Interviews with Silsden Folk

Former Funeral Director Loves History

Barbara Hetherington

She’s shall we say despatched alot of Silsden folk during her career. For the bereaved though, this former funeral director, would have been a calming influence for them. She is a lover of history and helps people in her role as Secretary of the Local History Group to find ancestors from Silsden.

For the mathematicians amongst you, can you work out her age? Barbara gives some clues in the interview. My guess, 45?

An Email Invite Prompted Her to Come to the Open Day

Liz Barker

Liz Barker hails from the insurance capital of the World, Hartford in Connecticut, USA. She runs the Aire Valley Magazine that is put through lots of Silsden household doors.

Liz has a grown family and was especially complementary about the energy being created by Silsden Town Hall.

They’ve Sold Lots of Newspapers in Silsden

John & Shirley Twigg

John and Shirley Twigg have sold a boat load of newspapers in Silsden. Their nephew Martin runs the shop nowadays. In his time, John was on the Parish Council. 

Now retired, both John and Shirley were born pretty close to each other in Ingrow and Fell Lane respectively. 

She Organised Silsden’s First Jigsaw Festival

Wendy Neville

Wendy Neville organised the first Jigsaw Festival at Silsden Town Hall. She and her magnificent volunteers did an amazing job and a lot of money was raised for the Friends of Silsden Town Hall.

This would have been a video, but some clot didn’t press the record button!

He Likes to Play Chess at the Town Hall

Benji Grundy

Benji Grundy is just 14. He’s home schooled and likes the freedom that provides to get school work done.

He’s a charming young man. Despite playing against more seasoned chess players, who probably knew the game better, he demonstrated commitment and persistence. A credit to his parents.

He Came to Silsden Town Hall as a Lad

John Grogan MP

John Grogan has affection for Silsden Town Hall. He saw former MP Bob Cryer at his celebration following a narrow electoral victory with just a 78 vote majority. He thinks it is very important that Silsden Town Council are based, once again, at the Town Hall.

He notes the history of the Town Hall and spoke of his faith in democracy.

Folk Think They’re Nosy, But They’re Not

Eric Waddington

By widespread acclaim Eric Waddington made the best Fish and Chips in Silsden.

Eric is also behind the new Bridge Club at the Silsden Town Hall.

Always look on the brightside and dont worry about silly, trivial things. Get a trade! Those are Eric’s wise words of wisdom!

Silsden “Twinned With Heaven” 

Mary Waddington

It was through Paul, Eric and Mary, came to Silsden. They were Showmen, but when Paul came along they gave up the fairground. 

Mary tells us about the runaway car which ended up in Mary’s shop!

Advice for people: Join in with things going on in Silsden.

I Met My Husband Here At The Town Hall

Pat Atkinson

Pat Atkinson was born in Silsden. She met her husband at the Town Hall. At a Golf Club dance.

What was about her husband that she liked! She’s been married since the age of 18. That make’s 60 years married to Geoff!

She had tomato soup and an egg sandwich at the Over 75s lunch. If you ask me Pat’s memory has improved quite a lot since she unfortunately suffered a stroke.

Pat worked in the civil service and up at Airedale Factors.

It’s Always Been the Focal Point of the Town 

Geoff Atkinson

Geoff says Silsden has outgrown itself since he wa a lad when there were just 4,000 people living in Silsden. Is it for the better?

Advice for the young people. For them, its a different life. TV, mobiles, computers. Are they a happy breed?

When Geoff met Pat 60 years back, he’d been in the Punch and had built up his nerve to speak to Pat. They went to the pictures the next evening, he thinks it was the musical Student Prince with Mario Lanza. (And he wasn’t on the back row, or so he claims!).


Remembers the Hindenburg Flying Over Silsden

Peter Summersgill

Peter was born in 1930. Born at No 1 Chapel Lane. The house is no longer there, Peter went to Elliott Street School.

He remembers the Hindenburg flying over Silsden, which was May 1936, barely a year before the great Hindenburg Disaster.

Peter recalls bombs being dropped on the moors around Silsden in the war. They were short of food and he didn’t like the cheese and margerine they rationed! But he and others like him got through it.

People who lived going through the war learnt how to cut their cloth. Is this the reason we have so many people in fine fettle at the Over 75s Luncheons?

Peter recalls Friday and Saturday night dances in the 40s and 50s. Should we bring it back?

Spent a Lifetime at the Crease 

Cameron Wilson

Cameron has lived in Silsden all his life. He thinks since power went to Bradford, things have been less good for Silsden. He’s 90 on November 10th, 2018.

Cameron was a member of Silsden Cricket Club from 15 to 50. He was a right handed all-rounder. At 50, he went playing golf.

Cameron laments the lack of involvement of young people with cricket. It’s a good move being involved in cricket. Friends for life and a lot of enjoyment. 


He Went Home For a Wedding, When He Came Back His Job Had Moved to Manchester!

Bill Kelly

Bill Kelly was born in Clydebank, Glasgow. But, with over 70 years living locally, I think we can grant him the status as a Cobbydaler (can’t we?).

Bill worked at a Swiss firm. Bill and his friend got a job with them. He had to return for a wedding. Should have been a weekend. He took 3 weeks and the firm had moved! His mate told him they’d moved to Manchester. He didn’t and got another job locally.

Bill met his wife in Silsden Town Hall. At a dance. Bill’s wife is from Sligo. Bill played football for Silsden as a right half and right wing.

Bill doesn’t give too much advice, but he says live in peace. Love not war.



Both These Ladies Ran Businesses in Silsden

Beryl Southwell and Mary Brook


Both Beryl and Mary were born in Steeton, but try not to hold that against them.

“Flattery will get you everywhere”, says Beryl Southwell. She looked at treat. She had a shop at the end of Briggate. Beryl is a soap opera star too!

These ladies re-wrote the interview rules. Never happens to Graham Norton.

Mary Brook and her husband ran Brooks clothing shop in Silsden.  Mary had 3 daughters. Hillary, Fiona and Caroline are her daughters. Beryl had 2 daughters.

They both went dancing at the Town Hall. The dances around Christmas time.

What’s Your Story?

Record Your Memories

Whatever your age, whatever your experience of Silsden, the Friends of Silsden Town Hall are interested in capturing your thoughts of Silsden. And if they involve the Town Hall, well that’s a bonus! If you’d like to record your memories, either with us asking the questions or just you speaking in front of a camera and you send us the recording, then let us know on the contact form and we’ll arrange things to get you on this website! Stardom awaits 🙂

Record My Memories!

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