Gerald Newton

The History Society is very sad to announce the passing of Gerald Newton. He was a proud Keighlian his whole life and many of you will have known him through his time as a town councillor, through his work with Keighley Bus Museum, or through the History Society. He served on the Society’s committee for the last few years, coming into his own when we needed practical support for events such as the Keighley Show or Bronte Vintage Gathering. But behind the scenes probably his most important role was in the support he offered his wife, our chair, Joyce. His remembrance service was held yesterday at Oakworth Crematorium, and amongst the capacity mourners were several members of the History Society. We remember Gerald with much affection and our thoughts are with Joyce and her family.

Devonshire Park Opened

Devonshire Park was officially opened to the public on 4th September 1888 and remains open today.

The Devonshire Park and Cliffe Castle Conservation Area Assessment (City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, April 2002): “(Devonshire Park) was laid out on the nine acres of land that were presented to the town of Keighley by the Duke of Devonshire in celebration of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee, and was formally opened to the public on 4th September 1888. The establishment of Devonshire Park reflects the fashion in the closing decades of the nineteenth century for rich members of society to demonstrate their benevolence by gifting land and resources for use in municipal projects. It was a period of philanthropic gestures… The layout of Devonshire Park is typical of late Victorian parks, with serpentine paths curving around islands of formal planting and an ornamental lake, leading up to a broad gravel terrace just above the bandstand, ideal for its intended purpose as an area for peramble. In 1888, Devonshire Park was bounded on three sides by a Wesleyan Chapel, the residences of Mr. Summerscales, Mr. Prince Smith Junior and Mr. Henry Wright and the precincts of Cliffe Castle. It is evident that at this time a number of wealthy professionals had already set up home in the area, but to the masses the area remained relatively inaccessible, as it could only be reached by the use of private transport. The area continued to expand as a residential quarter throughout the closing decades of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth century, with the attractiveness of the park no doubt contributing to its appeal. The smaller roads were constructed to allow access to the new properties and as streets on which to site new developments.”

Postcards from the History Society’s digital archive on Flickr. 

Postcards of Devonshire Park from the History Society’s archive.

Church and Churchyard Tour

This Thursday (7th September) there is a CHURCH AND CHURCHYARD TOUR of Ingrow St. John’s Church. The tour will be led by Tim Neal of the Keighley and District Local History Society, and is one of the events put on to celebrate the 180th anniversary of the opening of the church.

It will be a short tour of some of the key graves within the churchyard and key items within the church. The history booklet produced this year will be on sale for £3. Doors open at 6.30pm and the tour starts at 7pm.

The church and churchyard of Ingrow St. John’s. Photographs by Tim Neal and David Butterfield.

Last Chance to See!

The exhibition of “1920s Boy” paintings by Stanley R. Boardman closes this coming Sunday (10th September). The exhibition is on in the octagonal gallery of Cliffe Castle Museum, open Tuesday to Sunday this week.

Stan painted his memories of growing up in Keighley in the 1920s, creating artwork that is both humorous and pathos-filled at the same time. All the paintings were loaned to the museum by the History Society.

Stan Boardman exhibition at Cliffe Castle Museum, July 2023. Photographs by Tim Neal.

Coming up in September…

There is plenty happening in Keighley in September that might be of interest to people…

Saturday 2nd September 10am-4pm – Keighley Show (Marley Fields). The History Society has a stall where you can see some of the stories we tell and find out more about the History Society. You can join as well.

Thursday 7th September 7pm – Tour of Ingrow St. John’s churchyard and church. The booklet on the history of the church, which is celebrating is 180th anniversary this year, will be available to buy (£3).

Saturday 9th September 10am – Heritage Open Day: Colin Neville giving a talk on notable local artists (Keighley Library).

Saturday 9th September 2pm – Heritage Open Day: Tim Neal giving a talk on local artist Stanley R. Boardman (Keighley Library). There is also a display of Stan’s 1920s Boy paintings at Cliffe Castle showing until Sunday 10th September.

Saturday 9th/Sunday 10th September – Heritage Open Days: Ingrow St. John’s Church will be open with a display celebrating weddings past, present and future.

Sunday 10th September 10am-4pm – Heritage Open Day: East Riddlesden Hall is free to visit on this day.

Wednesday 13th September 7pm – History Society Talk (Zoom). Eddie Kelly will be presenting his talk on “Lost & Forgotten Inns & Public Houses of Keighley”. The meeting will be on Zoom and open to History Society members. Details on how to join the meeting will be sent to members a couple of days before the meeting.

Saturday 16th September 2pm – “How Keighley Celebrated the Coronation in 1953” (Cliffe Castle). The History Society’s Tim Neal will be giving his talk in the museum. Book a place by contacting the Cliffe Castle Support Group.

Saturday 16th/Sunday 17th September 11am-4pm – Heritage Open Days: Free entry to the museums at Ingrow Station on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway.

Sunday 17th September – Heritage Open Day: Guided tour of the Carriage Works and a rare opportunity to visit the workshop at Rail Story (Ingrow West Station on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway). Tours on the hour from 11am to 3pm.

Wednesday 20th September 2pm – Tim Neal: Stanley R. Boardman – His Works and His Life (Lees Methodist Church, Cross Roads with Lees). Tim Neal will be giving his talk on the artist.

Bronte Talk

August’s History Society meeting (Wednesday 9th August, 7pm) is a return from author and journalist Sharon Wright, talking about Maria Bronte, wife of the Reverend Patrick Bronte and mother to Charlotte, Anne, Emily and Branwell.

PLEASE NOTE THIS MEETING WILL NOW BE HELD ON ZOOM. Details will be sent out to members a few days before the event is due to take place.

Stan Boardman Exhibitions

The History Society is delighted to announce that we currently have TWO exhibitions dedicated to the works and life of Keighley artist Stanley R. Boardman. At Cliffe Castle Museum we have 24 paintings from Stan’s 1920’s Boy series of paintings on display upstairs in the balcony gallery, while at Keighley Library there are a number of display cabinets on the ground floor and in the upstairs Local Studies Library where you can see other examples of Stan’s artistry.

The History Society would like to thank Bradford District Museums and Galleries and Bradford Libraries for facilitating these exhibitions, and sends particular thanks to Heather, Gina, Janet and Angela.

Both exhibitions are free to visit from now until early-to-mid September. Please go along and support the exhibitions and these venues.

Stan Boardman exhibition at Keighley Library, July 2023. Photographs by Gina Birdsall.
Stan Boardman exhibition at Cliffe Castle Museum, July 2023. Photographs by Tim Neal.

The Gondoliers, 1921

One year ago, the History Society was given a collection of theatre programmes for productions by Keighley Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society dating from the 1900s to the 1950s. Gradually we have been scanning these programmes and adding them to our Flickr site.

The latest programme to be uploaded is for 1921’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Gondoliers”. Click below to see the full programme.

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