Author who helps put old pubs in the picture...

New book: Stephen Gee with his publication Halifax Pubs volume 2. Below:  One of the earliest known photographs taken in Halifax town centre shows the Old White Swan Hotel which was located on Crown Street. The inn was demolished in 1858.

New book: Stephen Gee with his publication Halifax Pubs volume 2. Below: One of the earliest known photographs taken in Halifax town centre shows the Old White Swan Hotel which was located on Crown Street. The inn was demolished in 1858.

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THE landlord and landlady of the Dog and Partridge pub in Sowood obviously knew how to make their customers happy.

A nostalgic snap of them during the big snows of the 1940s shows that they were well aware of the importance of not parting their customers from a well-pulled pint of bitter of mild.

One of the earliest known photographs taken in Halifax town centre shows the old White Swan Hotel which was located on Crown Street. The inn was demolished in 1858

One of the earliest known photographs taken in Halifax town centre shows the old White Swan Hotel which was located on Crown Street. The inn was demolished in 1858

A path had been cleared to door of the outlying pub, with the snow piled higher than the couple themselves.

The lovely old photograph is just one of more than 200 which feature in Stephen Gee’s book, Halifax Pubs.

This is the second volume for Stephen, a well respected author of local history publications.

“Having finished my first book about Halifax pubs three years ago, I realised then I had enough material for a second volume.

“I was half way there already,” explains Stephen who is the proud owner of one of the biggest private collections of old photographs and postcards.

“It was just a case of gathering a few more images and I was soon able to add to my collection thanks to authorisation from Whitbread.”

Stephen was also determined, as he set about his sequel, that an area of Calderdale, missing from volume one, would not be overlooked this time.

“I was very conscious that I had not included Todmorden in the first edition, so I was determined to include it in the second and started looking through my collections for the area straight away.”

The result will thrill pub regulars - and tee-totallers alike.

Calderdale’s pubs - some of which are now long gone - are resurrected and brought to life thanks to the animated images, many of which have groups of people in the shot.

“I think it’s important to have people on the picture because there’s always a chance that there’ll be a figure someone recognises, a family member of a friend maybe.”

Stephen, of Ripponden, is the author of Old Halifax, Halifax Through Time and the Pictorial History of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes in Halifax, among other books.

He explains that volume one of the pubs book had many common themes such as celebrations, meetings, pub trips and celebrity visits and so even though volume two features a completely different set of pubs, he set out to bring in a series of themes related to them too.

“Pubs were often at the centre of many events, including royal visits, galas, processions and outings,” says Stephen.

“The Coiners feature once again and this time around I have also looked at the plug plot riots, the Brighouse riots of 1882, various murders and the inquests that were often held in public houses, often into fatal and sometimes bizarre accidents.

“I wanted not just to include a photograph of a pub but I wanted to be able to tell a little story behind the photographs too. It was easier in some cases than others,” he laughs.

He could be referring to a photograph of the former Pine Apple Hotel on Halifax’s North Bridge, where a group of men - all in their Sunday best and wearing flat caps - are seated outside.

“There’s little to give away just what was the occasion here,” says Stephen.

In contrast, it’s easy to witness what was going on outside the Shears Inn, Lee Bridge, Halifax, on Saturday, May 22, 1915. A huge crowd had gathered after a tram had over-turned.

In another snap, a group of men assemble in front of the Lane Ends, Wheatley in 1961 in readiness for setting off on a regular trip, and in another, the dray man arrives with the beer to stock up the Old White Beare, in Norwood Green.

In 1911, a crowd prepare to celebrate the coronation of King George V and families are assembled outside the Rock Tavern in Upper Edge, Elland, while an early bus waits outside the Railway Hotel, located opposite Walsden railway station, Todmorden, in June 1882.

The murder of Lord Cavendish in Phoenix Park, Dublin on may 6, 1882, led to serious rioting in Brighouse, a backlash against the town’s Irish inhabitants, explains Stephen.

He talks of the Sun Dial Inn, setting for the secret Fenian movement meetings.

In more recent history, regulars pose outside the Commercial Inn, Sowerby Bridge (an area once known as Albany Square) prior to setting off on a trip, while September 1965 signalled the end of one of the last all-male bastions in Halifax.

After an extensive refurbishment the pub opened its doors to women for the first time since the First World War. The re-opening was in 1969.

“Personal tankards and beer jugs no longer hung behind the bar and the inner sanctum known as the Royal Room and the Calcutta Room over the years, would never be the same again,” says Stephen.

“The public house has always played a central part in the everyday life of the district and hopefully the photographs in this volume will rekindle memories of past events, incidents and celebrations or simply of the hostelries themselves, past and present, illustrating once again their importance to the town and the parish.”

l Halifax Pubs, Volume Two by Stephen Gee, is published by Amberley and available at Fred Wade, Halifax.