Brighouse: Portrait of a Town (1953) by Reginald Mitchell (1909-1985)

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BRIGHOUSE Portrait of a Town



Illustrated by ALBERT

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Illustrations copyright by

ALBERT T. PILE Member of the Society of Graphic Artists Official War Artist Member of the Bradford Arts Club and the Huddersfield Art Society

Printed in Gt. Britain by Smith, Hodgson & Co. (Printers) Ltd. Brighouse

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by Mr. Councillor GEORGE TURNER,

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in our churches, and in many other ways; and our public servants contribute their necessary share faithfully and without stint and, most important, with great integrity as concerns the public purse. After sixty years of Corporate Life (1893 to 1953), to mark the Borough Diamond Jubilee, this volume is being published by the Corporation. May I, on behalf of the townsfolk of the Borough, offer Reg Mitchell our warmest thanks and congratulations on his book. It deserves to rank as a classic.


October, 1953.


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members of the Brighouse Corporation, In particular, I wish to thank most sincerely the Mayor, Councillor G. Turner, M.C., J.P.; the Deputy Mayor, Alderman G. A. Stillingfleet ; Alderman E. R. Hinchliffe ; Alderman W. White- ley, C.B.E.; Councillor E. Green, and Councillor E. A. Leach, who were the members of the sub-committee which arranged publication.

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Daisy Croft, Brighouse Hartshead Church

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present Borough of Brighouse. It is an attempt to portray the daily life of the people of this area, set against the national background. In a sense it will be a history of England, for England is merely an agglomeration of small communities like Brighouse, differing in geographical, economic and cultural backgrounds, but all possessing the strong bond of unity imposed by nationality. Other areas may be richer than Brighouse in having played a more superficially conspicuous part in history. No important battles were fought in the Brighouse district. We have no historic buildings. We can claim to be the birthplace of no really great national figure. But in Brighouse we can trace in miniature the development of the industrial civilisation on which the greatness of England has been built. We can watch the effect, on a thinly populated rural area, of the Industrial Revolution. We can see here how the problems created by this new industrialism were met. Above all, in this small part of England, as indeed in any other, we can re-create the daily life of the Englishman more successfully than if we survey the whole of England in one sweep. It is more stimulating and effective to study John Smith than to formulate vague generalis- ations about the whole tribe of Smiths. One of the chief problems is to decide where one ought properly to begin the history of Brighouse. The name itself probably first appeared about the twelfth or thirteenth century, when the first wooden bridge over the Calder was built, where now stands the Brighouse Bridge. With the construction of a house or two near the bridge the locality became known as Brighouse. Still not important enough to stand by itself, it was attached to its greater neighbour to become known as Hipperholme-cum-Brighouse.

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But this clearly is not the beginning. The townships of Rastrick, Hipperholme, Clifton, Southowram, which the later Brighouse swallowed up, have a much older history, and we are driven back even into the pre-historic period. As to the balance of the narrative between the various periods, it will be found that up to the eighteenth century the story is little more than an outline, for the real significance of Brighouse dates from the Industrial Revolution. It is from about 1750 onwards that we can with profit fill in the details, and see rising before us the town such as we know today.

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valley at Brighouse was part of Lake Calderdale, a vast stretch of water filling up the valleys of the Calder, the Colne and their tributaries. Above the lake on the heights of Clifton, Southowram and Rastrick was a formidable stretch of tundra, with arctic and moorland vegetation. Further to the west on the Pennine heights lay a belt of snow, fringed by the western icefield. To the east was the great glacier of the plain of York, which pushed a mass of lateral moraine across the Calder valley about Horbury, and prevented the waters of Lake Calderdale from escaping. The Lake probably persisted for many thousands of years after the Ice Age, through the various climatic changes of the Boreal and Atlantic Periods. It was only about 4000 B.C. that the waters burst out through the moraine to leave the valley of the Calder a swampy, uninhabitable place. On the Clifton side rose up a forest of oak and hazel; at Rastrick, one of oak and birch. This was the age of the neolithic and bronze age man, traces of whom have been found on the Pennine tops west of Brighouse, but not in the Brighouse district itself, apart from a few flakes of flint on Round Hill, Rastrick. With the dawn of the Iron Age about 500 B.C. we begin to see the first glimmerings of life in the Brighouse district. To the Iron Age belongs the construction of earthworks, places for both defence and habitation. The most well known of these locally is that at Castle Hill, Almondbury, but in his History of Halifax Watson gives us a description of the earthwork at Castle Hill, Rastrick. ““At Rastrick was lately a mount called

|: the later Ice Age about 15000-12000 B.C. the Calder


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Castle Hill, which Dr. Johnson in 1669 says was trenched about, and hollow in the middle, as if many stones had been got out of it. The circumference of it he measured to an hundred and eighty-eight yards within the trench, and on the top an hundred and seventeen, which shows the form of it. It has lately been destroyed for the sake of the stone which it contained, and appeared, upon examination, that the top of it, for a few yards perpendicularly, was cast up earth, the rest a natural hill, the whole being left hollow at the top, seemingly with design.” This is possibly the first inhabited site in the Brighouse district, and no doubt endowed Rastrick with much of its early impor- tance. As we move from the pre-historic period of the earthworks into the historic times of Rome, we find that in the Britain to which Julius Cesar paid a fleeting visit in 55 B.C. the Pennine slopes of West Yorkshire formed the centre of power of the Brigantes, a fierce race of British warriors. Evidence of their settlement in the Brighouse district is provided by a hoard of gold coins discovered at Lightcliffe. These comprise some Roman Republican coins of 184 B.C., some Imperial coins, the latest of which was of Caligula (37-41 A.D.), as well as some British gold coins, three of which bear the name of Volisios, who was probably a Brigantian king. It was, however, a century after

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at the Snake Hill Ford. The camps at Meltham and Kirklees, which were possibly old British camps connected by a rough track, were occupied and reconstructed as Roman forts. The Kirklees camp has a ditch on three sides, with a double ditch on the east to prevent an attack from the higher ground above the camp. The ramparts were constructed of gravel laid on an artificial bed of clay. The strategic importance of this camp lay in the fact that it guarded the ford across the Calder, a vital link in the Roman lines of communication. The next phase in the subjugation of the Brigantes came with the governorship of Agricola (77-85 A.D.). The territory of the Brigantes represented an island of opposition to the Roman power, which had to be crushed. Agricola advanced upon it from Chester and from York: At the same time by driving northward along the western side of the Pennines, he en- deavoured to cut off the Brigantes from their potential allies in the Lake District and in Scotland. He constructed two roads across the Pennines from Mancunium. The first came over Standedge, north of Diggle, where it was protected by the Roman fort at Castleshaw, proceeded to Slack, where another fort was built. From here it came down the north ridge of the Colne valley, through Rastrick across the Snake Hill Ford and up Clifton Common to Cleckheaton, Drighlington, Leeds, Tad- caster and York. It thus ran some three or four miles to the north of the old Meltham—Kirklees track used by Cerialis. His second road, designed to contain the Brigantes, went along the Ribble to Skipton and Ilkley. The fort at Slack was strongly defended, and contained a two-roomed. building for hot and cold baths.

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(Ilkley). This road crossed the Calder at Sowerby, and from there it sent out a branch through Greetland over Elland Edge to join the old road to York through Rastrick, so that the Calder crossing at Snake Hill retained some of its old impor- tance as a main thoroughfare. To the Romans, Britain was a great source of mineral wealth, and Yorkshire lead and iron were worked. At Low Moor iron was mined until the beginning of the fourth century. From about 125 A.D. to 250 A.D. the territory of the Brigantes under Roman rule enjoyed a comparative peace, but then the frontiers of the Empire began to contract under attacks from the Picts and the Scots of the north. A half century of uncertainty began, and men buried their wealth in an endeavour to keep it safe from plundering bands of marauders. Hoards of coins have been found at Hove Edge, Elland Wood Bottom and Clifton all bearing dates in the second half of the third century. The old fighting independent spirit of the Brigantes re- asserted itself, resulting about 300-304 A.D. in a substantial revolt, when incidentally the ironworks at Low Moor were destroyed. The accession of the Emperor Constantine in 307 saw the re-establishment of some order in the area which lasted for about another fifty years. Under his influence Christianity gained some foothold in Yorkshire. But as the power of Rome waned at the centre the frontier districts were weakened. In 364 and 367 Picts, Irish and Scots swept in destructive waves over Britain, and finally at the beginning of the fifth century the Romans abandoned the country. With the Roman power gone, Britain was a tempting prey to the Germanic peoples searching for lands in which to live. Waves of Angles, Saxons and Jutes landed on the south- eastern and eastern coasts, and began to carve out kingdoms of their own. At first the Brighouse district remained unaffected by the invasion, as in the fifth century the Angles, who established themselves in the north-eastern parts of Britain, were content with the occupation of the richer lands of the plains, and left the bleaker and poorer West Riding area alone. Up to about 616 the West Riding was British territory, divided into the two kingdoms of Loidis and Elmet. Life went on much as it had


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done under the Romans, disturbed only at times by the wars that were being waged around the Brigantian territory between the Nordic invaders and the Britons. In 607 King Aethelfrith of Deira, the southern part of what was ultimately to become the Anglian kingdom of Northumbria, marched through the dis- trict to fight the battle of Chester against the Welsh. Advancing from Leeds it is probable that he used the old Roman road through Brighouse, Rastrick and over the Pennines to Man- chester and Chester. The Brigantes of the Calder valley must have been disturbed to find their territory violated by the new invaders. For the time being, however, the Angles left the district alone, and there are indeed no Anglian remains in the area for the period before they were converted to Christianity after 625. It was inevitable, however, that the Angles should infiltrate into the whole of the territory east of the Pennines, which formed the natural boundary of their kingdom. In 616 the British kingdom of Elmet was conquered by Deira and in the succeeding years Angles penetrated more and more into the Pennine foothills. There is no evidence that the Brigantes were driven out, and it is probable that Angles and Britons settled down side by side, gradually coalescing as the Northumbrian kingdom was consolidated. Meanwhile the Angles were converted to Christianity. In 625 Paulinus came into Yorkshire when Eadwine of Deira married the Christian daughter of Aethelbert of Kent. In the course of his missionary work Paulinus established a church at York and one at Campodunum. The location of the latter has not been precisely determined, some authorities placing it at Greetland, some at Doncaster. The Angles suffered a severe setback when the Britons of North Wales under Cadwalla marched across the Pennines and defeated Eadwine in 633 at the battle of Hatfield, near Doncaster. Large parts of Northumbria were laid waste. Paul- inus himself was compelled to flee and his churches were desecrated. Cadwalla, however, could not sustain his victory and in 635 under King Oswald Anglian power was re-estab- lished in Northumbria. During the ensuing two centuries the Angles penetrated more and more into the Pennine foothills, and a considerable Anglian culture was created. At Dewsbury, the Christian


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centre for the area, it is possible that an Anglian abbey was established. During this period the Calder valley saw the origin of some of the customs and institutions that form the basis of our life today. As churches were built the conception of the parish as an administrative unit took shape. Clearings in the forests were made and farming operations commenced on a wider scale than ever before. For a period Northumbria ranked as the most highly developed of the English kingdoms, and, with Bede as its shining light, could stand comparison with any community in Europe. Indeed in the seventh century the north of England was the most advanced part of the whole country, a position which she lost to Mercia in the eighth century, and was not to regain until the Industrial Revolution a thousand years later. Anglian civilisation was checked by a new wave of invaders in the ninth century. In 867 came the Vikings from Denmark and Norway. The Brighouse district was fortunate in that once again, as with the first Anglian settlers, it escaped the ravages of war. At first the Vikings occupied the less hilly and more attractive plains of the east, and only gradually extended them- selves over the Pennines to form the Danelaw, a strip of territory running across England in a broad north-westerly line, cutting Anglo-Saxon England into two. A contracted and insignificant Northumbria was squeezed into the border coun- try, whilst Wessex occupied the south-western parts of the country. The Calder valley had a roughly central position in the Danelaw. I When they came originally, the Vikings were pagan, but in 878 they embraced Christianity as one of the conditions of peace following defeat at the hands of Alfred the Great. Under the Vikings Yorkshire was divided into ridings, the riding into hundreds and wapentakes, a form of organisation that has lasted in some degree until the twentieth century. Meanwhile, in the Brighouse district the old Anglian culture persisted. The Walton Cross at Hartshead, dating from the middle of the tenth century, is of Anglian workmanship, as is also the Rastrick Cross, which is probably the work of the end of the eleventh century. From about 930 the Vikings made their way into the Calder valley, settling down side by side with the Angles, as the Angles had formerly settled down with the Brigantes. Viking homesteads were established as at Fixby, the


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word “by

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WITH the Norman Conquest, our knowledge of life in the Brighouse district begins to expand. Communities at

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We can see what kind of a countryside the Normans found. The Angles and Danes had made clearings in the stunted forests of the hillsides of Clifton, Rastrick and Hipperholme, but the river, with its swamps, still proved an intractable agri- cultural area. But how small these settlements were can be seen from the Domesday Survey of 1087. Hiperum had two carucates of land; Feckesbi one; Rastric one; and Cliftone three. A carucate of land was about 120 acres, so that it is clear that the district could accommodate only a few families on its eight or nine hundred acres of farming land. Growth was slow and in the poll tax returns of 1379 Rastric had only fifteen houses and Hipperum-cum-Brighouse thirty houses. Even as late as 1605 Rastric still had only about twenty-four families. From at least 1275 there had been a wooden bridge over the Calder at Brighouse. This was in need of constant repair, and local men left money in their wills for this purpose. When the wooden bridge was replaced by stone is not clear. According to one authority it was in the middle of the sixteenth century, but as the whole bridge was carried away in 1615 by a great flood in the Calder, it seems more likely that the stone bridge was constructed in the seventeenth century. The Brighouse district fell for the most part within the ecclesiastical parish of Halifax, and was a part of the Manor of Wakefield, given by William I to Earl Warren. At Brig- house there was established a manorial court, held twice yearly by the steward of the lord of the manor. To this court came people with grievances from a wide area: Rastric, Hipperum- cum-Brighouse, Northowram, Shelf, Quarmby, Dalton, Fixby, Stainland, Barkisland, and

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The free tenants of the township were few. In 1286 Rastric had only six freemen. Most of the inhabitants were villeins, owing service to the lord of the manor, or to the lesser under- lords. Some of these villeins commuted their service for a money payment; in 1297 Richard, son of Hugh de Schepden (Shibden) gave forty pence for freedom from service to Richard, son of Yuon de Hyprum. Others continued to do their service and in 1314 the villeins in Rastric and Hyprum had to repair the mill dam at Wakefield, or do a day's teaping for the lord of the manor.

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From at least the end of the twelfth century the district con- tained two corn mills, one, commonly known as

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by all her fellow citizens in Brighouse she was found guilty and fined two shillings. Arguments about straying cattle and cattle on the common land were frequent; in 1314 Alice de Shrevyn, prioress of Kirkleys, alleged that the chaplain of Herteshead had driven away some of her cattle. In addition to hunting in the forests, hawking was a favourite sport, and the right to hawk was let at the court. In 1393 the hawking in the common fields of Herteshead, Rastrick, Brig- house and Hyprum was let to John Piper, curate of Rastrick Chapel, for sixpence. Pastimes for the villeins and cottagers were regulated by the court. No games were allowed after 9 p.m., and in 1446 several men were presented at court accused of playing speres (bowls) and other unlawful games. Again in 1464 many Clifton men were accused of playing at cards and speres in their houses. Deer stealing from the preserved forests was both a sport and a source of food, and in 1439 fines were imposed for poaching in the Keldre (Calder) at Brighouse. The fourteenth century saw one of the greatest of local cause celébre —the murder of Sir John de Ealand. Sir John was the steward of the Manor of Wakefield, held by Earl Warren, whose great rival was Earl Lacey, the lord of the manors of Elland and Southowram. The rivalry between the two spread to their retainers, as waS not uncommon, and in 1317 Sir John slew in a brawl Sir Robert Beaumont, Hugh de Quarmby and John de Lockwood, all Lacey retainers. The sons of the murdered men fled into Lancashire for safety but returned in 1353 for revenge, and murdered Sir John de Ealand at Brighouse Lane Head, as he was returning from holding the court at Brighouse. They then proceeded to Elland and mur- dered his whole family, bringing to an end the Ealand line. In the Brighouse district the Black Death of 1349 brought the same tragedy as in other parts of the country. It is estimated that three out of eight people died, and the consequent shortage of labour produced a profound economic dislocation. In the Brighouse court rolls of 1349 are long lists of the dead. The poor suffered more than the rich from the plague, as they were more susceptible to disease as a result of living in their insani- tary mud huts. The care of the roads was the duty of each township, and it is noteworthy that in the fifteenth century more attention began to be paid to this question. In 1438 Thomas Maunsell was


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charged with obstructing the highway with a dunghill. In 1442 the town of Clifton was ordered to repair the highway at Thorneyalls, and in 1444 the Brighouse tenants were charged with mending the road between Brighouse and Clifton Brig. In 1446 the Hyprum people were compelled to mend the com- mon way in

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WITH the accession of Henry VII we conveniently date the end of the middle ages. Certainly 1485 is a useful watershed in both local and national history. Many old customs and habits were dying in the fifteenth century. In 1476 the Brighouse court forbade the carrying of all weapons such as swords, axes, bills and spears. A new age, with a security of its own, was about to be ushered in. The characteristics of what we term modern history which made their appearance with the Tudors are markedly exempli- fied in the Brighouse district. Under the twin impact of a reformation in religion and an economic revolution which heralded the birth of capitalism, the old feudal order slowly crumbled away. Many of its forms remained and lingered on for centuries, like the court leet at Brighouse, but its spirit was gone, to give way to new urges which created the kind of world in which we live. In the Brighouse district the economic revolution had its basis in sheep. Wool production, wool merchanting, wool manufacture expanded on an ever increasing scale. Some of the old arable strip land was put down to grass, and further clear- ings in the forests were made for sheep runs. Open fields and commons were enclosed, causing severe hardship to the small- holders, who were virtually driven off the soil. Woolmen, like John Wood, of Coley, went round the sheep farmers to buy wool, which they sold to the ever increasing number of clothiers who began to appear. Sheep themselves acquired a new value, and in 1536 Robert Ayley bequeathed in his will ten sheep to his son Richard. The number of looms of the clothiers began to


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grow, as these manufacturers began to employ men to work for them. In 1573 Robert Hoyle of Lightcliffe left a “ paire of

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Across the valley in Southowram in 1530 John Lacey of Crom- wellbottom built St. Ann’s Chapel, popularly known as the Chapel in the Groves or the Chapel in the Briers. These three chapels made a most considerable addition to the religious life of the district, but unfortunately they were soon temporarily disrupted by the changes that came with the Reformation. These three as well as Rastrick were free chapels, and fell within the interdict of the Acts of Henry VIII and Edward VI of 1547 suppressing chantries and free chapels. Their endowments were confiscated, and the buildings ceased to be used for religious purposes. At Rastrick the old chapel was closed about 1547 and in 1578 was taken over as a barn by Robert Ramsden. In 1605 it was recovered by the church, and the building repaired and enlarged. A petition was pre- sented asking that some waste land might be enclosed as an endowment ; in 1643 a parcel of land on Rastrick Common was granted for a thousand years for this purpose. At Coley and Lightcliffe the chapels were suppressed, and the endowment of the former was seized by King Edward’s Commissioners, and used to endow Sedbergh School. In the reign of Mary, however, the chapels were once more reopened for religious purposes. In 1598 Eastfield Chapel was repaired. It was not only the free chapels which suffered in the Reformation. Between 1536 and 1539 came the dissolution of the monasteries. By transferring valuable property into the hands of the laity, the dissolution helped to create a large vested interest in the maintenance of Henry VIII's religious reforms. The only monastic establishment in the Brighouse district was the Priory at Kirklees. On the eve of its dissolution Robert Ayley gave twenty shillings to the prioress and the convent to pray for his soul. He would hardly get value for his money for in three years the Priory had disappeared. Dame Joan Kepax, the last prioress, surrendered the Priory, and retired to Mirfield where she died in 1562. I The Priory owned land in Shelf, Mirfield, Huddersfield, Hartshead and Clifton, and this was taken over by various local men of substance in return for the payment of a sub- stantial capital sum to the King and a nominal annual rent. In 1545 the Kirklees estate proper of about 260 acres was granted to John Tasburgh and Nicholas Saville for £987 and an annual rent of thirteen shillings and fourpence to the King. In 1547

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the estate passed to Thomas Gargreave, then to the Pilkingtons of Bradley and finally in 1565 to John Armytage of Farnley Tyas. The Armytages established themselves in Kirklees and by purchase through the decades acquired substantial property in Clifton. As a corollary to the economic and religious revolutions of the sixteenth century came the inauguration of the Elizabethan Poor Law. The disappearance of the old feudal order in which each person, villein or baron, had a place in society, and the emergence of large scale entrepreneurs and wage earners, meant that the army of “ rogues and vagabonds,” who could find no niche in the new social order, became a real problem. Monastic charity had to some extent catered for these social misfits, but after the dissolution of the monasteries the unfor- tunates were left with little public support. The basis of the Elizabethan Poor Law was to make each destitute person a charge on the parish, and authorised overseers of the poor to levy a poor rate for this purpose. It was therefore in the interests of each parish to see that no one fell on poor relief. In Rastrick in 1629 we can see what steps the parish took to try to achieve this most desirable state of affairs. It was decided that no house should be let to a stranger without the consent of the majority of the inhabitants unless he gave a bond of £20 to the churchwardens and overseers of the poor. Furthermore no new house was to be built unless there were four acres of common land available for the use of its tenant. By these means Rastrick hoped to prevent any of its residents from becoming a charge on the poor rate.

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It was during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that we can trace the origins of the two old local grammar schools. Both the school at Rastrick and that at Hipperholme grew around the churches of their present localities. Some time between 1400 and 1550 a school was started by the curate in Rastrick Chapel, but disappeared following the closure of the chapel in 1547. There is evidence, however, that teaching went on in Rastrick for the Robert Ramsden who used the chapel as a barn, also ran a school where Sir John Saville was taught some Latin. With the reopening of the chapel in 1605 the curate once more commenced his teaching in the church. The school had no separate endowment, and the curate would depend on the private fees of his pupils. Under the will of John Hanson of Woodhouse in 1621 the first endowment was provided, a modest one of “twenty shillings a year towards the maintenance of Divine Service and for the teach- ing of a school.” For the next century the history of the chapel school is lost. Doubtless the quality of the teaching depended substantially on the energy and capacity of the

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in the sequestrations that followed the death of the King ; and by Matthew Broadley, the benefactor of Hipperholme Grammar School, who acted as paymaster to the King's forces. By and large the result of the Civil War must have been welcomed by the growing body of clothiers and woolmen in the Brighouse district, for they saw the uncontrolled actions of the King as a threat to their trading interests. With the Commonwealth came the freeing of the puritans and the other opponents of the Church of England. In Brig- house this produced a religious ferment, which was in the future to give the area its strong nonconformist character. It was the Rev. Oliver Heywood at Coley who became the father of nonconformity in the north, and laid the foundations of independent congregationalism. Born near Bolton of parents who were strong puritans, he came to Coley Chapel in Novem- ber 1650 at a stipend of £30 a year. He married in 1655, and took up his residence in Coley. In the same year he restored the monthly communion, and in 1657 introduced church discip- line on presbyterian lines. Heywood was peculiar in that he was a supporter of the royalist cause in political affairs, and was in trouble during the Commonwealth for his royalist sympathies. But his real tribulations came with the Restoration. For refusing to use the Prayer Book he was suspended in 1662, and excommunicated in the same year under the Act of Uniformity. He found himself in the impossible position of being excluded from attendance at church, and at the same time fined for non-attendance. He held meetings at the houses of the local presbyterians, but, following the passage of the Five Mile Act, left Coley to become an itinerant preacher. Under the Royal Indulgence of 1672 he took out a licence as a preacher, and over one hundred of his former parishioners in and around Coley formed a presbyterian community. When his licence was recalled in 1675 he resumed his labours as an itinerant preacher. Finally with the Toleration Act of 1689 he found some security, and built a meeting house and a school in Coley. He died in 1702. Meanwhile another type of nonconformist had been spread- ing his influence in Brighouse. In 1654 Captain Thomas Taylor invited George Fox to stay with him in Brighouse Park.

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came again to Thomas Taylor's house within three miles of Halifax, where there was a meeting of about two hundred rude people, and divers butchers, several of whom had bound them- selves with an oath, before they came out, that they would kill they yelled and made a noise as if they had been at a bear-baiting One of those rude butchers, who had also sworn to kill me, having accustomed himself to thrust out his tongue in derision of Friends when they passed by him, had his tongue so swollen out of his mouth that he could never draw it in again, but died so.” This is our first record of mob violence in Brighouse ; it was to be repeated in the eighteenth century and several times in the nineteenth century from various causes. But the Quakers established themselves firmly in Brighouse, and when Fox came again in 1666 his reception was far kinder. The Brighouse Monthly Meeting at the Meet- ing House, Snake Hill, rapidly became the most important centre of Quakerism in the West Riding. With the end of the seventeenth century the Brighouse dis- trict, after centuries of slow growth in all the various fields of human activity, was ready for the rapid development which was to follow in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.


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IN 1750 the area now covered by the present borough of Brighouse included the major part of three townships Hipper- holme-cum-Brighouse, Rastrick and Southowram, in the largest parish in the country, Halifax, and one township, Hartshead- cum-Clifton, in the parish of Dewsbury. It was a rural, well- wooded, sparsely populated countryside rising on both sides of the river Calder, with the river creating a marshy swamp as it meandered sluggishly down its valley in a course that was apt to change from year to year. Brighouse proper, built mainly on the foot of the slopes rising in a northerly direction from Brighouse Lane, now Bethel Street, had the smallest population. In 1763 there were only

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with the estimated increase in the national population, which stood at about two and a half millions after the Black Death and had grown to about eight and a half millions by the middle of the eighteenth century. This comparatively large rate of growth in the population of the Brighouse district is merely a symptom of the industrial development that we have seen taking place in the area. It was not that fecundity was greater in the Calder valley, but that people were moving into this area from the surrounding countryside to earn their living. A mild degree of urbanisation was taking place even before the Indust- rial Revolution. Factories such as the Industrial Revolution created were virtually unknown in 1750. Most industrial processes were carried on by hand labour in the houses. Raw wool, for example, was supplied by the wool merchant to the cottagers for spin- ning. They returned the yarn to him and were paid for their labour. Similarly the yarn was supplied by a clothier for weav- ing on the cottage handlooms at a wage, and the finished cloth marketed by him. This cottage industry was widespread in the Brighouse district in 1750 and lingered on as an obsolete sur- vival well into the nineteenth century. As late as 1855 we have reported the death of a young man as he was carrying yarn from a Rastrick mill for weaving in his own home. The fulling mills at Brighouse Low Mill were still in operation and were described some years later as “ those powerful and valuable fulling and scribbling mills consisting of three water wheels, which turn by means of a five-foot fall.” In addition to this there were corn mills working at Daisy Croft, at Kirklees, at Brookfoot and at Shibden. Coal was worked at Clifton, Nor- wood Green and Southowram, whilst stone quarrying was one of the most important local industries. The quarries were operated with considerable difficulty in the eighteenth century in the absence of powerful cranes and steel chisels. They were of necessity shallow and the stone had to be lifted out by workers called huggers. These wore a leather saddle on their backs on which the stone was placed and then they mounted a ladder up the side of the quarry. The tools used for getting the stone were picks and iron crowbars. The owner of the land used to let at a rental the right to take stone to a master taker, who incidentally was usually the owner of the village inn where the wages were paid out to the delvers. In Clifton, in


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addition to the old wire and card clothing industry, leather tanning had started.

