Bronte Museum Opens

The original Bronte Society Museum opened on the first floor of the Yorkshire Penny Bank building at the top of Main Street in Haworth on 1st May 1895. It remained the venue for the museum until the Society took over the parsonage in 1928.

The building housed the village’s Mechanics Institute from 1877 before it was bought by the Yorkshire Penny Bank in 1894. They altered the entrance and first floor, and extended the building upwards with the addition of the turret. The framed rectangular space above the first floor window used to hold a stone engraved ‘Yorkshire Penny bank’. It was an antique shop in the 1960s and for many years, up until January 2019, it housed the Haworth Tourist Information Centre. It is now occupied by the Pretty Penny gift shop.

Views of the old Yorkshire Penny Bank building at the top of Main Street in Haworth. The top postcard is a Wrench Series postcard from around 1900. The bottom postcard is a Francis Frith postcard photographed in 1958. Both postcards are from the personal collection of Tim Neal. Main photograph taken by Tim Neal in 2019.

Bronte Vintage Gathering 2022

The History Society has a stall at next weekend’s Bronte Vintage Gathering just outside Cullingworth. Please come down and see us on either Saturday 7th May or Sunday 8th May. We will have a sneak preview of some of the “Ten Tales of Transport” we are telling as part of the Keighley Transport Festival in June, as well as details about what the History Society gets up to and how to join.

You can find out more about the Bronte Vintage Gathering, which is run to raise funds for Sue Ryder Manorlands, on their website:

History Society members Joyce Newton and Steve Bown at the Bronte Vintage Gathering in 2017. Photograph taken by Tim Neal.
Bronte Vintage Gathering 2017. Photograph by Tim Neal.
Bronte Vintage Gathering 2017. Photograph by Tim Neal.

One Tale of Transport

‘In Motion’, the Keighley Transport Festival, is happening across the town on Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd June 2022. It is free entry to all the participating sites and events run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The History Society is mounting an exhibition featuring “Ten Tales of Transport”. One of the stories we are telling is “Postcards from an Electric Avenue” which tells the tale of the electric trams that ran between Utley, Stockbridge and Ingrow between 1904 and 1924, illustrated by dozens of picture postcards from that time. You can see the exhibition upstairs at the Civic Centre, but this particular Tale will also be available to view at St. John’s Church in Ingrow on both days.

One of the History Society’s “Ten Tales of Transport” being told at June 2022’s Keighley Transport Festival is “Postcards from an Electric Avenue”.

100 years ago…

This newspaper cutting is taken from the Keighley News of Saturday 29th April 1922. It talks of the arrangements for the opening ceremony of Keighley Hall, built in the French town of Poix-du-Nord, in gratitude for the support given by the people of Keighley following the First World War.

“At Poix-du-Nord – the little French town in the war-devastated region, for which Keighley has undertaken to stand as a sort of godmother – great preparations ae going forward for the opening of the Keighley Hall, the public building which is being paid for out of the adoption fund specially subscribed by Keighley people. The opening takes place on Sunday, June 5, and a number of representative Keighley citizens, including the mayor and some of the members of the Town Council, have accepted invitations to be present and participate in the proceedings.”

The building was designed by Keighley architects W. H. & A. Sugden. In the end, the inauguration was attended by Councillor James Longton (Mayor of Keighley 1921-22), Alderman Albert Smith, Councillor W. A. Brigg, Councillor G. A. Calverley and Samuel Clough, amongst others.

Keighley established links with Poix-du-Nord after the First World War. In 1920, under the scheme of the British League of Help for Devastated Areas in France, Keighley ‘adopted’ Poix-du-Nord and raised over £4,000 by public subscription for a civic hall, which opened in 1922 and was named Keighley Hall. There is also a street in the town named after Alderman Ferdinand N. Binns (Rue Ferdinand Binns), a former Mayor of Keighley (1918-20), who was awarded the Order and Cross of the Legion of Honour for his efforts to promote good relations between the two towns.

Regular visits between the two towns were exchanged by the branches of the International Brotherhood Alliance (founded in 1905) up until 1938. The town was visited again by the Mayor and Mayoress of Keighley (Mr and Mrs J. E. Brownbridge) between Friday 30th May and Sunday 1st June 1969.

The clipping is from a scrapbook of cuttings covering the mayoral year 1921-22 which is held in the History Society’s archive. The illustration of Keighley Hall is from the cover of the programme for the opening which was loaned to the History Society by David Seeley in July 2019.

Keighley Hall in Poix-du-Nord, France, built after the First World War from funds raised by the people of Keighley.

Haworth 1900

This postcard of Haworth was posted to Aylesbury on 26th April 1905. The photograph was taken in the early 1890s. We estimate this because there is no sign of the school buildings built on Butt Lane in 1896. Ivy Bank Mill with its chimney is in the foreground, just over the bridge. Haworth Parish Church is on the crest of the hill in the distance. The postcard was published by A. E. Hall of Haworth.

The colour image shows a similar view from roughly eighty years later and is taken from a postcard published by the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway Preservation Society, photograph taken by R. Higgins.

Both postcards are from the private collection of History Society member Tim Neal. Tim’s entire collection of approximately 600 postcards can be seen on the History Society’s Flickr site.

