Members Meeting 13th March 2024

Speaker: Mr Nigel Gizzard

Topic: Local Jewish Entrepreneurs and the Kagans.

All welcome. Non-members £3.00 on the night.


GEHS Annual Dinner – Wednesday 20th March 2024

This year our annual dinner will be held at The Elland Golf Club. Forms will be available at the monthly meetings in December, January and February for those wishing to attend. The cost this year is £26.00. Cash or cheques made payable to The Greater Elland Historical Society no later than the meeting on the 14th February, 2024. (Please go to the Newsletter tab for the menu).
GEHS Mobile: 07726 460924, enquiries@gehs.org.uk


GEHS 50th Anniversary

We will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Greater Elland Historical Society this year.   Past and present members are invited to reminisce and share their memories of their time with the society.   For further information please speak to a member of the committee or drop us an e-mail via the Contact Us Page on this website.

The anniversary will be celebrated at our members meeting in October.  Further details will be issued nearer the time.

Members Meeting 14th February 2024

AG introduced the speaker for the night, Alan Dean, who guided us through a slide show on The History of Joe Dean and Sons, Haulage Contractors.

Alan’s Great Grandfather, Joe Dean was a tenant farmer at Far Syke House, located at the junction of Branch Road and Saddleworth Road, Greetland.

The property at that time was rented from the Dyson family. Later, the Dysons sold the property at auction to a butcher from Hull. However, very shortly afterwards, he sold it on to Joe Dean. He, later, built the terrace of four houses at the end of Branch Road for members of his family for the princely sum of £600.

As well as the usual farming activities, they ran a haulage business using wagons and horses and would often travel to Appleby Horse Market to buy horses which they would then walk back to Greetland over a period of several days. Some of the horses would be sold on to other local farmers.

Joe and Edna Dean had four children, including Alan’s Grandfather and the driving force behind the haulage business, Joe Willy Dean.

Joe Willy persuaded his father to buy their first petrol powered wagon, which he himself drove. In June 1915 he volunteered for the Army, he was called up in 1918, but did not see active service and was demobbed in October 1919. He then persuaded his father to buy a fleet of petrol wagons. At that time a lot of haulage firms started up, buying up and using Army surplus vehicles.

The business was diverse, transporting a lot of products and materials for the textiles industries which were thriving locally, partnering with companies such as Binns and Sons, pulling rags to make shoddy for export, Elland Dying Company, when every Friday they would take a full load to Dundee, they worked on roads for WRCC, and they were also coal merchants, but this ended when the cost of maintaining coal tipper wagons became too much.

The day to day farming business continued, cattle being bought and sold at market (and then bought back as meat from the butchers a few weeks later), and hay making during the summer months – happy days.

As the business prospered, a new garage was built in 1947. Although the structure was sound, the roof was constructed on the cheap and leaked until Alan had it repaired many years later.

Eventually, they started using articulated wagons to attract more lucrative work. There was never a shortage of work for haulage companies and they often had to use subcontractors to meet the demand.

They carried a lot of cotton yarns to knitters in the Midlands, transported quarried rock for Marshalls at Southowram, plastics for Synlon Plastics, heavy engineered products and fabrications for the likes of James Lumb, Hopkinson Valves and Portland Engineering.

They developed a very good relationship with their neighbouring business, Bondina/Freudenberg and on many occasions provided them with wagons for them to dress up as floats for local events. And because of their Auntie’s connection with the Girl Guides, they also provided this same service whenever the Halifax and Elland Carnivals were on.

Alan’s many slides and narrative proved to be a joy to all who attended, bringing back very happy memories of days gone by in our small corner of the world.

Members Meeting 10th January 2024

The guest speaker, Shirley Asquith, delivered a factual talk on Dorothy Wordsworth, an English poet, author and diarist and, the sister of the much more well known poet, William Wordsworth. Some believe that Dorothy, living in the shadow of her brother, never received the recognition she deserved. But she had no ambition to become well known and was happy for her brother to be in the spotlight. Indeed, it is thought that William’s well known poem, “Daffodils”, was somewhat plagiarised and adapted from a journal entry written by Dorothy some two years earlier.

