Echoes of the past: An ever changing town centre

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Over the years Brighouse town centre has seen many changes, with old property being demolished and then replaced with new property to give the town that bright modern look.

For all the changes perhaps some better than others the town centre has retained its character. The town centre attracts people to do some shopping from many of our larger neighbouring towns. Excellent transport links and its flat streets with barely any steep inclines to tackle make it a welcome place to visit.

With a new bus station, a new well kept railway station and always the next taxi around the corner. Last week I had the pleasure of being invited to the first annual general meeting of the Friends of Brighouse Station. After the formal part of the evening I was asked to talk and give a powerpoint presentation about the history of the local railway network and stations in and around Brighouse. It will surprise many people, as it did with some of the audience, to know that if we included Cooper Bridge railway station which was really in Kirklees area but nearer to Brighouse than Dewsbury. At one time we were spoilt for choice with seven railway stations.

Everyone at the meeting was most impressed with all the work that has been done so far. New planters, plants, weeding work, the removal of bags of rubbish, gutters cleaned, scraping and sweeping walk ways. The members efforts have already been rewarded with a certificate from the Yorkshire in Bloom competition. This was a level three award (which is equivalent to a silver) in the environment section which for a first year effort is brilliant.

If you would like to know more about this group please have a look at its website The group has also been well supported by a number of local businesses who were all thanked at the meeting.

Returning to our two featured photographs the modern image (dated 2010) shows the Wellington Arcade which was named after the Wellington Hotel that stood on part of this site until 1949 when it was demolished. From then it stood as an open garden area.

On the same site beyond the Wellington on our second photograph taken in the late 1960s was the Busy Bee butchers shop. Just one of many local meat suppliers that many mothers would call in for their weekly joint or a few rashers of bacon and may be the odd pound of sausages. Moving further along was Frank Stock’s Cash Stores fruit and vegetable shop. Close by was the Ring O’Bells public house (once known as the Staff of Life). A public house that was often frequented by some of the well known town centre characters.

A town centre is always changing and with the continued support of so many people who help to put on events in the town Brighouse will always be a town to visit. Whilst we want to attract more visitors from other towns and communities. We must start by doing our best to support our town.