Keighley School of Art Talk

A big thank you to Colin Neville, curator of the Not Just Hockney website, who gave his fascinating, well-researched and richly illustrated talk on Keighley School of Art to the History Society last night.

And thank you to everyone who came along (despite the England match!) or who joined us on Zoom.

Next month’s talk will be by Tim Neal, marking 120 years of Keighley Library, on 14th August 2024 at 7.15pm in the Library.

Keighley School of Art Talk

A reminder that July’s monthly meeting will be on Wednesday 10th July 2024. It will be held upstairs in Keighley Library.

The guest speaker will be Colin Neville, curator of the Not Just Hockney website about artists from the local area. His talk is entitled “Keighley School of Art” and will outline the history of the School, from its origins in the Keighley Mechanics Institute, founded in 1825, to its demise as an independent institution in the 1950s. He will also present illustrated profiles of some of the most successful local artists associated with the School, including Silsden artists Jack Clarkson, Dorothy Wade, and Augustus Spencer, as well as artists from Keighley and Haworth, including Joe Pighills, Frances Watson Sunderland, Annie Hugill, Frank Roper, Allan Laycock, George Demaine, and Alex Smith.

Colin says: “For over eighty years, the Keighley School of Art (later renamed Keighley School of Art and Crafts) was regarded as one of the most progressive and successful in the West Riding of Yorkshire. This was largely because of the strong-minded and talented people involved in its history and development. People like Walter Smith, the first Head of the School: one of eleven children from a working class background, Smith was a passionate advocate for the role of art in the lives of ordinary men and women; local mill owner, Sir Swire Smith: art lover and philanthropist; he had a significant influence on securing national funding and recognition for the School; Tom Butterfield: a talented artist himself, as its Head he successfully steered the School through the last years of the 19th and into the 20th century with his progressive and humane leadership; and Alfred Rodway, the School Principal 1927-1939: another committed and determined character who oversaw a big expansion of craft courses at the School during the late 1920s and 1930s.”

As well as speaking, Colin will have a selection of some of his books on local artists available to buy on the night. The books cost £5 each (cash only please). A lot of his books are also available to browse in Keighley Local Studies Library.

Anyone is welcome to attend the meeting. Entry costs £3.50 (free if you are a history society member). The meetings are upstairs in the local studies library of Keighley Library on North Street. Doors open at 7.15 pm, the meeting starts at around 7.20pm and Colin’s presentation will begin at 7.30pm. We finish around 8.30pm. Please use the side entrance to the library on Albert Street if you are arriving after 7pm.

Anyone is welcome to come along and if people wish to join the society they can pay in cash on the night (membership for the rest of 2024 costs £15 or £20 for a couple living at the same address). History Society members also have the option of joining the meeting via Zoom.

Talking Textiles

A big thank you to Pam Brook who came along to the History Society’s meeting in the Library last night to give her talk on “Material Worth: Textile Innovations in the Aire and Worth Valleys”. She covered the history of cotton and wool weaving in the area from individual hand-looms above cottages, through water and steam powered industrial mills, to the synthetic fibres of modern day, touching upon many local firms along the way.

And a big thank you to everyone who came along. There were around fifty of us in the Library and an additional 15 people joined in on Zoom, so a terrific turnout.

Next month’s talk (on Wednesday 10th July) is Colin Neville talking about some of the fascinating artists who came through Keighley School of Art.

This Month’s Meeting…

Keighley and District Local History Society’s next meeting will be on Wednesday 12th June 2024. It will be held upstairs in Keighley Library. The guest speaker is textiles expert and enthusiast Pam Brook, giving her talk “Material Worth: Textile innovations in the Aire and Worth Valleys”.

Pam says: “Bradford was always known as ‘Worstedopolis’ but Keighley and District was known for innovative experimentation with fibres such as artificial silk and inventive knitting yarn combinations along with advances in textile engineering. The talk will discuss some of these innovations together with the town’s contribution to the early textile industry, its connections to East Lancashire and the move from handloom to industrial scale weaving.”

