Stan the Musical

The musical ‘Stan’, was first performed at Keighley Playhouse, Devonshire Street, on Monday, 19th July 1976. The musical had been inspired by an exhibition called “1920’s Boy” at Cliffe Castle in 1973. It received coverage on ITV’s ‘Calendar’ local news programme, and the BBC’s lunchtime programme ‘Pebble Mill at One’. After the July run it was revived at the Playhouse in October 1976.

The songs from the musical ‘Stan’ were recorded and an LP was produced by Calrec Audio Ltd. of Hebden Bridge. Copies were available for £3. The recording was engineered by John Trenouth and was mixed by John Butterfield and Tim Whitley. The photograph shows the front and back of the LP sleeve.

The exhibition that inspired the musical was a showcase for the paintings of Keighley artist Stanley R. Boardman. In the late 1960s/early 1970s Boardman began painting depictions of his memories of growing up in Keighley in the 1920s. Encouraged by local historian Ian Dewhirst, the paintings were put on display to much acclaim at Cliffe Castle in 1973.

The musical was written and produced by Michael Ford, with songs by Ford and Allan Greenwood. The show was an HYT (originally Holycroft Youth Theatre) production. HYT started out as Holycroft School’s theatre group, but soon broke away and recruited young people from across Keighley. ‘Stan’ was their first production and the theatre group ran into the 2000s. The group became renowned for staging original productions devised by the young cast in workshops. Musical accompaniment for this show was by Tim Whitley, John Trenouth and friends, Stanley Bishop provided cinema piano music, Pete Hey and Stan Boardman himself devised the props, and Ian Dewhirst acted as historical advisor.

The item belongs to Neville Whittingham. It was brought along to a talk on Stanley R. Boardman given by History Society member Tim Neal at Silsden Local History Group on 26th February 2018. The item was photographed by Tim Neal and permission was given to include the photograph on the History Society’s Flickr account.

The LP release of ‘Stan – The Musical’ by HYT Theatre Group. The musical was inspired by Stanley R. Boardman’s 1920s Boy paintings. Photographed by Tim Neal.

Guest-speaker in July

This month’s guest speaker talk on Zoom will be given by Steve Bown. His talk is entitled “Keighley MPs: Millmen, Offcumdens and Swing” and is happening on Wednesday 14th July. This meeting is exclusively for members who have paid to join the History Society. If you would like to know how to become a member please drop us a line in the comments. Members will receive their invites on how to join the meeting via email a few days before the talk.

The ‘doors’ will open at 7pm but the talk won’t start until around 7.30pm. This is to give people the chance to log in to the meeting and for updates on Society news.

Future talks for the rest of the year include Tish Lawson on “Sideshows, Fairs and Exhibitions in Victorian Times”​, Eddie Kelly on “North Street and beyond as seen through the lens of Wilfred Moore”, and an Ian Dewhirst presentation from the archives.

Keighley MPs John Binns, Sir Swire Smith, Ann Cryer and Sir Robert Clough are just four of the MPs to feature in the talk by guest speaker Steve Bown on 14th July 2021.

Zoom Meeting in May

This month’s online Zoom talk is a History of St John’s Church in Ingrow, given by Tim Neal. The talk is happening on Wednesday 12th May from 7pm. Usually our meetings are members-only but this one is open to all.

If you are interested in coming along, please message the Society or add a comment below. The Society’s vice-chairperson, Steve Bown, will be in touch with details on how to join the meeting. Please express your interest before the day itself because we will be busy setting the meeting up on the day. Paid-up members of the Society will receive their email invitations as usual.

‘Doors’ open at 7pm so we can check everything is working, then there is a History Society update at 7.15pm before the presentation starts at 7.30pm. We look forward to seeing you there.

Slide from the Zoom presentation ‘A History of St John’s Church Ingrow’ given by Tim Neal.

Coming up on Zoom

Following last week’s talk on Zoom given by Graham Mitchell, we have the next few months lined up. On 14th April, David Scrimgeour will be giving us his talk on ‘Criminal Lunacy – From Dock to Asylum in 19th Century Yorkshire’. On 12th May, Tim Neal will be recounting ‘A History of St John’s Church Ingrow’. On 9th June, Sylvia Valentine will be talking about ‘Vaccination Records for Family History’. And on 14th July, Steve Bown will be telling us about ‘Keighley MPs: Millmen, Offcumdens and Swing’.

Details on all the talks can be found on our website or on our Facebook page. All the talks take place online using Zoom. The meeting starts at 7pm so people can ‘settle in’, then there is an update on History Society business, before the talks start at 7.30pm. Most meeting are only open to paid-up members of the History Society (how to join can be found here). Tim Neal’s talk is an open event and anyone can attend but you need to register your interest.

David Scrimgeour will be giving us his talk ‘Criminal Lunacy – From Dock to Asylum in 19th Century Yorkshire’ to the Keighley and District Local History Society via Zoom on 14th April 2021.
Guest speaker Tim Neal’s talk on the history of St John’s Church in Ingrow is on 12th May 2021.
Sylvia Valentine’s talk on Vaccination Records for Family History is on the 9th June. The main picture is a photograph from Dean Smith & Grace, held in the History Society’s archive.
Keighley MPs John Binns, Sir Swire Smith, Ann Cryer and Sir Robert Clough are just four of the MPs to feature in the talk by guest speaker Steve Bown on 14th July 2021.

