Category Archives: News

8th May 1945 – V E DAY

This day was meant to be a day of Nationwide Celebrations, as it was in 1945 (see post below).

Sadly we cannot do as we had all planned, so we must do it differently because of the current war we are fighting.

Just remember WW2 did not finish with V.E.Day. The fighting continued until V.J.Day, 2nd September 1945. We will have get another chance to celebrate the end f the war.

We are all fed-up of Lock-down and just imagine that if we had been released yesterday how many impromptu parties would have taken place and the advantage our enemy, Covid-19, would have taken of this.

Keighley, as in WW2, has not suffered as badly as some area’s or communities but some families are grieving, our thoughts must be with them and our troops in the NHS and other key workers.

WE CAN HONOUR THE WAR GENERATIONS BY “CARRYING ON”

We can do our own thing and join in any singalongs, watch what went on in 1945 on T.V., put up bunting,or celebrate within our house-hold. But because things are muted we have been given the opportunity to be more thoughtful and can think of those who didn’t make it to V.E.Day.

By 2nd September 2020 we will be further down the road to beating our own enemy and should ALL be able to hold proper celebrations then.

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.

Covid-19 Impact Update

The History Society committee managed to get together last night via a video conference. In addition to the statement issued by chairperson Joyce Newton last month, we have cancelled June’s meeting (a visit to Pennine Weavers). Obviously future meetings will be reviewed dependent on what government guidelines are saying nearer the time.

Also we have agreed that anyone who has paid the membership fees for 2020, that that membership will also cover 2021.

In the meantime we will continue to post items that we hope are of interest on our online channels: Facebook, Flickr and our website.

Best wishes to everyone – stay safe and healthy.

The Committee: Joyce, Anne-Marie, Paula, Sarah, Steve, Tim, Christine and Gerald.

Cliffe Castle Gallery

Right now we can’t visit the house at Cliffe Castle (but the grounds are still open for fresh air and exercise – just stay a safe distance away from each other).

If anyone needs a reminder of how lucky we are to have this museum in our town, take a look at this album the History Society has just uploaded to the Flickr site.

KHS_P_450_ (2)


Chairperson Statement

Following the recent advice from the Government and Health Officials, the History Society committee held an Extraordinary Meeting and voted to suspend all face-to-face History Society events with immediate effect and until at least the start of June.

This covers guest speaker meetings, archive sessions, face-to-face committee meetings and involvement in events. This is so that we play our part in minimising the chance of spreading the Covid-19 virus and in protecting the most vulnerable members of society.

Guidance on practical steps we should all be taking can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people

We felt this decision was the most responsible course of action we could take. We know that it will disappoint some people but will reassure others. We will continue to publish photographs and news stories about Keighley’s rich history on our website, Facebook pages and Flickr site, so please stay in touch with us on there. Please pass this message on to people who may not otherwise see it.

We will review the situation at the start of June and will again look to official guidance on best practice at that time.

Right now we are living through a moment that will be written about in the history books of tomorrow. Let us all play our part in making sure it is recorded as a time when we showed extraordinary kindness towards each other and were considerate to the needs of everyone in our society.

Joyce Newton, Chairperson KDLHS 16 March 2020

Next Week’s Meeting

Next week’s History Society meeting (Wednesday 11th March) is about the forthcoming Transport Festival at the end of May. Festival co-ordinator Graham Mitchell will give an overview of the whole Festival, then History Society committee member Steve Bown will talk about the ‘Ten Tales of Transport’ the History Society is planning to tell in its exhibition in the Civic Centre. We are also inviting people to come along and share their own transport-related stories and bring along any photographs that we could scan and perhaps use in the exhibition. We are particularly interested in photographs relating to the various cycling clubs that operated in and around Keighley in the 50s/60s, and any trips organised by firms or church groups or the like that took people to places like the coast or the countryside. If you have anything you are willing to share, please bring it down.

The meeting will happen in Keighley Library. Doors open at 7pm with the meeting starting at 7.30pm. Tea and coffee will be served. It costs £3 to attend (to help cover our costs) or £1 for History Society members.

Yester-Day-Trips

The History Society is appealing for photographs relating to daytrips organised by local firms or church groups or the like, from the 1930s to the 1970s. We would like to include as many as we can in the exhibition we are putting on in the Civic Centre as part of the Keighley Transport Festival at the end of May. These can be coach trips, train trips, or even mass-cycle-rides – any sort of transport qualifies.

We’d like to know which business / church / group organised the trip, who went on it, what transport was used, where it was to and (at least roughly) when it happened.

If you can help, please comment below or come along to our next meeting in Keighley Library from 7pm on the 11th of March, where we will have a scanner to take copies of photographs and where we will take notes to go along with the photographs.

Members of the Young Wives Club of Lund Park Methodist Chapel about to embark on a Mystery Coach Tour in the 1960s. Photograph loaned to Keighley and District Local History Society by Glenis Hey of Oakworth in February 2020.
Employees of J. W. Hartley & Sons celebrating the centenary of the company with a coach trip in 1974. From the History Society digital archive.

Cycling Stories

Keighley Transport Festival, ‘In Motion’, is happening on the 24th and 25th May 2020.

As part of the Festival, the History Society is putting on an exhibition called ‘Ten Tales of Transport’ in the Civic Centre. One of the tales we would like to tell is that of the various cycling clubs that were active in or around the town in the 1940s/50s/60s – clubs such as Keighley Road Club, St Christopher’s Cycling Club, Keighley Clarion Cycling Club, Aireworth Cycling Club, Keighley Velo Cycling Club, and Bronte Wheelers Cycling Club.

We are looking for people who can help us tell this particular tale with information and photographs about one or more of the clubs. If you can help, please comment below or come along to the special History Society meeting on 11th March (upstairs in Keighley Library from 7pm to 8.30pm where we shall have a scanner to take copies of documents or photographs).

Keep an eye on Facebook or our website as we make requests for help on other tales we wish to tell.

Derek Bown, competing in York on behalf of Keighley Road Club in 1959. Photograph courtesy of Derek Bown.
Keighley Road Club, 1959. Photograph courtesy of Derek Bown.
Cover of brochure for the Keighley Festival of Cycling Weekend in October 1969. Courtesy of Derek Bown.