I must have taken this photograph in the late 1960s or early 70s. The two Halifax cooling towers – affectionately known as Salt and Pepper – were demolished in 1974. The first attempt to blow them up was remarkably unsuccessful, and a giant wrecking ball had to be brought in to complete the job. Between the two towers you get a slice of the hillside leading up to Claremount. It appears that it costs almost twice as much to pull them down as it did to build them in the first place. There is some deep quasi-philosophical lesson in there, somewhere, but it’s too early in the morning to find it.
Tag Archives: Scanned Negatives
I spent a few weeks in Eastbourne in the early 1980s. My wife and my friends were all working, I was left to wander the streets and promenades, taking photographs. When it rained, I would go into the County Court and listen to trials. Strange times.
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.
As I trawl my way through my old photographs, many of which were taken more than fifty years ago, I recognise many immediately and can even remember the walk I was on when I took them. Others, however, remain a mystery, and today’s photographs are a perfect example of this. It is clearly an old farmhouse which is – or rather was – undergoing redevelopment back in the 1960s, but I can’t work out where it is. My recollection suggests that it might have been somewhere up in Southowram, but that is the best I can come up with.
I took one other photograph at the mysterious location. It looks as though many of the internal fixtures and fittings from the farmhouse had been removed during redevelopment: providing a perfect still life composition.
I met my love by the gas works wall,
Dreamed a dream by the old canal.
These are four photographs from the same strip of negatives, which I must have taken some fifty years ago. At about that time I was doing a summer job in the warehouse of Riding Hall Carpets which was just opposite the old Halifax Gas Works. One lunchtime, me and a couple of mates were stood on the loading bay, having a smoke and shouting comments, that in retrospect make me somewhat ashamed, at passing young ladies. My eyesight must have been pretty suspect, even back in those days, because one of my mates had to point out to me that it was my own girlfriend who was the object of one of my raucous comments. Fifty years later, the accumulated shame of my past bad behaviour has made me take a cup of early morning tea to that same young lady – my wife of 47 years!
These are strange times: there seems so much to do in the world and yet we are assured that our best contribution is to stay at home. So what else is there to do other than to turn to the past and set out on a virtual voyage of exploration. By walking in the footsteps I took 55 years ago, I can still safely wander down crowded streets and see sights that are no longer visible. The following six photographs come from a strip of 35mm negatives I shot sometime in the mid to late 1960s around the town of Brighouse in West Yorkshire. I have featured each of these shots on the Brighouse History Facebook Group, and members have helped me identify the exact location I must have used. Some of the buildings are still there, some have substantially changed, some have gone altogether. Looking at these photographs, there is a greyness about the town that seems to fit with the time they were taken. I like to think that Brighouse is a much more vibrant and colourful place these days.
On a regular trawl through my old negatives, I came across one of my favourite photographs from almost fifty years ago. It shows two young girls with the familiar sights of 1970s Halifax as a backdrop. Those two young girls from all those years ago are still part of my life: I married the one on the right, and the one on the left is still one of our closest friends.
What is just as fascinating as the two subjects of this photograph is the backdrop. This is the Halifax of fifty years ago: a busy place full of industrial buildings and warehouses. The railway line still snakes its way to North Bridge Station and the cooling towers still overpower more familiar landmarks.
I can zoom in on that backdrop and – in my mind – walk down Winding Road to meet my father at the factory gate at Albion Mills. I can still smell the smoke in the air, I can still hear the trains rattle past. I can still imagine that I can stride up Southowram Bank and take photographs of two girls, with Halifax as a backdrop.
This is a scan of an old negative of mine which gives rise to a couple of questions. I am not sure about the date – there is a train in the image, but trains change so slowly in these parts, it could be anytime during the last sixty years. You can make out the old Riding Hall Carpet Mill in the background, and that, I think, was demolished sometime around 1980. The other question relates to the two main buildings you can see in the picture: both at the time were factories for John Mackintosh & Sons. One was called Bailey Hall and the other was Albion Mills, but I can’t remember which was which. If my brother is reading this far away on his sunny Caribbean island, he might be able to tell me, as he worked there fifty or more years ago.
In reviewing my old negatives, it appears as if I spent a large part of my youth walking up and down Shaw Lane in Halifax. Here is a triptych of views from a strip of negatives shot in the 1970s. I am particularly fond of that final image – it sums up so much about the Halifax of my youth.