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

Twelve Thousand Plus!

A new album of Keighley photographs taken by Roy Dean Willoughby in the 1980s means we now have over 12,000 images for anyone to view on our Flickr site. The photographs were donated by Roy’s grandson Billy Stride.

Take a browse and explore the History Society’s albums. As well as photographs there are postcards, newspaper cuttings, documents, adverts and more.

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The Picture House Reopens

Welcome back to Keighley’s Picture House cinema which reopens this Friday (30th October) after over seven months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Picture House Cinema opened in 1913. It originally had an iron and glass porch the front of the cinema. The venue hosted live shows and pop concerts as well as film showings. In 1954, it was bought by the Essoldo chain of cinemas and became the Keighley Essoldo. In the 1970s the cinema was restructured and what was the original cinema balcony became a second smaller screen room, as it remains today. In the 1980s the building was acquired by Bradford Metropolitan Council and it reverted to The Picture House. The cinema closed in 1991 and reopened in 1996 run by the Northern Morris Cinemas.

See the cinema’s website or Facebook page for details on some of the classic movies being shown from this Friday. Images from the History Society’s archive on Flickr.

The Picture House, Keighley. Images from the History Society archive. Montage created by Tim Neal.

Cliffe Castle Reopens

Welcome back! Cliffe Castle Museum in Keighley reopened to the public this week. The museum will be open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays from 11am to 3pm. Please be aware there are various social distancing measures in place to ensure public and staff safety. Details are available on the museum’s website (

Driveway to Cliffe Castle Museum. Photograph taken by History Society committee member Tim Neal on 22nd August 2018.
The Dining Room or Tapestry Room, Cliffe Castle, Keighley. The portrait on the left is of Maria Louise Roosevelt Burke, Henry Isaac Butterfield’s wife, painted by Roberto Bompiani around 1880. Many of the original pieces of furniture and ornaments were taken away or auctioned by Henry Isaac Butterfield’s granddaughter, Countess Manvers (1889-1984), when she inherited the house in 1943 and sold it in 1950. The rooms were faithfully restored in various stages from the late 1980s onwards. Photograph taken by History Society committee member Tim Neal on 22nd August 2018.
Timmy Feather’s Workshop, Working Landscapes Gallery, Cliffe Castle, Keighley. The last reported handloom weaver in the area was Timmy Feather. He lived and worked in Buckley Green, Stanbury. He died in 1910 at the age of 85. This is a recreation of Feather’s loom shop in the upper storey of his cottage, including the last known handloom of the district. Photograph taken by History Society committee member Tim Neal on 22nd August 2018.
The Bracewell Smith Hall, Cliffe Castle, Keighley. When, in 1950, Cliffe Castle was purchased by Sir Bracewell Smith for the people of Keighley, he appointed architect Sir Albert Richardson to reconfigure the entire building. The Bracewell Smith Hall was the magnificent centrepiece that came out of this work. It was designed as a picture gallery and public hall. The octagonal shape of the room was inspired by Brighton Pavilion and is echoed in the original wooden lantern that hangs from the ceiling. The room was restored to its 1950s appearance in 2013. The marble statue in the centre is by German artist Carl L. H. Muller and is called ‘The Minstrel’s Curse’, based on a poem by Ludwig Uhland. Photograph taken by History Society committee member Tim Neal on 16th February 2020.

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.