Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Above: The cairn at Windgate Nick on the Rombalds Moor path from Silsden to Ilkley has a distinctive new waymarker. The yellow arrow on a green background indicates the Dales High Way, a relatively new 93-mile walk from Saltaire to Appleby-in-Westmorland, which has quickly become a big hit with long-distance walkers. There is a route guide by Tony and Chris Grogan, who inaugurated the walk. "A Dales High Way" is published by Skyware Ltd. and is available via the website www.daleshighway.org.uk. The cairn also has a marker for Bradford's Millennium Way, which follows the same moorland path to Ilkley.

Monday, 29 April 2013

A horseboating spectacle was seen along the Leeds-Liverpool canal towpath through Silsden on the afternoon of April 29. Drawn by Bilbo Baggins, the 60ft. long narrow boat Elland was on its way to the Skipton Waterways Festival taking place over the May Day bank holiday weekend. Bilbo is pictured above being led by Sue Day, chairperson and founder of the Horseboating Society, which aims to preserve the heritage and skills of what for more than 200 years was a main form of transporting goods. Elland is believed to have been built in Leeds around 1865. It is one of only a few horseboats left in Britain. The Society is always in need of volunteer crews (www.horseboating.org.uk) 
The first two canal boats, carrying coal to Skipton, came through Silsden in 1773. The following year a by-law was passed allowing barges to carry passengers and their luggage at a cost of one halfpenny per two miles. The picture shows Silsden Co-operative Society's coal boats on the canal in 1910. In his book "Silsden in Old Picture Postcards", Neil Cathey records that the boats bore the names "Progress" (on the left) and "Industry". 

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Above: The bent-nail sculpture celebrating Silsden's nail-making industry, which was a widespread occupation for 100 years from 1760, dominates the Wesley Place car park. The handsome steel sculpture, by Sam Shendi, who owns the Arabesque kitchen showroom in Elliott Street, was installed in 2011. The area between Wesley Place and the public library off Bolton Road bears no resemblance to its pre-1970s existence. 
Above: The view in spring 2013 looking towards Bolton Road End. The car park occupies the site of  the properties below, which at the far end, fronting Kirkgate, included the fire station.  

Above: A better view of the Fire Station. The picture shows at the bottom right of the gable wall an encased map with buttons you could press to find locations, a facility that delighted children. The above two black and white photographs are by courtesy of Silsden Camera Club.
Above: Speedy getaways were possible for engines responding to emergencies in the days when Kirkgate was not as clogged with traffic as it is today.
Above: Possibly early 1970s gala parade. The Kirkgate window of Julie's shop, which sold cigarettes, sweets and ice-cream, includes an advertisement for Vaseline hair cream from its previous life as a barber's shop. The capped gentleman with his hand on the "throw your pennies" cart is Bill Hartley, a former Co-op coalman, who is pictured in a 1950s procession in my July posts. 
Above: An earlier photograph of a rain-hit gala procession, traditionally led by a marching band, passing the Fire Station. The Bolton Road End shop was J. W. Palmer's. The war memorial on the extreme left, unveiled on November 12, 1921, was moved to its present site on the opposite side of the road in 1957. 

Friday, 19 April 2013

A Roman bronze coin from the 2nd Century AD has been found in a Silsden field by local garage-owner Richard Spencer, who is new to metal-detecting. Silsden expert Jeff Walbank dates the coin to the reign of Antoninus Pius, whose head (above) is on the obverse and who was Emperor from 138 to 161. Jeff says that it may be only the fifth Roman coin to have been found locally. There is a female figure on the reverse of the coin (below), which is about the size of a 50 pence piece. Antoninus succeeded Hadrian as Emperor and had the lesser known Antonine wall built across lowland Scotland between the rivers Forth and Clyde.      

