Why so many are hooked on angling

EVERY now and then I am sent a photograph that is a real mystery. This week’s featured photograph (right) is one of those. What would 21 men be doing standing in the middle of a field holding what appear to be fishing rods?

Monday, 16th May 2011, 9:00 am

Thanks to David Airey (club president), Brian Clegg and Chris Johnson who are all long time supporters, members and, over the years, officials of Brighouse Angling Club Association I can reveal the answer and highlight one of Brighouse’s most successful organisations.

The photograph was taken between 1928 and 1930 in the fields belonging to the farm owned by the Metcalfe family, off Cromwell Bottom.

Brighouse Angling Association was founded in 1928 as a coarse angling club with the objectives of promoting the sport of angling, the breeding of fish and providing facilities for members of the association to participate in the sport of angling. The club is run on behalf of the members by a committee of 10 elected bi-annually and officials who are elected annually. I understand the club now has over 800 members on its books. When one considers that while so many other organisations are losing members, often forcing them to close, this club is thriving.

But who were these men and why were they standing in a field? The club’s main fishery is Brookfoot Lake, practically opposite Metcalfe’s farm. This is a three-and-a-half acre, mixed coarse fishery but originally the lake used to be an old gravel pit, filled with water - and with a lot of potential.

Visitors who haven’t seen the place for some time would hardly recognise it. This wonderful facility is widely described as the club’s jewel and, having taken a look at it, I can see why.

Brookfoot Lake also incorporates an additional fishing facility known as Tony Riley’s Pond, which is situated at the south west corner. This small fishery was developed from a one time stock pond as part of the overall project. The pond has been enlarged, landscaped and has become a well-stocked small match and casual fishery where most species can be caught, and has been designated as a members only fishing area.

The men lining up for this photograph include (back row numbered 1 to 12): 3. Arthur Sykes (club secretary); 4. Harry Crowther; 6. Dickinson Beevers; 8. George Lord; 10. Clement Morton, whose family is represented at the club today, with his son Horace who is an active member on the committee. Standing 12th in line on the back row is Helliwell Stake, who was the club president and as many readers will know was the familiar name associated with the ‘Bow Window’ in Briggate.

Front row: 3. Eddie Barwick (club treasurer). His wife was Evelyn Barwick, a well known and respected officer in the Brighouse Salvation Army; 4. Willie Booth; 5. Unknown boy member; 6. Eddie Renshaw (many readers will no doubt have visited his framing and fishing tackle shop in Thornton Square) and ninth kneeling or sitting on the front row is George Tattersall.

Our second featured photograph was taken during the early 1960s. I wonder how many members go fishing these days wearing a shirt and tie ?

For further information about the Brighouse Angling Association please take a look at its extensive website www.brighouseangling.co.uk