Echoes of the past: The changing junction at Waring Green

Waring Green junction, Harry Greenwoods Barbers Shop
Waring Green junction, Harry Greenwoods Barbers Shop

Waring Green crossroads, possibly the 1970s, no doubt the readers with motor vehicle knowledge will be able to say exactly from the make and possibly model of the motor vehicles in this scene.

The property next to the white van will remind those young lads who had their Saturday morning haircuts. H. Greenwood, Gents Hairdresser, the lettering says on the window. Visiting Harry’s, although to us young school lads it was always Mr Greenwood, was a real treat. No, not for the short back and sides or even the dollop of brylcreem to finish off. It was his huge collection of comics he had in the waiting area.

Just where he got them from no one really knew, even when it was your turn you would gladly give it up to someone else. Rather than miss out on the next instalment of Dan Dare, or you spot an Eagle comic that you had missed from the dozens he had. Sitting on what was probably a kind of old leather settee, possibly stuffed with horsehair. Even wearing short trousers you almost gladly put up with the itching from the settee contents than miss out on a newly discovered comic from the ever growing pile.

I don’t know just how long Harry was in business, judging from his typical first name welcome to everyone who came to his shop, he must have been in business for many years.

This junction has changed almost beyond all recognition from Harry’s days. Gone has the Brighouse Co-op branch was opened on 4 January 1875 and swept aside by the bulldozers a century later.

In February 1904 the first tramcar from Halifax to Brighouse came down through the Waring Green crossroads. This was to give local people access to travel beyond Brighouse for the first time and it not having to be a special trip.

The following year Brighouse witnessed one of its largest funerals with the funeral procession of Mrs Susan Sunderland, Yorkshire’s Queen of Song, who died aged 86 on 7 May. The funeral procession turned from Waterloo Road into Garden Road and made its way to Brighouse Cemetery where she was interred three days after her passing.

Waterloo Road witnessed many large crowds when Brighouse Rangers turned out for their matches on the playing fields. The days when spectators could be counted in their hundreds. With many arriving by bicycle in the pre First World War era gave local school children the opportunity of making a few pennies. ‘Look after mi bike’, was the cry heard from many spectators as they all arrived in Waterloo Road. Youngsters would be given the bikes to look after and a couple of pennies for their trouble. Ensuring the bike came to no harm during the match.

The Waring Green Congregational Church became the community centre after the Second World War and still stands as a popular community building.

Once Harry’s old shop and the other property on that corner had been swept aside, In 1988 the new Sunderland Close managed housing complex was open on the site.

Here we have a small junction on the outskirts of Brighouse which is an area full of history and one that has been a community in its own right. There is really history on your doorstep when you look a little deeper than what is on the surface.