Small Town, Saturday Afternoon

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On Saturday 14th July, Trevor Simpson by-passed the defenders: Wimbledon, the World Cup and a hot, blue sky day in Yorkshire to strike gold for Keighley Library in a talk about – you’ve guessed it – local music heritage. He was as hot as Billy Fury and music events’ mogul, Janet Mawson, was as relieved as Gareth Southgate when an audience of upward of 70 people turned out.  In fact the Library was very lucky to get Trevor because, as a former referee, if his talk had been scheduled for the afternoon of the previous week, when the dream was very much alive and England was taking on Sweden, he would probably have shown us the red card.

Trevor Simpson has two passions in life: football and music, or is that music and football? As a referee, he officiated for the football league at the highest level for every club except West Ham United. He even put Gaza in his place during a Tottenham versus Manchester United match at White Hart Lane. He was also a linesman at a World Cup qualifier but enough said on that score.  Musically, Trevor started out as a mobile disc jockey and moved on to hospital radio in December, 1981 and is still a DJ after some 37 years. He reckons it is well worth breaking a leg to get in to hospital to listen to his show. One of his more amusing requests was for Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire from a chap who was recovering from a haemorrhoid operation. However, it was in the days after the war when music began to change again and youth culture began to grow, along with Saturday night culture, that Trevor, with a real feel for social history and a recognition that those days marked unique and exciting change, began to collate and collect memorabilia and information about the local music scene that he so loved.  He used this information and first-hand experience to write and illustrate two original, bestselling books. Both called Small Town Saturday Night, the first volume is a musical journey through the 1960s, chronicling the development of the popular music culture in the next town from Keighley, Halifax. The second volume continues with the story of the dance halls, groups, the Champion Jack Dupree and the two local music festivals, looking at the period 1954-1970.

These two books formed the basis of the talk and although the focus was on Halifax, it translated well to a love affair with the music scene in virtually any 1960s Northern town.  In fact, some in the audience had been to the same venues and gigs as Trevor,  including Keighley’s musical heritage volunteer, Malcolm Hanson, who remembered trips to Halifax, especially to the Princess Ballroom, with his friends, often walking there and staggering back in the early hours to Denholme. We heard about the acts such as Dusty Springfield, Cliff Richard, Marty Wilde, Rod Stewart, Shirley Bassey and the time the Jackson Five were given a sound ticking off for being tardy about their second set after a brotherly bust-up before the show. Stories of colourful entrepreneurs were of equal interest from the young, ambitious dance instructor, Pearl Paling of the Princess Ballroom; the three huge wrestlers, Shirley Crabtree (alias, “Big Daddy”) and his brothers, to the budding entrepreneur who refused to book, “the Be-attles” with “someone called Cilla Black” because in true Yorkshire fashion, they were, “How much?!!..”. Trevor also illustrated these stories and anecdotes with a film he made of all the venues he spoke of. We also heard a cassette of some of the stars that had kindly recorded “hello” to the patients for his hospital radio show, including that someone called Cilla Black. All this really made the history come to life and the whole experience was an enjoyable and memorable one to match such a major sporting day. Let’s hope for a return visit please.

The next Keighley Musical Heritage event will be held on Heritage Day, 15th September and will be a celebration of the 1970s hosted by volunteer, Malcolm Hanson, who is still gathering memorabilia from bands and fans. Malcolm can be contacted for this at the following:

Email: Malcolm.b.hanson@gmail.com or call Malcolm on 01756 798730

Sadly, the two great books by Trevor Simpson packed full of information, photographs and memorabilia are now out of print but we do hold reference copies in Keighley’s Local Studies Library.

Small Town Saturday Night by Trevor Simpson (Milltown Memories Publications, Hebden Bridge, 2007), ISBN 978-0-9548960-2-7

Small Town Saturday Night (Volume Two) by Trevor Simpson (Milltown Memories Publications, Hebden Bridge, 2008), ISBN 978-0-9548960-3-4

Advertisements

Keighley’s Musical Heritage at its finest!

