Connecting Bailiff Bridge to Brighouse

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The Bradford Road junction with Smith Carr Lane and not a motor vehicle in sight but there is still plenty of horse power to be seen even on what appears to be a very quiet day.

The large building with the steps to the front door was the Martins Nest public house but having seen its best years as a pub becoming something of the past in recent years, it was transformed into what is now the very popular Thaal Indian Restaurant.

This photograph was taken during the period when Mr A. Bottomley was the licensee 1909. The Martins Nest was used in the early days when Bradford Road was a turnpike road. Like the Punch Bowl at Bailiff Bridge and the George Hotel in the town centre, the Martins Nest was built or converted to be a resting place for weary travellers with facilities at the back for stabling the horses and space to park-up the carriage.

There is evidence that the era of modern passenger transport for the masses had arrived with the tramcar tracks clearly visible. This was part of the route from the George Hotel through to Bailiff Bridge and was opened in October 1904.

In our second featured photograph are all the tramway track layers sat on the steps outside the Martins Nest in 1904, no doubt suitably refreshed before being caught on camera. They could never have dreamt that over a hundred years later we could still be able to see them posing on that summers day all those years ago.

By the early 1920s Bailiff Bridge had a bus service through to Brighouse and that was a bus service in the modern sense. The Brighouse Motor Agency which had been established on Bradford Road (where the A1 Power tool company is now) just out of the village. It was just after the First World War when the new bus service was up and running and that was before the first trams had started to arrive in Brighouse from Huddersfield, in 1923.

Looking just beyond the Martins Nest and the advertising hoardings is the junction of Cross Street and clearly visible is the corner door to what is now Tastebuds Sandwich shop but when this photograph was taken it was Mr D. Hamshaw’s grocery shop.

Returning to the Martins Nest and looking at the frontage to the right of the fall pipe, that side of the building appears to be newer than the left hand side judging from the colour of the stone. The rather elaborately shaped chimney on the frontage also appears to be new stone. If you look on the present day building that chimney is no longer there. The other clue to that side being new is the positioning of the steps to the front door. They are clearly in the middle of the older part of the building.

Peering between the trees on the horizon is the Victorian Gentleman’s residence ‘Ellwood’. Some of the owners have included members of the Kershaw family notably Cornelius Kershaw and members of the Stott family who had the North Vale Doubling Mills at Bailiff Bridge. It was sold in 1982 as a family home and was converted to a residential home for the elderly but was demolished when a planning application was submitted to build a new four-storey 60 bed residential home on the site. But there is no sign yet of any development on the now vacant 1.81 acre site.

These are two photographs that can tell us so much about just a small section of Bradford Road.