Echoes of the past: Looking back at Brighouse through guides

King Street in the 1960s near the current Wilkinson Woodward Bearders Solicitors.
King Street in the 1960s near the current Wilkinson Woodward Bearders Solicitors.

The earliest was printed by the king of town guide books, Edward J.Burrows, just before the First World War and was the publishers 291st in his ‘Borough’ guides series.

This interesting little red booklet was sold from EBLittlewood’s shop which was described as a stationers and fancy goods dealer at 2 King Street.

The advertisements in those days were for Turnwright’s slab toffee, ‘a gift from Brighouse’, so the label in the small tin said and was enjoyed by countless soldiers fighting over in France during the First World War. Another was for the soap industry with John Drury & Company, Soap Makers and Oil Merchants of Birds Royd. A business that is still successfully manufacturing soap in Brighouse today. This book is complete with fifteen excellent photographs from the Romney Studios of 49, Bradford Road.

The second booklet was produced just after the First World War whilst Alderman D.C.Holmes JP was the mayor. This booklet has more pictures from the Romney Studios but has been produced as more of a trade directory and looks at many of the Borough’s largest businesses and employers. The guide takes the reader through all the major industries of the time. This includes the silk, cotton, woollen and worsted trades, wire manufacturing, engineering, stone, other building materials and the chemical industry.

There were many smaller businesses represented too. Including the leather and tanning trade, Sugden’s flour mills, iron and brass and of course Turner and Wainwright’s toffee.

The next one is dated 1938 and describes Brighouse as a town of many trades.

The photographs in this booklet have been produced by AH Leach & Co Ltd and are different from the earlier booklets. Whilst the editorial is almost the same covering the industries it now also includes a section on sports and pastimes.

This includes everything from amateur dramatics to Brighouse and Rastrick Band’s hat trick of wins at the Belle Vue, Manchester September contest. It also introduces another section covering places of interest which could be aimed at the more mobile resident or visitor.

The next six guides are the Burrow’s Pointer Guide Map of Brighouse.

These have that curious piece of string inside, attached to the map and used as a means of finding your way around the map more easily. It is interesting looking through these particularly at the estimated population figures in 1948/49 when it is 30,000. This was an increase of almost 9,000 from the first of the guides and due mainly to the amalgamation of a number of local councils in 1937.

This photograph is King Street at a time when I am sure many readers will recall. The group of ladies are standing outside number 3 King Street and what is now part of Wilkinson Woodward Bearders Solicitors.