From Ward’s End To Hardcastle Craggs

I’ve recently acquired this picture postcard of Ward’s End in Halifax. Although it is new to me, it is anything but new – having been posted the best part of one hundred years ago. The photograph on the front of the card is probably a good ten years older than that; dating from an age when tramcars outnumbered motor cars, and horse and carriages could still be seen in the distance. The original photo was somewhat faded, relatively grubby, and lacking in contrast, but a little restoration work brought it into focus, and a dusting of colour helped to bring a bit of life to the scene.

The scene should be recognisable for most current Halifax dwellers, the old Picture House building is still standing (now a nightclub with a new name every season) and most of the buildings on the left of the street are still standing. The large building on the right – the old Palace-Hippodrome Theatre – is sadly long gone, replaced by a lump of concrete.

The card was sent to Master Harold Holt, who, it appears was on holiday with his parents in Southport at the time. It comes from Elsie and Hilda, who, I suppose, could be aunts.

It is not the easiest message to make out, but I think I have most of the words, which are, as follows:-

Dear Annie, Albert & Harold, We are glad to hear that you are enjoying yourselves, as we are. Today we are at Auntie Clara’s where I am writing this. We have been washing. Yesterday we were —— at Hardcastle Craggs. From Elsie and Hilda.

Hardcastle Craggs are a local beauty spot, so the lost word may be “walking”, or possibly “working” or even “washing”. You can cycle through the various possibilities and create a back-story for each. It’s as good a way of passing the time as most others.

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