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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


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.


MEMBERS MEETING  – 11TH January 2023

We were pleased to welcome Mr Chris Morton to our first meeting of 2023.        

Mr Morton, a valued member of the Society, gave a presentation on his family, his life at Elland Hall and the various businesses started by him and his wife, and the generations that went before him.

Elland Old Hall was located on the north bank of the River Calder overlooking Elland Bridge.  In 1976, the hall was demolished to make way for the A629 Elland bypass.  The stones and the original timber frames were put into storage for the building to be reconstructed.  50 years on and this has yet to be started.

Ghosts were also seen at the Hall. Sir John Eland was said to have been seen stood at the end of a bed one night and there was a kiddies rocking chair, that rocked by itself.

Mr Morton went on to describe the various businesses he had started. He described the fire that nearly put him out of business but, with the support of his family, his workforce and his suppliers, he was able to find new premises and get the business up and running again within four days.

Yet again the concert room at the Elland Working Men’s Club was filled to capacity.  Mr Morton’s talk was enjoyed by all the members and, only the limitations on time, brought this very interesting talk to a close.



Our November meeting saw the return of Mr Vincent Dorrington, a retired history teacher, and a firm favourite of the members.  This was evident when you saw that the concert room at the Elland Working Men’s Club was filled to capacity.

Vincent gave an illustrated talk on the Shaw Family of  Holywell Green.

The talk gave an insight into the success of the business. Starting with George Shaw and his cottage weaving business and John Shaw, who bought the family’s first mill, Brook Mill at Lower Holywell Green.

 In the 1870’s the family employed over 1200 people. To further expand the business the Shaw family  built a railway to the mill. This took over 4 years to complete at a cost of £140,000.  The family were able to supply their products worldwide.

As with lots of mills at the time, John Shaw and Sons went into decline.  The company went into liquidation in 1929.  In 1955 Raymond Shaw gave the estate to the Elland District Council and the Great Mill was demolished in 1989.

Vincent Dorrington is a founder member of the Mount Community Group. Please visit their Facebook page for details of future talks and events.


Vincent Dorrington and Keith Gill,-GEHS Vice Chair


Our Annual General Meeting of the GEHS was held on 12.10.2022. Approximately 40 members attended.

A minute’s silence was held for all the members who had passed away over the last 12 months.

The Chair, Andrew Gilmour, presented the reports before the Committee stood down.  This was followed by the election of GEHS officers for the 2022-23 Committee.

Peter Lewthwaite and Doreen Rothwell gave notice 3 years ago of their intention to leave their roles as Treasurer and Secretary on the Committee. Whilst other Committee members left during lockdown, Peter and Doreen stayed in their positions and were invaluable in the setting up of the Society again after the enforced lockdown.

As you will appreciate, having given notice to resign from the committee 3 years ago, they have showed true commitment and loyalty to the Society to carry on for a further 3 years.  To this end, the Committee, with the backing of the Members, have now asked both Peter and Doreen to be joint Presidents of the Society and both have accepted the posts. Gifts of appreciation were presented to Peter and Doreen.

An Honorary Life Membership was award to David Glanfield. David has undertaken various roles with the Society over the years and, whilst not currently on the committee, he continues to support the Society in every way he can. Unfortunately, David was unable to attend the meeting to accept his award. Maureen Odhams accepted the award  on behalf of David on the night. Andrew Gilmour later visited David to present him with his certificate.

The speaker at the AGM was Susan Mitchell. Susan gave an interesting talk on Rayner Hardcastle, a local journalist in Elland.

Rayner had an office within Scotts Travel in Elland.   He was a gentleman reporter whose door was always open for local news. Rayner kept all his newspaper cuttings. These were kept in boxes stacked around his office, always accessible if he ever needed to refer to them. Woe betide anyone who attempted to tidy them up.

The press cuttings are now held in the History Room of the Elland Library. A selection of these were brought to the meeting for the Members to view.  These and further volumes, are always available to view in the History Room.  

Rayner’s work is an invaluable resource for anyone carrying out research into our local area.

MEMBERS MEETING – 14th September 2022

Brenda Astin and Gemma Redford gave a talk on the Forget Me Not Trust.

Forget Me Not was founded by Linda Senior.  Exhausted by the struggle to find support locally for her son, Russell, she created the Forget Me Not Trust.  Linda and her team of supporters, one of which was Brenda, took on the task to raise the funds to create the Hospice we see today.  

Brenda and Gemma gave us an insight into the work carried out by those involved and also into those who utilise their very caring and compassionate services.

The Hospice requires £4 million pounds each year to continue.  They are, therefore, continually looking for ways to raise funds. 

On the 27th November, 2022 they will be holding their Christmas Fayre and Afternoon Tea.  This will be held in the Revell Ward Suite, John Smith’s Stadium, Huddersfield at 12.30 pm.

Members Meeting – 8 June 2022

Mr Vincent Dorrington gave an illustrated talk on “Old Lindley”.

Mr Dorrington used to be a History teacher and since retirement has spent a great deal of his time doing research into the area where he lives.  Starting with Lee Hill in Old Lindley. This led to him carrying out more in depth research into the area.  His talk started way back with an Iron Age Settlement and progressed through the centuries, through Roman times,  right up to the present day. Through a variety of photos and pages of text, he recalled memories of fascinating buildings, grand old homes, public houses and breweries that existed in the area, before their disappearance to make way for the construction of the M62 motorway.