Dorothy was born on Christmas Day 1771 and raised as a young child in Cockermouth in Cumbria. Sadly, her parents died while she was young, so, in 1783, she came to live in Halifax with her auntie, Elizabeth Threlkeld. In later life she documented, “Halifax, a place I have come to call home”.

She attended Mellins, a boarding school, where she was taught, not only the usual “Three R’s”, but also about good morals, literature and nature. This was the same school later attended by Anne Lister, and though 20 years later and in the similar era, neither lady made reference in their journals about the other, and although they were associated with the same people, they did not know each other.

The Halifax Piece Hall was opened on New Years Day 1779. Dorothy often stayed with a very good friend, Mary Pollard, who lived nearby and, from her bedroom window, she could see the comings and goings of the traders

Elizabeth Threlkeld married William Rawson, a partner in Rawson’s Bank, and this opened the door for Dorothy to improve her social connections. She was always very poor and could never afford to buy her own home and William Rawson was very good to her and often gave her books.

After she died in 1855, her journals were published posthumously in 1897. (AB)

Shirley Asquith
Speaker and GEHS Member

Members Meeting 13th December 2023

Members Meeting 13th December 2023

Our speaker at our last meeting before Christmas was our Chairman, Mr Andrew Gilmour. Andrew gave an entertaining, and memory provoking talk on Christmas Traditions.  Andrew’s talk was followed by the annual Brian Hargreaves Raffle. Prizes were donated by the committee and GEHS members.


Members Meeting -8th November 2023

We welcomed Mr Patrick Robertshaw to our November meeting. Mr Robertshaw gave us a talk on the Kirkheaton Police Murders in 1951.

The story revolved around a man named Alfred Moore (or was it Albert Moore?), who was hanged on the date of the Queen’s accession to the throne. He was a prolific serial burglar specialising in mills and offices. Mr Robertshaw showed us a number of photographs, some of which showed the extent of Moore’s extensive collection of skeleton keys.

He and his family lived at Whinney Close Farm. It was in a remote location which served as an ideal base for his surreptitious activities.

His daughter attended a private school which showed just how lucrative his “business” was (far more so than a farming business could be).

In July 1951 the police decided that it was time to put a stop to his criminal activity. On the fateful night in question, they staked out his property. As he was a mere burglar, no violence was expected. However, gunfire was heard at one of the locations where the police had been waiting to intercept him upon his return home from another night “at the office”. Two policemen had been shot; an inspector, Duncan Fraser, died at the scene of the crime; the constable, Arthur Jagger, died in hospital a few days later, but not before identifying Moore in an identity parade and providing a deposition on his death bed.

On the strength of PC Jagger’s evidence, Moore was charged with murder, tried by jury, convicted and sentenced to be hanged, despite the fact that his property was searched with a fine-tooth comb and no weapon was ever found.

Alfred Moore was hanged on the 6th February 1952, the same date as the Queen’s accession to the throne.

Mr Keith Gill, Vice Chair of the Society, thanked Mr Robertshaw for his fascinating insight into the demise of one of the area’s most notorious criminals.                                                        (AB)

Members Meeting – 11th October 2023

The AGM was held at the October Meeting. 40 members attended. The Chairman presented the reports, and the Committee was duly appointed.

We then given a talk by Mr Philip Wilkinson about his 47 years in the Law.

Philip brought the audience back to 1972 when petrol was 30p a gallon and when he bought his first car for £120, which was a Morris Minor.

He also explained that in 1973 there was no VAT, no EEC, no computers, and no electrical aids and that all the secretaries did shorthand.

He told tales of brothels in Halifax and Brighouse and Dewsbury and said there was little drug related crime at that time.

He told of his days in Brighouse Magistrates Court and how Barristers cross examined witnesses.  The courts in Halifax only ran fully 2 days a week and most cases were dealt with first time up.

He was thanked by Andrew Gilmour Chairman for a colourful talk.

