It is often difficult to date a photograph when there are few clues to work from and although there is a vehicle on this one we don’t even have the benefit of working it out from the registration number.
Looking at the clothing of these 30 men could it be the 1950s or even the very early 1960s. No doubt someone who knows about coaches or even men’s fashion will be able to throw some light on the age.
Perhaps the location will give a clue – but where is it?
The consensus of opinion says that it is the Punch Bowl Hotel at Bailiff Bridge in the rear car park. Note the road setts or cobbles and the open fronted slate roofed building which is all that remains of the old stabling facilities when it was used by horse drawn coach travellers. The last time I was in the present day car park you could still see the outline of this building on the back wall long after it had been demolished. But when was it taken down perhaps a Bailiff Bridge reader can even remember the days it was there.
Or perhaps you were one of the younger men on this trip – where were going that day? Many of them are wearing a white carnation in their lapel as a boutonnière as the French would say but a plain and simple button hole as we would call it.
Being a pub trip the licensee of the Punch Bowl would have followed the tradition of going on the trip as well so he could be amongst this gathering before they set off. But which one is he, could it be Fred Lister who was licensee through the war years 1939 to 1944 followed by Percy Mills who held the licence until 1955 when he moved on and passed it on to J.S.Woodhead who only stayed until 1957. In May of that year George E. Burgess and his wife took over the licence. Many people in Bailiff Bridge will remember them and the fact that George a respected member of the local community was sadly killed when the wagon ran away down Birkby Lane in 1972.
The Punch Bowl was built 1823 and was an important property at the turnpike cross roads of Wakefield Road which had been a turnpike road from 1741 and the Odsal to Huddersfield which was a new turnpike road in 1823. People and the transport they were carried in or on and even the animals they drove through the turnpike toll house gates had to pay a toll to pass through. To use the modern jargon it was a form of road pricing, something that has been discussed many times on the present day’s news programmes. The toll charges were used to maintain the roads and recover the costs of road construction.
In a way you could almost describe them as the new motorways of the day. Along these turnpike routes places for refreshment and overnight accommodation would be needed. The hotel would also have to provide a stabling facility for the carriage horses and the Punch Bowl Hotel provided that service.
Tolls began to be phased out from 1870 and over the generations the stabling facilities gradually became redundant and were no longer needed. In modern times they became the pub car parks we know today. Or as in this week’s featured photograph the pickup point for the pub trip.