More Halifax – Proud Old Fashioned Borough Market

A right gob stopper with all sorts for local jelly babies

Cosmetic improvements well sorted

Nancy Sinatra could have got her boots for walking here

Reflect on the work clothes – I fancy one of those chef’s hats and a ginghammy thingy.


Councils Marketing Market Blurb

‘This splendid Grade II* listed Victorian market hall was voted the best in Britain in 2008. Come and enjoy the hustle, bustle and traditional splendour of a thriving retail market with a warm and friendly atmosphere.

The impressive and historic Halifax Borough Market was built between 1891 and 1896 and was officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George V and Queen Mary).

As a first time visitor to this award-winning market, you could be forgiven for thinking that you had stumbled on to the set of a period TV drama. Decor and atmosphere combine to create a shopping experience that just can’t be matched by mundane and soulless out-of-town supermarkets.

Alongside the outstanding traditional family butchers and fruit and vegetable stalls which have passed down through generations, are the new stall holders tempting our taste buds with a bounty of exotic produce from the continent. Nor will the markets’s fishmongers disappoint. You can treat your inner child with toffees, fudge, boiled sweets, cakes and brandy snaps. Sandwiches, pies, olives and chorizo can be found alongside haberdashers, vibrant flower shops, perfumers, leather goods, books, underwear, CDs, DVDs, hardware, fancy dress and more!

With several cafes and coffee shops where you can stop for cuppa and a butty (go on, have cake too) you can easily refuel to carry on shopping. From the exotic to the native, extravagant to inexpensive, the quality of produce on offer remains unsurpassed. The traditional splendour of Halifax Borough Market offers a real destination shopping experience.’

With the demise  of so many large and well known retail brands it is essential we support our traditional markets.

Marine Conservation in Yorkshire

‘You can please some of the fish some of the time but not all of the piscene critters all of the time.’  Of the original 27 conservations zones none were on or near the Yorkshire coast. The nearest is the Aln estuary.

Defra’s new  areas for marine conservation do include the Yorkshire locations of Holderness from Skipsea to Spurn Point and Runswick Bay both of which are important for various species including starfish and crabs. However Compass Rose, 20 miles off the Yorkshire coast, which is an important place for plaice, herring, lemon sole and sand eels, is one of 14 sites that has been dropped from the new consultation.

 New Marine Conservation Zones

Runswick Bay north of Whitby to to Staithes boasts a highly productive seabed. It has important spawning and nursery grounds for many fish, including herring, sprat, cod, whiting and plaice. Harbour porpoises are regularly recorded here alongside foraging seabirds, such as kittiwakes. The Wildlife Trust says one reason to nominate this area as a Marine Conservation Zone is the  ‘Shallow rocky areas here are dominated by kelps and red seaweeds whereas deeper areas are encrusted in a living faunal turf of sponges, sea squirts, sea urchins and starfish. Interspersed with sand and gravel, this area is also important for burrowing creatures such as worms…. ‘

Holderness from Skipsea to Spurn Point is another proposed Yorkshire MCZ. ‘The seafloor here boasts a wealth of diversity, including habitats of cobbles, mixed sediment, sand and chalk, alongside patches of peat and clay. This mosaic supports a dense coverage of hydroid and bryozoan turf, sponges and ross worm reef as well as many fish, including tope and smoothhound. Over 8 different types of crabs have been seen at Holderness Inshore as well as the purple bloody henry starfish and common sunstars. Harbour porpoises and minke whales are often spotted from the shore passing through this area.’

Sea birds are also set to benefit -‘Holderness Inshore is  important for foraging seabirds as well as migrants. Within the southern region is ‘The Binks’, a geological feature forming the seaward extension of Spurn Point. This site also protects the geological feature, Spurn Head, which is in the south of the MCZ. It is a unique example of an active spit system, extending across the mouth of the Humber Estuary.Fulmar MCZ well off the Northumberland coast is as the name suggest an important area for seabirds, black-headed gull, northern fulmar, Arctic skua and black-legged kittiwake use this area, whilst breeding common guillemot and Arctic skua use this site during winter.’

