Historic Southowram


All aboard the bus tour through Southowram starting at the bottom of Beacon Hill road towards Bank Top.

Bus coming back down Beacon Hill Road

Heading up Beacon Hill Road - landslide

Beacon Hill Road looking towards Claremount.

Here you can see all the houses that there used to be up Southowram Bank.

Duke William which is right at the bottom of Clarkes Bridge by the Parish Church. Other Southowram pubs included Cat Heads, Horse and Groom, Rook Tavern and Single Sisters(this may have been the original name of the Shoulder of Mutton) but their whereabouts are unknown. Can you help?

These houses were near the Magna Via at the bottom of Old Bank (towards Charlestown).

Duke William

Southowram Bank bottom. I think the gable end in the centre is that of the pub 'Dyer and Miller'. The pub was demolished some time before World War I.

Near the bottom of Old Bank

Nicholls shop at the end of Blaithroyd Lane

Castlemaine House, Blaithroyd Lane

Blaithroyd Farm, Southowram

In his 1983 book “Yorkshire’s Ghosts and Legends,” Terrence Whitaker relates the story of a haunting at a property near Bank Top (the area of Southowram before the hill descends towards Halifax) in February 1962. The tenant Mr. John Harris was alone in the house whilst his wife was in hospital after having a baby. and one night at around eleven o’ clock  when suddenly he heard “a resounding crash… the cat leapt up and appeared to fly around the room several inches from the ground, howling in terror,” followed by the sound of “giant footsteps crossing the room overhead, from one corner to the other, slowly and very loud”. Harris investigated but found nothing which might account for the phenomena. Upon discussing the experience with his neighbour the following morning he was told that he would have to get used to such disturbances, as she had heard them herself many times over the years. Subsequent research by Mr. Harris revealed that the house he occupied had once been part of Blaithroyd Farm, formerly Blaithe Rood, where accordingly to John Crabtree in his “Concise History of the Parish and Vicarage of Halifax” occupancy dates back to at least the 14th Century. Crabtree goes on to claim that in the late 16th Century, during the reign of Elizabeth I when the practice of Catholicism was banned, papists would gather to worship there in secrecy. He also says “a little distant from the house was also some ground in the delph-brow called the burying-place”. In apparent confirmation, Whitaker writes that builders excavating land behind the house prior to the tenancy of Mr. Harris had in fact disturbed a mass burial site which they took for a plague pit or an internment following the 1643 Civil War skirmish at Bloody Field on the lower flanks of Beacon Hill nearby. Such history is certainly ripe with potential for unquiet spirits.

from Ghosts and Legends of the Lower Calder Valley

Bankfield Farm, Marsh Lane/Long Lane

Apparently this is Battinson Street. Does anyone recognise the girl?

Bethesda Chapel. This was just below the Manor House pub.

When the Graveyard wall collapsed into the road.

Manor House

Blagbrough and Hebblethwaite's

This is looking towards Bank Top in 1901 and to the right of the picture is the Cock and Bottle pub(below). The visible pub was the Blue Bell that burned down

Zion Sunday School opposite the Cock and Bottle pub.

Looking towards Bank Top from the bottom of Broadway.

Anyone know why they are marching?

1 Howgate Hill

The above pictures are of Law Hill School where Emily Bronte taught for 6 months.

35 Law Lane Southowram also known as Twinge House & Twinge Lane End built in 1810 by to my knowledge Glossops Ltd who were a quarrying company. There is small area off land to the bottom of the Twinge were dwellings 21 23 25 29 31 & 33 stood. These were small cottages with privies and ashes belonging to them. There was also a house on the corner this being numbed 27. They were originally known as Spring Hall then were later changed to the Paddock. Unfortunately due to disrepair the cottages and the house we're sadly demolished in 1956. There are a few names of the tenants and mortgage owners who bought there properties of (the lord off the manor off the Twinge John Hebblethwaite )! In the deeds Sutcliffe, Stancliffe, (Thanks to Sarah Stevenson)

Law Lane below Twinge House (Thanks to Susan Townsend)

Pinnar Lane once had an observatory which stood around the Highfield farm area.

Richardson, William (1804-1878), of High Field, Southowram, near Halifax, gave lectures on astronomy, geology, electricity and other scientific topics. He had an observatory built at High Field (which was demolished in the 1950s/60s). The Bronte family attended some of his public lectures at Howarth. He was a friend of William Cobbett, the radical journalist. Richardson is buried at St Anne's-in-the-Grove Church at Southowram.

