Lots of changes in the pipeline

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New Road Sunday School c1954 Cinderella pantomime starlets - 60 years have gone by since this photograph was taken. A lot has happened in the Brighouse and Rastrick communities let alone in the wider world - changes that these young people have all lived through.

From the late nineteenth century gas was from the Brighouse gasworks in Mill Lane but following the nationalisation of gas in 1949 the state took on that responsibility. In the year these youngsters were in this pantomime gas ceased to be produced in Brighouse.

With many of the older industries on a slow death to final closure, new lighter industries were starting and seen to be thriving. To help these new businesses the decision was taken to build a new industrial estate on a large area of land off Wakefield Road. The development started in 1949 with the first business moving in late 1953.

The generation of young people in this week’s featured photograph I am sure will have gone to work at some of the many new industries that moved on to what is now referred to as the Armytage Industrial Park.

On the social welfare side of changes, October 1954 saw Longlands - the large old house in Lightcliffe - being transformed into what was then described as one of the new old people’s homes. The first lady who was in charge was Miss Annie Dickinson, someone I remember well.

Part of Clifton and Lightcliffe Band’s Christmas Day carol playing was to call at Longlands. The band was always sure of a warm welcome with a warm drink and some of Miss Dickinson’s sponge cake, which all the younger members of the band were treated to as I can testify to in 1960 when I started to go.

Shopping habits were going to change as well with many of the older shops closing down.

This meant the halcyon days of walking leisurely through the town centre to all those individual shops that sold bacon, butter, cheese, potatoes and flour were gradually disappearing.

The days of the weekly note pad that mothers and grandmothers had for generations to keep a weekly tally of their shopping requirements for the following week were coming to an end and being replaced by the wire basket of the self service shop.

I am sure the fathers, brothers and uncles of these children would have visited Burton’s in Commercial Street at some time during its presence in the town.

Opened in 1934 and closed in 1957, it was a place where you would be in the capable hands of Leonard Fuller, who was appointed the shop’s first assistant manager, and would be guaranteed the ‘Full Monty’. Having been the YEB showroom, Abbey National Building Society branch is now the Coral bookmakers and turf accounts.

These children would have been some of the first to see and experienced the ‘Lollipop’ men and women escorting them across the busy roads to and from school in 1954/55.

But what was that at the bottom of Parsonage Lane?

They saw not a policeman, it was the first traffic warden.

It was that same year that the few motorists we had in Brighouse would have had to use the newly installed traffic lights outside the Royal Hotel.

Interestingly the Royal was demolished as part of the town centre improvements of the late 60s and early 1970s. The traffic lights were also removed at the same time only to be put back almost in the same location as the new set of lights are on the bypass outside Sainsbury’s. Don’t they say what goes round comes round?

I was invited to write this weekly feature in the Brighouse Echo back in November 1985 by the editor, Stephen Firth.

Since then and rarely missing a week to all its readers it has brought back memories of the years gone by. It has helped to bring back memories of people, events and places we had almost forgotten.

2015 will be my 30th year - not a milestone I imagined all those years ago I would be commenting on. This contribution I still enjoy doing each week and have always been thankful to Stephen for asking me.

The countless letters and now emails I have and still receive remind me about times gone by and, yes, pointing out the occasional errors as well. I thank you all.

Moving seamlessly through to my 30th year I send you all best wishes for 2015.