Nostalgia with Margaret Watson: Help us with old photos

SCHOOL DAYS This photograph is of Earlsheaton Infants' School, and the name on the back is Bernard Normally.
SCHOOL DAYS This photograph is of Earlsheaton Infants' School, and the name on the back is Bernard Normally.

Once again I have been looking through old photographs which have been sent to the Reporter over the years for my nostalgia columns, but the owners never returned to collect them.

Very few of the photographs have any details written on the back giving names of the owners, or anything to say who is on the picture. Two of those I am showing this week and I have some information on them which may be helpful to readers

The school photograph (above) is of Earlsheaton Infants’ School, and the name on the back is Bernard Normally. The sports picture (below) shows members of a Young Men’s Christian Club belonging to St Paulinus Church in 1936, and if you get your magnifying glass out you can read what the cups represent and a little more information.

I still have many more unclaimed photographs waiting for their owners to contact me for their return, and in the coming weeks I will be showing more.

Looking at these pictures will revive many memories for local people, particularly older readers who may have visited Dewsbury’s Moot Hall Social Club during the war.

The Moot Hall, which was one of Dewsbury’s oldest buildings, belonged to Dewsbury Parish Church, but sadly it was one of the town’s many historic buildings to be demolished for road widening. It was situated in what was called Vicarage Road, just off Church Street.

The certificate was presented to a lady called Mrs Laycock for splendid service at Dewsbury's Moot Hall Social Club.

The certificate was presented to a lady called Mrs Laycock for splendid service at Dewsbury's Moot Hall Social Club.

The social club was formed during the last war to provide a meeting place for members of His Majesty’s Forces stationed in Dewsbury and the surrounding districts.

The certificate was presented to a lady called Mrs Laycock for splendid service at the social centre, probably when it closed down after the war in 1946.

Mrs Laycock and many other lady volunteers like her helped to organise weekly dances and social events at the centre for the soldiers, and provided countless cups of tea, cakes and sandwiches for them throughout the war.

Throughout the war years more than 150,000 visitors enjoyed the club’s hospitality and 170,000 cups of tea were served – obviously some visitors had more than one cup!

I am sure members of Mrs Laycock’s family would love to keep this photograph.

These photographs are an important part of our history, and although the original photographs may never reach their owners, copies of them will remain in the Reporter archives for many years to come. I hope in the future to write a fuller article about the Moot Hall, its history and its demise, which I recall took place while I was a young reporter in the late 1950s, and I remember the outcry it caused.

It was built around 700 years ago and was regarded as Dewsbury’s first town hall because the present town hall hadn’t been built, and most of the town’s meetings were held there. Also in the 13th century it was the place where the manor courts took place.

Since then it had many uses and over the years fell into decline, but it was restored to its former glory in 1910, and for many years after was put to good use as both a meeting place and a social centre.

When it was demolished, like so many other buildings, promises were made by the council that it would be rebuilt elsewhere, but it never was. I think we’ve all heard that one before!

If the owner of the certificate and the two other photographs contact us, we will make arrangements for their return. Please ring the Reporter newsdesk on 01924 468282. If you have any other information about them, please email Margaret Watson on tresham3@gmail.com.