Can you help identify these vanished Dewsbury streets?
Last week I wrote about the disappearing streets of Dewsbury and referred to a collection of photographs I had been given showing other areas of Dewsbury as they used to be.
Unfortunately I cannot say exactly where these photographs were taken or by whom because I do not have that information, so I hope readers may be able to help.
The photographs belonged to a lady whose husband worked for the old Dewsbury council many years ago, and some of them I know were taken in the 1930s and 40s before slum clearance took place on a large scale.
One picture I can identify shows Eightlands Road on The Flatts because it is sign-posted, but I don’t know which end of Eightlands Road it is.
If you get out your magnifying glass you can see a sign on the wall for Dr Fitton’s surgery, so I am hoping that former patients may recognise it and let me know exactly where it was.
A lot of lovely fine houses in the Eightlands area were demolished during slum clearance in the 1960s, but I believe some of them were saved.
Many stars appearing at the Empire Theatre used to stay in such houses, including the parents of film star Julie Andrews.
Local butcher Keith Cross, who lived in Eightlands Road, remembers Julie as a little girl playing hop scotch in the street with his sister Wendy.
He remembers other stars also staying at boarding houses on the Eightlands, including Valentine Dyall, who stayed at the house next door to his.
Valentine Dyall was a famous star of the 1940s, well-known for his portrayal of the radio series – The Man in Black.
Keith remembers Julie Andrews attending local schools and befriending local children while her parents were appearing at the Empire.
Looking at the picture of the ivy-clad detached house on this page makes me wonder if this house could also have been in Eightlands Road, and whether it could it have been one of the houses at which famous stars once stayed.
The main picture on this page, could have been taken in Batley Carr, but I might be wrong. The only reason I think it could be this part of Dewsbury is because of the sign on the buildings on the left.
Again, if you take out your magnifying glass, you will read the office sign for a company called Speights.
The only Speights I knew locally owned a firm which made lampshades, and their workshop was in Batley Carr. Could this have been the same Speights who later moved to Mirfield?
If my memory serves me well, the Speight family I knew went to the same church as me, St Joseph’s in Batley Carr, and that is all I can remember about them. I am sure there will be readers who lived in that part of Batley Carr who will be able to put me right about this – or wrong as the case may be.
Dewsbury has changed at such a pace since I was a child, it is getting increasingly difficult to recognise where places once were.
I spend hours looking at these images and trying to work out where they could have been and some of them I feel an emotional attachment to. I don’t know why but I sense that I have travelled at some time on these streets. This is why I am keen to know where they were.
But I think the only people who can tell me exactly where they were are those people who once lived there.
So I ask readers looking at these photographs to ask themselves – is this the street where I once lived? If it was, please let me know by ringing 01924 468282 or emailing me via [email protected]
Between us we may be able to solve the mystery, thus adding a little more to Dewsbury’s historic past.