Wednesday, 28 August 2013

No. 55 is one of the most distinctive frontages in Kirkgate. There has been a shop at this junction with Nicolson Place for more than 120 years. For much of that time, No. 55 was a grocery and for several decades since the Second World War was best known as Holgates (below). Over the last four years the premises have become immensely popular as Bilalúci's café bar (above).  
William and Mary Holgate gave the shop its fondly-remembered post-war name, which was retained by subsequent owners after the Holgates retired. Before the Second World War the shop had been Redmans grocery. This picture is by courtesy of Silsden Camera Club.
The present owner is Mr Bilal Kanat, who is pictured above with assistants Leanne Rampling (right), who is Mr Kanat's niece, and Emily Williamson. Mr Kanat came to the UK from Turkey, where he had been in the catering and hotel trades. His wife Helen, who has her own business, is from Silsden. 

 Nicolson Place, alongside and to the rear of Bilalúci's, is named after Angus Nicolson, who came to Silsden from Stornoway, in the Isle of Lewis, in 1871 and founded Airedale Shed, which became a major textile mill and extended along Shed Side (New Road). A directory of 1913 lists four worsted manufacturers at the premises with a combined total of more than 1,000 looms. Most of the mill was demolished to make way for houses off New Road while part of the building was retained and converted into flats, as can be seen in the background of the above photograph.

Red paintwork added to Holgates' distinctive presence at the junction of Kirkgate and Nicolson Place. The mill and cottages are shown in this photograph before  manufacturing gave way to housing in the 1980s.  
 A late 19th-early 20th century photograph of Kirkgate, where what is now Bilalúci's café bar was No. 51 and occupied by John William Jowett, selling groceries and other provisions. He was trading there at the time of the 1891 census. He was born in 1861 and died in 1905. By 1911 Joseph Henry Saville, aged 32, was the grocer. The Savilles later ran a bakery on the opposite side of Kirkgate.