The Red Lion Inn around 1920, standing as it does today at the junction of Leeds and Whitehall Road and Bradford Road. From this angle the building remains very much as it did then, although the name has changed to The Wyke Lion, after a brief association with “Ruby” in the 1990s. Unusually, the scene depicted here has not changed beyond recognition; it just seems so different without traffic and road signs, although a row of terraced houses now occupies the right foreground. The viaduct, that carried the Bradford to Huddersfield “short-cut” line from Pickle Bridge at Wyke to Anchor Pit Junction in Brighouse, remains in part today.
Inn sign or pub quiz experts will, of course, know that Red Lion is the most common name for a public house in England. They may even know why this is the case! Names on inn and pub signs, like the buildings they hang from or are attached to, have several origins. The buildings originated for a variety of reasons. Some grew out of the tradition of religious houses giving shelter to travellers, masons and builders; others were created by landowners, in city or country, for their workers, and many simple homes sold beer from their front rooms. Inn names and their associated signs often recall stories and events from the past. Some recall well known local or national figures, some are connected with local trades and others are named after their particular location near, for example, a railway station or canal. It is always sad when names are changed and a sense of history is lost. The immediate area is not particularly blessed with names associated with industry, people, events or time, but readers will, no doubt, be able to add to the following brief list: The Travellers Inn at Hipperholme, The Old Pack Horse Inn at Hartshead Moor, The Shears Inn at Hightown, The Colliers’ Arms between Brighouse and Elland, The Shibden Mill Inn, The Railway at Halifax and the Walker’s Arms at Scholes.