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The Probus Club of Meltham - Meeting 10 May 2017

10 May 2017

Meltham circa 1950

Brian Smith

Brian gave an interesting talk that engaged the members.

He began by highlighting some of the events of the 1950s to set the scene - Cockerell and the hovercraft, Hoyle and the Continuous Creation of the Universe, HMS Truculent in the Thames, the end of petrol rationing, the first Farnborough Air Show, The Archers first broadcast, SNP stealing the Stone of Scone, the creation of the Peak District as the first national park, etc.

In the 1950s, the population of Meltham stood at about 5,000. The present day it is 15,000, so there have been many changes between then and now.

Meltham had its own Urban District Council and was part of the West Riding County Council. Most homes were heated by coal brought from Huddersfield by train, with a coking plant on Mean Lane providing gas.

There were two companies providing bus services - Huddersfield Corporation and Hansons. It is said that ladies in the later stages of pregnancy would travel on Hanson buses to speed things along. There was an hourly bus service between Holmfirth and either Marsden or Slaithwaite

The major employers were the textile mills dotted along the various water courses. Alternatives were the brick works making brick for kilns, or David Brown Tractors which were starting to grow from 500 employes to a peak of over 3,000.

Brian then began describing the housing and shops along first Homfirth Road then Wessenden Head Road. At each shop mentioned there were comments from the members - expanding on the names of the shop owners, adding shops that Brian had forgotten. He ran out of time to complete his picture of Meltham but has promised to come back later to do so.

A much enjoyed "conversation" that brought back many memories for many members.

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