Sunday, March 22, 2020

Boating At Brookfoot

This picture postcard of Brookfoot, just outside Brighouse, must date from the very early years of the twentieth century. It was never used or sent through the post and therefore we don't have a postmark to help us date it. Surprisingly enough, little has changed over the 120 years since the scene was first captured, although many more houses cling to the top of the hillside on the right of the picture.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Five Wheels Are Better Than Six (A Sepia Saturday Post)

Our Sepia Saturday theme image this week pre-dates social distancing by some 95 years - those cyclists are far too close together for comfort. My first submission also breaks the current rules for social distancing: which is inevitable when you are dealing with a tandem. The photograph features my mother and father: Albert and Gladys Burnett, and it must have been taken in the early 1960s. Albert and Gladys had been seasoned tandem riders in the 1930s, but the machine they are riding in this photograph belonged to my brother Roger. The picture was taken in the back garden of their house in Northowram.

My second submission - this is a tandem of a Sepia Saturday post - goes from two wheels to three: and features my brother Roger on a tricycle. It must have been taken fifteen or so years before the first one: that is clearly the drive at Albert and Gladys's house in Bradford in the photograph.

Whilst the theme image features three people on six wheels, my two submissions, in total, feature three people on five wheels, which probably means I win a prize!

To see more Sepia Saturday posts go to the Sepia Saturday Blog and follow the links.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Slate-Grey In Brighouse

These are strange times: there seems so much to do in the world and yet we are assured that our best contribution is to stay at home. So what else is there to do other than to turn to the past and set out on a virtual voyage of exploration. By walking in the footsteps I took 55 years ago, I can still safely wander down crowded streets and see sights that are no longer visible. The following six photographs come from a strip of 35mm negatives I shot sometime in the mid to late 1960s around the town of Brighouse in West Yorkshire. I have featured each of these shots on the Brighouse History Facebook Group, and members have helped me identify the exact location I must have used. Some of the buildings are still there, some have substantially changed, some have gone altogether. Looking at these photographs, there is a greyness about the town that seems to fit with the time they were taken. I like to think that Brighouse is a much more vibrant and colourful place these days.
Looking towards Brighouse from the west; taken from Elland Road.
A similar shot with the camera rotated slightly.
A busy Commercial Street in the centre of town
The old recreation ground at Wellholme Park, Brighouse
Looking down on Brighouse from the north, with St James Church on the right
The mill complex at Bailiff Bridge, to the north of Brighouse

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Risk Assessment

Bradley Woods, Huddersfield 17 March 2020

What a strange world we live in at the moment: in semi-isolation, measuring distances with our eyes, assessing risk with every move. A walk in the woods provides a degree of relief, but even there we are nervous of the chance touch of a stray branch.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

A Direct Line To Halifax

This is an old picture postcard featuring Crown Street in Halifax at the beginning of the twentieth century. Although it dates from an age of horse carriages and gas lights, it is a scene which will be familiar to all those who know the town. Most of the buildings featured in the view are still there; and although the striped awnings and crowded shop windows may have been replaced by neon lights and plastic signs, the shape of the architecture is unchanged. 

The card was posted in July 1904, at the height of the great postcard collecting craze of the early twentieth century. The message is a direct ancestor of so many text messages of 100 years or more later : "I am at Halifax. I will write again Tuesday night. From Ernest". The message is of little interest to us today, but the image it was scrawled on the back of,  provides us with a direct line to our past.

Monday, March 09, 2020

A Circuitous Route To Huddersfield

I have just acquired this lovely old vintage postcard of Stump Cross, near Halifax. It is a view I am well familiar with, based on a thousand bus journeys home - although those journeys would have been fifty years after this photograph was taken in the early years of the twentieth century. When I regularly travelled this road in the 1960s, most of the buildings featured in this postcard were unchanged, although the tram lines had long gone.

The postcard was sent by "Else" to her friend Gwen Payne who lived in Lincolnshire. The message is brief: "Dear G, Many thanks for letter this morning, will write you one very soon. This is the way to Huddersfield. Heaps of love, Yours Else". The card was postmarked Sowerby Bridge, which suggests that if Else was going from there to Huddersfield, she would be taking a somewhat circuitous route if she travelled via Stump Cross!

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...