Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Open all hours: long live the long-lived corner shops 

Residents in the Howden Road area have had the convenience of a "corner shop" for nearly 90 years. My pictures show the present-day Cobbydale Stores (above) and owner Mr Tony Cavaliere (below) and then the shop in the early 1950s when it was J. G. Lamb's grocery.
Moving to Silsden from Bradford, where they were both born, Mr Cavaliere and his wife, Gill, took over the business from Mick and Liz Craven in 1996. Typical of small but amazingly well-stocked and characterful corner shops, Cobbydale Stores is open from 7am to 9pm five days a week and from 8am to 9pm at weekends. Mr Cavaliere runs the shop while his wife works full-time as a head teacher's personal assistant.

Above: the shop in the early 1950s when it was J. G. Lamb's grocery. John Green Lamb, popularly known as Jack, and his wife Elizabeth owned the grocery from 1947 until around 1965, when ill health forced Mr Lamb to retire. The photograph shows (left to right) customer Margaret Town, Jack Lamb, Alice Heaps (also a customer), Elizabeth Lamb and John Lamb, the youngest of Mr and Mrs Lamb’s three sons, who loaned me the photograph. Jack Lamb served his apprenticeship locally with the Co-op, which for many years operated several shops in Silsden, and took on the Howden Road grocery from Eric Clarkson, who emigrated down under. The three Lamb sons, Harry, David and John, all became successful businessmen. John is also well-known in golfing circles, having been president of Silsden Golf Club from 2005-2013.
Above: the view today from the same perspective as the 1950s photograph. Over the years, only two neighbourhood grocery/off licences, Cobbydale Stores and Aire View Stores, and the main street Kirkgate News, have withstood intense competition from supermarkets, discounters and, now, online shopping with home deliveries. Many Silsdeners can recall the days when there were more than a dozen such small shops dotted around the town. All three survivors have long histories: the Cobbydale Stores property (No 36 Howden Road) was built in 1929 and has always included a grocery shop; Aire View Stores (featured in my post of October 2013) opened in 1900; and Kirkgate News, at No 71 Kirkgate (see my post of November 2013), goes back to 1880.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Afternoon tea treat for senior citizens

Fifty guests aged over 75 were entertained to afternoon tea at Silsden Town Hall on July 1st. It was the fourth in a series of social events organised by the Friends of Silsden Town Hall, in a move to revive the tradition of community hospitality for the most senior citizens and made possible by funding from the Harry Beverley Tillotson Trust. Sandwiches and cakes were made and served by volunteers under the direction of Ray and Pat Colling. Entertainment was provided by soloist Sarah Halstead, with Terry Simpson at the piano, and there was a free competition on the theme of The Golden Age of Cinema. Transport was arranged for the less mobile. There will be a “Scones in Autumn” gathering on Wednesday September 27th  when all residents over 75 will be welcome to drop in for a cream tea. A Christmas tea and entertainment, by invitation only, will be held on Saturday December 9th.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

A grand family day out in the park

Above: family fun was to the fore at the Grand deParty at Silsden park on July 1st, opening a month of events to celebrate the community spirit triggered by the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in 2014. 
Above: Ace Workshop's Lucy Thornton (right) and assistant Lizzie Lee, who run forest schools and outdoor education, showed how to make a camp fire. 
Above: Nathan and Amy Gibson and Leah Saunders (right) received tuition from bowls club members.
Above: Keith Davies, a former deputy head at St Mary's School, Riddlesden, entertained children with a traditional Punch and Judy show. He also judged the dog show.
Above: sisters Edie and Mabel Marriott and Mason Sellars were among Punch and Judy's attentive audience.
 Above: Ellie Woodhead with her pet Jack Russells Pip and Paddy (foreground). Paddy won the 'most handsome' award in the dog show.
Above: Silsden AFC's under-8s for next season were put through their paces by coach Paul Rance.
Above: Lucy Hope became an RSPB member at the society's promotional stand. The Hope family's pet lurcher Tizzy was chosen as the prettiest bitch in the dog show.
Above: Neil Whitaker (centre), who heads the organising committee, was MC for the day's events, which included Silsden Brass Band, Silsden Singers, running races, tennis, bike trials and children's cycling.

Friday, 30 June 2017

History Group invites you to meet the ancestors

Silsden Local History Group is to run guided tours of the St James' Church graveyard. The "Meet our Silsden Ancestors" sessions will enable the public to hear stories behind some of the gravestones and memorials.The tours, seven in all, on July 15th, 16th and 17th, will be conducted by History Group chairman David Mason, who is pictured above on the right with committee members Geoff Foster, Val Carroll and Margaret Bishop Green.  
The tours, among July's Grand deParty events, are due to include the graves of mill owners and workers, a farmer's son who drowned trying to rescue sheep in a storm, a clog-iron maker, a pioneering educationalist and the patriotically named innkeeper Albion Hargreaves. Attendance (limited to eight people per tour) is by ticket only, obtainable from Twiggs newsagents from July 8th. The charge of £1, payable on the tour, will go to the Grand deParty. Aspects and photographs of Silsden's past will also be featured at the History Group's coffee morning on July 15th at the Town Hall.

Monday, 26 June 2017

After 110 years, Post Office moves to a new home in Kirkgate

Above: a smart new frontage and access ramp mark the move of Silsden Post Office from the opposite side of Kirkgate at No.64 to Twiggs Newsagents at No. 39. The layout of the newsagents has been cleverly adapted to accommodate the post office.
Above: newsagent Martin Twigg is the new postmaster. He is pictured with his wife, Adele, who is helping run the business. Having been approached by the post office, Martin agreed to refurbish the newsagents to retain the service for the town following the end of the Cathey era as postmasters at No. 64. There has been a newsagents at 39 Kirkgate for more than 100 years. Martin acquired the shop from Martin Lampkin in 1994. The history of the newsagents and photos over the years were featured in my blog of November 2013.
Above: Rosemary Wallbank serves a customer at the post office counter at Twiggs. Rosemary was one of the team at the post office at No 64 Kirkgate where Andrew Cathey had been in charge since 1990 until his recent retirement. The Cathey family had run the post office since 1955. It had been the hub of the community at No 64 since 1907, as reported in my blog of November 2012. The service, one of the oldest in Yorkshire, opened at Twigg's on June 9th 2017. The shop continues to stock all lines as normal, including stationery, gifts and toys.

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.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Hawber Cote: a pointer to pastoral pleasures but is it a suitable site for a school?

In my following post I refer to the forthcoming merger of the Aire View and Hothfield Street schools and the proposal to move the new primary school to purpose-built premises at Hawber Cote. It could be seen as a delightful rural setting for a school but access looks to be nigh impossible without major disturbances. Bradford council's favoured site is the fenced field bordering the bungalows in Hawber Cote Lane in my photograph above, taken from Hawber Lane, which is the route from Drabble House Farm to Swartha.
Above: the present farm (not public) access to the proposed site for the new primary school is through the gate at the top of Hawber Cote Lane.
Above: the road to and from Hawber Cote Lane is via Banklands Lane opposite the park. The junction is formed by Wayside Mews on the left, a new development, and Hawber Cote Lane on the right.