On this day 110 years ago…

This Schofield & Co. Publishers postcard of The Cross area of Keighley was posted to Mansfield on 3rd August 1912. The Cross is the area of Keighley where High Street, Low Street, North Street and Church Street meet, and was the area where the original market cross was erected (would have been slightly to the right of this picture). What is fantastic is that the quality of the photograph means we can zoom in an see a lot of detail about the shops and businesses at the time.

Local historian Eddie Kelly has stepped in with a wealth of additional information (July 2022): “I would date the image as between 1905 to 1908. Bottomley’s Sugar Confectioners (on the right) are at 3 Church Street and adjacent at No. 1 is the Public Benefit Boot Co. This was not a Co-operative type enterprise but a normal trading company headquartered at Hull with numerous branches all over the North & Midlands.

“Both businesses were forced to move in 1911 as a result of the buildings new owners the London City & Midland Bank deciding to install their new banking hall on the ground floor. Bottomley’s moved to 3 North Street and the Public Benefit Boot Co. moved to 41 Low Street. The Boot Co. would later emerge as Lennards Footwear Co, an original tenant in the 1960s shopping centre.

“The upper floors of the building were occupied as offices & clubs, visible are the windows of accountant Francis Stirk Pearson on the first floor and the floor above was occupied by the Keighley Building Trades Club & Stone Exchange, a social club for the building trade employers and masters, and a trading exchange for stone used in their profession.

“Around the corner adjacent to the Boot Co. store is the Keighley branch of tea dealer Abraham Altham who also had to move in 1911. They moved to 22 Low Street and are still there albeit as travel agents nowadays.

“The three shops below Althams were occupied by Thomas Bannister tailor and outfitter, Whitham & Co. tobacconist and on the corner of the Market Place, Newboulds Ltd. (men’s outfitters and clothiers).

“On the corner of North Street and Low Street (or Changegate) are the premises of upmarket drapers and ladies’ outfitters Keighley & Wilkins who traded here from the building being new in 1894 continuing for sixty years until closure in 1954.

“Opposite on the corner of High Street and North Street is the wholesale and retail tobacconist business of Joseph & Thomas Whitworth. This was continued after 1911 by Slater & Co. tobacconist who remained until about 1928.

“The adjacent vacant store with the To Let poster in the window (near left) would later be occupied during 1910 by John Mills Watchmaker & Jeweller. The Mills store remained here until July 1982 when then owner Jack Greenwood retired. The shop far left with the blind down & only partially visible was about this time a branch of James Nelson & Sons Ltd, Glasgow based importers and purveyors of cheap American frozen meat.”

The Midland Bank building (as it became commonly known) was demolished in the 1980s. Postcard from the personal collection of Tim Neal. Modern photograph taken by Tim in 2021.

Author: Admin Tim

Tim is a committee member of the Keighley and District Local History Society, with responsibilities for archiving the physical and digital collections, and managing some of the social media channels. He moved to Keighley about ten years ago and joined the Society to learn more about the area.

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