Members Meeting 13th September 2023

Members were welcomed to our first meeting after the break for the summer.

Our first speaker of the season was Robina Hodgson who gave a talk on the “Home Front”.  Robina gave us a very interesting and informative talk on the various occupations/volunteer roles that people undertook at home whilst men, and later women, were away defending our country.

Robina showed an information film made at the time showing the various roles undertaken by those that stayed at home, the construction of the various type of air raid shelters, the evacuation of adults and children, and much more.  

A selection of artifacts from the time were on display.  These included the varying sizes and designs of the gas masks issued, including a Mickey Mouse designed gas mask for small children and a gas mask used for babies. The latter is being carried by one of our members in one of the photographs below.

She concluded the talk by a showing a number of photographs taken at the time. Members thoroughly enjoyed Robina’s expressive presentation and, had time been available, would have continued to listen to her for much longer.   Let’s hope that Robina is available, and willing, to visit us again in the future


The Royal Hall, Harrogate

This year’s GEHS excursion took us to the splendid Royal Hall, Harrogate and was accompanied by super weather. The event was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who also appreciated the spacious coach as well as its air conditioning. 

The Royal Hall is a Grade II listed performance Hall and theatre and was opened in 1903 as the Kursaal. The word Kursaal is from the German name for a public building, at a spa, in which entertainment is provided.  The Hall was built on the site of the Cheltenham Pump Room. Due to the public’s feelings in 1914 the building became known as the Royal Hall.

Our knowledgeable guide gave us an excellent tour bringing the building to life. This glittering palace, with all its gold and red velvet curtains was definitely worth a visit. The dress circle is supported by a cantilever system rather than lots of pillars. This improved the views of the stage.

The building was fitted with electric lighting throughout, and most of the lights in the auditorium are the original ones. An early kind of air conditioning system was built into the structure. Over the rear balcony there was a sliding roof to let smoke out and fresh air in. The boxes around the auditorium have shutters which could be raised so that people could see and hear daytime concerts, which still work today.

Due to safety issues the Royal Hall had to close in 2002 and it is only due to the efforts of the Royal Hall Restoration Trust that the building and its programme of events still exists. The building was re-opened on 21st January 2008 by Trust Patron HRH Prince of Wales. 

Following this wonderful tour, there was time to explore Harrogate and its many features.

Thanks go out to  Rose Gilmour for organising this special event.


Picture courtesy of Rose Gilmour


Members Meeting – 10th May 2023

We were pleased to welcome Mr Noel Moroney to our May meeting

Mr Moroney gave us an interesting talk on the place he calls home, Brighouse; A Sleepy Little Town in West Yorkshire – Or is It?

Mr Moroney started life in Dublin, Ireland. Due to his father’s work, the family relocated to Brighouse in the 1930’s and, apart from a period of National Service, Mr Moroney has spent the majority of his lifetime in the village.

Mr Moroney gave us a look at Brighouse in times gone by, in an effort to show us that there is more to Brighouse than meets the eye. The streets, which have either now disappeared or changed considerably, to the various businesses and industry in operation over the years.

He touched on the engineering industry of worldwide repute, the Elvis Presley Road that was suggested but never materialised, Robin Hood and the Old Kirklees Priory and the stunt performer Roy Alon.

The meeting was enjoyed by all that attended.

Mr Moroney with one of the GEHS members

Visit To St Mary’s Church – 27th April 2023

On Thursday afternoon 27th April 2023 a group of members and friends of GEHS visited St Mary’s Church, Elland, when Mr Tony Murphy gave an interesting  talk on the history of our Ancient Parish Church.

He told us about the Original 1170s arch, the earliest part of the church with its links to Kirkstall Abbey and the glorious medieval 1490s stained glass East Window.

The visitors had a chance to to visit the chancel crypt which is known locally as ‘the bone hole’ or ‘the bone house’  Tony explained there is not a great deal to see  except the organ chamber but, intriguingly, somewhere around here lie the remains of the early ELAND and SAVILE families. They rest mainly under the chapel of St John the Evangelist now housing the organ.

