Were you at library opening?

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During the mid 1950s there was over 70,000 books issued to children from Brighouse public libraries – that was a fact reiterated in the speech given by Mayor Alderman Harry Edwards when he officially opened the new children’s library on the first floor of The Rydings, the home of Brighouse’s central library.

This was just one more way of encouraging people to use the library facilities and perhaps some time in the future the service might include storytelling and play readings with children taking part were the hopes of the library staff.

Not to throw cold water on such ideas but in the 1950s with the introduction of commercial television and many children still regularly visiting the local cinemas, getting them to take on these new ideas would be easier said than done.

In 1956 expenditure on the new children’s and adult library along with the art gallery was over £12,000.

In this photograph (right) is the Mayor Alderman Harry Edwards, Mayoress Mrs Eliza Edwards and some of the children visiting on that first day, the lady to the right of Mrs Edwards is an unknown member of the library staff.

Perhaps you were one of the children who visited that day in 1956 when the new library was officially opened by the Mayor.

l My earliest visit to the old Eastfield School in Stoney Lane would have been not long after being appointed the Community Police Officer for the Lightcliffe area in 1975.

Schools back in those days were not that often visited by the police unless there were some problems to help sort out.

But my attitude was ‘why don’t we call other than when we are called to sort problems out…’.

So with that thought in mind I began visiting every school I could and as often as I could.

Gradually the veil of suspicion lifted which meant that I and all the other Community Constables were always made welcome at all the schools in the Brighouse and Elland Sub-Division.

Being invited to events at local schools not in our daily working time came in thick and fast.

Yes, attending these in our own time was not uncommon. Being asked to become involved in some of the events was also not uncommon either.

Some of these events were organised by what were called the PTA or Parent Teacher Associations.

One particular event I was asked to take part in was an Eastfield School version of Desert Island Discs which had been organised by history teacher Jim Hegarty, but of course they were not allowed to call it that otherwise they would have been in trouble with the BBC.

But it went well and I remember the school hall was packed on the night.

In this featured photograph, (below, left), dated 1983 are some of those parents who helped raise funds for extra things the school students would benefit from.

In this case a new ‘people carrier’ as we would call then today. In the driving seat receiving the keys and vehicle on behalf of the school is Mr D. A. Cameron, who was the first head teacher of the school when it opened in 1969.

In 1985 Eastfield became the Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School and Sports College.

Those readers familiar with Facebook will find a page for ex-Eastfield students who all share their memories of those days – before HLHS.