The latest scan from the trawl through my old 35mm negatives. Because of adjacent shots, I would date this at about 1971 or ’72. A group of us had been to visit Banklfield Museum in Halifax, and afterwards I crossed the road to take this photograph. I think this is Woodside Terrace, in which case, it still exists, although the houses on the right hand side of the street have been replaced by new ones. The title of this post will probably only make sense to Count Basie fans!
Category Archives: Old Halifax
By the 1960s, all that was left of the once magnificent Sunny Vale Pleasure Gardens was a Go-Kart track, a rubbish-filled lake and a host of memories. There were two lakes – Victoria and Alexandra – and I am not sure which this one – I captured in this photo from the late 1960s – was. I can just about remember going to the gardens in the late 1950s, and by then their glory was very much faded. It is hard to imagine that this forgotten little valley, hidden away behind Hipperholme Cross Roads, was once one of the premier northern leisure resorts of Edwardian England.
I am not quite sure where the next image on the negative strip was taken, but it must have been somewhere between Coley (Image 1) and Hipperholme (Image 3). Half demolished buildings, slag heaps, silhouetted chimneys: it’s an image of time rather than place. Hopefully someone will be able to pin down the location: all suggestions will be gratefully received.
My negative scanning moves on to a new strip of negatives, one with just three negatives on it. It dates, I think, from the mid to late 1960s, and all three photographs are from the area around Halifax.
I am almost certain that the first shows the tower of Coley Church, brooding in the background, slightly aloof then – and now – from everything that goes on around it. I think, but can’t be certain, that the building with the carts is Sowood House at the bottom of Coley Lane. You could probably take exactly the same scene in 2020 and little will have structurally changed: the house still stands, the church tower can still be seen in the background. You could turn the digital image into monochrome, you could apply every Photoshop ageing filter in your package: you could scratch it, add dust to it, tire it, and fade it. And yet, you would not be able to make it feel as old as this image. Quite clearly, it was taken in my lifetime (I took it!), but it is another age, it has the feel of history.
The final shot in this particular strip of six negatives, and all the climbing and scaling of hillside and stone steps is worthwhile. The view from the top of Godley Bank, when you suddenly catch sight of that carpet of industry and activity that is Halifax, must be one of the grandest views of the north of England. Even better when seen from the top of a bus. Again, this must date from around 1967: a year or two before those houses to the right of the road were demolished.
Anyone who has been following the progress of my scans for the last few days will know where I had arrived at by the end of this strip of negatives from the late 1960s. It is Halifax’s answer to a triumphal arch: built by the Borough Engineer in 1900 out of stone and cast iron; a monument to the power of hard work and industry. It is the stone steps leading up to Godley Bridge.
A hundred yards or so after taking yesterday’s photograph, I must have turned again towards Halifax and taken this next one in the series. It captures the old railway sidings at North Bridge particularly well, along with Smith’s Wire Works. Monuments to both God and industry vie for control of the skyline.