Echoes of the Past: Top of the pops in Brighouse

William Ganson
William Ganson

Ganson’s Pop will mean little to younger readers but I am sure there will be many others who will remember the name from their summer Sunday School visits to Sunny Vale.

To have a bottle of their fizzy pop was just part of the magic of those annual visits to what was often referred to as ‘the playground of the north’.
To the children visiting Sunny Vale the family that actually started the company would have created little interest, so who were the Ganson’s?
William Gottlieb Ganson was born on July 16, 1831 in Droylesden, Manchester.
His father John Emmanuel Ganson was born in 1799 in Antigua in the West Indies, whereas his mother Susanna was born in Littletown, Gomersal. William was one of nine children.
William’s mother died when he was seven years old, but he continued his studies at the Moravian Day School in Fairfield, Manchester.
This was until he was 10 years old and then, like many other children of that time, started work as a half–timer in the same mill as his father worked.
At the age of 21 he moved to Ashton-under-Lyne where he met his future wife Caterina. In 1853 in Droylesden he and Caterina Barlowe were married.
After their marriage they moved house several times around the Derbyshire area.
In 1864 they moved to Hadfield, South Yorkshire and then in 1867 moved to Brighouse for the first time.
Their son Abraham was born in Brighouse in 1868, but not long after they were on the move again, this time to Manningham in Bradford.
There must have been something special about Brighouse because by 1885 the family were back and had become the owners of a small mineral water business at Hove Edge.
This was situated next to the Joiners Arms, a building that in later years became the Hove Edge Post Office and was later re-developed for housing.
In September of 1893 Brighouse gained its Borough status and one of the first Councillors to be appointed was William Ganson.
Councillor Ganson served on various committees. Sunny Vale was started in 1880, as a market garden but over the next three years it was developed into the Sunny Vale Pleasure Gardens but better known to its visitors as ‘Sunny Bunces’.
In the summer of 1897 William Ganson no longer a councilor spent much of his time at his home in Hipperholme leaving his sons to look after the business - in January 1904 he died aged 72.
In 1927 the company was owned by Ernest Sheffield.
During the 1930s local Hove Edge children always referred to the enclosed area at the back of Ganson’s as ’Pop Yard’. Abraham Ganson died in 1940 but by that time the business had moved into new premises on Half House Lane.
In 1949 Ernest Sheffield sold the business, he died in 1957. In later years the Half House Lane site was used by Broadoak Garage which in those days was owned by Jack Wainwright. In later years, I am sure many will remember when it was used by the Corona Soft Drinks Company, in the days when their wagons would be seen weekly in and around the communities and kids could be heard shouting to their parents “Pop mans ‘ere, can we ‘ave some”.
The Corona company changed hands a number of times but by the late 1990s the brand name finally came to an end.

The first day of self service at the Co-op in Brighouse

The first day of self service at the Co-op in Brighouse

Unexpected item in the bagging area!

You might just be thinking this gentleman with the flat cap appears to be a little confused!

Well, this was the mid 1950s at the Castle Hill Co-op at Rastrick on the day self service was introduced for the first time and it was all being explained to him how it worked.

I don’t know his name but to his left are Clifford Hartley and Harold Mackrill, familiar faces to those readers whose weekly visit into town always included a visit to the town centre Brighouse Co-op.