A place to discuss Keighley Boys' Grammar School.
At the risk of sounding even whackier than usual, I have a confession to make. When I dream, my dreams often take place in the Keighley of my childhood, or at least an idealised version of it. Anybody else admit to the same problem? From time to time I need a reality check, to take stock of what's the same and what's changed, and last weekend there was a chance to do this on my way home fron the blues festival at Colne. It was a wonderful, sunny, end of school holidays day. I headed from Colne and, on reaching Laneshawbridge, remembered from years ago that there was that back road to Haworth. Would I take it? Instead I thought I'd go and have a look at the towers above Cowling - the salt and pepper pots - to which on similar days nearly fifty years ago I'd walked from Guardhouse via Black Hill and the tarn. There are amazing views from the tower - I'd forgotten that view till I saw it again. Heading off towards town, I decided to take the detour to Slippery Ford and Newsholme Dean (mentioned recently on this site) and just beyond ther there was a sign to Holme House Woods, another favourite childhood summer holiday walk destination (it had, if memory serves, an occasional tin-roofed cafe that sold pop and crisps and stuff). Circling past Oakworth crem, where both my parents are now, I headed via Goose Eye (still a great lunch and pint) and Laycock to Braithwaite and Guardhouse, stealing a look through the houses to the roof of the primary school, and thinking that the neighbourhood (maybe it was the sunshine) looked a lot more prosperous than I'd remembered. Number 2 Calver Grove, where I was brought up, was no longer visible from the street, the current owner having grown a ten-foot-high privet hedge around it. Maybe Elvis lives there now? Everything was lot smaller than I remember (apart from that privet)but the back snickets off Calver Road were more or less as I remember them, and there's still a strip of concrete up the middle of the Grove that used to serve as an all weather cricket pitch in its day. I went and sat in the rec for a while and thought about all the times we'd had there as kids, and how the thickness and texture of the grass, then as now, differed in the various parts of the field. The res looks totally different - manicured football pitches instead of cinder running track, and of course the old reservoir banking was bulldozed years ago. Beyond the far edge of where the banking would have been there's a new primary school - Victoria Primary School, presumably named for the Vicky Hospital (now horrible housing) that once stood opposite. More horrible housing and a new community centre where the two Highfield schools once were. Heading down Highfield Lane the buildings are all very familiar, though there are now even more horrible houses in what were once the grounds of All Saints' Church. The church is still there though, which reminded me of my churchgoing days - two sessions at the Sunday school when aged about five, and that was, and has remained, it. The old Vicoorian swimming baths are no more, but the building's the same from the outside, and seems to have been fairly recently cleaned up. The church opposite, which for many years languished as a furniture or carpet warehouse, has been transformed. Cleaned and done up, it's now a mosque with, adjacently, what must be the world's biggest Balti House. Now that could give me religion! The town hall square's benches supported the bums and canes of the latest generation of old geezers (almost could've joined them myself and gone unnoticed), but it has none of the bustle now there's no bus stops and red buses all around. Willis Walker's is now InterSport (and bigger, having colonised the adjacent shop). The new bus station looks American, but I mourned the loss of the old one and the bus station clock. As for the rest of the town centre (forgetting the generic 1960's covered shopping centre that did for the town centre as we knew it), the North Street/Cavendish Street/East Parade/ Low Street enclosure looked and felt much the same (Low street being, however, like a ghost street in comparison to the days when it was a thoroughfare for traffic). It was good to see the arcade, at the bottom of Low Street, looking as though it's had some money spent on it. There's an iron gate that prevents you from entering on a Sunday, but the shop units looked like they were good going concerns (though I lament the passing of the ironmonger's there - a magical place for a kid, and one which occasionally crops up in those dreams, especially DIY ones)! Finally, a trip to Devonshire Park. Well, it was Sunday afternoon after all. The park layout is just as it must have been in 1869, when the marble drinking fountain (long since defunct) was donated by a rich benefactrice of the Parish. The tennis courts and the bowling green are no more (though you can see where they once were). And they've got new swings and roundabouts and climbing frames and all that stuff. As I was leaving, a strong wind got up, and the first of the cheggies hit the ground...
What a lovely piece of nostalgia Alan.I know how you feel as I have similar dreams and when I introduced my New Zealand wife to Keighley and the villages in '01 I was really upset to be unable to show her the walks,country lanes,moors surrounding Cross Roads because of the terrible foot and mouth disease.
The bus station was in the middle of being rebuilt so was a bit of a mess.Low street--remember this was constructed of wooden blocks which were very slippery when wet.
Just a note on Devonshire Park and the lack of bowls and tennis--- I remember reading in the Keighley News on line a couple of years or so ago,that the bowls at least,had been forced out by the activities of gangs of youths.A sad indictment on todays society.
I have started to put down in print my own memories of growing up in Cross Roads and Keighley (as time permits)--when I was back there in '01 it came to me that many of the residents there now have little idea of what it was like 50 years ago,eg I was talking to someone in the village who had no idea there used to be a blacksmith next to the pub.Between us we must have a host of memories and isn't it strange--the happy ones come to mind first.Cheers.
Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 47-51
Current location (optional) Auckland NZ
There's a Springsteen song in there somewhere, Allan. Or indeed Bob. Series of Dreams. Leaves me with a host of mixed feelings, going back. Everything smaller. The tarn and turning left, cruising the roller coaster of that road. More later.A nostalgic tale.........................cheggies.
Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 58-66
I think it was the celebrated conductor (musical not bus) Andre Previn's former wife Dory in that wonderful long playing album 'Mythical Kings and Queens' who said 'going home is such a lonely ride'. In dreams or reality.
JL Carr. Allan and anyone not having read him, read "Month in the Country".
Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 58-66
I frequently have dreams about being back in Keighley. There are 2 scenarios, one being a KBGS reunion, and the other being back at Anderton Springs in Bingley where I worked as a Trainee Metallurgist before emigrating. Both involve a wonderful feeling that I'm back seeing ald friends and colleagues but despite this I am basically ignored - no one seems to know me. I tend to wake up feeling quite depressed. Not sure why this happens - am I subconciously expecting everyone to make a fuss of me after all this time and am hurt when they don't? Do my former friends feel as though I deserted Keighley, and them - who knows!!
Do we have a resident psychiatrist on board?