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Lord 'Asa' Briggs

Old boys may like to know that Lord Briggs, possibly our most distinguished academician, is 90 years old today. A former friend of my fathers (90 last Sept) whilst at Parkwood Primary School (they used to swap stamps), he lives quietly in Lewes Sussex.
Some of you may remember I wrote to him a few years ago to make him aware of this website, but sadly he declined to post a message. We wish him a Happy Birthday !

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 58-64

Current location (optional) Wirral

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

You may be interested to know that the Institute of Historical Research, as part of its own 90th Anniversary celebrations (IHR@90) is celebrating 3 other events that took place in 1921 - the opening of the first birth control clinic by Marie Stopes, the birth of Asa Briggs and the birth of the Duke of Edinburgh. The latter will be about Princes Consort in History.

On 19 May Asa will be attending the Institute meeting entitled "Lord Asa Briggs; A Celebration"

As part of the Brighton Festival, he will be speaking at the Corn Exchange on 22 May about his personal experieces as part of the famous Enigma codebreaking team at Bletchley Park.

It is wonderful to think that he will be able to take part in these events next week, despite his mobility and eyesight problems.

I got the information about the meetings from my brother who came across them on the internet while checking that he had got the correct date for Asa's birthday before sending him a card. Incidentally, Brian, he disputed your reference to Parkwood School. He says that Asa went to Eastwood, not Parkwood. They didn't meet before their days at KBGS, so he didn't know Asa in his primary school days but gleaned this from Asa's, albeit unpublished, conversations at KBGS.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1937-1944

Current location (optional) Huntingdon

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

Yes I stand corrected. Dad lived at 8, Swallow Street (off Parson St) so went to Eastwood Primary. Later on he went to the Secondary at Parkwood, - he didnt go to KGBS. His grandparents lived in Harcourt St, Parkwood, and he spent a lot of time there. So it would be Eastwood where he and Asa swapped stamps !

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 58-64

Current location (optional) Wirral

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

Further to my post above, I have visited my father in Keighley this eveing so I have further corrections to make. In fact I was originally correct in saying Dad went to Parkwood Primary. It wasnt at school that he swapped stamps with Asa, but in Asa's parents grocers shop at the corner of Marlborough Street. Asa parents had a huge collection of stamps displayed in the shop window ! Also Dad tells me Asa's parents had a horse and cart so sold goods door to door in the surrounding streets, as well as from the shop

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 58-64

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

Eastwood School kept Asa's work books as they must have guessed he was going places. One essay he wrote( reportedly) said he intended to be Prime Minsiter when he grew up. Given the present lot he could still outclass them all I figure despite health and age.

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

Brian I am digging deep here into my childhood. There was no Grocers shop at any corner of Marlborough Street. There was the chapel on Bradford Road and opposite that Cookson's joiners and undertakers, at the other end was Barraclough's Fish and Chip shop across from which was Hollingdrake's Butchers but no grocers.
Asa lived across from the Co-op which was on Brown Street as I recall and he lived in Emily Street facing Marlborough Street Congregational Chapel where Terry Marden's dad used to set up concerts. I could be way wrong here but that us how I remember it.

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

I never clapped eyes on Asa, though I remember his parents living in Emily Street which backed on to Bradford Street where we lived. Mrs Briggs would give biscuits to the kids "laiking" out in the street (me inc.).One elderly spinster lady held out to me the prospect of being "another Asa" when she heard I had a place at KBGS. I recall my Dad saying that Asa's dad worked at "Prinnies" (Smith and Stell not Wills and Kate's, you young guys!!) when he started his apprenticeship there.I remember looking up Asa in Who's Who when I was a student in London which confirmed this. On line biographies merely name his parents.I think if his parents had been entrepreneurial traders, Asa would have slipped the Labour Party net.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1952-60

Current location (optional) Lincoln

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

Arthur, I'll be seeing Dad again on Wednesday, but he was quite clear about his association with the Briggs shop, and the stamps in the window. I guess he's talking about 1930 give or take a year or so. Could it be that your recollections are a few years after this ? I will ask him if he remembers Cookson's, Barraclough's and Hollindrake's etc.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 58-64

Current location (optional) Wirral

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

Goodness me , Brian, I come from 1939 as far as the geography of Lawkholme is to be described. I bow to earlier geographers.

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

I have just put in "miscellaneous" a letter I had from Asa Briggs in 2000. Some of it may be of general interest

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 43-46

Current location (optional) Tasmania

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

Mike - please fill us in on the Dalesman reference.

