Station Road, Lane End and Bridge Lane

 By Peter Burton, Holmfirth Local History Group

This us the upper part of Station Road following on from the Towngate to Station Road page.

This is part of the 1904 Ordnance Survey map showing Station Road by name. This road was part of an ancient route through the Holme Valley.

Bridge Lane is to the left and crosses the river Holme. Continuing the line of Bridge Lane across Station Road is Back Lane.

The Holmfirth Railway Station that gave Station Road its name was built in 1850 but the name Station Road doesn’t become used in the official census records until 1901.

From 1871 the road was known as ‘Lane End’, which stretched from the Almshouses, behind the camera, to the junction of Bridge Lane, just beyond the station.
This picture was taken by Andrew Sanderson of Holmfirth in the 1980s. The building with the tall chimneys at the end of the wall was originally the station-master’s house. Notice, no cars…

…unlike today.

There are very few images of Holmfirth from the mid 19thCentury. This engraving was made at the time of the 1852 Bilberry flood and sold for 2s/6d to raise funds to help the survivors of the flood (about £150 in today’s money) . The image, although odd in its perspective, does seem to show details of Holmfirth with reasonable accuracy.

This detail of the station compares well with the surviving station building (the station-master’s house) we know today. The train would have been similar to those which brought the disaster tourists who flocked to Holmfirth immediately after the flood.

Note the four storey building, the newly built Victoria Hotel to which we will return later.

The large chapel in the foreground (no. 24 on the drawing) is the Wesleyan Chapel, now demolished. Note especially the three single storey cottages opposite the Hotel and the buildings behind, probably located on Station Road. The detached three storey one, may be the forerunner of the 3 storey building on the corner of Back Lane and Station Road (BB’s hair salon). There appears to be no other buildings along bridge lane until the houses at the bottom where the foundry is now.

This is the railway station, date unknown but clearly still in use at this time. The entrance to the station is behind the car.

Notice the large building at the left hand edge of the image. This was the Victoria Hotel.

Situated at Lane End the Victoria Hotel was built on the site of an earlier building known as the ‘Railway Inn’. This earlier inn was originally called the White Lion Inn until the arrival of the railway in 1850 when it was renamed the Railway Inn.

The new Victoria Hotel was to be larger and grander than anything previously known in Holmfirth and according to the invitation to tender for its construction was to be ‘nearly equal to the George in Huddersfield in magnificence of design’. In 1861 the hotel was the residence and offices of Abraham Hayley who was the landlord of the ‘Victoria tap’ a separate pub within the hotel as well as being a horse-drawn cab proprietor, no doubt collecting his passengers from the station next door.

OS map 1854 (surveyed 1850)
Wooldale township map 1836

The Victoria Hotel was certainly open by 1852 but when the OS map was published in 1854 the delay between survey (in 1850) and printing meant the old Inn was shown on this edition of the map called The Railway Inn. We can see the 1836 map has a large building on the same site – probably the White Lion Inn as there was no railway at this time.

This is another photo showing Victoria Hotel. Note the shops on Bridge Lane on the left of the photo.

The distant mill chimney was probably that of Bridge Mill.

In June 1928 the town’s telephone exchange was relocated into the two lower floors of the Hotel. Testing appliances, a battery room and charging plant, and the linesmen’s room were accommodated on the lower floor. A four-operator switchboard was installed on the upper floor together with also staff living quarters including a bedroom for the night operator.

After to closure of Holmfirth passenger station in 1959 (freight would continue for 6 more years) the hotel lost much of its trade. It closed down in October 1966 (the telephone exchange moved out the following year) and its demolition was undertaken in 1971.

The area around the junction is still called Lane End. This is Lane End today.

This three storey building on the corner of Station Road and Back Lane is BBs hair salon. The building may well be the one shown on the 1852 drawing shown earlier when it was detached from any other buildings.

OS map 1887
Lane End 1980s

Somewhere at this junction was situated a toll house (the T.P. on the 1850s OS map) for the turnpike road but it exact location isn’t known. The shop on the right is the same premises as BBs hair salon, this photo taken in the 1980s. By the time of the 1887 map some more commercial shop premises had been built opposite this building, at the top of Bridge Lane on the junction. We also know that a pub called the ‘Brown Cow’ was here at Lane End in 1851 but we don’t know exactly where.

This advert taken from a trade handbook shows Sykes Furniture shop in one of the buildings at Lane End/Bridge Lane. It tells us the business was founded in 1874 and this coincides with the building of this terrace so is probably an original trader on this site.

The appearance of the Bridge Lane shops is largely unchanged, at least from the time of the advert and probably from when they were first built.

These cottages next to the shops on Bridge Lane seem to have been built in the 1870s or 1880s. At least one head of family living here was an ‘Iron Worker’.

The Bridge Lane foundry is still using coal to fire the furnaces, and is one of the few iron foundries using traditional methods of sand casting to manufacture items such as rainwater downpipes, gutters, ornamental rainwater heads and fixings. These items are often used in the restoration of historic buildings where modern plastic fittings would not be appropriate.

The exact origin of the foundry isn’t clear. We know that a number of foundry workers were living on Bridge Lane in the 1871 census suggesting a nearby workplace so the foundry could have been in operation at this date. The current company, J & JW Longbottom Ltd., have been at the Bridge Lane foundry since c.1940