How town hall’s clock got its nickname

Brighouse Town Hall - October 2 1984
Brighouse Town Hall - October 2 1984

The next time you are in Thornton Square look up at the top of the town hall and you will see the decorative balustrade running from one side to the other and the town hall clock.

It was on April 29, 1914 that the council accepted the offer of the Mayor Alderman Robert Thornton JP for the improving of the town hall frontage and the provision for a new clock.

The clock soon attracted the nickname of ‘Owd Bob’ after the mayor. If you can look carefully around the clock you will see the year 1914 and his initials.

These were not the only gifts Robert Thornton gave to the town - his name was given to the open space outside the town hall once Holroyd Buildings, the triangular shaped property which was built in the mid-nineteenth century, was demolished between 1912 and 13.

This demolition took place owing to traffic problems for traffic travelling along Bethel Street towards Union Street which was the narrow cobbled street directly outside the town hall.

Thornton Square has been the gathering point on numerous occasions - September 30, 1893 when Brighouse was incorporated into a borough, a document read out by the town clerk James Parkinson.

It was also the location where the young men of Brighouse received the rallying call to join-up for the First World War. Rallies were also held to raise funds for the war efforts of both the First and Second World Wars. And celebrations that both wars had come to an end and a place and time to reflect on those who did not return home.

Thornton Square has seen a number of civic receptions - 1946 when a triumphant Brighouse and Rastrick Band won the national brass band championships at the Royal Albert Hall and marched through the town to be greeted by the mayor and dignitaries. The members and officials of St John’s Ambulance Band who won many trophies too.

The name of Robert Thornton is also linked to the four cottages on Thornhill Road in Rastrick. These four cottages were erected by Mrs Atkinson, who was Robert Thornton’s mayoress, in his memory.

This week’s featured photograph was taken on Tuesday, October 2, 1984 and shows the removal of the bells from the town hall.

I understand from previous newspaper reports that these bells were placed in storage and sometime in the future would be put on display. Never having seen them I assume they are still in storage, or are they?