View from Beacon Hill

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Halifax Parish Church, Duke of Wellington's chapel

In sacred and honoured memory of the officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the ninth serv. Bn the Duke of Wellingtons West Riding regiment who gave their lives for their King and Country in the Great War 1914-1919. The Battalion colours are placed in this church.
Click the following link to view the Duke of Wellington's Chapel in the Parish Church - A fitting tribute to our Duke of Wellington Regiment

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Poverty knock

Another classic old Halifax film.

An impressionistic portrait of Halfax, focusing on the large-scale demolition of old housing stock and remnants of the town’s industrial factories. Despite the promises of reconstruction and the relocation of many residents to suburban areas, we witness the deprivation that still persists when the film was made in 1969.
Benefitting from the funding of the BFI Production Board (intended to subsidise experimental and other non-commercial filmmaking), director Hugh Evans eschews commentary in favour of natural sounds and a rendition of a 19th century folksong, "Poverty Knock".

Click the following link to view

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Room At The Top

I am looking for any old photos or memorabilia of celebrities connected with Halifax.

I shall start with this picture of Donald Houston pictured outside All Souls church, Boothtown whilst he was in town filming Room at the Top in 1959.

Donald Houston - Room at the Top

The Pace Egg

The Pace Egg play is performed each year on Good Friday in the towns and villages in the Upper Calder Valley.  The name derives from the Latin word for Easter - Pasche. This film documents the street performances of the play in which the actors are dressed in traditional mummers costumes.
The film opens with a train passing though the valley and a title which reads, “The Pace-Egg.”  The commentary explains that the Calder Valley is an industrial highway at the crossroads of many of the larger cities of Yorkshire and home to a diversity of industry in its own right.  This commentary is accompanied with examples of the various motorways and industrial buildings in the valley including Calder Mill. 

The film then goes on to explain the history of the Calder Valley showing parts of the old towns, bridges, churches, and the early industrial factories near the water.  Children can be seen walking around the small lanes in an old town.  Additionally, sheep farms and the expansive moors which surround the valley can be seen.
Click the following link


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Halifax in the 50's

 Take a look at this great video of  Halifax 1950's and 60's
This reel of film consists of a number of different films taken around Halifax from varying years and film stocks.  Made by the Halifax Cine Club, the films included in this reel are in the following order:
Saturday Morning Out - Halifax
Mass Exodus - Halifax Wakes Week
Hairdressing Competition at Alexandra Hall
Steady As You Go
Hairdressing Competition for Men

This film captures a normal Saturday hustle and bustle in the city centre during the early 1950s.  It gives an interesting example of contemporary fashions and everyday life truly capturing the look and feel of the time.  Click here for video link

 This next link (below)is a film which dramatises the history of the textile industry and its effects on the city of Halifax complete with narration, music, and commentary. The film opens with a title card - History of Halifax and Wool Production Following the title card are shots of the countryside on the outskirts of Halifax, including some hills with sheep roaming in the open fields. There are two donkeys being led up the path, one by an older man, and one by a boy. Also on the hills of the countryside, a man hangs a piece of textile on hooks while the commentary tells of older forms of punishment specific to the textile industry from the 18th century.
Further effects of the industry are displayed by the various names of city streets and buildings in Halifax. This is followed by images of what modern day Halifax is like in the area surrounding the Parish Church. While the narrator does observe how heavily built up the city has become, he does also state that there is still room for recreation in designated park areas of the city. In addition to the modernization of Halifax, construction of the PN Wickly College for Further Education has also been documented.  Click here for video link

The next reel of film consists of a number of different films from varying years and film stocks. The films included in this reel are in the following order: A Motor Run (1929) Opening of the Old Holiday Home at Norland (1937) Northowram Hospital Opening (1934) Opening of Gorple Reservoir (1934) The Great Yorkshire Show at Halifax (1939) Billet of Soldiers in Halifax (1940) VE Day (1945) Snow Scenes in Halifax (c. 1940) Halifax Smoke (c. 1945) Halifax from Beacon Hill (1948) Around the Town (1953) Coronation Flowers (1953) Billy Smarts Circus (1953) Opening of Shibden Hall Folk Museum (1953) Procession to the Shay (1953) Laying of Church Foundation Stone (1953) Building of Crossfield Bus Station (1954) Fire in Bull Green Halifax (1955) Lord Mackintosh Given Freedom of Halifax (1954) Ice Skating at the Shay (1963
Another video link

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Calder and Hebble

The Calder and Hebble Navigation runs for about 21 miles between Wakefield and Sowerby Bridge in Yorkshire.
It is open for navigation throughout its length. The section between Sowerby Bridge and Cooper Bridge forms part of the South Pennine Ring.
The "cruise" runs from east to west, but includes views of the canal looking in either direction.
Brighouse to Elland
Brighouse Basin

Elland Wharf
Elland to Sowerby Bridge

Friday, 20 February 2015

Calderdale Ramblers

Welcome to the weblog of the Calderdale Ramblers.


