Brothers unearth century-old documents

BROTHERS Dean and Scott Watson got more than they bargained for when clearing out the attic of their new flat in Cleckheaton.

The pair ventured into the attic of the flat in Westgate because they planned to convert it into extra living space.

But when they began sorting through the rubbish left behind by previous occupants they came across piles of old invoices, bills, cheque book stubs and architects' drawings dating back 100 years.

Among the treasure trove were drawings of the heating plan for the old Westgate Congregational Chapel, bills and letters from 1909 concerning the Heckmondwike New School (Cawley Lane), plans for Moorend WMC dated 1910, plumbing for the new offices at Warings tripe works, and even a tender for a skating rink at Millbridge in 1909!

The documents have laid untouched for decades and were covered in dust, but the brothers are sure they will be of great interest to someone.

From what they can gather their flat used to be the premises of Bentley's Plumbers, to whom most of the invoices, bills and letters are addressed.

There is also correspondence from B Roberts Tin and Iron Plate Workers in Westgate which has a drawing of their premises on the letterhead - though it does not say exactly where on Westgate it was.

In addition there are countless copies of The Contractor trade magazine which sold for 2d back in 1910.

The plans for Moorend WMC - now the Ex-Servicemen's Club - show a concert room, billiard room, reading room and committee room on the ground floor and the living quarters and heating chamber in the basement.

The brothers have also found timesheets submitted by Bentley's employees. They show that in 1905 a Frank Stott earned just 1 13/- 3d for a marathon 57-hour week.

Dean, 32, said: "We don't know how long it's been there - probably since 1910. It was a bit of a shock finding it all. It was just lying all over the floor buried under all sorts of stuff."

Scott, 27, added: "We're really interested in local history and would just like to know if anyone can shed any light on it, or if there are any descendants of the Bentley family still around who might be interested in it."

The find has already proved to be of interest to Cawley Lane school which is celebrating its centenary next year.

Headteacher Richard Ovenden said they were looking for items of memorabilia such as this to help mark the special anniversary.

"It's an important date in our history and we want to make contact with families who have used the school's facilities over the last 100 years," he said.

"If people have memories, photographs or other memorabilia we'd love to hear from them for a public exhibition we're planning."

Anyone who can help the school can contact Mr Ovenden on 01924 325690.

* Anyone with other information - particularly regarding the skating rink at Millbridge - can contact the Spenborough Guardian on 01274 874635.