Echoes of the past: All change for former local industrial giant

This photo is of Brookes Nonslip Stone works at Lightcliffe was taken on 30 September 1919
This photo is of Brookes Nonslip Stone works at Lightcliffe was taken on 30 September 1919

A lot has changed since this photograph of Brooke’s Nonslip Stone works at Lightcliffe was taken on 30 September 1919.

Over the years I have been asked many times, ‘How many tall chimneys did Brooke’s have ?’

Interestingly these questions have often coincided with the enquirer taking part in a quiz or history trail organised as a fundraising activity. ‘Is it one, two, ten or even more ?’ I once saw a photograph with thirteen on.

It was 1969 when the last of the Brooke’s empire closed down. This was a company that was started c1840 and went on to employ thousands of people. Employees who lived not just in and around Lightcliffe, Hipperholme and Hove Edge but many parts of the world.

Once the last vestiges of the company were sold off the chimneys that remained at the time were all demolished. Then the hard work started to clear and clean the land from contamination. It was only after that process that the land would be fit to redevelop.

This view of the old Brooke’s site is looking from the Hipperholme side of the main line railway track. From Hipperholme cross road to this site is Brighouse Road. For the first time I recently noticed the Brighouse Road sign on the corner at the motor cycle shop at the cross roads. I always thought it as Brighouse and Denholmegate Road. The road changes to Halifax Road a few yards after the Crosslee factory which was built on the Brooke’s site shown in this week’s photograph.

With the demolition of The Grange in Wakefield Road, once the home of the Brooke’s family as each year passes less and less remains of this local industrial giant.