We are part of the West Yorkshire section of ramblers, the UK’s leading walking organisation. If you are new to ramblers we would like to invite you to join us as a member.

Members and non-members are welcome to come along on any of our walks. Please see the “Information” page for details of how the walks are run and what you should bring along on them.

Beacon Hill in winter

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Halifax Tunnels

In an earlier post 'Can you fill in the Gaps', I asked if anyone new anything about any old disused tunnels in town. Mick Batty led me to the following website about Halifax County Borough Control Sub -Area Control.


                    Built in 1921 underneath what was the Tram depot but now Halifax Bus Garage it included a brick vaulted basement running under three of the depot bays and the external yard. The basement was roughly triangular in shape consisting of five parallel vaulted tunnels, each one slightly longer than its neighbour. The three longer tunnels (under the depot) had a stairway into the tram bays above. The two shorter tunnels under the yard were accessed by a single stairway at one side. There is a cross corridor linking the tunnels.

Another website link (above) explains the situation with:-
  1. Well Heads
  2. Wheatley
  3. Lee Bank
  4. Old Lane
  5. "Dean Clough Mill"
So I now have answers to my railway tunnel searches but still nothing on the secret tunnels around the town centre.

Halifax from above

The link below shows some excellent historic photographs of Halifax from above


Bull Green 1928
King Cross 1931

Queensbury Railway Tunnel

The Queensbury Tunnel was one of the most significant engineering achievenments on the 'Queensury Lines', a group of three railway lines connecting Keighley, Halifax and Bradford. The routes were built and operated by the Grat Northern and also the Lancashire and yorkshire Railway Companies and were opened in 1882. Queensbury Tunnel was completed in 1879. The routes suffered from low usage, steep gradients and flooding was an issue within Queensbury Tunnel. The network was closed in 1955, 9 years before Beeching got his hands on the railways.

The Queensury tunnel is 2501 yards long, completely straight and drops to the south. The strines cutting at the south end has been blocked off, resulting in flooding of the cutting to above the portal of the tunnel at its southern end. According to various reports, the tunnel is variably flooded to between 400 and 800 yards of its length. The tunnel is 430 feet below the hillside at its deepest point, presumably where it passes beneath Queensbury village, which directly overlies the tunnel.


Since abandonment, the tunnel was used by Leeds University for some physics experiments, although this does not appear to have happened recently.

There have been proposals to backfill the tunnel with landfill, however as yet this has not taken place. Inside the tunnel, there is evidence of survey work with areas highlighted with spray paint, including a 'fill line' just below the invert level of the roof. Also, reflective chainage markers have recently been placed in the tunnel, supplementing the older sprayed on numbers. Chainage is measured from the north end.

As the tunnel is blocked off at one end, there is no airflow through the tunnel. Consequently, the air inside the tunnel is very stale. This is immediately noticeable on entering. I got as far as chainage marker 86, (1900 yards) before the air became very poor, once I got a waft of sulphide gas (bad eggs) I decided that it was not a good idea to go further. This decline in air quality must be recent as there are reports where people have gone further. 

Another website with some great pictures below
Lee Mount

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Lost Railways

Sometimes, when I am searching the internet, I come across a gem of a website. The following link is one of them. It tells the full story (with maps and photographs) of railways after their existence.

If you don't find what you want to know within this site - it probably isn't worth knowing.

Wheatley Viaduct

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Ramsdens Brewery

From one very distinctive building to another- Thomas Ramsden's Stone Trough Brewery    

The Stone Trough brewery at Wards End, Halifax. It was, originally, founded by Peter Beck in the mid-1800's and got its name from the local area that had a number of wells and springs, which ran through a series of stone troughs. It became Thomas Ramsden's brewery in 1881 and was reconstructed some six years later. Ramsden's became well-known for their Stone Trough Ales and in 1964 were the target of a takeover by Joshua Tetley of Leeds. This, unfortunately, was the death knell for the old brewery and it was closed and demolished in 1968.
The site was redeveloped eventually to become the head office of the Halifax Building Society.(written by Colin Newbitt)

  Lloyds Bank (was Halifax Building Society)

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Workhouse and Gaol

Here are a couple of interesting notes taken from the Rossbret Institutions website about historic workhouse and gaol conditions.



