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.