Wednesday, January 03, 2018

A Wedding, A Cell, And A Pony In The Bedroom

It's a wedding photograph, a 1920s photograph, a Bradford photograph. There is something very Bradford about it: a solidity and a sense of belonging: fine wool curtains set against leaded windows. Some of the subjects are easy to identify - that is my mother, Gladys, buried beneath the flowers on the right. Her father, my grandfather, Albert Beanland stands next to her. The bridal couple are my aunt, Amy Beanland and her husband Wilf Sykes. The small girl between them is, I suspect, their niece, Una, although this is little more than a guess. The other two I am not sure about, but the man stood directly behind Wilf shares the same features and could well be one of his brothers (you get the choice between Arthur and Harry). The seated man on the far left looks far too smart to be a member of my family, so I suspect that the Best Man is in the picture.

Amy and Wilf were married on the 10th August 1929, so my mother would have been just 18 when the photograph was taken. Wilf's father is missing from the photograph and although I know little about his family other than the fact that his father had been a police inspector, it maybe because he had died in 1921. I have found a death record for a Fred Sykes for 1921, but Sykes is a common name in these parts so it may not be the same one.

The 1911 census has police inspector Fred Sykes and his wife Ada, along with their four children, living at the Court House in Bingley. The property is recorded as consisting of "5 rooms & 3 cells", and on census night one of the cells was occupied by a certain "Henry Chester, Prisoner". I am certain that Fred Sykes had a very long and honourable career in the police force, but the only public record of his service I have been able to find is a cutting from the Sheffield Daily Independent of Saturday 2 June 1906, when Inspector Sykes was based at Pontefract. The case concerned the renewal of a beer house licence for the Potter's Arms in Knottingley. Opposing the renewal, Fred Sykes told the magistrates that the landlord had been keeping a pony in an out-house. The solicitor acting for the landlord couldn't see anything wrong with such an arrangement, "You would not have it occupy a bedroom would you?", he replied.


  1. Today's title was intriguing enough, and upon reading the post itself, I wasn't disappointed. Asking "You would not have it occupy a bedroom would you?" makes perfect sense to me.

  2. Very interesting (inspired?) weaving of topics through this post. Amusing too!

  3. Is a "wash kitchen" a technical term? I don't think I've seen it before.


Black Friar

For a time, during the late 1970s, I had a job leading parties of foreign visitors on tours of historic London pubs. One of my favourite sto...