This was a very interesting talk which those in attendance thoroughly enjoyed.

Mr Dorrington is an active member of the Mount Community Group which holds regular events which have included history talks, quizzes and film nights in the past. Details of the Group’s future events can be found on the Mount Community Group Facebook Page. The Group issues quarterly newsletters providing details of forthcoming events.  These can be sent to you by e-mail. If you would like to be added to their mailing list, simply send us a request via the Contact Page on this Website.  Your request will then be forwarded to Mr Dorrington.

Members Meeting – 11 May 2022

The speaker at our May meeting was Robert Hamilton who gave a talk on “The Lady Globetrotter – Lizzie Humphries”.

Lizzie was born Elizabeth Yates and started life at Kelsey Street, Halifax in the 19th century.  She left England for a life in Canada in 1908 and it was there that she married Mr Harry Humphries and her travels and adventures began.  She, and her husband, set out to circumnavigate the world on foot.  As you would expect everything did not go quite as planned. Further details of Lizzie’s fascinating life and adventures can be found in Mr Hamilton’s book “The Lady Globetrotter”.  

Members thoroughly enjoyed the talk and many purchased a copy of Mr Hamilton’s book, which he duly signed.

Please contact Mr Hamilton direct if you would like to purchase a copy of his book. His e-mail is robhamilton@live.co.uk.

Let’s hope the next drama series we see on TV is based on the life of Lizzie.

Mr Robert Hamilton with Shirley, one of the GEHS members.

Members Meeting – 13 April 2022

The speaker at the April meeting was Denise Adlard and the talk was “A semi-humorous look at OCD”   – and so it was! 

Denise gave us an insight into the ups and downs of living with, and living with someone, that has OCD.  Some of the scenarios shared by Denise did resonate with quite a few of the members during the evening.  From the sorting of pegs into colours before hanging out the washing, which of course had to be hung in a particular order, to the precise way in which a person with OCD  likes to see a  table set for an evening meal – the sitting on hands being a necessity when being invited out for a meal at someone else’s house.

Denise presented information on this very serious condition in a very humorous way which, at quite a few points,  had the audience laughing and often nodding in “guilty” agreement.


Members came out in their large numbers on Wednesday evening to hear the very popular Mr David Glover speak about the “Wittiest Vicar in Halifax”, Reverend Francis Pigou.

Reverend Pigou was born in Baden Baden, Germany to English parents.  He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and was ordained in 1855. 

Reverend Pigou held several posts in England, as well as in Paris.  He had been Chaplain in Ordinary to the Queen before he was appointed the Vicar of Halifax in 1875. It was during his incumbency that the complete restoration and refurbishment of the church took place.

David’s presentation gave members an insight into Reverend Pigou’s  family life and into his life within the structure of the church.

As you would expect, the presentation was very well received and enjoyed by the members.

Members may be interested in the following future presentations by David in support of the Square Chapel, Halifax.  These will take place on Wednesdays at 2.15 pm.

28 September       Father to Gentleman Jack: Life of Captain Jeremy Lister

26 October            The Life Story of Halifax Parish Church – Now Minster

30th November     Fine Halifax Houses for Men, Small Flats for Women – and Almshouses

Tickets are £6.00 and can be booked online via the Square Chapel Website or tel  0343 208 6016

Members Meeting – 9 February 2022

Andrew Gilmour led a tribute to Brian Hargreaves, a local historian and one of the founder members of the Greater Elland Historical Society.  Andrew’s presentation gave us an insight into the life of Brian and into to the contribution that he made to both his community and the GEHS.   The presentation also included a large selection of images which  had recently been donated to the Society by Brian’s family.

 A lasting legacy of Brian’s work are the books that he published, all  of which are still available.

Volunteers from the History Room brought along various albums containing images and newspaper cuttings from the Brian Hargreaves Collection.  These, and much more, can be viewed in the History Room and the Elland Library.  The History Room is open Tuesday & Thursday afternoon 1.30 – 3.30 pm.

Andrew would like to thank David Glanfield, Maureen Odams and Richard Dyson (Richard Of York) for their valued contribution  to the presentation  and also to the volunteers  from the History Room for bringing along some of the collection for members to view.

As you would expect, the evening was very well attended and enjoyed by over 60 members and  guests.  

Members Meeting -12 January 2022

David Allen was due to speak to the Society at the January meeting but, due to a fall, was unable to attend.  The Society wishes him a full and speedy recovery and hope to see him sometime in the future.

Mr Phillip Wilkinson agreed to stand in at the last minute. Phillip gave a talk on Roman History titled “Tales of Adultery, Power and Military Might”.

The talk touched on the many different legions in Britain and around Europe, the  high levels of training undertaken by the soldiers and the high standard of the equipment and weapons they had available to them. He also detailed the number of high quality, straight, roads for which they became famous. He also provided members with details of his visit to Hadrian’s Wall and the building of the wall by the Romans.

This short and informative talk was enjoyed by the members.

The Society would like to thank Phillip for standing in at such short notice.