SPEN VALLEY – Local History

I do have a decent collection of Spen Valley, and Yorkshire, local history books. Because they are so difficult to get hold of I have been reluctant to list them so I have decided to compile a reading list and to mention when I have copies for sale.

Images of England SPEN VALLEY compiled by Norman Ellis

First printed in 2001 by Tempus 23cm X 16cm a 128 page soft cover book with two illustrations per page and accompanying text. Obviously as the images of the title are photographs the history it covers are mainly from 20th century. Though it is crammed full of photographs, many of which I have not seen in any other publications, there are copious notes that add much to the illustrations. A well put together addition to any Spen Valley collection.
I currently have a very good reprint for sale for £10.00

THE CLECKHEATON BRANCH – Mirfield – Heckmondwike – Low Moor

Branchlines of the L & Y R No. 4 Author : Dilnot, John Publication Year : 1986 publisher : L&Y Railway Society Binding : paperback 33pp, photographs, drawings, diagrams, map, track plans, tables.

I have one copy for sale for £12.50

A History of Hartshead by Mabel Ferrett

A 16-page booklet undated but well-illustrated with line drawings. A good very brief, but comprehensive local history start. I have a copy available for £2.50

History of the SPEN VALLEY 1780 – 1980 – Douglas Hird

Hird Douglas - History of the Spen Valley

An essential book for any Spen Valley collection. Published in 1985 written by Douglas Hird who spent 25 years as a reporter in the Spen Valley.  Up until being nine year old he attended Brighton Street Junior and Infants School, but moved out when his family emigrated (to Dewsbury).

The book is well illustrated and has an index. Overlaps a bit with Peel but brings us well into 20th century. Unlike Thompson, this is a very entertaining read (written by a journalist and not a Librarian, not that I have anything against librarians that is). It does have many interesting facts that you will not find elsewhere. Not as detailed as some of the SV personal memoirs, but in some way more entertaining for that.

It is getting much harder to find. I only have one copy for sale, at £30.00

SPEN VALLEY – Reading list

The SPEN VALLEY a local History by Thomas William Thompson

Published in 1925 it originally appeared in the Heckmondwike Herald in column format, the deal done was to not take payment for in cash, but the type should be used to publish a limited edition in book form. That is why the book has very wide margins.
Thompson was the Librarian in Heckmondwike Library I don’t think he had any formal training as an Historian. The book is 355 pages long and usefully has an index but no illustrations. Overfull of lists of men, in some cases with questionable merit as to the reason for inclusion. The book for the most part looks to the History of the Spen Valley through the lens of the History of England with not a great deal of real “local” content, unless you count the lists of men.
I must admit I didn’t get off to a good start when he seemed to imply that prior to the Roman Conquest the Valley was inhabited by tribes of Hunter Gatherers, he seems to have missed the Bronze and Iron age altogether. I must excuse a lot of his opinions as writing in the 20’s the “Dark Ages” were still dark. He is very skimpy on two themes that are very much of Spen Valley History, the Luddites and Chartists.
Whatever my views, if you are seriously into Local History you need to read this book. If you are building a Spen Valley Book collection you need to own one.
I currently have a copy for sale for £45

SPEN VALLEY in old picture postcards by Gillian Cookson

Published by European Library, Netherlands written Gillian Cookson in 1988 this a 8”X6” hard back is much more than it says on the tin. Yes, it is based on 76 postcards, but each is backed up by research from a highly skilled professional historian who adds commentary to each card that is readable informative and interesting.

The Gate Hangs High – Mildred Coldwell

Published in 1987 by Kirklee s Council an account of her growing up in the Spen Valley between the Wars. Well written illustrated by Barbara Ellis.

The Brontes in the Spen Valley – Mabel Ferrett

Originally published as Shirley Country in 1973 revised in 1997 102 pages Illustrated by Stanley Chapman with an index. My irrational antipathy to the cult of the Brontes has prevented me from reading this but having read other works by Mabel I have no doubts about readability.

A Short History of Hartshead Church by Mabel Ferrett 1993

A 16 page booklet with line drawings £2.50

Christ Church Liversedge 1816 – 1966 (£2.50)

John Player Transatlantic 1977

Oulton Park Round 3 April 1977

Signed by Kenny Roberts, Phil Read, Dave Potter and Roger Marshall, pity they didn’t get Barry Sheane or Mick Grant. I only thought it interesting for the autographs.

With ten b&w photos I thought the Scarborough Gold Cup 1984 sponsored by Eddy Wright more interesting.

Both for sale for £1.00 (plus p&p)

COMICS – Batman – X-Force – X-Men – Excalibur – Robin – Spider Man

Robin II

Robin II four issues with holograms all as new £5.00 for all 4

Robin DC Comics 1991 (3 of 5) and (5 of 5) £1.00 each

Deadly Foes of Spider-Man Part 1 of 4 Vol1 #1 Marvel Comics 1991 £1.00

X-Force Vol 1 #4 Marvel Comics 1991 £1.00

Batman Legends of the Dark Knight (#8 1990) and (#28 1992) DC Comics £2.50 each

Excalibur Mojo Mayhem Marvel Comics 1989 and The Sword is Drawn 1988 £2.00 Each

X-Men Spotlight on Starjammers #2 Marvel Comics 1990 £2.00

Bloodlines – A Tale From the Heart of Africa This is the original Epic Comics from 1992 (not the 1994 reprint by Marvel Enterprises) £10.00


Huddersfield Norman Culley, 1939. Blue cloth with printed title to front cover. Not dated, but the drawings are dated 1938 and 1939. With 25 pencil drawings. The collage distorts the illustrations as most are landscape format. A nice tidy copy for £10.00


The original Clock Hartley by John Hartley

Yorkshire dialect digest, I have many more years but I know where these years are so am offering them at £2.50 each.

