Historic Photographs and Memories of Dewsbury

My first school – when I attended it was Earlsheaton Infants School. The railings had been removed to melt down for the war effort, but otherwise it doesn’t look much different today. The headmaster was Mr White, then Mr Hudson.

Earlsheaton, Town Street, early 1900s, taken from near the Spangled Bull Public House. My Grandad used to sit outside the Spangled Bull, waiting for me to come out of Sunday School, at the Congregationalist Chapel, just around the corner, in the late 1950s.

High Rd Earlsheaton, the Congregationalist Chapel (where I was to attend in the 1950s) in the centre distance. St Peter’s Parish Church spire to the right – this church is where I was married.

Station Rd Earlsheaton. The station was opened in 1875 on Earlsheaton Common and was located on the Great Northern Batley–Dewsbury Central–Wakefield line. It closed in 1953.

High Road Earlsheaton, with the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel on the right. I walked down this road daily from school to have dinner with the family at my grandma’s.

Wakefield Road Cutting – just off to the right is a junction with High Road to Earlsheaton. My grandma used to send me to the top shop here, when I was little, to buy “liver and heart pills” for my granddad…this was less than 100 yds from her house.

Wakefield Rd, Dewsbury. My grandparents’ house is just out of view but would have been opposite the horse and cart in the centre of the image. The corner shop (the door is cut off at the bottom of the pic), is where my father and his cousin had a photographer’s studio for a while.

Daisy Hill, Looking towards Westgate. My auntie Laura worked in a milliner’s shop here.

Northgate, early 1900s. It could be taken from the Pioneers, where my auntie Sylvia managed the cinema in the 1960s. She later moved to manage the Essoldo Cinema.

The Old Post Office, Wakefield Rd. I delivered post from the sorting office here, at Christmas, whilst still at school.

Westgate. My Mum managed a fancy goods shop just around the corner (Altham’s – it is now Altham’s Travel).

Dewsbury Market Place before 1886 – the Town Hall would be built in the centre distance. My great-grandfather, born in 1875, talked about seeing the Town Hall being built.

Market Place about 1900. The market was established in 1318 at Thornhill before moving to Dewsbury town centre. It closed in 1583 after an outbreak of plague, to be re-established in 1740. It moved from this site in 1904 and set up adjacent to the new Market Hall.

Market Place and Town Hall, early 1900s.

Market Place about 1906 with one of Bickers’ stores, which sold everything for the home, the tall building in the centre of the picture. The only remaining Bickers store that I remember was the one on Northgate when I was a child.

Every Saturday afternoon, my maternal Grandma, who lived in Dewsbury Moor, would shop in Dewsbury and, if it was warm enough she would always sit either on Longcauseway, or on the seats by the zebra crossing in Market Place. The camera caught her here, in Market Place, in the 1950s…she would be in her 60s then and is fourth from the left, shielding her eyes with her hand.

Church Street. My Dad’s first job was at a pawnbroker’s here, when he was 14 years old. The pawnbroker’s three globes hanging sign can faintly be seen above the shop’s striped awning in this photo (left edge of photo), on the corner of Westgate and Tithe Barn Street.

Church Street.

Corporation Street from Northgate. At the end of here would be built the Market Hall where my Mum managed a sweet stall and where I worked on Saturdays from 14 to 18 years old. On the left corner is the Bank where dad paid in the takings from the Bus Conductors – he worked in the Bus Company Offices.

The Empire Palace Theatre and Post Office. My auntie Elsie worked at the Empire Palace theatre, in the 1950s, before becoming a “clippie” on the buses. In Victorian Dewsbury there was also a Hippodrome (in Foundry Street). The Theatre Royal, near Market Place, unfortunately burned down in 1895 but was rebuilt and became the Tudor Cinema in the 1930s.

Empire Palace Theatre and Post Office. In the 6th Form, I spent my school Christmas Holidays sorting post at the Post Office and delivering it to houses in Earlsheaton. I discovered then that I didn’t like early morning shifts or angry dogs!

Northgate…the fifty shilling tailors. My uncle was a tailor but I don’t know where he worked.

Dewsbury Infirmary, where many of my family were treated and some died.

The first stone for the Town Hall was laid in 1886 and the Town Hall was officially opened on Tuesday 17th September 1889. This illustration is from The Building News and Engineering Journal vol 57:2 (Sept 1889). When I got married, we had our wedding reception in the Mayor’s Parlour at the Town Hall.

These photographs are believed to be in the public domain. All other content Copyright © Christine Widdall.