Brookfoot

BROOKFOOT

For many Brookfoot is just another one of those northern villages that you pass through without even noticing it, even when you have passed through this small village with a sharp hairpin bend that if you are driving you most likely was paying attention to the road, although you may have just noticed a pub and some industrial units along with a couple of car sales pitches.

 Many years ago you used to leave Brighouse town centre via Briggate along the side of the old Astoria Building a row of shops which brought you to the A6025 Elland Road (currently closed due to subsidence near to the Knowles Pipe works May 2020), although now you climb up the A643 Lüdenscheid Link past the Bus Station to the small roundabout at the top of the rise with John King off to the right and left to Brighouse town centre as well as the Bridge End of Rastrick (although the River Calder Bridge is currently closed to traffic May 2020) if you was to go straight across at the small roundabout in to the A6025 Elland Road follow the road along with an recent constructed high retaining wall on the right side of the road which is holding up the steep John King bank to avoid any land slip that could be a disasters for the rows of houses and former Leach’s Photo & Postcard works up the banking, if you look to your left you may see the river and canal making its way from Elland before it approaches Brighouse town centre.

As you travel along a slight incline on Elland Road before reaching a slight bend on this brow as it starts to descends down a steeper part of the road, with the former Brookfoot Co-op on your right at the corner with ‘Brighouse Wood Lane’ which was a former cobbled steep hill and short cut to the ‘Lane Head Area’ if you drove up the hill a bit fast the car would shake in the cobbles that anything you had on your dashboard would slide off on to the cars floor, opposite the bottom of the lane was a quant small bus shelter next to a small ‘Fish & Chip shop’ that served some of the best fish & chips in Brighouse, (where has all the Brighouse Chippies Gone?).

(For a short time as a teenager I worked for a firm in Brighouse and every Friday the workers (around 30) would have Fish & Chips, a friend of mine worked at the nearby Kosset Carpets and he told me that at this fish shop they gave the errand boys ½d commission on every 1/- spent (one half of an old penny (today equal to one fifth of a new of penny) commission in every old shilling spent (today equal to 5p spent)) so I used to volunteer to fetch them I borrowed a bike and cycled to Brookfoot instead of getting them from Wendy’s in Brighouse and the commission paid for my own Fish & Chips).

Any way as we pass the Bus Shelter and Fish Shop a bit lower on the left and on the notorious hair pin bend was the ‘Red Rooster Pub’ formerly ‘The Wharf Inn’ sadly now closed, at the side of this pub used to be a coal depot which at the time was one of many scattered along the side of canals and they used to have concrete hoppers that stored the coal in these hopper before the local coal men bagged the coal for delivery to local houses and business’s originally with horse and carts, the family of Johnsons worked out of here and also lived up Churchfield Road where they has a store for coal and homemade Coal Bricks made out of coal dust and cement, with some locals calling for a small amount of coal, the Johnsons would weigh out the required amount before sliding it in to the customers shopping bag.

The Johnsons and their sons later turned the old coal yard at Brookfoot in to a car scrap yard, on the other side of Elland Road across from the Red Rooster is now a small type of industrial estate although many years ago it was the site for the famous ‘BDA’ Bradford Dyers Association, they were another large employers in the Brighouse and surrounding areas, at the side of their factory was the fast flowing Red Beck which the BDA used for cleaning and dyeing as it flowed from Southowram Bank passing the BDA and through Brookfoot in to the River Calder via the Canal.

If we continue towards Elland there is the notorious Southowram Bank or Brookfoot Lane to give it its correct name although most locals call it Bank or Hill referring to its elevated structure where several cars and wagons have lost control or traction in both directions as they tried to ascend or descend this hill several including a bus which has even fallen over the walls edge in to Elland Road over the years.

A bit further towards Elland is the former Kosset Carpet Factory now more industrial type units although the main old mill still stands and I have been informed is now occupied by several different companies, the famous Kosset Carpets was one of the first carpet companies to use TV as a media to advertise their carpets with a famous fluffy cat as their main star, this was again a sad day when this large employer closed its doors, some friends of mine who lived in Elland and worked at the mill managed to get jobs at Dean Clough Halifax the home of Crossley Carpets but again this carpet mill stopped making the famous Crossley Carpets a few years later in 1983.

There is also a fishing lake in the entrance to this former carpet mill lane, if you travel further along Elland Road it brings you to one of the most reputed and alleged legal tussles with planning approval ‘The Casa Hotel’ (formerly The Grove Motel) which is at the side of the Elland Road with a massive extension overlooking the former ‘sand and gravel quarries of Elliot’s Sand, Gravel & Ready Mixed Concrete Suppliers’. This large extension has been in the news for a number of years where it is alleged did not conform to planning approval and so it stands empty, although the rest of the hotel still operates as normal and remains very popular especially for weddings.

One former owner had race horses stabled below the Grove Motel and had quite a few famous winners. Travelling along Elland Road along the Cromwell Bottom Area is a lay-by where you can watch the water skiing on the former quarry site, further along is the former Cromwell farm and former Cromwell Filling Station with the wildlife centre behind this area, part using the former Council Refuse tip and quarry areas.

A bit further along is the former Cromwell Hall now apartments followed by the famous Knowles Clay Chimney Pot & Pipe Makers who now use a former pub the Rawson Arms as their offices, further along you enter the Elland Boundary with the Crematorium off to the right, although this part of the Elland Road is currently closed due to land slide and cracks it may be closed for up to 12 months May 2020.

A reflection on Brookfoot which has a mixture of Victorian and Edwardian Traditional houses with several larger properties, (but unlike many of its neighbouring villages does not seem to have a never ending stream of new developments) some former farming and mining areas, with several mixed industrial units one drinking establishment but not a single shop or take-away? Part of the village tends to give a rather scruffy or untidy first appearance that may be due to conflicting boundaries of properties although most residents you talk with tend to remain and like this village life?