Play resumes for Keighley Library’s Heritage Day

The first Heritage Day in Keighley Library was held on Saturday 10th September. Everyone seemed shocked at the sad news of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the general mood felt was that by holding and attending the event, we were following an example set for 70 years of continued service even in difficult times.

For Keighley Library, Keighley Local Studies in particular, the day had some important successes, in large part because this was the first “Heritage Day” of events held at the library since Covid and in fact it became clear as the day progressed that we had achieved a return to the popularity enjoyed pre Covid, a popularity that we hope to build on and increase into the future.

All the heritage stands reported busy times during the day. Colin Neville from Not Just Hockney, who has another new book out on popular local artist Joseph Pighills, had interest as well as sales.

Airedale and Wharfedale Family History Society were very happy with their reception and one fortunate member of the public even had a large portion of their own family tree discovered.

Keighley & District Local History Society had several displays covering trams, the train and bus stations, pubs, historic buildings and businesses. They also created some items honouring Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Staffed by Joyce and Melissa, the day is reported to have been amongst the most successful yet, with plenty of interest and several people making offers of donations and assistance.

As ever, the Queen’s Award winning Men of Worth volunteer project, that is at the forefront of digital archiving, reported movingly of families seeing photographs of grandparents who had served in the wars for the very first time.

The Patients’ Register was on display from Keighley’s War Hospital at Morton and volunteers have been busily transcribing and digitising their fragile pages. Please come into the library to see the book and further information on this project on Keighley Library’s ground floor.

Andy Wade and Ian Walkden of MoW reported a great turnout and were busy for most of the day. Their volunteers have now been researching service women in the wars for some time and there were some interesting biographies on display, with an appeal for any further details of women in Keighley and the Worth Valley area who served. We hope to write further pieces on the Men of Worth and about some new projects that they are pursuing in October as we come up to Remembrance Day. Thanks to their volunteers Kat Hyde and Laura Goodchild.

Ex professional footballer, Keighley’s own Mike Hellawell’s talk had received a red card before it even started by having to be suddenly sent off the Local Studies’ pitch to be relocated to the Lending library area on the ground floor due to a broken lift. Inconvenience of seating rearrangements and some noise aside, the event went very well with an audience of over 100 people who, despite the changes, managed to enjoy the afternoon. Mike’s question and answer session at the end was particularly lively as Mike had been a popular local cricket player as well as footballer and had also run his own grocery shop in Keighley. There were a lot of questions and funny banter from Mike’s contemporaries and friends in the audience that gave us a glimpse of Keighley and local society in the past.

The sense of Keighley in the late 20th century was enhanced by David Kirkley’s very popular (even days after) photograph display of some local schools’ sports teams of the past and by the library’s own displays of Keighley in the 1950s, Keighley Galas in the Past and of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s coronation times.

The refreshments and a Spot the Ball competition managed to raise £65 for Keighley’s Lord Mayor’s charity Dementia Keighley. Thanks must go again to the Keighley Lions for the competition prize and to Morrisons’ Supermarket for their kind donation of refreshments to the Friends of Keighley Library who manned the tea and coffee pots with their usual professional calm and efficiency. A big thank you to Julie Evans and Lynn Hibbert for that and also to Denise Wilson for collecting for Dementia Keighley.

Keighley Library staff can now look forward again hopefully, to even more successful Heritage Days. Thanks to all for coming at a difficult time. Please come again next year. We shall leave you with some more thanks again to local star Mike Hellawell written in our Visitors’ Book and echoed by all the library staff.

“Really enjoyable, and a pleasure to meet a local international footballer! ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone!’” Shaun Roberts

“Great stuff from Mike about the old days. Lots of fun.” Jean Mitchell

“Fabulous talk. Very entertaining! Catherine Kelly

“In the same room as a legend.” M. Hibbert, Burnley Fan since 1962

“Let’s have lots more of these talks and bring back the music sessions, we all loved.” Mrs Prett

“A popular speaker with lots of friends in Keighley.” Ronnie

Keighley Local Studies

Friends of Keighley Library     

Keighley Lions                          

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