Monday, January 19, 2015

Up King Cross Road Wearing The Milk Bottle Lenses of History


There is still a fair amount of snow and ice around, so this morning we gave a lift to a friend who needed to visit the doctor's surgery in King Cross, Halifax. Whilst waiting for them I managed a quick walk up King Cross Road, a part of Halifax I have not visited for years and years. When I was at school, fifty years ago, I would travel through this part of town two or three times a day. Everything seemed so much bigger back then; bigger and brighter and more prosperous. It wasn't, of course, it was nothing more than the effects of viewing things through the milk-bottle lenses of history.

I would often get off the bus at the William IV and take a short-cut through one of the alleyways that have long since seized up with the passage of time. I am not sure when the pub was built - as far as I can see nobody has yet written a decent history of the place. Perhaps I should take the task on, I have always been of the belief that local history permeates the very fabric of a pub like old beer staining trestle tables.

Whenever it was built, they knew how to build pubs back then. Look at that finely cut and carved stone: no corners have been cut, no expense have been spared. And all this care was for a common beerhouse (a legal description rather than a value judgement), not a pompous town hall nor a boastful bank. Just across the road from the pub stands what remains of the old St Paul's Church which was built in 1847 with funds supplied by the publicly-funded Church Building Commission. A new St Paul's was later built further down the road as the 1847 building had run out of space during those pious decades of the nineteenth century. The building eventually fell victim to a fire in 1930 and everything but the tower and spire was demolished a year later. The spire still stands and the golden stone provided a warm boundary between the icy earth and the frosted sky.




8 comments:

  1. Having the tower is better than nothing. It would have been torn down over here. A cousin of mine is sharing photos on FB of my old town where I graduated from school. Most all of those building are torn down now or are boarded up. One does feel pretty big when history shows us that we are bigger and all those things are so very small. The insides of old cars seemed large to me as a kid and now they feel like a compact car.

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  2. Interesting how our sense of the present changes and our experience grows. I wonder if there is a place anywhere that stays the same and improves with age, simultaneously.

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  3. Your Top Photo,Alan,on the right....just between St Paul's spire & the "One Stop" shop ( which used to be the Co-Op) is a splendid new Asian place called The Sweet Center.I went there for the first time on Friday night.....Splendid curries:super ice-creams & the best fresh coffee I,ve tasted in Halifax("Exclusive Wood Roasted Coffee"so the blurb goes...)And very Posh! Frankly, Halifax Curry House tendto be a bit tatty, but this place a lovely place . It provides its own contemporary warm boundary between the icy earth and the frosted skyI still go sometimes to the William 4th.Still a good house......infact , a demi-pub crawl is still (!) justabout possible...tho Lord knows what they went & done to The Allan Fold! .

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  4. Looks like a nice place to visit, especially if transported there by Alan's taxi services!

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  5. Going back to places after many years and seeing them a great deal smaller than you remember, is always to me, a shock! In 2006 I had a weekend in Richmond, Yorkshire where I spent many years on and off as Catterick Camp as it was then was the home base of the Royal Corps of Signals. The imposing buildings of twenty three years earlier were actually very much smaller as were the roads I had driven in my younger years. I was somehow disappointed.

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  6. Things change and so do our views as we age. Yes you should write a history of that pub! :)

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  7. Lovely photos and yes,perspective as we age changes things we often think are bigger or grander...As for the history of that pub, I can think of no-one better to write it. Best to you and GLW.

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  8. Two beautiful buildings and a nice wander down memory lane.

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