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A pictorial history of New Park - Part Two - Social

25th May 2021

Via Zoom

On 25th May, we enjoyed Part 2 of Terry William’s history of New Park. Whereas Part 1 had concentrated on the industrial development of this part of the town this talk focused on the people, personalities and key families. The presentation opened with a 1904 photograph of the headmaster of the school – Mr Manson with a class of 44 children. On the back row was a boy from the Lupton family, who owned a ‘high class' grocer’s store on Skipton Road, were members of the Wesleyan Methodist Society and supported the school. Another family of note in the area were the Skepper’s who ran the post office. On the site of this building there is now a memorial garden to Donald Skepper, sub postmaster, who in 1974 was tragically murdered by the Black Panther. Terry paid tribute to the Skepper family, who have been very helpful in providing historical information and in particular a copy of the Lupton diary, for the New Park Heritage Centre. In its heydays, New Park had 52 amenities, including a large school, chapels, grocers, post office, corner shop, Addyman’s butchers, Pratt’s garage, a chiropodist, laundry and even a women’s football team. We also learnt of two famous people associated with the area: the cricketer Maurice Leyland (who grew up on Quarry Lane) and Barbara Taylor Bradford. The sense of community spirit was clear in the images of carnivals, coronation celebrations and a May Queen float.

New Park was a hard-working community in the early 1930s when the photo shown above was taken at the New Park gala. Generations of these families remained in New Park, but when one of the ladies moved north later on, she was presented with a tablecloth etched with 174 signatures as a token of the community spirit which prevailed. That tablecloth will be on display in the New Park Heritage Centre.

Photo acknowledgement: the Cracknell family archive.