Years of pleasure at ‘Sunny Bunces’

Around 40 people attended the first meeting of Mytholmroyd Historical Society’s autumn season when Chris Helme gave an illustrated lecture on “A Postcard From Sunny Bunces.”

Sunday, 29th September 2013, 11:00 am

Chris said the Bunce family came to Halifax from Hertfordshire in 1850 when Joseph Bunce, a landscape gardener, came to the area, writes Judith Wilson.

Eventually Joseph’s wife, Sarah, had the idea that they should have tea gardens with refreshments and they opened in 1880.

Their sons then developed Sunny Vale Pleasure Gardens. There were boats on the pond and later a big lake. There was ice skating in the winter. Over the years more attractions were added, including roller skating, swings and a maze and thousands visited.

In 1902 the tramway was extended to Sunny Vale and visitors also arrived by train at Hipperholme. By the 1930s there was a bandstand, helter skelter and pedaloes. Visitors could send a postcard from Sunny Bunces which would be delivered in the local area that day.

Free tickets were given to the families of men serving in the Boer War, and the First and Second World Wars. Dancing was a big attraction during the Second World War and by this time there were pony rides, donkey rides and a miniature railway.

However, after the Second World War visitor numbers declined and in 1955 Sunny Vale Pleasure Gardens was put up for auction.

Tony Wilson thanked the speaker.

The society’s next meeting is on Friday, October 11, at 7.30pm at Mytholmroyd Methodist Church, when Peter Higginbottom will give a talk on “Aspects Of Workhouse Life.” New members are welcome.