 Are Marine Conservation Zones Strong Enough?

 MCZs are ‘multi-use areas’ and not the far stronger no-take marine reserves. Multi-use will allow many activities to continue within them with their own set of restrictions and management.

Professor Callum Roberts, at the University of York a noted conservationists warns that missing key sites are still putting habitats and wildlife, ranging from large seagrass meadows to the spiny seahorse, at risk.

Professor Roberts is also reported to say “….. the UK’s rich marine life has very little protection. That may sound paradoxical, but six years after the Marine Act was passed, MCZs are still ‘paper parks’. They have no management at all, so life within them remains unprotected. They will be worse than useless, giving the illusion of protection where none is present.”


Picture under Creative commons


Art of Clothing Yorkshire

plate 3: The Collier

The Collier

The Costume of Yorkshire in 1814, by George Walker,

‘One of these workmen is here represented as returning from his labours in his usual costume. This dress, which is of white cloth bound with red, may probably be ridiculed as quite inconsistent with his sable occupation; but when the necessity of a frequent washing is considered, surely none could have been adopted more conducive to cleanliness and health. The West Riding of Yorkshire, it is well known, abounds in coal, the consumption of which is prodigiously increased by the general use of steam engines. In the back ground of the annexed Plate is a delineation of the steam engine lately invented by Mr. Blenkinsop, agent at the colliery of Charles Brandling, Esquire, near Leeds, which conveys about twenty waggons loaded with coals from the pits to Leeds

John Collier Fifty Shilling Taylor

If you are old enough to know what 50 shillings was in real money the you will also know the jingle John Collier, John Collier the window to watch. Established in Leeds when tailoring was a major manufacturing  industry the company was bought by United Drapery Stores (UDS) only to be asset stripped by Hanson plc. By 1985 it was owned by Burtons who closed the brand down and John Collier ceased to exist. Burtons was another Leeds based tailors from 1910 becoming the largest multiple tailors at a  huge complex in Leeds enterprisingly named  No. 1 factory and No. 2 factory.

 Joseph Hepworth & Sons  Now Known as Next

Joseph left home to work in a Leeds mill from the age of 10. By the age of 30 he was in partnership and by 1890 they employed 2,000 staff and sold  stock via over 100 shops. Joseph Hepworth was a pioneer of the retail clothing store. Skip forward nearly a century and the Hepworth company bought Kendall stores to grow to over 600 shops. They recruited Terrance Conran, Hardie Amies and  George Davies who changed the groups name to Next and moved the HQ to Leicester.

Other Yorkshire Clothing Companies

In 1954 UDS acquired Alexandre Ltd  a Leeds-based multiple tailor owned by the Lyons families. Prices Tailors Ltd and Montague Burton were both Leeds companies that also succumbed to UDS.

Greenwoods company was founded in Bradford by Sir Willie Greenwood in 1860   and run largely as a family firm until 2008. At its peak in the 1990s there were around 200 mens clothing shops.

Continue reading Art of Clothing Yorkshire

Pommie Sheep Shears

‘Ey up Luk out sheep – cars on t’road’

As William Wilkinson Ltd, Burgon & Ball began manufacturing scissors and shears back in 1730 in the Spring Works, Grimethorpe Road the heartland of Sheffield. For 279 years some of the finest sheep shears and cutting tools in the world have been ‘Made in Sheffield’ and shipped to Australia, Argentina and the Malvinas (sorry to all the Yorkshire Expats out there I mean the Falkland Islands).

As sheep fleeces may be short and wiry or long and soft depending on the breed so the design of the shears needs to accommodate the specific need.  As with many things, the secret of success lies with  experience, expertise and a through understanding of all the issues involved. Different countries require different tensions on the blades or differing lengths such that over 50 separate patterns are available for sale. Cut from the best quality coiled steel there are then 22 manufacturing processes before they can be shipped ‘Outback’.
Today Burgon & Ball are the largest manufacturer of sheep shears in the world.



