Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Local History Group has presented the town with a handsome oak-framed interpretation board telling of Silsden's history. The board, sited near the nail sculpture in the flower bed by the Wesley Place car park, was unveiled on December 18 by children from Hothfield Junior School's archaeology group.   
Hothfield school head teacher James Procter (left) and two of the pupils are pictured at the unveiling with ward councillor Andrew Mallinson (second from right) and History Group chairman David Mason. The £1,600 cost of the professionally-designed board was met by a £1,000 grant arranged by Councillor Mallinson from Bradford council's Keighley Area Committee and £600 from the History Group. 
The Hothfield School pupils who attended the ceremony are pictured above. At the back, the school's history lead teacher Becky Carter (third from left) is chatting with two of the History Group members.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Hair Design Centre (pictured above) is one of Silsden's longest-established salons, having been opened at 44 Kirkgate in 1986 by Annette Russell, who started in business in 1976 as Ginger's at No. 10a Kirkgate, which is now Curry Corner.
The Hair Design Centre was taken over in 1992 by Judith Russell (pictured above), Annette's daughter, who has run the business ever since.
 Nicky Fowler (above foreground) is senior stylist . Working beyond her is Kim Smith.
Long-serving Jackie Cook (above) has worked at the Hair Design Centre for both Judith and Annette.
Melissa Holgate is pictured concentrating on an intricate design for a customer.

Most people will remember the premises next door as two shops until they and the basements were converted into Bonaparte's restaurant and wine bar, in 1999, by local entrepreneur Neil Albone. After three successful years, he sold the business, since when changes made by subsequent owners have been short-lived.
Just at No. 46 and Pennine Television and Electrical at No. 48 were neighbours after Annette Russell had opened the Hair Design Centre at No. 44 in 1986. The hoarding on the prominent gable-end wall of No. 44 advertised Carr's grocery, which had previously occupied the premises. Duckworth's followed Carr's but the hoarding went unchanged. (Photograph by courtesy of Silsden Camera Club.)
This photograph shows the Hair Design Centre with a new-look window and the prime advertising site taken over by the Elegance Beauty Salon opposite in Aire View. Elegance is still in Aire View.
The Hair Design Centre has subsequently regained the gable-end wall to promote its "as individual as you are" business. The nearby street furniture presumably is a temporary distraction.
Carr's grocery was established at No. 44 in the 1950s. This photograph was used in my January 2013 post to draw attention to Driver's Milk Bar on the opposite side of Kirkgate.


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Edward Boothman, of Silsden, one of the country's foremost suppliers of pullets, is the new chairman of the Poultry Club of Great Britain, which, founded in 1877, protects the interests of pure and traditional breeds and is guardian of the British Poultry Standards. He was vice-chairman for six years before becoming acting chairman in May and then permanent chairman in September. His leadership will include overseeing the National Poultry Show's move to modern, larger premises at Telford next year after traditionally being held at Stoneleigh, which it has outgrown. Entries have been rising annually and exceeded 7,500 at last month's farewell Stoneleigh show. Another major assignment for the club will be the updating of the Breed Standards Book for publication in 2017. 

Edward, who is chairman of the Craven Poultry Keepers Club, started with his own Light Sussex flock while at junior school. He has been renowned in the poultry world for many years and rears 60 different breeds as well as 40 different bantam breeds. He is pictured above with a Serama cockerel and young hen. The Serama, a bantam from Malaysia, was introduced here in 2004 and is reputedly the world's smallest breed. 
Edward is pictured above with a cock bird of one of his favourite breeds, the New Hampshire Red. A member of a well-known Silsden farming family, Edward successively gave up dairy and beef herds and latterly sheep, and now concentrates on hens, about which he is passionate and is thus maintaining a great Silsden tradition: from the late 1800s and for much of the last century, the town ruled supreme in national poultry shows.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Indoor bowlers enjoyed their first game of the winter season on the first floor of the new-look Town Hall on Tuesday, December 3.  
