Title: Keighley, West Yorkshire – Where I Live Word Count: 1228 Summary: An article describing my hometown Keighley with details about living and working in the town and tourism. ‘The dark satanic mill town of Keighley’ I have never forgotten that headline from a national newspaper in the late 60s. The article was about the Keighley rugby league team who are now called Keighley Cougars. Back then wherever you looked on the horizon you could see mill chimneys towering over the rest of the town. The mill chimneys were gradually demolished and ... Keywords: Keighley, West Yorkshire, Bronte Country, Haworth, steam trains, Skipton Castle, Bradford National M Article Body: An article describing my hometown Keighley with details about living and working in the town and tourism. ‘The dark satanic mill town of Keighley’ I have never forgotten that headline from a national newspaper in the late 60s. The article was about the Keighley rugby league team who are now called Keighley Cougars. Back then wherever you looked on the horizon you could see mill chimneys towering over the rest of the town. The mill chimneys were gradually demolished and now as Keighley sits in a valley you can see fields and trees in the distance from almost any viewpoint. Keighley in the West Riding of Yorkshire was a huge manufacturer of textiles, but now the mill buildings that have not burnt down or been vandalised have been converted into smaller units offering a wide variety of businesses or homes. The population was over 51,000 at the 2001 census and apparently is the third largest civil parish in England. Approximately 18% of the population are of ethnic minorities, adding a multi cultural aspect to the town and some fine Indian, Italian and Chinese restaurants. Keighley is pronounced ‘Keeth lee’ but to the inhabitants annoyance many people outside Keighley insist on calling the town Keeley. Transport Travelling to and around Keighley is not difficult. We have a train station and an award winning new closed in bus station in the town centre with regular transport in and around the area and easy access to many cities. Bradford is just 10 miles away and Leeds 20 miles away and of course the Leeds/Bradford airport is easily accessible. There are lots of reliable taxi firms in Keighley and I have found that with using a combination of different transport facilities and on foot I really do not need my own transport because everything is within easy reach. It also works out cheaper than having my own petrol guzzling transport. Shopping We have a modern shopping centre and several industrial estates offering just about everything that you might want to buy. If I want to buy some new clothes that are a little bit different I make a day out of it and take a 20 minute train journey to Leeds and either shop in the city centre or visit the White Rose Centre. Keighley has a permanent closed in market and quite regularly we have visiting continental markets offering a wider range of goods. Leisure We have several parks in the area with lots of green space for children to run about on and safe fenced off playgrounds, bowling greens etc. We have a leisure centre in Victoria Park where you will find a modern swimming pool with slide and a fitness centre. Victoria Park hosts our yearly gala during the summer and occasional visiting circuses and fairs. Within the park you will find Victoria Hall where functions and gigs are often held. There is a museum at Cliff Hall in the grounds of Cliff Castle where exhibitions are often held. For families there is a fenced off playground and a café. Picnic tables are provided for those like my grandchildren who prefer to picnic in between running around. There was a small zoo with guinea pigs and a few different birds the last time I went in the summer. Years ago there were monkeys, but now all of the monkeys in the area seem to reside at a house next door to my mother. Over 50 would you believe! In Lund park you will find 2 playgrounds, one for older children and a fenced off area for the younger ones. There is a bowling green and a putting green and a bicycle track with gradients which my 4 year old grandson loves to skateboard on. Nights Out There has always been a lot of pubs in the area, maybe because we have an award winning brewery in the town. If you want to eat out there are many restaurants offering different cultural meals. Nightclubs are a bit thin on the ground with just 2 catering for different age ranges and they aren’t that good. However there are plenty of good clubs within travelling distance in Bradford, Leeds and even further afield at Wakefield. Tourism Keighley is part of Bronte Country, only a couple of miles from Haworth where the famous Bronte literature family lived. Apart from traditional means, you can travel to Oxenhope via Haworth on the Keighley and Worth Valley Line from the Keighley station on a steam train in the summer. It is a heritage line and has been used for several film locations that include the Railway Children, Yanks and the film of Pink Floyds ‘The Wall’ musical. At the first stop 300 yards from where I live in Ingrow there is a Museum of Rail Travel. It is also the starting place for Thomas the Tank Engine days out. I took my grandchildren last summer and they could clamber on board Thomas and pull the whistle. There was a show performed several times during the day for the children and several stalls. After the show we were able to travel on steam trains all day for one low cost fee. At each stop there were more shows and stalls making it a very good day out. Towards Christmas there is a Santa Special steam train day. Haworth attracts a lot of American and Japanese tourists who want to steep themselves in the history of the Brontes. There is a Bronte museum up a steep cobbled street, the Bronte Waterfall and of course the moors where the fictional Cathy and Heathcliffe roamed. There are lots of antique shops and tea rooms and some good hotels. Skipton, ‘The Gateway To The Dales’ is 10 miles away. A good starting point for hiking holidays for those who want to enjoy the beautiful countryside. Skipton also has one of the most complete medieval castles in the country and is over 900 years old. Historical re-enactment events, archery and jousting are often hosted at Skipton Castle. 10 miles in the other direction is the city of Bradford where you will find the National Media Museum, which is the most visited museum outside London. Bradford hosts several festivals, including the Bradford Festival in June and the Bradford Mela which is the largest festival of its type outside Asia. There are 4 theatres in Bradford and for those who enjoy plays it isn’t difficult to get to Harrogate and their playhouse. Living In Keighley Although Keighley has often been knocked in the press and by some inhabitants I do not think that it is a bad place to live. I feel safe in my home and walking around the streets and I have easy access to everything that I want. Housing is inexpensive compared to many other places in the UK. You can still get a 2 bedroom terrace for less than £100,000 or any other type of dwelling at comparatively low prices. I have never found it difficult to get employment in or around Keighley and the employment opportunities are diverse. The inhabitants are friendly and very much down to earth. We speak with a Yorkshire accent that is not as broad as some of the surrounding rural areas, I certainly do not say ‘ee bah gum’ on a regular basis! The area in and around Keighley offers much more than I have mentioned but hopefully this article gives you a good idea of my hometown.