I’m not sure exactly where or when I took this photo, but – this is a Halifax roof. Unconventional, different, with a twisted sense of humour. Well-worn, hard worked – but as strong as a stone quarry.
Category Archives: Scanned Negatives
South Lane climbs out of Elland up towards the top of Blackley, but loses interest in the task and peters out amongst some soulless brick factories. Back in the 1970s, when I took this photo, you could still look down on the power station and Gannex Mill. These days industrial units and new housing developments fill up some of the spaces.
The Ring O’Bells, located next to Halifax Minster, supposedly dates back to either the 13th or the 15th century; although that is “dates back” in the sense that an inn has been around here since those distant times. The current manifestation was, in fact, built in 1720; which is quite old enough for most respectable people. At one time it was known as “The Sign Of The Church“, but changed its name to the more fashionable “Ring O’Bells” probably in the 19th century. Church and Inn often had a symbiotic relationship, and the “Ring O’Bells” was a popular name for pubs in the Calder Valley – similar named establishments could be visited in Mytholmroyd, Rastrick, Elland, Brighouse and Boothtown.
When I took these two photographs in the 1960s, the old inn was showing its age. These days, however, it is all whitewashed walls, brass lights and canvas awnings. Nevertheless, it is still possible to sit within its stone-cooled rooms, drink a pleasant pint, and listen to the sound of the church bells.
One of my photographs from the late ’60s shows the cobbled lane leading from Woodside Road down to Old Lane and Dean Clough. The lane still exists, but these days it is lined by a canopy of trees – and grey has been replaced by green.
This is an illustration from a book I have yet to write, which – in my own mind, at least – is entitled “Monochrome Valley“. It shows Bank Bottom in Halifax in the early 1970s. Square Church spire and Halifax Parish Church fight to be seen through the industrial smoke. I have a feeling that I took this photograph from the loading bay of Riding Hall Carpets, where I was working at the time.
This is a new scan of a photograph I took over 50 years ago, and it shows the Halifax Charity Gala parade in 1965 passing the old Ramsden’s Stone Trough Brewery building (RIP) at Ward’s End, with the ever-present Victoria Theatre in the mid-distance.
A strip of medium format negatives dating from the 1980s is the next to go on my scanning machine. I took these photographs whilst on a walk down Shaw Lane in Halifax, at a time of transition for the town. The last of the mills that had been at the heart of the economic and social life of the town for the previous one hundred and fifty years were closing down and there was an almost desolate feel to parts of the town: streets were empty, building abandoned – almost as if life had moved out and moved on. The soot – that preserved footprint of the industrial revolution – still coated the stone walls and chimneys of the dark forgotten mills.
Thirty or forty years on, the buildings still stand but they have a new vibrancy about them. What were industrial graveyards are now art spaces, dance studios, and retail units. Life has returned and reclaimed the infrastructure.