Wednesday, July 03, 2019

The Rocks And Hoards Of Halifax


If Halifax has anything, it has plenty of rocks. They build the steep valley sides, they support the heather-clad moors, they have provided the stone that has built the houses, and the coal that has powered the mills. To isolate just a few of these rocks, christen them as "The Rocks", and then stroll in their shade on a Sunday afternoon might seem an odd thing to do, but Halifax folk have always rejoiced in their oddness. This particular postcard dates from the second decade of the twentieth century and is captioned "New Promenade, The Rocks, Halifax". The new promenade in question is hardly likely to be the famous Albert Promenade that skirts the top of the valley and allows you to look down at The Rocks and the Calder Valley, because that had been around since 1861. It appears to be a new pathway cut through the rocks that is being celebrated. This might seem like an odd subject for a picture postcard, but as we have already agreed, Halifax folk like to celebrate their oddness.

The postcard was sent to Mrs Otten of 44 Berkeley Street, Crosby, Scunthorpe and came from "her loving niece, Emily". The message reads as follows:

My Dear Uncle and Aunt, Mother thanks you very much for your good wishes for her birthday. We are very sorry to hear of Harrie's accident. How very unfortunate for her and you too, as it will have been very hard for you all. Please give our best love to her and we hope with care she will soon be all right again. We are glad to hear you are all well, we are all the same. With our kind love to you and all. Your loving niece, Emily

There is a certain style to the writing, which is a little unusual for the age, when postcard messages tended to be brief and full of the kind of text message speak of their day - "Hope yours ok t'morrow be home 4ish ..."

The postcard appears to date from around the time one of the most famous finds in Halifax archaeological history was made within the very rocks pictured on the card. In May 1915, a group of schoolgirls from the nearby Crossley Orphanage discovered the "Skircoat Hoard" - a collection of some 1075 bronze Roman coins. these were later presented to Halifax Corporation for display, but I can find no record of where they are now. I am sure that someone will write in and tell me.

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