Good Times: Column 700 and even more changes in town

Jeremys at the Boathouse, Brighouse

Jeremys at the Boathouse, Brighouse

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In the past couple of years since the column celebrated 600 editions and some 12 years and three months of contributions there have been more changes in the town and immediate district.

In the town itself we have seen Jeremy’s flourish and come bounding back from the awful Boxing Day flood along with the birth of the newly and aptly named hostelry, Millers (formerly Black Swan), which was also troubled with flood waters but to a much lesser degree. While these two are now firmly established, old favourites like the Barge, Richard Oastler a Wetherspoons public house, The Calder, Ship Inn, Black Bull, The Bridge and The George have their regulars and continue to provide a great service.

In the past two years we have lost the Robin Hood on Wakefield Road and to me and many others it looks very unlikely we will see a pint pulled in earnest there again. Blakeborough’s (Blakes) has opened again in the past year after troubled times and keeps its famous name in these parts in the local games and Snooker Leagues, but it is a shame that the grand old licensed Blakes Bowling Club just off Halifax Road at Lane Head is no longer open.

On Bradford Road, there have been managerial changes at The Beck but it once more has its real ale regulars and guests. Behind this atmospheric pub, the Thornhill Briggs WMC is such an institution that it continues to attract membership and is again buoyant in the local sports leagues. Brighouse Sports Club thrives with its rugby league, football, cricket and snooker membership in its well appointed clubhouse and grounds as well as providing a major venue for receptions of all kinds with excellent catering. The Armytage Arms and Black Horse in Clifton have their contended clientele and continue to provide a great service for meals and drinks as does the Auctioneer for functions in the Armytage Industrial Estate.

The Sun Inn at the junction of Stoney Lane and Wakefield Road continues to be one of the area’s popular places for a good meal and drink, while also in Lightcliffe the White Horse is ever so popular along with the Lightcliffe Club that also plays host on the last Friday in the month to Jiving Jeff’s record hop with a sprung floor in the function room perfect for dancing.

Further along in Hipperholme it was good to see the Whitehall re-open whilst down the road is the Tannery with its tapas and piano lounge and leading down to Shibden Valley is busy Ossett Brewery house The Travellers Inn.

The Ship Inn, Brighouse.

The Ship Inn, Brighouse.

In upper Hipperholme the Hare and Hounds and the Old Brodleians clubhouse for functions are well appreciated, while Brown Horse and then in Shelf, the Duke of York under ex-Rastrtck licensee Natalie Hayton, is now really coming back to it’s own as a steakhouse and bar.

Back down towards Hove Edge and we pass the Halifax Steam Brewing Company who have their own lounge and provide many a barrel to the local area, then Rob Wilde at the Dusty Miller has re-introduced food recently and continues his success.

The Old Pond on St Giles’ Road keeps a tidy house, as they say in these parts, and continues to play host to Brighouse Old Boys FC and the Old Pond Sunday League soccer sides.

Crow Nest Park Golf saw massive changes to their catering facility since adding a superb modern restaurant that plays host to many a sportsman’s dinner, weddings and many more functions and events.

The Lane Head Hotel has changed hands and so has the Crown a few times in that period but the Prince Albert, aka Pop Inn, just 75 yards on the road from the Crown continues to play host to its regulars.

On the Brighouse/Rastrick boundary is the Cliffe Hall Club, a stalwart in the Brighouse Snooker League and a popular venue for events with its function room.

Round the corner we have seen closures and re-openings of The Star, which in the 60s, 70s and 80s was really thriving. Moving up into Rastrick and there is the Rastrick Constitutional Club (Top Club) which continues to enjoy just male membership who love all their sports and of late it is really booming, which is great to see. The Greyhound and The Grove continue to enjoy their regulars but there is no longer a Phoenix Bar, now a fancy dress shop, and we lost The Rock Inn in upper Rastrick, The Sun Inn has been closed for over six months and is undergoing changes after a complete gutting.

The Roundhill has been a gem of the licensed trade for decades and is so well run by Rick and Maggie Starkey who, as we know, have purchased the neighbouring Clough House that was shut down all last year and will shortly to open as a bar and restaurant called the Four Sons.

I was delighted to see Rastrick CC promoted last year and to hear from John Edge just how much the club has turned its fortunes around, for it does have very pleasant and warm licensed facilities overlooking the ground.

Another big turnaround in the past six months has been the Junction at the bottom of Toothill Bank. It was under the stewardship of Steven Ingle aka DJ Zingy for years and then in came new buyers for the former Burtonwood house and its been given an £80,000 facelift and is welcoming old and new faces under Phil Ward.

Rastrick Bowling and Social Club, with vibrant stewardess Kate Smith, has also in those past two years really boomed and it is a lovely venue to visit and also look through the large windows and watch the crown green bowlers.

The Globe on Rastrick Common is still enjoying its stable licensees Alan and Anne Sild and providing good food and drink, while the Greenwood family moved into the Railway/Commercial Inn at the end of Gooder Lane from the Crown and before that the New Inn now The Beck, and they keep a good house, recently getting into the Guinness Book of Records for the largest pub quiz.

They also employ on some Sundays veteran rock and roll DJ Jiving Jeff.

Local popular cheffing brothers Karl and Michael Rowley finally achieved their dream in gaining their own public house with restaurant and have built up a once quiet and dwindling village pub, The Shepherds Arms at Cowcliffe just through the ford in Fixby woods.

Moving to the outskirts of Brighouse we have the Holiday Inn on the hillside which offers its sportsman’s dinners, charity balls and its dining offers in the Junction restaurant.

Due to flooding the Old Mill Inn on Wakefield Road was closed but with hard work and determination the Chef and Brewer house re-opened its doors at the end of January.

Former Rastrick and Brighouse Landlord Alan Ingle also had some flood damage with being situated on the river at Battyeford, Mirfield, although the inside of the pub was left un-damaged the beer garden, which is the jewel in the pub’s crown, took a bashing with the river bursting and coming up to the second level. All is now well and the business goes from strength the strength.

News round up

Tonight (Thursday) at The Barge they have the Invisible Idols, followed on Friday evening by The Shambollix. Saturday night Bulldog will be on stage and the weekends live music is wrapped up on Sunday with the Tombstone Buzzards.

At Jeremy’s on Friday night they have live music from Alex and the Concords followed on Saturday evening with Smiler on stage from 9.30pm.

The Three Nuns at Battyeford, a regular haunt for Brighouse folk over the decades, closed its doors for good this week. The pub, which has been popular with families for years thanks to its quick and cheap food plus massive play gym and outdoor area has been closed and will become a Miller and Carter Steakhouse. It is not known what the title of it will be.

Starting a six week refurbishment, the play gym at the back of the property will be turned into a large venue for weddings.