In the early years of the eighteenth century Brighouse had the advantage of being on the route of two of the highways of the West Riding. The ancient Roman Road down Clifton Common over Brighouse bridge up Rastrick Common to Lower Edge was still the main road between Leeds and Manchester, and in Moll’s map of 1720 is shown as a post road. In addition, a road from Halifax through Hipperholme to Bailiffe Bridge up Birkby Lane across to the Packhorse went away towards Wakefield and the east. This road is shown on Warburton’s map of 1720. It is to be feared, however, that the condition of these two roads was no better than others in the country. Travellers on the Great North Road in the eighteenth century came across potholes that swallowed coach and horses together. What was needed was some improvement in road structure.

Education in the eighteenth century was largely confined to endowed grammar schools and dame schools, and we find this pattern exemplified in the Brighouse district. The growth in population at Rastrick produced a need for more school places than could be provided in the old school in the Chapel. For this reason by her will of 1701 Mary Law of Elland made provision for the establishment of a school. What had hitherto been a private preserve of the Church, and indeed subservient to the Church, became a public institution in its own right. Mary Law left substantial property in Rastrick “ to the use and behoof of endowing a school in Rastrick, for the teaching and instructing twenty poor children to read and write.” The right of admission to the school was vested in Thomas Hanson and his heirs and the minister of Rastrick Chapel and his successors. Soon after the death of Mary Law in 1721 the first school building on the present site was erected and a schoolmaster appointed. He also kept the minutes of the township business. In this small modest way as a charity school, the school con- tinued throughout the eighteenth century. The link with the church still existed, and special pews were provided at St.

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day boys and boarders. In 1786 a larger gallery was constructed in Lightcliffe Church and five pews in it were let for the accom- modation of the pupils at the school. In 1782 the Rev. Richard Hudson was appointed headmaster, and in the following year the school building was extended, and the master’s house improved. The numbers on roll in the 1780’s were about two hundred, but had diminished to one hundred and fifty by 1793. In 1741 Brighouse itself acquired a school of its own. By her will Mrs. Mary Bedford of Thornhill Briggs left £200 on trust for the endowment of a school, provided the inhabitants of Brighouse would build one within a year of her death. She apparently believed in the virtues of self-help. Stimulated by this will the people of Brighouse raised subscriptions and set up a charity school for ten poor children at the bottom of John King Lane. Although the trustees of Mrs. Bedford failed to hand over the £200, this school known as

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and but for the death of Holmes, and the fact that his widow deserted the Moravians, and joined the early Methodists, it is probable that Lightcliffe would have become the centre of the Moravian Church in England. In 1753, however, the Mora- vians removed themselves to Fulneck. Smith House, however, remained the centre of what was to become a powerful branch of nonconformity, and John Wesley was a frequent visitor to the house. I Dotted over the whole countryside were the houses of the local gentry ; in Hipperholme and Lightcliffe were Coley Hall, Hoile House, Giles House, Rookes Hall, Winteredge, Slead Hall; in Brighouse the old Hanson house at Brighouse Park ; the Armytages at Kirklees; in Rastrick, Linlands, the ancient seat of the Rastricks, the Toothill, Woodhouse, Botheroyd and Thornhill estates. Clustered round them were the cottagers, attending the ancient manorial court at Brighouse to pay their dues and have their wrongs redressed, farming their small farms, spinning and weaving in their cottages to eke out the meagre family income. Of local government such as we know, there was little. The Justices of the Peace, then of much more importance and wield- ing much more power than today, looked after law and order and were indeed the kingpin of local administration. The business of each township was in the hands of the overseers of the poor, the surveyors of the highways, the constable and the churchwarden. No elections were held, but all ratepayers assessed at £10 and over were entitled to attend the township meeting, where nominations for overseers and surveyors were made to be submitted to the magistrates for selection and approval. At Bottom Hall, Lightcliffe, was the workhouse of the township of Hipperholme-cum-Brighouse, where the over- seers of the poor met to administer the Poor Law, and where there was accommodation for thirteen poor people, under the care, or otherwise, of a master and mistress. At Harley Head, Hove Edge, were kept the township books, and arrangements made for the repair of the roads. If the surveyors failed in their duty to keep the roads in repair they were brought to Quarter Sessions and the whole township could be fined. The inhabi- tants had themselves to do six days’ labour a year on the roads or pay a composition. One of the eighteenth century problems was that of straying cattle, and it was the duty of the pinder


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to take all such into the pinfold and not release them except on payment of a fine by the owner. Here was a community that was ripe for development. It had workpeople skilled in all branches of the textile trade. It had stone quarries, coalmines, wireworks, and men with capital to avail themselves of any opportunity offered. Its people generally were of an independent and adventurous turn of mind. Only the spark was needed. In 1733 John Kay, a reedmaker of Bury, patented his flying shuttle, by which device only one hand was needed to throw the shuttle backwards and forwards, and which was revolu- tionising the cottage weaving industry. In 1755 the Duke of Bridgwater connected Manchester and Worsley by canal, and set an example of transport progress that was to sweep the country. On Brighouse these two developments were to have a profound effect.


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THE CANAL AGE 1750 — 1840

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and progressive industrial community as is the circula- & tion of the blood in the human body. So long as a small social organisation is self-supporting and needs little which it cannot produce from its own natural resources and skill, com- munication with the outside world is a mere luxury. But as. soon as the division of labour between communities as well as individuals appears, then good means of communication are essential.

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understand them. They had a narrow strip of paving called a calsey or causey, two to four feet wide in the middle or at one side, along which walked the horses. Sometimes the causey was raised above the surface of the road, and was protected at intervals by posts to prevent carts using it. The eighteenth century answer to the road problem was the turnpike system, under which turnpike trusts were set up and made responsible for the repair of the roads. They derived their income from the tolls collected at the various tollbars on the road. In a sense the turnpike trusts were the beginning of professionalism in road maintenance, as against the old selfhelp of the highway surveyors. The first turnpike road through Brighouse was the Halifax— Wakefield road, passing through Hipperholme down to Bailiffe Bridge, up Birkby Lane and away to the Packhorse Inn. This was turnpiked in 1741. The introduction of toll bars naturally caused great resentment, for what had hitherto been free, apart from a trivial highway rate, now had to be paid for each time the road was used. The inhabitants of Brighouse, who were never slow to show their resentment at anything they objected to, took vigorous action against the tolls in 1753. The tollbars at Bailiffe Bridge and Brighouse were destroyed in riots and some of them burnt down two or three times. But at this time there was another project under consideration which was to do more than the turnpikes to revolutionise transport in Brighouse. River navigation had been practised from a very early time, but the rivers of the West Riding were only navigable for short distances. The answer was found in the construction of cuts connecting the navigable portions, the whole producing a continuous canal. It was in 1740 that the idea of constructing a canal through the Calder valley was first mooted, but met with fierce opposition from the mill-owners who feared that the canal would deprive them of the water to turn their water wheels. Gradually however they were per- suaded that this fear was groundless, and in 1757 an Act of Parliament was passed to make the Calder navigable from Wakefield to Salterhebble, by the construction of a canal where the river was unusable. Within two years Brighouse found itself sitting astride this new and economical water highway, constructed by James Smeaton, the engineer of the Eddystone lighthouse, with the assistance of James Brindley, the most


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noted canal expert of his day. In 1768 the canal was extended to Sowerby Bridge, where it connected with the Rochdale


This was the origin of the growth of modern Brighouse. In the canal it possessed an advantage denied at first to its larger neighbours, and goods from Brighouse could now flow easily, in large quantities, and at a much cheaper rate, to Lancashire and the other parts of the West Riding. The local quarries, especially, found the canal an incalculable benefit in the transport of their heavy, bulky stone. As a by-product, the possession of the canal meant that Brighouse proper would develop out of proportion to its hitherto larger neighbours, Hipperholme and Rastrick. It was the obvious centre of gravity of the whole district, and as if to mark this, the Navigation Warehouse and the Anchor Inn were built about 1768, to supply facilities for handling and storing goods and refreshment for the passing boatmen.

The possession of the canal was not however an unmixed blessing, for it meant that the development of a road system was neglected. After the Halifax-Wakefield turnpike in 1741 the next road to be turnpiked was the

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In 1823 the Bradford—Huddersfield Turnpike was instituted. Up to this time there had been only the Brighouse Bridge across the Calder, and originally it was planned to take the new road across the Cliff and over the old bridge. It turned out, however, that there was enough capital to construct a new bridge near to the old Snake Hill ford, and the inconvenient detour was avoided, and a considerable addition made to the amenities of the town. About 1826 came the Brighouse-Denholmegate turn- pike on which William Drake, a public works contractor in Brighouse, was employed. This road meant, of course, that the old John King Lane became a more passable thoroughfare. The old road from Leeds to Elland down Clifton Common across Rastrick bridge and up Rastrick Common to Lower Edge was taken over by the Elland—Leeds Turnpike Trust, and its surface and general condition much improved. These roads were built late enough to take advantage of new methods of road construction popularised by Telford and MacAdam, consisting in covering the road surface with an impenetrable crust of small stones, which under pressure were moulded into a hard smooth surface. The hated tolls were collected at the toll bars scattered about the district, the remains of some of them still being seen. The turnpike trusts were administered by local trustees, who appointed one of the town’s solicitors as their clerk. In the period then between 1740 and 1840 Brighouse found itself the centre of a network of good communications. In the canal it had an outlet to the east coast and into Lancashire, whilst in its roads radiating north, east, south and west, it was linked not only with its immediate neighbours, but with all parts of the country. Passenger coaches lumbered regularly through the town, a source of constant danger to the drunks (who in their homeward peregrinations were lucky to escape being run over or falling into the canal), but an immeasurable con- venience to those who wished to travel on business or pleasure.


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THE contrast between the Brighouse district in 1750 and in 1840 was the contrast between two worlds. An industrial revolution had indeed taken place. The locality had changed like the other manufacturing districts of England from a rural area into a squalid urbanity. There were still many relics of the eighteenth century left in 1840, but they were overlaid and dominated by the new civilisation typified by the mills and the machinery they contained. The background to this change must be briefly sketched. We have already noted Kay's invention of the flying shuttle in 1733, which, by a mechanical throwing of the shuttle, permitted the weaver to operate on his own without assistance. This speeded up the whole process of weaving, and resulted in a shortage of yarn, which was still spun by hand, until Ark- wright’s series of inventions revealed the secret of mechanical spinning by rollers and revolving spindles. Hargreaves in 1767 invented the spinning jenny, by which one spinner could manage as many as 120 spindles at a time, and by 1780 the production of yarn was outstripping the pace of weaving. Cartwright found the solution to this lack of balance in 1785 with his power loom, while Watt's steam engine provided the power to drive the new machinery. The textile trade of England was now equipped for a great expansion. From the last quarter of the eighteenth century factories began to be built in which the new machinery could be used, but the spread of the new technique was patchy. As late as 1856 only half the operatives engaged in the woollen trade in York- shire were employed in factories, the remainder continuing to work in their own homes as in the days of the cottage industry.


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Again, although steam engines were installed in some factories in the eighteenth century, the spread of the new motive force generally was slow. Even in 1830 there were three factories driven by water wheels for every five driven by steam. So the general overall picture of the industrial revolution in Brighouse is of the slow introduction of the factory system, the con- tinuance of the old order of cottage industry, and the use of water wheels long after the invention of the steam engine. The change from the old to the new methods lasted several decades, but proceeded at an ever-increasing tempo.

The Brighouse district was most fortunate in the possession of water power. Not only was there the Calder itself, but becks flowed down the many valleys that intersected the district, most of them suitable for turning water wheels. Clifton and Walter- clough becks, for example, were used for this purpose.

The first real change in the tempo of Brighouse industry was the construction of the Little John Mill in 1785 by John Clegg, a worsted manufacturer, as a fulling, scribbling and carding mill, thus freeing himself from dependence on the fulling mill at Brighouse Low Mills, which was finding it increasingly difficult to handle the growing volume of trade. Towards the end of the century John Holland, who can be said to be the father of the modern worsted industry in the district, built the Slead Syke mill in the valley above Brookfoot, using the Walterclough beck to turn his water wheel. It was Holland who in 1811 introduced into Yorkshire the manufacture of moreens. It is worth noting that amongst his other activities he was a pillar of the nonconformist church, In Brighouse at that time non- conformity and business acumen seem to have gone hand in


In 1805 the old corn mill at Brookfoot was purchased by John Clay of Rastrick and William Earnshaw of Brighouse. The old building was pulled down and a new one erected for the manufacture of woollens. In 1792 Joseph and James Cartledge purchased some land at Thornhill Briggs, and built the Thornhill Briggs mill at the turn of the century. The Cartledges were cotton spinners from Elland. Their real im- portance is that they introduced the cotton industry into the town, and provided a desirable alternative to the manufacture

of woollens.


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What hampered the industrial development of the town at this stage was the lack of freehold building land. The entrepreneurs of the early nineteenth century had no enthusiasm for laying out their capital on the construction of expensive factories on leasehold land. The sale by auction of the Army- tage land in Brighouse in 1816 marked, therefore, as important a landmark as had the construction of the canal in 1759. Much of the old feudal atmosphere disappeared with this sale, and Brighouse, with freehold land and water power in n plenty, took advantage of the new situation.

The population of the area had grown and was growing rapidly. From the estimated figure of between 3000 and 4000 in 1750 it increased to something like 8200 in 1801, 9300 in 1811 and 10800 in 1821. Although accurate figures are available in the censuses established in 1801 the difficulty of arriving at the population figures is that of eliminating that part of Southow- ram which ultimately fell within Halifax, to which it properly belonged. In the estimates for this reason one half of the Southowram population has been eliminated. A better idea of the growth can be obtained from the following analysis :

1801 1811 1821 1831

Hipperholme-cum-Brighouse 2879 3357 3936 4977 Rastrick

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Table A reveals the industrial stage reached by the first quarter of the nineteenth century, and the pattern did not change materially until after 1840. Cardmaking was the most widespread industry, being represented in all parts of the townships, but chiefly concentrated in Rastrick. Quarries were worked extensively in Hipperholme, Rastrick and Southowram.


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expect to find, the most prolific trade was that of licensed victualler. The population of the whole district in 1821 was 13000, so that there was roughly one public house to 400 people. The inns were spread, however, most unevenly over the area. Brighouse still only had four, the Black Bull, the Black Swan, the Anchor and the Wellington, but this number increased rapidly during the next twenty years. The George and the Royal were opened to provide accommodation for the visitors who came on business to the town, and proved extremely useful as meeting places for dinners and functions for organisations

TABLE B. TRADES, ETC., IN 1822 B C L Boot, shoe and clog makers Blacksmiths Butchers Carpenters and ca abinet makers Carriers

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from neighbouring towns, which found Brighouse a convenient centre. But it was the Beerhouse Act of 1830 which was a turning point in the increase in public houses. Under this Act trade in beer was completely freed from controls, and any ratepayer could retail beer without a licence from a justice of the peace, merely on payment of a fee of two guineas to the local excise officer. The fully licensed houses remained subject to licences from magistrates. The effect of the Act was instan- taneous, and within two years 30,000 new beerhouses had appeared in the country. At least ten were opened in Brighouse, and some of them, like the New Inn, Thornhill Briggs, the Malt Shovel, Clifton Bridge, and the Round House, Clifton Road, are still in existence. For the next thirty-nine years until the Act of 1869 made beerhouses subject to a justices licence, any ratepayer had the right to open one, provided he could find his two guineas. About 1833 the Wharf Inn, Elland Road, was opened to cater for the needs of the workers at Brookfoot, whilst the Martin’s Nest, with its stabling, acted as a useful hostelry for the travellers on the new Huddersheld-Bradtord turnpike road. In 1820 John Brook, who had been the tenant of the corn mill at Brookfoot, erected Brook’s Mill, the Top Mili, as a corn mill, and in 1832 Thomas Sugden graduated from his grocery business to build the Perseverance Mills, thus laying the foundation of the large flour mills of the present day in the centre of Brighouse. Building extensions at the Little John Mill in 1828 provided facilities for wiredrawing by Solomon and Frederick Pitchforth, and in 1831 these two erected another two-storey mill at Clifton Bridge for charcoal-burning, and coal grinding, and for use asa sawmill. The Brighouse area then saw a considerable amount of industrial development in the hundred years up to 1840, The population increased rapidly, as the new industries attracted people from the neighbouring countryside, and as infant mor- tality decreased. Between 1801 and 1841 the population of Hipperholme-cum-Brighouse almost doubled itself, rising from 2879 to 5411. One grave deficiency was the lack of local government suited to the needs of the new industrialised society. Such local government as existed was still the same as in the eighteenth century, indeed much the same as in Eliza-


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bethan days. There was no authority to deal with the problems that arose through urbanisation. Street lighting, sewerage and the thousand-and-one needs of people herded together in insanitary streets were the responsibility of nobody. Obviously one of the greatest problems facing the district was that of the creation of an efficient local government machine, On that depended the maintenance of the health and prosperity of the future.


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TOWARDS the middle of the eighteenth century the prevailing religious apathy, which we have observed in the Church of England, was dispersed locally by an evangelical movement led by the Rev. Henry Venn, vicar of Huddersfield. His stirring sermons attracted visitors to the Huddersfield Parish Church from the whole neighbourhood, including Brighouse. Through- out the 1760's Venn, associated with the Rev. William Grim- shaw of Haworth, helped to make the church once more a living institution, and when the Wesleys and George Whitfield preached at Haworth thousands of people went to hear them, some from Rastrick and Brighouse. This religious ferment began to show itself clearly around Bridge End in the 1770's, when a strong congregation estab- lished itself, assisted by a dissenting minister, the Rev. James Scott of Heckmondwike, the leader of Independency in this part of the West Riding. The Independents had originated in the seventeenth century, had been supported by Cromwell, and locally had left a tradition through Oliver Heywood, of Coley, and Mr. Kay, the curate of Rastrick Chapel, expelled under the Act of Uniformity in 1662. The meetings at Bridge End were at first held in cottages, but soon there was a demand for a meeting place, and in 1778 the community began to construct a chapel, relying on their own labour. By the end of the year the building stood one yard high, and so it remained throughout the winter. In the following June, however, the work was let out to James Oates, John Aked and William Jagger, who contracted to complete the chapel in twelve weeks, or forfeit £12. In the specifications the walling and dressing was quoted at 7/- a rood, roofing at £1-16-0 a

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square rood and slating at a shilling a yard. The chapel was completed in October 1779; it was a small building, with no galleries, with accommodation for about three hundred people. Under the guidance of its first minister, the Rev. Nathaniel Scholefield and that of his successor, the Rev.

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The absence of a religious institution of any kind in Brighouse proper, and the local contacts with the Wesleys at Lightcliffe, were two contributory factors which favoured the birth and growth of Wesleyanism in the town. For some years towards the end of the eighteenth century Methodist meetings, fostered and encouraged by neighbouring circuits, were held in cottages in various parts of the whole district, with an especial centre in the house of John Sharp at Hove Edge. Eventually it was decided to build a Methodist Chapel in Brighouse, which might serve the whole area. In 1791 William Stockwell, a Clifton farmer, bought a plot of land in Brighouse Park for £47, and the first chapel was erected in 1795. The first trustees were representative of the scattered parts of the townships, com- prising two from Clifton, three from Brighouse, one from Hove Edge and five from Rastrick. This meeting together for a common purpose provided a link for the future unification of the townships into one town. It is significant too that the trustees were dominated by the new manufacturing interests, cardmakers, worsted manufacturers, clothdressers, and included only one who described himself as a labourer. Unfortunately the birth of the Park Chapel coincided with dissension in the Methodist ranks nationally, and this had an immediate and profound effect on all local Methodist circuits. John Wesley had built Methodism in a strongly autocratic mould. He would have nothing to do with the Congregational view that each congregation was a completely autonomous unit, and that the minister was the servant of his flock. Wesleyanism was arranged in circuits, under the authority of a superinten- dent, with two or three itinerant preachers, who journeyed round the various chapels in the circuit. The individual chapel had very little freedom, and even the salary of the Methodist preacher was fixed at a national level at £12 for himself, £12 for the support of his wife, £4 for each of his children, and £6 for a servant. The circuits were grouped into districts, and all the districts together formed the Connexion, which had Wesley at its head as a virtual dictator. On

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happened nationally. Indeed the supporters of the New Connexion in Brighouse were powerful enough to appropriate to themselves the chapel building and the Wesleyan Methodists found themselves in a minority. From 1799 to 1811 the New Connexion continued to hold the chapel, and the old Wesleyans were once more driven to the house of John Sharp at Hove Edge. They did not, however, lie down under their expulsion, and John Sharp and others fought a legal battle in the Court of Chancery, which in 1811 decided that the chapel belonged to them. Back came John Sharp and his supporters, and it was the turn of the New Connexion to be homeless. They quickly adjusted themselves to the new position, and in 1811 erected a chapel in Bethel Street, only a few yards away from the Park Chapel. In 1822 they added a Sunday School. Not to be out- done, the Wesleyans, safe in their occupation of Park, erected a Sunday School in 1827. An interesting development in 1837 was the establishment at Rastrick of New Road School, designed to give religious instruction to any denomination of Christians, managed by a committee representative of all denominations, but so con- stituted as to be dominated by none. Sunday evening services were conducted by Baptists, Methodists and Independents. Unlike many similar ventures in the early nineteenth century New Road has remained undenominational. Meanwhile nonconformity was spreading in the outlying districts. In 1806 a Wesleyan Chapel at Southowram was built by subscription, with sittings for about 300, The Independents established themselves at Bramley Lane, whilst in 1840 the Mount Pleasant Methodist Chapel was erected at Hipperholme to hold a congregation of about 250.

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In the race for the souls of the new urban population created by the Industrial Revolution, the Church of England was a late starter, and in the first part of the nineteenth century the Con- gregationalists and Wesleyans dominated the religious scene in Brighouse. Almost all the local influential people, John Holland, the Clays and the Sugdens, to name only a few, were prominent workers in the Nonconformist ranks, and they were able to provide much of the financial backing which the new chapels needed. It was characteristic that the old-established, semi-feudal families supported in a traditional manner the Established Church, whereas the newly-enriched employers of labour attached themselves to the Quakers, the Independents or the Methodists. We can still trace this cleavage today, although there has been some swing away from Nonconformity to the Church of England, coupled, of course, with a tremen- dous weakening of religion generally.

With the lethargy of an old-established institution the Church of England adjusted itself only slowly to the new conditions, and for many years regarded Brighouse proper with a lofty disdain, leaving the field clear for the Noncon- formists. It was content at first to rebuild its old churches on the periphery of the district. The old Eastfield Chapel at Lightcliffe was reconstructed in 1775. In Rastrick in 1755 the collection of funds for rebuilding the old church started. About £120 was collected, but no effort was made to proceed with the work, and the money was lent out at interest for about forty years, in which time it had more than trebled. The Church was finally rebuilt in 1797 in the same style as that at Lightcliffe. On February 11th, 1803, a subscription list for the provision of a church clock was opened “as a general inconvenience has been observed to arise from a want of greater accuracy in the hour of attendance upon public worship, and as various des- criptions of workpeople constantly experience a disadvantage from not being able to ascertain the hour of the day, and consequently at a loss to know when to begin and when to leave off work.” The clock was installed at a cost of £43. In 1807 the vicarage at Rastrick was built.

The present structure at Coley dates from 1816, whilst at Southowram, St. Ann’s Church was erected near to the site

of the old church of 1530.


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Apart from this the Established Church did little until, under the Million Act, which provided for the erection of churches in the districts that the Industrial Revolution had populated, the Brighouse St. Martin’s Church was projected. On April 14th, 1831, the Archbishop of York laid the foundation stone, and the church, with a seating capacity of 1100, was completed in the following year at a cost of £3500. The clock was added in 1846. By 1841 there were four churches in the two townships of Rastrick and Hipperholme-cum-Brighouse, holding 2750 people, a most notable advance on the position a century earlier. Sunday Schools were attached to each church, and contained 928 scholars with 105 teachers. During this period the two old endowed schools at Hipper- holme and Rastrick, Mary Bedford’s School in Brighouse and sundry dame and private schools continued to function. With the growth in population the old school building at Rastrick dating from the

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superficies and solids, land-surveying, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, geography with the use of globes, etc., etc.” The weekly cost for the whole of this extremely practical course was three shillings and threepence, which makes the heading to the prospectus

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Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church. The former was non- sectarian, but received its main support from the nonconfor- mists, whilst the latter was, as its name indicates, an appendage of the Church of England. It was, therefore, under the auspices of the National Society that the National School at St. Martin’s was established. A subscription list was opened towards the end of 1833. Within a short time £250 had been raised, and the school was quickly built and occupied. Four years later in 1839 a National School at Southowram was built with George Darley Cosbey as master.

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AS the Industrial Revolution progressed there was an

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of the country, were in a state bordering on revolution. The conditions under which men, women and children worked in the

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battle of the night. No doubt the Brighouse surgeons had wounds to dress that night, the wounded always having to make some excuse as to how they had come by their injuries. Once away from Cooper Bridge, the terror still in his heart, Rayner ran furiously to Rastrick, arriving there just as the church clock was chiming. Outside the church he met the sexton, who bid him goodnight. They both stood for a minute to listen to the chimes of the clock, and fortunately for Rayner it struck thirteen. It was being repaired at the time by the Brighouse clockmaker, Skelton, and the sexton had come late at night to see that all was well after the repairer had left. The Luddite disturbances continued throughout that summer, and Horsfall, a Marsden manufacturer, was murdered, Special constables were enrolled, the military were drafted into the district, and the atmosphere was that of a civil war. The Luddites needed arms, and these they had to steal. Raids for this purpose were a regular feature of the nights. William Hartley of Rastrick was a neighbour of Rayner, and the two had joined the Luddites at the same time. On the night of August 29th he was the leader of a small party detailed to make a raid on the house of George Haigh, Skircoat, Halifax, for the purpose of obtaining arms. Hartley and his confederates hammered on the door of Haigh’s house, demanding entry. In response to a request to know who they were, one of them answered, ‘‘My master General Ludd, has sent me for your

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Other witnesses corroborated the evidence about the clock, and Radcliffe, in spite of his calculations as to the possibility of Rayner being able to run from Cooper Bridge to Rastrick in the time available, had finally no option but to discharge the prisoner.

