Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone – and here’s hoping 2021 is a much better year than 2020. The History Society would love to hear your thoughts for the Society in 2021, so we are hosting a meeting on Zoom on the evening of 13th January. More details and information will be posted next week.

To mark the new year we have just published the scans of a 1954 Official Guide to Keighley. The scans were donated by Billy Stride at the end of 2020 and have just been annotated by Tim Neal. The publication carries a history of the town with local photographs and many adverts for local businesses. Click below to see more.

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Christmas Countdown

A Christmas party for employees of Smith Bros. & Foster Ltd., held in the Weaving Shed of North Beck Mills. Smith Bros. was established by John Arthur Smith in 1913. The company had a checkered history, including voluntary liquidation in 1958, but ultimately survives to this day in the form of Pennine Weavers Ltd. Photograph donated by Betty Smith.

On this day…

The unveiling and dedication of the Keighley War Memorial in Town Hall Square took place on 7th December 1924. It was erected by Keighley Municipal Borough to commemorate the 900 men of the Borough who were killed in the First World War. It was paid for by funds raised from public subscription at a cost of £5,000. The bronze figures were sculpted by Henry Charles Fehr (1867-1940). The memorial was unveiled by General Sir Charles Harington, a distinguished First World War staff officer, and dedicated by the Reverend S. Howard-Hall, former chaplain of the local 6th Battalion of the Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment. The War Memorial has been categorised as a Grade II listed site since 1986.

The War Memorial Keighley

Looking Back and Looking Forward

November is usually the month when we hold our Annual General Meeting, but at an online meeting the History Society committee decided that it was more practicable to postpone this until Wednesday 13th January 2021. We will be holding the meeting online and anyone will be welcome to attend although only paying members will be allowed to vote on any matters that require a vote. More details will be published nearer the time.

As we announced back in April, anyone who paid for 2020 membership of the History Society will have that membership extended to cover 2021 as well. This will also apply anyone who takes out a membership before the end of December 2020. We have discussed several ideas about how we can operate differently in the future, to be more effective in the “new normal”, and would like to get feedback from existing members and people who perhaps just follow us through our website and Facebook pages.

Although we only managed to hold three of our monthly meetings in Keighley Library at the beginning of the year, the History Society has not stood still during the rest of the year. The Committee has been holding monthly online meetings, but the situation always changed too fast to put our ideas in place. But in the meantime the Facebook group has grown by over 600 people (that’s nearly double what we had last year), and the number of images added to our Flickr page has grown from 9,700 to over 12,000 (that’s over 40 new images every week). We have also seen a lot of questions and queries come through the website.

Covid looks likely to be affecting all our lives for many more months to come. So even though it is our aim to get back to having in-person group meetings, we also want to look at other ways of carrying on such as online guest speakers and meetings. If people want to share ideas about what else the History Society can be doing, please send us a message or comment below. Similarly, if anyone wants to help us run things please get in touch.

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.

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.