Our ever changing world

St Chad's School children - 1937
St Chad's School children - 1937

Since this photograph was taken outside St Chad’s School in 1937 these children have grown up in a fast- changing world.

The year this photograph was taken saw the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and celebrations were wide spread.

In October, there was a royal visit to Brighouse by the new King George and Queen Elizabeth. It only lasted ten minutes when the royal party drove through Brighouse via Elland Road from Halifax.

The royal couple never actually set foot on Brighouse soil but someone forgot to tell the Mayor, Mayoress and the members of the Borough council.

As they all stood at the bottom of Halifax Road on a specially made platform in a state of readiness with even the Mayoress Mrs Cheetham holding a large bouquet of flowers which she was going to surprise the Queen by presenting them too her.

The royal party drove slowly passed the waiting officials no doubt presenting them with a royal wave as they passed.

The party slowly drove on through Commercial Street and were met by a sea of faces waving and cheering as they went by.

Some of the crowd might just have included some of the children in this week’s featured photograph.

But for many adults the biggest change came on April 1 of that year when local government re-organisation came into existence after discussing it since 1933.

The changes meant that Brighouse Borough Council would absorb Hipperholme, part of Southowram, Clifton, Norwood Green and Coley.

By far the loudest voice against these changes was at Hipperholme which meant that the Hipperholme council offices that opened over 30 years earlier were to be closed. But within twelve months the offices were re-opened as the new Hipperholme branch library.

The town centre saw some major changes as well with both an electricity show room opening followed by a gas show room opening a few months later.

I am sure many readers will remember going to the gas show rooms in Park Street to pay their gas bills and take the opportunity to have a look at the latest gas cookers and gas fires while they were there.

It was also in 1937 that new electricity showrooms were opened in Briggate by John Henry Turner who was the chairman of the electricity committee.

Perhaps some readers may recall these showrooms were opened in what had been the Midland Bank before it moved to its present site at the corner of Market Street and Bethel Street (now the HSBC Bank).

Having paid all the bills it would be time for a bit of shopping and then a chnce to meet up with a few friends and possibly a call at Kendall’s Milk Bar, which later became the Rendezvous Café. Then, as the years went by, there might have been a visit to the Windsor Café and the Co-op’s Coffee Pot in more modern times before it too closed down.

The children in this photograph could also look forward to visiting the town’s first purpose built the Ritz cinema which also opened in 1937.

With Brighouse town centre now having three cinemas The Albert, Savoy and now the Ritz if these children thought they might be able to go to the cinema on a Sunday the Free Church Council made their views on the subject quite plain, not if we have any say in the matter.

With the dark war time clouds gathering over Europe again these children would also live through the Second World War and all the difficulties and horrors that would bring.

It is now 73 years since these children posed for this photograph and it may be just may some of the youngest children might still live in the area. If you are on this photograph I would be pleased to hear from you – e-mail: enquiries@chrishelme-brighouse.org.uk or 01422205763