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the House of Commons, would give them the legal right and power to implement their economic demands.

How desperate could be the plight of the mass of the people when suddenly affected by adversity is well illustrated in Rastrick in the mid 1820's. Rastrick then had a population of about 3000, spread over 600 families. Of these families some 40 were described as gentry, 40 employed in agriculture, and the remainder in trade and manufactures, principally in the fancy trade, card setting and the stone trade. In 1825, a boom year generally, trade was brisk, but suddenly a depression hit the township in 1826, occasioned to some extent by a lack of demand in the fancy trade consequent on the death of the Duke

of York.

Distress reached such proportions that such relief as could be provided out of the Poor Rate was totally inadequate. The Poor Rate itself was increased from £443 in 1824/5 to £800 in 1825/6, but owing to the widespread distress only two-thirds of the increased rate had been received by the beginning of 1827. The vicar of Rastrick stated that never in his twenty-six years in Rastrick had he seen people in such a

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vicar of Rastrick, that employment constitutes the Poor Man's Wealth, and when that fails, he may be said to lose his

Throughout the in the West Riding an agitation for a shorter working week crystallised in the demand for a ten-hour day. Richard Oastler of Fixby Hall, the steward of the Thorn- hill Estates, appeared as a leader, and in April 1832, there was a mass meeting in the Castle Yard, York, attended by men from Huddersfield, Halifax, Brighouse and all the West Riding textile towns, to demonstrate in favour of the Ten-hour Bill. In the Tolson Museum at Huddersfield there is the flag made at

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Any male person of the age of 77 last birthday, resident within the parish of Halifax, may, on production of a medical certificate of perfect health,

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the agitation with their impassioned speeches. On Whit Mon- day 1839 there was held at Peep Green, a waste piece of land between Hartshead and Roberttown, what was believed to have been the largest political gathering ever held in England. Great processions of working men, carrying flags, with music provided by brass bands, came from Huddersfield, Halifax, Brighouse, Cleckheaton and the whole surrounding district. One can well imagine the procession of Brighouse and Halifax men marching up Clifton Common to Peep Green. The meeting opened with a Wesleyan hymn, followed by prayers from William Thornton of Halifax. The two principal speakers were

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in the town was stopped as a result of the widespread agitation. It died down, however, as rapidly as it had sprung up, and within a week all was peaceable again in Brighouse. Indeed some thought that there was no need to have closed the mills for a whole week, but that the masters decided to keep closed for a few days, once work had stopped, to teach the rioters a lesson. With the Plug Riots we come to the end of the first phase of the Industrial Revolution in Brighouse. The period from 1750 to 1840 might be called the Canal Age, for it was dominated by the canal, which was so soon to lose much of its importance. In these years the relative peace of 1750 had turned into the bitter social stress of 1840. Even more for the employed than for the employers the ninety years up to 1840 had meant a profound dislocation of the way of life in Brighouse, a disloca- tion which was the cause of most of the troubles and alarms which plagued and darkened the district. While the factory and the new methods of production gave rapid and immense wealth to the owners — one result of which can be seen in the large mansions which they built for themselves near to their mills —they appeared to produce unemployment, squalor, in- suficient wages and bad conditions of living for those who worked in the factory as hands: The Brighouse people of 1750 had a respect for the local gentry of the day which their descendants were not willing to give to the nouveaux riches of the Industrial Revolution. Society was enduring a cataclysm such as seldom. occurs on so large a scale. Time would be needed for the new social relations to adjust themselves. By the

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which was to open up after the end of the hungry forties, was struck in Brighouse on October 5th, 1840, when the first train passed through the town. On that day began as revolutionary a phase of local transport as the cutting of the canal had started in 1757. Railways had been used in the eighteenth century for horse-drawn wagons, but it was not until the success of the Manchester and Liverpool Railway, opened in 1830, that steam-operated locomotives were seen to be cheap and efficient.

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house and Bradford Station. Coaches met passengers at the station to take them to Huddersfield and Bradford. © Local industry received a tremendous impetus from the rail- way, and goods could be despatched from Brighouse to most of the main industrial centres in England at a speed and in bulk hitherto unimagined. One man especially benefited, Walker, the owner of the coke ovens near the station. It was found that his coke, made from Low Moor coal, was eminently suitable for the locomotives, and he received a contract in 1840 to supply the railway with fifty tons of coke a day for five years at fourteen shillings a ton. Railway development proceeded rapidly in the forties and fifties, and the monopoly which the Brighouse station had was to last only a few years. In 1847 a line from Halifax to Low Moor was started, and although operations were held up for six months, the work was completed by 1850 and the first trains ran on May 9th. Stations were built at Hipperholme and Light- cliffe, and the subsequent extension of the line to Bradford and Leeds afforded a great convenience to the inhabitants of the Hipperholme district. Railways, of course, brought their dangers as well as their advantages, and Huskisson was merely the most eminent victim of the trains in the infancy of rail communications. At the old Brighouse station there was no bridge over the line, and one merely walked over the rails. There were many cases where people, misjudging the speed of the engines, were run over and killed.

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becoming obsolete, and proving itself much too small. In 1863 the people of Brighouse prepared a petition to the L. and Y. asking the company to build a new and more commodious station on the west side of Huddersfield Road. But it was to take more than a petition to move the L. and Y., and Brighouse had to wait several years for more rail development. The coming of the railway made road communication less important, and helped to sound the deathknell of the turnpikes. The turnpike system, whilst an improvement on the old method of road upkeep, soon came to outlive its usefulness, and be regarded as a hindrance on trade. The toll bars acted in a sense like a tariff wall, restricting the flow of goods. Welcomed originally as a way of ensuring that the roads were kept in reasonable repair, they became hated as a heavy and irritating tax on transportation. Some of the local difficulties were well illustrated in Rastrick on the Leeds—Elland turnpike, which came through Lower Edge, Tofts Grove, Rastrick Common, on Bethel Street, Police Street and so up Clifton Common to Cleckheaton and Leeds. The only toll bar in the district was at Bridge Street, and there was no bar at Clifton Bridge, but one at the top of the Common. Although Thornhill Road was in the

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Brighouse and Rastrick. The repair of this portion would then become the responsibility of the highway surveyors, and be a charge on the rates, but the tolls would be abolished. It was alleged that the tolls collected at Bridge Street amounted to £330 a year, that sum being calculated from a return prepared by an observer who had stood at the bar, and kept a record of the traffic. The cost of the repair of the road was calculated at £165 a year. This simple arithmetic showed the people of Rastrick how much they stood to gain from the extinction of the turnpike, and they decided to petition Parliament to get the road into their own hands. In March 1861 a meeting of the Brighouse ratepayers was called by John Brooke, the constable, and decided to take joint action with Rastrick on this question, in relation to that part of the road which passed through Brig- house. The joint petition was successful, and in July 1862 the toll bar at Bridge Street was removed. It was immediately observed that there was a tremendous increase of traffic on the road. As a consequence of this action, the previous opposition to the adoption of Thornhill Road by Rastrick disappeared, as there was now no danger of the excessive use of the road to avoid the toll. The township therefore adopted the road. The movement for the abolition of the tolls on the Brighouse and Denholmegate road started actively in 1862. The matter proceeded satisfactorily, and the Brighouse—Hipperholme sec- tion of the road was released by the trust, and taken over by the highway surveyors. The bar-house at Lane Head was pur- chased in the summer of 1864 by the Primitive Methodists and incorporated as part of the chapel they were building. In 1870 there were still three turnpike roads in the town: Brighouse to Cleckheaton through Clifton ; the Elland—Obelisk road ; and the Huddersfield—Bradford road. In February 1871 the Brighouse Local Board sent a petition to the Home Secre- tary protesting against the renewal of the Elland—Obelisk Turnpike Trust, and pointing out the intolerable tolls demanded. After a decade of agitation the road was finally freed on October 31st, 1880. In the

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already been abolished, apart from those collected at the top of Clifton Common, and in October 1878 this last bar dis- appeared, its end being celebrated by a supper in the Armytage Arms. Before this, certain improvements had already been made to the road at Clifton Bridge, and in 1873 a new bridge was constructed over Clifton Beck. With the abolition of the toll bar by the Armytage Arms it became possible to effect further improvements in the road. In 1878 the Clifton rate- payers decided to build a new portion of the road from Gin Pit straight up the hill to the Armytage Arms. Previously the road had taken a long and difficult détour from Gin Pit. With the freeing of the roads it became possible to have cheaper road travel, and passenger traffic began to increase. Wagonettes, as well as stage coaches appeared on the roads, and in 1875 Thomas Freeman of the Livery Stables, Brighouse, began to operate a regular wagonette service between Hipper-

holme, Lightcliffe, Bailiffe Bridge, Brighouse and Mirfield.


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I'l is no exaggeration to say that in the twenty-five years up to 1865 the industrial development of Brighouse produced the main outline of the town which exists today. In 1840 the mills and houses stood generally surrounded by green fields, but building proceeded at such a rate that the urbanisation rapidly obliterated much of the green. In 1849 Samuel Baines purchased the Victoria Mill, which had been erected by J. and H. Noble in 1837, the Prince Albert Mill and the Canal Mill, both originally built by the Rev. Benjamin Firth, an independent minister of Clifton. He also bought from Sir George Armytage adjacent land, including the Jolly Sailor, and from Samuel Dawson some lime kilns and the Royal Hotel. He then proceeded to develop the whole site, bounded by the canal, Mill Lane and Huddersfield Road. In Mill Lane he erected the Britannia Mill and in Huddersfield Road two houses near to the Royal, which eventually became, as they are today, banks and offices. In September 1858 there took place the sale of the Cawthra estate, and this was said at the time to be the most important sale for twenty years. The land lay between the Black Bull and the canal, and twenty-seven lots were sold for £5000 at between two shillings and four shillings a square yard. At the sale plans for the development of the site were exhibited, showing the road at Owler Ings to be constructed. Within three months the first batch of houses built here were ready for occupation. In Rastrick in the same year the Thornhill estate offered freeholds to about seventy tenants and copyholds to thirty others. There was a general sense of optimism in the air, which favoured mill and house building. In October 1859 Camm


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Brothers were building a large mill at Thornhill Briggs, and Samuel Baines another one opposite the Victoria Mill. In fact at one time it was noted that five large mills were being built or rebuilt simultaneously. A similar growth was taking place in Rastrick and in the Bailiffe Bridge area. In the development of house and shop property the town centre was virtually made as we know it today, with Commercial Street and Bethel Street ; and many of the town’s suburbs, like Waring Green and Gooder Lane in Rastrick, sprang up during these years. The growth was indeed so enormous and speedy in the 1860's that Brighouse would have outstripped some of its neighbours, if its progress had not atrophied. In 1840 the basic industries of the area were stone quarrying, woollen textile mills, card clothing and a little cotton. Industrial prosperity demands as varied a structure of industry as pos- sible, and Brighouse achieved this in the next twenty years. In 1843 the silk industry was introduced into the town by Robert Newton and James Burrows, who came from Lancaster, and started as silk waste dressers in the Little John Mill. They soon moved to the Victoria Mill. In 1845 the partnership was dissolved, and Burrows, after leaving the town for some time, recommenced on his own as a silk waste dresser at the Thorn- hill Briggs Mill. Newton remained at the Victoria Mill until 1848, when he left Brighouse, and was succeeded there by a partnership of Burrows and Monk. In 1852 this partnership started a new aspect of the silk industry in the town by intro- ducing silk spinning at the Prince Albert Mill. Cotton spinning was rapidly extended in many mills during this period, and in 1859 at least two new cotton mills were built. In 1860 J. and H. Stott were employing about one hundred and fifty hands in cotton at the Victoria Mill. Several dye- works were in operation both in Brighouse and Rastrick, and the manufacture of chemicals at Brookfoot started in 1851. In the engineering trade Pinder’s Iron Foundry existed and the Woodhouse Iron and Brass Works were well known in con- nection with waterworks and gasworks. The stone quarries continued in active production, and there was little open space that was not bared. In the 1860’s steam cranes began to be used for hauling up the stone, so that the quarries could now be deepened. Many people continued to be employed in wireworks and card clothing.


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In 1852 calico printing was introduced into the town by William Robinson. Collieries at Clifton and Southowram were in vigorous production. At one of the Clifton collieries a yield of four hundred tons a day was maintained at the peak, but this was falling off in 1860 as the seam was running out. In the Middle Collieries, Clifton, there were two beds, one of which was worked by Benjamin Walker, the other by the Low Moor Company. The coal was of good quality, and especially suit- able for making into coke, which was done at Walker’s coke ovens. This variety was, of course, to shelter the town from the real severity of trade depressions, which can be catastrophic in a one-industry town. Two typical institutions followed the industrial progress. Trade demands a good banking system, and it was obviously most inconvenient that all banking should have to be done in neighbouring towns such as Halifax. To meet this need the Commercial Bank established its first branch in the old house of John Bottomley, the maltster, on Bethel Street. This was the first bank in the town. It soon proved a tempting proposition for the burglars of the district. In February 1865 the police observed a light burning in the bank during the night. They watched the thief ransacking the drawers fruit- lessly, because no cash had been left on the premises. As the burglar turned to let himself out by the window, the police seized him by the legs, and hauled him away to retribution. Another sign of the times was the establishment at Hipperholme in 1860 of a branch of the Yorkshire Penny Bank, whilst in 1863 there was formed the Hipperholme Building Society, the object of which was the building of houses for the middle class at a rental of about £15 a year. The second institution that an industrial community needs is its own press. People in Brighouse read the Halifax Guardian, the Halifax Courier, the Leeds Mercury or the Huddersfield Examiner according to their political tastes. On January 1st, 1859, however, there appeared the first number of the Brig- house and Rastrick Chronicle, edited by Jonas Yates. This was published monthly until May 1865, when it died. The disappointment was so great, however, that there was immedi- ate talk of establishing another paper, and on February 17th, 1866, the Brighouse News made its appearance. It was a weekly published by J. S. Jowett, and proved a great success.


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It was symbolic of the prosperity of Brighouse in the middle of the nineteenth century that at that time there was established what was to become the greatest retail trading organisation in the town. On August 19th, 1856, a meeting was held at the Oddfellows Hall to establish the Brighouse Flour and Industrial Society, later to become the Brighouse District Industrial Society, with an entrance fee of one shilling. A set of rules was drawn up, and at the beginning of 1857 the first store in Com- mercial Street was opened, the first storekeeper being employed at a salary of eighteen shillings weekly. There were many co-operators in Rastrick, and they soon found it inconvenient to shop at Brighouse, and opened a small store on their own at Church Street, Rastrick, in March 1857. Unfortunately both at Brighouse and Rastrick the first trading results were dis- appointing, showing losses. At Rastrick matters were made worse by a theft of £14 from the store, which was then closed within a few months of its opening. By 1860, however, the Brighouse store was showing a profit, and a dividend of one shilling and sixpence in the pound was declared. And to show that there was something else besides the “ divi,” the committee decided that one of the rooms over the Commercial Street store might be used as a reading room. A new effort was made to open a Rastrick branch in 1861 when a shop at Oakes Green was opened. One of the main difficulties with which the infant society was faced was the credit system, and many attempts were made to suppress this. At the annual meeting held at the Oddfellows Hall in January 1862, there was a report that the membership was three hundred and fifty, and that the highest weekly takings were £266. A long argument followed as to the method of valuing the Society’s stock in trade. The system was altered, and a new set of accounts drawn up which turned the original profit into a loss, to the great discomfiture of the members. As if to pour salt into the wounds there was a robbery at the Brighouse store in the March of the same year. The early co-operators fortunately were blessed with great confidence and buoyancy, and in April 1862, in order to adver- tise the benefits of co-operation to the general public, they offered a “ divi’’ of sixpence in the pound to non-members. In February 1863 the committee, anxious to show that co-opera- tion meant something more than the retailing of groceries,


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altered its rules so as to permit money being spent on educa- tional purposes for the benefit of members. As with most institutions of the day, its premises were prov- ing much too small, and in June 1863 land on King Street was purchased for the erection of a new store. This was occupied in 1864, having been built at a cost of just under £2000. At Rastrick, too, the old building was inadequate. Land was pur- chased and in 1864 tenders for the erection of a new store at Oakes Green were accepted. Confident of the future the co-operators instituted in 1865 a series of Popular Saturday Evening Concerts, which proved a great success. In this ven- ture they were considerably assisted by the Rev. Robert Harley, the Bridge End minister, who was a member.

How did the working class fare in the new age? We have traced them through the bitterness of the first forty years of the century, when the conditions under which they lived drove them to violence. Slowly and painfully the hungry forties passed, and with the repeal of the Corn Laws, and the lowering of food prices, economic conditions became easier. Brighouse witnessed some of the Corn Law agitation, when in 1842 the anti-Corn Law League engaged canvassers to collect, in what was described as “spirited and self-important Brighouse,” signatures for an anti-Corn Law petition. These canvassers included two women, one of whom was a seventy-year-old Quaker. ‘There were the usual booms and slumps, but from 1840 to 1865 the general trend was markedly upwards. This was especially noticeable in the 1860's, apart from the dislocation caused by the American Civil War. Trade boomed to such an extent that unemployment fell away, and there were times when there was an actual shortage of hands, a paradise for the working class. In March 1860, in Rastrick, this state of affairs led to a success- ful strike of woollen weavers, who demanded a twenty-five per cent rise. In May 1860 the power loom weavers at A. Rayner and Company, Rastrick, struck for a seven per cent rise, which was conceded. In June of the same year a strike of delvers gained an increase of wages from three shillings and sixpence to three shillings and eightpence a day, with a reduction of the


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working day from nine and a half to nine hours. In March 1862 there was a strike of masons in Brighouse. Hitherto they had worked trom 6 a.m. to 5.3U p.m. on tive days a week, and from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. They demanded an hour a day less, and a wage of four shillings and fourpence a day in summer, and four shillings and twopence in winter. Two more of their demands are revealing; they insisted on being paid weekly, and that their wages should not be paid in public houses. Against these wages we must set the price of commodities. In 1853 the Halifax Shirt Company was offering its shirts at twenty-three shillings a half dozen. For the Christmas of that year families were invited to buy at the wine and spirit stores a

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to death underneath her mule. At the inquest the jury requested the coroner to recommend to Camm’s that the machinery be fenced. In Brighouse, as indeed in the rest of the country, one especial scandal not only persisted in the sixties, but was actually becoming more widespread. The employment of boy climbers to go up chimneys had long been recognised as a barbarous practice, and was indeed forbidden by an Act of 1840. Unfor- tunately the operation of this Act depended on the private informer, and as chimney sweeps found climbing boys cheaper and less troublesome than brushes, they continued to employ them, and indeed tried to persuade householders that they were more efficient. In Brighouse in 1863 it was observed that many sweeps were arriving with their brushes carried by a small boy, and that often, unknown to the householder, the boy was thrust up the chimney instead of the brushes. People were recommended to boycott all sweeps who employed small boys, even to carry brushes, as being the only way to tackle the problem. In 1861 Brighouse played a prominent part in doing honour to the memory of Richard Oastler for his agitation and propa- ganda in favour of the shorter working week. In September 1861, representatives from the whole of the West Riding towns, as well as some from Lancashire, arrived at Brighouse station to hold a meeting in the Railway Hotel to consider the erection of a monument to Oastler. It was recalled that there could be no more fitting place than Brighouse to hold the exploratory meeting, because Oastler had lived at Fixby, and because it was at Brighouse that a committee had met during his lifetime to consider ways and means of securing his release from the Fleet prison. A committee to consider the monument was chosen, including two representatives from Brighouse, the Rev. J. Birch and Fairless Barber. The latter was later elected to the executive committee. Perhaps there could be no more fitting illustration of the change in working class conditions between 1840 and 1865 than the contrast between the atmosphere of the Plug Riots of 1842 and the Oastler committee of 1861.


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ONE result of the Industrial Revolution was to reveal how obsolete the ancient forms of local government had grown. The old highway surveyors were quite incapable of dealing with the new problems, and indeed had no authority, or resources, to carry out the health and sewerage work that an industrial civilisation demanded. The Municipal Corporation Act of 1835 paved the way for the modernisation of local government, but its operation was restricted to the old munici- palities, and left the county areas, outside the cities and boroughs, under the old regime. The remedy here was found by promoting private Acts of Parliament under which machinery was established to secure the essential public services. These Acts empowered local Commissioners to provide drainage, public lighting and the other minimum requirements of an urban area. In 1845 there was introduced into the House of Commons a Bill, the purpose of which was “ sewering, draining and lighting the Hamlet of Brighouse in the Township of Hipperholme-cum- Brighouse in the Parish of Halifax in the West Riding of

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Commissioners were always short of capital. The maximum rate they were empowered to levy was ninepence in the pound on buildings and a quarter of this on land. They were usually compelled to levy the maximum, which in 1862 yielded only £396. The Commissioners met annually on January 31st, and it was laid down in Section VII that five constituted a quorum. When the Rev. J. Birch was incumbent of Brighouse Church he was chairman. A management committee of ten was elected by the Commissioners under the authority of Section XI. This committee had no easy task, and ran the risk of being dismissed if anything went wrong. In 1858 at a meeting of the whole body of Commissioners some perturbation was felt at the declin- ing consumption of gas, due to a temporary trade recession. A motion to sack the management committee en bloc was only narrowly defeated. In spite of this there was keen competition to serve on the committee, and in 1861 the defeated candidates at the last election met for dinner at the Black Swan to consider ways and means of avoiding defeat next time. Under Section XXIII the Commissioners were empowered to appoint Treasurer, Clerk, Collector, Surveyor and such other officers as they thought fit. The clerk was responsible for taking the minutes and in addition had to supervise the gas- works. In 1857 G. Higham, a local solicitor, was clerk at a salary of £70, and in 1863 the clerk was Whittaker, who had his salary raised from £100 to £120. In the same year David Heaton was collector, and he was refused a rise in salary from £25 to £30 a year. On the staff after 1856 was an Inspector of nuisances. Accounts had to be kept and audited, and a copy of the accounts was sent annually to the Clerk of the Peace. to be open for inspection. When the Commissioners started work in 1846 they found a gasworks already in existence, established by Thomas Firth at the Victoria Mills. It was Firth who first lighted a few of the streets of the town by gas on December 31st, 1843, This undertaking the Commissioners took over, and developed as a public utility service in the town. Slowly the citizens of Brig- house had gas lighting installed in their houses and factories, adjusting themselves, sometimes painfully, to the novelty, which in its early stages was as dangerous as it was useful. Certainly Mrs. Scott, the landlady of the Royal Hotel, found that the new


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form of lighting was not an unmixed blessing. One day in Juiy 1853 she noticed a strong smell of gas coming from the cellar. She lighted a candle and went to investigate. The inevitable and proverbial explosion followed and Mrs. Scott was badly burned. Originally the price of gas was seven shillings and sixpence per thousand cubic feet, but this was reduced from time to time until in 1862 it was four shillings and twopence. I With the large growth in Brighouse in the early sixties, resulting in a much increased demand for gas, the Commis- sioners found their financial resources too limited. The gas- works were badly in need of extension, but there was no authority to borrow money for this purpose. In May 1861 there was a discussion on the question of applying for parliamentary sanction to increase the loans. The gas shortage was aggra- vated because Clifton and Rastrick wished to take gas from Brighouse. In Rastrick, Craven and Wilson, fancy woollen manufacturers, were supplying gas from their own works to householders in Rastrick Common and Toothill Bank. But the mills in both Rastrick and Clifton bordering on the Brighouse boundary began to draw their gas supplies from the Brighouse works. Furthermore in 1863 the Rastrick Local Government Board entered into negotiations to buy gas from Brighouse for street lighting. The number of consumers had increased from four hundred and eighty-nine in 1862 to five hundred and forty in 1863, and the position was reached when there was an inadequate supply of gas to meet all needs. Unable either to produce or to store more gas, the Commissioners were in 1864, in the twilight of their existence, compelled to take the drastic step of cutting off the gas supply to Rastrick and Clifton con- sumers. For a time work was stopped in the mills in those areas as a result. The lighting of the streets of the town was a duty placed on the Commissioners. In the twenty years of their existence they made some progress, especially in the sixties when, with the growth of the town, the demand for street lighting became more and more widespread. In October 1861, we find them installing lights along the road from Lane Head to Slead Syke. By 1862 they had erected one hundred and twenty-six street lamps in the township. In the following year this number had grown to one hundred and thirty-seven, and plans were in


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hand for a further increase to one hundred and seventy-one in 1864. This spread of gas lamps is an index of the growth of the town in those years. Town drainage was the most urgent need which the Com- missioners had to face. In a rural community it is possible to have primitive sanitation without any real danger to health, but as soon as industrial areas become congested with closely packed houses, sewers become a matter of life and death. Cholera, typhus and smallpox were real scourges in the mid- nineteenth century, and in unsewered localities could decimate the population in a short space of time. In September 1858 typhus was raging in Rastrick; in September 1861 English cholera in Brighouse, whilst in August 1862 an outbreak of smallpox carried off many young children. An epidemic of scarlatina in 1864 increased the death rate from

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night soil was during the night and not the day, and attempts were made to overcome the obvious administrative difficulties. In March 1859 the committee gave some consideration to the provision of a slaughterhouse. Up to this time it had been customary for the butchers to siaughter cattle outside their shops in the streets, which became splashed with blood, a danger to health, and “ most distasteful to the ladies,” as a contemporary reported. In the following month a decision was taken that it would be desirable for the Commissioners to apply for an extension of their powers so that they could build a slaughterhouse, make a market, and in the future construct a waterworks. At this grandiose plan the ratepayers, thinking of their money, became most anxious. Whilst approving of the idea of a slaughterhouse, they felt that careful thought would be needed before embarking on the other costly schemes. A suggested site for the slaughterhouse was near the Black Swan. The butchers considered the project, and decided to send two independent observers, Charles Mann and James Bottomley, joiner, to view and report on the Halifax slaughterhouse. In June 1859 a sub-committee of the Commissioners was formed to work out the details, and in the following month, after taking the opinion of all the Commissioners who could be consulted, it was decided to erect the slaughterhouse near to the Black Swan. The building was finished in December in time for the Christmas slaughtering, and it was found that most of the butchers made use of it. There followed, however, the inevit- able argument as to the tolls that were to be levied. Some of the butchers, however, did not use the slaughterhouse. It was much more convenient to kill cattle outside their own doors, and the Commissioners had no powers to compel the use of the slaughterhouse. The undertaking lost £29 in 1864. In the following year the average weekly slaughterings were twelve cows and forty pigs, sheep and calves. The powers of the Commissioners, when faced with a few recalcitrant butchers, were seen to be seriously deficient. In the mid-nineteenth century Brighouse was well supplied with lodging houses. As these housed the poorest section of the community and were badly overcrowded, they tended to be one of the prime sources of epidemics. Adopting powers under the Common Lodging Houses Acts of 1851 and 1853, the Com- missioners instructed their clerk, George Higham, to draw up


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rules for the control of these houses. He presented his draft to the committee in October 1858. In the following January the code, which specified what space was to be available to each lodger and the general sanitary arrangements of the houses, was approved by the Home Secretary, and brought into opera- tion, much to the disgust of the lodging-house keepers. In the early sixties it was rapidly becoming evident that the Commissioners had outlived their usefulness. They had two weaknesses. Firstly they had insufficient powers to deal with the problems which the rapid growth of the town was creating. Secondly they were not really responsible to the ratepayers, as they were not elected. The crux of the question that faced the citizens of Brighouse was whether the Local Government Act of 1858 should be invoked and a Local Board established. In April 1862 a meeting of ratepayers was held at Harley Head to consider the problem, but a motion to adopt the Local Government Act was defeated by twelve votes to four, most of the ratepayers abstaining. The Commissioners, through force of circumstances, found themselves compelled to adopt more and more of the powers conferred by the 1858 Act, and during 1863 various sections became operative in the town. One thing that was especially needed was a piped water supply. This was a prime necessity to a growing urban area like Brighouse, which was still dependent on wells. The posi- tion was aggravated by a drought in the summer of 1864, and the wells, especially that at the bottom of Bonegate, became inadequate for the needs of the people. As early as 1859, as we have seen, there had been talk of constructing a waterworks, but this was a large venture. With the introduction of the Halifax Improvement Act of 1862 an opportunity arose to obtain water from Halifax. In April 1862 a meeting of rate- payers authorised the Commissioners to buy water from the Halifax Corporation at fivepence per 1000 gallons. But even in 1864 Halifax still found itself unable to supply Brighouse with water, and the Commissioners recommended that the town should get its own supply. This was, however, a problem incapable of solution within the terms of the 1846 Act. A further weakness of the Commissioners’ powers lay in relation to the roads. Apart from those controlled by the Turn- pike Trusts, the roads in Brighouse were still the responsibility of the Highways Surveyors, acting under the Highway Acts,


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and were not under the control of the Commissioners. The town's streets were in a deplorable condition, and as early as 1855 a town's meeting was held to protest at the condition of Mill Lane. This was used heavily by the carts fetching coal from the staithes to which it came from the Clifton collieries, and its surface and antiquated mode of repair could not stand up to the new and intense usage. The surveyors of the high- ways were chosen by the ratepayers; G. Manley was nomin- ated in April 1859, and S. Leppington in the following year. A difficult problem arose in relation to the road from Bonegate to Waring Green. This was little more than an unmade track, and began to be a menace to comfort and health as houses were built in this area. A legal action was started to compel the surveyor to put this road into good condition. In May 1861 the surveyors were ordered to widen and make the road, and to come to some amicable arrangement with the property owners along the frontage. This was done, and after a year's planning the surveyors were able to execute a scheme for constructing a road up Bonegate to Waring Green and beyond, to connect with the Brighouse-Denholmegate road.

