Wednesday, 22 October 2014

When you hit the wrong key and the screen goes blank......

Above: Computer Universe, which opened in Briggate in April 2011, is owned by IT specialists (left to right) Tristen Vasey, Kevin Jackson and Darryl Bell, who formed the company after being made redundant. Services include PC, laptop and Apple sales and repairs, and advice on all aspects of computers. As a start-up business they were guided by Airedale Enterprise Services. Computer Universe has become a welcome addition to the shopping diversity of Briggate, which as my previous posts show has played a distinctive part in local commerce for more than a century.  

Friday, 17 October 2014

Medlars in abundance

Above: attention was drawn on in September to this splendid medlar tree, which hitherto had probably been largely unnoticed by passers-by in Chapel Street. But it is a remarkable specimen. Relatively uncommon these days, medlars were known in ancient times. They have a gnarled bark and crooked trunk and are generally found in old cottage orchards or growing wild in south-east England. They sprawl and reach a height of 20ft.
Above: the medlar's unusual-looking fruits need to be over-ripe before they can be eaten raw. They do not fall from the tree after ripening but can be gathered in October and stored until they become soft. Enjoyed by the Greeks and the Romans, the fruit was a delicacy for centuries. It can also be made into jelly.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Briggate grocer and corn dealer who supplied the local farmers

Above: Harold Wade is pictured at No. 20 Briggate, a grocery which he ran with his brother Joe. The shop (which is now Paul's DIY, see below) was started by their father, Herbert, and continued for many years until the 1960s. They supplied corn and were well-known in Silsden's farming community. The photograph belongs to Harold's daughter, Betty Crabtree, herself a noted local resident, being a former chairman of the old Silsden parish council. Her late husband, Bill Crabtree, was a Briggate butcher for many years, at the premises which are now Cafe Cake.
Above: following the Wade era, No. 20 Briggate had three changes of ownership before it became Paul's DIY in 1979, run by Paul Waddington. The premises were expanded in 1985. My focus on Briggate over the years can be viewed in a post earlier this month.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

After Le Tour, Le Togetherness

continues with a

community showcase

Above: voluntary organisations took part in a community showcase at St James' Church on October 11.The aim was to continue the momentum that brought the town together for the Tour de France in July. Groups represented covered activities and interests from allotments to music, from history to theatre and from photography to community care. The first meeting of Le Post Tour Group will take place at the King's Arms on Thursday, October 23 (7.30pm).
Above: town mayor Councillor Chris Atkinson and deputy mayor Keith Savage with some of the nearly 750 baby jumpers that were knitted for town-wide Le Tour display, adorning shop windows and streets. The jumpers were presented during the community showcase to Mission Direct for distribution in Africa.
Above: some of the bikes decorated for Le Tour have been collected by the Bradford-based Margaret Carey Foundation, which sets up workshops in prisons. Offenders voluntarily restore scrapped cycles and wheelchairs for sending to people in need abroad. The foundation has 200 bikes in store, 131 of which were donated at a recent collection point in Ilkley.The picture shows foundation CEO David Brown (centre) with Eileen and William Jowitt, who presented a cheque on behalf of Silsden Methodist Church. The foundation was one of the charities to benefit from the church's Le Tour bike festival.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Businessman's 80th birthday and a look at Briggate over the years -- the street that started out as Skipton Road

Above: well-known Silsden businessman and former City Hall councillor Eric Waddington celebrated his 80th birthday on October 10. He and his wife, Mary, were members of two of the UK’s most prominent fairground families but they quit the travelling life to run a fish-and-chip shop in Briggate in 1962 and went on to become a highly successful local business partnership. Married in 1959, they had known each other since childhood. Fairground fame had been in their respective families for generations but Eric and Mary decided to look for a settled and more conventional living when their son, Paul, was born with health problems.

