The last show at the Hippodrome

We’ve just uploaded to the History Society’s Flickr site all the scans from the programme for “Oklahoma!”, produced by Keighley Amateurs in 1956. This production was significant because it was the last show of any kind performed in the Hippodrome Theatre in town. In fact, the theatre had officially closed a few months earlier but reopened especially for this show. After that the theatre closed for good and was demolished in 1961 as part of the town centre redevelopment.

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The programme is part of the Joy Rundle Collection, donated to the society by Jane Eaman and Mark Rundle in 2023. It contains details of the show plus dozens of adverts for local businesses from the time.

Local Studies Library Visit

A massive thank you to Angela, Gina and Janet at Keighley Local Studies Library for hosting the History Society yesterday and giving us a comprehensive guide to the different collections held in the archive. Over 20 society members attended and many examples of photographs, postcards, guides and other documents were made available for us to look through.

And they gave us tea, coffee and biscuits! 🙂

As well as being an introduction to the archives for many members, several members were also able to get answers to their own specific queries.

The History Society is looking forward to arranging further such sessions in the future. If anyone has any suggestions for which particular archives you might like the library to bring out for us to look at, please let us know.

Keighley School of Art Talk

A big thank you to Colin Neville, curator of the Not Just Hockney website, who gave his fascinating, well-researched and richly illustrated talk on Keighley School of Art to the History Society last night.

And thank you to everyone who came along (despite the England match!) or who joined us on Zoom.

Next month’s talk will be by Tim Neal, marking 120 years of Keighley Library, on 14th August 2024 at 7.15pm in the Library.

Keighley School of Art Talk

A reminder that July’s monthly meeting will be on Wednesday 10th July 2024. It will be held upstairs in Keighley Library.

The guest speaker will be Colin Neville, curator of the Not Just Hockney website about artists from the local area. His talk is entitled “Keighley School of Art” and will outline the history of the School, from its origins in the Keighley Mechanics Institute, founded in 1825, to its demise as an independent institution in the 1950s. He will also present illustrated profiles of some of the most successful local artists associated with the School, including Silsden artists Jack Clarkson, Dorothy Wade, and Augustus Spencer, as well as artists from Keighley and Haworth, including Joe Pighills, Frances Watson Sunderland, Annie Hugill, Frank Roper, Allan Laycock, George Demaine, and Alex Smith.

Colin says: “For over eighty years, the Keighley School of Art (later renamed Keighley School of Art and Crafts) was regarded as one of the most progressive and successful in the West Riding of Yorkshire. This was largely because of the strong-minded and talented people involved in its history and development. People like Walter Smith, the first Head of the School: one of eleven children from a working class background, Smith was a passionate advocate for the role of art in the lives of ordinary men and women; local mill owner, Sir Swire Smith: art lover and philanthropist; he had a significant influence on securing national funding and recognition for the School; Tom Butterfield: a talented artist himself, as its Head he successfully steered the School through the last years of the 19th and into the 20th century with his progressive and humane leadership; and Alfred Rodway, the School Principal 1927-1939: another committed and determined character who oversaw a big expansion of craft courses at the School during the late 1920s and 1930s.”

As well as speaking, Colin will have a selection of some of his books on local artists available to buy on the night. The books cost £5 each (cash only please). A lot of his books are also available to browse in Keighley Local Studies Library.

Anyone is welcome to attend the meeting. Entry costs £3.50 (free if you are a history society member). The meetings are upstairs in the local studies library of Keighley Library on North Street. Doors open at 7.15 pm, the meeting starts at around 7.20pm and Colin’s presentation will begin at 7.30pm. We finish around 8.30pm. Please use the side entrance to the library on Albert Street if you are arriving after 7pm.

Anyone is welcome to come along and if people wish to join the society they can pay in cash on the night (membership for the rest of 2024 costs £15 or £20 for a couple living at the same address). History Society members also have the option of joining the meeting via Zoom.

This Month’s Meeting…

Keighley and District Local History Society’s next meeting will be on Wednesday 12th June 2024. It will be held upstairs in Keighley Library. The guest speaker is textiles expert and enthusiast Pam Brook, giving her talk “Material Worth: Textile innovations in the Aire and Worth Valleys”.

Pam says: “Bradford was always known as ‘Worstedopolis’ but Keighley and District was known for innovative experimentation with fibres such as artificial silk and inventive knitting yarn combinations along with advances in textile engineering. The talk will discuss some of these innovations together with the town’s contribution to the early textile industry, its connections to East Lancashire and the move from handloom to industrial scale weaving.”

Pam was born at Victoria Hospital in Keighley and has lived in the area most of her life. She worked at Hattersley Narrow Fabrics and at Keighley College. Her research sees her using the archives at Cliffe Castle on a regular basis, and she has served on the council of Bradford Textile Society and volunteered at Bradford College’s Textile Archive. She has been an active member of the Keighley and District Local History Society for around four years now.

Anyone is welcome to attend the meeting. Entry costs £3.50 (free if you are a history society member). The meetings are upstairs in the local studies library of Keighley Library on North Street. Doors open at 7pm, the meeting starts at around 7.20pm and Pam’s presentation will begin at 7.30pm. We finish around 8.30pm. Please use the side entrance to the library on Albert Street if you are arriving after 7pm. History Society members also have the option of joining the meeting via Zoom.