Illingworth Gaol

Can you Fill in the Gaps?

Can you fill in the gaps
Having lived here all my life, you would think I would know more about my hometown. The fact that I don't is frustrating me so can you help? I have numbered each one so you can refer to whichever one you have information on.
Question 1. I know there used to be a few tunnels joining several places of the town but where were they and are any still accessible? I would love to film a passage video if any do exist. I did hear that there was one at Lee Mount, one at the Shay and others from middle of the Old Cock hotel to a) the market, b) the Parish Church, c) Gaol Lane. I also heard stories of one from Illingworth Jail to town and another from Shibden area to town.
The Old Cock Inn


Question 2. On Norland moor there is some kind of bunker but who has access to it and if its you,would I be able to view it, please?
Question 3. Is there anyone reading this with information and/or pictures of one of the towns past characters (Lilly Fogg). I know there is a song about her and I have also heard several tales about her (well known) reputation as a lady of the night.
Question 4. I am always on the lookout for articles or tours of Halifax places with an interesting history e.g.. Mackintoshes factory, Fountain Head brewery, the Old Cock Inn, Ring o'Bells, Dean Clough, many, many more. So, if you know about any or, even better, can give me a guided tour, then I would appreciate your time.
 Question 5. Haunted houses and pubs. Lots of pubs have claims to be haunted but which ones? and what are the stories behind them?
Question 6. The Beatles once stayed at Holdsworth House, Royalty has visited town and several top bands were here in the sixties but who has pictures of any of these occasions?
Holdsworth House
Question 7.  Some of Halifax's more popular characters include:- Big Daddy, Welly Bob Jim, the lady who sold you the out of date 'green final' (football results) at the Shay, Kenny Carter, many more but can you tell a true story about any of them?
Question 8.  The day the Shaymen beat Man Utd,  Halifax RL winning the Challenge Cup and any other sporting successes. Can you tell the tale?
Question 9.  The Bridge Inn in Ripponden has claims to be the oldest pub in Yorkshire. Heath Grammar Schools' stone chiselled entrance sign was spelled wrong(Grammer), Ed Sheeran was born in Hebden Bridge. What facts can you tell us about our town?
Question 10. We have had several films filmed or partly filmed in and around the town including 'Room at the Top', 'Nicholas Nickleby', 'This Sporting Life', 'Brassed Off' and 'Wuthering Heights. Do you have any memorabilia?
'This Sporting Life'  starring Richard Harris and partly filmed at Thrum Hall

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Historic Halifax clips from 1900 - 1908











The best band to come out of the Calderdale region over the last view years is Embrace, a band formed in Bailiff Bridge, Brighouse. The band consists of brothers singer Danny McNamara and guitarist Richard McNamara, bassist Steve Firth, keyboardist Mickey Dale, and drummer Mike Heaton.
This video from the track 'Refugees'  released in January 2014, is especially interesting to this blog as it is filmed on Beacon Hill overlooking Halifax itself.

                                                                  Embrace video

See the Embrace website here http://www.embrace.co.uk/

Your businesses

This blog gives me another opportunity to promote my advertisers. I have built several webpages on www.halifaxpeople.com for an array of different companies, all of which I am happy to give as much coverage as possible. These are all Halifax businesses and I am a great believer in keeping it local.
  Please view details of how to be one of our advertisers here.
This also gives me a chance to show you how you can promote your own company or items.

                                        Below the Booth in Sowerby Bridge

 Ladies 'stress relief massage' on offer for all January 2015 
45 mins of massage £19 (normally £29).
Contact Nicole or Heidi on 07598354740  
 (please mention where you saw this add too please - I get brownie points)

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Early Halifax

I could write my own article here about early Halifax but I would never be able to do a better job than the second part of the following link. Its an online book that gives a fantastic insight into old Halifax. Unfortunately, most of the pictures are poor quality but the writings have a wealth of information about the early days of the town.

Anyone interested in early Brighouse history and surrounding areas should also take a look at this excellent book https://archive.org/details/historyofbrighou00turn

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

We of the West Riding

'We of the West Riding' is a short film featuring Dean Clough, Woodside, Illingworth's Talbot bend and The Shay. Exploring the daily life of a large family in Yorkshire, 'We of the West Riding' (1945) shows both their work at the textile mills and their varied leisure pursuits.
It is also scripted by the famous, Halifax born and bred Phyllis Bentley.
Note how dirty the buildings were (2 mins).
Can anyone name the church? (19 mins)