John Cobb, who is chairman of Silsden Allotment Association, gets the right bias on his wood.
Library staff were busy on day two of their move to the Town Hall, measuring space for noticeboards, newspaper and leaflet racks and other items, such as first-aid kits. There will be a self-service machine for readers to return, borrow and renew books. Pictured above, left to right, are Mandy Webb, Sally Haigh and Judi Rich.   
Autumnal scene in Hainsworth Lane, familiarly known to locals as Gasworks Lane.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Silsden's library opened in the new-look Town Hall on Monday, December 2, after several decades in Wesley Place. Librarian Frances Bancroft is pictured above on the opening day. The library, in a ground-floor room, is open 10am-4pm Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and 9.30am-4pm on Saturdays. It is closed on Wednesdays. The Wesley Place premises are due to be sold to help offset the cost of the Town Hall restoration, which is nearing completion. The foundation stone for the Town Hall was laid in December 1883 and the building opened as the Mechanics' Institute in 1884. It included a conversation room and a "small but select" library. It was renamed the Town Hall in 1909. The present library has 2,000 books on-site and local readers can also access all the titles in Bradford metropolitan council's libraries. This facility will be available as soon as the Silsden branch's computers are operational later this month.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Hundreds turn out for Christmas Market 
Silsden's Christmas Market on Sunday, November 24, attracted hundreds of buyers and browsers. Stalls at the handsomely refurbished Town Hall (open to public inspection for the first time), in Briggate and at Punch Bowl Hill offered a wide variety of goods, and a number of shops also opened for the occasion. Stallholders were a mix of local organisations, charities, hobbyists and commercial traders. At dusk the Town Band played, church choristers sang and local resident Mary Fryers, a member of the market-organising Gala Committee, switched on the Christmas lights and decorations, which once again were erected by volunteers.
Above: Victoria Williamson watches as daughter Georgina, 3, concentrates on making a colourful pattern at the Silsden Library stall of creative activities for children.  
With appropriate headwear, Mary Fryers, who later in the day switched on the town's Christmas lights, takes her turn looking after the Gala Committee's stall. 
Silsden Youth Council held a raffle to raise funds for its ambitious "Fitness in the Park" project. Left to right are Honey Debney-Succoia, Ben Farrar and Gabby Keating.
Caterer Sarah Morton's Homemade Heaven stall did brisk business. Sarah, of Longbottom Avenue, makes and bakes at home. 
Silsden Library staff took the opportunity to publicise their forthcoming move to the new-look Town Hall (its original home). They vacate their Wesley Place premises on December 2. Left to right are Sally Haigh, Mandy Webb, Frances Bancroft and Carol Wallace.
Silsden Local History Group's calendar of yesteryear scenes has now sold out. Committee members Brian Sunderland (right), who compiled the calendar, and Barbara Hetherington (second from right) helped run the group's stall. The booklet on the left is a Silsden Guide published by the old Urban District Council in the early 1950s. It cost nine pre-decimal pennies.
Shops and stalls in Briggate attracted a steady stream of customers.
Pictured above are Country Kitchen owner Zoe Sugden (right) and Christine Needham.
Lauren Pinkney was on duty at Cafe Cake in Briggate.
Among the Town Hall stallholders who took the opportunity to offer products arising from a hobby was Steve Brown, who makes tableware and gifts from slate. He is pictured here with his wife, Linda, and grandchildren Lennon (left) and Bobby Kerry. 
 Macmillan Cancer Support was among the charities raising funds.  
 David Mason at the Silsden Churches Together stall selling Fair Trade products.
Keighley hairdresser Jody Ellis (right) has a secondary interest in jewellery, handbags and fashion accessories, which featured on her stall. She is pictured with mum Karen Ellis and Sarah Houfe.
Ruth Hall and her daughter Alexandra, of Street House Farm Preserves, Addingham, sold jams, chutneys, cakes and other items made from fruit grown on the farm. "It is a hobby that has escalated," says Ruth.
