Sunday, 24 November 2013

Hundreds turn out for Christmas Market 
Silsden's Christmas Market on Sunday, November 24, attracted hundreds of buyers and browsers. Stalls at the handsomely refurbished Town Hall (open to public inspection for the first time), in Briggate and at Punch Bowl Hill offered a wide variety of goods, and a number of shops also opened for the occasion. Stallholders were a mix of local organisations, charities, hobbyists and commercial traders. At dusk the Town Band played, church choristers sang and local resident Mary Fryers, a member of the market-organising Gala Committee, switched on the Christmas lights and decorations, which once again were erected by volunteers.
Above: Victoria Williamson watches as daughter Georgina, 3, concentrates on making a colourful pattern at the Silsden Library stall of creative activities for children.  
With appropriate headwear, Mary Fryers, who later in the day switched on the town's Christmas lights, takes her turn looking after the Gala Committee's stall. 
Silsden Youth Council held a raffle to raise funds for its ambitious "Fitness in the Park" project. Left to right are Honey Debney-Succoia, Ben Farrar and Gabby Keating.
Caterer Sarah Morton's Homemade Heaven stall did brisk business. Sarah, of Longbottom Avenue, makes and bakes at home. 
Silsden Library staff took the opportunity to publicise their forthcoming move to the new-look Town Hall (its original home). They vacate their Wesley Place premises on December 2. Left to right are Sally Haigh, Mandy Webb, Frances Bancroft and Carol Wallace.
Silsden Local History Group's calendar of yesteryear scenes has now sold out. Committee members Brian Sunderland (right), who compiled the calendar, and Barbara Hetherington (second from right) helped run the group's stall. The booklet on the left is a Silsden Guide published by the old Urban District Council in the early 1950s. It cost nine pre-decimal pennies.
Shops and stalls in Briggate attracted a steady stream of customers.
Pictured above are Country Kitchen owner Zoe Sugden (right) and Christine Needham.
Lauren Pinkney was on duty at Cafe Cake in Briggate.
Among the Town Hall stallholders who took the opportunity to offer products arising from a hobby was Steve Brown, who makes tableware and gifts from slate. He is pictured here with his wife, Linda, and grandchildren Lennon (left) and Bobby Kerry. 
 Macmillan Cancer Support was among the charities raising funds.  
 David Mason at the Silsden Churches Together stall selling Fair Trade products.
Keighley hairdresser Jody Ellis (right) has a secondary interest in jewellery, handbags and fashion accessories, which featured on her stall. She is pictured with mum Karen Ellis and Sarah Houfe.
Ruth Hall and her daughter Alexandra, of Street House Farm Preserves, Addingham, sold jams, chutneys, cakes and other items made from fruit grown on the farm. "It is a hobby that has escalated," says Ruth.
Street House Farm customers included Charlotte Davison, Emma Parker and (centre) Jan McConville, who had her own stall selling fused-glass jewellery and other products that she makes as a hobby at her Steeton home.
Home-made delights raised funds to help people with Parkinson's.
Sarah Pullen's stall offered a large selection of Christmas cards and wrapping paper.
Jamie at Home parties (meaning celebrity chef Jamie Oliver) were promoted by consultant Heather Richardson, helped by Lucy Lambert, who is pictured above.
This Roll of Honour has been cleaned and now occupies a prominent place in the main function room on the ground floor of the Town Hall. The board is in memory of men associated with Silsden Methodist Church and Sunday School who joined the forces in the First World War. The central panel names those who died.  
The new roof feature on the first floor of the Town Hall. The wooden structure, hidden for many years, was uncovered when a suspended ceiling was removed during the £300,000-plus renovations. The woodwork, restored and painted, gives the function room added visual impact.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