For more on Yorkshire Sheep

Garden Tools
Quality garden tools are now a key product range carrying on the name of Burgon and Ball. The Topiary shears are based on the old trusty sheep shears. The scythes and knives were added to the range as a result of acquiring another manufacturer Tyzack Sons and Turner.
For a statue to a shearer (or shearess) in this case see the picture of the Lady Gardener in Dewsbury.

Whale Meet Again

Whale Watching

Whitby’s historical past is revealed in by the Abbey and the monuments that dominate Whitby’s east and west headlands above the harbour. For 84 years Whitby’s fishermen were engaged in whaling. The whale jaw bone arch on the West Cliff, pictured above, was presented to Whitby by Norway in 1963 (probably for having stopped Whaling and leaving it to Norwegians and the Japanese).

Whitby Whalers were doughty folk between 1757 and 1837 (when the last boat was sold). There is a full history ship by ship on Whitby Lad website.

Whitby Coastal Cruises now arrange whale watching trips and they claim ‘Minke whales are the main sightings but we have also seen humpback whales and an occasional pilot whale. Whales have been here for 1000’s of years, all that is new is that we are now taking the public out to see them.’

If you don’t mind queuing for Fish & Chips one of Whitby’s busiest restaurants is the Magpie Cafe but there are many excellent chippies around that offer great value for money. The ‘Whitby Whaler’ is now the eponymous name of fish and chip shops in Pudsey, Blubberhouses (why not) and other parts of the county.

Whale Watching by Nolleos CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Yarn Spinner Yorkshire Tours

Yarn Spinner Tours developed Ghost Walks and Victorian Tours as a way of sharing knowledge and enthusiasm for getting people involved. They have now grown to offer a wider range of tours all over Yorkshire. Listen to tales of the dark and macabre as our ´ghost´ guides you around the streets of Leeds to some of the most haunted buildings in the land. You will hear tales about ghosts, poisonings, witches and murders!
Alternatively journey back in time to experience life in Victorian Bradford. Walk through the City Centre, with Yarn Spinners costumed guide, and follow in the footsteps of Victorians as they went about their daily lives, gaining a real insight into the conditions they endured. Learn of the illustrious characters that lived in and visited the town, as well as how Bradford became the most important industrial town in the British Empire.

A detailed calendar of events is available at Yarn Spinners Give them a try and let us know how you get on.

Continue reading Yarn Spinner Yorkshire Tours

Sam Smiths Old Brewery Tadcaster

I would like to tell you about the best beer in Yorkshire but I am still testing them all out. What I can tell you about is the best value for money beer brewed in Yorkshire (and therefore anywhere in the world). Tadcaster has been the home of great Yorkshire brewing since the monks of the 14th Century but in 1758 a brewing dynasty started to emerge. Started by David Backhouse and John Hartley The Old Brewery at Tadcaster was founded in 1758 and since 1848 bears the name of famous local brewer Samuel Smith.


In 1847, Samuel Smith, and his son John bought the struggling brewing business from John Hartley’s widow family. John Smith took over the brewery forming John Smith’s Brewery in the same year the railway arrived in Tadcaster. He was later joined by his brothers Samuel (Jnr) and William. However William bought Samuel’s (Jnr) half and moved the business to a new (John Smiths) brewery. Meanwhile, Samuel (Jnr’s) son Samuel Smith inherited the Old Brewery on William’s death in 1886, and re-opened the brewery under his own name. A reet family t’do I’d say.

So by 1880 there was John Smiths Brewery which went on to acquire 20 local breweries over the next 40 years before eventually succumbing to Scottish & Newcastle/ Courage et al. Fortunately Samuel Smith Brewery remained and remains today independent in ownership and spirit.

