One More Tale…

‘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 “Keighley’s Own Aire-Force” which tells the tale of how the town rallied round to fund two fighter planes in the early days of World War Two, told with the help of Ian Walkden from the Men of Worth Project. You can see the exhibition upstairs at the Civic Centre on both days.

Coronation Celebrations

The coronation of King George VI took place on Wednesday 12th May 1937. There were many celebrations held around the town including a service of thanksgiving at the Parish Church (attended by Keighley Town Mayor Thomas Wardle and members of the 6th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment), followed by luncheon and then tea in the Municipal Hall; and a procession of different tableaux and a funfair in Victoria Park. The procession was watched by around 30,000 spectators and was made up of 28 tableaux created by local schools.

The town was well decorated with flags and bunting. Each child in the borough received a commemorative mug, and a party for youngsters was hosted by Edward Roberts and his wife at the New Mansions Lodging House in Westgate. Cake and crockery were distributed to employees of J. Haggas and Co. Ltd. of Ingrow Mills. A fancy dress parade and celebrations were held in the grounds of East Riddlesden Hall, which had only been handed over to National Trust a few years earlier.

A scrapbook containing dozens of cuttings from the Keighley News of a few days later is held in the Keighley and District Local History Society archive. All of the images shown here have been taken from this scrapbook. The scrapbook has been scanned in its entirety and is available to view here.

Cuttings from the Keighley News showing celebrations around the town marking the coronation of King George VI in 1937. Taken from a scrapbook held in the History Society’s archive.

On this day…

This postcard of an electric tram trundling down Bradford Road was posted on 7th May 1906. It is a Valentine’s Series postcard from J. Valentine & Sons Ltd., published by J. Overend of Keighley. The building to the left of the tram has Stock Bridge Bowling Club painted on the side. There is a post office to right.

The postcard features in one of the “Tales of Transport” being told by Keighley and District Local History Society as part of their contribution to the forthcoming Keighley Transport Festival. The Festival is being held around the town on the Bank Holidays Thursday 2nd June and Friday 3rd June this year. The electrified tramways system ran between Utley, Ingrow and Stockbridge from 1904 to 1924. The History Society’s exhibition on the electric trams will be available to view in the Civic Centre and at St. John’s Church in Ingrow on both days.

Postcard of an electric tram running along Bradford Road. Item loaned by Stephanie Toothill.

Another 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 “Making Inn-Roads” which tells the tale of the various 18th and 19th century horse-drawn coach services and the inns in the town that served them, recounted by Eddie Kelly. You can see the exhibition upstairs at the Civic Centre on both days.

May Guest Speaker

The History Society’s guest speaker this month is Kathryn Hughes giving her talk ‘Mr Pybus and Bradford’s Munition Factories – How Bradford took the lead in engaging female munitions workers’. The talk is on Wednesday 11th May.

This talk is happening upstairs at Keighley Library and is open to both members and non-members. The charge for non-members is £3, payable on the door. To reserve a place, please email klyhistory@yahoo.com

If members wish they can join in by Zoom instead (this option is only available to paid-up History Society members). Members will receive their Zoom invites by email from Anne-Marie a few days in advance.

Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start. Please check social media or our website nearer the time for any updates.

Women workers at the Burlington Sheds factory of Prince-Smith & Stells Ltd., producing bayonets for use on rifles during World War Two. Photograph donated by Joyce Wood.

70 years ago today…

Saturday 3rd May 1952 was closing night of Keighley Little Theatre’s production of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ by Oscar Wilde. It starred Eric B. Broster, Ken Everett, David Brown, Morag C. Moorhouse, Norma Feather, Joyce Reeder, Ray Dewsnap, George Scull and John Harker, and was produced by Eric B. Broster. At this point the President of the Theatre Group was Keighley Mayor, Councillor David C. Hudson.

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. The Theatre Group included Doreen Mary Hillary (known as Mary) who acted and was involved in productions for over three decades, and Eric B. Broster, who went on to direct many of their plays.

In the early months of 1949, the Theatre Group was offered the lease on the premises in Devonshire Street that became home to the amateur theatre company. Those premises were 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 (and continued to be for hire through Keighley Little Theatre). Having been looking for a permanent home, the lease was taken up. A stage and proscenium had to be built with an appropriate new lighting rig. The theatre remains the home of the Theatre Group to this day. In 1969, Keighley Little Theatre re-branded as Keighley Playhouse.

Keighley Playhouse with pages from the programme for ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, staged in 1952. The original programme was donated by Tim Neal in 2020. The photograph of the Playhouse was taken by Andy Wade in 2012.

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: http://bronte-vintage-gathering.co.uk/

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”.