Monday, 29 February 2016

A dim view of solar panels? Now you see them......

Solar panels recently installed to serve the flats in this Kirkgate property, which is in a conservation area, were removed on February 28 (see below).

And now you don't......

A welcome appearance as the meteorological winter ends

Primroses have started to bloom in Snowden Ghyll, coinciding with the last weekend (February 27/28) of the meteorological winter.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Counting House adds up to a niche venture

The former Barclays Bank premises in Kirkgate have reopened as the Counting House, a wine bar, bar and grill run by John Beaumont (above left) and chef Andy Davey. They believe they have identified a niche opportunity in a town where eaters and drinkers already have several choices, including the Robin Hood pub next door.
The Counting House lounge. "From our own experience living and socialising here we think there is scope for a social club type of bar," says John, who owns a small construction company. He and Andy have done the conversion work themselves.
The opening of the Counting House adds to a smart new look for this stretch of Kirkgate.The Office, a building planning and design service, at No 25 and Dexters Chop Shop, an upmarket barber, at No 27 both opened last year with facelifted frontages.
A slightly damaged photograph showing Kirkgate probably in the late 1800s/early 1900s with the premises now occupied by the Counting House on the left. 

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Cutting a dash at Dexters: by appointment and at £16 a time  
Dexters Chop Shop, which opened last July, bringing to Silsden upmarket grooming, is seeking a second barber as part of a longer-term expansion. Owner Josh Matthew (pictured above) has defied doubters by showing that there is a demand in Silsden for hair-dressing with the kind of panache that offers customers ambience,  a whisky, an ale or coffee, operates by appointment and charges £16 for a standard cut.

The Chop Shop, at No. 27 Kirkgate, is named after Dexter, the family's pet border collie.
Dexters is especially popular with the under-35s, the so-called metrosexual generation that is comfortable with the whole concept of male grooming. The booming UK market is forecast to be worth £1 billion by 2018. The soaring popularity of beards, moustaches and stubble is of course more good news for hairdressers. While Dexters' rates are about double the prices charged by local barbers, they are well below what men would expect to pay in city-centre salons.
The Chop Shop name only incidentally references the past: No. 27 Kirkgate had been a butcher's for at least 100 years. The photograph above shows Eric Stoney during the 1970s. He had followed Douglas Thornber. Another well-known butcher there was John Smithies, who took over the business after Mr Stoney retired. 
The shop was a butcher's at the time of this photograph in or about the late 1800s, when the proprietor was Sam Bottomley, who was known as Sam Bod. The photograph was published in Neil Cathey's "A Pictorial History of 'Old Cobbydale'."


Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Crumbs: new cafe opens in Briggate

Above: Jessica Aveyard has opened her first business, a cafe called Crumbs, in Briggate. The cafe is also offering a bespoke cakes-for-all-occasions service, with Jessica and her mother, Rachel, doing the baking. Jessica, from Kildwick, gained catering certificates at the Devonshire Arms at Bolton Abbey. The Briggate premises were previously the popular Cafe Cake shop, which closed several months ago.   

Monday, 22 February 2016

Why bother with disposal rules when you can despoil an ancient woodland?

The moor road above ancient Holden Park is just the other side of this boundary wall, making it relatively easy to illegally offload unwanted tyres into Spring Crag Wood. The tougher the rules, the more shameful become the ways to avoid them.     

Friday, 19 February 2016

Drawing on our memories of colourful pastimes
Happy days at No.20 Kirkgate where many Silsden children looked longingly at the toys and crafts in the window of the Paint Box while the grown-ups waited for the bus.
 The premises today, having reverted fully to living accommodation.
The Paint Box was originally opened by sign-painter Stanley Boardman, who later became famous for his 1920's Boy series of distinctive paintings of his Keighley childhood. This photograph was taken soon after Janet Pawson took over the business in 1967. Mrs Pawson was there until 1974 when she and her husband Brian, with their three young children, moved to Lancaster to run a newsagent's shop.  
Brian Pawson (left) is pictured with Stanley Boardman. Mr Pawson was a radio and television salesman with Dyer's in Keighley and then in Briggate, Silsden. Mr and Mrs Pawson left Lancaster in 1978 to open a grocery in Gargrave, which they ran jointly until 2000. They still live in Gargrave. 
The characterful parade during the late 1940s. Beer's was a grocery, which became Carter's in the late 1950s. The office on the left belonged to Harold Crane. The plaque by the door says Food Control Office, where post-war ration books were issued. Two building societies were also run from this office and most utility bills could be paid here. The Paint Box premises were then a private house, as now, and first became a painter and decorator's shop belonging to the Sanderson family. After the Paint Box period, Carol Smithies ran a ladies' hairdresser's at No. 20 and her husband Bob was a barber there. Photograph from the late Kevin Bower's collection.
Previous uses of the premises now attractively occupied by the Flower Gallery have included a craft shop and Sizzles and other cafes. The solar panels on the roof may have been good for the environment but possibly inappropriate in a conservation area.The panels had been installed by the landlord of the flats but were removed on February 28.  

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Can you lick this for ice-cool optimism?

With the temperature soaring to 5C on February 18 there was possibly a remote enterprising reason to see if half-term might be a good time to do the rounds.   

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Rubble at mill as another link with town's textile past tumbles
This familiar frontage in Elliott Street will disappear shortly and the Harwal Works site will be turned over to housing.
The old Walter Crane weaving mill closed in the early 1980s and has been home to a succession of businesses since then, most recently King Cole, a Queen's Award winning supplier of hand and machine knitting yarns, which moved to Skipton in 2014.
The 0.9-acre site, between Elliott Street and the canal, will be developed by Skipton Properties. Planning permission has been given for 12 one- and two-bedroom apartments and for 12 two-and three-bedroom houses.
Skipton Properties says the homes will be built in a traditional style to complement the local character of Silsden. The three-storey building backing on to the canal will be converted as part of the development. The site is being cleared by Bingley Demolition Ltd.