A sunshine summer day in the city could not be better celebrated than with upbeat rock ‘n’ roll bands,  superb singers, and a locally famous comedic host – Keighley Library had it all. The atmosphere was buzzing with a capacity crowd of over 200 pop fans, over 800 visitors to the library on the day (Saturday 9th June) and £213 raised for the charity St Martin’s House by the brave staff manning the very busy refreshment area.

The afternoon kicked off with an introduction to the 1950s like no other by local historian and former Reference Librarian of Keighley Library, Mr Ian Dewhirst MBE. He spoke of how rock ‘n’ roll music seemed to have passed him by in a flurry of 2 years of National Service and helping in his dad’s shop. He said, “The only song I liked was Peggy Sue by Buddy Holly, but he died and that was that!” After hearing the Doveston Brothers, however, Ian acknowledged that he must have absorbed more of this burgeoning pop culture because he did indeed recognise many of the songs. Ian’s continued funny and informative account of the fifties and sixties did not lack spice as he spoke of having to help in a newsagent’s with a top shelf collection. He mentioned no names but said that he was surprised at the identity of some of the local customers.  Not surprisingly, all this racey activity led to a request for information about sex from Ian, the teenager, when he and his dad were riding tandem through the countryside. His dad didn’t fall off the bike but apparently went very quiet and after a couple more miles said simply, “Both the man and the woman have to agree, Son,” which brought the house down.

The Doveston Brothers was just one of two of Keighley’s finest bands of this era. They had formerly played twice at the London Palladium and though they had not played for 45 years, their winning professionalism shone through with a brilliant set of 60s covers. Brian Eldee’s voice is still superb and the audience was treated to Everly Brothers’ favourites as well as more rock ‘n’ roll songs. As a special treat for Janet Mawson, who organised this event, Brian sang John Denver’s, Leaving on a Jet Plane. Later, it was hard to get her feet back on the ground to chat to people about her revamped exhibition on the 1960s but she had to manage it.  With even more unique photographs, music reports and personal anecdotes from local band members, Janet was in great demand all day to answer questions and introduce people.

The Doveston Brothers were beyond popular and set the bar super high for the next band, fast becoming seasoned Keighley library stars – The Presidents, but as we know from last year’s event, they could not possibly disappoint. Their playing was fab with the expected nifty guitar work and Bruce’s acclaimed harmonica.  Linda Russell’s voice soared into pop and ballad perfection to match Brian Eldee’s earlier performance. Both the bands added interest and humour between songs with conversation and funny anecdotes to further enrich the value of this fantastic first class, free entertainment.

Local children were not missed out in this poptastic extravaganza and Saturday Rhymetime became Jamba Samba with little ones, ears fully protected, enjoying Samba drumming with an expert in the art. “Happy” does not describe the expression on some of the children’s faces as they got to make an exceptional musical noise in one of the quieter places in the centre of Keighley. Complements about the event are still coming in.

It’s an underestimation to say that everyone had a great time on Saturday 9th June, many people have filled in the Visitors’ books to the effect that it was another event that brought back many happy memories and was a wonderful musical and social occasion for the local community, especially for many in the audience whose youthful years were represented in the music and the exhibition.  I am sure Ian Dewhirst would agree, that this is local social history at its finest because it is momentarily giving real life to the books, photographs and archives in our keeping. As we have already found out, this in turn enhances their usage and local interest in the subject. It’s certainly something that Keighley Local Studies is very proud to deliver on.

Now, that’s not all folks because the  locally acclaimed and revamped 60’s exhibition will run until September when a brand new display will be launched, assembled by hard working volunteer, Malcolm Hanson with Music of the 70s. A local historian, writer and former local band member of this decade himself, he has inside knowledge of the local music scene but is still collecting memorabilia from bands and fans.  Malcolm can be contacted for this at the following:

Email: Malcolm.b.hanson@gmail.com or call Malcolm on 01756 798730

This exhibition will be accompanied with more live music, this time from the 1970s to celebrate Heritage Day on Saturday 15th September 2018.