The source for this is Astronomy history in Yorkshire

The  'Who Could A' Thowt It'  Pub

Coming from town, before you get to Withinfields school this would be down the road to the left of the bend (waterclough lane).

World war 2 army camp on Law Lane opposite the school.

Law Lane in 1957.
The view, from the former chemist shop at 16 Law Lane is looking north towards Townley Avenue and Withinfields.
The long garden wall right of shot borders the former Yew Trees House, then owned by a branch of the Marshall family.
The barn centre mid-distance was, I believe, used by green-grocer Albert Naylor to house his horse and green-grocery delivery cart.

Robert Harrison

A further snow shot of Law Lane in 1957.
The young guy in the centre of the shot, holding the basket, is Jeff Bancroft, who worked for and delivered meat for Moreton's Butchers at Bank Top (hence the baskets). The young boy is myself. I am not certain of the names of the other people in the picture.

Robert Harrison

The chemist shop was opened and run by Frank Harrison from 1953/54 until his retirement in 1992. It is currently a sandwich shop cafe, the chemist having moved to the doctor's surgery further along Law Lane.
The sweet shop next door has seen many owners over the years. It was opened by Mr and Mrs Murray in the early 1950s. It then passed to Mr and Mrs Gomersall (the name seen here) in the mid-1950s. Mr and Mrs Farrell took over in the late 1950s. Gerry Morrison, on the retirement of Mr Doran, at the far end of Towngate, applied for the Southowram Post Office being transferred here in the early 1960s.

Law Lane from 1957.
The snow here is in and outside the driveway to the former chemist shop at 16 Law Lane. The small, stone garden wall is no more.
The pre-fabricated garage, typical of the day, had an asbestos roof, the main danger then being its weakness to withstand walking weight, particularly from playing children.
The blocks right and left of the driveway were built in the early 1950s by Brighouse builder, Colin Whitehead on land originally owned by local quarryman, Benny Thompson. The shop, left mid-distance, for many years a fish and chips shop, was opened as a green-grocers by Mr and Mrs Albert Naylor. Albert also toured local streets with a horse-drawn, ornate, green cart. The building above the hillside gardens in the background is a wooden garage in land known as The Field.

Robert Harrison

Law Lane in deep snow (1957) towards Cain Lane and Towngate from the former chemist shop at 16 Law Lane.
The Southowram Library has for many years occupied the site right foreground.
The house set back, right mid-distance, was occupied by the local Southowram Policeman, the last occupant, I believe, being Alan Marshal. Green-grocer, Fred Lees, also moved to a shop in the terrace right mid-distance, his original shop being located in a 17th century residence (long demolished) at the corner of Pinnar Lane and what in those days was a rough track known as The Entry (now Yeadon Drive).
The Southowram Co-Op stands at the corner of Law Lane and Cain Lane, left mid-distance.
The Pack Horse Inn also stands left mid-distance.
The building centre background, along Towngate, was, at that time, occupied by a butcher's shop next to a newsagents run by Joan and Colin Barratt. The newsagents was taken over by Gordon Buckley around 1959/1960.
The roads in those days were often cleared by snow-ploughs fixed to Marshall stone wagons.
The shot was taken by my father, Frank Harrison, who was the chemist at Southowram from 1953/54 until retirement in 1992.
Robert Harrison

Now a warehouse but once the Co-op stores(see below) and the Halifax Industrial Society before that. Positioned opposite the Pack Horse.

thanks to Jenny McGall for this picture

This is an old view of Southowram village. Just left of centre is the Pack Horse junction. Some big differences are the lack of houses where Charles Avenue etc. now exists. There are no buildings where the library and shops now exists. There is a farm facing the Pack Horse at the bottom of Pinnar Lane

Looking from bottom of Yeadon Drive area towards Towngate (once known as The Entry).

Number 1. Towngate. At one time there was 'Hirst and Sykes' Drapery/Haberdashery shop at this side and Doctor Lawson's Surgery at the far side.

Southowram Social Club

New Street on the left and New Row to the right

Southowram stocks

Towngate in the 1950s. Richardsons Row are the terraced houses on the right but can anyone tell us what the other buildings are? There were several shops around this area at one time.