In St Nicholas Chapel there are three late 17th century Thornhill family wall memorials. Several members of the Thornhill family lie in the crypt below this chapel. (not accessible). 

Sue Lamb guided a tour to look at the hidden carved wooden mice, the 1920s work of the Yorkshire craftsman Robert Thompson of Kilburn (they were his trademark.)

Peter Uttley took visitors up the 33 winding stone steps to the west tower, Peter  demonstrated ringing up and chiming a church bell.

We were asked to find the two pairs of 15th century oak ‘Miserere (have mercy) seats’ they were used by chantry priests during their lengthy prayers.

Also in this area are two fine Churchwardens’ processional Wands, dated 1838.

They bear the coat of arms of the Savile family.

A framed copy of (in English) of the Elland Charter of 1317 may also be found at the back of the Nave.

We were told about the carved head (c1400) in the south aisle which may be a representation of the first member of the Savile family to be Lord of the Manor of Elland, Sir John Savile (d 1399)

Outside the church: spot the late 12th century bellcote on the roof where you may be able to spot the Savile owl sculptures on the buttresses on either side of the east end. Whilst there, turn round and you will see the tall cross which marks the grave of Lucy Hammerton (who wrote ‘Olde Elland’ ) and her sister.

The afternoon was rounded off with refreshments.

Our thanks go to Tony for organising this visit along with Peter & Sue and the ladies for the refreshments.


The Cross with St Mary’s Church in the background

MEMBERS MEETING – 12th April 2023

Our April meeting saw the welcome return of Pat Osborne.

Pat gave an interesting, informative and, occasionally, humorous talk on the residents of Shibden Hall in Halifax and the connections they all had with Anne Lister.  This then led on to a potted history of the life of Anne Lister and her business and private relationships. Most of us will, as a result of the BBC TV series, Gentleman Jack, will be familiar with the trials and tribulations of this very colourful character, and Pat did a splendid job of concisely reminding us of some of her adventures, both at home and on her frequent travels abroad, and of her somewhat controversial affairs and relationships with other like-minded women.

The evening was well attended and enjoyed by all.

GEHS Annual Dinner – March 2023

35 members and guests attended the Annual Dinner at the Sportsman Inn, Greetland.

After a splendid meal, guests were entertained by Mr John Wilson, with impromptu performances by Mr Steve Greenwood and Mr Philip Wilkinson.  Steve sang “I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen” and “Delilah”, and Philip sang “Ain’t Misbehaving”. 

Photographs of the event can be found in the Gallery page of this website.

The members and committee would like to thank the organisers, the staff at The Sportsman Inn, and Mr John Wilson for a most enjoyable evening.

MEMBERS MEETING – 8th February 2023

Our February meeting saw the very welcome return of Mr Chris Helm.  Chris’ talk was entitled “How We Used to Live”. 

Two very appropriate phrases used by Chris were “Reminiscing is good” and “Memories should be passed on to the next generation”.

Were you born in hospital or at home?  How many lived in your house?  Did you have a toilet at the bottom of the garden? What were squares? Who had Izal and what did it get used for in addition to toilet paper?  How many used a tin bath for their weekly bath and how many of your family bathed in that same water before it was emptied?  These were just a few of the questions Chris asked the members. 

Chris also brought back memories of the street traders who operated in the towns and villages.  The onion sellers, the ice cream man, the coal man and the rag and bone man to name a few. Also receiving a fish In a plastic bag, from the rag and bone man, as payment for old clothes.  Those fish never seemed to live for long!

As Chris said, all these are memories that should be passed on to the younger generation.  Let’s hope this has prompted our members, and those reading this today, to do so.

The talk was thoroughly enjoyed and resulted in various trips down memory lane.

Elland War Memorial – Ceremony of Rededication.

The Rededication Ceremony took place on 17 September 2022.

The Ceremony was attended by approximately 30-40 people.  The GEHS was well represented with 12 of our members attending.

The service conducted by Rev. Philip Chadwick was based on the original service 100 years ago.