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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 – 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.