Pam was born at Victoria Hospital in Keighley and has lived in the area most of her life. She worked at Hattersley Narrow Fabrics and at Keighley College. Her research sees her using the archives at Cliffe Castle on a regular basis, and she has served on the council of Bradford Textile Society and volunteered at Bradford College’s Textile Archive. She has been an active member of the Keighley and District Local History Society for around four years now.

Anyone is welcome to attend the meeting. Entry costs £3.50 (free if you are a history society member). The meetings are upstairs in the local studies library of Keighley Library on North Street. Doors open at 7pm, the meeting starts at around 7.20pm and Pam’s presentation will begin at 7.30pm. We finish around 8.30pm. Please use the side entrance to the library on Albert Street if you are arriving after 7pm. History Society members also have the option of joining the meeting via Zoom.

The Mystery surrounding Edward II

Keighley and District Local History Society’s next meeting will be on Wednesday 8th May 2024, upstairs in Keighley Library. The guest speaker will be writer and historian Alison Harrop, giving her talk “Lady Mortimer and Edward II: From Skipton to Berkeley Castles”.

Alison writes under the pen-name Alice Mitchell, and her novel “The Mortimer Affair: Joan De Joinville’s Story” was published by YouCaxton Publications in 2020. Alison was born in Keighley and grew up in East Morton, becoming head girl of Bingley Grammar School before training to be a doctor. She worked for more than 20 years as a medical doctor in the Wirral and in North Wales, and moved back to Keighley following the death of her husband in 2019.

Her novel tells the story of Joan de Joinville, wife of the infamous Roger Mortimer, who was imprisoned in Hampshire and then at Skipton Castle, because of her husband’s rebellion against King Edward II in the 14th century. Mortimer was alleged to have ordered the murder of Edward at Berkeley Castle in 1327, but the novel gives Joan a voice and tells an alternative story through her eyes. Joan suffered a great deal of hardship and humiliation but ended-up surviving both men by many years. Alison’s talk addresses the question did Edward II really die in Berkeley Castle?

Anyone is welcome to attend the meeting. Entry costs £3.50 (free if you are a history society member). The meetings are upstairs in the local studies library of Keighley Library on North Street. Doors open at 7pm, the meeting starts at around 7.20pm and Alison’s presentation will begin at 7.30pm. We finish around 8.30pm. Please use the side entrance to the library on Albert Street if you are arriving after 7pm.

Anyone is welcome to come along and if people wish to join the society they can pay in cash on the night (membership for the rest of 2024 costs £15 or £20 for a couple living at the same address). History Society members also have the option of joining the meeting via Zoom.

Police History Talk

A massive thank you to Dave Hardcastle of The Mobile Police Museum who gave a knowledgeable and hands-on presentation through over 100 years’ worth of Police uniforms and equipment at our monthly History Society meeting last night.

There was a great turn-out of around 30 members and guests in the audience in the Library, who got to handle many of the objects in Dave’s collection.

Dave Hardcastle of The Mobile Police Museum, guest speaker on 10th April 2024.

We must apologise to the members who tried to join us through Zoom last night. Multiple technical issues arose that were as frustrating for us as I’m sure they were for you. Most of them were overcome partway through the meeting, but we have identified various issues that we will get sorted before the next meeting.

May’s meeting will be Alison Harrop with her talk “Lady Mortimer and Edward II: From Skipton to Berkeley Castles”.

Police History Talk

This month’s History Society meeting will be on Wednesday 10th April 2024. It will be held upstairs in Keighley Library. The guest speaker is Dave Hardcastle of the West Yorkshire-based Mobile Police Museum and the subject is “120 Years of UK Policing”.

Dave is a retired West Yorkshire Police constable with 20 years of service, who offers a light-hearted, unique and engaging presentation of the police service over the last 120 years or more. He presents in period police uniform, accompanied by a collection of genuine police equipment including uniforms, hats, helmets, period truncheons, handcuffs, and even 1980s radios that are in working order for the audience to try. These exhibits date from 1880, covering the early Victorian period, both world wars, and up to the 21st century. The audience can touch and handle these vintage items for a more immersive experience.

