least 100 years, these Parish Church bellringers are pictured before the First World War on a horse-drawn trip with the Vicar, John Berry.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Death of Brenda Hayes ends link to era of local rule

The death shortly before Christmas of Mrs Brenda Hayes, aged 89, severs one of the last links with the old Silsden Urban District Council, which ran the town throughout the 20th century until disbandment in 1974 when local government was controversially reorganised. Mrs Hayes is pictured above with her husband, Councillor Tom Hayes, during Tom's UDC chairmanship in 1969/70. Wearing their chains of office, Mr and Mrs Hayes are pictured with senior citizens prior to a day out. The picture was taken in Elliott Street, from where coach outings traditionally departed. Tom and Brenda ran the newsagents at the corner of Kirkgate and Briggate. The shop (then known as Dewhirsts and now Kirkgate News) was owned and run for many years by Brenda's father, Arthur Watson, a long-serving councillor who was chairman of the UDC in 1952-55. Brenda and Tom succeeded him at the shop and became one of Silsden's best-known couples. Tom died in 2012.
This photograph was taken at a social gathering of councillors and their wives and UDC officials in 1970/71. Mrs Hayes is sixth from the left at the back, with Tom Hayes next to her. Council chairman William Cathey is pictured on the left at the front with his wife Mary. On the right at the front is Councillor J. J. Barker, chairman in 1959/62 and 1971/72; next to him is his wife Norah. Other leading councillors pictured include Nurse Catherine Herbert (chair 1963/66), Bert Mole (1966/67), Harold Kellett (1967/68), Dorothy Robinson (1972/73) and Eric Robinson, the last chairman, who served in 1973/74. Also in the photograph are councillors Brian Brockbank and Alan Townson; council clerk Eric Gration; town surveyor John Mitchell; and Roy Mason, the Keighley News and Craven Herald journalist who covered the council's doings. 
Silsden UDC gave way to Bradford Metropolitan District Council. Nationwide parish and town councils were created as a relatively powerless form of local government. In the early years, Silsden's parish council comprised a wealth of experience as seen in this photograph by Will Baldwin. The chairman is Richard Binns. Seated next to him are Betty Crabtree and J. J. Barker. Standing left to right are Tom Hayes, John Auchinleck, not sure who this is, Eric Robinson, Neil Cathey, Ernest Hoare, Edna Egerton and John Twigg. Seated far right is the clerk Mr Hodgson.   

Friday, 29 December 2017

Down Memory Lane to the Big Freeze of 70 years ago

The morning of December 29th, 2017, brought a fair covering of snow but it swiftly melted and gave way to a rainy afternoon. The two most prolonged perilous post-war periods of snow and freezing temperatures gripped Silsden and the rest of the country in 1947 and 1963. The above photograph shows the scene in Bradley Road, near the Raikes, in 1947. This and the following five photographs of that winter are from the late Kevin Bower's collection. 
 Lane House farm on the back road from Silsden to Kildwick.
The frozen canal at it passes Harwal Works on the left towards the boat yard and Keighley Road.
The frozen canal from the opposite direction with the wharf on the right. 
 Hard graft clearing the Addingham-Silsden road at Cringles.
The road from Silsden at the top of Cringles. The milk churn on the left is by the junction with Cringles Lane.  
The scene near Far Ghyll Grange in December 2010. 
The view from Tar Topping towards Hole Farm and, beyond, Heights Lane in January 2013. 
A snowy scene on a private driveway in January 2013. Silsden's sole reminder of the old red telephone boxes is privately owned. 
Snow came again in March 2013 and on the moors beyond Tar Topping produced drifts as high as the dry-stone walls. Drifts were still a feature of the Nab road in April 2013, as can be seen in my blog of April 3rd that year.