Now a-days, run by Sam Smith brothers Humphrey Richard Woollcombe Smith and Oliver Geoffrey Woollcombe Smith they are coming across as curmudgeonly by banning TV & music in their pubs (hurray), taking down signage and refusing to accommodate smokers in new purpose built units. The managers do not like the changes but it keeps the prices down and the environment drinker friendly. Old Brewery Bitter and Extra Stout (for the missus) are still both well under £2.50 a pint in Yorkshire and also the cheapest good pint you can find in London. See London Sam Smith below:
Continue reading Sam Smiths Old Brewery Tadcaster

Interlude for Afternoon Tea in Shipley

Afternoon Tea

King George V would recognise many of the items on display at Interlude the Cafe Society tearoom ‘to be seen in’ when visiting Shipley. Between Elsie Russell’s florists and The Samaritan charity shop is an exceptionally well furbished cafe with great food and an environment to savor. High Tea comes a bit more expensive than Afternoon Tea but with boiled egg with toast soldiers  the prices are very reasonable and the choice just right.

All the tables are similar to the one shown with old china crockery and a collection of old art books, comics  and magazines to peruse. When you wish to order you have your own little bell to ring and there are numerous other touches to take in whilst you drink your Yorkshire tea.

Upstairs at  this Westgate Cafe is a boutique of vintage clothes, although my daughter thought they were more secondhand than 1920’s. Still the sound of syncopated rhythms and an occasional Charleston  wafted gently through the rooms. The emporium at the front of the cafe sells cakes and treats for you to take home if you wish and this shows the enterprise a business needs these days to survive. Support your local shops and visit Interlude when in Shipley. More about Interludes history can be found on there own web site.


Where to Win Lottery Funding

The Peoples Post Code Lottery has made payment of over £147k to the “Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust” a charity that works to support the environmental, social and economic well-being of the Dales.

The Millenium Trust itself supports many projects in the Dales – like outreach work for disabled and disadvantaged groups, habitat restoration, new woodland planting, providing apprenticeships for young people, and much more besides.

The Heritage Lottery Fund is supporting a major project to restore glass and stonework at York Minster’s East Front. They have awarded a £9.7m boost s in addition to the £10m given to the minster fund in 2007. It will help  improve access for disabled visitors but focuses primarily on the restoration of the Great East Window, the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the world. The project will last 15 years.

Screen Yorkshire distributes RIFE Lottery Funding and Digital Film Archive Fund (DFAF) awards on behalf of the UK Film Council. Or it did until November 2010 when the latest batch of applications were considered. These grants support and extend the provision, promotion and interpretation of specialised and mainstream film in the region.

Screen Yorkshire are also the regional partner for Mediabox in Yorkshire and Humber, the fund that offers disadvantaged 13 – 19 year olds the opportunity to create their own media projects.

Sport England funds projects that help people get involved in sport and physical activity. This includes refurbishing existing facilities or building new ones and developing programmes and initiatives that use sport and activity to support community cohesion, improve health and raise education levels. Minimum grants are £10,000.

Other sources of funding for projects


If you don’t ask you don’t get. Below is a list of recognised Olympic athletes who did ask and did get lottery support

* Ben Ainslie – Sailing
* Sir Chris Hoy – Cycling Continue reading Where to Win Lottery Funding

Jowett the Yorkshire Javelin Ahead of Time

Jowett Cars

The two seater soft top Jowett Jupiter was developed from the success of the Javelin in 1950. The streamlined shape implied speed and was a well engineered car with stronger brakes and new features. It had a steel tube frame and a drop-head coupe body of aluminium. For three successive years Jowett won the Le Mans 24 Grand Prix race 1950-1952.

ind museum Jowett van

The Bradford Van shown here in the old colours of the local paper the Telegraph and Argus (T&A). It had an engine size of 1005 cc and was first registered in 1953.

The oldest car club in the world is dedicated to Jowett vehicles they also  have a second web site. There aim is ‘To celebrate classic British cars made in Bradford from 1906 to 1954 namely- Jupiter, Javelin, Bradford, Jason, Black Prince, Curlew, Kestrel, Weasel, Flying Fox, Falcon, Long Four, Focus, Blackbird, Kingfisher, Black Prince, Wren, Grey Knight, Silverdale, Chummy, 7cwt Van, Short Two’. I like the idea of a car called a ‘Weasel’ and it reminds me of a pub with that name in Pudsey now a bomb site.

Continue reading Jowett the Yorkshire Javelin Ahead of Time