Echoes of the past: How times changed in 1939

These are some of the members of the vicars bible class run by Rev.H.R.Evers, the Vicar of Brighouse in 1932
These are some of the members of the vicars bible class run by Rev.H.R.Evers, the Vicar of Brighouse in 1932

After a short discussion about some of the people in the photograph he then asked me, what lens I had used on my camera to take the original photograph.

Just how old he thought I was, I just could not imagine, with the photograph having been taken in the 1930s. Let us say it was the same age as this week’s group photograph, that would make me even if I was born in 1932, 85 years old.

The 1930s even though I was not there. The prospect of a Royal Silver Jubilee in 1936 seemed to create an air of optimism around the borough. A branch of the Huddersfield Trustee Savings Bank opened in the May.

The Brighouse Co-op, a business that touched most people’s daily lives also felt the rise in optimism. So much so that it announced it was to open a new emporium on King Street, which was formally opened in November 1937. Another sign that the social life in the town centre was changing when the Mayor formally opened the new Kendall’s Milk Bar in Commercial Street in 1936.

Some readers will I am sure be able to pin point just where they were 78 years ago at 11am, Sunday 3 September 1939. This was when Mr Chamberlain made the radio broadcast that we were at war with Germany.

The Friday before had seen blackout restrictions in Brighouse, cinemas were closed as from the Monday. Workshop Cricket matches were cancelled, there were no enrolments for evening classes, rugby fixtures were all cancelled until further notice, a bowling merit match was also cancelled.

The times were changing. Food and coal control committees were set up and everyone was now carrying their gasmasks. Some people were going round suggesting the world was about to come to an end.

Expecting the worst within minutes of the broadcast and thoughts that Hitler’s Luftwaffe would be heading for Brighouse already, did not happen. The cinemas re-opened, football fixtures were re-started by mid September, life had to go on.

Returning to our featured photograph from 1932. These are some of the members of the vicar’s bible class run by Rev.H.R.Evers, the Vicar of Brighouse. Back Row (left to right): Fred Kirk, a butcher by trade on King Street and often seen in the Dusty Miller at Hove Edge, Jack Sykes, a Police Special for 30 years who lived in Marion Street, John Clough, who for many years kept the Nags Head pub at Ainley Top, Frank Farrar, Edwin Hinchliffe, was the mayor of Brighouse for the two years 1954 - 56 and was awarded the OBE, George Wilkinson, Frank Cocker, was the head of the artists department at A.H.Leach & Co. A fascinating book was written in the 1980s about a series of letters Frank and his wife Evelyn exchanged during the First World War. Frank Cardwell, a member of the chemist family who had their shop on Commercial Street. Charles Bottomley, lived in Halifax Road and was a director at Bottomley and Emerson’s at Brookfoot and Norman Tattersall.

Front row (left to right): Arthur Nelson, Kenneth Hardy, Frank Womersley, plus 4s in Brighouse a rare sight indeed, Bernard Fernside, the wages man at Thornton, Hannam and Marshall, the Rev. Hubert Richard Evers, left Brighouse after serving the parish for 12 years and was appointed vicar at Guestling near Hastings, where he died in 1952 aged 81. The Rev. Henry Thomas Kendall, was a part-time rugby player for Brighouse Rangers, Alfred Hardy, Ernest Collins and Varley Scott. .

85 years have gone by since this photograph was taken, but present day family members will possibly be able to recognise their relatives.