The next Keighley Musical Heritage event in Keighley Local Studies Library is: “Small Town Saturday Night”, A talk by Trevor Simpson on Saturday 14th July 2.00 pm. Trevor Simpson is the author of two books telling the story of a love affair with the local music scene in a northern town.  It is a story of rock ‘n’ roll at its peak in the 1950s and 1960s told with humour and shared memories. The talk will be accompanied with photographs and memorabilia from those decades. Don’t miss it!

Gina Birdsall, Keighley Local Studies

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Keighley Women

In Keighley Local Studies Library on Saturday 3rd March, retired librarian and celebrated local historian Ian Dewhirst MBE gave a very well received talk about notable Keighley women. The talk was well attended by the many people who had braved the icy conditions to be there.

Ian Dewhirst 2 Keighley Library

Thursday 8th March was International Women’s Day and Ian illustrated how Keighley has certainly has had its share of feisty ladies over the years.

The varied selection of ladies included Mrs Emma Groves, temperance advocate and Miss Sandra Dorne, film star. In his talk he spoke also of the late Mollie Sugden who played Mrs Slocombe in the 1970’s sit-com ‘Are You Being Served’. As mistress of the comedy double-entendre she had come a long way from her non-conformist roots at Ingrow.

Throughout history there are many forgotten personalities whose stories can be uncovered by delving into our Local Studies Library collections. The talk featured are some less well-known ladies with unusual stories such as Miss Annie Collett who kept an autograph album while visiting Keighley War Hospital in 1917-1918 and Miss Maud Marks of Keighley Salvation Army who was caught up in the fall of France in 1940.

This year is also the 100th anniversary of reforms to the voting system in 1918 where women over 30 years married to a householder or with a degree were given the vote for the first time.

Mr Dewhirst described the visit of suffragettes, Adela Pankhurst and Mary Kenney to Victoria Park on Sunday May 24th 1908 where the speeches were drowned out by the singing of popular songs. He spoke of the work of women in the First World War which had contributed greatly to their being given the vote.

The talk was accompanied by a display from Keighley Local Studies library collections which will remain in Keighley Local Studies library over the coming weeks.

Ian Dewhirst 1 Keighley Library

1918-2018 Celebrating The Vote

 

 


HB1

 

Saturday 10th March, “Bradford Suffragettes: The Fight for the Vote”, a talk by Helen Broadhead, Bradford Local Studies Library, 2.00pm

This talk will feature some of the remarkable stories of Bradford’s pioneers of the vote including textile trades unionist Julia Varley who was twice imprisoned in 1907.

The talk will be accompanied by an exhibition of items from the Local Studies Library collections.

Free event. Please book at local.studies@bradford.gov.uk or telephone 01274 433688


HB2

Saturday 17th March, ‘Women of Bradford’, a guided walk by Helen Broadhead, starts at Manningham Library, 2.00pm

Join Helen Broadhead at Manningham Library on Saturday 17th March at 2.00pm for a heritage walk. Helen will explore women’s role in Bradford’s history as workers, vote seekers and activists. This circular walk will take around an hour and a half at a leisurely pace.

Free event, please book a place at local.studies@bradford.gov.uk or telephone 01274 433688

One Street in Parkwood

One street in Parkwood imageJoin Keighley and District Local History Society and Andy Wade from ‘Men of Worth’ project who will be telling the story of what happened to the men who went to War from one street in Parkwood.

Wednesday February 14th, Keighley Local Studies Library

Entry from 7.00pm at the side entrance. Talk starts at 7.30pm.

‘Using Vaccination Records’ – a talk by Sylvia Valentine with Keighley & District Family History Society

Keighley Local Studies Library, January 8th,  7.00pm for 7.30pm start.
(Please use side entrance.)

