Pictures of the town’s past can tell different stories

NEW PERSPECTIVE The site where Broadway House was built in 1938 viewed from a different angle to the last photo we featured. It shows the old Granby Hotel on the left, which is close to where Greggs now stands. (d730a310)
NEW PERSPECTIVE The site where Broadway House was built in 1938 viewed from a different angle to the last photo we featured. It shows the old Granby Hotel on the left, which is close to where Greggs now stands. (d730a310)

Photographs of places and buildings can tell different stories, especially when the photographer takes them from different angles.

Two years ago I featured a picture taken in 1938 showing the site where the new Broadway House shopping block was being built in Foundry Street.

Readers may think I’m reproducing this picture again, but I am not. This one was taken from a different position and therefore tells a different story.

I’m pleased to say it shows a rare glimpse of the Granby Hotel, an old Dewsbury pub which was not photographed much – if at all.

People interested in pub history often contact me seeking photographs of this particular pub and I am never been able to help them, so I think they will be pleased to see this one.

The Granby was built about 150 years ago but, like most town centre pubs in Dewsbury, it wasn’t destined to survive and ceased to exist in 1976. Those who remember it will have some idea where it once stood and if my memory serves me well, it was situated near to where Gregg’s now stands.

Broadway House was built in 1938 and those frequenting this pub would have had an excellent view of its progress.

They’d have witnessed first hand the old shops being demolished to make way for the new, and I have to wonder whether they bemoaned their loss or not.

If you look closely at the photograph you will note J&B’s department store on the far left and just opposite the glass roof of the covered market, known as the Market Hall.

One of the first shops to open in the new Broadway House was Weaver to Wearer which caused quite a stir when it offered local men a suit or an overcoat made to measure at just 30 shillings.

The electric showrooms also moved in under the name of Electricity House, the aim of which was to impress upon the public the use to which electricity could be put in the home.

The showrooms were run by the Yorkshire Electricity Board, known as the YEB. Items on show included cookers, radios, irons, lighting, kettles, fires, which most local people had never seen operated by electricity.

Regular cookery demonstrations were held and during their first Christmas in the new building, a demonstration was given showing local women how to make their Christmas dinner – Christmas pudding included – in the new small Jackson electric cooker.

This was at a time when many of the streets in Dewsbury were still lit by gas, and many women still cooked in a coal oven, and ironed their clothes with old flat irons heated on an open fire.

These new electric showrooms accommodated so much that the YEB took over two floors and had two entrances – one in Foundry Street and one in Crackenedge Lane. These premises are now occupied by Subways who still have the two entrances.

Another shop moving into the new building was Timpson’s shoe shop, which for years had done vast trade in footwear and slippers of all kinds, and they manufactured their own goods.

Rug-making was a hobby which appealed to many and it was no surprise that the Readicut Wool Shop also moved into this ultra modern new building.

Many readers may remember that also in the same block was Franks Opticians, the Tobacco Jar which sold everything for the smoker, and Silvers the dry cleaners who had their factory nearby.

Many other shops also decided to move into this fashionable part of Dewsbury conveniently placed only a few yards from the Market in one direction and the old bus station in another.

Sadly none of these shops still survive.

The Granby Hotel didn’t have a good reputation and various licensees, not to mention their customers, were regularly seen in court.

In 1881 landlord John Turner was fined £2 for harbouring prostitutes, and in 1934, landlord Joseph Lyman was fined £10 for supplying intoxicating liquor during non-permitted hours.

In 1913 landlady Margaret Earnshaw was fined £5 and costs, or one month imprisonment, for harbouring a policeman.

In those days a policeman on duty wasn’t allowed to remain on licensed premises if he wasn’t there in the execution of his duty.

Mrs Earnshaw, who had kept the pub since the death of her husband three years earlier, pleaded guilty to the offence and told the magistrates that the pub was the main support of both her and her family.

Her solicitor, Mr G Nicholson, said the offence had occurred at a private party and Mrs Earnshaw had informed the police that it would be taking place.

The officer concerned, Police Constable Heseltine, had known this fact and had only called in to see if everything was in order.

One of the guests was taken ill while he was there and he had assisted and given advice, which had been carried out.

Mr Nicholson told the magistrates that if the constable had left then and there, neither the Chief Constable nor anyone else would have had cause to complain.

“But he was allowed to remain and Mrs Earnshaw was so busy with her guests, she never gave another thought to the constable,” said Mr Nicholson.

“If she had done, she would not have allowed him to remain.”

The Chief Constable, in laying the case before the magistrates, agreed that Mrs Earnshaw had told the police she was having a private party, which was the custom of many licensed victuallers.

He said they informed them so that they would not be interfered with by police officers who might have wondered what was happening.

In the early hours of Monday morning, Insp Clarke and Police Sgt Putsey were walking along Foundry Street past the Granby when they heard a voice in the hotel which they recognised as that of PC Heseltine.

They stopped and concealed themselves in a recess opposite and watched the house from 3.25am to 5.10am.

At about 4am they heard a song being sung and the chorus was sung by PC Heseltine alone.

At 5.10am, the pub door was unlocked, and a young lady came out and looked up and down the street, and immediately PC Heseltine came out.

The officers took him back inside and asked Mrs Earnshaw what explanation she had to give. She told them the constable had only come in to see how they were going on.

Nothing was mentioned in the newspaper report about what happened to PC Heseltine, but it is almost certain he would have lost his job.

Grateful thanks to Kirklees Archives for supplying the photograph and local pub historian Rod Kaye for his help in compiling some of the Granby’s history.