No. 71 Kirkgate has been a newsagent's shop since about 1880. The present proprietor, Raheel Arshad, who bought the business from Michael and Elaine Kershaw in July 2011, is pictured above.
Arshad is pictured here with his sister, Arzoo Shafiq, who manages the shop, which is also staffed by Arshad's wife, Savera Raheel. Arshad, who gained a BSc degree in accounting at Oxford Brookes University, came to Silsden after six years with a similar shop in Burnley. The family are from Jhelum, a village near Islamabad, where Arshad's father runs a poultry farm.
Arshad has transformed the shop into an off-licence and general store as well as continuing the traditional newsagent business. There is hardly a square metre of unused sales space.
The "top of the town" area where Kirkgate meets Briggate and gives way to Bolton Road End has undergone road lay-out alterations over the years but the buildings that can be seen here have largely been unchaged since 1900 when the Conservative Club was built.
In this early 1970s photo, the newsagent's shop was under the name of R. Dewhurst and a greengrocer occupied what is now Stefano's Italian ristorante. The offices on the ground floor of the Conservative Club were occupied by Dennis Knowles' estate agency, which moved across Briggate to its present premises when the Electricity Board showroom closed. The former Knowles offices have been occupied by Aire Valley Financial Advisers (previously insurance specialists) for several years and more recently also by the Green Partnership estate agency. The snack bar became a cafe but has been a hairdresser's for some time.
 A late 1950s/early 1960s view. The roundabout was built in 1936. Photograph by courtesy of Silsden Camera Club.
The buildings on the left and the nearby Highfield Farm and Bolton Road School were demolished in 1956 to make way for the Memorial Gardens. Photograph by courtesy of Silsden Camera Club.
The view in 1930. Note the war memorial at Bolton Road End between the Conservative Club and the entrance to "Punch Bowl Hill". The memorial was unveiled on November 12, 1921, and was transferred across the road to its present site in 1957. This scene was published as a postcard by newsagent R. Dewhurst.
Bolton Road End in 1897 when the newsagent at 71 Kirkgate was William Smith. The mill chimney is at Airedale Shed. The gas lamp in the centre of the picture is where the roundabout was built in 1936. The first Silsden newsagent probably was Thomas Bradley, who combined nail-making and selling newspapers from the late 1860s. His forge-cum-shop was near the old vicarage. William Smith (born 1840) was also a nail-maker and a Methodist local preacher. He started in business as a book-seller, newsagent and assurance agent at 71 Kirkgate around 1880. He was there for more than 20 years. By the time of the 1911 census, two more newsagents had opened in Kirkgate: James Edward Streets at No. 39 (now Twigg's) and Timothy Jackson at No. 49, next door to what is now Bilaluci. William Smith was followed at 71 Kirkgate by Edwin Kirkham. Subsequent owners were R. Dewhurst, Fred Sharp, Arthur Watson, who was chairman of Silsden Urban District Council from 1952-55 and who kept the Dewhurst name, his daughter and son-in-law Tom Hayes and the Kershaws. This view, from the late Kevin Bower's collection, was published in Neil Cathey's book "Silsden in old picture postcards". 

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Above: Wreaths of poppies were laid by local organisations and individuals at Silsden's Remembrance Day service at the war memorial on November 10, 2013. There was a large gathering in bright sunshine. The Town Band accompanied the hymns.
Above: Douglas Boulton, president of Silsden Royal British Legion, lays the Legion's wreath.
Above: Ex-servicemen and Legion members wait to lay wreaths.
Above: The Rev David Griffiths, of St James' Parish Church, conducted the service, assisted by Father Michael McLaughlin, of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church.
Above: A section of the public at the service. Attendance seems to increase each year. 
Above (left to right): Silsden Royal British Legion standard-bearer David Rishworth, chairman Jean Bower, town mayor Chris Atkinson and Legion president Douglas Boulton.
Above: Scouts and cubs were among the many young people taking part. A wreath was also laid on behalf of Silsden Youth Council.
Above: The Menin Gate at Ypres, where the names of 54,389 officers and men who fell in Flanders Fields and who have no known grave are inscribed. The names include that of Private Thomas Henry Fort, of Raikes Head Farm, Silsden, whose letter from the trenches to his family a year before his death in 1917 was read out at the service. 

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Above: Bethan Ravenscroft is pictured with a couple of guys dressed for a special occasion. Silsden's bonfire-night firework display at The Green, in Bradley Road, on November 2 was preceded by a best-guy competition at the Red Lion pub where manager Danielle Broadley judged bomb-holding Guy Fawkes (on the right of the picture) the winner. The Co-op's fund-raising gentleman on the left supported the competition, as did Bethan. The winner was made by the Spencer Avenue Action Group. The fireworks and bonfire, organised by the Gala Committee, went ahead despite the adversity of frequent downpours. 

Friday, 1 November 2013

Another of Silsden's mainstay businesses is at No. 39 Kirkgate, which has been a newsagent's for at least 100 years, from the time of James Edward Streets. The present owner, Martin Twigg, is pictured above with his mother, Rita. Martin bought the business from Martin Lampkin in 1994, the Lampkins having followed John and Shirley Twigg, who were proprietors from 1963 until 1988. Martin, who is chairman and treasurer of Silsden Golf Club, is John Twigg's nephew. Apart from the Lampkin years, Rita Twigg has helped in the shop since 1963.
Signs of the times: the present-day frontage of Twigg's (above) is restrained compared with the 1970s stridency of tobacco and newspaper advertising (below).   
John and Shirley Twigg, who came to Silsden from Keighley, acquired the business from the Fuguill family, which had kept the Streets name during their proprietorship.
Above: This Streets advertisement was published in the Urban District Council's 1954 guide to Silsden.
Above: The shops from No. 31 (the bakery, not in picture) to No. 39, between Aire View and New Road, are an attractively colourful Kirkgate asset. The same aspect but with different retailers in the 1970s is pictured below. 
Above: 1970s scene. The launderette on the left, which is now The Rice Bowl Cantonese take-away, was the fondly-remembered Milk Bar in the 1940s and 50s. The Silsden Liberal Association rooms had several different uses before becoming the Co-op funeral-care office of today. For several years No. 37, now the Beehive hair and beauty salon, was Gibson's greengrocery and then Myers greengrocery. The Gibson name was uncovered in recent repair work on the title board of the Beehive salon.    
Above: In the late 1890s and early 1900s, before becoming Streets' newsagent's and stationer's, No. 39, with a veranda, was run by John Roberts, fruiterer and seedsman. Photograph from the late Kevin Bower's collection.
Above:This intrepid woman cyclist in the 1890s contrasts starkly with the two shawled lasses on the pavement outside John Roberts' shop. Photograph from the late Kevin Bower's collection.