With reference to the Southowram photograph of Towngate in the 1950s, I thought you might be interested in the names of several shops operating along Towngate and New Street at that time.
1) The canopy, left foreground, is above the entrance steps to Broomhead's Fish and Chip shop, operated by Mary and Hilda Broomhead. Sometime in the 1960s, this became a hairdressers, as seen in the photograph of the corner of West Lane with the 30 Halifax Corporation Bus.
2) Next to Broomhead's, where the phone box is, is the Southowram Post Office, operated by Mr and Mrs Doran. This also, in the 1960s, changed location to Law Lane, next to the Southowram Library.
3) Out of shot, to the right, was the Economic Grocery Store.
4) The tall building, right mid-distance, at the top of New Street, is the grocery shop of Mr and Mrs Bill Popplewell. Ronnie Denton, who later opened a shop in Brighouse, also worked there.
5) Along New Street, next to Popplewell's, was a complex housing Wilf Marshall's Gents' Hairdressers, Nancy Hawtrey Ladies' Hairdressers and a cafe serving pie and peas, well patronised by workmen at lunch-time. Also along New Street, approaching the Jubilee Inn, was another Fish and Chip Shop. All these New Street shop premises have long been demolished.
6) Further along Towngate, right of shot, was Hurst's Drapery Store, with Miss Sykes behind the counter.
7) Towngate in the 1950s, right background, not far from its intersection with Cain Lane, was also the location of Mr Dobbie's Cobblers shop. This later moved to Bank Top, near the Cock and Bottle.
8) Barratt's, and later Buckley's, Newsagents lay next to a butcher's shop left background. In the 1950s the newsagents was operated by Joan Barratt and her husband Colin.
I, myself, approaching 65, was a small resident of Southowram 1953-1960. I visited all the shops above and have vivid memories of them all. Towngate in the 1950s was the shopping centre of Southowram. Road widening and the demolition of old properties have greatly changed the scene. The shopping centre has also migrated to Law Lane since the 1950s.
Robert Harrison

The corner of  West Lane.

Opposite the garage on the corner of West Lane where haulage company Lincoln Shackleton & Sons used to work from. They often used to deliver stone for Marshalls.

S Marshall quarry

Ashday Lane with Inghams sausage factory which is now Grange Heights

Ashday Lane Sunday School formerly known as Heald Lane. Further down Ashday Lane, where the cricket ground now stands, used to be the workhouse which dated back to at least the 1740's and the name 'Old Workhouse Quarry' was still current until at least the 1890's. There was also a row of terraced houses past the ground.

Does anyone have any pictures of Southowram workhouse? The only information I have found so far is the following from the Eden report:-

Southowram's workhouse dated back until at least the 1740s. It was situated on Ashday Lane where the name "Old Workhouse Quarry" was still current until at least the 1890s. Eden noted of the Southowram workhouse that:

34 paupers, chiefly old people and children, are in the house. They appear to be comfortable and well fed. Hasty pudding and boiled milk are provided for breakfast and supper. Dinner on Sunday and Thursday consists of butchers' meat. No regular course is observed on other days, but potatoes butter, milk and oatbread form the chief part of their food. A pint of beer is allowed in the forenoon and afternoon to those who work. The Poor spin worsted. Children begin at 7 or 8; at 9 they are bound apprentices The earnings are from £1 13s. to £2 7s. a month. There are 89 out-pensioners, most of whom have families. About 20 receive casual relief.

Ashday Hall

Boggart House, Southowram

Standing all alone at the end of Ashday Lane which runs down from Southowram and overlooking Cromwell Bottom, Boggart House is certainly evocatively located. In an article from the Brighouse Echo dated 11th September 1981, even their bluff local history correspondent “Rowan” is moved to admit “the magnificent sweep of land up to Ashday… (has) a peculiar brooding beauty”. It is also interesting to note that in other columns pertaining to his childhood in the early 20th Century, Rowan refers to this small tributary valley as the “Fairy Glen”. Whether this name suggests any authentic local tradition or just an Edwardian penchant for artificial romanticism is not clear. 