In August 1876, seven members of the Keighley Board of Guardians were arrested and imprisoned in the Debtors’ Prison at York. Their crime was not cooking the books but determinedly opposing what they saw as an attack on the civil liberties of the individual by the Government. The attack was the attempted enforcement in their town of the Vaccination Acts of 1867 and 1871 which made all Guardians responsible for enforcing the vaccination of the children within their Union.  The case of the Queen versus the Guardians of the Keighley Union came up at the High Court of Justice in London in November. The story is almost local legend and is the subject of regular study because of the national, as well as local debate and because of the popular support anti-vaccination attracted.

In Keighley there were near riotous scenes as well as the publication of broadsheets of verse and even carte-de-visite portraits.

The following records are taken from the Keighley Photographic Society, held at Keighley Library and the broadsheet is part of the library pamphlet collection.

Sylvia Valentine has made the most detailed and revealing study to date and has given talks across the country and is booked for talks in Canada in 2018.

Much of her original research was carried out using the resources of Keighley Local Studies Library and its fantastic archive.

Lord Asa Briggs of Lewes , born and schooled in Keighley: 07 May 1921 – 15 March 2016

Lord Briggs Prize Award Ceremony 19811mb

Image taken from the book ‘Oakbank History Trail’ © Maurice G. Smith

Keighley Boys’ Grammar School produced not one, but two, great historians in the early part of the twentieth century. Both were to have an impact on the study and philosophy of history and were to become amongst the most prominent historians of their day, their names were Asa Briggs and Herbert Butterfield (1900-1979). This blog concentrates on Lord Asa Briggs who sadly died last year and in whose honour the Historical Association have kindly donated a collection of books to Keighley Library, where the young Asa Briggs loved to study.

Keighley Library view c19291mb.jpg

Asa Briggs, historian and public servant, was born in Keighley 7th May 1921. He was the son of William Walter Briggs, a skilled engineer and a good pianist. His mother, Jane, was the daughter of a greengrocer, who, prior to the depression, had been part of a small farming family in Yorkshire.

Asa initially attended Eastwood council school, followed by the school, said to have had the most influence on his development and future studies, the Keighley Boys’ Grammar School, adjacent to the old Mechanics’ Institute in North Street and opposite this library.  He used this Carnegie public library, regularly. This is where he first learned to browse. Here too, amongst the newspapers in the reading room, and the large collection of books from the Philip Snowden collection that specialised in social economic and political interests,  Briggs says that he studied the politics that he would later introduce to his own version of social history, (Special Relationships, Frontline Books , 2012, p.9).

Keighley Library Reading Room

Boys studying in reading room 1mb

Briggs enjoyed his school days at Keighley, especially his English and drama lessons with Kenneth Preston, of whom he speaks as the ablest of teachers. He seems to have made the most of his time there, becoming a school prefect and a member of a variety of societies including the Literary and Debating Society, the Stamp Society and the “Thirty- Three” Society. Despite a general love of history, Briggs in fact wanted to become a writer and, during this time at school, wrote poetry and various society reports for The Keighlian, the school magazine. However, another revered mentor at the school, the headmaster Neville Hind, did not favour the further study of English and encouraged students to pursue other subjects and to also try for his old Cambridge College, Sidney Sussex. Briggs was to adhere to this advice, so following in the footsteps of Herbert Butterfield from Oxenhope. By this time Herbert Butterfield was also lecturing at Cambridge. In 1944, Butterfield was elected Professor of Modern History, later Regius Professor and Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University from 1959-1961. He was knighted in 1968. On arrival at Cambridge, Brigg attended his lectures which influenced the young historian, (Special Relationships, Frontline Books, 2012 p.5).

In 1937, with war imminent, Briggs was accepted as a scholar by Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge at the very young age of 16. In Special Relationships, the tutor, James Passant, is quoted as saying, “You’re only a baby, Briggs – but since we are sure there is going to be a war, we would like you to complete your degree before you are called up for military service,”( p.68).

