The Town Hall Clock

This is a song that I wrote to be performed at Morley Folk club, where I am a regular floor singer. It has had one public outing, after which I subsequently revised it to make the verses longer and to have less choruses. After all, it isn’t a shanty! I’m pleased to say that the Morley Literature Festival have accepted it for their NowThen! Morley web project.

In eighteen hundred and ninety five,
The men from Potts brought the movement alive.
They tested it then made it still,
then horses dragged it up Churwell Hill.
Five bells were cast and hauled aloft,
whilst the politicians supped and scoffed.
Four faces does the town clock show
that’s twice as many as down below.

Behold the Town Hall Clock, Its Morley’s time bedrock.
It’s heard throughout the town, and seen for miles around

In nineteen hundred and sixty one,
The wellington street mill’s days were done.
It went up like a tinderbox
and the sparks and embers blew across.
The tower dome it caught alight.
the firemen battled all the night.
The children have momentos still,
the lead that ran down Dawson hill.

Behold the Town Hall Clock, Its Morley’s time bedrock.
It’s heard throughout the town, and seen for miles around.

The Council they went back to Potts,
and got a new clock in a big blue box.
No longer did they need the key,
it winds up now by electricity.
The clock is mostly going strong,
but now and then it goes horribly wrong.
It’s not internet time but you’d never guess,
it’s protected now by a UPS!

Behold the Town Hall Clock, Its Morley’s time bedrock.
It’s heard throughout the town, and seen for miles around.

Now only Smiths can climb above,
with the pigeons and the occasional Dove.
If you want to go up, you’re out of luck,
cos’ the ‘elfen safety say get to… Leeds.
The clock shines out throughout the night,
contrasting with the church in white.
St. Mary’s told the time as well,
but now its just a blackened shell.

Forlorn, St. Mary’s clock,
Will it ever again tick tock?

Top Twenty

Today marks the 20th anniversary of Morley press photographer  Leslie Overend’s death. I’ve been sent a Press Release from Stephen White, custodian of the collection.

Twenty more pictures illustrating the work of the late Morley photographer Leslie Overend will be added to his website this week to mark the 20th anniversary of his death.

Leslie worked as a freelance photographer for the Morley Observer and other newspapers in the old West Riding of Yorkshire for almost 60 years.

His work and travels around the area made him one of the best-known people in the town.

Born in Eccleshill, Bradford, in 1905, Leslie took his first published photograph in 1918. After learning his trade working for two Bradford daily newspapers, Leslie and his father, a former teacher, set up the Overend Press Agency – freelancing for newspapers all over the country.

Leslie took his first pictures in Morley in 1926 when he visited the town to cover the mayor-making ceremony of Alderman T A Buttery. That event was to be the first of 46 such mayor-making ceremonies that Leslie was to cover in the town.

In 1955, Leslie married the former Doris Morse – the owner of the Rendezvous Café in Town Hall Buildings, Queen Street.

The couple made their home in the former Dinky Dyson’s chemist’s shop, also in Queen Street, which they ran as a newsagent’s. Doris died in 1960.

Although Leslie moved to live in Dewsbury soon after Doris’s death, he retained his close ties with Morley and the surrounding area, taking tens of thousands of pictures in a varied career that continued until ill-health forced his reluctant retirement in 1983. 

When he died, on May 16, 1989, Leslie left his archive of negatives to a former Morley Observer colleague, Stephen White.

Stephen, now deputy editor at the Bristol-based Western Daily Press, is keen to keep Leslie’s work in the public eye.

He said: “When Leslie died and I inherited a huge pile of old boxes full of glass and film negatives I thought I should try to do something with them. It seemed a real shame that they would otherwise have just remained in boxes, perhaps lost to the people of Morley for ever.

“In 1992, I published a book of 100 pictures from the 1960s, then last Christmas released a book of pictures from the 1970s. In between, I archived Les’s negatives and set up a website in his name (www.leslieoverend.com).

You can view the pictures by logging on to www.leslieoverend.com

“To mark the 20th anniversary of his death, I thought it would be a good idea to post another 20 pictures from his archive on to the website, displaying a variety of his work in and around Morley.

“Choosing 20 pictures from such a vast archive was an almost impossible task, but I hope the ones I settled for will bring back some welcome memories for people who have lived in the town for some time.”

He included these two.

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