Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The butchers, the barber and the cobbler pictured above are among the town's longest-serving shopkeepers.
The taxi office is a more recent arrival. These landmark  properties in Bradley Road go back at least 200 years
and are part of an area steeped in local history. In the early 1800s, what is now the shoe repairer's premises
was a cottage where Jonas and Hannah Throup raised 17 children. Jonas was Silsden’s chief constable and
also a woolcomber and brewer.
Barber Jeff Walbank's shop has changed little since he moved to Bradley Road in 1972 after three years in premises near Silsden's old fire station. Jeff, who is repainting and reflooring the shop to mark his 40 years' tenure, is equally well-known as an accomplished musician, as a dancer and DJ at 1940s-themed events and as a metal-detector. 

Mr Bryan Smith has run the cobbler’s and shoe shop at 2 Bradley Road for the last 30 years, since his father, Albert, retired. Albert Smith moved to Bradley Road from Skipton in 1963 but at first occupied the shop next door that is now barber Jeff Walbank’s premises. The switch to the cobbler’s present location came in 1972.

The Bradley family’s butchering connection with the former cottages in Bradley Road goes back to shortly before the Second World War.The late Fred Bradley’s shop was originally in the premises now occupied by the barber. The butcher moved next door to the present shop in 1946. His son, Peter (pictured above), took over in 1973. Peter was joined by his son, Philip (pictured below), in 1977. At one time all three generations worked together in the shop.
The Silsden Steeton taxi office opened in Bradley Road nearly 10 years ago. Some 40 taxis operate from here and from a base at Steeton. Manager Mr Mahboob Rashid is pictured in the doorway of the cottage where Mary Anne Shuttleworth (pictured below), born in 1854, ran a grocery shop for many years. The shop had been opened around the mid-1870s by her father, Jonas, who sold and repaired earthenware lamps before the family became grocers.  

Sunday, 21 October 2012

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Olde and New shop in Stirling Street. The owner, Mrs Gillian Egan, pictured above, quit her job as a sales representative (for a components firm) in 1987 to pursue her interest in antiques and second-hand paraphernalia. Stirling Street comprises mainly 18th Century properties. The shop was owned through much of the 1800s by the Netherwood family, who ran a thread-making business upstairs and a grocery downstairs. The grocery was eventually acquired by Eli Tillotson, who is pictured below in about 1920.

Monday, 15 October 2012

An upmarket florist shop opened at No 18 Kirkgate in June 2012. Hilary Lee, owner of The Flower Gallery, is pictured above
outside the premises, which had been a cafe under different proprietors since the 1980s and for many years before that had been Carter’s grocery and delicatessen.

Splendour in the park where the weekend's bright weather highlighted the autumnal glory of the leaves on these maple trees alongside Fletcher Avenue. October 14 also brought a frost hard enough to finish off this season's dahlias. 

Friday, 12 October 2012

Pictured above at their October 2012 meeting are members of St James' Parochial Church Council. The Vicar, the Rev David Griffiths, is on the far left of the back row. This year marks the church's 300th anniversary. At the time the church was founded Silsden's population was around 600. The photograph below shows the Church Council in 1912, the year of the 200th anniversary. The Vicar, the Rev John Berry, is seated fifth from left in the front row. The main purpose of the PCC is to promote within the parish the whole mission of the Anglican Church.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

One of the few survivors of Silsden’s industrial past is T. W. Bailey, textile engineers, of North Street Works, a family-run business started by Mr Tony Bailey in 1976. Mr Bailey is pictured above with his sons Steven (right) and Graham, who work alongside their father. Following the closure of the majority of Yorkshire’s textile mills, the company has invested heavily in computer-controlled machinery and taken on a new lease of life as a precision engineer making bespoke parts for customers in several different sectors.
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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

After what most local fruit and vegetable gardeners agree has been the wettest and worst growing season in living memory, this picture (taken four years ago) is a reminder that conditions and crops can only get better. The gardener is Peter Gawthorp, who has been an allotment holder for almost 30 years.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

There can be few Silsden residents who haven’t shopped at Paul’s DIY, in Briggate, which has been owned by the Waddington family and run by Paul Waddington (pictured above) since 1979. Paul’s sense of humour is legendary. Selling a phenomenal array of goods, from egg timers to electric sockets, from pet foods to pastry-cutters, from Kilner jars to coal scuttles and from putty to fragrant pedal-bin liners, the shop is a throwback to a different retail era and has been immune to supermarket and internet competition. Best-sellers include paint brushes, bath and kitchen sealants and DIY items. “Watering cans have not done well this year,” said Paul, noting the record-breaking rainfall of 2012.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Tar Topping is a landmark ruin on a popular walk from Skipton Road to New Lane.  It was actually Far Topping until a 19th Century cartographer mistook an F for a T and a new name was born. In disuse since the 1950s, the property comprised a one-bedroomed house with barn and shippon. The origins are unclear but the remains of a substantial cruck roof suggest considerable age. Source: "Discovering Silsden. Twelve Heritage Walks" by Cathy Liddle.

Silsden’s best-known gardener is Vincent Throup, pictured above displaying an onion weighing 12 pounds 6 ounces.who has twice held the world record for the heaviest onion. Born in April 1933 into a farming family at Higher House (near Swartha Hill on the moor leading to Bradley), Vincent’s determination to recapture the world title is undiminished in sight of his 80th birthday. He set a new world record of 9 pounds 11½ ounces in 1989 (the previous best was 6 pounds 2 ounces). In 1990, Vincent beat his own record with an onion weighing 10 pounds 14 ounces. In 2010, he produced a personal best of 14 pounds. The  present world best weighs 18 pounds 1 ounce, grown by Vincent's arch-rival Peter Glazebrook, of Newark. The world championships take place at the Harrogate Autumn Show in September. Vincent is pictured below with two onions entered in competitions for quality as opposed to weight.