All posts by 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.

On this day…

Alderman John Edward Brownbridge and his wife, Councillor Alice Gertrude Brownbridge, became Mayor and Mayoress of Keighley on 20th May 1969. A scrapbook commemorating their year, loaned to the History Society for scanning in July 2019 by David Seeley, can be seen in our digital archive on Flickr.

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Newspaper cuttings, photographs and other ephemera collected by Alderman Brownbridge and his wife during their year as Mayor and Mayoress of Keighley from May 1969 to May 1970. The items were collated in a scrapbook that was loaned to the History Society for scanning by David Seeley and the grandaughter of the Brownbridges in July 2019.

V. E. Day

The 8th of May 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of VE (Victory in Europe) Day, when the Germans signed an unconditional surrender that brought to an end six years of war across Europe. World War II finally came to an end a few months later when the Japanese surrendered in August 1945.

Sunday 13th May 1945 saw many services of thanksgiving at the churches around the town. Some street parties and pageants followed soon after VE Day, although many were held back to after VJ Day.

Photograph taken of children with bonfire in Worth Village on V.E. Day, 8th May 1945. Featured in the photograph are brothers Geoffrey Dobson (second from left) and Brian Dobson (third from right). The photograph was donated by History Society member Brian Dobson in 2017 and was scanned on behalf of the Society in June 2017. The actual photograph is retained in the physical archive.

People had already sensed that victory was on the horizon. As early as March 1945, Keighley and Craven Holiday Fellowship was putting plans in place for a victory dance, and in April Prince-Smith & Stells Ltd. committed to pay a bonus to every employee in the firm when victory was announced. Evacuees who had come to the town were already returning home. The munition works at Steeton Dump closed a week before VE Day as there was no need for the munitions any more.

Photograph of workers at the Royal Ordnance Factory at Steeton, taken in 1945. The Royal Ordnance Factory started producing munition components, including shells and cases, for use in the Second World War, in 1941. At its peak it employed more than 4,000 people, two-thirds of whom were women. Its workforce was brought in by special trains and buses from 62 towns and villages in Yorkshire and Lancashire. The factory was commonly known as The Dump. It also housed a 1,000-seater canteen which hosted an ENSA (Entertainments National Service Association) concert every fortnight. The photograph was donated by Jackie McGinnis. Additional information from the Keighley News.

Keighley had played its part during the war: many Regular Army units were stationed in and around the town at various times; empty mills were used to store tons of food and medical stores on behalf of the whole country; the town handled over 10,000 evacuees; the Keighley and District Spitfire and Hurricane Fund raised £10,000; men served in the Home Guard; women workers at Prince-Smith and Stells Ltd. produced bayonets for use on rifles; over a million pounds was raised during War Weapons Week; the National Switch Factory manufactured parts for radios used by the Resistance in Europe; and so on.

The names of 296 men of the borough who gave their lives during the Second World War are engraved on a brass plaque in Keighley Library.

Victory Party, 25th August 1945. Moss Street. Photograph taken by local photographer George A. Shore. Visit no 50 of his photos of end of War celebrations in Keighley. Shore simultaneously ran his photography business alongside a carpet and linoleum store in Keighley market.

Captain tom’s family business in keighley

William Normington Hird was the great grandfather of Captain Tom Moore (now honorary Colonel). Hird, with his son John Crossley Hird, ran a Hairdressing & Shaving Saloon at 67 Church Street in Keighley in the 1890s. The business was also described as a Newsagents & Tobacconist. John Crossley Hird’s daughter was Isabella who married Wilson Moore at Lane Ends Primitive Methodist Chapel during April 1916. Wilson and Isabella Moore were the parents of Captain Tom Moore. (Research provided by Eddie Kelly.)

Captain Tom Moore, PA Media photograph.
Photograph from the Keighley News of 1st January 1955. Shows the Hairdressing & Shaving Saloon of William Normington Hird (far right) & his son John Crossley Hird (far left) photographed outside their shop at 67 Church Street Keighley taken about 1892. The two members of staff in the middle of the group are Ernest Waterhouse (assistant) & Fred Burrows (apprentice). Image provided by Eddie Kelly.
Advert for W. N. Hird Hairdresser, Bookseller, Newsagent and General Dealer. From the History Society archive.


Keighley Victoria Hospital opened to patients on the 23rd April 1904. The Keighley and District Victoria Hospital on Highfield Lane, Keighley, was originally the Keighley Cottage Hospital (1876 to 1894) then Keighley Hospital (1894 to 1904), before becoming the Victoria Hospital in 1904. The hospital closed in July 1970, following the opening of the Airedale Hospital. Images from the History Society digital archive.

1906 postcard of Victoria Hospital, from the personal collection of Tim Neal.
Female ward, Victoria Hospital, Keighley, circa 1910. Postcard from unknown publisher.
Keighley Victoria Hospital nursing staff appeal for funds from the back of a float. Exact date unknown. Photograph donated by Joyce Newton.

EMU Wools Ltd.

Anyone ever knit with Emu wool? Emu Wools Ltd was a knitting yarn manufacturer founded and based in Keighley that was particularly successful in the 1940s to 1960s. The spinning company was founded by the Greenwood family as far back as the 1850s and stayed in the family’s hands until the 1970s. Images from the History Society digital archive on Flickr.

Adverts for Emu Wools Ltd. from the 1960s. Part of the History Society’s digital archive.

Cliffe castle opening

Although it remains closed at present due to the Covid-19 lockdown, Cliffe Castle mansion house originally opened as the town’s museum and gallery on Tuesday 14th April 1959. This followed major renovation work largely funded by a generous donation made by Sir Bracewell Smith. A special programme for the occasion was created for guests.


On this day in history…

A Keighley Corporation motor bus service opened between Utley and Eastburn Bridge on 9th April 1909. Postcard from the History Society digital archive.

One of six images contained within a Keighley letter card printed by Valentine & Sons Ltd. in the 1950s. This postcard is a view of Utley near Keighley.