A Halifax Melodrama
This old postcard features a view of North Bridge, Halifax which must have been taken in the first decade of the twentieth century. The building on the left of the photograph is still there but the one on the right, the old Grand Theatre, is long gone.
The theatre was built in 1889 on the site of the earlier Gaiety Theatre which burnt down in 1888. At the time the photograph was taken it was a popular venue for variety theatre and the kind of melodramas the Edwardians had a particular passion for. The show beings advertised was “Bootle’s Baby”, the synopsis of which was as follows: “A captain’s secret wife plants a baby on a friend and he weds her when the captain is killed!”
The theatre and its melodramas may be long gone, but the old bridge is still there, although a more modern flyover takes most of the traffic, thus sparing its old cast iron bones. The mill chimneys have also gone and the soot encrustation has been scraped from the walls of the remaining buildings.
The postcard was used in August 1905 and sent to Miss A Speechley os Kirk-Michael in the Isle Of Man. The message is as follows:-
Dear A, I am out again you see at such a lovely place, right out on the Moors outside Halifax. it reminds me of the Isle of man, am waiting for a letter from you. Yours love, E Beaumont (Mrs Smith, The Gleddings, Halifax)
I am tempted to think that the sender, E Beaumont, was employed as a domestic worker by Mrs Smith. I am not sure whether the Gleddings was the current building of that name (now a school) or a neighbouring house on Birdcage Lane. But there again, perhaps Mrs Smith was a captain’s secret wife …!