Times of change on the site of former church

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Having visited and driven past St James Court sheltered housing on Bradford Road many times I had no idea how long it had been there.

That was until I saw this photograph of the Mayor of Calderdale Councillor Albert Berry helping to lay the foundation stone on Friday, November 25, 1988.

Yes that’s 27 years ago but how many readers can remember when the old St James Church was demolished and how long the site remained a vacant lot until the building work of the new housing development started? The last service at the old church was on December 27, 1970 and shortly after it was demolished. Another 16 years went by until the new building had its foundation stone laying ceremony.

The site was purchased in 1867 for £600 and the new church was intended to be a Chapel of Ease to St Martin’s, the Brighouse parish church.

The money raised to build the church was largely through subscription with a number of the town’s worthies subscribing large sums to the fund.

These included the Camm family who owned and lived for many years on the Wellholme estate; the Byrne family, who lived and owned property in the Slead Syke area, and Mrs Kaye Aspinall who was no stranger when it came to subscribing to the town’s worthy causes. In July of 1903 she was asked to lay the memorial stone at the Parish Church’s new Chancel. It was almost twelve months to the day when the foundation stone for the new St James Church was laid on July 25 1868 - St James’ Day.