There were still many complaints about the condition of the streets, and even in an important thoroughfare like Commercial Street it was impossible to get from one side to the other, except in the driest of weather, without a mud bath. The situa- tion became so bad that in January 1864 there was a proposal to take the highways out of the control of the surveyors, and hand them over to the Commissioners.

By the spring of 1864 the town was split into two parties ; firstly, those who wished to adopt wholeheartedly the Local Government Act of 1858, sweep away the Commissioners, and have a popularly elected Board ; on the other hand there were those who opposed this scheme as involving expenditure which would be reflected in the rates. Agitated meetings took place almost weekly, and the town was placarded with bills from the two parties. A compromise was suggested ; the Commissioners were to remain, but were to be subject to popular election, and with extended powers. Throughout the whole of the summer and winter of 1864 the agitation continued, but eventually the enemies of the Commissioners won, and a Local Board was set up vested with all the powers specified in the 1858 Act.


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In the spring of 1865, with the controversy over the form of local government reaching fever pitch, the real tragedy was that the Commissioners virtually abdicated in view of the un- certainty of their position. In January 1865, although they could not supply Rastrick with gas, they decided to act as a dog in the manger, and oppose the action of the Rastrick Gas Com- pany in trying to get authority to supply gas in the areas which the Commissioners had hitherto supplied outside Brighouse. When the Commissioners chose their new committee of man- agement in January 1865, some said that the action was illegal. There were also constant complaints about the quality of the gas. The last straw came in March, when the drainage in Church Lane failed, and the filth and slime moved down the road sur- face like a lava stream, to make Commercial Street an almost impassable cesspool. People had difficulty in making their way to church, and much sickness arose in the area from the defects ‘of the sewerage. The water supply in the whole town began to fail in that year as early as April, and the general opinion was that this problem would be a first charge on the time of the new Board. So in this unfortunate atmosphere the 1846 Commissioners disappeared from the life of the town. Within their limited resources they had done what they could, but by the 1860's they were obsolete. Their powers were too limited, and to the general body of citizens they appeared like oligarchs, not sub- ject to popular election. They were in every way unsuited to the new age.

Side by side with the newcomers into the field of local govern- ment remained the rather moribund relics of the older forms. Constables were still chosen for the townships. They are not to be confused with police constables as we know them, but were the ancient officers responsible for the preservation of law and order, and were virtually the township's chief magistrate. By the middle of the nineteenth century the appointment was merely one that conferred honour without power. The institution ceased to interest people, and in 1861, at a meeting to nominate fifteen people suitable to act as constables, from which the magistrates


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would select the number required, there were only four rate- payers present, and the chairman reported that in no instance in the past year had the constable had anything to do. The office was gradually becoming an anachronism, and was useful only as a means of calling the townsfolk together for a special purpose. It was, for example, John Brooke, the constable, who summoned a town's meeting in November 1862 to consider the problem of distress in the cotton areas. The American Civil War had brought an unprecedented dislocation of the cotton trade, causing immense famine and distress in the cotton towns especially in Lancashire. Throughout the autumn of 1862 collec- tions were taken at all the churches and chapels in Brighouse to alleviate the distress, and eventually a town’s fund was launched, which by December 1862, had reached the very creditable sum of £849. The Court Leet of the Manor of Wakefield continued to meet half yearly in the nineteenth century, but its functions were rapidly being taken over by authorities more capable than a feudal institution of dealing with the new industrial civilisation. At those courts the constables took the oath, and according to a contemporary report in 1858 most of the business of the court

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the old overseers had squandered the rates, and that they ought not to be re-elected. They had their own nominees ready for the positions, nominees who would be amenable on the question of mill rating. The town’s room proved much too small for the large num- ber of ratepayers who attended, and a deadlock was reached between the supporters of the old and the proposers of the new overseers, Neither side would give way, and arrangements were made to hold a poll at the Black Swan concert room. For a week the whole town was dominated by the political struggle. Canvassing for both sides proceded vigorously, and it was remarked that women played an active part as canvassers. Suddenly the excitement died down as the old overseers with- drew, and no poll had to be held. A further meeting at Harley Head in April 1860 met to consider the rating assessments, but the point had to be left over as litigation had started between the millowners and the old overseers. The new overseers, how- ever, reduced the mill assessments, the litigation ceased, but the township had to pay the legal costs, which by that time had reached a substantial amount. To some extent this dispute represents a split between Hip- perholme and Brighouse, as in this instance the Brighouse millowners successfully dictated terms to the whole township, and the rates which they escaped had to be borne by the non- industrial ratepayers. As if to accentuate this split between the two parts of the township, the ratepayers of Hipperholme held a separate meeting to appoint a surveyor of highways for Hipperholme. In 1861 a new one was appointed at a salary of £28 a year. The amount of the poor rate was suggested annually by the overseers, and granted by the magistrates at the Halifax West Riding Court. In Hipperholme-cum-Brighouse in 1863 it stood at one shilling and threepence in the pound.

In the days before Rowland Hill introduced the penny post in 1840, letters were expensive luxuries, and were written sparingly and only when the need arose. When the postage on a letter might cost anything up to a shilling you wrote at great length to ensure value for your money. The penny post saw a


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phenomenal increase in the number of letters, and the post office became an increasingly important institution. There were post offices in both Rastrick and Brighouse. In the former the postmaster must have been a rather magnificent sight, for the gentlemen of the township subscribed in 1860 to buy him a new uniform, consisting of a scarlet coat, cap, girdle and cape. To have him march up to your door with a letter must have been like a breath of the eighteenth century. His salary was, how- ever, small. In 1862 Jonas Hanson of Tofts Grove was appointed postmaster in succession to Mr. Walker who had resigned ; his salary was thirteen shillings a week. Brighouse soon began to serve the whole area as a postal centre, as the Post Office established a telegraph office at the railway station in 1859. In 1861 a branch of the Post Office Savings Bank was started. The Noble family had been post- masters in Brighouse for about fifty years, when in 1862 an unfortunate dispute terminated the connection. In that year Mr. Noble, who had succeeded his father and had completed thirty- seven years as postmaster, was asked to resign by the Post- master General. The dispute had arisen because the Postmaster General objected to Noble selling newspapers at the post office. The townspeople sent a petition to the Postmaster General asking for the reinstatement of Noble, but this was rejected, and Noble was succeeded by David Heaton, the schoolmaster, and the post office moved to the “top of the town,” which meant the bottom of Halifax Road. Heaton’s salary was £30 a year with £10 for an assistant, who was indispensable. Before the Industrial Revolution the preservation of peace in a rural community like Brighouse was a relatively easy matter that could be left to the amateur. In times of real trouble the military could be called out. With industrialisation, however, new remedies were needed for new problems. To call out troops to deal with industrial disputes was seen to be a dang- erous practice that could lead to revolution. In 1831 Sir Robert Peel found the answer to the problem in his police force, the

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Anthony Waddington, the first Brighouse “ bobby,” left in 1856, and was succeeded by Greenwood who had some start- ling cases to deal with. In 1856 Titus Salt, who was then living at Crow Nest, gave a £20 note to his coachman, who was about to retire. Unfortunately the coachman lost the note, which was found by one Hall, an illiterate man who did not know what it was. He was just about to use it as a spill to light his pipe, when the curious lettering on it, meaningless to him, caused him to pause. He took the note to Greenwood, and one may assume that universal happiness reigned. In the same year Greenwood was able to capture Dinsdale, the celebrated poacher, who had been at large for some eighteen months since his escape from the Halifax police. Greenwood arrested him at the Malt Shovel Inn, Clifton Bridge, then kept by Netherwood.

It was soon found that one policeman was quite inadequate. The force was increased and in 1857 put in charge of a ser- geant, Mark Greaves. In 1861 a further officer was acquired, when the police force in the Morley Division was increased to forty-eight. In 1859 the town was honoured by a visit from the Chief Constable of the West Riding, who inspected the old lock-up on Elland Road, which was becoming quite inadequate. By October 1863 Brighouse had four policemen, and the need for a new police station was becoming apparent. On Saturday evenings the drunks who had to be accommodated were too many for the old gaol. Land was acquired near to the Royal Hotel, on what was to become known as Police Street, and the new lock-up completed at the beginning of 1865.

One of the greatest dangers to property in the Brighouse of 1850 was from fire. Once again, the supply of an essential ser- vice lagged behind the need. There was no fire engine in the town, and any outbreak of fire did great damage, as Thomas Bottomley the joiner learned to his cost. He then had a shop and a yard in Ball Flash, near to the old Freemasons’ Arms, next door to old William Drake, who had been a contractor on the Brighouse—Denholmegate Turnpike road. One evening in June 1855, finding that his chimney needed sweeping, and considering chimney sweeps superfluous luxuries, Drake fired his gun up the chimney to dislodge the soot. It was a costly shot for it burned down his cottage as well as Thomas Bottom- ley’s shop.


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The cost of fire fell not only on the property owner and the industrialist, but also on the workpeople, who were frequently thrown out of work as a result of fires. In 1855 there was a fire at John Burgess’s dyeworks. Away galloped a messenger to summon the Elland Fire Brigade, while ineffectual attempts were made to keep the fire in check by primitive methods. Unfortunately no horses could be found in Elland to pull the engine, which had to be hauled on Elland Road for three miles by a team of men. It arrived three hours after the discovery of the fire to find that a section of the works had been gutted. In the 1850's Samuel Baines was developing the property between Mill Lane and the canal, and was wise enough to purchase a fire engine to protect this. He had learned the les- sons of the past, for Brighouse was acquiring notoriety as a town of unextinguished fires. This was the first engine in the town, and proved its worth in 1856 by dealing very success- fully with a fire at Thomas

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WE have seen how the religious and educational foundations of the town were laid in broad outline in the period up to 1840. The keynote of the twenty-five years to 1865 was one of exten- sion and consolidation to meet the needs of the growth in population, and the change in habits and style of living. As in the previous period the religious initiative remained with the nonconformists, and amongst their ranks were to be found most of the prominent citizens of the town. It was inevit- able that the old Bridge End Chapel, built to accommodate a comparatively small community, should have become too con- stricted to house the Congregationalists from Brighouse and Rastrick, which in 1841 had a combined population of some six thousand. As a consequence, under the ministry of the Rev. R. Bell, who succeeded the Rev. J. H. Crisp, land was pur- chased in 1847 for £454 as a site for a new chapel, and as an addition to the burial ground. The old chapel house began to be used as an infants’ Sunday school, and the minister moved to a house in John King Lane. By 1854 a considerable sum had been subscribed towards the cost of the new chapel, the founda- tion stone of which was laid in September 1854, Those present celebrated the happy day by taking tea in the British School at Rastrick Common. In 1856 the new building, the one which is still in use, was completed at a cost of £2988. By this time the most distinguished of the Bridge End mini- sters, the Rev. Robert Harley, had been at the chapel for three years, and was playing an ever-increasing part in the life of the town as a lecturer to all kinds of audiences on a great variety of subjects. In the same year as the chapel was rebuilt, there was a presentation to T. T. Ormerod of two globes as a tribute H


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to his twenty-six years as superintendent of the Sunday school. In May 1863 the Rev. R. Harley took up residence at the new manse, Newlands, in Huddersfield Road, which the congrega- tion had built at a cost of £700. In the same year he received his greatest honour by being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. His intellectual powers were such as to attract many of the leaders of the town to the chapel, which became during this period the centre of the religious and moral thought of the locality.

Locally, as well as nationally, these years witnessed another most unfortunate division in the Methodist ranks. We have already seen how a previous schism split Methodism inta two parties, the New Connexion at Bethel and the old Methodists at Park. The local result of the troubles of 1849 was to produce yet a third sect of Wesleyans. The root of the dispute was again the problem of church government, and the demand that the laity should have more influence. A series of pamphlets, the Fly Sheets, were published anonymously in

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In the safe possession of Park, the reformed body of United Methodists were able to turn their attention to extending their influence in the outlying parts of Brighouse. About 1855 a Clifton Chapel on Highmoor Lane was built, and in 1859 one at Southowram, whilst in 1863 at Finkil, Hove Edge, a Sunday school and a chapel were erected. In Rastrick the Crowtrees United Methodists originated from Elland, and in 1859 a cottage in New Hey Road was rented in which to hold ser- vices. In 1864 a small building at Oaks Green was purchased and made into a chapel, and in it gathered the congregation which was ultimately to form the Crowtrees Lane Chapel. Bethel Chapel remained unaffected by the Fly Sheet con- troversy, and continued to prosper in its original building on Bethel Street, to which in 1858 a new storey was added, and certain alterations done at a cost of £330. The origin of the Primitive Methodists is to be found in Staffordshire in 1806, when William Clows, a potter, and Hugh Bourne, a carpenter, organised great Methodist revival meet- ings in the open air, which became known as camp meetings. The controllers of official Methodism tried to stamp out the somewhat emotional movement, and in 1812 the supporters of the camp meetings organised themselves into Primitive Metho- dists, under which there was much less centralisation, and real effective control was given to laymen. In 1826 the Halifax Primitive Methodists attempted without much success to gain adherents in the Brighouse area. In 1844 a more successful effort was made, largely because a prominent Primitive Metho- dist, Nathan Robinson, had come to live at Thornhill Briggs. Cottage meetings began to be held there. In 1855 and 1856 services were held in the Oddfellows’ Hall, and the collections were used to provide a fund for the building of a chapel. In 1857 a room was obtained at Thornhill Briggs, and a year later the congregation moved to a room near to the old Temperance Hotel in Briggate. As funds grew it became possible to proceed with the construction of a chapel, which was completed at Lane Head in 1864 at a cost of £811. It is interesting to note that in this period the whole body of nonconformists were able to unite for the specific purpose of holding open air meetings each Tuesday evening during the summer, and this continued to be a feature of nonconformist



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The Brighouse Parish Church found itself in the mid- nineteenth century competing fiercely with the Methodists established in the centre of the town, and it was to assist in this struggle that the Rev. J. Birch instituted the chapel of ease at the Hangram in 1857. The failure of this experiment did not discourage the Established Church, and in November 1858 there was serious talk of building a church near to the Wes- leyans at St. Paul’s. Meanwhile work at the Parish Church itself flourished. In October 1858 the first confirmation service was held in the church; and in 1863, to ease the pressure of work on the vicar, it was decided to appoint a curate. At Rastrick Church the two main developments of the period were connected with material rather than spiritual things. By 1858 the churchyard was becoming overcrowded, and a sub- scription list was opened for the purpose of buying additional land. In 1865 it was decided to install gas in the church. This amused the nonconformists who wondered why, when no even- ing service was held there, any form of illumination was necessary. In December 1861 plans for a new Sunday school at Rastrick were prepared. The building was designed in the prevalent Gothic style, and was estimated to cost £800. The following year tenders were received, but the new building was not opened until 1865. Certain sections of the inhabitants of both Brighouse and Rastrick held strong views on the observance of Sunday. In 1856 a bill was going through the Commons on the observance of the Sabbath, and after a sermon by the Rev. Thomas Haynes at Rastrick, a petition was sent by the congregation asking that it be not passed into law. At the same time a petition was sent from Brighouse to the Queen imploring her not to permit the opening of the Crystal Palace or other places of amusement on Sundays. The main achievement of the Church of England between 1840 and 1865 was the establishment of a church at Clifton. It was felt that with the growth in population, which had increased from one thousand one hundred and eight in 1801 to one thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine in 1841, housed in three hundred and forty houses, a church in Clifton was a necessity. This view was strengthened when the Methodists proceeded to establish themselves in the village. In 1856 a committee was set up to collect subscriptions, and was able to


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report in November 1857 that land had been obtained from Sir George Armytage, and that there was enough money to proceed with the building of the church. The tenant of the land selected was so annoyed at his prospective loss that he ploughed up the pasture to make building operations more difficult. As a punishment Sir George Armytage ordered him to put it back into its original state. Stone was supplied from the Blakelaw quarries, and the contract for the building let at £991. The estimate for the whole work was £1400, of which £1100 had been subscribed. In February 1858 the foundation stone was laid by Sir George. An unfortunate accident in June 1858, through a collapse of masonry, caused the death of Joshua Taylor of Roberttown, but the church was completed in the following year, and officially opened in June.

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and in the evening let off fireworks. In 1857 the scholars were examined by the Royal College of Preceptors, and ten were awarded certificates of merit. The private education of girls was at this time catered for in at least two establishments. Miss Nicholson’s Spring Bank Seminary was held at the old Cawthra homestead behind the Black Bull, and was conducted on strict Church of England lines. In 1860, to aid the poor children of the town in their search for education, Miss

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was proceeding, and a great bazaar was held to raise money to defray the cost. It was estimated that the expenditure would be between £1100 and £1200, and that, when completed, the school would accommodate five hundred children. By modern stand- ards it is difficult to see where the five hundred were to be sandwiched. During this extension period Thorp was master, and at a further inspection of the school in 1863 the

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At Rastrick he succeeded as head Benjamin Turner, who resigned to take up a schoolmastership at Armley gaol. Storr brought with him the pupils, both boys and girls, from his private school in Brighouse, and during the whole period of his headship Rastrick Grammar School was co-educational. The curriculum was based mainly on

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The movement started in 1823 under the stimulus of Dr. George Birkbeck, with the foundation of the London Mechanics’ Institute. By 1841 over two hundred similar Institutes had been established in various places. Their aim was “ to instruct the members in the principals of the arts they practised and in the various branches of science and useful knowledge.” It was on September 22nd, 1846, at a meeting held in Robert

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thirty-one women, but it was significant that this growth represented an increase in the ten-shilling members and a decrease in the six-shilling. One of the continual weaknesses of the Mechanics’ Institute was that its strength lay in the middle class, by whom indeed it was run, and that it failed to make any large appeal to the artisans for whom it was

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itors, and that the amount of deposits was £2600. The result must have been somewhat disappointing, for if one deducts the assumed amount owing to the more wealthy depositors, the savings of each ordinary

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sum to be raised by public subscription. The year 1862 saw a welcome, if slight, increase in membership to one hundred and thirty-nine and the annual book issues had gone up to two thousand one hundred. It was not only in Brighouse proper that the Mechanics’ Institutes were concentrated. In 1857 a Southowram Mechanics’ Institute was formed with Aspinall as chairman, and Bolton as secretary. It opened in February with forty-two members. At its annual soirée of 1859 a growth in membership to thiry-five men and twenty-nine women was reported, but the prevailing tendency, as in Brighouse, was shown here too, when in 1860 the membership had decreased to forty-four. The meetings were held in the St. Ann’s schoolroom. A Clifton Mechanics’ Institute was in existence in 1859, when Dr. William Lundy gave an address on history. In September 1860 the Rastrick Mechanics’ Institute, which had existed some years earlier but had become moribund, was revived. At a meeting held in the British school one hundred members were enrolled. I As early as 1855 a meeting held in the Bramley Lane school considered the possibility of establishing a Mechanics’ Institute to serve Hipperholme and Lightcliffe, but apparently no success followed. The idea remained active, however, and in November 1861 there was a proposal to establish an Institute at Hipper- holme, constructing for this purpose a building on land owned by Hipperholme Grammar School.


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IN the middle of the nineteenth century hours of work were extremely long. There was, of course, no five-day week, and indeed, hours of work on a Saturday were only an hour or two less than on the other weekdays. In the best of the mills the day started at 6 a.m., and lasted until 7.30 p.m., with an hour and a half off for meals. The textile operatives had therefore little leisure time, and indeed, after spending some thirteen hours in a mill, little energy to do much in the short evening that was left to them. The public house was an obvious attraction, and that is where many went, in spite of the widespread, energetic and continuous temperance propaganda. Consumption of beer and spirits was at a level which is almost incredible by twentieth century standards, and each night the streets were filled with the homeward lurch of the drunks. It is not for us to condemn them. With tired bodies and ill-equipped minds, the factory slaves of the 1850's could find forgetfulness in alcohol. What is more there was not, for this class of person, much alternative form of amusement. You cannot expect illiterate men and women, imprisoned for seventy hours a week in a factory, to listen to an oratorio, a classical concert or a lecture on hydro- statics. So, in general, the factory hands turned to drink, gambling and cockfighting as congenial outlets for the little leisure they had after the struggle for existence. But not everyone was a factory hand. How did the em- ployers, the factory managers, the general run of the middle class spend their leisure ? Here again we must remember that for them also leisure time was restricted. Most of the employers


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were actively concerned in the management of their mills, and had, of course, to devote long hours to work, when the mills were open for thirteen to fifteen hours a day. In the same way the shopkeepers were tied to their shops for very long hours. Many of them stayed open until eleven or twelve at night, especially the food stores. And it was only in 1861 that the linen drapers came to an agreement to close their shops at 7 p.m. during the winter, except on Saturdays. Yet it must not be supposed that life in the town was a mere tedious round of work, sleep, the “ pub,’ and chapel on a Sunday. There were many avenues for leisure pursuits in the days before the cinema and radio. In the middle class homes there was indeed constant occupation for the spare hours. Pianos could be bought for £5, and for £18 you could get a Broadwood grand cabinet. It is fashionable to sneer at the picture of the Victorian drawing-room, with needlework, sampler-making, and songs at the piano, but the sneers often have a tinge of envy. Apart from amusements in the home there was in the Brig- house of the mid-nineteenth century a strongly established tradition of communal entertainment of a varied kind. The town, as we know it, formed the centre of a population of some 10,000, spread over the townships of Hipperholme, Rastrick, Southowram and Clifton, and was large enough to provide a nucleus of people with common interests for cultural pursuits. The first handicap was the absence of a building in which concerts and meetings could be held. Before the Oddfellows’ Hall was constructed in 1850, it was customary to hold concerts in public houses such as the Malt Shovel at Southowram and the Red Lion (later to become the Thornhill Arms) in Rastrick. It is obvious that the accommodation would be extremely limited, and the atmosphere must have been that of a private rather than a public gathering. One remarkable feature of these concerts was the quality of the programmes. In 1837, at the Red Lion, there was a concert in which Mrs. Sunderland, then Miss Sykes, took part and at which Mozart’s Don Juan and Figaro overtures, and songs by Handel, Mozart and Cherubini were given. With the construction of the National school in 1835, and more especially the Oddfellows’ Hall, the position was con- siderably eased, and lectures and concerts became regular


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features of the town life. Luke Settle was a well known prom- oter of the concerts, and of course Mrs. Sunderland was the great prima donna. Along with her appeared Miss Freeman, another Brighouse singer, who, in 1853, was highly praised for a recital she gave at a Royal Academy concert in London. Among the male singers were to be found Messrs. Inkersall, Wood, Holmes and Hinchcliffe. Luke Settle had not the whole field to himself, for Mrs. Sunderland promoted concerts herself, and in 1857 one Mr. Wilkinson announced a dress concert in the Oddfellows’ Hall. One of the highlights of the

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the lamps, but spilt some naphtha on his clothes. As he went to the brazier to get a torch his clothing set alight and in terror he ran among the children. Fortunately none of them was injured, but he himself died later from his burns.

It was in June 1863 that Mrs. Sunderland gave a farewell performance at the Oddfellows’ Hall. With the disappearance of one who had dominated music in Brighouse, and indeed in Yorkshire, for more than a generation, an age was coming to an end.

