Saturday, 30 March 2013

Demolition of Silsden Health Centre in Elliott Street and the building of a swish replacement on the same site coincide with a new era in the NHS. Controversial changes aimed at giving more power to GPs and reducing bureaucracy take effect in April 2013. Silsden Health Centre is one of 17 GP practices in the new Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which will buy  hospital treatment, community health services and mental-health care for local people. The CCG, which has a budget for 2013/14 of £186 million, covers a population of 155,781. The area is said to have a high incidence of heart disease and high levels of obesity.

During the Silsden redevelopment, services are being provided in temporary accommodation occupying most of the car park. The Health Centre (pictured top) was opened in 1980 by the late John Stanley Bell, who was chairman of Airedale Health Authority, headmaster of Hothfield Junior School and a former Keighley Borough Council alderman. Demolition is pictured above nearing completion at the end of March 2013. The temporary surgery and offices are pictured below being lifted into place by crane in January. 

Friday, 29 March 2013

Good Friday, March 29, 2013. Pictured above: a sunlit Christian pilgrimage, which started at the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, makes its solemn way to the parish church of St James the Great. From there the worshippers processed to the Methodist Church via a U-shaped route, alongside queuing cars, in Kirkgate (below). Prayers were said at each of the churches. The weekend's united services include the annual open-air worship at Farnhill Pinnacle on Easter Sunday, followed by breakfast at Farnhill Methodist Church.

Monday, 25 March 2013

The lamp-post in the foreground of the present-day picture above and the similarly-placed lamp-post
in the 1970s picture below (courtesy of Silsden Camera Club) give a fixed point from which to see
the enormous change in the section of Bridge Street between Hillcrest Avenue and Chapel Street.  
The picture below shows the Co-op block viewed from the junction with Hillcrest Avenue. Farther along Hillcrest Avenue was a well-remembered grocery shop, Archer's.

Friday, 22 March 2013

March 22, 2013, and below-freezing temperatures test the hardiness of new life on the moors above Silsden. This time last year temperatures were in the early 20sC, shorts were being worn and it was warm enough to lunch in the garden. Daffodils and celandines had bloomed in January. This year, at the equinox (March 20), there are precious few signs and sounds of spring. 
 A wintry scene in Snowden Ghyll wood (above) and at Tar Topping (below).

Friday, 15 March 2013

It is difficult now to marry the present and the old lay-outs of Bridge Street between the access to Hayhills Road, along the side of the Twisters Club, and Pear Tree Cottage by the junction with Hillcrest Avenue. The street lamp by the row of shops in the picture below (courtesy of Silsden Camera Club) and its modern replacement to the left of the bus stop in the picture above (taken in February 2013) are the main comparing indicators.
The picture below shows the shops being demolished in 1972, opening up the view of the social club, which in those days was called the Warp Dressers and Twisters, which are textile processes. A change of ownership subsequently brought a change of name -- to the Cobbydale Club. Last year, under a new owner, the title reverted to the Twisters Club. 

Pictured above are seven Silsden senior citizens in their 80s and 90s, and a combined age of 611, whose  memories of childhood and growing up in the village have been recorded by Silsden Local History Group. At a special reminiscence afternoon they remembered days when community life was at its strongest. Their vivid recollections will be held on disc and in written form to keep for future generations. Standing (left to right) are: Barbara Smith, Joan Todd, Dennis Chad and Mary Greenwood. Seated (left to right) are: Jean Newns, Brenda Denton and Winnie Barker.  

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Bridge Street (pictured above in 2013) is one of several places where unfit Victorian (and even earlier) houses were demolished in the 1960s and 1970s, often being replaced by car parks, not through a lack of vision so much as the need to meet rapidly increasing car ownership, which brought a surprising sudden reluctance nationally to walk even short distances in a population that previously had travelled far and wide on foot. As I will show in forthcoming posts, the clearances transformed the townscape.
Pictured above is the same view of pre-demolition Bridge Street from the junction with Briggate. Below is an even earlier picture of the street farther on towards the present Bell Square. These two photographs are courtesy of Silsden Camera Club.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Fire Station, Health Centre, senior citizens' flats at Staincliffe Court, family homes in Cobbydale Court -- it's hard to remember today that busy Elliott Street (pictured above) was an unmade lane (pictured below) up to 50 or so years ago. These two photographs looking towards Dradishaw and Woodside roads were taken by the Elliott Street junction with Hawthorne Street.
Looking in the opposite direction, the picture below shows the end house of Hawthorne Street on the left with Strawberry Street beyond. Between the two streets were pens-cum-allotments, which stretched from Elliott Street to South View Terrace. One was run by Norman Tidswell, who lived in South View Terrace (the plot was distinguished by an old railway carriage), and another belonged to George Holgate, who also lived in South View Terrace. The pens were replaced by houses after the 1970s. George's son Bill, and Bill's wife Mary, gave their name to Holgate's grocery shop in Kirkgate. The pens were replaced by houses after the 1970s. The black-and-white photographs are by courtesy of Silsden Camera Club.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Growers' Gallery (5): Melvyn and Dorothy Driver are among the allotment-holders gearing up for the new gardening season. Born in Silsden, Mel as a child lived at 6 Bradley Road, above Bradley's Butchers, then at 1 North Street (next to Driver's Mill), and subsequently at the beck-side 38 Bridge Street (approximately where the entrance to the Co-op car park is now) before moving in 1949 to Gloucester Avenue, a new municipal housing development. An electrician for 45 years, Mel and his two sisters, Elaine and Janet, and brother Laurence were not related to the mill family but their father Douglas's brother Lawrence owned Driver's ice-cream factory (Meddocream ices and Archie Andrews Lollie Club) in St John Street, and the  Milk Bar in Kirkgate.

As noted in the previous caption, Driver's factory manufactured ice cream under the trade mark of Meddocream, which was promoted widely in distinctive advertisements, such as this one in the Official Guide to Silsden, issued by the Urban District Council in the early 1950s.

The spring-like days of early March have sparked hedgerow activity with resident birds building up reserves for the nesting season to come, among them long-tailed tits (pictured above) and robins and sparrows (pictured below). Encouragingly, kingfishers have been seen along the canal between Brunthwaite bridge and Kildwick. In a generally good year so far for bird-watchers, winter visitors have again included waxwings, redwings and fieldfares. A lone parakeet has survived the winter in the Sykes Lane-canal vicinity.