Vaccinations at DSG

As the move to vaccinate the country against the coronavirus continues, we came across this photograph recently. It shows Annie Chapman, works nurse at Keighley firm Dean Smith & Grace Ltd., supervising the vaccinations of employees in the company’s surgery in the 1960s.

The photograph is one of a set of photographs taken by the firm’s Photographic Department that have been uploaded onto the History Society’s Flickr page in the past week.

Dean Smith & Grace Ltd. nurse Annie Chapman supervises vaccinations at the works on Pitt Street. Dean Smith & Grace Ltd Photographic Department.

On This Day…

This Tuck’s Post Card of Cavendish Street was sent across the border to Lancashire on 1st February 1909. Crowds had gathered for what was still the novelty of having their photograph taken and the overhead wires of the electrified trams can clearly be seen.

The postcard is from the personal collection of Tim Neal. Over 450 of Tim’s postcards of Keighley and the surrounding area can be seen on the History Society’s Flickr site.

Cavendish Street postcard, posted in February 1909.

Ian Dewhirst Remembered

Today we are remembering local historian Ian Dewhirst who sadly died two years ago. He made an invaluable contribution to preserving, cataloguing and recounting the history of the town. During his life he wrote many articles and books on the town, and gave thousands of talks and tours to various societies and groups, including the History Society. He was born in Keighley in 1936. He went to Keighley Boys’ Grammar School and graduated from the University of Manchester in 1958 with a degree in English. He started working at Keighley Library in 1960 and was promoted to Reference Librarian in 1967, a role he fulfilled until retirement in 1991.

He wrote over a dozen books on Keighley and Yorkshire, including ‘A History of Keighley’, published by the Keighley Corporation in 1974, and reprinted several times since. Ian began writing the popular ‘Memory Lane’ column for the Keighley News in 1992 and carried on doing so right up until his death. In February 1999, he was awarded an MBE by the Queen for his services to local history. In 2009 he had a Northern Rail 158 diesel train named after him. In 2018, the Dalesman awarded him the W. R. Mitchell Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his prolific work as a local historian and public speaker. He spent almost his whole life in Keighley, living in his parents’ former home on Raglan Avenue, off Fell Lane. He died on 20th January 2019 and his funeral service was held at Trinity Church, Fell Lane, on 15th February, followed by a private cremation.

The History Society was recently given a copy of Ian’s collection of local tales ‘The Haworth Water-Wolf and other Yorkshire Stories’, published over 50 years ago. The booklet has been scanned in full and added to our Flickr site (see the link below).

Images of local historian Ian Dewhirst from a copy of the Keighley News dated 31st January 2019.
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On This Day…

The Lawrence Williamson Players’ production of ‘Jane Eyre’ opened at the Hippodrome in Keighley on 19th January 1948. Charlotte Bronte’s novel was adapted by Helen Jerome and starred Enid Irvin as Jane Eyre with Donald Morley as Mr Rochester.

In 1876, Abraham Kershaw had built a five-storey wooden theatre on Queen Street, designed by architect J. B. Bailey, that opened at Easter 1880. The theatre was not a financial success and the wooden theatre was pulled down. A new improved theatre, called the Queen’s Theatre was built instead and opened on 26th August 1889. But even this new theatre was deemed inadequate, and in its place was built the new Queen’s Theatre. This was designed by acclaimed theatre architect Frank Matcham.

The Queen’s Theatre became the Hippodrome in 1909, although both names remained on the front of the building, and programmes and adverts continued to refer to the ‘Hippodrome and Queen’s Theatre’. The Keighley Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society’s production of ‘Oklahoma!’ was the last play performed at the Hippodrome before it closed in October 1956. The theatre was demolished in 1961 and in its place now stands the Airedale Shopping Centre multi-storey car park.

Programmes part of the History Society’s archive on Flickr, donated by Tim Neal in 2020.

On This Day…

Programme cover and cast list for a Keighley Little Theatre production of ‘Dr Angelus’ by James Bridie. The production was staged from 16th to 20th January 1951. It starred and was produced by Eric B. Broster. At this point the President of the Theatre Group was Keighley Mayor, Alderman Ernest Hutchinson.

Keighley Little Theatre was formed in June 1947 when Frederic W. Pye got together with seven like-minded people in a house in Oakworth and discussed the viability of forming a small amateur company to stage plays. In the early months of 1949, the Theatre Group was offered the lease on Devonshire Hall, originally part of the Liberal Club on Scott Street, which had been erected at the very end of the nineteenth century. Devonshire Hall had been used for lectures, functions, dances and so on. A stage and proscenium had to be built with an appropriate new lighting rig.

1951 was a busy year for the Theatre Group. It marked the Festival of Britain, and alongside producing six plays in Devonshire Hall, they also put on two plays as part of the Bronte Festival, performed in Haworth Church School.

The original programme was donated to the History Society by Tim Neal in September 2020. It is held in the History Society’s physical archive. More programmes can be found on the History Society’s Flickr site.