Postcard of Haworth postmarked 1905, with a similar view from a 1990s postcard. Colour photograph taken by R. Higgins.

Stan Boardman Talk

History Society committee member Tim Neal is giving his talk on local artist Stan Boardman at the Methodist Church Hall, Greenside Lane, in Cullingworth this Wednesday (27th April). Stan grew up in the Fell Lane area of Keighley in the 1920s and committed many of his memories of that time to canvas fifty years later in the 1970s. He also worked as a sign painter in the town (amongst many other jobs!).

Visitors are welcome to attend and there will be a charge of £1.50 on the door. The talk starts at 7.30pm with doors opening a short while before. Please note this talk is organised by Cullingworth Local History Group and is not a Keighley and District Local History Society event.

Artist Stan Boardman with examples of his work.

The Co-Op on Brunswick Street

The purpose-built Keighley Co-Operative Society Central Stores on Brunswick Street were officially opened on 24th April 1886. The new stores succeeded the shop on Low Street as the Society’s main Central Stores. Brunswick Street, which used to run parallel to Hanover Street, was demolished to make way for the new town centre shopping precinct in the 1960s.The idea of the new Central Stores started a few years earlier and their creation meant buying up and demolishing fifteen cottages, a van house, a large workshop and a yard – at a cost back then of £2,650.

The architect was David Weatherhead of Keighley. The building was 32 feet high, with a frontage of 46 feet and a depth of 36 feet. The Tailoring and Shoemaking Departments had moved onto the site as early as 1884.The opening was celebrated with a lantern lecture (the PowerPoint of the day!) given by Hargreaves Jackson on ‘Co-operative Thrift, as Exhibited in the History of the Halifax Flour Society’. At various points the Central Stores included the selling of groceries, meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, boots, shoes and clogs, clock, watches and jewellery, and furnishings; as well as housing a restaurant.

The illustration is from ‘Half a Century of Co-operation in Keighley – 1860-1910’ by Joseph Rhodes, published by the Keighley Industrial Co-operative Society Ltd. in 1911. The black and white photograph is a queue for margarine outside the Central Stores in 1917, from the Bill Parker collection held at Keighley Local Studies Library and released in 2004 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Keighley public library.

The two colour photographs are of Brunswick Arcade, part of the Airedale Shopping Centre, that was built over Brunswick Street in the 1960s. The photographs were taken in 1986 and are from a set of slides donated to the History Society by centre manager Steve Seymour.

The Co-Op on Brunswick Street and Brunswick Arcade in Airedale Shopping Centre.

Bronte Cinema in Haworth

The Bronte Cinema on Victoria Road in Haworth opened on 21st April 1923, with 778 seats across its stalls and circle. The venue staged concerts and performances as well as the regular film screenings. It closed on 29th July 1956 and is now a warehouse.

The exterior photographs were taken by History Society member Tim Neal in April 2020. The interior photograph was taken by Mike Higginbottom in 2016 and was featured on his blog ( It used here with Mike’s kind permission. The Lilywhite postcard shows the back of the cinema just over the wall, in this photograph taken around 1930 from Hebden Road.

The former Bronte Cinema on Victoria Road in Haworth.

Happy Easter

This Easter Communion Service card was produced for St. Peter’s Church in Keighley. Possibly from the 1920s, the vicar at the time was John Wood.

Easter Communion card for St. Peter’s Church which used to stand on South Street.

John Wood had served as a curate at Holy Trinity Church in Bingley followed by a period as curate at St. John’s Church in Ingrow. A history of St. John’s written in 1943 has Wood arriving on 26th September 1910 under Reverend Charles Frederick Askew (vicar from 1906 to 1911) and departing on 19th December 1912 when the vicar was William Thompson Elliott. He moved on to Keighley Parish Church and its daughter church All Saints. In 1917 he succeeded the Reverend D. E. James as vicar of St. James’ Church in Cross Roads with Lees, later becoming vicar of St. Peter’s.

St. Peter’s Church was located at the junction of South Street and King Street. The church was consecrated in 1882. Its stone came from Woodhouse Quarry, its pews were of pitch pine and it could seat 850. Its activities included men’s and women’s help societies, Bible and singing classes, a Band of Hope, Church Temperance Society, Mothers’ Union and even a savings bank. St Peter’s was demolished in 1956, although its congregation continued until 1975 to use its former Sunday School, in Kensington Street. The site is currently occupied by Enterprise Car Rental.

The Easter Communion card was donated to Keighley and District Local History Society by Sonia Bown in February 2022. The main photograph is from a 1950s postcard published by Lilywhite Ltd.

Back in the Library

Great to be back in the magnificent Local Studies Library last night – and a terrific talk by Irene Lofthouse on local landowners Rachel Leach and Anne Lister. Thanks to Irene and to everyone who joined us in person or on Zoom.

Guest speaker Irene Lofthouse delivers her talk on local 18th/19th century local landowners Rachel Leach and Anne Lister, in Keighley Local Studies Library, on 13th April 2022.
Guest speaker Irene Lofthouse delivers her talk on local 18th/19th century local landowners Rachel Leach and Anne Lister, in Keighley Local Studies Library, on 13th April 2022.