Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Please be seated. But you'll need astonishing stamina if you're trying to put the world to rights
Above: Silsden may have only a couple of centrally placed seats but they have been affectionately used and regarded for many years. Regular occupants of the beckside seat opposite the Red Lion in Kirkgate are (left to right) Doug Grainger, Brian Wood (with his border terrier Hamish) and Graham Clymo.
Above: this photograph by the late Will Baldwin was taken after the revamp of the scenic setting by Stakes Beck. The seat (not new) had been provided by Silsden Civic Society.
Above: this new seat in another Will Baldwin photograph (of his grandchildren) did not make it into recent times.
Above: for years the Elliott Street seat by the boatyard was a renowned meeting place for older residents to put the world to rights. Few indeed were the men who went out cap-less or tie-less.  

Above: this could almost have been a moment of women's local liberation -- occupying the blokes' bench. Probably this fearless foursome were awaiting the departure of a charabanc: coach outings in the 1950s-1970s traditionally left from Elliott Street. 
Above: the seat was a fixture beneath the Silsden Labour Party rooms, which had opened in January 1936 with a talk by Mr Lister Dawson on "the international situation". The poster on the building advertises the Labour Weekly newspaper with the slogan "Gets to the heart of matters that matter". One of the founders of the Labour Party in Silsden was nailmaker William Dawson of Tufton Street. Born in 1851, he did not learn to read until he was nearly 50 and then became absorbed in social and political history. Although a seat has survived the demolition of the building and the development of the boatyard, the modern bench is hardly ever used, having fallen victim to the constant stream of traffic and fumes at the junction with Keighley Road. This photograph was taken by the late Kevin Bower.