Saturday, 24 June 2017

Volunteers step in to save library

'Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination. They open up windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve, and contribute to improving our quality of life. Libraries change lives for the better'
American writer Sidney Sheldon, quoted by MP John Grogan at the opening of Silsden Community Library  
Above: Silsden Community Library was officially opened on Saturday, June 24. Town Mayor Peter Robinson and Keighley constituency MP John Grogan are pictured with members of the steering group who came forward to keep the library open after it fell victim to government cuts in public spending. Seated at front are secretary Caroline Whitaker (right) and Katie Whittingham. Between them is academic librarian Jennie Winterburn, the only member of the steering group with library expertise. Standing left to right are treasurer Sue Moore, Mike Batty, Bridget Rout, chairman Peter Cannon, Julie Holland, Mayor Peter Robinson, MP John Grogan and Val Goddard, volunteers co-ordinator. 
Above: the tape to mark the occasion was cut by the youngest member on the books, 13-month-old Ryan Perry, and the most senior user Irene Atkinson. Ryan was helped by his mum, Cheryl Gaukroger. The library, based at the Town Hall, closed at the beginning of April when Bradford district council ceased paying for staffing. It reopened on June 5th as a community asset, still using books and services provided by the council as before.  At the packed opening, the MP described the Town Hall as a precious building, which had started as the Mechanics Institute in 1884. He praised the library steering group and thanked all the volunteers for making the takeover possible.   
Above: steering group chairman Peter Cannon (centre) is pictured with some of the more than 60 volunteers who have come together to take over the running of the library from the council, whose income has been slashed under the government's austerity measures. 
Above: Mandy Webb (centre) is the manager of Bradford council's programme of transferring 16 libraries to full or joint community control. She is assisted by Dionn Hood (left) and Sue Rollins.
Jessica and Felix Clarkson (above) and Ania and Noah Bacon (below) took part in a craft-for-kiddies corner run by volunteer Jo Loud at Saturday's library launch.   

Above: an estimated 100 people visited Saturday morning's library event. 

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Monday, 3 April 2017

The wonder of Silsden's sunlit springtime woodlands

Above: the uplifting power of primroses never wanes. The plant's generic name, primula, is derived from two Latin words meaning 'first rose', and refers to its March early flowering.
Above: admired by Wordsworth, the lesser celandine carpets woodlands with a bold splash of gold. The petals close up in dull weather, unlike the unrelated greater celandine.
Above: the delicate flowers of wood anemones are wide open in sunny weather but close and droop if it is cloudy or dusk. 

Sunday, 2 April 2017

More memories of Aire View School in the 1950s/early 1960s
I am indebted to Jill Murray (nee Whitaker) for this collection of six photos of Jill's Aire View School classes from 1956 to 1961. Pictured above are children at the nursery, which was in Prince Street.
Above: 1957. Headmistress Miss Edith Clarke is seated centre left.The class teacher with her is Miss Little.
Above: 1958. This photograph was taken in the hall of the old Methodist chapel, which was used when pupil numbers were too large to be accommodated in the Elliott Street school. The parish church hall was also used. Jill thinks the teacher is Miss Tillotson.
Above: 1959. Pupils are pictured on the steps in the park, in the area which served as the playground for outdoor classes.
Above: 1960. Another photo on the steps in the playing fields. The teacher is Mrs Belton, whose son Andrew became a local GP (as reported in my post of March 3rd 2017).
Above: 1961. In front of the main school building.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

A Silsden specialism: seats and savvy sentimentsThis photograph of genial gents on the Clog Bridge seat in the late 1960s/early 1970s has been provided by Jill Murray (nee Whitaker). On the right is Fred Wellock, who was married to Jill's mum's Aunt Jane. Originally from Appletreewick, Fred worked variously as a farmer, a coalman, a gamekeeper (while living at Blackpots) and finally at Steeton bobbin mill. Jill remembers his favourite saying was: "A day out of Silsden is a day wasted."

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Friends of Silsden's Green Places: another spirited addition to community wellbeing

Above: Joyce Kilvington, Darren Edwards (left) and Tim Barker, of Silsden's Friends of Green Places, were hard at work in the rain on Sunday morning, March 19th, digging and tidying the shrubbery on Clog Bridge. The Friends, formed in August 2016, carried out a clean-up at the Howden Road Cemetery as their first project. They have received Bradford council and town council grants to help maintain and improve Silsden's publicly-owned green places. The initiative was sparked by Joyce after she read a Facebook post lamenting untidiness at the cemetery. The Friends now have 55 members.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Signs of the times: from Kirkgate and the Messiah in the 1950s to Tattoo City and Age Concern today

 Above: a 1950s view of the shops from the (Primitive) Methodist Church grounds to the Post Office. The shop with the cigarette advertising boards (Senior Service and Capstan) and chewing-gum dispenser was Marion's, which as well as being a tobacconist sold toys and sweets. The owner was Marion Ritchie (nee Hardcastle). Next door was the chemist Herbert J Clark (with sunblind) and then came the iconic ironmonger Waterhouse's (Esso Blue paraffin stockist). The next shop was Ernest Todd's gardening-supplies outlet. Beyond was Nancy Lund's ladies' outfitters and then the Post Office. The chapel notice board on the left advertises a production of Handel's Messiah, which was an integral part of Silsden's choral calendar for 100 years or so. 
Above: the Messiah soloists, civic dignitaries and worshippers in 1951. Seated are the soloists (left to right) Arthur Gardner (tenor), Ursula Tunnicliffe (soprano), Margaret Bottomley (contralto), Jim Bradley (trumpet), Alice Bradley (accompanist) and Alan Murgatroyd (baritone). The VIPs in the row behind the soloists include Silsden Urban District Council chairman Horace Fortune (fifth from left) and his wife, Nellie Fortune (sixth from left). The Messiah was first performed in Silsden in 1875 and became an annual tradition into the 1970s with united church choirs at its heart.
Above: the same retail parade in 2017. The chemist, now Rowlands Pharmacy (previously Mitchells), occupies two shops. Tattoo City has been established in Kirkgate for three years, occupying what in my 1950s photograph was Waterhouse's ironmongery. Only the Post Office, which opened by the beck bridge in 1907, has outlived all the changes over the years. That too is due to move -- to Twigg's newsagents -- in the near future. What on earth were the planners thinking when they allowed the bizarre top-floor addition to what is now at street level the Dale Eddison premises?  
Above: the tattooist at work. The popularity of the art is a truly modern phenomenon.
Above: intricate designs like this one on the thigh of a customer take hours to accomplish.