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.

The Picture House Reopens

Welcome back to Keighley’s Picture House cinema which reopens this Friday (30th October) after over seven months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Picture House Cinema opened in 1913. It originally had an iron and glass porch the front of the cinema. The venue hosted live shows and pop concerts as well as film showings. In 1954, it was bought by the Essoldo chain of cinemas and became the Keighley Essoldo. In the 1970s the cinema was restructured and what was the original cinema balcony became a second smaller screen room, as it remains today. In the 1980s the building was acquired by Bradford Metropolitan Council and it reverted to The Picture House. The cinema closed in 1991 and reopened in 1996 run by the Northern Morris Cinemas.

See the cinema’s website or Facebook page for details on some of the classic movies being shown from this Friday. Images from the History Society’s archive on Flickr.

The Picture House, Keighley. Images from the History Society archive. Montage created by Tim Neal.

Cliffe Castle Reopens

Welcome back! Cliffe Castle Museum in Keighley reopened to the public this week. The museum will be open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays from 11am to 3pm. Please be aware there are various social distancing measures in place to ensure public and staff safety. Details are available on the museum’s website (https://www.bradfordmuseums.org/venues/cliffe-castle-museum)

Driveway to Cliffe Castle Museum. Photograph taken by History Society committee member Tim Neal on 22nd August 2018.
The Dining Room or Tapestry Room, Cliffe Castle, Keighley. The portrait on the left is of Maria Louise Roosevelt Burke, Henry Isaac Butterfield’s wife, painted by Roberto Bompiani around 1880. Many of the original pieces of furniture and ornaments were taken away or auctioned by Henry Isaac Butterfield’s granddaughter, Countess Manvers (1889-1984), when she inherited the house in 1943 and sold it in 1950. The rooms were faithfully restored in various stages from the late 1980s onwards. Photograph taken by History Society committee member Tim Neal on 22nd August 2018.
Timmy Feather’s Workshop, Working Landscapes Gallery, Cliffe Castle, Keighley. The last reported handloom weaver in the area was Timmy Feather. He lived and worked in Buckley Green, Stanbury. He died in 1910 at the age of 85. This is a recreation of Feather’s loom shop in the upper storey of his cottage, including the last known handloom of the district. Photograph taken by History Society committee member Tim Neal on 22nd August 2018.
The Bracewell Smith Hall, Cliffe Castle, Keighley. When, in 1950, Cliffe Castle was purchased by Sir Bracewell Smith for the people of Keighley, he appointed architect Sir Albert Richardson to reconfigure the entire building. The Bracewell Smith Hall was the magnificent centrepiece that came out of this work. It was designed as a picture gallery and public hall. The octagonal shape of the room was inspired by Brighton Pavilion and is echoed in the original wooden lantern that hangs from the ceiling. The room was restored to its 1950s appearance in 2013. The marble statue in the centre is by German artist Carl L. H. Muller and is called ‘The Minstrel’s Curse’, based on a poem by Ludwig Uhland. Photograph taken by History Society committee member Tim Neal on 16th February 2020.

On this day…

Victory Party held on Sunday 9th September 1945. These are residents of the Changegate area of Haworth, celebrating the end of the Second World War by treating the children to a Victory street party. Photograph taken by local photographer George A. Shore. Visit number 76 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. From the History Society digital archive.

WWII Victory Party held on 9th September 1945. From the KDLHS archive.

Keighley Library Update

Because of coronavirus, Keighley’s Public Library is still closed to visitors, but from Wednesday 8th July they will be operating a new Order & Collect service. See the Bradford Council website for more details.

Keighley Local Studies Library (upstairs in the Library) also remains closed to visitors, but it will be offering an email and telephone enquiry service from Monday 6th July. Email keighleylocalstudies@bradford.gov.uk or telephone 01535 618 215.

Keighley Public Library, viewed from the top of Cavendish Street. Postcard published by Millar & Lang Art Ltd. circa 1940, from the personal collection of Tim Neal.

On this day…

The Keighley and Worth Valley railway line reopened as a passenger-carrying line on the 29th June 1968. The Mayor of Keighley, Alderman James Henry (‘Harry’) Waterworth cut the ribbon at a ceremony to mark the occasion. Bob Cryer, chairman of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway Preservation Society (and later MP for Keighley) and the Mayoress, Mrs Harriet Anne Waterworth, were also in attendance. The line had originally been built between 1864 and 1866, financed by local mill owners, and opened in 1867. By the 1960s the line was managed by British Railways and the decision was made to close the line to passengers in December 1961 and to close the line fully in June 1962. A preservation society was formed and after many years of struggle the line was reopened and remains open to this day.

The Mayor of Keighley, Alderman James Henry (‘Harry’) Waterworth cuts the ribbon at a ceremony marking the reopening of the Keighley and Worth Valley railway line between Keighley and Oxenhope, on the 29th June 1968. He is observed by Bob Cryer (1934-1994), chairman of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway Preservation Society and later MP for Keighley (far left) and the Mayoress, Mrs Harriet Anne Waterworth (immediately behind the Mayor). The photograph was donated to the History Society by Daniel Waterworth (grandson of Harry Waterworth) in May 2020.
The Mayor and Mayoress of Keighley, Alderman James Henry (‘Harry’) Waterworth and his wife Harriet Anne Waterworth, attend the ceremony marking the reopening of the Keighley and Worth Valley railway line between Keighley and Oxenhope, on the 29th June 1968. Stood immediately behind the Mayor is Bob Cryer (1934-1994), chairman of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway Preservation Society and later MP for Keighley. The photograph was donated to the History Society by Daniel Waterworth (grandson of Harry Waterworth) in May 2020.

On this day…

Devonshire Street Congregational Church opened for worship on 25th June 1856. It had capacity for over 1,000 worshippers and cost just short of £4,000 to build. It was frequented by some of the most influential families in Keighley. Apparently coachmen would sit on the back row of the church in order to slip out during the last hymn and bring the carriages around to the front door. In May 1948, an architect reported an outward bulge in the north wall caused by a fracture in an arch. Extensive repair work was undertaken and the church reopened in 1949. Dry-rot then set in, in the roof beams and the wooden friezes. Despite celebrating its centenary in 1956, the building was subsequently declared unsafe and was demolished in 1964. The site is now occupied by the New Devonshire House office building. This Reliable Series postcard from around 1905 and the photograph taken in 2018 are courtesy of Tim Neal.

Devonshire Street Congregational Church. A Reliable Series postcard from the start of the 20th century. From Tim Neal’s collection.
New Devonshire House office buildings on the site of the old church. Photographed in 2018 by Tim Neal.

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.