Tales from 1925






A Tuesday evening in November 1925 and the members of the Elland Henpecked Club visited the Labour Rooms in Catherine Street for a friendly game of billiards. Unfortunately not all the games could be played because the visitors arrived in dribs and drabs and ‘looking as though they had just slipped away from the strings that usually held them’. Once inside the club they made themselves at home and settled for an hour or two’s enjoyment with a look of determination upon their faces. One game had not been long in progress when the visitor deliberately shopped his opponent in the corner pocket, which was greeted with cries of ‘Boo’. The games went on amidst banter from one side or another. As the clock approached the hour of ten there were signs of uneasiness amongst the visitors, who hurried off to neighbouring chip shops and then home to supper.


Five Men on a Raft


Also from November 1925…this may have seemed a good idea at the time. The sewage scheme for Elland, said to be very ambitious, was being updated. The works were situated on the Calder, midway between Elland and Tag Lock. The full council had deputised a party of councillors and officials to inspect the modernisations. The river had been partly dammed to enable excavations to be carried out. To reach the dam the workmen used a raft (3 yards long by 2 yards wide) and hauled themselves across by means of a rope fastened to each side.

The first party of councillors and officials crossed the river. Willie Duffield and Harry Parkinson piloting the raft. The second group – Councillor Sydney Thornton (‘Father’ of the UDC, Councillor Harper Garside and Mr. Fisher (Clerk of Works) set off with the pilots. All was well until the raft was mid-stream and then the fast current ‘caught it’. The raft capsized and all aboard were thrown into the cold river. Thankfully they kept hold of the rope. The pilots and Coun. Thornton, being nearest to the bank, were first out of the water. Onlookers had rushed to the scene to assist the men. Coun. Garside, a man of ‘heavy build’, was in great difficulty with the fast-flowing water gushing over his head. Workmen Jeremiah Firth and William Predeth dived into the river and fastened a rope around Harper Garside, holding his head above the water. Using a plank for support they managed to move towards the bank where willing hands pulled Garside from the river and then Fisher. Both men having spent over 15 minutes almost submerged. Thornton and Fisher were taken to the Elland Turkish Baths for attention whereas Garside returned to his home, The Laurels, at Victoria Road. Their rescuers went to a neighbouring farm to change into dry clothing. Despite the seriousness of the accident all were none the worse. Firth and Predeth were both officially thanked by Elland Council and recommended to receive an award for their bravery.


David J. Glanfield

Greater Elland Historical Society