Black Bull - 100 years apart

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It is difficult to imagine these two photographs were taken almost a century apart (1912 / 2012) and shows a section of Thornton Square and some of the changes it has gone through.

The older of the two photographs was taken shortly after a triangular shaped property where the two boys are standing was demolished.

This property was called Holroyd Buildings and had been built during the 1850s, but it began causing traffic problems and the Borough Council decided it had to go. The vacant space was named after the 1909 to 1916 Mayor Robert Thornton JP.

Interestingly where the two boys are standing and the street light is, was the site where the town centre water pump used to be and was for many living in the town centre the only source of piped water.

The older 1912 photograph shows the Black Bull Hotel which was built in 1740 and is the only building to feature on the new photograph.

At the Brighouse Brewster session of 1899 the police superintendent told the magistrates that Brighouse was one of the most drunken towns in the Halifax policing district.

Magistrates were given the powers to withdraw the licences on the grounds that the premises were no longer needed.

This enabled both the authorities and police to seek the closure of many licensed premises while on the pretext of the particular premises not being required but in reality it may have become a problem hostelry and something drastic had to be done. A practice that went on well into the 1930s and saw the number of premises significantly reduced.

To find out more about Brighouse and its surrounding area drinking establishments Halifax author Stephen Gee has had two books published with a third one almost finished.

These publications show some wonderful photographic images of many of those premises that the magistrates closed and have since either been demolished or redeveloped.

The businesses from left to right of the Black Bull Hotel include S. Lees who advertised as a family grocers; Barnett Brothers who were drapers, dressmakers and milliners; next is J. Earnshaw who was a watch maker and jeweller; the tall building is the home of David Holmes JP who was a boot factor and the London City and Midland Bank with its manager Mr F.C.Sleap.

The final shop I will highlight on this section of Briggate is the grocer and provisions deal John Wesley Hillard.

Who could have imagined that 60 years later his name would once again look out over Briggate with the Hillard’s Supermarket signage?

That 1972 supermarket has disappeared in to the annals of retailing history, replaced by Tesco’s and then replaced by another familiar name on the retailing high street of Wilkinson’s.

Two years my ‘Brighouse Through Time’ book was published and shows the town centre how it used to be compared to how it looks today, and is available at Lords Picture framing on Bradford Road or from me at 01422-205763 or e-mail: