This is a picture I must have taken in the mid to late 1960s. It shows the Crispin Service Station on Winding Road, Halifax. It is no use going looking for it now because it is long gone and it is the buildings that stood here before that I am primarily interested in. As is often the case, the historic thread is represented by the name rather than the building: this is the site of the famous Saint Crispin Inn.
Nobody seems to know when the first Saint Crispin Inn was built (St Crispin was the patron saint of shoemakers) but even in the nineteenth century it was being referred to as “an ancient inn”. In the early eighteen hundreds it became a popular meeting place of local radicals and republicans, men that at the time were often known as “Tom Painers” for their support of the radical and libertarian views of the political philosopher, Tom Paine. It was from the Crispin Inn that a group of men set off in March 1812 to march to Cartwright’s mill in Liversedge to destroy the shearing frames which, they believed, were putting them out of work.
The Crispin Inn was demolished in 1844 and immediately replaced by a new inn which, perversely, was called the Old Crispin Inn. That inn survived until a few years before my photograph was taken when it too was demolished and replaced by the Mobil Service Station. When they pulled the Old Crispin Inn down, they removed the interior to Shibden Hall Museum where it can be seen to this day. When they pulled the service station down, they did no such thing.