Striking contrast with bygone age

Briggate procession - c1910
Briggate procession - c1910

I know from readers’ letters and e-mails there is a fascination looking back at our old photographs, but that interest goes up even more when an older photograph can be compared alongside the present day view of the same location.

Here in these two photographs where we have a good example showing just how much things have changed in another section of Briggate from that we illustrated a few weeks ago.

The older photograph does not have any indication of a date but looking at the style of clothes, particularly that of the ladies and some wearing head shawls, I would suggest is before the First World War.

Looking at the horse drawn vehicle suggests that it is something a little more impressive that the annual demonstration parade.

The carriage is being pulled by at least six horses and carrying people dressed as Roman soldiers.

But where is the procession going ?

One of the earliest locations for large community style events was held on land behind the Black Swan in Briggate at an area known as Swan Field. Then some events were held on open land at the rear of the Black Bull and what is now Wilkinson’s.

Many readers will have attended events that were held on the Lane Head recreation ground when that was used for all the larger community events and celebrations. Wellholme Park did not exist as the park in those pre First World War days it was then still known as Camm Park and owned by the Camm family. When this photograph was taken, Thornton Square did not exist either as we know it today.

It was 1913 before the triangular shaped Holroyd Buildings was demolished and the open space that created was left and re-named Thornton Square.

This was named after the Mayor Robert Thornton JP, who was appointed to serve the town between 1909 and 1916. Without further research it would be difficult to say just where the procession was destined for.

But judging from crowds it was certainly a big attraction.

Looking at comparison photographs of Brighouse was the subject of my 2011 ‘Brighouse Through Time’ book, which I was told very quickly sold out.

Now the publishers tell me it is available as a Kindle download on Amazon on the internet.

I could never have dreamt in the mid 1960s sat in my classroom at St Martin’s Secondary Modern School that such a gadget would ever exist and to have a book actually available on it is out of this world.

Returning to our two photographs and looking at Commercial Street, which are the buildings beyond the horse drawn carriage, little seems to have changed judging by the windows and building shape.