Lectures on a great variety of subjects were to be heard regularly both in the Oddfellows’ Hall and in the National schoolroom. The more serious of these were sponsored by the Mechanics Institute. These sometimes ran into a complete syllabus as in the winter of 1855, when the citizens of Brighouse could attend a course of six lectures on; Life with and without Method ; the Uncrowned Monarchs of Europe; Poets of the People; Nineveh; the Power of an Idea; Columbus and his Discoveries. The charges for admission were one shilling, six- pence and threepence, prices which were high in relation to wages. What must have been a great attraction was a course of four lectures on electricity, galvanism, electro-magnetism and pneumatics in the winter of 1857, bringing the march and mysteries of science into the town. Local history was, of course, a subject of perennial interest, whilst the missionary movement stimulated a thirst for knowledge about conditions in the colonies. There was a keen and appreciative audience at a lecture by Mr. Watson,

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There was on some evenings lighter entertainment. Duncan McMillan gave many demonstrations of ventriloquism, whilst mesmerism, which was becoming widely known as a result of the work of Dr. Braid, a Manchester physician, was a constant and ever popular attraction. “ Professor '’ Wardle, Dr. Chad- wick and others gave many demonstrations in the town, and great was the amusement as they hypnotised the small boys of the audience, who offered themselves as guinea pigs. Of outdoor pastimes and sports there was a great variety. Cricket especially was a most popular game, and in the 1850's a Brighouse team acquitted itself well against teams from Hali- fax and the neighbourhood. The matches were played on Saturday afternoons and usually ran into two innings. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the games was the lowness of the scores, due possibly to the erratic, ill-prepared wickets, on which the batsmen faced not only the bowler’s skill, but also the hazards of the ground. In a match between Heckmondwike and Brighouse the latter won by a margin of seven runs, after scoring only sixty odd in two innings. The game was popular enough to provoke competition be- tween the various parts of the town. There were matches between the Brighouse Free and Easy Club, the Brighouse Lane-enders, the Toothill Bank Merry Boys, and the Thornhill Bridge Club. The Rastrick New Road United Club, which played at Grantham Park, was ambitious enough to challenge a team from Sheffield, and was allowed to play twenty-two men against eleven from Sheffield. Once a year the Brighouse tailors arranged a match on their own. There were several cricket grounds in the town, the most popular in the 1840's and 50’s being the field at the back of the Black Bull. In addition there were fields at Lane Head and at Wellholme. Perhaps the most well known local team was the Royal Alma, whilst the most popular match of the season for many years was that between Brighouse and Rastrick. Pedestrianism, or what we should call athletics, had a great following, and runners from various towns competed against one another for purses, being heavily backed by their respec- tive supporters. In a race with Hollinshaw of Cleckheaton, Netherwood of Brighouse covered two hundred yards in twenty- two seconds, and even then lost by seven yards. Various freak walking and running matches were popular. In 1844 an eighteen-


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year-old youth, Francis Broadley, walked fifty miles in twelve successive hours between Bailiffe Bridge and Toothill Bank for a wager of £1. Trotting matches, knur and spell, rabbit coursing, wrestling and boxing were common pastimes. At times wrestling took place in public houses, and the matches were serious enough to lead to the breaking of limbs. Large crowds followed the bare- fisted pugilists of the day. A favourite haunt for the bouts was a field near to the Dumb Steeple, where in 1860 between three and four hundred people watched two boxers batter themselves into unrecognisability for £20 in a match that lasted forty minutes before the police arrived to put an end to the sport. Weight-lifting had many patrons, and much money changed hands during such competitions. Gambling reached serious pro- portions, and a tossing school met regularly in Bradley Wood each Sunday afternoon. The usual punishment for being caught gambling was to be put in the stocks, and in 1859 two Rastrick men sat in the stocks for three hours, whilst in 1864 four Clifton men suffered a similar ignominy. At Grantham Park, Rastrick, a large enclosed field between the Sun Inn and Upper Edge, sporting activities of all kinds were organised. Cricket, racing, pigeon shooting, knur and spell and rabbit coursing were indulged in, and at times as many as one thousand people attended such events. Grantham Park was indeed the nearest thing to a sports stadium that the district could boast. I It was only with the advent of the railway that travelling for the purpose of holiday-making became possible, and indeed in this period a day at Southport was as much as most people could manage. The mass exodus for a week from the town was still a thing of the future. The stay-at-home tradition meant, of course, that holidays in the town were a local celebration, and fairs were fairs in the older sense of the term. At Brighouse the Rushbearing Feast was the central holiday of the year. In origin, rushbearing was an ancient religious festival of the saint, to whom the local church was dedicated, and consisted of renewing the rushes with which the floor of the church was strewn before pews were installed. The festival acquired a stereotyped form, varying slightly from place to place, but in essence consisted of the transport to the church, on a specially constructed rush-cart, of the new rushes. The


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rush-carts were most elaborately built. The ceremony con- cluded with morris dancing, maypoles and general merriment. What is most peculiar about the Brighouse rushbearing is that it started long before there was a church in Brighouse proper, and that there is no trace of the festival at Lightcliffe, Coley, Rastrick, Hartshead or Southowram, where there were churches.

Substantially the old ceremony had died in Brighouse by the middle of the eighteenth century, though in 1865 for the first time in seventy years a rush-cart was built, and paraded through the streets, preceded by an imposing figure with a five- foot long whip. There was held, however, every year a most magnificent feast. For many years up to 1855 this was held in a field near to the Black Swan, thronged by the usual influx of gipsies, fortune-tellers, hucksters of all descriptions, swings and roundabouts. In 1855 Swan Field became too small, and part of the fair moved into the Black Bull cricket field. The street to the town was filled with all kinds of stalls, selling trinkets, drinks and food. In the Swan Field you would find Pablo Fanque’s horses and ponies,

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week beginning with the Saturday after the second Thursday of August. From 1850 there was held in October each year a cattle, pig and horse fair on what came to be known as Pig Fair Monday. The first show in 1850 was a modest one, but such was the success of the event that in the following year thousands of visitors poured into the town. The show was open to the cottagers and tenant-farmers of Hipperholme-cum-Brighouse, Hartshead-cum-Clifton, Rastrick and Southowram. The entries of pigs and poultry in 1851 were ten times as numerous as in 1850, and a long list of prizes was given. By the 1860's the show was beginning to be dominated by pigs. Donkey races provided the light relief. Donkey racing was a popular pastime and each year in the autumn was held the Clifton Donkey Races. In November, Bonfire night was celebrated, and great must have been the confusion in the dark and narrow streets of the town, so much so that the letting off of guns and fireworks in the streets was prohibited. Social life is not complete without public dinners and balls, and from about 1858 these had become a regular feature of the town life, especially at Christmas and New Year. An annual ball was held at the Oddfellows’ Hall, with music provided by the Brighouse Quadrille Band, and for which the admission was sixpence. By this time too Brighouse was large enough to attract the various circuses and exhibitions which were constantly touring the country. In 1855 Pablo Fanque appeared in the town with his stud of horses and ponies, and gave a performance, pre- ceded by a much appreciated and free parade through the streets. Sanger’s Circus, Edmond’s Menagerie, and

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developed into an annual event, and lasted many years. The Brighouse Horticultural Society held its shows in Wellholme Park, by permission of Mrs. Camm, and the day of the show became a general holiday. This show suffered a financial set- back, and after running two years at a loss, through a trade depression, was suspended in 1858. In 1856 the Southowram Floral and Horticultural Society held its first show at the Malt Shovel. The town also took part in national celebrations of both a tragic and a joyful nature. The attractions of the 1851 Exhibi- tion even in Brighouse were great. London hotels advertised their terms in the local press, and the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway ran each day special excursion trains from Normanton at thirty-six shillings first class, twenty-seven shillings second class, and sixteen shillings third class. Having made his way to Normanton, the Brighouse tripper of 1851 boarded the London train at 10 a.m. and reached his destination about 5.30 p.m. Entrance to the Exhibition after May 26th was one shilling each day from Monday to Thursday, half a crown on Friday, and five shillings on Saturday. A one-day visit to the Crystal Palace by a Brighouse man was therefore an expensive under- taking, and would mean two whole days travelling. Never- theless there were a number of Brighouse people among the six million visitors to the Great Exhibition, for the railway excursions were well patronised throughout the summer. It was noted that there was a phenomenal run on the pawnshops to provide the cash for some of these trips. Watches especially filled the pawnbrokers’ shops, and those who stood in the streets of Brighouse eagerly describing what they had seen at the Crystal Palace were constrained to ask their open-mouthed, but tight-pursed, listeners the time of the day. The Crimean War provided Brighouse with many experi- ences. It was on March 27th, 1854, that Britain declared war on Russia, and by September an armada of English, French and Turks sailed to capture the heavily fortified base at Sevastopol. Some of the citizens of Brighouse attempted to keep abreast of world affairs by having a lecture sponsored by the Mechanics’ Institute, on the ‘‘ Rise, Progress and Present Position of the Turkish in May 1854. The lecture, however, was only poorly supported, as most of the townsfolk had not realised that the Crimean War had anything to do with them.


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The Allied troops landed successfully and won an initial victory at the battle of Alma. When the news of this minor fray reached Brighouse it was promptly magnified by its patriotic citizens into the capture of Sevastopol. Tricolour flags were hoisted on many of the town's buildings and mills. On one of these could be read threatening words:

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of the necessaries of

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was provided in the better class inns of the town, and four hundred of the sterner sex had similar entertainment in the second and third class pubs. As night fell the whole town was illuminated. In front of the Royal Hotel was suspended an immense loyal device of the Royal coat of arms and a crown. The Wellington Inn adorned itself with a much admired Chinese lantern. At nine o'clock in the Triangular Field a firework display was held. And to make sure that the day would not be forgotten a handsome card was printed and widely circulated. So ended the Crimean War, with its death roll of 25,000 British troops, many of them killed, not by the Russians, but by the disease and insanitary conditions which Florence Night- ingale strove so hard to combat against military prejudice. And soldiers from Brighouse, who had fought in the Crimea, returned to be feted as heroes. In November 1856 a dinner and celebra- tion was held at the Malt Shovel, Southowram, to honour G. T. Barber, a gunner who had served through the whole campaign, and been present at every engagement. No doubt, as he received the gold watch and chain presented to him by the townsfolk of Southowram, he thought of the Lady with the Lamp, without whose aid he might not have been there on that evening. The Crimean War had revealed to the nation the weakness of the British army. After nearly half a century of peace, since the overthrow of the first Napoleon, the military machine had been allowed to grow rusty. It was realised that the defence of the country could not meet the threat of attack by a European power. There was, therefore, panic in 1859 when Napoleon III began to talk in fierce terms of an attack upon England, and rumours of the assembling of an invading force were widely current. Tens of thousands of people came forward voluntarily to enrol themselves in the militia for the defence of the home- land. The Government, realising the military weakness, en- couraged the movement, and provided arms, ammunition, paid instructors and finally a pecuniary grant. Brighouse was soon in the field. In December 1859 a meeting was called to form a Volunteer Rifle Corps in Brighouse, and the meeting was deemed of sufficient importance to be reported in the Times, which described Brighouse as a

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Edge, and an annual camp, and for the next half century the red coats, white collars and blue piped trousers of the Brig- house Volunteer Rifle Corps remained a familiar sight in the district. At times the local farmers complained of the damage done by the volunteers, and on one occasion it was alleged that a shot had gone wide of the bull and hit the rather larger target of a real live cow. The Indian Mutiny of 1857 brought its tribulations, felt especially by a nation that was becoming conscious of the duties and responsibilities of Empire. In October of that year the Queen ordered a special day to be set aside as

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signatures were collected in two days. The General Election of 1859, which swept the Conservatives out of office, gave a great impetus to local Liberalism. In April, another meeting at the Thornhill Arms was held to further the candidature of Liberals, and in particular of Sir John Ramsden and F. Crossley. William Helm was in the chair, and parties to canvass the district were organised. From this sprang the Brighouse and Rastrick Reformers’ Association, which at a meeting in the Black Bull chaired by T. T. Ormerod, arranged for more wide- spread parties of canvassers. Brighouse was not yet a polling district, and it was announced in May 1859 that the Liberals had arranged a special train to take voters from Brighouse to Halifax. The seats were first class only, and the train left Brighouse at 9 a.m. Success crowned these efforts. The Liberals were returned, and in both Brig- house and Rastrick there was tremendous rejoicing. Parties were held at the White Lion, the Sun, the Greyhound and New Road School. In Brighouse S. Baines gave a dinner to his work- people at the Black Bull. The Hipperholme-cum-Brighouse and Rastrick Reformers’ Association began to hold regular meetings in all parts of the district. Brighouse became a polling district, and in 1864 there was formed the Brighouse Polling District Liberal Association. Not to be outdone, the Conservatives a few weeks later formed the Conservative Association for the Brighouse Polling District. It is typical of this formative period in the history of Brig- house that, besides the emergence of Liberal and Conservative Associations, we find, too, the glimmerings of Socialism. In March 1858 J. R. Hoyle, a well known advocate for the claims of labour, gave a lecture at the Bethel schoolroom on “ Co- operation and Local Brotherhood.” In particular he urged the necessity for establishing a Board of Labour for the unem- ployed, anticipating by half a century the beginnings of Labour Exchanges. “ The audience was not large, but attentive and orderly,’ read a newspaper account. All these communal, social, sporting and political activities were helping to give the town a character of its own. They were imbuing the people with a corporate sense, which was badly needed. To them must be given much of the credit for welding the scattered townships into a community.


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been built. The new age was to be one of consolidation primarily, but the missing pieces in the communal jigsaw were also to be filled in. I With the growth of the townships the various religious organisations were compelled to adjust themselves to an ever- changing pattern, The rivalry between the denominations stimulated the energies of each. As one denomination gained a foothold in a newly-developing area, another would come in to provide an alternative form of worship. One effect of the opening of Clifton Church in 1859 was to turn the attention of the Methodists to the provision of a new chapel in Clifton. The old one was along Highmoor Lane, rather away from the main centre of the village, and was, as a consequence, suffering from the competition of the Established Church. In 1869 the United Methodists were vigorously collecting subscriptions for their new chapel, but the work of raising finance proceeded slowly. It was not until 1874 that it was possible to start work on the actual construction of the chapel, defiantly facing the church. In June the foundation stone was laid, and in the early part of 1875 the chapel was ready for use. Perhaps the most striking feature of the nonconformist history of the

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decided to build a completely new chapel and Sunday school on the existing site. In 1875 tenders were accepted, and in the following year the old Wesleyan chapel, originally built in 1795, was demolished. The new chapel was opened in June 1878, and an interesting experiment was the attempt by the trustees to light the gas in the chapel by an electrical device. At Hove Edge, the United Methodists were also finding their old chapel too small, and in 1882 a new Zion was completed and the old one sold. At Crowtrees Lane, Rastrick, the United Methodists built themselves a new chapel in 1877. The Methodist New Connexion was established in its old home on Bethel Street, and in 1871 decided to extend its field of activities by founding a new chapel at Bailiffe Bridge, a hitherto neglected area. Plans for the building were rapidly prepared ; work commenced and in January 1874 the new chapel was opened. Once the Primitive Methodists at Lane Head had paid off the debt on their old chapel, they made plans for building a new one, and in June 1889 a more commodious chapel was opened on an adjacent plot of land, leaving the old building for use as a Sunday school. At Bridge End the Independents lost their greatest minister, the Rev. Robert Harley, who left them for Leicester, and was succeeded by the Rev. J. B. Lister of Blackburn, The congrega- tion included some of the most prominent men in the district, such as Henry Sugden, Robert Thornton,

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was held to discuss the building of a new one. Work com- menced immediately, and the new building, in front of the old one and on the Whitehall Road, was completed towards the end of 1871. The Quakers were in 1865 still using their old meeting house at Snake Hill, Rastrick, but in 1866 decided to sell this and build a new one. In 1868 plans for the new meeting house at Newlands were presented to the Rastrick Local Board, and the work commenced, In 1866 a Sunday school for adults was started. The Wesleyans at St. Paul’s found that their old chapel could not accommodate the congregation, and the position was reached when whole families were having to be turned away through lack of seating. Funds for a new chapel were collected and on October 27th, 1885, the new St. Paul’s was

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Encouraged by their success, the advocates of temperance retained the initiative with a twofold attack ; firstly to restrict the sale of intoxicants ; and secondly to provide a substitute for the public houses themselves. The Permissive Bill, allowing local option to close inns on Sundays, was before Parliament, and in April 1871 a public meeting in the Town Hall passed a resolution supporting Sunday closing, and a petition embodying this resolution was presented to Parliament by Col. Duncombe, M.P. A week later, at a meeting with Henry Sugden in the chair, it was decided to canvass the district in favour of the adoption of the Permissive Bill. The innkeepers counter-attacked by displaying petitions in their houses against the Bill, and the controversy grew heated. It is to be supposed that in May 1871, when the bowling green at the Royal Hotel was reopened for the season, much of the talk turned on this vexed question. But it was clearly not enough to adopt the negative line. Something had to be put in the place of the public houses. The temperance advocates hoped that they had found the solution to this problem in the provision of teetotal public-houses. This experiment was modelled on a project in Leeds, where seven- teen “ British Workman

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Nothing daunted the Temperance movement tried another device. In June 1878 it opened the premises of the last British Workman as a cocoa tavern under the inviting title of the Rose and Crown Cocoa and Coffee Tavern, in an effort to provide alternative hospitality to that provided in the inns. The opening ceremony was performed by J. T. Clay. As early as the 1850's the Brighouse Temperance Society had been in existence, and, in and out of season, spread its propa- ganda against the evils of drink. Each Whitsuntide from the 1870's open-air temperance meetings were held on Harry Castle Hill, and on Thump Sunday each year similar meetings were held in many parts of the town, the most important one being outside the Royal Hotel. The Temperance movement achieved much in creating the moral spirit which regarded excessive drinking as a social evil, but it was left to the various Chan- cellors of the Exchequer to curb the abuse of alcohol by penal fiscal duties: a penny on the pint was more successful than a decade of temperance propaganda. The reaction of the Church of England to the ever-spreading influence of nonconformity in the Brighouse area was sharp and noteworthy. At Lightcliffe in 1873 a decision was taken to build a new church nearer to Hipperholme than the old and pic- turesque church of St. Matthew. Jonas Foster promised £5000, and part of the land on his estate as a site. With the financial difficulties removed work proceeded rapidly, and the new church was completed in 1875. In Rastrick, building development had heavily populated the Gooder Lane district in the 1860's. The works of the Brick and Tile Company, for example, were becoming extensive in 1868. In 1874 St. John’s Church was built to cater for this area. At first it was a mission church to Rastrick, and as early as 1890 there was talk of making it a separate parish. This was long delayed, however, and did not materialise until 1916. In the centre of Brighouse the Church of England had tried for many years to establish a foothold, and the old St. Paul’s chapel had been tried as a mission church but had failed. The tradition remained, however, and in February 1867 an appeal for building a new church was launched. It was reported that all the sittings in the Parish Church had been let for the past three years. In response to the appeal, £1427 was subscribed and in 1867 land was purchased from Mrs. Camm in a corner


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of Wellholme Park. The contracts for the building were let, and in February 1870 St. James’ Church was opened. In April an organ was installed, and in July 1871 were added the two stained-glass windows, manufactured by Morris and Company of Bloomsbury, the principal of which was William Morris. These are the greatest artistic feature of the church. The total cost of the whole structure was between £3000 and £4000. At the Brighouse Parish Church there was a desire to give the church its first real peal of bells. For the first forty years of its existence, the belfry had had only some small bells, but in 1873 came the proposal to install a full peal. One difficulty was that it was not known whether the tower was strong enough, but an architect's report provided the necessary assurance. The bells were cast in the works of Mears and Stainbank in White- chapel. In May 1874 they arrived at Brighouse railway station. A procession of enthusiastic parishioners accompanied them to the church, where they were installed and rung to the great annoyance of the nonconformists. In the same year a new organ was put in, so that 1874 saw a most significant addition to the musical life of the church. Premises for a Church Institute were acquired at the top of Church Lane, formerly occupied by the Liberal Club. In this period the life of the district was enriched by several new religious institutions. Considerable numbers of Irish Catholics came to live in the Brighouse district attracted by work in the quarries and on the railways. This brought with it the question of a Roman Catholic Church, Casual meetings under the auspices of the Irish Church Missionary Society to Roman Catholics were held in 1862, but it was not until 1879 that St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church was opened. The position of these Irish Catholics in the town was never easy, for not only did they compete with the native worker in the labour market, and were often prepared to work for a lower wage, but furthermore Roman Catholicism itself aroused much strong feeling in a predominantly Protestant town. From 1865 William Booth had been holding religious meet- ings in London, and gradually the movement spread to other parts of the country. In 1878 the Christian Mission, as it was called, was re-organised on a quasi-military basis, and in 1880 the name was changed to the Salvation Army with Booth as general. It was in 1881 that the Salvationists first came to


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Brighouse, when ten Salvation lassies and six men held a service in the Oddfellows Hall. In its early days the reaction in Brighouse to the Army was similar to that in other parts of the country. A large crowd assembled outside the hall, and threw stones at the Salvationists as they came out. The result was that the Army was refused further use of the hall, and took up its headquarters in a room over a stable at the Black Swan, The disturbances continued, and the Salvationists were compelled to leave the town. A rumour was put about that they were impostors.

In September 1881 another band of the Army appeared in the town, and established their headquarters at the Assembly Rooms near to the Black Swan, which became the scene of further angry disturbances by the Brighouse mob. In November there was a fracas at a meeting of the Salvationists in the Town Hall, addressed by ‘

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reference to his duty as minister at the New Connexion Chapel in Bethel Street. A further religious influence in the town was the opening by the Spiritualists of a room in Commercial Street in September 1888. With this, people in Brighouse could take their choice of almost any religious denomination, for the town contained examples of most. One of the most notable absences was that of the Baptists, but even that was remedied when the Baptist Chapel at Upper Edge was opened in May 1891.


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POLITICALLY, in 1882 Brighouse formed an insignificant part of the North West Riding Parliamentary Division, a county division returning two members, created by Disraeli’s Reform Act of 1867, under which the West Riding was divided into three two-member constituencies. Hipperholme-cum-Brig- house had 724 electors and Rastrick and Fixby 449, The Liberal Party held both seats, and one of the members was Lord Frederick Cavendish, the 46-year-old second son of the seventh Duke of Devonshire. In the early part of 1882 he was appointed Chief Secretary to Ireland, and resigned his parlia- mentary seat, as was then customary, but was proposing to stand for re-election. He arrived in Dublin on Saturday, May 6, 1882, and in the afternoon went out for a walk in Phoenix Park with the Under-secretary, Mr. Burke. They were both set upon by Irish extremists, and stabbed to death with knives. The news was received with horror throughout the world, conscious that relations between the Irish people and England would be considerably embittered. Brighouse achieved the very doubtful distinction of being the town in England to experience the most violent effects of these embittered relations. On Tuesday May 2, 1882 the streets of Brighouse were lined with a gay holiday~spirited crowd watching the parade of Lord John Sanger’s circus through the town. Clowns tumbled joyous- ly along Commercial Street. Lions paraded, roaring to the terror of the urchins, who peered through the legs of the by- standers. The crazy catcalls of the clowns, the crashing whip of the ring-master, the cries of the animals, all mingled with the cheers of the people to give the town a festive appearance it was so soon to lose. On the evening of that day Lord John


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Sanger gave his performance, and moved on the following day to leave an empty drabness behind. For there was a particular drabness about Brighouse in 1882. Like the rest of the country it was labouring under a great economic depression. After twenty five years of prosperity had come the reaction. In 1879 unemployment reached a level of 12 per cent. Prices came tumbling down, and with them wages, which fell by 10 per cent in 1874 and 1879, Between 1879 and 1882 conditions did improve, but only slightly, and these years marked an especial contrast to the previous quarter of a cen- tury. It was symptomatic of the times that a ten-week strike of operatives at Kershaw’s Woodvale Silk Mill ended in early May 1882. There had been a demand for a weekly wage instead of a piece-rate wage based on the weight of silk handled by the operative, a method of payment likely to be advantageous to the worker in hard times. News of the assassination of Lord Frederick Cavendish spread rapidly. On Sunday May 7 the Rev. Father Morgan, an Englishman and the priest of St.

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the Irish population. They threw stones at the cottages and did much damage to windows and doors. Michael Clark, a young delver, was trapped by some of the crowd, and very severely beaten. The police, under Inspector Hey, made a sortie and rescued Clark, who was lying bleeding and unconscious on the ground, By this time mass mob hysteria was showing itself. The crowd left Taylor's Yard, and went to the Sun Dial Inn at the Brighouse end of Elland Road. This was kept by an Irishman, William Lawler. The ringleaders forced an entry into the inn, doing considerable damage to furniture, doors and windows as they drove the Irish out into the street, there to be beaten by the waiting mob outside. Lawler and his wife bar- ricaded themselves in the cellar, leaving the rioters the free run of the house. They helped themselves to cigars, bottled beer and cash lying around, the beer only serving to inflame the passions of the most unruly. Meanwhile a section of the mob had visited the Commercial Inn, a haunt of the Irish, and beaten up any they found. After the victories of Taylor's Yard and the Sun Dial the cry wentup To Jack Shillito’s.” At that time Jack Shillito kept the lodging house in Martin Street patronised largely by Irish. They demanded that all the Irish be turned out into the street, but Shillito most courageously refused to do this. The lodging house was pelted with stones, but no entry gained. An Irish quarryman, William Spennymoor, was caught by the crowd as he was returning to

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the full fury of an attack by the mob, numbering in total some three to four thousand, with between three and four hundred taking part in the actual attack on the church. A strong force of police was posted, but much damage was done by stone- throwing, especially by that section of the crowd which attacked the church from the rear. Fortunately no entry was gained, and the mob, baulked of their objective, turned on the police. The police station was attacked, windows and doors damaged, and for an hour, between nine and ten, the police headquarters were virtually in a state of siege. Slowly, however, as the night wore on, the crowd thinned and went home. At a meeting of Conservatives on this evening at Bradford, A. E. Gawthorne-Hardy was nominated as the Conservative candidate in the North West Riding Division by-election. He had been unseated after the 1880 general election on account of corrupt practices. I By seven o clock on the Wednesday evening a dense crowd filled Bradford Road between the Royal Hotel and the Liberal Club. A strong force of police, armed with staves and cutlasses, was guarding the strategic point opposite the Liberal Club, leading to Jack Shillito’s and the Catholic Church. The mob made no move, contenting itself with catcalls and sporadic stone-throwing. For an hour or so, there existed an uneasy state of tension, extremely trying for the nerves of the police. Sud- denly the relative calm was broken by a police charge. There was no warning given and it was not easy to see why the police had charged, except that, in the uneasy atmosphere, they may have thought that the mob was about to attack. Great was the confusion, Staves crashed upon heads, and many people were thrown to the ground. One man escaped into the Liberal Club, blood pouring from his head. For the first time that week the police really asserted their authority, and the crowd melted away before this show of strength. By this time, after three days of street violence, the town was beginning to show the effects of mob war, Much damage had been done to property in the centre of the town, and trade was virtually at a standstill. It was also evident that, after the police charge on the previous evening, much of the venom of the crowd was turning away from the Irish on to the police, and that the police authorities were by their very presence likely to cause further outbreaks of violence. On Thursday morning


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George Hepworth, architect, and Arthur Smith, draper, drew up a petition that was signed and supported by sixty-two other tradesmen and manufacturers. The petition suggested that all citizens should do what they could to assist the police, but that, in the evening, all police should be kept off the streets, so as not to provoke a disturbance. Considerable police reinforce- ments had been drafted into the town from Barnsley, Dewsbury, Wakefield, Bradford and Keighley, and were posted in the Town Hall. Soon after 6 p.m. a great crowd assembled in Bradford Road outside the Town Hall. Henry Sugden appealed to them unavailingly to go home. Armed with heavy clubs and sticks freshly cut from the woods, they shouted for the police to come out. It was obvious that the mob wished to avenge its defeat of the previous evening. A large procession of youths brandishing clubs paraded round the streets, as if to emphasise that they were now the effective authority in the town, Pro- ceeding on Commercial Street to Ganny Bar, they discovered six policemen from Barnsley. These they attacked, and severely injured three of them. Further police reinforcements were sent for, those from Cleckheaton being rushed by cab over High- moor Lane and down Clifton Common. They were greeted by a hail of stones from the mob. Meanwhile the main police force remained inside the Town Hall. About 9 p.m. the mob began to bombard the Town Hall with stones and continued for the next hour until every window was broken. Inside the Town Hall the police, under Chief Constable Captain Russell, were being briefed. Instructions were issued that a show of well- directed force must be made to assert effectively the police authority, Captain Arthur Edwards was present for the purpose of reading the Riot Act, should this be necessary.

