David Kirkley, Keighley’s gentlemanly historian

It was with great sadness that staff at Keighley Library heard of the recent death of David Kirkley. David had not only become a major contributor to Heritage Days and Keighley local history but also a friend to the library staff.

David was the other half of the Schools’ Heritage Group, together with Jan Rotheram. This was set up a few years ago and ever since, their wonderful photograph collection has provided a source of displays for Heritage Days and other events held in Keighley Library, in particular the Local Studies Library on the first floor. These displays always won a brilliant reception from locals, as families and friends pointed out their old school selves or others they recognised and reminisced about the “best days” of their lives. In 2022, David had put on another great display for us of local school sport photographs to accompany a talk on Keighley and football in the 1950s by Mike Halliwell.

Before Covid, David came at least once a week to Local Studies for a catch up with other locals, equally enthusiastic about Keighley’s history and we learned a lot from them and their projects in our turn.  David supported this historic library in both word and deed and was amongst the first to support the wonderful musical heritage events. We, the staff, always enjoyed chatting to him, he was a knowledgeable, reliable, kind and helpful gentleman and we shall all miss him very much indeed. We are not surprised that in other areas of his life such as the Cougars’ rugby club, he was held in such high regard, a local legend indeed.

Keighley Local Studies staff.

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