Street House Farm customers included Charlotte Davison, Emma Parker and (centre) Jan McConville, who had her own stall selling fused-glass jewellery and other products that she makes as a hobby at her Steeton home.
Home-made delights raised funds to help people with Parkinson's.
Sarah Pullen's stall offered a large selection of Christmas cards and wrapping paper.
Jamie at Home parties (meaning celebrity chef Jamie Oliver) were promoted by consultant Heather Richardson, helped by Lucy Lambert, who is pictured above.
This Roll of Honour has been cleaned and now occupies a prominent place in the main function room on the ground floor of the Town Hall. The board is in memory of men associated with Silsden Methodist Church and Sunday School who joined the forces in the First World War. The central panel names those who died.  
The new roof feature on the first floor of the Town Hall. The wooden structure, hidden for many years, was uncovered when a suspended ceiling was removed during the £300,000-plus renovations. The woodwork, restored and painted, gives the function room added visual impact.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

No. 71 Kirkgate has been a newsagent's shop since about 1880. The present proprietor, Raheel Arshad, who bought the business from Michael and Elaine Kershaw in July 2011, is pictured above.
Arshad is pictured here with his sister, Arzoo Shafiq, who manages the shop, which is also staffed by Arshad's wife, Savera Raheel. Arshad, who gained a BSc degree in accounting at Oxford Brookes University, came to Silsden after six years with a similar shop in Burnley. The family are from Jhelum, a village near Islamabad, where Arshad's father runs a poultry farm.
Arshad has transformed the shop into an off-licence and general store as well as continuing the traditional newsagent business. There is hardly a square metre of unused sales space.
The "top of the town" area where Kirkgate meets Briggate and gives way to Bolton Road End has undergone road lay-out alterations over the years but the buildings that can be seen here have largely been unchaged since 1900 when the Conservative Club was built.
In this early 1970s photo, the newsagent's shop was under the name of R. Dewhurst and a greengrocer occupied what is now Stefano's Italian ristorante. The offices on the ground floor of the Conservative Club were occupied by Dennis Knowles' estate agency, which moved across Briggate to its present premises when the Electricity Board showroom closed. The former Knowles offices have been occupied by Aire Valley Financial Advisers (previously insurance specialists) for several years and more recently also by the Green Partnership estate agency. The snack bar became a cafe but has been a hairdresser's for some time.
 A late 1950s/early 1960s view. The roundabout was built in 1936. Photograph by courtesy of Silsden Camera Club.
The buildings on the left and the nearby Highfield Farm and Bolton Road School were demolished in 1956 to make way for the Memorial Gardens. Photograph by courtesy of Silsden Camera Club.
The view in 1930. Note the war memorial at Bolton Road End between the Conservative Club and the entrance to "Punch Bowl Hill". The memorial was unveiled on November 12, 1921, and was transferred across the road to its present site in 1957. This scene was published as a postcard by newsagent R. Dewhurst.
Bolton Road End in 1897 when the newsagent at 71 Kirkgate was William Smith. The mill chimney is at Airedale Shed. The gas lamp in the centre of the picture is where the roundabout was built in 1936. The first Silsden newsagent probably was Thomas Bradley, who combined nail-making and selling newspapers from the late 1860s. His forge-cum-shop was near the old vicarage. William Smith (born 1840) was also a nail-maker and a Methodist local preacher. He started in business as a book-seller, newsagent and assurance agent at 71 Kirkgate around 1880. He was there for more than 20 years. By the time of the 1911 census, two more newsagents had opened in Kirkgate: James Edward Streets at No. 39 (now Twigg's) and Timothy Jackson at No. 49, next door to what is now Bilaluci. William Smith was followed at 71 Kirkgate by Edwin Kirkham. Subsequent owners were R. Dewhurst, Fred Sharp, Arthur Watson, who was chairman of Silsden Urban District Council from 1952-55 and who kept the Dewhurst name, his daughter and son-in-law Tom Hayes and the Kershaws. This view, from the late Kevin Bower's collection, was published in Neil Cathey's book "Silsden in old picture postcards".