Passage of time at village landmarks

Bailiff Bridge cross road with tram c- early 1920s (1)
Bailiff Bridge cross road with tram c- early 1920s (1)

Many things have changed in the centre of Bailiff Bridge since this photograph was taken c1920.

The tramcar is from Odsal through to Bailiff Bridge and first arrived when the route was completed in 1913.

Ideally it should have been one continuous journey through to Brighouse but owing to a different track width to that of the Brighouse to Bailiff Bridge tram route which opened in 1904, you had to get off one tramcar and walk the short distance to the terminus and catch your connecting tramcar.

This was still the era when beer was delivered by horse and cart, as shown by the one outside the Punch Bowl Hotel.

Along with the tramcars the pub has faded into the mists of time with now being the home a private business.

Dominating the scene are premises which had been occupied by Firth’s Carpets from 1867 when Thomas Freeman Firth bought the building to the left of the tramcar and up to the fall pipe to the left of the second line of windows at a public auction in Halifax.

When bought all those years ago it had previously been an old worsted mill. Little could he have imagined that a little over 130 year later his company would have closed and demolished.

Today it is a vacant plot of land possibly waiting for a bigger economic upturn before a buyer steps in and we see this eyesore disappear.

The building on the right hand side of the road which is still standing today was built in 1909 and there is a stone on the Birkby Lane gable end showing that date.

This was the same year that the two connecting foot bridges were erected to give easier access from the new building where the offices and senior management were across Birkby Lane and into the factory.

Some readers will remember the fountain which can be seen in the middle of the cross roads.

This granite and stone watering hole both for livestock and thirsty local residents was presented and opened to the community by Lady Janet Firth on July 31, 1911.

It was there until Brighouse Borough Council decided it was a road hazard and voted that it should be removed. It was taken down at a cost of £500 in 1962.

Whilst you might think that an appropriate place for it to be re-erected would have possibly been in the memorial park, the inscription stone and other major parts of it were taken to a council depot and dumped, and the two granite troughs were sold.

The smaller building standing in the shadow of the 1909 offices of Firth’s was the Bailiff Bridge Institute and dated back to when classes similar to those run at the Mechanics Institute in Brighouse were held during the latter part of the nineteenth century.

With the passage of time sadly many of these local landmarks will be forgotten about.