Memories of Wyke and Low Moor

From 1972 I spent just over two years working from the Wyke Police Section Box, the one next to the Wyke Library, as a beat officer covering Wyke and Low Moor areas.

Being one of a team of 10 officers working from the section box – 6ft patrol officers and four rotating as police van drivers – gave me the opportunity of finding my way round almost every nook and cranny of these two communities.

I pass through both Wyke and Low Moor almost every week and I can't help notice how much it has changed since then.

As the new housing developments arrived the old buildings disappeared. Can you remember the three fish shops in Wyke that were all owned by the one family, father and two sons and the man who mended bicycles at his shop in Towngate?

How many readers can remember the Babes in Wood caf? – I certainly do, the lady who owned it made some of the best Yorkshire puddings for miles around. Err… no, not better than at our house but they were a close second. Some of you may remember the days when the bus conductor would call out the bus stops 'Babes in Wood caf next – look sharp they're still serving dinners…'

There used to be an Osram lamp factory just off Towngate, somewhere near Garden Field. I think it used to be a cinema but the owners used to employ Harry Barraclough an elderly man as the night watchman. On those cold wet and windy nights I used to call in and he used to tell me tales about old Wyke and Low Moor.

One event he had vivid memories of was that devastating day in 1916 with the Low Moor explosion, the death and destruction it caused. He was only a young lad then but he was in Huddersfield Road the day the explosion was heard and felt for miles around. For many years both Wyke and Low Moor have had their own individual history societies and over the years I have been invited to give presentations to both groups. It is interesting to note that Wibsey also has a local history society as well and all three have a thriving and enthusiastic membership.

I recently met a couple of old friends Geoff and Mary Twentyman in Judy Woods, while out with our trusty black Labrador Libby and as always they were both busy with the on-going maintenance that Judy Woods needs.

We stopped for a chat, which gave them time to update me with local news in the Wyke and Low Moor areas. Between 10am and 4pm on Saturday April 18, the Low Moor Local History Group is holding a local and family history event at the Sports Hall at Aldersgate Methodist Church, which is at the junction of Cleckheaton Road, Common Road and Netherlands Avenue.

If you are tracing your family history and have connections in this area then this is a day not to miss. There will be a display of old maps and photographs of the area, and the admission is free and there is a sizeable car park.

This event is just one being held that weekend at Aldersgate – the Bradford Flower Club are involved in the church flower festival which is being held on the same weekend, April 17 to 19, at the church. The church will be open to the public from 6pm to 7pm on Friday 17th, 10am to 6pm Saturday 18th and noon to 6pm on Sunday the 19th, and once again admission is free.

Mary and Geoff are leading lights with 'The Friends of Judy Woods' and with all the other members are holding a series of summer events including walks both in and around the woods. For further information on these please ring 01274 673274 or email info@judywoods.org.uk and Mary and Geoff will be able to help. Or you can check the Friends' website www.judywoods.org.uk . You can also get details of how to become a member of the Friends' group.