Echoes of the past: Transport from 100 years ago

Whilst the way of life has changed since this photograph was taken c1910 some of the buildings look just as they do today.

With not a car in sight standing in the middle of the road or just sauntering across with not a barely a care in the world was not as problem a century ago. Life was certainly at a much slower pace in those days when walking from one place to another and leaving in time to get to your destination on time was the norm.

The two trams at the George Hotel terminus would soon be making their journeys to Bailiffe Bridge and possibly the double decker at the front would be destined for Halifax. The single decker destination board trams does say Bailiffe Bridge, still spelt with the ‘e’.

The George Hotel cross roads was going to be a lot busier in a few years. So much so that it would need the attendance of a police constable to carry out point duty almost on a daily basis.

Just when the George Hotel was built would require further research although 1815 has been suggested but it certainly dates back to 1823. Throughout its long history it has always been considered to be in a prime location in the town centre. A new road was started in October 1823 and was opened in 1825. The road from Odsal Top through to Brighouse and beyond was the new road which would have replaced in part an old one - now called Old Lane. The new road was of such quality and size it would have been the equivalent to what a new motorway would be today.

I believe the George Hotel could have been built about that time or not long after to serve thirsty and tired travellers who would take the opportunity of stopping off at what would have been the equivalent of a motorway service area at that time. In 1890 the George had its own brewery which is advertised at the top of the two storey building to the left of the double decker tram. Before the brewery was built there was an arched entrance on the same site which enabled horse drawn carriages to be taken in through to the back and stabled for the night allowing the weary travellers their overnight stay.

James Dyson was a builder and contractor, the history books tell us that he took on the licence of the George from Henry Lockwood c1889. Taking on the hotel was meant for him to be taking it easy. He was involved in a number of major building projects in Brighouse including the huge Atlas Mill which had been built alongside the canal in 1862. He was also involved in the building of Rastrick Gas Works and the Brighouse Town Hall. Taking on the George might have been considered to be taking it easy but it was as busy his idea of relaxing from the hard life as a builder never really materialised.

He was actively involved in public affairs being on the first Brighouse Borough Council in 1893 until he lost his seat four years later. He died in 1906 at Marsden and for a number of years his son also called James held the licence until his death in 1915 at the George. Graves of the Dyson family can be found in Rastrick church cemetery.

The Dyson family made significant contributions to the town - now I wonder if the origins of Dyson Street off Lightcliffe Road can be traced back to James Dyson the builder, licensee and council member?