(for others, click the link at the top of the home page "See latest photo")

Current location (optional) Singapore

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

Arthur, saw Dad last night, yes he was referring to 1930-31 period. He remembers Barraclough Fish and Chips at Lawkholme lane end of Marlborough St, but insist the Briggs family had a shop at the Bradford Rd end.The main shop window where the stamps collection was displayed was in fact on Bradford Rd side. He also remembers a famous bass singer who lived in Emily St, name of Barnes.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 58-64

Current location (optional) Wirral

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

The plot thickens! Brian- I must agree with Arthur with regard to the retail establishments at either end of Marlborough St. There are flats now where the Chapel used to be and a grassed area now, with large Advertizing Billboard behind where Cookson's stood, which itself covered the whole of that gable end. The only small retail outlet still standing in that area is at the bottom of Emily Streetand is now an Asian Bridal Shop called 'Chanda's. During the back end of the '30s it was a Radio Shop called 'Andersons'. I have spoken this evening with a lady who actually lived next door to the Briggs family on Emily Street at No 87, Brenda Smith(nee Thompson)lived at No 89. Brenda was born in '36 and the Briggs's were 'always' next door. In fact, there were times when she used to 'do the shopping' for Mrs. Briggs, who by the way, had a daughter called Emmy, a sister for Asa. Brenda believes that the Briggs family moved to Morton in later life(late '40s) and remembers when Asa's dad, Willy, died and Brenda's mother took her to Morton to see him 'laid out'!! Perhaps Brian, you might take advantage of one of your trips to see your dad, to look at 87 Emily Street and take a few photos of the buildings at the bottom end of Marlboro'/Emily Streets as it might be the early '30s that he's thinking of, and things could have been, and very likely were, much different then. Regards David

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1945-50

Current location (optional) Keighley

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

Well as I said before Dad is talking of some 10 years or so before yourself and Arthur. He lived in Swallow St , and his memory is as sharp as ever at 90.
A lot can happen in 10 years.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 58-64

Current location (optional) Wirral

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

Better than that, after a long search, I have put the article from the "Dalesman" August 1973 into the Misc . section of Photos. I can remember him as a student teacher at Highfield School in the late 30's when he taught the class my brother Peter was in .

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 43-46

Current location (optional) Tasmania

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

Good article, Mike. Well worth reading. David

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1945-50

Current location (optional) Keighley

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

Must be Watson Barnes - a fine figure of a man and voice - who was a chorister in the Holy Trinity (Lawkholme) C of E choir. He also sang and helped produce the music for some of my dad's productions for the scout/guides in that area.

Until the 1944 Butler Education Act was implemented in Keighley, (when the "excepted district" status for Keighley was established) , Eastwood and Parkwood elementary schools were each separate "all through" junior and secondary schools". Each district had Infant schools in Marlborough and Parkwood Streets respectively.

The Butler Act reorganisation in Keighley Borough left the 2 infant schools unchanged but Parkwood became the Junior School for the kids of both districts and Eastwood housed the new Secondary Modern. This meant that Doug, the Hockeys and me et al were all required to attend Parkwood from September 1950 prior to eventual onward transmission to the new secondary modern or grammar schools.

This had the effect of seemingly raising the school leaving age 2wice for young'uns like me in 1949.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1952-60

Current location (optional) Lincoln

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

I picked up a book today 'The Secret War". Foreword by Robert Harris. This interested me as Robert was at school with my eldest son in Leicestershire. So I read the foreword and the second paragraph I quote ---
"I met my first pair of Bletchley Park veterans by accident over dinner with a friend's parents in 1980, when I was 23. Typically, they were the daughter of an earl and a grammar school boy from Keighley, who had gone on to become a famous historian. by the end of the war, he had helped compile a set of records of the Luftwaffe, so voluminous they had to be housed in an aircraft hangar.and which eventually proved to be more detailed than those held by Goering's Air ministry in Berlin. She had operated a type X decryption machine - a simple clerical job- but the nature of her work meant that , at nineteen, she held in her head the greatest British secret of the war ; a fact of which she was acutely concious , she said , every time she ventured out in public "

Fifteen years later Robert wrote "Enigma"

Wonder if the lady in question is Asa's wife .

Needless to say I bought the book

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 43-46

Current location (optional) Tasmania

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

Coming in very late to the discussions started back in May, I wonder whether Brian's dad is slightly mis-remembering the location of the "missing" grocers? In my childhood there was a shop fronting on Bradford Road, called Sargeson's, it was then a "selling-out" shop (i.e. off-licence) and it sold groceries as well as jugs of ale. It certainly wasn't at the end of Marlborough Street, but maybe the next one up closer to 'Prinnies' (where I once worked as a storeman one v boring wet summer...). Terry, and Arthur and David will certainly remember the shop I'm talking about. Maybe one of them can give it a precise location?