The years I can find are 1892 1894 1896 1898 1901 1928

HARDY BOYS – Franklin W Dixon


Arctic Patrol MysteryArmada£2.50C2rep1977
Danger on Vampire TrailArmada£2.50421st1987
Footprints Under the WindowArmada£2.50231984
Game Plan for DisasterArmada£2.50741st1984
Haunted FortArmanda£2.503rep
Hunting for Hidden GoldArmada£2.5025
Revenge of the Desert PhantomArmada£2.50821st1987
Sign of Crooked ArrowArmada£2.50C19rep1977
Sky SabotageArmada£2.50771st1985
The Billion Dollar RansomArmada£2.50712nd1986
The Blackwing PuzzleArmada£2.50801st1986
The Clue of the Broken BladeArmada£2.50371st1985
The Clue of the EmbersArmada£2.50201983
The Clue of the Screeching OwlArmada£2.5091984
The Crisscross ShadowArmada£2.5024rep1984
The Demon’s DenArmada£2.50C791st1986
The Four-Headed DragonArmada£2.50671st1983
The Ghost of Skeleton RockArmada£2.50361st1984
The Great Airport MysteryArmada£2.5018rep1983
The Hooded Hawk Mystery #29Armada£2.50ISBN29
The Infinity ClueArmada£2.50681st1983
The Mark on the DoorArmada£4.00C271st1977
The Mummy CaseArmada£2.50611st1982
The Mystery at Devil’s PawArmada£2.50351st1984
The Mystery of Cabin IslandArmada£4.00C26rep1978
The Mystery of Smugglers CoveArmada£2.50621st1982
The Mystery of the Aztec WarriorArmada£2.5011985
The Mystery of the Chinese Junk #34Armada£2.5034
The Mystery of the Disappearing FloorArmada£2.5051985
The Mystery of the Melted CoinsArmada£2.5071984
The Mystery of the Missing FriendsArmada£2.50321984
The Mystery of the Spiral BridgeArmada£2.50C8rep1977
The Mystery of the Whale TattooArmada£2.5041986
The Outlaw’s SilverArmada£2.50651st1983
The Outlaw’s Silver #65Armada£2.5065
The Phantom FreighterArmada£2.50391st1985
The Roaring River MysteryArmada£2.50781st1985
The Secret Agent on Flight 101Armada£2.5030rep1985
The Secret of Pirates HillArmada£2.5014rep1987
The Secret of Skull MountainArmada£2.50401st1986
The Secret of the CavesArmada£4.00C131st1977
The Secret of Wildcat SwampArmada£2.50381st1985
The Shattered HelmetArmada£2.50451st1988
The Shore Road MysteryArmada£2.50171st1980
The Sinister SignpostArmada£2.50221979
The Skline PuzzleArmada£2.50831st1987
The Stone IdolArmada£2.50631982
The Submarine CaperArmada£2.50661st1983
The Swamp MonsterArmada£2.50811st1986
The Tower TreasureArmada£2.50311st1982
The Twisted ClawArmada£2.50111984
The Vanishing ThievesArmada£2.50641983
The Viking Symbol MysteryArmada£2.50331st1983
The Wailing Siren MysteryArmada£2.50121984
The Yellow Feather MysteryArmada£2.50281983
Trapped at SeaArmada£2.50731st1984
Voodoo PlotArmada£2.50C701st1983
What Happened at MidnightArmada£2.50C21rep1977
While the Clock TickedArmada£2.50101981
Nancy Drew & Hardy Boys – Super SleuthsArmada£2.50C21491983

and a cross over

Slavery in Yorkshire

 This new collection of essays based upon a conference at the University of Huddersfield, generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, explores the links between Richard Oastlers extraordinarily influential campaign against child labour in Yorkshire after 1830 and the remarkably successful campaign to abolish the transatlantic slave trade led by Yorkshire MP William Wilberforce before 1807. With contributions from D. Colin Dews, Dr John Halstead, Dr John A. Hargreaves, Dr Janette Martin, Professor Edward Royle and Professor James Walvin, it evaluates the distinctively Yorkshire context of both movements and offers a re-assessment of Oastlers contribution to their success. It reveals how Oastlers associations with both evangelical Anglicanism and Nonconformity, especially Methodism, stimulated and sustained his involvement in the ten-hour factory movement and examines the role of the regional press, local grass-roots organisation and Oastlers powerful oratory in helping to secure a successful outcome to the campaign. In a foreword, the Revd Dr Inderjit Bhogal, a leading figure in both the regional and national commemoration of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade in 2007, commends this wide-ranging historical study with its broad perspective as an important contribution to making us all more informed on the whole theme of slavery today.

238 pages very well illustrated.

MY REVIEW ; I did enjoy most of it, one essay was a bit of a struggle, I don’t think I will loose sleep not knowing what date an individual joined a campaign group over 150 years ago. But I did learn how the campaign against slavery was originally driven by the Quakers and it did make me realise the importance of BLM (not that I ever have any doubts about). I have always thought we should have been taught much more about “The Factory King” rather than Royalty, he did much more for my class than years and years of Kings and Queens.


Dalesman Publications

I now have 1,101 “Dalesman publications” catalogued (large numbers of “Cumbria” yet to do) please contact me if you are looking for anything in particular.

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