Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Bottle of Guinness in Godley Cuttings, Halifax in 1966

This is one of my favourite photos of this period and one which can be dated with some accuracy. If you enlarge the poster at the bottom left of the shot it is one of those Guinness commemorative posters which reads : "Battle of Hastings 1066, Bottle of Guinness 1966". So there you have it : Godley Cuttings, Halifax, 1966 by Alan Burnett.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Easily Missed, But Not By The Milkman

This must have been one of those little terraces clinging to the sides of Beacon Hill. Two or three houses, clustered together for comfort or security. Easily missed, but not by the milkman.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Carpet Days And Happy Nights

It is getting towards the end of the month and therefore the end of this series of my old black and white photographs of Halifax. This one must have been taken at the beginning of the 1970s : if you look carefully you will see that the overpass is now complete. I was away at University most of the time but came back to Halifax in the holidays. Often I would work at the Homfray Carpet mill which can be seen in the centre of this picture. Built against the side of a steep hill, it had loading bays that gave direct access to a road on the first five floors of the mill. You could walk in off the road at the front of the mill, climb five flights of steep stone stairs and walk directly out onto the road at the back of the mill. The money earned by lumping rolls of carpet during the day helped to pay for many a happy night.

Friday, 24 September 2010

An Oratorio Of Steam And Stone

My picture today - which dates back forty or so years - shows the Bowling Dyke Dye Works of H  Fletcher & Co. which were part of the Dean Clough complex in Halifax (you can just see the "Crossleys' Carpet" sign on the main mill in the background). The original Bowling Dyke mill burnt down in July 1847 but it was replaced the following year by the mill you see in the photograph. A contemporary report states that an oratorio was performed when the mill re-opened : a fitting celebration for a town where choral music has always played such an important part.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

In The Footsteps Of Bill Brandt Without Even Knowing It

Another Brandtesque shot (which I promise you I took before I even saw Brandt's famous picture of the same scene). This is Old Lane, just west of North Bridge in Halifax. I took the photograph in the late 1960s.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Monday, 20 September 2010

Wooden Wagon In Woolshops

I took this picture of the Woolshops area of Halifax back in the 1960s. It has since been re-developed and in place of the old wooden wagon is now a bright new ("newish") concrete and brick shopping centre. This was the part of the town in which, back in the fifteenth and sixteenth century, wool fleeces would be traded between local farmers and weavers. Most of what you see in this photograph is now long gone, including the rather splendid New Talbot Inn.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Before The Days Of The Information Mongers

If you look carefully you will spot the Old Lane Inn which I featured a couple of days ago. This photograph was taken from a little higher up the valley looking towards what was then, the mighty Crossley Carpets Mill. Today the area is populated by financial firms and other information mongers.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Fry's Pure Concentrated Nostalgia

Still trawling the negatives - I am thinking of putting together a 2011 calendar based on these old photographs of Calderdale. I took this picture in Elland at some point in the 1970s. I must say I do like the dog.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The Strange Case Of The Re-opening Pub

The Old Lane Inn was situated on Old Lane, a mile or so north of Halifax town centre. I say "was" because most of the reference books claim that it closed down in 1962, a few years before I took the above photograph. But there are claims on the Internet that it might have recently re-opened. The Strange Case Of The Re-opening Pub is a story that just has to be investigated in this day and age. I will report back.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Burdock Way, Halifax

For once I can be fairly definite about the date I took this photograph. The history books state that construction of the massive Halifax by-pass scheme - known as Burdock Way - started in 1970 and was completed two years later. It wasn't so much a "by-pass", more a road that seemed to cut straight through the town : flying over the valley and cutting through the adjacent hillside. Some claimed it was one of the most exciting civil engineering projects of its day, others that it resulted in a scar across the face of a fine Victorian town. I have to say I have always found that its lines and proportions had a certain grandness about them.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Of Course, We Were Wrong

Halifax in the late sixties. A time of transition. The old terraced houses were being demolished and the new high-rise flats were being erected. We saw them as the answer to so many problems. Of course, we were wrong.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Not Quite Catch Point

I must confess that I am becoming addicted to going through my old negatives and revisiting pictures I took forty or so years ago. This photograph of the old railway siding in the shadow of North Bridge, Halifax, was taken in the late 1960s. If I had have turned around and walked under the bridge the scene facing me would have been that taken by the great Bill Brandt in his photograph "Catch Point", some twenty years before mine.  What is really strange to realise is that the time separating my photograph and what I then thought of as the "Old Halifax" captured by Brandt was only half as long as the time separating my photograph from the modern day. And in the modern day, all you will see now is the concrete bunker that is North Bridge Leisure Centre. Not quite Catch Point.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Precariously Placed Props

Washing day on a street in Halifax. Forty or so years ago the air will have still been heavy with smoke from the mill chimneys. As you walked up the cobbled street you would have to duck under washing lines and dodge precariously placed props. Another from the archives.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Clearing Woodbine Streets

You only have yourselves to blame. You say you like these old photographs of 1960s West Yorkshire, so here is another one. I must have taken this in the late 1960s and it shows the demolition of a group of streets of terraced houses just to the south of Halifax town centre. The sign advertising Woodbine cigarettes to the very left of the shot seems to sum up the mood and the time. These were Woodbine streets.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Tricycle Days

This must have been taken somewhere around Brighouse because it appears in a strip of negatives that all feature local Brighouse shots. I can't remember taking it (it must have been almost forty-five years ago) but the road seems strangely familiar. I love the tricycle, perhaps that's what grabbed my attention all those years ago.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

In Search Of The Black Swan

I am looking through my old negatives for a picture of the Black Swan pub in Brighouse. So far I haven't found one, but the search itself is fascinating. This picture of Brighouse dates from the late 1960s and shows the River Calder to the east of the town centre.

Friday, 3 September 2010

A Magnificent Collection Of Chimney Pots

I have just scanned this from some old negatives of mine. I must have taken the photograph some 40 years ago. As far as I can tell it shows the demolition of the back streets at the bottom end of Halifax - probably somewhere around Wade Street. I think that is Halifax Town Hall you can see in the medium distance, behind what is a magnificent collection of chimney pots.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Visiting Mrs Tulliver And Her Cat At An Old Brothel

Called in for a pint at the Snickleway Inn on Goodramgate, York last week. A fine old 15th century inn with more than its fair share of history. It claims a host of ghosts including a certain Mrs. Tulliver and her cat, Seamus, the ghost of the daughter of a past landlord who ran outside into the road one day and was killed by a brewer's dray, and an elderly gentleman who is said to sit on the barrels in the cellar. At one time it was reputedly a brothel and during the English Civil War it was used as a gunpowder store for the Royalist cause.

FOUND 1 : Walking With Confidence

  FOUND 1 : The joy of found photographs is that, whilst they provide a visual superstructure, you are free to construct your own backstory ...