Anyone is welcome to attend the meeting. Entry costs £3.50 (free if you are a history society member). The meetings are upstairs in the local studies library of Keighley Library on North Street. Doors open at 7pm, the meeting starts at around 7.20pm and Dave’s presentation will begin at 7.30pm. We finish around 8.30pm. Please use the side entrance to the library on Albert Street if you are arriving after 7pm.

If you wish to join the society you can pay in cash on the night (membership for the rest of 2024 costs £15 or £20 for a couple living at the same address). Members can take part in the meeting via Zoom (although this one will be best experienced in person if you can!) – details will be sent out by Anne-Marie this weekend.

Martin and his grandfather Percy

A massive thank you to author Martin Greenwood who came up from Warwick to deliver his talk on local artist and entertainer Percy Monkman last night. As well as being shown many beautiful examples of Percy’s watercolour paintings and sketches, we learned how he was a good friend to J. B. Priestley, mainly through his work with Bradford Playhouse as well as living close to each other and playing on the same football team as young boys (!), and how Percy served as an entertainer to the troops during both world wars. All this while holding down a job as a bank clerk in the same branch for forty years!

Martin’s book on Percy is available from thegreatbritishbookshop.co.uk – highly recommended! There is also a copy available to read in the Keighley Local Studies Library.

Percy Monkman – Artist

March is already upon us, and this month’s History Society meeting (on 13th March) features author Martin Greenwood talking about the life and work of his grandfather, the acclaimed local artist Percy Monkman. Percy Monkman’s life can be summed up in one phrase: “A job in banking, a life in the arts”. By day Percy Monkman worked in the same Bradford bank for 40 years, indeed the same office, ending up as chief cashier. Everything else about Percy was totally unconventional. By night, at weekends, on holidays he transformed himself into an entertainer, actor, artist and cartoonist whose work was regularly acclaimed by the public and held in great respect by colleagues.

He came from a humble working-class family in the Toller Lane area of Bradford and left school when he was fourteen. He joined the Bradford Civic Theatre in the 1930s and the Bradford Arts Club in the 1920s. Subjects for his paintings included the moors above Haworth, the Dales and the Pennines, Bolton Abbey, Bingley Fair, Forster Square, the canal at Shipley and Otley Chevin.

Martin has written an affectionate and comprehensive biography of Percy, available from the website Great British Bookshop (www.thegreatbritishbookshop.co.uk), £18.50 (softback), £22.50 (hardback). A small number of copies of the book will be available to buy on the night (cash only please).

Anyone is welcome to attend the meeting. Entry costs £3.50 (free if you are a history society member). The meetings are upstairs in the local studies library of Keighley Library on North Street. Doors open at 7pm, the meeting starts at around 7.20pm and Martin’s talk will begin at 7.30pm. We finish around 8.30pm. Please use the side entrance to the library on Albert Street if you are arriving after 7pm. Anyone is welcome to come along and if people wish to join the society they can pay in cash on the night (membership for the rest of 2024 costs £15 or £20 for a couple living at the same address).

The history society is 20 years old in 2024. It organises monthly meetings which are free to attend if you are a member (alternatively you can join via Zoom if you are a member). It has its own website and Facebook page, and it runs a Flickr site with over 20,000 images on that anyone is welcome to look at. It produces four newsletters a year which are sent to members via email, and it tries to organise at least one special visit a year.

Keighley in the 1960s/70s

February’s History Society meeting is on Wednesday 14th February. It is open to everyone and will be held at Keighley Library. Artist Kevin Bell will be revisiting the town where he grew up to share his memories and show some of the paintings he has created of that time. Plenty of nostalgia accompanied by terrific evocative paintings.

The meeting is held upstairs in the Local Studies Library. Doors open at 7pm and Kevin’s talk will start at 7.30pm. If arriving after 7pm, please use the side door entrance on Albert Street. Admission is £3.50. Admission is free to History Society members, who also have the option of joining via Zoom (Zoom meeting details are sent out via email a few days in advance).