Mike, from the surrounding text in Harris's book, did you get the impression that Asa Briggs and the "Earl's daughter", met by the author, were already a couple? Or was it just surmise on your part that eventually spliced them? Maybe we should get our resident sleuth hound, Gareth Whittaker working on this one (... he probably is already!).

Doug

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1951-58

Current location (optional) Betwixt and between

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

Yes,Doug. The Sargeson shop stood at the bottom of Bradford Street, on the left, if you were standing with your back to the Eastwood Tavern on the other side of Bradford Rd. Where Sargeson's once stood there is now an access road to the Asda Supermarket. When I last passed that way I noticed that something that looked like 'refurbishment' was being carried out on the Eastwood Tavern property, which has been boarded up for a few years now. Can't believe that it's going to re-open as a public house. Watch this space!!

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1945-50

Current location (optional) Keighley(still)

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

Again I will visit Dad (now 91) tomorrow evening, and try to recheck some of the things he told me earlier.
Asa would move from Juniors to KBGS in about 1931, so it would be say 1929-31 when he was friendly with Asa and swapped stamps with him. Further more in my correspondance with Asa a few years ago Asa remembered this. Dad a few months older than Asa but would have been in same year.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 58-64

Current location (optional) Wirral

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

I haven't done any research on Asa yet but I know there are lots of his books in a special collection of Local Authors recently put together by Keighley Public Library. They have produced some lists to go with the collection which has items by many more of our "Famous Old Boys". I will try to post the lists. Not quite sure how.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1954-59

Current location (optional) Denholme (garethwhittaker99@hotmail.com)

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

Further to post before last, I completley forgot to mention Asa when I visited Dad last night !

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 58-64

Current location (optional) Wirral

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

I was too quick to jump to the conclusion that the Earls daughter was his wife. In an article about Asa and his work at Bletchley he. States that he did not tell his wife about his work there until 1970 Sorry to have misled you .

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 43/46

Current location (optional) Tasmania

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

I can support the statement that Sargeson's "selling out" shop was at the bottom of Bradford Street, facing onto Bfd Rd. Adjoining it at the junction of Bfd Rd and Bingley Street was a newsagents cum sweet shop.

Directly opposite on Bfd Rd on the Bug Alley side was another general shop selling bread; cigs; bakery and bits. Known as "Alice's" or "Ivy's", it was run by the Redman family - whose two sons (both in the family business as painters and decorators) were Billy and Ernie. Ernie was a very good rugby league player (stand-off) for the Lawkholme "steam pigs".

Such shops as there were at the bottom of Back Emily, Emily and Marlborough Streets were a fish and chippy (signed as "Gosling Fish and Chips"!!); a pet shop;and Cookson's undertakers.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1952-60

Current location (optional) Nirvana

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

Mt Sargeson was very poor sighted but still fronted his shop counter. It was alocal'dare' to try and pass foreign coins as he used to identify by touch any coins he received. His poor eyesight meant he could not identify you if you did deceive him. I am not proud of this. Across Bradford Road and next door to Redmans which incidentally I was instrumental in selling after Ivy Redman died, was a family, I cant remember their surname, who sold firewood. They had a yard with a mechanical chopper and a clamp to wire the firewood together. I used to work in there during some of the school holidays but it was more like playing really. I thought the family poor but one of the sons actually later bought The Beeches and converted it into the hotel/ bar/ restaurant it has become, so they must have made a packet of money out of firewood.

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

Saw Dad again this evening. Now he says the Briggs shop was mainly fruit and vegetables, and was probably at Emily St junction with Bradford Rd, earlier he said Marlborough St.. We are talking about 1929-31 period here. Mr Briggs had a horse and cart and used this for selling door to door. Part of the shop window however, was given to philately, which explains Asa's interest , and as I have said earlier, he swapped them with Dad at school.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 58-64

Current location (optional) Wirral

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

Arthur. The name you are looking for relating to the 'firewood family', is Leighton, and I think the one who bought 'The Beeches' was Tommy Leighton.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1945-50

Current location (optional) Keighley

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

Lord Asa is 91 today

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 58-64

Current location (optional) Wirral

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

My dad's 92 today and we're taking his 1985 Holden Gemini in for a service - 300,000Km. They match each other!

Re: Lord 'Asa' Briggs

trevor pickles
My dad's 92 today and we're taking his 1985 Holden Gemini in for a service - 300,000Km. They match each other!


It's just run in Trev, he will need his cam belt checked soon. Cheers.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1947-51

Current location (optional) Auckland NZ