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Report - Miscellaneous, Keighley - Spring 2013


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Miscellaneous, Keighley - Spring 2013

You could be forgiven for thinking that the once impressive Dalton Mills was all this small town had to offer. Naturally, it's not the sort of place that will provide you with a lifetime of exploring potential. Nor will it deliver the coolest or most epic pieces of infrastructure and industry to get lost in. However, given three months of residing in this sleepy, multicultural community I have still managed to get out a fair few times with the camera.

Dalton Mills

Visited with drhowser and Jane D'oh!

I had never been to Dalton Mills before recently, and being as Sho had said I should almost 2 years ago when we met in Chernobyl, I've really got no idea why I hadn't made the effort to see it sooner. The features of note are the iron columns on the work-floors and the curiously concealed old workshop that hides on the lowest floor - which I am assured used to have all that caught-in-time wow factor we so crave. Mills always retain a bit of charm though, no matter how worse-for-wear they become.

Developed in 1870s by J and J Craven Worsted Spinners and Manufacturers, Dalton Mills has that dark, satanic mill feel about it. It was built by Joseph Craven in 1869, replacing an older mill, and was named Dalton Mills after a mill manager. John Craven, the great-great grandson of founder Joseph, sold it to the developers Magna Holdings in 2004 after it had been almost empty for a decade. It has also been used in television dramas and a couple of films in recent years.









North Beck Culvert

Visited with drhowser

I'd accompanied drhowser to the post office a few weeks previous, and he showed me where a section of the nearby North Beck becomes culverted. We made plans to dons our waders and return to check it out.

Now, I'm not really used to all these drain naming antics, and it's always struck me as a being a bit of a daft convention, as no doubt countless people have traipsed through here before us. However, purely from the pool of take-photos-in-drains-and-post-on-internet community, we could not find a record of any previous visits, so here goes...

Howser was feeling rather terrible this particular day, and upon entering the drain noticed an abundance of hypodermic needles, which I don't believe made him feel any brighter... so, in honour of the real finders of this culvert, Howser nicknamed this one 'Pharmacy'. There is a section further downstream where the beck flows into the River Worth, but it was so stoopy it really didn't seem WORTH it... *sigh*

The beck used to meander through the back gardens and orchards of old, ramshackle Victorian housing and toward the end of the 1800s would have been rather scenic I should've thought. However, with the influx of millworkers, conditions became worse, and this corner of Keighley became a bit of a slum - overcrowded and squalid. The river bed had risen considerably due to the dumping of rubbish. The Westgate area went under a massive clearance in the 1960s, including the covering of the North Beck, the building of the Westgate flats and multi-storey car park and the demolition of the Quebec Bridge.





Thwaites Gasometers

Visited with drhowser

Howser and I had finished late one evening working locally, and whilst both of us were dressed in our respective work clothes, we drove round to have a little recce of two the gasometers in the Thwaites district of Keighley. The snow had been falling, and to our surprise, it looked like closing the gates that evening was a bit too much of a struggle against the snow for the guy who last locked up. We were granted immediate access. As Howser darted to sit on the drum of the newer, larger, safer looking gasometer... I scaled the ladders in an attempt to take a handheld picture in the freeeezing cold of the older one... I managed one not-so-shaky effort before my fingers felt like they were going to drop off.

The Keighley Local Board of Health were in charge of Keighley's gas supply when it moved here around the 1870s. Formerly based at Low Bridge works, it was forced to relocate to Thwaites when the railway company purchased the Low Bridge site. The Board celebrated by eating a five-course meal including a pig's head at the Devonshire Arms.



Ghosiyah Mosque

Visited solo

Anyone who has visited the Metropolitan Borough of Bradford will no doubt be aware that any Keighley Miscellany would not be complete without a healthy slab of Islam.

I clocked this yet-to-be-completed Mosque in the car with drhowser. "Oh, that's been like that for years", he informed me. I'm not sure why, but it's never really crossed my mind to rooftop a mosque, despite their picturesque domes and minarets. Maybe instead of the far more exciting-sounding Year of the Power Station, perhaps a fitting rival for 2013 could be Year of the Religious Building. Err, maybe not.



Harden Moor Quarry

Visited with Jane D'oh!

This one I'd actually seen before on the fabulous resource that is 28dayslater and whilst hiking around the surrounding hills of Keighley, we nipped over the fence to have a look around. Fully assuming the quarry was disused, we marched about like we owned the place for maybe half an hour. Until that is, I turned around after taking a picture in one of the sheds to see an old dude working on a vehicle not 3 yards beside me. I thought, rather than try and sneak out, I should probably just say a quick hello, ask a few questions and politely walk off site.

"We thought it was disused"
"Does it look disused to you!?!?"
"Erm, yeah. Kinda."

Once he'd sussed we were no immediate threat, he was alright. He tutted a fair bit, but we reassured him that we'd be buggering off now, and he wished us a good day and let us escort ourselves off the premises.




North Street Rooftops

Visited with Millhouse

Millhouse had to come to visit me one evening to see how I was settling in to the new pad. In truth, our ambitions for the night were simply to have a right, royal knees up... which we inevitably did... problem being, we then decided to go for a walk.

Carnegie Free Library

Ever the fan of a good cupola, I'd spotted this beauty atop the local library building along with a pretty easy route to get to it. On our little walk, we skipped up to have a look.

I once had a conversation with Millhouse regarding the romance of climbing and navigating small rooftops - as opposed to the door/lift/hatch approach to rooftopping skyscrapers - to which his response of "Nah, f*ck that man!" shot me down like a lead balloon at the time. But without his camera and full to the brim of intoxicants, I think he actually quite enjoyed the scramble... if he remembers it, that is.

The town's central library was the first Carnegie library in England opened in 1904 with a grant of £10,000 from Andrew Carnegie.



Arcade Buildings

Having whetted Millhouse's appetite for the art of 'buildering', our next ill-advised climb involved simply walking up a vertical wall - shimmying up a single scaffold pole to hoist our bodies up to a lower roof. We both admitted later that about halfway up the ascent we wondered what on Earth we were doing attempting this in our inebriated state. Not being a very user-friendly roof, we soon got back down and went to bed/passed out.

The Arcade Buildings are Grade II listed, and feature some ornate stone carvings adorning the exterior by Keighley stonemason, Alex Smith. His work included the entrance to Keighley Public Library.



Absolutely massive shout out to the man, the myth, the legend that is Dr H...


:Not Worthy


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