The village of hove edge is one of these small West Yorkshire villages that people often drive through without really knowing anything about the village maybe not even noticing they had actually passed through this village and have no idea what this small village holds in its past.
For most people even many locals just think of it as a place that joins the John King, Sled Sykes area of Brighouse with Hipperholme and that’s as far as they see this village, but when you start to delve into its past it had some of the most complex and significant quarries and mines in the area with their own railway and overhead cart system you would not associate with such a small village, a never ending overhead lines of cables tracks and wheels would haul cart after cart of stone up from the Halifax side of Sunny Bunces to the Halifax Road/ Broad Oak Quarries and tip their contents in huge piles of stone and slate before returning back down the hillside, the overhead trucks never seemed to stop.
There was several privately owned quarries scatted around this village on the Lightcliffe side was Brook’s who not only owned some of the largest of opencast quarries in the area complete with their own full sized steam trains that took a constant supply of stone to link up with the Lightcliffe Railway Station before they were transported all over the British Rail System, Brook’s were also one of the largest landowner in Brighouse taking in several Farms and Estates that helped make them one of the biggest employer’s in the area.
There was a considerable amount of mines in the Sunny Valley with the overhead cable car system bringing the full carts up to the quarries near to Broad Oak for sorting and cutting at one of these quarries using a large steam machine that spent all day long sawing these large Yorkshire stones, before these stones and slate were transported all over Great Britain.
Another thing in the Sunny Valley was the Sunny Vale Pleasure Gardens or Sunny Bunces Amusements as locals called it after the park owner (Mr Joseph Bunce ) who built this outstanding 20 acre fun park complete with its own twin boating lakes, indoor skating park, arcade games, train, boat swings and an assortment or fairground ride, on a weekend masses of families from all over the north of England would make their way down Half House Lane, for many this may have been their first visit and as they walked down the lane the kids would be totally blown away especially when they saw the overhead cable cars carrying the stone up from the valley and every time it went over a cable joint system bits of stone would fall from one of the trucks making a loud noise followed by a cloud of dust as they landed on the catchment mesh that protected the public from the falling stone, some of the families would spend ages just staring up at the overhead trucks.
As they continued down the lane where it joined with Wood Bottom Lane there was an Ice Cream maker on the left “Ripley’s Ice Cream” who not only sold their own ice cream from their factory but they also had a small fleet of vans going round the Brighouse area selling their own ice cream and in winter they would go out with their vans selling pies and peas although due to alleged food poisoning the pie and peas side of the business only lasted a few years.
As the parents pulled the kids away from the ice cream parlour with a promise to call on the way home they continued down the lane until they reached the massive Sunny Bunces entrance with Holly and Rhododendrons enticing the public to the row of metal turnstiles on the right at the junction with Mill Hill Lane as it joined the Hipperholme road.
Sunny Bunces was like no other place the noise of laughter and screaming was almost deafening in some areas especially in the skating area as the skates made their way round and round this wood covered floor.
Sadly in the late 50s or early 60s it lost its attraction as the new bigger and more exciting parks were opening all over and the new faster cars, buses and coaches became more available to take people further afield, this brought an end to this Yorkshire attraction although it soon became a bit of a play area for local kids to play, in the seventies the now filled in boating lake made way for cart racing and then the new banger stock car racing although Bradford and especially Belle Vue were bigger and more exciting race tracks, which was parps the final nail in the coffin for the Sunny Bunces as it sadly closed for ever.
Around Hove Edge Area and its Modern Outlook.
Hove Edge still has two pubs, four schools a lovely small Church St Chad’s, (although like many village churches it is now served by the larger St Matthews Church at Wakefield Road Lightcliffe), several businesses including at least two working quarries, home for the world famous Brighouse and Rastrick Band, Brighouse Football Club along with several small shops.
Its boundaries stretch from the Granny Hall end of Sled Sykes along the Sunny Valley to Brook Foot and up to Hipperholme in the other direction, this area is a must for walkers and wild life spotters with a large assortment of birds and wildlife including some rare species some of the walks can be a bit overpowering and it is essential to take a good supply of water before taking part in the longer walks although a well worthwhile treat.
On the other side of the village has become like many villages vastly dominated with rows and rows of modern housing although it has still left a considerable amount of greenery and natural habitat for an array of wildlife, although not as open or in depth as the Sunny Valley it still offers a great variety of walks and most are a little easier than the Sunny Valley.
To the top end of this area where it meets with the Lightcliffe area and its past Railway Station, but we are going to make out way (in ink anyway) down Green Lane the Bonegate side of the village as it passes the old St Chad’s Primary School and a bit further down and off to the right is Finkill Street home to St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School and Brighouse High School along with the home of the famous Brighouse & Rastrick Band as it cuts across to the Halifax Road (Sled Sykes side of Hove Edge).
Continuing down the Bonegate side again a short diversion down Coach Road brings you to Crow Nest Park Golf Club on the site of the once spectacular Mansion which still show some remains of this vast stately home again a very interesting walk, back to the Bonegate road and yet more houses cover the once Laverock Farm and beyond with the vast Smith House, Whinney Hill and Stoney Lane Estates, further down in the Granny Hall Area as the road becomes Lightcliffe Road with the old and interesting Brighouse Cemetery oppersit the remains of the old Granney Hall Quarry where it had an open workshop on the side of the main road where you could watch the old skilled crafts men carve stone statues from big slabs of stone all by hand, from their own quarry for the grave stones of the Brighouse Cemetery.(the results of many of these carvings are still to be seen in this old grave yard).
As we make our way down Lightcliffe Road passing Granny Hall and St Andrew’s C Of E Infant School and the Garden Road area we continue down the Bonegate side which now becomes Garden Road and the Waring Green Area with one of the oldest amateur theatre halls in the area (Waring Green Community Centre) before we reach the true Bonegate area as we merge into the Bradford and Huddersfield Road and the once famous former ‘Ritz Cinema’ and later the Ritz night club where some of the biggest names in the world appeared including Brenda Lee, (Miss Dynamite)Bob Monkhouse (UK’s Best ever stand up comedian) and many more before it became the Ritz Ballroom although it is alleged that the Ritz Hotel in London made them change the name away from the ‘Ritz’ to Venue 73?