About 10 p.m, the doors of the Town Hall were opened and the columns of police came out in strength at the double. The crowd was charged repeatedly, and the blows from the police staves cooled the ardour of the most venturesome. This marked the turning point in the riots. Robert Stubbs, a banksman of Clifton, was arrested for stone-throwing and lodged in the Town Hall. About 11 p.m. Captain Edwards spoke to the crowd advising them to disperse, and warning them that failure to do so would compel him to read the Riot Act. There was some discussion, but the threat took effect, and slowly the mob


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melted away leaving the police in charge of a windowless Town Hall. On the Friday at the Halifax West Riding Court, Robert Stubbs was charged with taking part in the Thursday night riot, and was remanded in custody at Wakefield gaol. On the even- ing a small crowd collected, a few stones were thrown, but little damage was done. It became clear that the mob hysteria had spent itself, and that after four days of rioting the general body of citizens were anxious to return to normal peaceful con- ditions of living. For a week the Irish had gone about in fear of their lives, but they were not the kind of people to forgive or forget. On Mon- day, May 13th, two Brighouse men, John Clayton and Jack Kitson, were caught by four or five Irish in Huddersfield Road. Clayton managed to escape, but Kitson received some severe blows from the brass

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over stocked labour market. This twin motive, general and parti- cular, resulted in the blind mass hysteria of the week, and the assassination of Lord Frederick lent only a specious political colouring to the riot. There remained little else except the punishment of the rioters, On May 17th at Halifax West Riding Court William Turner, brass moulder, was fined £2 for the assault on Michael Clark on Monday, May 8th. At the same Court Seth Cheetham, aged fifteen, silk dresser, John Harrison, thirty-three, engine tenter, Bailiffe Bridge, and Robert Natness, twenty-two, delver, Nab End, were charged that they did “ unlawfully assemble together, and then and there unlawfully, riotously and with force, injure and damage a certain church, to wit, St.

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Reinforcements of police were drafted into the town, but all passed quietly with the usual religious processions of churches and chapels marching through the streets. And Brighouse slipped quietly and shamefacedly away from an unenviable notoriety into its normal placid self. Isaac Holden held the North West Riding Division for the Liberals with a poll of nine thousand eight hundred and ninety-two, a seven thousand odd majority over his Conservative opponent. The windows in the Town Hall and the police station were repaired, the Catholic Church restored and William Lawler continued to serve beer to his customers, telling often the story of the attack on the Sun Dial Inn on the night of May 8th, 1882. I


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AS Britain became the workshop of the world, the condition of all classes of the people continued to improve, subject of course to the setbacks of the cyclical trade depressions. Business profits were high, taxation low, and the Brighouse industrialists must have felt that they lived in the best of all possible worlds, The cotton and silk industries were extending in the town; in 1872 the large silk mill of Ormerod Brothers and Cheetham was built. The working class in Brighouse demanded a share in this increasing prosperity, and, by strikes, and threats of strikes, succeeded in advancing wage rates, and to some extent in shortening hours of work. In 1865 the wiredrawers, after a ten- week strike, gained a wage advance of 5%. Throughout 1873 and 1874 there was considerable agitation amongst the joiners. They were paid sixpence an hour, and in October 1873 deman- ded a rise of one penny an hour. This was not conceded, and in March 1874 they threatened to strike unless they were paid an average weekly wage of twenty-six shillings and sixpence to twenty-seven shillings for a fifty-two and a half hour week. The dispute was amicably settled the following month on a compromise basis, for by that time trade in the town had become very depressed, and the joiners had to accept something less than their original demands, The Brighouse Local Board too had to face increased wage demands from its employees. In 1871 the roadmen asked for a rise of two shillings to give them a weekly wage of one pound, and in January 1874 the lamp- lighters’ wages were increased from eighteen shillings to nine- teen shillings a week.


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Some employers had enough foresight to gain the goodwill of their employees by conceding higher wages and better work- ing conditions without waiting for the threat of a strike. In 1871 Joseph Blakeborough of the Commercial Brass and Iron Works was thanked by his workpeople for introducing the nine~hour system, and in 1873 the employees of Firth, Willans and Company, carpet manufacturers, Clifton Mills, solemnly recorded their appreciation of their employers in conceding an increase in wages. Annual treats to workpeople were a common institution, and in 1874 Ramsden, Camm and Company gave a tea to three hundred and fifty of their employees, which was followed in the evening by an entertainment in the Co-operative Hall. Agitation for a shortening of the working week went side by side with the increased wage demands. In 1867 the cloggers in Brighouse announced that they would close at 5 p.m. on Satur- days, and at 7.30 p.m. on every other day. In 1872 the Brighouse teamers and horsemen demanded a working day from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., which led to a strike at Sugden’s Flour Mills. The shop- keepers too continued to develop the idea of a Tuesday half closing. This, as we have seen, was common from 1861 amongst some tradespeople. Others followed suit in the next ten years, and in 1874 there was a meeting of the tradesmen to discuss and regularise the Tuesday half closing, and to consider the forma- tion of a Tradesmen’s Association. Trade unionism was strengthening in the town, but it was a plant of slow growth. In 1870 the Brighouse branch of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers had only twenty-four mem- bers, which increased to a mere twenty-eight in the next two years, In November 1873 the Clifton colliers sponsored a meeting at the Clifton United Methodist chapel. Representatives of the Colliers’ Union attended, and many Clifton and Harts- head miners were enrolled. There was, however, a strong streak of individualism amongst operatives, Some of them, for example, resented state interference with conditions of work as much as their employers, and in 1867 James Wood, an opera- tive cotton spinner, was fined for taking his seven-year-old son to the mill to assist him, contrary to the Factory Acts. To those who fell on evil days there was of course no relief, except Poor Relief and private charity. The latter was a well- recognised source to which the needy turned, In Rastrick, for


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example, there was an organised Christmas charity scheme, under which in 1868 Mrs, Clay and Mrs. Bradbury gave alms to the poor, and Mr, Langton of Crowtrees

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that there was general prosperity in the town, judged of course by the standards of the day. It was fortunate that the Queen's Golden Jubilee fell in these propitious times, and Brighouse talked of all kinds of ways in which 1887 might be celebrated. Some suggested a public free library, others a park, and indeed Camm Park as a site was strongly canvassed, whilst others thought the occasion would best be marked by the construction of a cottage hospital. A public meeting was held, and a Jubilee committee elected. At this point the realism of nineteenth century thrift and niggardliness entered the picture. All the grandiose schemes suggested would cost money, and were therefore shelved. In the end a small collection was made to give a treat to the old folks and the children. The old folks had a tea and the children were presented with “half a pound of spice and a twopenny bun.” In Clifton, Southowram and Rastrick the Jubilee celebrations took much the same form. In Clifton the old folks and the children went round Kirklees, and in Rastrick the day was rounded off with a bonfire on Round Hill.

During the second half of the nineteenth century there was an ever-widening field of ways of passing the leisure hour in indoor amusements. But in 1860 Brighouse lacked a public building suitable for the various activities of a growing and lively community. The Oddfellows’ Hall was pitiably small for any large concert or dance, and the various committees of the 1846 Commissioners and the Local Board had to meet either at the gasworks or at the Royal Hotel. In the

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terested, and it was decided to go ahead with the scheme immediately. Unfortunately it was discovered that £6000 instead of £3000 would be required. By the summer of 1866 the building plans for eight shops, a large hall and accommodation for the Mechanics’ Institute in Bradford Road were ready. Tenders were let locally, and out of 44 candidates David Nield of Brighouse was appointed clerk of works. The foundations were completed in February 1867 and building proceeded throughout the summer. In October 1867 a suggestion was made that a clock might be added to the building, and the idea of a partnership in this between the Town Hall Company Limited and the Brighouse Local Board was put forward, The Company promised to build a clock tower, if the Local Board would provide the clock, but after some deliberation the latter decided that it would be foolish to pay for a clock on private property. So the Town Hall had no clock tower, and Brighouse had no clock apart from that on the Parish Church. Although there were eighty workpeople engaged, building progress was slow, and it was not until September 1868 that the structure was completed and in process of being decorated by Hirst and Barraclough. In the following month the Town Hall was officially opened with a ceremony that disappointed the observers. At 5 p.m. the directors assembled at the Royal Hotel and walked across to the building. Sir George Armytage declared it open, the band played the National Anthem, and the directors left for a dinner at the Royal. There was no formal speech-making, and the ceremony concluded almost before those present realised that it had started. The hall, however, proved a great addition to the amenities of the town, although it was not used by the Local Board. The eight shops were rapidly let, one being taken by the Halifax Commercial Bank, which left Briggate. In November 1868 the first important function took place in the main hall, when there was a lecture on Sydney Smith, “the Smith of Smiths,” by E. A. Leatham, M.P. The Mechanics’ Institute found the new accommodation superior to anything it had had in the past. Theatrical companies visited the town with great regularity, playing in marquees in Swan Field or on the plot of land opposite the Co-operative stores. In 1866 Wilde’s Theatre was well patronised, while in the following year E. Tate brought


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Hamlet to the town, and managed to survive for several weeks. In 1869 Duval’s Alhambra set up a temporary theatre in Swan Field and played there for several months. With W. R. Loraine as the principal actor they gave Hamlet, Macbeth and Richard III. Othello was given in the Co-operative Hall some months later, but was a complete fiasco and barely survived its first night. Throughout the winter of 1874

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Hall. To mark the occasion, a subscription list was opened to provide a more enduring memorial to Brighouse’s greatest singer. A prize fund was established for an annual prize in music attached to the Huddersfield Technical College. Lectures, readings and debates were held regularly in the Town Hall, the Oddfellows’ Hall, and the Co-operative Hall, as well as in the schoolrooms in the outlying districts, There was especial interest in lectures on electricity and pneumatics. In 1869, the famous, or infamous, Charles Bradlaugh, the

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ton Inn, the proceeds being used to buy new books. Mudies and other subscription libraries were also operating in the town. The Brighouse News continued to supply the need for a local newspaper, and in 1871 was joined by a rival, the Local Magazine, designed to circulate through Brighouse and district. It cost one penny, but unfortunately soon expired. In March 1873, however, Bayes issued the first number of the Brighouse and Elland Express, which changed its name a year later to the Brighouse and Rastrick Gazette, and proved a reasonably successful venture for some time. It was published at the Gazette Office, Top of Briggate, and appeared with four pages for one halfpenny on Friday noon, and eight pages for a penny on Saturday morning. On June 24th, 1887, the first number of the Brighouse Echo appeared under the editorship of John Hartley. At least two Christmas almanacs were issued, one by Fox in 1874 and another by Bayes from the Gazette Office from 1873. They each contained a chronological table of local history and were extensively supported by local advertisers, A new venture in 1878 was the issue for a short time of an illustrated monthly, the Buzzer, by J. S. Jowett, of the Brighouse News. It contained articles on a great variety of subjects, such as the Paris Exhibition. It was, for a short time, fairly successful, and for a magazine with a limited circulation very well produced. Local history began to arouse keen interest during the 1880's, and J. Horsfall Turner was delivering the lectures that he afterwards published as the History of Brighouse, Rastrick and Hipperholme, as a tribute to the incorporation of the borough in 1893. In 1884 George Hepworth, the architect, issued his interesting volume of photographic views of Brighouse. Old-established customs, holidays and fairs continued to exist in the last half of the nineteenth century side by side with new ways of passing the leisure hour. On Shrove Tuesday all the mills closed. Oak apple day was celebrated each year by the carters decorating their horses with sprigs of oak leaves in memory of Charles II, and on May 29th, 1873, the driver of a train passing through Brighouse caused great merriment by draping his engine with sticks of rhubarb. The Brighouse Subscription Prize Band was in a flourishing condition in the early part of the period, and in 1865 obtained a complete new set of instruments. In 1869 it held a concert to


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raise funds for a new set of uniforms, and when these were obtained paraded through the streets of the town to the great enjoyment of everyone. In the winter of 1870 the band organised a ball at the Black Swan, and in 1872 gained some reputation by carrying off the fifth prize, value £1, in a contest at Shibden Park. By 1889 the old band was suffering from some financial difficulties, and its place was being usurped by the Brighouse and Rastrick Temperance Band, which had some years earlier begun to make a name for itself in contests. For some years, however, the two bands continued to exist side by side, each with their own supporters. Freemasonry entered the life of the town in 1869, when arrangements were made to open a Lodge in Brighouse, and to secure premises that were to be used solely for masonic purposes. The Brighouse Lodge was opened in October 1870, when 46 of the brethren sat down to dinner at the Royal Hotel. Annual masonic balls and dinners soon became a feature of the winter season. Pleasure gardens at Brookfoot were extensively developed in the 1860's, and each Easter a gala was held there which attracted great crowds. In 1872 there was opened by Sykes, a market gardener, some new pleasure grounds, commonly known as Sykes’ Gardens. Many of the galas at Brookfoot were organised by local Friendly Societies, and boating on the river was a popular feature. At Sunny Vale, Bunce was developing his pleasure gardens and attracting thousands of visitors. In 1882 the lake was extended. The annual Pig Fair held at the Black Swan Field still attracted a good showing of pigs, and about 1866 the celebrated parkin pigs began to make their appearance, proving extremely popular. It was estimated in 1872 that over ten thousand of them were sold, and the youth of the district regarded them with the same affection as their elders displayed towards the real pigs. The vogue of parkin pigs continued to grow, and in 1887 the estimated sales exceeded thirty thousand. The sale of the real pigs, however, declined, and in an attempt to keep the fair alive it became in 1892 a general cattle fair, and was given a new lease of life. For many years before 1880 there had been held a demon- stration each June by the local Friendly Societies, but in 1881


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this was changing into a trades demonstration to advertise the various trades of the town. A parade of wagons exhibiting the different manufactures was held, followed by games, sports and a maypole. It proved very popular and lasted until recent times. A similar trades demonstration was held in Rastrick. From 1883 an annual Musical Festival was held in Wellholme Park. It originated at a time when the trades demonstration was temporarily out of favour. It was run in an endeavour to keep the hospitals supplied with money, for the profits of both the festival and the demonstration were devoted to hospital funds. Rushbearing continued to be the great holiday season, and Thump Sunday attracted each year thousands of people into the town. It was being remarked that there seemed no reason why they came, because there was no entertainment provided, apart from the speeches by the Temperance movement, and, at the public houses, the bona-fide traveller rule was scrupulously watched. The fair itself still started on the second Thursday in August and lasted until Monday evening. In 1872 it was held on land opposite the Co-operative store on King Street, but many of the showmen complained that this was not large enough, and in 1874 the fair overflowed into the town's yard at Clifton Bridge. Day trips to the seaside were well organised ; in 1871 four thousand people left by rail for Black- pool, Scarborough and other resorts. In the 1880's the Feast was altering its character. The actual fair was beginning to be held only from the Thursday to the Saturday, and the side- shows and roundabouts then disappeared. The Monday and the Tuesday were devoted to seaside trips, and people began to stay overnight at holiday resorts. One of the most popular organisers of these trips was Altham, the tea merchant. Each September the Hipperholme-cum-Brighouse Horticul- tural Society held its annual show at Crow Nest, whilst in Rastrick other nature lovers organised themselves into the Rastrick Botanical Naturalists’ Society, meeting at the Dyers’ Arms, Birds Royd. Of outside sports, cricket proved the greatest attraction in the early part of this period, and many clubs were becoming well established. The Brighouse Cricket Club, founded in 1870, with its field at Clifton Road, successfully ran galas and sports in the summer in addition to numerous cricket fixtures. At


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Clifton the Clifton Britannia Club was already in existence in 1870, and was accustomed after its matches to take supper in the Armytage Arms, kept by the Ramsden family. At Roundhill the Rastrick Cricket Club attracted great gates for its matches with Brighouse and Clifton, and the long summer days on the cricket field were enlivened by music provided by the Elland Edge Band. In Lightcliffe there was the Star Cricket Club in existence in 1872, Besides these more important clubs there were several lesser ones with such engaging names as the Hove Edge Merry Boys and the Brookfoot Careless Lads. And workshop cricket was not unknown. In 1873 a match was played between the workmen of Bottomley, builder, and those of B. Sykes and Sons. The latter won and were treated to a supper by the vanquished. One feature of cricket began to make its appearance at this time, and has proved a controversial matter ever since. By 1879 professionalism had appeared in the Brighouse club, which engaged one professional each season. By 1882 it was becoming customary to have one professional at the Rastrick club. In 1884 the Brighouse Club built itself a new pavilion, and improved its ground. 1892 was a remarkable year in local cricket, for Brown, one of the Brighouse profes- sionals, and Bedford, the Rastrick professional, were both chosen to play for the county. Foot-racing, gambling in all its forms, and bowling still had many adherents. In 1872 there was a bowling contest on the green attached to the Woodland Inn, Rastrick. The Clifton Bowling Club, at the back of the Armytage Arms, made a name for itself in the 1880's, and in October 1892 the Brighouse Cricket Club constructed a bowling green by the side of St. James’ School. But newer sports began to make their appearance. Skating at Anchor Pit in the winters of the 1870's and 80's was a popular pastime organised by the Brighouse Skating Club, whilst in May 1876, there was opened in Brighouse a roller skating rink by Henry Craven, which remained a popular centre of amusement for many years. Tennis began to be played locally. By 1883 the Victoria Tennis Club, Lightcliffe, was in existence, and sufficiently flourishing to play matches against Halifax clubs. By 1885 the Clifton Lawn Tennis Club had made its appearance, whilst in 1886 the Brighouse Lawn Tennis Club, with a court at the top of Church Lane, was


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formed, In 1884 a meeting was held at the Cocoa House Tavern, when the Brighouse Cycling Club was formed with nineteen members. In 1885 it transferred its headquarters to the Royal Hotel, whilst in 1889 it was meeting at Lord's Refreshment Rooms on Bethel Street. In 1889 the Lightcliffe Cycling Club was formed. Cycling became rapidly a popular pastime ; one of the greatest of local cyclists was James Joy.

About 1880 a tremendous new rival to the popularity of cricket began to appear. Football was an ancient sport, but it was not until the latter half of the nineteenth century that the game, as we know it, had its rules crystallised. The rules of the Rugby Union were drawn up in 1871.

The game soon spread in the Brighouse district, At Hipper- holme a flourishing football club was in existence in 1881, and cricket fans were bemoaning the fact that football seemed to be ousting their own favourite sport in popular esteem, The Rastrick Free Wanderers Football Club was formed in the early 1880's. It had a rather chequered career, and by the winter of 1888 was moribund, and had to cancel all its matches for the season. A meeting held at the Grove Inn, Rastrick, which became the headquarters of the club, revived its activity, and in the following season it was in a flourishing condition. In 1890 it joined the Yorkshire Union. In 1889 there was an active Clifton Football Club, playing several matches against local teams. In the spring of 1882 a meeting was held at the Grove Inn, Elland Road, to found the Brookfoot Football Club, a successor to an even earlier club in Southowram, the Wellington Club, which had come to an untimely end.

What was to emerge as the most celebrated of the local clubs, the Brighouse Rangers, was formed in 1880. As a link with the old custom of playing football on Shrove Tuesday the Rangers had a match on that day in 1882 against Brighouse Juniors. In their early days the Rangers had a field at what was known as Fink Hill. By the season of 1882/3 the Rangers had arranged a full list of fixtures. The president was C. Ormerod, the secretary H. H. Waller, and the captain W. Marsden. In the following year they obtained the Waterloo field, and held their meetings at the Albion Inn, In that year they entered the Yorkshire Challenge Cup for the first time. The Rangers rapidly established themselves as a coming force


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in the football world, and soon acquired a widespread reputa- tion. In 1884, when their headquarters were at the Albion, they played twenty-four matches, won sixteen and lost only four. In the season of 1886/7 they entered again for the Yorkshire Challenge Cup, beat Pontefract in the second round, and succumbed only to Batley in the third round. In the same season they organised a Welsh tour, and played an exhibition game at Bradford for the benefit of the visiting Australian Cricket Test team. As they grew in importance they moved their headquarters to the Royal Hotel, where they had good stripping rooms and slipper baths. In the season of 1888/9 they played the most important clubs in Yorkshire, including Halifax, the cup winners, and also entertained at Lane Head the Maoris, In December 1888 there was a presentation to J. Richardson, ex-captain of the team, to mark his meritorious work, whilst in the same season the Rangers provided their first county player, W. Nicholl. A gold watch was presented to him to mark the occasion. In a way, however, the Rangers had now over-reached them- selves, for they had a bad season amongst the more notable clubs, which disappeared from their fixture list in the following season, Out of thirty-four played they won seventeen and lost thirteen. The 1889/90 season was, however, a highly successful one. They experienced some initial difficulty over the suspen- sion of one of their players, H. Hartley, for professionalism, but provided two further county players in Firth and Eastwood. They had a Welsh tour again, and as a result of their success were able once more to arrange fixtures in 1890/1 with the most important clubs. From this time they went from strength to strength, and became a most formidable team. In the 1890/1 season twenty-two matches were won out of forty, and what was most remarkable was the defeat of

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FOLLOWING the passage of the Reform Act of 1867, with its widening of the franchise, Robert Lowe declared, We must educate our masters,’ a reference to the new electors. It was indeed obvious that a society which aimed at democratic govern- ment could exist only if its members were not merely literate, but also capable of forming judgments on the social problems presented to them. The education of the masses in England up to this time had depended on voluntary schools provided in the main by the various religious denominations, and assisted by grants from the Education Department, the forerunner of the present Ministry of Education. One weakness of this scheme was that educational facilities could be geographically patchy, and that it was possible for areas to remain educational deserts.

The Education Act of 1870 was designed to remedy this. School Boards, elected by the ratepayers, were to be set up in areas where there was a shortage of school accommodation, and these Boards were to establish State-provided schools, which would function side by side with the voluntary schools, There was still no compulsory education, which did not come until 1876, when the school leaving age was fixed at twelve.

It is against this background that the educational develop- ment in the period from 1865 to 1893 in Brighouse must be judged. For the first time, the State was stepping in to provide elementary education where needed. Secondary education was still left in the hands of the privately-endowed schools, though even in this field the State was taking stock of the position, and ensuring that so far as possible the endowments were used to the public advantage.


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In Brighouse many of the old private schools continued, the most important of which was the Larkhill Academy. This was kept by Nelson and Young in the 1870's, and a pupil from the Academy was successful in 1877 in winning an exhibition to Owen's College, Manchester. A. A. Ward was conducting the Commercial School in Brighouse in 1887, where subjects of a general nature were taught.

As we have already seen, both National and British schools were well established. At St.

