The merry actors

editorial image

I ALWAYS found that show and concert programmes created a lot of interest at my local history classes.

But it is the programmes I find the most fascinating because they not only advertise an event locally but they also give an insight into what Brighouse was like at that time in terms of local shops and businesses.

This week’s featured photograph is taken from the 1966 Brighouse Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society’s programme for its production of The Merry Widow and proudly points out that it is the society’s 41st production, which was held at the Albert Cinema in March of that year.

Advertisements which were always an integral part of the 52 page programme and a vital income generator for the society funds are on every page.

Whilst only a small number of the shops and businesses are still around, many of the familiar names have disappeared from our high street.

Whiteley’s, a shop which dated back generations and known to all, particularly those who worked on Birds Royd Lane and Mill Lane who would have called in for their weekly Echo and a packet of fags.

From being a newsagent it reinvented itself into a travel agents, the shop is now the home of a Ladbroke’s betting office.

Many readers will remember visiting the Universal Radio and Cycle shop which was in the Savoy Buildings (Civic Hall), Bradford Road where you could buy all your electrical appliances.

Then at 15 Bradford Road there was Marguerite, the florist shop and one of at least three in the town centre.

With Kosset Carpets; Davison’s luxury coaches; Frank Harrisons garage on Richard Street; Wil-Be-Fort, a name many will remember; Tommy Joy’s; Brighouse Co-op; O.S.Wain’s men’s outfitters; Granada TV rentals; Grenville Thornton’s butchers shop; Kilburn Plumbers; R S Bainbridge, newsagents; George Tinker photographer; fruit and veg suppliers Frank Stocks; Firth’s Carpets; Blakeborough’s and Woodcock and Booth have all disappeared.

These were all household names throughout the Borough and employed many people as well as supplying generations of shoppers with all their families needs.

Returning to our featured photograph it shows a group of members, from the mid 1960s, in the society and I am sure those still around will have many happy memories from those days.

I am often asked about the local history classes, and the possibility of them starting again, at the moment I can say there are discussions about that possibility.