Boggart House was originally constructed in the early 19th Century to serve as a gatehouse for Ashday Hall, which stands some little way above it. Ashday Hall itself is a venerable structure, with land connected to the de Astay family first recorded there in 1275. In the 14th Century, the tenancy fell into the hands of the Holdsworth Family and the present Hall was constructed by William Holdsworth between 1713 and 1738. Due to debt, it passed into the hands of the Drake family in 1792 and it was Thomas Drake who in the 1830s improved the estate, erecting the residence today known as Boggart House and an observatory on the hill behind it. Rowan recalls the house standing derelict by the 1920s and remained so until 1961 when it was purchased by Mr. Peter Turner and renovated.

It is uncertain exactly when Boggart House gained a reputation for being haunted. The recollections of Barry Chapman in “Childhood Memories of Southowram Village in the 1950s” suggest it was certainly known to children as such in that decade, whilst an entry in a series entitled “Country Walks Around Brighouse” first published in the Echo by the Brighouse Civic Trust in the early 1970s claims the house “once had a reputation for being haunted.” Equally, the exact nature of the haunting is vague. Speaking in the 1981 Echo article, Rowan blithely describes it as “a house legend claims is shared with spectres, goblins and bogeymen,” whilst Peter Turner revealed that a relative had witnessed a “little man with a ginger beard” in a cupboard and describes “strange noises which I have been unable to trace and lights going on and off for no apparent reason”.

However, perhaps the name of the house suggests an even older provenance. “Boggart” is an ancient Yorkshire dialect word for a capricious household spirit (a cousin of the Scottish brownie) who would help with domestic chores providing they were rewarded with a bowl of milk each night. But if the boggart felt unappreciated it would often take umbrage and start to display poltergeist-like characteristics, whilst several regional folk tales emphasise just how hard they were to get rid of. As a result “boggart” tended to be used idiomatically to describe any sort of unusual activity from the structure of a house settling at night to a horse inexplicably taking fright. Certainly, there are no shortage of boggart place names in the Calder Valley, including a Boggart Chair at Ellen Royde in Midgley, the Boggart Stones above Widdop and Boggart Well near Ogden Reservoir.

from Ghosts and Legends of the Lower Calder Valley

Looking up Caine Lane- still very recognisable

There was a Joseph Dennison (Blacksmith) lived at 10 Mount Pleasant

Shoulder of Mutton

'Jubilee Hotel' New Street, opened as a beerhouse and was originally known as 'The Rock' but changed its name after Queens Victoria's Jubilee in 1887. It closed in 1990 is now 'Gingerbread House' day nursery since 2010.

Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Southowram

Hollins House

Glenwood House

St.Annes Church

St Annes in the Grove 1908

St.Annes church can be seen in the background

This is just about opposite the Malt Shovel going towards Brighouse. What year would this have been?

Barker Royd Farm and Mill off the main road behind what was the Malt Shovel

Cote Hill

Marshalls Quarry

I was sent this photo by a distant relative, David Saunders, back in c2008/2009.

The photo shows a front view of the pub. It would have been taken c1903/1904. To arrive at this estimate, I have used the known fact that the twin girls in their mother's lap (to the left of the pub entrance) were born 10th September 1902.

The sign on the wall indicates that the licensee was William Leather (1862-1917), my great great grandfather. He would later be licensee at The Black Swan in Overton, near Wakefield. William can be seen standing in the doorway. Some of the people in the photo have been identified, tentatively or with certainty:

left to right: Unknown, unknown, Annie Ainley (nee Watson) holding twins Doris & Gladys Ainley, Mary Louisa Ainley, unknown, Jane Watson (nee Child), William Leather, Herbert Leather (holding bags), unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown. If you can use it on your site, I would like it to appear on the Southowram Picture page.

Regards Steven Leather

This is a recent photograph and as you can see, the pub name (Delvers Arms) is still visible.

Bought By Ramsdens Brewery in 1910. The Pub closed in the late 1940’s.Originally owned by John Naylor (1829 – 1912) who built The Victoria and The Albion Brewery in 1858. His Company was the "John Naylor & Company". He acquired several Ale Houses around the Halifax area and sold them eventually in 1910, two years before his death.

Phil Griffin

Southholme Farm

Old Dumb Mill-Red Beck

The notorious Brookfoot Hill. Many a wagon driver has had a tale to tell about this hill.
The building you can see is the Neptune Inn. (also pictured below)

Waterclough Hall

Now turn Left to Brookfoot or turn right to Brighouse

Continue tour through Historic Brighouse


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