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Spotlight on Keighley's heritage
Trailblazers in Keighley politics and photography are highlighted in this year's edition of a historical journal.
The 2012 Bradford Antiquary showcases the life and work of leading photographic artist Alex Keighley in the late 19th century.
It also reveals how Frances Smith became the first woman to both win a municipal council election in Keighley and sit on the town's Industrial Co-operative Society.
The Bradford Antiquary is published yearly by Bradford Historical and Antiquarian Society and includes articles by several local historians.
Ray Vintner has contributed the illustrated article Alex Keighley: Pioneer of the Pictorial Movement in Photography. “AK”, born in 1861, applied new photographic techniques to his own romantic notions of art, creating lantern slide images similar to Impressionism. He was part of a group that in 1889 founded the Keighley and District Photographic Association, wishing to create pictures depicting nature and life in rural surroundings.
Prints by AK were exhibited at the Royal Photographic Society, including The Passing Bell, taken at his home in Steeton, High Hall, with St Stephen's Church tower in the background. In the early 1900s he created several of his most notable pictures, exhibiting in salons across Europe and America, and he later travelled in Europe and the Far East.
The article on Frances Smith has been written by her granddaughter, Frances Gilbert, and Keighley Local Studies Library staff member Angela Speight.
They wanted to highlight Frances’s place in history after finding a lack of information about her in libraries and archives.
A Woman of Conviction: Councillor Mrs Frances Smith, First Lady of Keighley describes how she became the first contested woman municipal councillor in Keighley for five years in 1945.
She was also the first woman member of the Board of Directors of the Keighley Industrial Co-Operative Society Ltd in the 1940s and 1950s.
Born Frances Maddocks in Leigh, Lancashire, she moved to Park Wood Street in Keighley in her 20s and married Harry Smith, an iron moulder of the same street.
She became involved in local party politics, and in 1945 was president of the North East Ward Labour Party when the town gained a Labour MP in the general election. Over the next two years Frances became chairman of the council’s maternity and child welfare committee, Frances resigned from the Labour Party after it decided to build a refuse destructor plant in allotments in the Thwaites area, and in 1950, standing for re-election, lost to the Labour candidate.
Frances retired with her husband Harry to Coventry in 1958 and died at the age of 93 in Royal Leamington Spa.
The Bradford Antiquary, which covers the whole of Bradford district, costs £6 including postage from Bob Duckett, 22 Holden Lane, Baildon BD17 6HZ. He can be contacted on 01274 592928 or at email@example.com.