A lot has changed since this photograph of Briggate was taken c1915 where the photographer was looking up Briggate towards the Anchor Bridge. Although the postmark says 1923
In the foreground there are some tatty posters on the side of what appears to be a small extension to the larger building. One of them quite clearly says Chelsea but why would the name Chelsea be on a billboard here in Brighouse?
One possible explanation which helps to date the photograph could be the 1915 FA Cup final which took place on 24 April between Sheffield United and Chelsea. This was the last FA Cup final to be staged before competitive football was suspended because of the First World War.
The match was moved from its pre war venue of Crystal Palace to Old Trafford to avoid disruption to travel in and around London. This was dubbed the Khaki Cup Final with so many spectators being in uniform. The winners by 3 - 0 was Sheffield. I can think of no other reason why the word Chelsea would be on the poster. The shop was not a newsagents a few years earlier my records show it as a tripe shop. It was probably just a good vantage point to stick some advertisements.
Moving further along the property towards the Anchor Bridge was once the home and ‘rooms’ for a local a Doctor Farrar. It was in this property many years after the doctor had retired and moved on that the grandchild of the elderly resident found some human bones in what we would call today the loft area of the property.
Causing a certain amount of hysteria in the town the police removed them but after being analysed it was declared that whilst they were human bones they were at least 100 years old. It was assumed they had once belonged to the doctor and like most doctors of the time always had a skeleton in their examination room. In those days unlike today they were real human bones.
Next along this row of what was some of the oldest property in the town centre was the famous Bow Window and what was to use the modern jargon Brighouse’s first Takeaway. This originally dated back to the 1860s but really came into its own when the Stake brothers took it on. It finally closed in 1959 which was a sad day for the generations of people who had called in for ‘a ha’poth, two and a muff’ or to the uninitiated an order once translated which meant .. a half penny worth of peas, two sausages and a tea-cake….
Next is the Assembly Rooms which opened on the 6 July 1906 and along with the Freemasons is used these days by many organisations both in and around the town.
Finally we arrive at the Anchor bridge which stands alongside what was called The Anchor public house although these days it is called The Bridge. If this photograph is 1915 then the licensee would have been William Robinson.
The opposite side of the road there was the Co-op coal yard where coal was transhipped from canal barges on to land based vehicles. Below this was the Black Swan which in 1915 the license was Emma Scholey.
Here we have just a small stretch of road that opens up into a fascinating piece of Brighouse’s local history.