Bandstand mystery solved

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THE positive side of me getting something wrong on this page is that someone out there will spot it and if I’m lucky give me some more information about it.

This happened last week when a picture of the old bandstand in Batley Park was inadvertently used instead of the one in Crow Nest Park.

Local historian Stuart Hartley spotted the mistake and not only gave me the two photographs I’m showing this week but was also able to tell me what actually happened to the Dewsbury bandstand.

The main difference between the two bandstands, as you can see from the photographs, is that Batley’s was enclosed to protect against the elements, and Dewsbury’s wasn’t.

The bandstands, according to Stuart, were made in Scotland and sent by rail in bits and pieces much like the modern day flat-pack. They were erected on site where they stood for nearly 100 years.

The structure of the Dewsbury one was on a raised platform, underneath which was stored more than 100 folding metal chairs with timber lathed seats which were used by the orchestra and visitors.

Over the years, the timber boards and rafters in the roof started to rot due to having been exposed to the elements for all those years.

The cast iron was fine but the old Dewsbury borough council decided that for safety reasons the bandstand should be dismantled.

The borough architect at the time, Bill Clarke, asked that the structure be retained so that at some future date could be re-erected as a focal point within the Market Place.

The Crow Nest Park bandstand was carefully taken apart and all the components numbered in the late 1960s and stored in the empty fire station building in front of the Town Hall.

The person in charge of the empty building was former Dewsbury Rugby League player Jimmy Ledgard foreman of the central works department at the time.

In 1974 Kirklees Council was formed and the new central works department decided to have a clean sweep, and anything in storage throughout the new district which had not been used for 12 months was thrown away.

The old fire station was demolished and the bandstand thrown away. A similar bandstand was made to replace it, and erected in Market Place where it still stands, and where bands still play occasionally.