Fairground attraction in Cleckheaton

History has a habit of repeating itself as a delve into the Guardian archives has revealed this week.

Thursday, 21st November 2013, 6:00 am
The Christmas car designed by Carol Kirkham.
The Christmas car designed by Carol Kirkham.

The cast members of Carousel are busy putting the final touches to their 2013 performance at the town hall in Cleckheaton later this month.

And 50 years ago, they were doing exactly the same thing!

The performance by Spen Amateurs in 1963, which tells the story of fairground worker Billy Bigelow and his sweetheart Julie Jordan, certainly wowed the reviewer from the Guardian who praised the “gay, colourful and tuneful” entertainment.

The cast of Spen Amateurs' production Carousel in 1963.

It played to capacity audiences, and was the society’s 38th production in its 46 year history. Since its formation in 1917, the society had only ever missed the years of 1939-45 because of the Second World War.

The 2013 production of Carousel runs from November 26-30 at Cleckheaton town hall. For tickets call 01274 877828, or book through the town hall.

Fifty years ago, pupils at Heckmondwike County Secondary School were getting into the festive spirit, thanks to their head girl.

Fifteen-year-old Carol Kirkham had won a school competition to design a Christmas card which would go into production and be sold for school funds.

The Charrington Hargreaves oil depot in Liversedge.

Carol’s design showed the school badge in black and blue against an evergreen background and Father Christmas at the front. The three houses belonging to the school were also depicted – York (yellow), Ripon (red) and Richmond (blue).

Despite her obvious talent, Carol said she had no ambitions to follow an artistic career, and was intent on joining the police force.

The cards were on sale for 6d each or six for half a crown.

Back in 1963, Spen’s railways were still running, and this photograph shows the new rail-served oil distribution depot which was build by Charrington Hargreaves Ltd at Liversedge.

It also shows the first trains of the specially constructed tank wagons arriving from the Mobile Oil Company’s terminal at Ellesmere Port.

The loaded train travelled overnight from Ellesmere Port in Cheshire, and after discharging in Liversedge, returned to the terminal the following day.

The distribution centre in Liversedge was built on land leased by British Railways.

The track which is visible in the photograph is now the Spen Valley Ringway, and the Thornleigh Drive housing estate off Leeds Road now occupies the former Charrington Hargreaves site.