Monday, 15 April 2013

Demolition is under way of  Riverside Works, Keighley Road, which was a £4.5 million state-of-the-art weaving mill when it opened less than 25 years ago. The single-storey plant was built by Courtaulds Textiles for its furnishing-fabric subsidiary, Weavestyle (formerly C. H. Fletcher). The historic C. H. Fletcher business became part of Courtaulds around 1970. Market turbulence has seen successive ventures come and go at the mill. Most recently, unoccupied Riverside Works has been vandalised apparently beyond use.  There are no publicly known plans to develop the site following the demolition.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Sunday, April 14, early evening, 14 waxwings on a high in Laurel Grove. They had been feeding on berries on a cotoneaster shrub near the pavement.
Hothfield Junior School will be celebrating its centenary next year. Pictured above are head teacher James Procter (seated at the front) and his management team: deputy head Su Lord-Cloke (front right), Jennie Hudson (front left) and, at back, Elisa Woffenden and Jonathan Crossley. The school has 277 pupils. Hothfield replaced the Bolton Road School, which had been built in 1852 by the trustees of the Wesleyan Methodist Church and which soon came under the rule of the local School Board.  
The longest-serving head of the Bolton Road School was David Longbottom, who is pictured above with the staff in about 1910. On the left is his nephew Ambrose Longbottom, a trainee teacher at the time. The door behind the group can still be seen. It is part of the present Silsden Library, the middle one of three red doors when viewed from Botlon Road. David Longbottom made an unmatched contribution to the development of education and culture in Silsden. Longbottom Avenue is named after him. He was head master from 1880 until the school closed in 1914. His daughter, Margaret Wintringham, was the first British-born woman to become a Member of Parliament. 
Hothfield School's catering team (pictured above) serves around 170 meals a day. Left to right are: manager Gillian Cooper, Christine Thomas, Sue Hopkins, Kay Waddington and assistant manager Janet Ellis. The children's favourite lunches are roasts and sausages and mash.
Pictured above are Hothfield's lunchtime supervisors. In the middle at the front is senior supervisor Pam Ogston. 
Pictured above are Hothfield's finance administrator Pauline Pring (right) and clerical assistants Karen Farrar (centre) and Anita Wilkinson.
Year 3 children recently were given a hands-on insight into the life and times of the Romans. Visiting expert Murray Edwards instructed pupils in Legionnaire disciplines (pictured above). 
Above: Role-playing included masters being waited upon by their servants, who brought them food typical of the time. Year 3 teachers Bevan Bolland, Jennie Hudson and Nicky Illsley, who is pictured below, joined in the spirit of the day.  
Replicas of Roman helmets (pictured below) were among the exhibits providing historical authenticity.  
Tree-planting (above and below) at Hothfield in 1952, when it was Silsden Secondary Modern School, although it also included juniors as in these two pictures. The trees were planted in front of classrooms (Horsa huts) which were on the site of the present swimming pool. 
The teacher in the above photograph is the late Geoffrey Rundle, who taught at South Craven Comprehensive School after Silsden County Secondary ceased to exist in 1967, subsequently becoming Hothfield Junior School, fed by Aire View Infants, which had opened as a junior school in 1872 and later became a primary school. Pupils in the above picture include Marian Dobson, Ann Rawnsley, Joan Waterhouse, Christine Astbury, Cedric Webster, Joan Pickles, Jim Wade, Mavis Watson, Kenny Whitaker, Tony Bailey, Stuart Parker, Barry Ellison, Graham Thompson, Mel Driver, Richard Clarkson, Jack Driver, Robert Whitlock and Jean Tillotson. (My apologies if some of the names are misspelt.)
Above: The Secondary Modern School's 1949-50 soccer team pictured with headmaster George Manners and teacher Arthur Southwell. Back row (left to right): believed to be Bruce Pinder; name not known; Donald Whittingham; David Boothman; Raymond Clayton; Granville Burkitt; Peter Smith.  Middle row (left to right): Malcolm Barrett; Mr Manners; John Newton; Mr Southwell; Brian Whittingham. At front: Jack Nicholson (left) and Matt Farrow. (Photograph by courtesy of Brian Whittingham.)
Above: Mrs Broughton's class of 1953, or thereabouts. Many of the children in this photograph are in the earlier picture with Geoffrey Rundle.
The students pictured above with their teacher, Miss Wilkinson, were photographed in about 1957.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

After 94 cold and colourless days in 2013, Silsden basked in welcome warmth on April 6 with temperatures rising to 9C and crocuses opening fully to the sun. A few bees emerged. Daffodils, celandines and wood anemones were still well behind flowering schedule.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Above and below: Oh, to be in England now that April's there......April 3, 2013: snow still sentinel in towering drifts along Lightbank Lane near the Nab.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

A typical sign of our retail times. Pictured above is the view from Clog Bridge towards Kirkgate where Betfred ("the bonus kings") dominates the spot where the Co-op once had a furnishings department on two floors (pictured below). Also fondly remembered, next door by the junction with Elliott Street, was electrician Joe Whitham's shop, selling televisions and radios among a customary array of electrical goods. Photograph by courtesy of Silsden Camera Club. The former Whitham's shop has been home to several different traders. For the last 20 years or so it has been a rather smart kitchens specialist, the last few years under the name Arabesque, as the above photograph shows.
Clog Bridge was built around 1830 to provide a new route over the village beck as the population grew  rapidly. Until then, the ford near the post office was the only crossing point. The name is said to have arisen  when the Skipton Castle estate, which owned all the local land, offered a gift of £30 to provide clogs for needy children; villagers petitioned for a bridge instead. The width of the bridge was doubled in 1964.

Above: At one time the Elliott Street-Kirkgate corner shop was The Boat House, selling canal and marine merchandise and clothing, capitalising on the boat-hire business on the opposite side of Elliott Street.  

Monday, 1 April 2013

The Bridge Road thoroughfare into Bell Square and onward to Bridge Street and Chapel Street was  fundamentally changed by the pre-1974 clearances of unfit housing by the Urban District Council, in the days when local government was actually local. Bridge Road starts below the Punch Bowl (above) from the junction with Bolton Road.
Above: from the junction with Bell Square, Bridge Road continues between the rear of the King's Arms and the pub's triangle-shaped car park.
Above: Bridge Road looking towards the Punch Bowl from the junction with Bridge Street, opposite the entrance to the Co-op car park.
Above: taken from near the gable end of the Punch Bowl, this picture shows the old Bell Square looking towards the junction with Bridge Street and the cottages by the beck below the present-day Co-op car park. The lamp-post is once again a good indicator for comparison's sake.
Above: these buildings were to the rear of the Punch Bowl where the present-day Bell Square is. The area included garaging for livestock-carrier Jeff Morrow's trucks.
Above: a post-demolition view across Bell Square from the windowed gable end of the Punch Bowl (bottom left). The above three photos are by courtesy of Silsden Camera Club.
Above: Bell Square 'garage', looking towards the Stirling Street shop. Below: Bell Square barn. To the right is the present-day Bridge Street car park.

Above and below: Bridge Road terrace on the stretch near the junction with Bridge Street opposite the present-day Co-op car park. The row on the left was demolished but the house on the right is still there. The demolition team pictured below worked for Silsden Urban District Council's highways department.