Echoes of the past: It’s almost the end of another year

Children riding a Brighouse Co-operative open backed wagon
Children riding a Brighouse Co-operative open backed wagon

Well, almost another year over, 2016 has been my 31st year of reminiscing and bring back memories of our town’s past for you. It only seems like yesterday when I made my first contribution, but that was in January 1986. Over the years I have received countless letters, telephone calls and e-mails from many local people, as well as many others who now live both far beyond the Brighouse boundary and abroad often asking for help in tracing ancestors, old photographs of their home or deceased relatives or they just want to share a tale or a memory with me.

For my penultimate story for this year I have chosen to share this happy picture of children riding this Brighouse Co-operative open backed wagon. Judging from their smart clothes and the girls all wearing hats, I would imagine this is involved in a procession of some kind.

Today, this would not be allowed with ‘health and safety’ ruling all such activities and the high cost of the insurance premiums. It is not that long ago when the rules appertaining were changed following an elderly man falling off a wagon involved in a gala procession in North Yorkshire. Whilst the man was not seriously injured it was that one incident that shook the insurance world. It had been taken for granted for years that people, usually children, would ride on the back of vehicles as part of a gala procession. But that incident made a major impact and the number of ‘floats’ where children were on vehicles were dramatically reduced.

This happy photograph is light years away from those problems but looking at so many children on this wagon does make me even a little nervous for their health and safety.