Postcards From Home : Kirklees, Calderdale
A popular pub quiz trivia question in these parts is “What is odd about the name of the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees?“. The answer is that it is named after Kirklees Hall – which is in fact in the neighbouring borough of Calderdale. For most of my life I have lived within an arrows-shot of Kirklees Hall and, I must confess, I have never actually seen it. This is as much a result of the privacy notices that surround the property and its adjacent grounds, as my lack of curiosity. I remember, as a youth, climbing over a few fences to visit Robin Hood’s Grave, which is in the grounds, but I never caught sight of the Hall itself.
The Hall is Jacobean in origin – although most of the visible structure results from an eighteenth century rebuild by the architect, John Carr. It was built in the grounds of the twelfth century Kirklees Priory, where – legend suggests – Robin Hood met his death. Whilst lying on his deathbed he is supposed to have shot an arrow from the old Priory, and decreed that he should be buried wherever the arrow landed – hence the famous grave. Sad to say, the grave is a Victorian edifice, and most of the legend of Robin Hood is a romantic fantasy: but it was still worth climbing a fence to see.
The Hall remained under the ownership of the Armytage family right up until the 1980s, when it was converted into luxury apartments. The Priory itself is long gone and commemorated these days by the name of the Three Nuns Inn.
The card was sent in August 1914, just a few weeks after the outbreak of World War 1 (although there is no mention of the conflict in the message). It was sent to a Mrs Margrave of 22 Cocker Street, Blackpool, from someone who signs themselves as :F”. The message is as follows:-
Very pleased to hear you are having a good time, keep it up. By the way tell L that those postcards she sent me have evidently gone astray. Kind regards to all, F (Here with Walt tonight)
It is unclear as to where F (along with Walt) is tonight: it is more likely to be Brighouse than it is Kirklees Hall. Nevertheless, it could just be that the Hall was used for military training purposes during World War 1 (the grounds certainly were during World War 2), and possibly F and Walt were preparing to go to France and fight in the war. As with most old postcards, the lack of certainty just adds to the interest.