Briggs went on to achieve first class honours in History Tripos Parts 1 and 2. He also graduated from the London School of Economics before his call-up to the Army. He was posted to Bletchley Park as a cryptographer under Frank Adcock. He worked mainly on signals traffic from the Mediterranean using Alan Turing’s proto-computers (Bombes). These allowed them to read enemy signals. He also helped to dupe the Germans into thinking D-Day would not be carried out in Normandy. A full account of his life at Bletchley is given in the acclaimed book Secret Days Code-breaking in Bletchley Park (Frontline Books, 2011), available for loan in Bradford Libraries.

He left Bletchley for Oxford in 1944 where he became Fellow of Worcester College and his academic career began in earnest. His main areas of interest were the social and cultural history of the 19th and 20th centuries and the history of broadcasting in Britain. The following list is taken from the University of Sussex site: http://www.sussex.ac.uk

  • 1944-1955 Fellow of Worcester College, Oxford
  • 1950-1955 University Reader in Recent Social and Economic History, Oxford
  • 1953-1955 Faculty Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford
  • 1953-1954 Member of the Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton, New Jersey, United States
  • 1954-1967 Deputy President, President of the Workers’ Education Association
  • 1955-1961 Professor of Modern History, co-Head of the History Dept., Leeds University
  • 1961-1967 Professor of History, Dean of the School of Social Studies, Pro-Vice- Chancellor, University of Sussex
  • 1967-1976 Vice-Chancellor, University of Sussex
  • 1976-1991 Provost of Worcester College, Oxford
  • 1978-1994 Chancellor of the Open University
  • 1988 A founder, first chair of the Commonwealth of Learning

Asa Briggs was also active in a very large number of societies:

  • President of  Haworth’s  own  Brontë Society and also of the following:
  • Social History Society
  • William Morris Society
  • Victorian Society
  • Ephemera Society
  • British Association for Local History
  • Association of Research Associations

He also served on a variety of committees:

  • member of the University Grants Committee
  • governor of the British Film Institute,
  • a trustee of the Glyndebourne Arts Trust, the International Broadcasting Institute, the Heritage Education Group  and the Civic Trust
  • chairman of the Standing Conference for the Study of Local History, the European Institute of Education, the governors and trustees of the Brighton Pavilion, and the Advisory Board for Redundant Churches.

Briggs also undertook several public appointments: most notably chairing a committee on the future of nursing, which in 1972 recommended improvements in nurses’ pay and conditions and an overhaul of nurses’ training that were later accepted by the Conservative government.

To quote Tam Dalyell in the Independent, Wednesday, 16th  March 2016,

“…his output in the written word, and in broadcasts and lectures, was awesome. It is doubtful whether Briggs ever spent a truly idle moment in his life.”

In fact, following his 90th birthday, he completed 3 books including Loose Ends and Extras in 2014.

Asa Briggs always kept in touch with Keighley and regarded himself as a “Lawkholme Laner”, (Keighley News 1930s Special, 16 February 1996). He was brought up in Emily Street, just off Lawkholme Lane.

Emily St Keighley1mb

In 1962,  he became the first vice-president of the newly formed Friends of Cliffe Castle. He attended Old Keighlian reunions, and followed the developments of his old school. Keighley Boys’ Grammar School had been renamed Keighley School in 1964, when it became a County school, and it became known as Oakbank Grammar School in 1967. In 1982, Asa Briggs wrote the Foreward of the prize- winning, The Oakbank History Trail, published to commemorate the official opening of the new Oakbank school buildings. He had already attended the prize-giving ceremony in 1981 in London, as Chairman of the Heritage Education Group hosting the ceremony.

In 2015, Keighley Library was contacted regarding Lord Briggs’ time at Keighley Boys’ Grammar school and regarding the first poem that he ever had published, which was in the school magazine, the Keighlian’s December issue 1936, part of our own archive collection. The Complete Poems of Asa  Briggs, was subsequently published in 2016 and it was a real privilege for Keighley Library staff to play even a minor role in this last published work of one of Keighley’s greatest sons.