Above: the Briggate fish and chip shop in the 1960s. Note the cigarette-dispensing machine on the wall. Eric and Mary Waddington had not been to Silsden before they came here from Bradford to take over Herbert Rennison’s chip shop, which they ran until 1983. A portion of fish and chips sold for 10 pre-decimal pence in 1962, when you could buy a pint of beer for the same outlay in a club and for one shilling in a pub — a portion and a pint traditionally were similarly priced.
Above: the Waddingtons memorably served free fish and chips (one portion per customer) on their last day in 1983. This slightly blurred photograph shows the queue. Eric and Mary sold the shop to Keith and Pat Chapman, who were followed by the George’s Place Chinese takeaway. In 1977 Eric and Mary had bought Snowden’s opposite the chippy and converted the premises into a DIY shop for their teenaged son Paul, who continues to run it to this day. Eric and Mary went on to transform the cottage at No. 7 Bolton Road into Waddy’s wine bar, which became immensely popular. They sold it two years later, subsequently expanding Paul’s DIY shop and developing property interests in Ilkley.
Above: Harry Gordon (right), who was born in Keighley in 1875, opened a "fish and chip saloon" in the early 1900s on the same Briggate site as the later chip shops. Previously he had been an eating-house assistant in Keighley and boarded with a family in Tufton Street when he came to Silsden. There was also a blacksmith's forge in Briggate and the photograph shows Harry Gordon with Fred Jackson, who is shoeing a horse. Fred was described in the 1901 census as a blacksmith and in the 1911 census as a shoeing and jobbing smith.
Above: early 1900s scene and view of Briggate, which was actually called Skipton Road until the 1940s. Pre-Briggate, the present Skipton Road was named Skipton Road West. W. Smith's shop on the left is now Kirkgate News (the address is 71 Kirkgate) and has been a newsagent's since around 1880 when William Smith, a nail-maker and local preacher, started as a seller of books and newspapers.
Above: John Lund, born in 1847, ran a butcher's shop on the Briggate corner opposite what became the Conservative Club. He was certainly trading there from the 1890s and possibly before then. He was a son-in-law of retired Methodist minister the Rev James Bootland and lived with his family in Wesley Place. Dick Ashton opened his electrical and radio shop here around the 1920s and was succeeded by Leonard Dyer's electrical shop in the 1960s.The premises have also been a snack bar and, as now, a hairdresser's.
Above: the 1901 census shows that Thomas Holmes Spencer, who was born in 1868 and came from Eastburn, was already a greengrocer at 13 Skipton Road (now Briggate). He was eventually followeed by his son, Eric, born 1908, who ran the shop until his death in 1963. The business then became Busfield's and continued as a greengrocery until the 1990s.
Above: two advertisements from a 1910 brochure. John Tillotson is serving peas and pies every evening at a saloon next to the Conservative Club and Thomas Spencer describes himself as an English and foreign fruiterer.
Above: Thomas Spencer's daughter Bessie, who was born in 1905, is pictured at the greengrocery in the 1920s.
Above: brothers Jonas and Leonard Clarkson are pictured in the late 1920s or early1930s at their draper's shop at 17 Briggate, which, as shown in my May 2014 post, is now an optician's.
Above: three advertisements from the official Silsden guide of 1953/1954. Dick Ashton was widely known, not least because in the 1960s he supplied BBC 1 and BBC 2 transmissions to local subscribers by aerial relay from his premises for one penny a week per channel.
Above: in the 1960s, Mary Sharp served lunches in the front room of her cottage next to the Yorkshire Electricity Board showroom (now Knowles' estate agency).
Above: the Yorkshire Bank late 1950s/early1960s with the Yorkshire Bank prominent opposite the roundabout, the first of which was built in 1936. Leonard Dyer occupies the premises previously run by Dick Ashton at 7 & 9 Briggate.
Above: Dennis Knowles has replaced the Yorkshire Bank, supplying decorating materials before becoming a full-time estate agent. We no longer see street lamps like this one by the roundabout.
Above: Dyer's electrical shop has become a snack bar in this late 1960s photograph, which is also shown in my earlier post about Kirkgate News.
Above: red buses operated by the Keighley West Yorkshire Road Car Company used to travel along  Briggate when, as in this 1960s photograph, the street was two-way and parking was prohibited on both sides.
Above: this historic property was known as the "band 'oil", from the days when Silsden Brass Band practised there. Keighley historian Ian Dewhirst recorded that the new band formed in 1872 by the renowned Edward Newton sometimes would spend six nights a week practising, in rooms adjoining a grocery and corn store in Briggate. From the late 1950s to the mid-1990s, the shop area on the right opened for the sale of Sunday newspapers, an outlet run by Alan Mason and his son Brian. The wholesale business, which supplied South Craven and parts of Wharfedale, was actually started by Brian's grandfather in Addingham some years before Alan acquired the Briggate shop. In those days the regular newsagents did not open on Sundays. As one of the following present-day photographs shows, the premises are now the head office of L'Arche, a charity which supports people who have learning difficulties.

Above: taken in the 1980s, this photograph shows another change of business on the right facing Bolton Road. This time it is Pandora's Box, which was run by Eric and Mary Waddington's daughter Lisa as a health food and gift shop. Lisa lives locally and helps at her brother Paul's DIY shop at the other end of Briggate.
Above: permanent and popular -- Paul Waddington, of Paul's DIY, has completed 35 years as a Briggate trader. He is featured in my October 2012 post.
Above: the modern aspect of the Briggate junction with Kirkgate and Bolton Road End. With distinctive white on blue signage, Aire Valley Financial Services occupies the prime spot in the Conservative Club premises, which were built in 1901.
Above: Occupying the old band 'oil and Sunday-paper shop, L'Arche runs communities in the UK and abroad where people with and without learning difficulties live together. 
Above: Briggate today from the Skipton Road junction.
Above: Briggate as it is now looking towards Skipton Road.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

A new generation of
power to the people

With the advent of solar panels and wind turbines townscapes and landscapes are acquiring distinctive new looks. Silsden is no exception as residents and farmers generate their own electricity and hopefully profit by selling any excess to the national grid.   
The photographs above and below show a selection of local installations 145 years since street lighting came to Silsden. In those days the lamps were gas-powered.
UK power generation from solar photovoltaic panels rose 67%, due to increased capacity, in the second quarter of 2014 compared with a year ago, according to the government's Department of Energy and Climate Change.
Generation of renewable energy in the UK set a new record in 2013, and was 30% higher than in 2012. Solar photovoltaics accounted for 14% of renewables capacity, up from 11% in the previous year.

Above: The rear roof of the new health centre in Elliott Street features solar panels. 
Above: gas lamp at Bolton Road End. This photograph was taken before the Conservative Club was built in 1900. Silsden's first street lamps, powered by gas, were lit on October 21, 1869, and the lamp-lighter was "loudly cheered on his way." Within a year Silsden had 27 lamps. The town's first lamp-lighter was Joseph Walker, and next came Samuel Fortune. The salary was five guineas a year (£5 and 5 shillings). 
Above: another gas lamp at Bolton Road End in 1904. This lamp continued in use until 1936. In the early days, the practice was for the lights to be lit at dusk and put out at 11pm (midnight on Saturdays) from October to March. In winter they came on at 5am to light the way for workers. In 1872 William Fortune and Stephen Ramsden admitted vandalising street lamps but escaped punishment by signing a public apology, which was conveyed on 20 posters around the town.

Above and below: farmers on Silsden Moor have invested in wind turbines to generate electricity. The turbines add a majestic dimension to these fascinating, wind-swept landscapes where farming historically has been a constant battle against elemental and market forces.