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school one of its great heads, R. Carr, of Keighley, at a salary of £100 a year. At New Road, the premises were first used as a day school in 1851 by Abraham Lee. Some time after this the school was taken over by the Rastrick British School Committee, which ran it as a British school until 1881, when it was continued by the Rastrick School Board. At Lightcliffe the British school at Bramley Lane, founded in the 1850's, was still operating, and in 1874 the committee elected Albert Lund, of Skipton, as master, in succession to W. J. Selden. There were twenty applications for the post, some indication of the importance of the school. Each July a prize-giving ceremony was held. Such was the broad picture of elementary education when the Education Act of 1870 was passed. One effect of the threat of State provision of schools was to stimulate the voluntary societies to still greater efforts, so that the necessity for the godless ’’ State schools should not arise in Brighouse. In this struggle, it is curious to see how the British schools disappeared. It was indeed remarkable that the nonconformists made so little effort to retain their own denominational schools. On the other hand, the Church of England extended, through the National schools, its hold on the educational machine. First of all, the local supporters of the National schools turned their attention to the provision of education in the Lightcliffe-Hipperholme area and at Clifton. In 1869 the Light- cliffe National school was opened. It was the gift of E. C. Sutherland-Walker. The school rapidly got into its stride, and in 1873 a prize-giving ceremony was held. At Clifton in 1872 the Church school was being erected. The site and materials had been given by Sir George Armytage. The costs of the building were defrayed by all methods, including a concert in the Town Hall, but the work proceeded slowly, partly due to lack of funds. It is curious to find a contemporary describing the building as being in the “ Elizabethan style of architecture.” Apparently Clifton shied away from the prevailing neo-Gothic. At Rastrick the problem of remedying the deficiency of school places which the Education Act of 1870 revealed was taken up in 1872. The Rastrick Building Company Ltd. was floated for the purpose of erecting a school suitable for day and Sunday use. Land was acquired in 1873 and St. John’s school built, The L


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Education Department approved the plans as providing suitable accommodation for 120 infants and 340 boys and girls, 125 places being earmarked for Brighouse children. The school was opened on October Ist, 1874. But there were others in the town besides Anglicans and nonconformists, There was a comparatively large Irish popula- tion, mainly attracted by work in the stone quarries. The need therefore arose for a Roman Catholic school, and in 1869 a concert was held in the Co-operative Hall to provide funds for such a school. One was established at the bottom of Parsonage, but unfortunately the government inspector of schools refused to approve it owing to the lack of playground space. The Catholics then turned to building a school of their own, and by 1878 the foundation stone of the school at the top of Martin Street was laid. The building was completed in six months, and served both as a day school for the Catholic children, and also as a place of worship. It was to become the storm centre of the Brighouse riots three years later, when it was severely damaged. Partly as a result of this, and partly because it became rapidly overcrowded, the H.M.I. reported adversely on the school in 1884, and an appeal was launched for funds for the renovation and extension of the building. The years 1870 to 1893 saw interesting developments in educational life in Brighouse. Conscious of the impending threat of a School Board, the nonconformists met in 1871 to consider the position, and it was reported that there was a shortage of school places for some two hundred children, No action was taken, and there the matter rested until 1875, when the Education Department pointed out that there was need for a school on the east side of Brighouse. This advice could not lightly be ignored, for the Department could make an order establishing a School Board to remedy the deficiency. The Brighouse ratepayers were not in favour of a School Board, which they saw as an unnecessary expenditure of their money, and so decided to make efforts to provide a school by voluntary methods. The possibility of using St. Paul’s school as a day school was considered, and a meeting was held there in February 1875 to consider the position. Unfortunately the Rev. R. Wilde,

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United Methodists then considered whether Park school might be used, but this idea proved impracticable. By the end of the year the Education Department issued its ultimatum that if a further two hundred school places were not provided, then an order would be made establishing a School Board. The nonconformists had tried and failed, and now it was the turn of the Church of England. Time was pressing, and in January 1876 a meeting of churchpeople was held, and an appeal issued for funds to establish a National school. A sum of £1200 was subscribed, and in May plans for the building of St. James’ school were ready. They were approved by the Education Department, and the school was built, thus staving off for the time being the establishment of a School Board. But in a few years the crisis recurred, In 1880 there were complaints that large numbers of children were playing about in the streets from morning till night, and were never attending school. In the following year the School Attendance Committee of the Halifax Union, working under the Education Depart- ment, carried out a census of educational facilities in Hipper- holme and Brighouse, and discovered that there was a shortage of school places for 286 children, approximately one in ten of the total child population of This was a great shock to the Brighouse ratepayers, who had made herculean efforts only four years before to stave off a School Board, which they now saw once more looming on the horizon.

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Once more Brighouse was saved from what some, especially the ratepayers, regarded as the horror of a Board school. Others, however, wondered whether a mistake had been made, and whether in the long run the provision of good schools could be left to voluntary effort. To some extent we can find here a reason why the British schools disappeared, whilst the Church schools continued. The supporters of the British schools were nonconformists, and in the main Liberals. Politically they believed in School Boards and State education, and in the end their loyalty to their political ideals was greater than their loyalty to their denominational schools. The response of the Hipperholme area to the demand of the Education Department for more school places was the building by the Church of England of the Hipperholme school, The structure was completed in January 1885 at a cost of £1400, and was described, in a magnificent phrase, as one which would take rank amongst the memorabilia of voluntaryism.”’ Some five years later the Bailiffe Bridge school was built, whilst at Norwood Green the voluntary undenominational school, which had existed since 1819, was enlarged in 1882 to provide accommodation for 100 children. In the 1870's both Brighouse and Rastrick managed to prevent the establishment of School Boards, but at Southowram the position was very different. School facilities there were quite inadequate, and in 1874 a School Board was set up to review the position and to take steps to provide school places. In 1875 the managers of the St.

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the present school was obtained from the Navigation Company. By 1876 plans for the new school, accommodating 100 children, were ready, and in March 1878 the building was opened and a schoolmaster appointed. The position in Rastrick now began to change. By 1880 the nonconformists were finding it more and more difficult to carry on their schools at the Common and New Road. The British Committee stated in that year that the schools were running at a loss, which could not be continued, and they would have to close down. In 1881 the Education Department declared that it was ready to make an order for a School Board in Rastrick in the circumstances, and in July 1881 the Rastrick School Board was established under the chairmanship of A. T. Clay. It proceeded to appoint a clerk, and got down to the work of managing the two schools to which it had succeeded. Too New Road and the Common was soon added the school at St. John’s, Gooder Lane, which failed to maintain its existence as a National school and passed into the hands of the Rastrick School Board. The Rastrick Church School still continued as a voluntary school. In 1883 the

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salaries, or by employing pupil teachers instead of qualified teachers,

In 1889 the trustees of St. John’s school served notice on the Rastrick School Board to leave the Gooder Lane school. The Board found a site for a new school near Healey Wood Terrace, and in 1890 the tenders for the new Victoria school were accepted. It was to cost approximately £5000 and to house about five hundred and eighty children. The school was opened in 1892, and whereas there had been no ceremony when Long- royde was opened, this time the event was treated with dignity. In his opening address A.

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Following the passage of the Act both the Church school managers in Brighouse and the Rastrick School Board met to consider the position. The former decided to grant free places to all children under five, but to charge a fee of one penny a week for those over five. The Rastrick School Board decided to charge a fee of one penny a week for all children. At the same time the Vicar of Brighouse stated that the provision of a Higher Grade school in Brighouse was being considered. In December 1892 a motion was proposed at the Rastrick Board meeting that fees be abolished, but it was not even seconded, and fees continued to be charged. It should be noted that under the Act free places need be provided only for those who demanded them. Immediately, a great agitation broke out, and in January 1893 parents began to send their children to school without their school pence. In February 1893, the Education Depart- ment ordered the School Board to give free places to the children of parents who objected to paying fees. The Board was then in a difficulty, for it seemed impossible to charge fees for some pupils and not for others, so in March 1893 the Board decided to abolish all fees, and the battle for free education in Rastrick was won.

The district had a good foundation of grammar school education in the two endowed schools at Hipperholme and Rastrick, and, under the stimulus of government investigation of their endowments and of the educational function they were fulfilling, rapid developments were made. Rastrick Grammar School had by the middle of the nine- teenth century reached the nadir of its existence. Its curriculum, like that of many other old endowed schools, was little more than elementary, and its numbers had sunk to less than fifty. Fortunately it found in T. Arnott Storr an ambitious and pro- gressive head, who was able to instil into influential local people a vision of the place the school ought to play in the educational field. He determined, on his appointment in 1860, to enhance the status of the school, which meant incidentally increasing the fees, to the great annoyance of some Rastrick people.


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An improvement in the curriculum was made to include algebra, geometry and Latin, the sine qua non of a grammar school. At the end of each Christmas term parents were invited to see the work of the school, and in the summer a prizegiving ceremony was held. External examinations of the South Kensington Science and Art Department were taken. Fees were charged for each subject separately, and all boys paid a shilling for firing. In 1866, in his evidence before the Inspector of Charities, the Rev. Thomas Haynes, Vicar of Rastrick, stated the aims of the trustees of Mary

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election. Six nonconformists and six churchmen were nomin- ated, and the former were entirely successful. These governors were elected every five years, and there was keen interest in Hipperholme in the election. A major change in the curriculum was made in 1887, when the sciences, chemistry, magnetism, electricity and physiography were introduced, and the neces- Sary apparatus provided.

It was when Storr was at Rastrick and Fleay at Hipperholme that Fearon, a commissioner under the Endowed Schools Act of 1869, visited the area to investigate the functioning of the two schools. His original proposal was to integrate the activities of the three grammar schools at Heath, Hipperholme and Rastrick. Rastrick was to act as a kind of preparatory grammar school, and boys would proceed from Rastrick to Hipperholme, where they could receive education in the middle school, and from Hipperholme to Heath, where they could be prepared for the universities. This scheme, not unnaturally, met with fierce local opposition, for it degraded Hipperholme into a second grade school, and gave Rastrick no opportunity of developing into anything except a preparatory school. Furthermore the Brighouse Local Board opposed the idea of Hipperholme having boarders, because this would mean fewer places avail- able for local boys. As a result of the criticisms, Fearon’s original scheme was dropped, and the two grammar schools were left to develop on their own as independent units.

Meantime at Rastrick, Storr continued his improvements, and in 1873 J. Heaton was placed third in the Cambridge University local examinations, and four other pupils passed, including the headmaster’s daughter, Mary Elizabeth Storr. During the whole of Storr’s headship at Rastrick the school was co-educational. Under Fearon’s final proposals a new governing body was set up at Rastrick, representative of local interests, and charged with providing as soon as possible accommodation for one hundred scholars. The school was to be a day school, and the headmaster’s salary was fixed at £50 a year, with certain capitation grants. The entrance fees were fixed, and arrangements made for free entrance scholarships to the school, and for leaving scholarships for the purpose of further education. The curriculum was to consist of reading, writing, mathematics, English, scripture, geography, history,


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drawing, drill, music, Latin, at least one branch of science, and if possible some modern language. In 1876 an investigation of the school was done by the Rev. J. H. Stocks, headmaster of Hipperholme, who gave a most favourable report, but stressed the necessity for an assistant master. There was on roll a total of seventy-nine, seventeen in the senior, forty-four in the junior and eighteen at the elemen- tary stage. A headmaster’s house was planned in 1877, and boarders were taken in the spacious building that was designed partly for that purpose. In 1881 the old school building was demolished, and the building of the new one started. It was completed in January 1892 at a cost of £800, with accommoda- tion for one hundred boys. In July 1881 a prize for scripture was presented on behalf of Mrs. Judd to Master Field for the best paper on St. Luke. In 1884 there was instituted for the first time the athletic sports, which were held on the Waterloo Road playing fields, whilst in 1886 the first public prizegiving ceremony was held. It is of interest to note as a link with the seventeenth century endowment of the school that in 1887 Sir Richard Hanson, Bart., Lord Mayor of London, sent two guineas to the prize fund in recognition of his family’s former connection with Rastrick and with the school. At that year’s speech day an interesting innovation was the performance of a French play, produced by Monsieur A. Poiré, the French master. Finally, at the very end of our period, came, in 1891, the retirement of Storr and the appointment of the Rev. E. N. Langham, M.A., who was to bring

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In the Rastrick Church school in 1870 there were evening classes in reading, writing and arithmetic for men of twenty and over. At Bailiffe Bridge, a growing but culturally neglected district, the Bailiffe Bridge Working Men’s Institute was established in 1866. It provided instruction in reading, writing and arithmetic, and offered prizes to its members for pro- ficiency. By 1868 it had thirty-four members. In 1866 the Lightcliffe and Hipperholme Young Men’s Society was formed. It had a library of one hundred and fifty volumes, and employed a teacher for the juvenile classes. In Brighouse in 1867 there was in existence the Albert Place Working Reading Room, under the presidency of William Hellewell. Similar efforts were made in all parts of the district, and it was by these hard methods of self-help that many overcame the dis- advantages of illiteracy, and indeed the foundations of evening school work were being laid by these enthusiastic pioneers. But it was the Mechanics’ Institute that remained the chief source of adult education. Membership, however, fluctuated considerably, and indeed the Institutes in the outlying districts eventually disappeared. But the Institute at Brighouse con- tinued through its many vicissitudes. It had several setbacks. A membership of two hundred and twenty in 1867 declined to a mere seventy-one in 1871, and although the population had increased the membership in 1882 was reported as being no larger than in 1868, a most disappointing result to the com- mittee. It continued, however, to do some useful educational work, and its pass list in the examinations of the South Kensington Science and Art Department was most creditable. By 1884 the membership had shrunk to sixty-eight, and in the following year the committee reported that they were having great difficulty in carrying on. A special effort was made, and a slight improvement occurred, due to some extent to the formation of a class in cotton textiles. As part of the Jubilee celebrations of 1887 the Institute launched an appeal for books to extend its library, which was rechristened the Victoria Library. By 1890 the Institute was again in a flourishing condition, and to some extent in this year its financial troubles were relieved. Technical education on a national basis was reviewed by the Royal Commission on Technical Education in 1884, and out of this grew the Technical Instruction Act of 1889, under


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which local authorities were empowered to aid and promote technical education up to the extent of a penny rate. The West Riding County Council sent circulars to both the Brighouse and Rastrick Local Boards about this question of technical education. The former decided to support the Mechanics’ Institute, whilst the latter determined to promote a class in advanced cookery, and also support the evening Science and Art classes held at Rastrick Grammar School and at Bridge End school.


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THE Brighouse Post Office continued to be situated on the premises of the person who happened to be postmaster, and so wandered around the town. Having been at the bottom of Halifax Road since 1862, it moved to Commercial Street, when Dale, the saddler, was appointed postmaster in 1866. St. Valen- tine’s Day was always well observed, and in 1867 two thousand Valentines were posted in Brighouse, many of them, no doubt, practical jokes. In 1870 the business people were given additional conveniences when the telegraph office, hitherto at the railway station, was moved to the post office, a much more central position, The Rastrick post office continued to develop, and in 1866 a money order office was opened. The number of letters handled was increasing rapidly ; it rose from a weekly total of five hundred and forty in 1863 to eight hundred in 1866, and expanded with the growing population and the increase in literacy. Fires at the mills were still a thorny problem, and in 1868 Jonathan Stott’s cotton mill was burned down with damage of £25,000. prevent loss of life there was a proposal to establish a fire escape, and in June 1871 a meeting of sub- scribers was called to consider ways of financing the project. Money was easily forthcoming in these prosperous times, and within a month the new fire escape was delivered, and paraded through the town in a procession headed by the Brighouse Subscription Prize Band. A corps to man the escape was formed, and joint practices between the Royal Insurance Fire Brigade and the Fire Escape Corps took place at regular intervals.


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Brighouse had the advantage of railway facilities at an early stage in the history of railways, but this ultimately brought the disadvantage that such facilities became obsolete as railway development progressed. From the early sixties the railway station itself was proving inadequate, and becoming something of a stale joke in the district. In June 1866 there was a joint petition from the Brighouse and Rastrick Local Boards to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway asking for improved accommodation at the station, including a widening of the platform and new waiting rooms. The L. and Y. had kept putting off any improvements on the ground that a new station would be built, but in 1867 they announced that they had abandoned this project, and decided to provide additional accommodation at the old “ Chinese

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opened, and the station at Clifton Road completed, a great addition to the travelling facilities of the day. During the latter half of the nineteenth century much was done to initiate the foundations of a public health service. Epidemics of smallpox, typhus and other virulent diseases were still a common occurrence, and though improved sanita- tion and the introduction of a piped water supply were doing much towards eliminating the sources of contamination, there was no professional adviser to the various Local Boards. By the Public Health Act of 1872, the whole country was divided up into Urban and Rural Sanitary Districts, and in rural areas the Board of Guardians was constituted the sanitary authority, whilst the Local Boards were given these powers in urban areas. In the early part of 1873 there was much discussion on the various Local Boards in the area as to the appointment of a Medical Officer of Health to advise the authorities, and it was eventually decided to appoint one M.O.H. for the whole of the Halifax Union, outside the borough of Halifax. Dr. Britton was the first medical officer, and his reports on sanitary conditions in Brighouse, Rastrick, Clifton and Hipperholme were ex- tremely useful in bringing to light and correcting any insanitary nuisances.

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called. The working class was especially invited, but there was no enthusiasm for the scheme, which fell through. A few years later, however, with a commendable foresight, the committee of the new Liberal Club in Bradford Road constructed slipper baths for the use of the public. It was in Rastrick that the first swimming baths in the district were constructed, and many thousands of Brighouse people learned to swim in Ramsden’s Baths, Bramston Street. It was in the 1890's that influenza began to be diagnosed as a particular complaint, and during the severe epidemic of 1892 it was reported that an Elland Edge man had said: “ Ee, it’s

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passed a resolution declaring that the existing Conservative Government was not worthy of working class support. In December 1866 it held a large meeting, addressed by Ernest Jones of Manchester, the old Chartist, demanding vote by ballot and manhood suffrage. By the beginning of 1867 the branch had two hundred members, and, under the presidency of David Crossley, was holding fortnightly meetings. Pressure on the Conservative Government to pass the Reform Bill was great in all parts of the country, and Disraeli had determined to dish the Whigs by extending the franchise. The agitation in the West Riding reached a climax in April 1867, when on Easter Tuesday there was a gigantic

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Aspinall, the retiring chairman, was once more proposed as chairman. The four newcomers opposed him as representing the old régime, and were joined by two

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thing went off in an orderly manner, and there was no rioting. When news of the Conservative victory came through, the bells at the Parish Church were rung, symbolising the ancient alliance of Church and Conservatism, as against Nonconformity and Liberalism. Although in that year the male population of Brighouse was over three thousand, there were still only four hundred and seventy-five electors, of whom three hundred and seventy-four voted. Two years later the local electoral machines had another opportunity to test themselves in the election of 1874. Then, the Hipperholme Conservatives established their headquarters at the Whitehall Inn, and the Liberals surrounded them on two flanks at the Country House Inn and the White Horse. One noteworthy feature of the election was that Titus Salt lent his family bus to the Liberals to convey voters to the poll. During the 1880's both the local Liberal and Conservative Associations established themselves in new club premises. In 1877 the new Liberal Club in Bradford Road, a resplendently furnished building by contemporary standards, and much superior to the old club in Church Lane, was opened. In Mav 1880 the Liberal Club in Church Street, Rastrick, was estab- lished, and in the following year one at Hipperholme. Not to be outdone, the Conservatives acquired some newly-built property in Briggate as a club. They also opened clubs in Rastrick and Hipperholme. I But this was the heyday of the Liberals. In the great election of 1880, noted for Gladstone's Midlothian campaign, the two Liberal candidates for the North West Riding Division were Lord Frederick Cavendish and Sir Matthew Smith, and the local Liberals were confident that both would be returned. The result of the election surpassed even their hopes, for the Liberal majority in the Division was unbelievably great, and Glad- stone was returned as Prime Minister with a large backing. To celebrate the occasion a great Liberal procession was organised, and marched through the whole district with delirious enthusiasm. The North West Riding Division was a county division with a much more restricted franchise than in the boroughs. Brighouse was therefore especially interested in the Reform Act of 1884, which widened the franchise, and put the counties and the boroughs on the same electoral footing. It was in the


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agitation for this reform that the working class began to be dissatisfied with the Liberal Party, to which, hitherto, it had given its political allegiance. Radicalism came to the fore in great strength. In Brighouse the Brighouse and District Radical Association was formed in July 1884, to put pressure on the Government to extend the franchise. Its secretary was A. B. Wakefield, who was well known in the district for many years as a freethinker and a leftwing politician. His fame in the Rationalist movement was widely enough known for him once to be approached as a lecturer for the Secularist Society in New Zealand. Charles Bradlaugh, however, declared that he could do much more important work in Brighouse, and Wake- field took that advice.

The Radical Club was opened by Charles Bradlaugh in 1884. At first it had no permanent home of its own. It met where it could, and held many open air meetings to ventilate all the new ideas that were coming to the fore. In 1887, for example, it sponsored a discussion on socialism. In the same year it acquired its own club premises at the top of Church Lane. The president was Joseph Whitehead, the secretary James Bottomley and the treasurer Joseph Pickersgill. The club gradually turned more and more towards socialistic ideas, and in 1891 arranged for Robert Blatchford to deliver an address. In the near future the members were to form the nucleus of the Brighouse branch of the Independent Labour Party.

In parliamentary matters important developments were taking place. Following the 1884 Reform Act there was a redistri- bution of parliamentary seats, and the North West Riding Division was divided into five constituencies. In January 1884 T. B. Chambers, on behalf of the Brighouse Local Board, sent a petition to the Boundary Commissioners, asking that Brig- house should be the centre of a new parliamentary division. After some deliberation the Boundary Commissioners declared in favour of what they called the

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Then came the excitement of the first election. The Liberals invited Thomas Ormerod, a local Liberal, silk manufacturer, to contest the seat. He declined, and both Liberals and Radicals, then sponsored Thomas Wayman. He was born in 1833, the son of W. R. Wayman, cardmaker of Halifax, and had had wide experience, in Halifax, of municipal administration. The Conservative candidate was Captain Rasch. Under the new franchise the Brighouse voters had more than trebled as a result of the 1884 Reform Act, and now numbered one thousand four hundred and eighty-three, whilst Hipperholme had nine hundred and nine, and Rastrick one thousand five hundred and ninety-four. Wayman, as was widely expected, was successful with six thousand five hundred and sixteen votes as against three thousand three hundred and fifty-seven for Rasch. In Brighouse the event was celebrated by a great Liberal

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In 1892 Parliament was dissolved. In the Elland division the Conservatives put into the field John Fitzalan Hope, a young man of twenty-four from Sussex, of whom little was known except that he had “ the good fortune to be the nephew of the Duke of

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FROM the

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annually by the ratepayers. The surveyors had quite insufficient powers to carry out their duties. The roads were in a dilapid- ated condition, and in 1858 the ratepayers had to be called together to consider how the repair of the pinfold could be done. For many years the poor rate stood at tenpence in the pound and the church rate at twopence, and the collector had great trouble in collecting the latter from the Quakers, who objected to payment on conscience grounds. For nearly thirty years Charles Pitchforth of Boothroyd acted as one of the over- seers of the poor. He was appointed originally under the Act of 1834, and continued to serve almost until his death in 1862. In 1861 the scarcity of water became so marked that a meeting had to be called to discuss ways and means of overcoming the

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less than twelve months in office. J. T. Clay disagreed with the legality of a decision which the Board had taken regarding the repair of Lillands Lane. A new chairman was appointed and the work of the Board proceeded. In October 1864 plans for the erection of seventeen gaslamps in the streets of Rastrick were prepared.

The Local Board had already considered the question of a gas supply, but this was taken up by private individuals, who in June 1864 decided to float the Rastrick Gas Company with a capital of £6000. A site in Birds Royd was chosen. In face of the dispute with the Brighouse Gas Commissioners work on the new gasworks went on vigorously, and they were in operation at the beginning of 1865. A suggestion was made that mains should be carried into Clifton, which, like Rastrick, had found itself cut off by the Brighouse Gas Commissioners. In January 1865 gas was laid through Bridge End to Rastrick Fields. In the following month plans were made for supplying Clifton and further areas of Rastrick through the summer. In June, in face of competition from the Rastrick Gas Company, Craven and Wilson ceased to supply gas in Rastrick. By the winter of 1865 the lighting of the streets was proceeding vigorously, and in one week six gaslamps were erected. Interest in the Local Board remained keen, and in the second poll in 1865 there were seven candidates for four places. I

One of the chief problems facing the Local Board was the inadequacy of the water supply. In 1867 the acute drought, which had been a feature of life in Rastrick, as in Brighouse, for many years, turned the attention of the Board to the pro- vision of a piped water supply. The ratepayers, however, as with the gas supply, were clearly reluctant to embark on this costly venture, and for the time being the Board contented itself with the provision of a water cart to slack the perpetual dust in the streets.

Amongst its activities of constructing drains, erecting street lamps, repairing the roads, abating general and intolerable nuisances, the Local Board made an inspection of the slaughter- houses and butchers’ shops in Rastrick. Many of them were found to be insanitary, but the Board took no action to provide a communal slaughterhouse. In 1876, however, Alfred Mann, butcher, built a private slaughterhouse, which he threw open


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for the general use of all butchers. It was stated to be far superior to that owned by the Brighouse Local Board. The drought still remained a perpetual problem. Once again in 1870 a meeting of ratepayers was held in the Thornhill Arms to consider the situation, but again the majority refused to empower the Local Board to establish a waterworks. This time, however, the minority were not to be thwarted, and decided to float the Rastrick Water Company, with a capital of £2000 to run the waterworks as a private venture. The water was to be purchased from the Halifax Corporation. So in Rastrick we find that both water and gas came to be the monopoly of private companies, whereas in Brighouse both services were run by the Local Board. Elections to the Local Board continued to be fought with a lively interest throughout its life. There was never a dearth of candidates, and the fact that at one election one candidate received only four votes did not deter future aspirants. What might have proved a valuable precedent in bringing women into a more active connection with local affairs just failed to materialise, when Mrs. Harriet Sykes of the Anchor Pit Inn was nominated as a candidate for the Board, but withdrew before testing the feeling of the electorate. With the growth in population Rastrick, like its neighbours, nad to face another problem. By custom people have to be housed in death as well as in life, and by February 1881 it was reported that the cemetery at Rastrick Church was

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In November 1881 the shareholders in the Rastrick Water Company agreed to offer their shares to the Rastrick Local Board for £12,000. Several members of the Board were also shareholders, so that when the Board met to consider the offer the situation was one of some delicacy. In the opinion of the Board the price was too high ; indeed it represented a generous capital accretion for a ten-year-old undertaking. The Board maintained that the question of the price ought to go to arbitra- tion, and adjourned the matter for further consideration. A further meeting between the Board and the shareholders failed to reach agreement, and the proposal therefore fell to the ground for the time being. In the 1880's there was great disappointment in Rastrick with the workings of the Local Board, especially in its relations with the gas and water companies. The result was the formation in 1887 of a Ratepayers’ Association, a sure sign of deep- seated dissatisfaction. This Association was in a sense a successor to the previous one of fifteen years earlier, which had lapsed. In December 1887 there were allegations that the Rastrick Gas Company was making excessive profits. It was allowed, under its statutory authority, to pay a dividend of ten per cent, but apart from this the gas was to be sold at cost. The Rate- payers Association suggested that the Gas Company was creating hidden reserves of profit in its accounts, and demanded a public investigation of the books. In January 1888 a meeting was held in Clifton to persuade the Clifton gas consumers, who obtained their gas from Rastrick, to support the Ratepayers’ Association in its demand for a public enquiry. The question was ultimately ventilated in the courts at a case heard at the Quarter Sessions. This ended, as might have been expected, in some confusion and ambiguity, and both sides could claim a somewhat pyrrhic victory. In 1888 the Ratepayers’ Association sponsored six candidates for the Local Board elections. All of them were successful, demonstrating the measure of support for the Association. One result of the dissensions on the Local Board was the resignation of the clerk, John Taylor, who was succeeded by J. C. West- worth at a salary of £80 a year. In addition to the gas question, other contentious matters were found in the bad state of the drainage, which was primitive, and


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in the water supply, which was inadequate. Negotiations com- menced once more in 1889 between the Local Board and the Rastrick Water Company. After a long period of acrimonious haggling, it was finally agreed that the Board would take over the water undertaking for £15,250, as from April Ist, 1890, The actual taking over was celebrated by a dinner in the Thornhill Arms, In a sense, the irritation of the ratepayers on the water question is understandable. They had acquired for over £15,000 an undertaking started in 1872 with a capital of £2000, and which the Board might have acquired in 1881 for £12,000.

