Hats off to ‘em!

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This photograph was taken from a bedroom window at the George Hotel in 1923 of the town centre.

The Mayor at the time is Alderman George Frederick Sugden who was elected in November 1922 and retained that position until 1925.

He was a member of the Sugden flour mills family and like other members of the Sugden family went into public life.

It was 1908 when he was elected unopposed to the Borough council as an independent for the Central Ward.

Within the first six months one of his duties as the mayor was to drive the first tram on a new service from Huddersfield into Brighouse.

Surprisingly this was 18 years after the first tram was driven from Halifax into Brighouse and then from Brighouse to Bailiff Bridge.

By the time the Huddersfield tram had arrived a proper bus service was operating in Bailiff Bridge with tramcars becoming very much a thing of the past.

Looking at the crowd lining both sides of Bradford Road, everyone is wearing a hat.

Can you remember as children being told by your mother ‘Put your cap on, you’ll get your death of cold’?

Walking through the town centre these days unlike the scene in this photograph few now seem to wear hats, may be the odd baseball cap but proper hats are rarely seen.

Travelling through town in this landau with a pair of sparkling black horses would have looked very impressive.

These didn’t belong to the council they were more often to be seen at the front of a Charles Wood black cab.

The man wearing the tall hat sat up front of the landau is John Potkins and he went on to be the mayor’s attendant for many decades after this photograph was taken retiring in 1947.

While everyone looks to be smartly dressed we must remember how difficult those times were. With 1700 men out of work, 51 boys and 18 girls and a figure that might surprise some readers, there were 452 women out of work.

In 1943 George Frederick Sugden was one of four people to be honoured with the Freedom of Borough one of only eleven people to receive the honour between 1893 and 1974. Returning to the first photograph - to the right of the sunblind advertising Widdops Jewellers is an arch way.

This was converted many years ago as I am sure some readers will recall to initially becoming the Co-op tobacconists and was later changed to a solicitor’s office. It was originally to gain access to stabling for Dr Brown who occupied what is now M&Co but at the turn of the nineteenth century was his private house.

The second photograph shows the Huddersfield to Brighouse tram making its way along Rastrick Common with a few locals looking on.