Smith Hoyle’s Waters

At last year’s Keighley Show, the History Society was invited to visit Apsley Motors on Victoria Road in Ingrow. The owner of the business was selling up and we had the chance to take photographs of the premises which had once housed the mineral water and bottling factory founded by Smith Hoyle – S. Hoyle Ltd. The owner also wanted to hand over various documents and ledgers belonging to that company that had been abandoned in the roof space of the old factory.

The visit took place in November 2023 and it’s taken us a while to catalogue everything, but we now ready to share the photographs and documents on our Flickr site…

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The Mystery surrounding Edward II

Keighley and District Local History Society’s next meeting will be on Wednesday 8th May 2024, upstairs in Keighley Library. The guest speaker will be writer and historian Alison Harrop, giving her talk “Lady Mortimer and Edward II: From Skipton to Berkeley Castles”.

Alison writes under the pen-name Alice Mitchell, and her novel “The Mortimer Affair: Joan De Joinville’s Story” was published by YouCaxton Publications in 2020. Alison was born in Keighley and grew up in East Morton, becoming head girl of Bingley Grammar School before training to be a doctor. She worked for more than 20 years as a medical doctor in the Wirral and in North Wales, and moved back to Keighley following the death of her husband in 2019.

Her novel tells the story of Joan de Joinville, wife of the infamous Roger Mortimer, who was imprisoned in Hampshire and then at Skipton Castle, because of her husband’s rebellion against King Edward II in the 14th century. Mortimer was alleged to have ordered the murder of Edward at Berkeley Castle in 1327, but the novel gives Joan a voice and tells an alternative story through her eyes. Joan suffered a great deal of hardship and humiliation but ended-up surviving both men by many years. Alison’s talk addresses the question did Edward II really die in Berkeley Castle?

Anyone is welcome to attend the meeting. Entry costs £3.50 (free if you are a history society member). The meetings are upstairs in the local studies library of Keighley Library on North Street. Doors open at 7pm, the meeting starts at around 7.20pm and Alison’s presentation will begin at 7.30pm. We finish around 8.30pm. Please use the side entrance to the library on Albert Street if you are arriving after 7pm.

Anyone is welcome to come along and if people wish to join the society they can pay in cash on the night (membership for the rest of 2024 costs £15 or £20 for a couple living at the same address). History Society members also have the option of joining the meeting via Zoom.

Two years in the scanning…

In June 2022, the History Society received a generous donation of thirty five programmes for productions given by Keighley Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society over a span of almost fifty years.

The Hippodrome Theatre programmes received as part of a donation in June 2022.

The collection ranges from “The Yeomen of the Guard”, staged in 1909 by the Keighley Amateur Lyric and Dramatic Society (one of the two societies that came together in 1913 to form the Keighley Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society), to “White Horse Inn” in 1958, which was the first production by Keighley Amateurs not to be performed at the Hippodrome Theatre (which had closed in 1956).

Nearly every single programme between those years was included in the donation and it’s taken Tim Neal of the History Society nearly two years to scan over 1,500 pages that make up all the programmes. Each booklet is between 32 and 52 pages long, and contains details of the production, photographs of the cast, and dozens of adverts for local businesses, and each booklet serves as a valuable time capsule for that period in the town’s history.

Each programme can be viewed in its entirety on the History Society’s Flickr site.

Police History Talk

A massive thank you to Dave Hardcastle of The Mobile Police Museum who gave a knowledgeable and hands-on presentation through over 100 years’ worth of Police uniforms and equipment at our monthly History Society meeting last night.

There was a great turn-out of around 30 members and guests in the audience in the Library, who got to handle many of the objects in Dave’s collection.

Dave Hardcastle of The Mobile Police Museum, guest speaker on 10th April 2024.

We must apologise to the members who tried to join us through Zoom last night. Multiple technical issues arose that were as frustrating for us as I’m sure they were for you. Most of them were overcome partway through the meeting, but we have identified various issues that we will get sorted before the next meeting.

May’s meeting will be Alison Harrop with her talk “Lady Mortimer and Edward II: From Skipton to Berkeley Castles”.

Police History Talk

This month’s History Society meeting will be on Wednesday 10th April 2024. It will be held upstairs in Keighley Library. The guest speaker is Dave Hardcastle of the West Yorkshire-based Mobile Police Museum and the subject is “120 Years of UK Policing”.

Dave is a retired West Yorkshire Police constable with 20 years of service, who offers a light-hearted, unique and engaging presentation of the police service over the last 120 years or more. He presents in period police uniform, accompanied by a collection of genuine police equipment including uniforms, hats, helmets, period truncheons, handcuffs, and even 1980s radios that are in working order for the audience to try. These exhibits date from 1880, covering the early Victorian period, both world wars, and up to the 21st century. The audience can touch and handle these vintage items for a more immersive experience.

Anyone is welcome to attend the meeting. Entry costs £3.50 (free if you are a history society member). The meetings are upstairs in the local studies library of Keighley Library on North Street. Doors open at 7pm, the meeting starts at around 7.20pm and Dave’s presentation will begin at 7.30pm. We finish around 8.30pm. Please use the side entrance to the library on Albert Street if you are arriving after 7pm.

If you wish to join the society you can pay in cash on the night (membership for the rest of 2024 costs £15 or £20 for a couple living at the same address). Members can take part in the meeting via Zoom (although this one will be best experienced in person if you can!) – details will be sent out by Anne-Marie this weekend.