Nostalgia: Reader’s memories of factory fire in Batley Carr

Firemen tackle a blaze at Colin Parkinson Limited Shoddy and Waste, Batley Carr, in 1995.
Firemen tackle a blaze at Colin Parkinson Limited Shoddy and Waste, Batley Carr, in 1995.

We recently published this picture of a fire at Colin Parkinson Ltd (Shoddy and Waste) in 1995.

It brought back memories for John Parkinson when a relative showed him a cutting.

He said: “A relative gave me a cutting, which featured a fire at Colin Parkinson Ltd (Shoddy and Waste) in ‘The Archives’ section from 25 years ago, which invited responses.

“Colin Parkinson is my father and I worked with him from leaving school in 1977 until his death in 1989. I founded the adjoining business, Evergreen, in August 1990 and both businesses worked together until their closure around 18 months after the fire.

On the day of the fire, I was driving back from a meeting in London when I heard a newsflash that Bradford Road had been closed in Batley Carr. I stopped at the next services and called the office, but nobody answered. It was around 5pm and I restarted my journey mumbling something about staff leaving early.

“Approaching from the M1, I drove through Hanging Heaton and realised my worst fear from a birds-eye view. The damage was ruinous, it seemed as though everything my family had worked for was lost and eventually I realised my days of being active in this part of West Yorkshire’s industrial heritage were over.

“However, I retrained as a teacher whilst continuing to study part-time. Next year, I am scheduled to complete my Professional PhD, using memories from working in the heavy woollen industry to make meaning from more recent professional experience, delivering and researching creative education programs. Therefore, the story might not yet be over and, like the Phoenix from Greek mythology, will return in some form or another.” (d123n001)