Of all the industries I have written about in my new book, ‘Brighouse at Work’. Ship building is not one I had considered when I embarked on researching all the industries our town has seen, particularly since 1760 with the opening of the canal.
Even though Brighouse is about 60 miles from Liverpool and almost 70 miles from Hull, ship building so far inland does seem a tall order.
But yes it is true, Brighouse did make.... well not quite ships in the strict sense of the word, but landing craft for war time use.
These were built by T.W.Helliwell Birds Royd Lane and were called ‘Lesson Learnt’ by the Navy, the all-welded craft served our country well during the Second World War.
Started in 1870 Helliwell Patent Glazing moved to its current site in Brighouse ten years later. It was during the 1940s that this company, a business more familiar with glazing turned to the production of shipping. The craft they made each 60ft in length and made ready were dispatched from the Brighouse works ready for sailing.
Why Brighouse you might ask? This was during the war years and through repeated bombing in more vulnerable areas in the country, Brighouse helped by taking on the task of producing these all-welded landing craft. I have no details of how many they produced, but needless to say through the ingenuity and craftsmanship of our local tradesmen Brighouse served our country at its time of need.
This is just one small extract from my book priced £14.99 + £3 p/p (reasonable distance around Brighouse I will deliver them ) - further details about the book can be found on my new website www.chrishelme-brighouse.org.uk or by telephone on 01422-205763