During the

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alternative was an appeal made in June 1883 to provide funds by voluntary means for the purpose of enlarging the existing cemeteries. In the following year sufficient money had been collected to warrant the Southowram Burial Extension Com- mittee accepting tenders for the enlargement of both cemeteries. To provide some intellectual facilities in the village a free news room was established in 1875. There was still no piped water supply, but in 1885 the Halifax Corporation brought a supply into that part of Southowram within its own boundary and in 1888 the Local Board area received the benefits of the


‘With the establishment of the Brighouse Local Board in 1865, Hipperholme found itself severed from its old partner except for minor administrative purposes. The Brighouse Im- provement Act of 1846 had been the first step in splitting Hipperholme-cum-Brighouse into two entities. The Brighouse Local Board virtually completed the process. And at Hipper- holme an agitation commenced for the setting up of a Local Board there. The opposition was great, however, because Hipperholme had not to face the intensity of the problems created by indus- trialisation such as had existed in Brighouse. It had remained, by and large, a rural, residential area, where sewerage was not a matter of life and death. In March 1865 a poll was taken on the adoption of the Local Government Act of 1858, when only ninety voted in favour and four hundred and sixty-four against, a decisive enough result to stifle all agitation for three years. One thing, however, the residents in Hipperholme desired was a piped water supply, but the Halifax Corporation would offer to supply water only if a properly constituted authority were set up to administer the scheme. This gave great strength to the agitation for a Local Board, and in the summer of 1868 a campaign proceeded vigorously between the supporters and the opponents of the idea of a Local Board. Another poll was taken in December 1868, and this time there were two hundred and sixty in favour and one hundred and eighty-one against. The mere thought of a piped water supply had caused the tremendous swing in public opinion.


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In February 1869 a meeting was held at the Grammar School to decide how many should sit on the Local Board, and in the following month the first election was held with thirty candid- ates for nine seats. The first meeting of the Board was held at the Whitehall Inn, when Jonas Foster was appointed chairman. It was immediately resolved to buy water from Halifax, and by the end of the year a piped supply was available in the Hipperholme area. In the following year the residents at Bailiffe Bridge agitated for the supply to be extended to them, and the mains were duly brought into that part of the township. One amenity Hipperholme lacked for some considerable time. As early as 1877 there were constant complaints about the absence of street lighting in both Hipperholme and Lightcliffe, but it was not until 1890 that the Hipperholme Local Board arranged with the Halifax Corporation for a supply of gas for street lighting. Towards the end of our period the ratepayers in Hipper- holme became dissatisfied with the Local Board, and formed in July 1892 a Ratepayers’ Association of some strength, to keep an eye on local affairs and to sponsor candidates for election on the Board.

In the whole of the Brighouse district in the latter half of the nineteenth century there were four Local Boards in opera- tion, Brighouse, Rastrick, Southowram and Hipperholme, but this still left pockets of territory not covered by a Local Board. One of these was at Hove Edge and another at Norwood Green. In these two districts, known as Hipperholme Rural, such local administration as existed was carried on by primitive methods by the Highway Surveyors, who held their monthly meetings in the Pond Inn. Prominent figures amongst the sur- veyors were H. B. Flather and Titus Sykes. Clifton too set its face firmly against embarking upon the expensive luxury of a Local Board. Indeed, in more senses than one, this large geographical unit, flanking Rastrick, Brighouse and Hipperholme, seemed determined to remain in outer dark- ness. In January 1866 a town's meeting was held to consider lighting the streets with gas supplied by the Rastrick Gas Company, but the opponents of the scheme managed to side- track the issue for eighteen months, when another town’s


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meeting was called to discuss entering into a contract with the Rastrick Gas Company. As a last resort, the opponents of street lighting demanded a poll, frightened all the ratepayers by talking of the amount of money that the scheme would cost, and succeeded in gaining a majority of thirty-five against entering into the contract. And Clifton remained a black spot amidst the growing street illuminations of its neighbours. But if its streets remained dark, Clifton found an intellectual beacon in its Mechanics’ Institute. In January 1867 the annual soirée attracted a gathering of some two hundred members and friends, who, after regaling themselves with a good solid tea, enjoyed an address by Sir George Armytage. In 1869 the Institute numbered sixty-six members, and possessed a library of between four and five hundred volumes, a most creditable achievement for a scattered village community. The work of the Institute was hampered, however, because it had no premises, and meetings had to be held at the Black Horse. After some long searching a building was obtained in the centre of the village, and in July 1869, installed in its new home, the Institute settled down to a course of solid educational activity. In 1875 it again became homeless and transferred itself to a room in the Methodist Chapel, but soon became moribund. The following year the premises of the Endowed Grammar School became vacant on the cessation of the school, and the Institute moved into them. Once more it began to flourish, and in January 1877 was able, for the first time for many years, to hold a soirée. The old Clifton Grammar School on Commonside enjoyed some popularity for some time, and had apparently an endow- ment, as it is referred to as the Endowed School. It suffered a decline like many other endowed schools, and finally dis- appeared about 1875. In obtaining a piped water supply Clifton was well served by Sir George Armytage. In June 1873 he drew up a scheme for a water supply, which he presented to a meeting of townsfolk at the Endowed School. Sir George proposed to buy the water himself from the Halifax Corporation, and sell it to the towns- folk, in return merely for the interest on his capital outlay. The success of the scheme depended on a sufficient number of people being desirous of paying for piped water. The Clifton townsfolk went away to consider the project. At a meeting a N


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week or two later in the school it was announced that there were sufficient applications, and that Sir George proposed to go ahead with the scheme, and enter into negotiations with the Halifax Corporation. In 1874 the Clifton Water Supply Company was formed to carry on the negotiations with the Halifax Corporation. Mean- while, Dr. Britton, who had recently been appointed Medical Officer of Health for the Brighouse district, reported that sanitation in Clifton was seriously deficient, and that piped water would do something to alleviate the bad conditions. Finally in the summer of 1877 water mains began to be laid up Clifton Common, and at last Clifton obtained a piped water supply. I Whilst the water scheme was being negotiated the old project for street lighting was revived. In March 1876 a meet- ing, under the chairmanship of G. J. Armytage, reported in favour of buying gas from the Rastrick Gas Company for this purpose, and by the end of the year the streets of Clifton began to be illuminated. It is probable that the time-honoured story about Clifton running its gas and water up the same pipe originated from the fact that both gas and water mains were being laid in the village at the same time. The village continued to grow and in 1881 had a population of over two thousand. In that year there was a suggestion of forming a Clifton Local Board in the interests of good government. At a meeting of ratepayers in April a somewhat acrimonious dispute on this issue took place. G. J. Armytage opposed the idea of a Local Board on the ground that the rates would be materially increased, but eventually by a small majority the meeting decided to hold a poll of ratepayers. Voting papers were distributed, and in June it was found that two hundred and thirty-seven were in favour and one hundred and twenty-six against, with over one hundred abstentions. Unfortunately the Local Government Board turned down this application from the Clifton ratepayers and no Clifton Local Board emerged. I In 1876 subscriptions began to be collected for the founda- tion of a Clifton Brass Band, and the venture proved successful. The band was formed and in March 1879 gave a concert in the Oddfellows’ Hall for the purpose of raising funds to buy new instruments. There were twenty-four players in the band.


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In its brass band, its cricket club and its bowling club at the Armytage Arms, the village had many opportunities for social recreation. Each Christmas the Armytage dole was distributed to the aged poor. It was the custom for each poor person to attend at the schoolroom and bring two newly laid eggs, and to receive in return a peck of wheat and a shilling.

In Brighouse proper, as we have seen, the 1846 Commis- sioners had outlived their usefulness by 1864 and the Brighouse Local Board was established under the Local Government Act of 1858. The first elections to the new Board of twelve members took place amidst great excitement in May 1865, and for this first election of local government representatives ever held in the town, election fever took possession of everyone. The excitement of the election was provided by the struggle between two parties, one representing the old committee of the 1846 Commissioners, and the other the new men, who were, in a sense, ratepayers’ candidates. Feeling ran high, and about forty separate election posters were issued and displayed about the town. These began to appear about at the beginning of May, and the nearer polling day approached the more the posters degenerated into what was described as the “ lowest personal scurrility.” They were issued anonymously, and bore no printers or publishers’ names. Two of the best were put out by “ Judex and

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the candidates to see whether some would withdraw. Fortun- ately he failed to secure any satisfactory arrangement, whicn might have been a dangerous precedent for the future. Betting was freely indulged in as to the result. The actual voting was conducted in an unruly atmosphere, the supporters of candidates entering the polling booths and assisting voters to complete their ballot papers. At one point W. W. Widdop had fo call in the police, and voting was suspended until order was restored. Amidst great excitement the result of the poll was declared in June 1865. It proved a partial victory for the representatives of the old Commissioners, seven of whom were elected, as against five newcomers. To celebrate their success the former adjourned to the Royal Hotel after the declaration of the poll. Coins were thrown out of the windows to their supporters, and one man was lucky enough to pick up half a sovereign. An aftermath of the election was the demand for a scrutiny of the votes by George Pilling, who had just failed to secure election. The agitation, however, gradually subsided, and it was the general opinion immediately after the election that the repre- sentatives on the Local Board were a good selection. The new Board consisted of Henry Stott, Thomas Ormerod, Jonathan Stott, Thomas Blackburn, all cotton spinners; John Carr Bottomley, manufacturing chemist; S. Leppington and John Barber, gentlemen ; Kaye Aspinall, stone merchant ; G, S. Sudgen, cornmiller; W. Broadbent, land agent; E. Standing, linen draper ; and J. Wood, wire manufacturer. At the head of the poll was Henry Stott, with six hundred and sixty-seven votes, and at the bottom G. H. Monks with one hundred and nineteen. It will be noted that the cotton spinning interests in the town dominated the Board. At the first meeting Kaye Aspinall was elected chairman, and it was decided that E. J. Whittaker, the existing manager of the gas and drainage undertakings, should continue at a salary of £120 a year. Four sub-committees, gas, highways, drainage and finance, were formed. The ratepayers expected early action from the Board in clearing away the evils which the Commis- sioners had not redressed. One example of this was an immediate demand that a water cart be obtained to keep down the dust in the streets, a serious problem in the days before tarmacadam. In May 1868 the water cart made its first appear-


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ance in the streets, but was then received with much criticism as, owing to the severe drought and the continued absence otf a piped water supply, there was little water available for drinking, let alone watering the streets. The new Board soon got into its stride. The old Commis- sioners had provided the slaughterhouse, but had had no power to compel the butchers to use it. The Board had such powers, and in August 1865 served notice on the butchers, ordering them, under penalty, to use the slaughterhouse. This was a battle that had to be waged for several years, as some of the butchers persisted in slaughtering outside their own shops. In May 1868 T. B. Chambers, clerk to the Board, was authorised to proceed with the prosecution of any recalcitrant butchers. In 1866 J. C. Carter, a local butcher, was appointed manager of the slaughterhouse, receiving a commission of five per cent of the tolls paid, and in 1868 an Inspector of Meat was appointed at a salary of eleven shillings a week. The drainage of the town engaged the immediate attention of the Board. In 1865 they obtained power to borrow £10,000 for this purpose. Extensive drainage plans were prepared,

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Up to this time the streets had never been named systematic- ally, and many of the localities had merely acquired through usage nicknames such as Roundabout, Zingo Nick and Ganny Bar. In 1868 the Local Board carried out a systematic survey of the streets, and the clerk provided a complete list of street names which the Board substantially approved. Signs carrying the new names were erected, but met with much opposition. Some, indeed, were torn down by those who objected to the interfering regimentation of the Board, and who, at the same time, regretted the disappearance of the old nicknames. Not willing to allow their authority to be flouted, the Board ordered the prosecution of those removing the street signs, and

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still no cemetery, and events moved with a slowness that was almost criminal in view of the urgency of the problem. In January 1871, four months after its constitution, the Board resolved to purchase nine acres of land at £250 an acre. Six months later, harassed by a report that there was not a square yard without a coffin at the old cemetery, the Board completed the agreement to purchase the land, and called a ratepayers’ meeting to confirm its action. Weary of all the procrastinating talk that meeting was cut short when a voice from the back of the hall, taking the long view into the future, called out ‘ We all want a cemetery.” The motion was put and carried.

Then the Board had to face the distasteful problem of financ- ing the scheme, and resolved to borrow £4000 from the Public Works Loan Commissioners. Months dragged by, and it was not until February 1872 that plans for the construction of the cemetery chapel came under consideration. After much delibera- tion a prize of £20 was offered for the best design, and this was

won by William Gray of Bradford.

1872 passed, and in the autumn of 1873 the Burial Board was still receiving accounts of the slowness of the progress. By the February of 1874 a stage was at last reached when the question of planting flowers and shrubs was considered, and a forecast was made that the new cemetery would be open by May Ist. In March the tender of Lister Kershaw to plant the ground was accepted.

It was not until August 1874, however, that the cemetery was ready for use, and the Bishop of Ripon consecrated that part which was set aside for the Church of England. A code of rules governing the cemetery was approved by the Local Board. The project had in the end cost over £7000, twice as much as the original estimate, and was not completed until over five years after the problem first became acute.

In 1875 the Brighouse Local Board contracted to sell gas to the Bailiffe Bridge Gas Company, which acted as a distributor in that area. The meter supplying this gas was placed at the Brighouse end of the long main to Bailiffe Bridge, and the Company made constant complaints that the leakage from the main was tremendous. As this loss had to be met by the

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It was noteworthy that the Board under its many years of chairmanship by John Carr Bottomley retained a lively interest in developments that might assist its work. In 1882 it had an interesting discussion on the possibility of electricity ousting gas as the street lighting of the future, and several members of the Board went to see the Electric Light Exhibition in the Crystal Palace. Each year, whilst he was chairman, John Carr Bottomley invited all members of the Board and the officials to an outing to places like York. In the life of the Board from 1865 to 1893 there were only six chairmen: Kaye Aspinall, 1865-1870; T. Blackburn, 1870-1872 ; John Carr Bottomley, ; Henry Sugden, 1884-1887; Richard Kershaw, 1887-1891; and F. Laxton, 1891-1893. In his period of chairmanship John Carr Bottomley earned universal respect, and on his retirement a public testi- monial was presented to him. This took the form of his portrait in oils, painted by Tomlinson of Huddersfield. No proper offices or meeting place had ever been owned by the Board, which turned its attention to this deficiency in 1885. The site chosen was that of the old malt kiln at the end of Bethel Street. A competition was held, and six Brighouse archi- tects submitted designs. One important stipulation was that the cost of the building should not exceed a limit of £2000. It was perhaps of some significance that the winning design bore the motto, “ Within the Limit.” It was by John Lord junior, and the style of the building was described as “ Italian with an ashlar front.’’ The construction of the Municipal Offices was marred by one fatal accident. But they were successfully com- pleted in time for the chairmanship of Richard Kershaw in 1887. In 1889 the Board began to consider the provision of a public recreation ground. A piece of land at Lane Head was selected, but it was too dear, and the project dropped for the time being. It was revived again in 1891, and the land for the Lane Head recreation ground purchased, thus giving Brighouse a much needed amenity. The end of the Local Board was now in sight. It was clear by this time that the problems of public administration facing Brighouse and its neighbours could not be met by means of small Local Boards and Highway Surveyors. Some amalgama-~ tion in one form or another was a necessity for the future.


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THE Borough of Brighouse was born out of the need for a proper sewage system. I’o a certain extent both Brighouse and Rastrick were drained in the nineteenth century, but the only method of disposing of the sewage was to dump it in the Calder. Furthermore such drainage as existed was proving most inade- quate, and there were constant complaints in both Brighouse and Rastrick. Flooding in the Bradford Road area was very common and a cause of great irritation. By the end of 1889 the whole problem of drainage and sewage disposal had become one of great urgency. It was suggested that Brighouse, Rastrick, Clifton and parts of Hipperholme and Southowram might com- bine to solve the problem. As early as this the site of a sewage works at Cooper Bridge was being discussed, and the Brighouse Local Board was experimenting with the conversion of night soil into manure. In June 1890 the West Riding County Council issued a circular letter to the sanitary authorities adjacent to the Calder demanding that some action be taken to purify the river. The circular was received by the Brighouse and Rastrick Local Boards, and the surveyors for Clifton and Hipperholme Rural, and a joint meeting was held by these four to discuss how the problem could be tackled. The Brighouse Local Board came to the conclusion in July 1890 that, rather than attempt to form some kind of joint authority, it would be preferable to apply for a charter of incorporation as a borough, covering Brighouse, Rastrick, Hove Edge and Bailiffe Bridge. The idea caught the local imagination, and in August the Rastrick Local Board invited the Brighouse Local Board to set up a joint committee tc explore the implications of incorporation. The procedure to


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apply for a charter was by way of a petition signed by rate- payers to the Privy Council. But there were grave obstacles to be surmounted to smooth local differences so as to arrive at an agreed petition. The rate poundage in the areas concerned was different, so that the problem as to whether there should be a uniform or differential rate in the proposed borough had to be settled. Furthermore in Rastrick alone was there a School Board, and a school rate, which meant that future educational policy in the borough would be affected by the merger. Finally, of course, there were various personal antagonisms, jealousies and local rivalries to be smoothed away. At the meeting between the Brighouse and Rastrick Local Boards, the main principles of applying for a charter of incorp- oration for the areas of Brighouse, Rastrick, Clifton, Bailiffe Bridge, Hove Edge and part of Lightcliffe were agreed, but it was seen that the rating question was one of some difficulty. The Clifton Highway Surveyors were desirous of being incorp- orated into the borough. Their own future in any event was in the melting pot, as the possibility of establishing a Clifton Parish Council was being canvassed, but did not appeal to the Clifton ratepayers. In October 1890 there was a suggestion that Hartshead as well as Clifton might be brought into the borough. At this stage the Brighouse Local Board claimed a differential rate of ninepence in the pound less than Rastrick, on the ground that there were no board schools in Brighouse. The Rastrick Local Board countered the argument by pointing out that Brighouse would clearly soon be compelled to have a School Board. But Rastrick did in the end concede the principle of a differential rate. Against the claim of Brighouse for nine- pence Rastrick offered sixpence, and over the difference of threepence the negotiations were broken off, and the incorpora- tion progress came to a standstill in November 1890. It was clear to everyone, however, that matters could not be left as they were, and in January 1891 the Brighouse Local Board invited Rastrick to resume discussions on the terms proposed by Brighouse. Failing acceptance of this invitation, it was announced that Brighouse proposed to apply for a charter for itself, and leave Rastrick, Clifton and Hipperholme to object if they wanted. The Brighouse and Rastrick Local Boards then reached agreement on the following terms:


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The rate in the borough to be the same. Water charges to be uniform. Rastrick cemetery rate to be levied only in Rastrick. School rate to be levied only in Rastrick. Gas for street lighting in Rastrick to be supplied from the Brighouse gasworks. This was a tremendous step forward, but in the same month the Brighouse Local Board received legal advice that it was unlikely to get permission to include Clifton, Hartshead or any part of Hipperholme in the borough, owing to the rural character of these districts. This advice was accepted, and it was decided to get a charter first, and then take up the question of applying for an extension of boundaries. In February a joint committee of both the Brighouse and Rastrick Local Boards was appointed, and decided to issue a manifesto to the ratepayers outlining the proposed application for a charter, and to collect signatures for the petition to the Privy Council. There were five members from each Local Board on the joint committee and F. Laxton was the chairman. In July 1891 the committee made the neces- sary arrangements with the Halifax Corporation regarding the inclusion of Hove Edge in the proposed borough. Halifax Corporation had gas and water rights in Hove Edge, and it was agreed that the new borough should take these over in return for a money payment of £2000. The petition to the Privy Council was prepared, setting out the population, industries and local amenities of each area to be incorporated. Hove Edge especially was looking forward to incorporation, which would give it a gas supply for the first time and a cheaper water supply. A public meeting was held in the Town Hall on July 22nd, 1891, to which the petition was presented, and there was no vocal opposition. By August some three thousand out of a possible four thousand five hund- red signatures had been collected and included all the large ratepayers. The Rastrick Gas Company announced that it would be willing to sell its undertaking to the new borough. On January 14th, 1892, the petition was presented to the Privy Council, which ordered an enquiry, and instructed Pelham, one of its commissioners, to attend at Brighouse on February 17th for that purpose. Pelham made a long and detailed investiga- tion of the situation, and became convinced that a charter of incorporation would be desirable. He reported back to the


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Privy Council, which considered his findings favourably, and instructed him to come to Brighouse again on August 3th, to discuss the ward boundaries. In that month the Privy Council wrote to the joint committee of the two Local Boards, suggest- ing that the proposed borough should be divided into eight wards, with twenty-four councillors and eight aldermen, and requested the submission of a draft charter. In October 1892 Chambers, the solicitor, was instructed to draft the Charter. It was agreed that until the first elections F. Laxton, the chairman of the joint committee and of the Brig- house Local Board, should be provisional mayor ; A. O. Stocks, deputy mayor ; J. Parkinson, town clerk ; and C. E. Shackleton, deputy town clerk. If approved, the charter was planned to come into operation on November Ist, 1893. In January 1893 the draft charter was sent to the Privy Council, and Brighouse settled down to a period of hopeful and excited waiting. The problems of incorporation were widely discussed. It was becom- ing clear that the School Board would operate over the whole borough, and not merely in Rastrick, so that certain sections of Brighouse ratepayers, having resisted a School Board for twenty years, found one introduced through the back door. Anticipating the work on the sewage scheme, which the new borough would have to undertake, the joint committee spent much time in visiting sewage farms, and engaged A. M. Fowler of Manchester to prepare a sewage plan. After some months of waiting through the summer, Brighouse learned in August that the Privy Council had instructed the Home Office to prepare the charter, and the account showing the fees and stamp duties that would have to be paid was received by the joint committee. On Saturday, August 19th, the charter itself arrived in Brighouse, and it was at last known officially that the first borough elections would be held on November Ist, and that the charter would come into operation on November 9th, when the new council would meet for the first time, and that the Rastrick School Board would become the Brighouse School Board. In the mind of everyone was the thought of the two large immediate problems that would face the new borough: the acquisition of the Rastrick Gas Com- pany ; and the sewage works. The receipt of the charter was one of the most notable events in the history of Brighouse, and it was decided that a Charter


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Day should be held on September 30th to celebrate the

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EPILOGUE 1893 - 1953

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Epilogue 1893-1953

outside the scope of this volume. This epilogue will only serve to draw together the loose threads of the centuries through which we have followed the growth of the town. In itself the Incorporation Charter of 1893 altered little ex- cept in the administrative field. It is indeed remarkable how little the main characteristics of the district have changed in the last sixty years. Most of the changes have been superficial rather than fundamental. The population has remained almost static, a marked contrast to the growth in the nineteenth century. The silk trade has virtually died; the stone trade is now a shadow of its former self, On the other hand engineer- ing has grown, and other trades, such as biscuit-making and wireless, have come to take the place of the older moribund industries. The town has, in general, however, retained that multiplicity of trades which served it so well in the nineteenth century. In the religious field most of the old churches and chapels are still in use. The Church of England has established mission churches at Hove Edge, Brookfoot, and Bailiffe Bridge, and the new parish of St. John’s, Rastrick, has been created. The old Bethel Chapel on Bethel Street was finally closed, and a new Bethel built at the bottom of Halifax Road. Only recently St. Paul’s has disappeared from the scene, marking not only a decline generally in organised religion, but an especial recession in the strength of nonconformity in the town. Waring Green has also ceased to exist as a religious centre. On the other hand the New Connexion Methodists established a mission chapel at Thornhill Briggs. The breaches in the Methodist ranks have been healed, nationally as well as locally, and long forgotten are the bitter disputes of the three Methodist sects in the town.


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In the educational field the most outstanding development has been the foundation of the Brighouse Girls’ Secondary (now Grammar) School, remedying a

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The Borough of Brighouse has seen twenty-three mayors in its sixty years of existence. The main features of its work were the construction of the sewage works, the development of the main drainage, the purchase of the Rastrick Gas Company, the establishment of an electricity undertaking, the opening of the Victoria Free Library, the building of housing estates coupled with slum clearance. These were the highlights set against the routine day-to-day administration of municipal affairs, The Municipal Offices acquired a clock, but the town has never managed to build itself a new town hall suitable for the general purposes of town life. Wellholme has been finally acquired as a park, and the town centre considerably altered. Gone is the labyrinth of Zingo Nicks, the iron railings guarding curious old-fashioned shops, the steps abutting on to the main streets, their places taken by the modern multiple shops. Here there is both gain and loss, a gain in hygiene, but a loss in individuality. Modern shop fronts impose a depressing uniformity on towns. A decline in the consumption of alcohol has seen a marked reduction in the number of public houses, their places taken at times by the municipal gardens built at street corners. In 1899 the Albert Theatre was built and became for many years the main theatrical centre of the town. But, as elsewhere, the professional stage has disappeared from the town life, and regular indoor amusement is confined to the three cinemas. Fortunate in its amateur dramatic and operatic societies,

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October of parkin pigs, and the old Rushbearing Feast is now virtually dead locally. Rush Week is little more than a general holiday. Thump Sunday is forgotten, and finds a deserted town, so different from the scene on Thump Sunday a century ago. The development of the internal combustion engine has once more revolutionised the transport system. Trams have come and gone in the last sixty years, and now buses carry people not only to other towns, near and distant, but even round the town itself, a fact that we take far too much for granted. In Brighouse, as elsewhere, these changes have led to a decline in the importance of both railway and canal, and the old Clifton Road line, built after a stern struggle with the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, has now succumbed. Politically the great change has been the decline in organised Liberalism and the growth of the Labour Party, events which are not entirely unrelated. It is symbolical of the change that the once-dominating Liberal Club in Bradford Road has become a works club, whilst next door has been established the

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Adult Education

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Brighouse and Rastrick Chronicle

Page 235

Civil War Clay, A. T. Clay, John Clay, J. T.

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Halifax Commercial Bank Hanson Family Harley, Rev. Robert Hartshead Church Health Service Heaton’s School Hepworth, George Heywood, Rev. Oliver Higham, G, Highway Surveyors Hipperholme Building Society Hipperholme Church School Hipperholme Football Club Hipperholme Grammar School Hipperholme Horticultural Society Hipperholme Local Board Hipperholme Methodist Chapel Hipperholme Ratepayers’ Association Hodgson, John Holland, John Hove Edge

Indian Mutiny Industrial Revolution Inns Irish Riots Irvine, Lola

Justices of the Peace

Kershaw, Richard Kirklees Camp Kirklees Hall Kirklees Priory

Lane Head Chapel Langham, Rev, E. N, Larkhill Academy Laxton, F, Law, Mary Lectures Liberalism Libraries Lightcliffe Amateur Dramatic Society


84 156 26 177

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Lightcliffe Church

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Southowram Mechanics’ Institute

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