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.