Monday, 21 October 2013

This present-day aspect of Kirkgate on the eastern, or beck, side was opened up in the late 1970s following the demolition of an historic row of three properties, Nos. 58-62, which adjoined what is now the computer repair, maintenance and upgrades shop at No. 56.

These are the properties that were demolished. Rob's Trading Centre and taxi service were run by Rob Whitlock.
This view (May, 1974) of the empty shops prior to demolition also shows the full frontage of No. 56 with the old stone steps up to the first floor. The steps were removed after demolition and the filled-in section can be seen in the present-day picture where the  iXtek sign is placed. The shop at that time was Maureen's hair stylist. Photograph by courtesy of Silsden Camera Club.
Advertisement hoardings were in place for several years up to the demolition of the adjoining properties. Photo by courtesy of Silsden Camera Club.
Nos. 58-62 Kirkgate in the late 1800s. These chaps, apparently amused by the photographer, are sat on the ledge of what ended up as Rob's Trading Centre. But at the time this photograph was taken it was the Wade family's boot and shoe shop, which it had been since at least 1790. John William Wade, who died in 1940, aged 81, had run the shop for many years, as had his father and grandfather before him. At the turn of the century, John William and his brother Richard were two of the UK's foremost poultry exhibitors, particularly White Leghorns and Black Minorcas. Some years before retiring, Mr Wade's son-in-law, Herbert Cooper, had taken over the business, which eventually became Cooper's shoe shop on the opposite side of  Kirkgate where the travel agency is now. Photograph from the late Kevin Bower's collection.
Another late Victorian view of this stretch of Kirkgate looking towards the gable end of what is now the Post Office, which opened there in 1907. Note the stone steps of No. 56 just behind the boys. Photograph also from the Kevin Bower collection.
No. 62 Kirkgate, which had been an ironmonger's since at least the 1870s, in the hands of Thomas Langhorne, a tin-plate worker born in 1844, and his wife Sarah. They are pictured here. Thomas died in 1900, after which the shop continued to be run for a few more years by Sarah, assisted by her son John Asquith Langhorne. Thomas was the grandfather of five well-known Silsdeners still within living memory: Eva, Sally, Lucy, Edith (Murgatroyd) and Thomas, a noted local singer.

Thomas Langhorne built and patented this 'Champion' heating apparatus for oil or gas, advertising it as giving the greatest heat it was possible to obtain from the smallest volume of oil or gas, burning 'absolutely without smell.' 

Monday, 14 October 2013

One of Silsden's most familiar figures, Mrs Winnie Barker, died on October 8, aged 93, after a lifetime of community service. Best known as a Methodist Sunday School teacher for almost three-quarters of  century, Winnie was also a regular volunteer at Aire View Infants School and active in numerous local groups, such as the horticultural and civic societies. Winnie is pictured above in the 1970s and on the right four years ago.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

An early 1900s view of Kirkgate showing on the right the stretch from Nos 44-54. Revisit my September posts featuring Picturesque and Nadine's, to which I have added several photographs showing fascinating changes over the years. 

Thursday, 10 October 2013

ABOVE: Knitting group at St James' Church hall. LEFT: Mrs Brenda Baldwin with some of the many dolls she has knitted as a member of a group that meets at the Methodist Church. A knitting revival is under way in Silsden. Three groups meet regularly for members to share projects and patterns and, most of all, to enjoy each other's company while pursuing an absorbing and useful craft. Members range from young mums to veterans in their 80s who have been knitting since their school days. Meeting fortnightly on Saturday afternoons, the group at St James' is the longest-established and biggest of the three with a core of 28 knitters. Another group meets each Wednesday morning at the Methodist Church and the Punch Bowl Inn hosts a weekly gathering on Thursday evenings. Nationally, groups and school clubs are flourishing and an estimated 4 million women and more than 400,000 men are knitting. Celebrities from Madonna to Jo Brand and Kate Moss to Hilary Swank are contributing to the upsurge. There is a National Knitting Week (October 14-20) and a UK Hand Knitting Association.
 ABOVE: The Punch Bowl group was formed a year ago after three of the mums had attended a crochet course in Cross Hills and decided to take up or return to knitting as well as doing other handicrafts.
ABOVE: Georgina Lovely's first attempt at knitting produced this hat for her two-year-old son Matthew. Georgina learnt to knit through the group that meets at the Methodist Church. BELOW: Also a member of the group, Alison Smith displays one of her many eye-catching patchwork designs.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Aire View Stores is one of only a handful of local establishments still in the same line of business, on the same premises, as they were more than 100 years ago. A true “corner shop”, at the junction of Aire View and Prince Street, the grocery opened in 1900 and for years was run by Arthur and Susan Mosley, and then by their son Norman, who was born in 1900. Norman continued as proprietor until the 1960s or even the early 1970s. Subsequent owners included Bruntons, Whitemans, Eric and Mary Milner (who left to run the Craven Heifer at Addingham) and Bob and Eileen Parkinson, who ran the grocery until 2000 when the present owners, Mr Gurdial Singh and his wife, Mrs Sukhminder Kaur, bought the business. They run it with their son Mohan Singh and Mohan’s wife, Arvindec Kaur. The family are pictured above. Mr Singh, who has considerably extended and modernised the store, was born in Malaysia but educated in Punjab in India. He came to England aged 17 in 1962 and for 29 years was a wool-comber in leading mills in the Bradford district. He and his wife, who were married in 1968, ran grocery businesses in Bradford, Doncaster and Newcastle before coming to Silsden. They have a married daughter in San Francisco. Mr Singh is a trustee of the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple in Bradford. Among his enjoyments are Yorkshire ales and Yorkshire fish and chips.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which cares for cemeteries and memorials at 23,000 locations in 153 countries, commemorating 1.7 million servicemen and women who died in the two world wars, has installed a plaque at the municipal cemetery in Howden Road. The Commission lists from the Second World War five local soldiers and one airman whose graves are in the cemetery. They are: Private Arnold Breare, of the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, who died in 1943 aged 24 (his memorial is pictured on the right); Sergeant David Ferguson, of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, who died in 1946, aged 25; Warrant Officer Class II George Fryers, of the Royal Engineers,who died in 1946, aged 39; Sergeant Thomas Inman, of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, who died in 1943, aged 20; Gunner Edgar Roden, of the Royal Artillery, who died in 1942, aged 37; and Sergeant John Stephenson, of the Royal Horse Artillery, who died in 1941, aged 27. Private Breare's parents, Manasseh and Isabel, of Silsden Moor, and a sister, Marion, are buried with him. 

Saturday, 5 October 2013

This Dew Stone at a disused gateway in Rivock Edge Forest is part of the invigorating Stanza Stones Poetry Trail from Marsden to Ilkley. The 47-mile trail is a collaboration between Ilkley Literature Festival and Marsden-born poet Simon Armitage. There are six stanza stones each carved by Pip Hall with an Armitage poem inspired by the language and landscape of the South Pennine watershed. The poems describe water in one of its many forms, hence a Snow Stone, a Beck Stone, a Puddle Stone, a Mist Stone, a Rain Stone and a Dew Stone. The Puddle Stone is near the Whetstone Gate wireless station on Rombalds Moor. The other stones are at Pule Hill, Marsden; Cow's Mouth Quarry, off the A58 Littleborough-Ripponden road; Nab Hill at Oxenhope; and at Beckstone Beck on Ilkley Moor. An excellent guide by landscape architect Tom Lonsdale detailing Poetry Trail walks can be downloaded at: