Fleas at Brighouse civic Hall?

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The Brighouse Civic Hall building has hosted many events over its 147 years but I am sure in those early years no one would have ever thought that one day something called a Flea Market or - do we say Antiques Fair? - would be held in the main hall.

The building dates back to 1866 when the Brighouse Town Hall Company was formed.

The building was for the administration of the town’s affairs and also had to be suitable for education classes as well.

This created a much needed permanent home for the town’s Mechanic’s Institute which had been formed in 1846.

A large part of the hall’s cost was paid for by some of the town’s most prosperous businessmen including: Sir George Armytage; Thomas Sugden; Kaye Aspinall; T.T.Ormerod; David Goldthorp Sugden; Henry Stott; J.Barber; Henry Sugden; Charles Heward Broughton and John Taylor, who between them they donated £2,475.

The Brighouse Town Hall Company was formed in 1866 with a capital of £7,000 divided into £1 shares.

The proposal was taken up so well by the general public that the new building was officially opened on October 14, 1868, by Sir George Armytage the then chairman of the company, a position he held for 22 years.

Some readers will recall visiting the premises when it was the Savoy Picture House, and as the cinema-going public declined during the 1950s, the Savoy closed its doors in 1959 and was then put up for sale.

With it being such a prominent building in the town centre the council stepped in and created a sub-committee to consider the possibilities of buying it.

With a favourable report by the Borough Engineer, discussions were started with the owners and after weeks of haggling over the price a deal was finally struck when the council agreed to pay £20,000.

Once everything had been finalised the council asked local architects Richard Pickles and Partners to submit plans and sketches of the building for a new use as a Civic Hall, dancing and entertainment purposes.

The big day finally arrived on January 23, 1967, when the old Savoy Cinema was officially given its new title by the local authority - The Brighouse Civic Hall - and its official opening followed in April 1968.

Since then it has been used for many kinds of events and the Antique Fairs have been regular visitors over the years.

In this photograph of 1977 it shows some of the visitors looking over the stalls, no doubt in the hope of finding something cheap which they would hopefully discover later to be worth a small fortune.

I wonder if the two ladies on the right have spotted just that?