Lord Briggs died at Lewes 15th March 2016, leaving his wife, also an historian, whom he married in 1955, (then Susan Banwell), four children and 14 grandchildren, to whom this last book is dedicated.

Gina Birdsall, November 2017

Asa-Briggs_-books-for-loan

Books about Professor Asa Briggs donated to Keighley Local Studies Library

A presentation of books about the late Professor Briggs has been made to Keighley Local Studies Library by the Historical Association.

The books were presented by Professor Tony Badger, President of the Historical Association, to Maggie Pedley, Head of Libraries, Museums and Galleries on Wednesday 29 November.

Also present at the event were Dr Trevor James, Editor of ‘The Historian’ journal and historian, Philip Johnston.

Asa Briggs was one of Keighley’s foremost citizens. He became a well-known and remarkable historian who inspired others through his research, teaching and writing.

At Keighley Library, the young Asa developed his skills to become such an influential social historian.

In his book ‘Special Relationships’ he traces his love of history back to his days in Keighley. He said of Keighley Library ‘It was there that I first studied the politics that I was to introduce into my own version of social history.’

​It is fitting that these books will be added to the archives and made available for the benefit of future researchers and historians.

There is a display of books and local information about Asa Briggs in the Local Studies library on the first floor that will remain up over the next 3 weeks.

 

Spanish Civil War children sought refuge in Keighley and Bradford in 1937.

There is still chance to see the display by  basquechildren.org which will be in Keighley Local Studies until 14th November.

In Keighley Local Studies Library Simon Martinez and John Birkbeck recently told the story of the Basque children who came to Keighley to escape the Spanish Civil War in a well-attended talk.

In September 1937, nearly 100 children arrived at the Morton Banks Colony which was the largest in Yorkshire. Previously Morton Banks had been a sanatorium and between 1916 to 1918 it had been a war hospital.

MB

Morton Banks gates today (Image: ©Simon Martinez)

The home at Morton Banks closed when it was requisitioned for the Second World War in 1939. By then, many children had gone to France or back to Spain. Others stayed in Britain in colonies that remained until after the war, or were adopted by British people.

The talk sparked many interesting discussions and stories from descendants of the Basque refugees as well as of the people from the local community who rallied to the cause and provided sanctuary for the children.

The Basque Children of 37 Association would like to hear from anyone who might have further information. See more details at:

https://www.basquechildren.org/

 

Basque Child Refugees from Northern Spain welcomed in Keighley and Bradford, 1937-1939

To mark the 80th Anniversary of the arrival of child refugees a talk and an exhibition will be held in Keighley Local Studies library on Saturday 28th October at 2.00pm by Simon Martinez and John Birkbeck..

On the 13 September 1937, the Morton Banks Sanatorium in East Riddlesden and the Dr Barnardo children’s home on Manningham Lane, Bradford were turned over to voluntary groups to house children from Northern Spain.

These children had been evacuated at the height of the Spanish Civil War to avoid bombing and hunger following the bombing of Guernica forever immortalised by the painting by Pablo Picasso.

Keighley welcomed 100 of these child refugees and the adults who accompanied them.

They were very happy in Keighley. One later recalled ‘it was a town of twenty to twenty five thousand people, not pretty, not ugly, without a coastline but with swimming pools, a big park, and three cinemas (later there was one more, The Ritz) The Picture House, The Regent, and The Cosey Corner, and a lake which in winter froze over.’

This is a rare opportunity to hear two experts on this often forgotten piece of history speak together. John Martinez is the son of one of the refugee children Ruperta Martinez, (see picture) and he is a leading figure in the Basque Children organisation.

http://www.basquechildren.org

Ruperta Martinez

John Birkbeck’s grandfather was a significant figure in the lives of the Basque children who came to Keighley in 1937 and he has gathered a wealth of knowledge about the experiences of local refugees.

The event is free and all are welcome.