A new organisation has been launched in Silsden to enhance community life in the town.

Silsden Community Arts and Heritage will bring together groups with a shared interest in developing local arts – such as drama, music and crafts – and in promoting the study and enjoyment of the town’s history.

And it will encourage the formation of new groups.

Already a rapidly-growing local history group is meeting monthly, and next Saturday, July 14, will hold its first event, at Silsden Town Hall – a coffee morning and exhibition featuring the story of the town’s main street.

Community Arts and Heritage is also campaigning for the redevelopment of the town hall, including the provision of full disabled access, a full-size performance stage on the first floor and space for a history archive open to all.

A spokesman said: “Our town hall is 130 years old next year and, while it is a wonderful and historic resource right at the heart of Silsden and must be preserved for future generations, it really does need bringing up to modern standards.

“This would open the door to much wider use by the community, with endless possibilities for new and exciting ventures. So far we have received a really encouraging response from Bradford Council, which has responsibility for the building.”

At the July 14 coffee morning, the history group will display photographs showing how the face of Kirkgate and Briggate has changed during the past century.

“We hope people will come along and share their own memories of the many characterful shops and shopkeepers who have been familiar faces to Silsden over the years,” said David Mason, the history group’s convenor. “We also want to reach new families to the town, who would like to know more about the making of Silsden.”

The event will also feature a fun picture quiz, called Where is this in Silsden?.

In the autumn, the group plans an open evening devoted to the history of Silsden Brass Band – one of the country’s earliest – with photographs and slides, a script by writer Cathy Liddle and contributions by musicians.