Changing face of town centre

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COMPARING the two featured photographs this week it is hard to imagine they are the same location.

The older of the two images was taken during the 1930s and the second photograph was taken only recently.

The older photograph shows the long row of terraced property in Park Street looking towards Commercial Street.

This reminds me there was a time when young people, in most cases, lived at home until they got married. This went on until the number of young people going away to university began to climb and they gained a greater sense of independence.

I am sure many readers will also recall that families rarely went beyond their immediate communities. That began to change when transport began linking communities and the town centre became more accessible.

There have been a number of occasions when this kind of older property has been part of a redevelopment scheme. It was just after the First World War that many 19th century properties were swept away. The borough council built new homes on green field sites and rehoused everyone in new communities – the Smith House estate being an example. Then again in the 1930s and during the late 50s, 60s and early 1970s.

As communities began to expand and people moved further away town centres themselves also had to change. These were the days of increasing disposable income and the changes in lifestyle. How many readers can remember walking into a Co-op branch in the 1950s and faced for the first time with something called ‘self-service’?

The government has been telling us that up until quite recently 300,000 people have been leaving the United Kingdom to start a new life in a different country.

Attitudes have come a long way from the days of our ancestors who thought catching a tram to Halifax was a real outing. As for a train to Leeds, well, it might as well be a journey to the other side of the world. Holidays overseas were for millionaires.

With those thoughts in mind I am seeking your help with a new book project I am working on. I am trying to locate as many people as possible who were born or lived the greater part of their lives in Brighouse, and its surrounding communities who have either retired or emigrated.

If you have any relatives living overseas I want to contact them. Already I am in contact with one lady who is in South Africa and had previously lived with her parents and sisters in Rayner Road until 1955, another lady who went from Hove Edge to start a new life in the Netherlands and another who has settled in Cyprus.

I know many will have moved to the same countries but I am trying to contact people across the globe and also a wide range of ages. If you can put me in touch with someone please contact me via e-mail: enquiries@chrishelme-brighouse.org.uk