Friday, 7 December 2012

Emma Stead, pictured above, and her husband Andrew, have been proprietors of Dogsbody & Friends in Kirkgate since 2008. Emma is pictured with her dogs Holly (right) and Elsie. The property goes back to Silsden's earliest retail days.
The Dogsbody & Friends premises (pictured above) have been in retail use since the late 1800s. For many years the property was a chemist's shop (Usher's and later Sherwin's) but in 1957 they became the Oakroyd Pet Shop, which had been established by Arnold and Jean Morrell in Aire View in 1951 and had moved in 1954 to Clog Bridge (where the Hydra Launderette now is).
Oakroyd, run by Mrs Morrell, rapidly expanded in the Kirkgate premises, so much so that in 1961 Mr Morrell quit his job as an engineer at Hill's Mill to work full-time in the shop (renamed A. Morrell)) with his wife. They are pictured above and below in 1980 when Mr Morrell retired and the business was sold. Since the 1890s the retail area had occupied that part of the property adjoining New Road but in 1962 Mr and Mrs Morrell converted the ground-floor living quarters into extra retail space to create the familiar double-fronted shop. As well as pets and pet accessories, they sold fruit and vegetables, groceries, garden supplies and fishing tackle. 
For 30 years Mr Arnold Morrell, who was a founder of the Silsden Canine Society, and Mrs Morrell were popular members of what was then a vibrant retail community, during a time when there was a Chamber of Trade and residents could still do nearly all their shopping locally. Mr Morrell died in 1992. Mrs Morrell continues to live in Silsden and is pictured below with her daughter, Mrs Carol Smith. 
Pictured below is No. 41 Kirkgate as it used to be. The pet shop, run by Mrs Jean Morrell, moved here from Clog Bridge in 1957 and later became Morrell's in the double-fronted store we know today.

For many years previously what became Morrell's shop had been Sherwin's the chemist (pictured below). 

And before becoming Sherwin's, the premises had been Usher's the chemist (pictured below), owned by Mr Robert Usher, who had been born in 1843 and was running the shop from possibly 1891 onwards. He may be the gentleman in the picture. 

 Below is another old photograph of Usher's the chemist at No 41 Kirkgate.