Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Signs of the times: the seasonal sparkle of modern streets and teas for the elderly in the 'good old days'Above: a great deal of voluntary hard work goes into erecting the Christmas decorations, which light up Kirkgate, Briggate and Bolton Road End each year.
Voluntary community work of a different kind was a seasonal feature in the decades following the Second World War when Silsden's senior citizens were treated to a Christmas tea. 
The annual treat was one of a number of events organised by a group of volunteers as community life got going again after the hardships and disruptions of wartime.  
The Christmas teas were held in the Methodist School Room and continued into the early 1970s. Coats and hats were almost a uniform for the ladies in the days when winters were famously cold. Coal fires and, if you were lucky, Esso Blue or pink- paraffin heaters provided warmth at home but not in all rooms. 
Above: Mrs Dyson (left) and Mrs Lambert were among the many helpers. Teas were also taken to the homes of elderly people too frail to attend.
Above: members of the organising committee included Les Dyson (on the left), Jim Brown (without a jacket) and Brian Brockbank (right).

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Magic! Pantomime makes a welcome return to Silsden
After an absence of several years, pantomime returned to Silsden with three performances of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at the Town Hall (December 4 and 5). Pictured above are Neil Whitaker as Molly, the dame, and Kairen Booth as Snow White in the Silsden Community Productions show directed by David Hardman. All the tickets were sold.
Above: the wicked witch, played by Ros Driver, brings the dame to her knees while Snow White reacts to the unwelcome intrusion.
Above: Stupid, played by Mark Kelk (centre), drives his fellow dwarves to desperation. 
Above: talented teenies -- members of the Elizabeth Phillips School of Dance.
Above: blue rinse meets prince. The dame pleads with the prince, played by Alexandra Whitaker.
Above: Merlin, played by David Harper, outwits the wicked witch. 
Above: return of the ring. Barbara Williamson as the flummoxed fairy godmother on a flying visit from Cinderella. 
 Above: Laurie Driver as the woodman with a wooden horse. 
Above: a time for reflection. Cynthia Dodding as the witch in the mirror. 
Above: paws for thought. Dame Molly's dog Minnie.
Above: the happy ending as the charming prince saves Snow White from a spell of shut-eye.
Above: Silsden Community Productions director David Hardman with his leading lady, Kairen Booth. 
Above: musical director Terry Simpson with his wife, Margaret, who was the prompt.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Fascinating history of Holden Park and a gripping 17th century court case over rival corn mills

Above: Upper Holden photographed from Spring Crag Wood with the Leeds-Liverpool canal and the Silsden township beyond. The history of Holden Park is told by Tom Steel in an absorbing study, which he completed in 1979 and can now be viewed online.  
Above: Farm buildings at Upper Holden viewed from near Holden Bridge in Holden Lane. Mr Steel has traced the history of the farms and farmers in Holden Park since the early 1600s. The farms include Howden House and Low Holden.
Above: Mr Steel reveals that these farm buildings are on the site of Holden Beck corn mill, which, built by Lady Anne Clifford and completed in 1653, was the subject of a 15-year court case. Lady Clifford built the mill because the sole Silsden corn mill, dating back to 1122 (on what is now the site of Myers building supplies in Keighley Road), allegedly had a defective water supply and was inadequate for the needs of the increasing population. The court ruling forbade the use of the Holden Mill and led to closure and ruin.
Above: another of the farm buildings at Upper Holden, which is now the home of renowned poultry supplier Edward Boothman.
Above: this photograph shows the same building around 1930 when Upper Holden was partly farmed by the Gill family. The Gill name is on the board over the door advertising teas and refreshments, which were popular with walkers on the route from Utley to Silsden. Mr Steel's major study can be viewed online by following the links at

Friday, 20 November 2015

Somewhere over the rainbow.....Oh, it's Farnhill
Above: Farnhill appeared to be the source of this rainbow on the morning of Friday, November 20. Dog-walkers on the popular moor were treated to a vivid close-up.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

A6034 becomes a relief road as flock flees floods
Above: Motorists on the A6034 road by the golf driving range were surprised to see a flock of sheep on the move on Wednesday morning, November 16. The farmer had been forced to move the sheep from the flooded fields between the river, which was at bank top, and the A629 trunk road near the roundabout.  

Monday, 16 November 2015

A familiar sight after a weekend of torrential rain
Above: Monday morning, November 16, and the riverside Aire Valley fields are flooded all the way from Keighley to Skipton following consecutive days of heavy rain, which afflicted much of the north of England. This was the view from the Silsden-KIldwick road above Airedale House Farm.
Above: the scene farther along the valley at Cononley.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

When you go home tell them of us and say:
'For your tomorrow we gave our today'

Above: Silsden's Remembrance Sunday service, on November 8, was conducted by the Rev David Griffiths, Vicar of St James' Church.
Above: there was a large attendance despite wet and windy weather.
Above: Douglas Boulton, president of Silsden Royal British Legion, lays the Legion's wreath. He was followed by the laying of wreaths on behalf of local organisations.

Above: parade commander Jean Bower, chairman of Silsden Royal British Legion, in conversation with Lee Smith, who announced the order of the laying of wreaths.
Above: umbrellas were out in force.

Above: Silsden Town Band accompanied the singing of hymns.