THE late Mark Keighley spent his working life in Bradford’s two major industries - wool textiles and engineering. After several years editing the company newspaper of Hepworth & Grandage, one of the city’s “Big Three” engineering firms, he joined the Bradford-based Wool Record in 1962.

In this latest extract from Mr Keighley’s memoirs, The Golden Afternoon Fading - looking back at Bradford’s industrial, business and social life as it faded into history - he remembers some of the stalwarts of the Wool Record, which had a global circulation.

“DERRICK Boothroyd, editor of the Wool Record, was a man of means. After wartime service in the Merchant Navy he spent 10 years as a feature writer on the Yorkshire Post but in 1956, with financial help from his father, had bought a substantial shareholding in the Batley News of which he became editor and joint managing director.

Four years later the newspaper merged with the Dewsbury Reporter, and he joined their board.

He wrote plays, including Love On Friday Night, which was performed at Bradford’s Prince’s Theatre in Little Horton Lane in 1960, and he wrote two novels with a Yorkshire textile background: Shoddy Kingdom, about a young textile manufacturer who becomes the richest man in town, and Value for Money, which was published in 1953, four years before John Braine’s Room at the Top, and was made into a film starring John Gregson and Diana Dors.

Derrick was a conservative man by nature, and his leading articles were often as dour and uncompromising as the mill buildings in his home town of Batley. He shared Shakespeare’s belief that “It is better to be brief than tedious” and took a dim view of waffle.

His brief as editor was to revitalise the magazine and bring it into the 20th Century.

His boyhood hero had been Herbert Sutcliffe, from Pudsey, whom he regarded as the greatest batsman of all time. Derrick was a lifelong supporter of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, although he was the first to admit that by the 1970s, watching Yorkshire play had become a grim business. “At Headingley, Park Avenue and Bramall Lane the long-suffering supporters have often looked more like mourners round the graveside than spectators round a cricket field,” he wrote.

He deplored the fact that talented players such as Willie Watson and Ray Illingworth had decided to play for other county teams. He believed the way in which the club had dismissed its captain Brian Close in 1970 had been disgraceful. According to reports, Close had been given 15 minutes to decide whether to resign or be sacked. “This was no way to treat a brilliant cricketer who had given 21 years’ service to the county,” Derrick remarked.

Jack Wilks, the Wool Record’s deputy editor, had previously worked at the Bradford-based Yorkshire Observer then the Yorkshire Post, editing the business pages. He was a meticulous journalist and of a quiet disposition, although he had a delightful sense of humour and could always see the funny side of things. He’d joined the Royal Navy in 1939 and had served throughout the war as a morse-code operator on minesweepers in the North Atlantic and Norwegian waters.

Jack drove to work in an ancient Daimler, almost as long as a bus. He was an accomplished pianist with a gift for syncopation. When he played Pink Elephants in his soft and shuffling style, and his wife Audrey sang the lyrics (“Pink Elephants at the window, Pink Elephants at the door, Pink Elephants up the chimney, Pink Elephants on the Floor”) you could close your eyes and imagine you were in the dress circle of the Alhambra Theatre listening to Charlie Kunz.

I don’t think I ever heard Randal Coe singing Pink Elephants on the Floor. He was more likely to have sung The Wild Rover or Paddy M’Ginty’s Goat. Randal, who came from Skipton, was the Wool Record’s ace reporter, but spent most weekends in the Yorkshire Dales exploring and making maps of potholes, or in Scotland climbing mountains. In 1956 he and a friend scaled the “Crack of Doom” on the Inaccessible Pinnacle on the Isle of Skye, certainly a test of determination and courage. He served his apprenticeship at the Craven Herald before moving to Newcastle, joining The Journal. Derrick Boothroyd encouraged him to make the most of his writing and reporting skills. For sentimental reasons I have kept some of Randy’s best write-ups, including interviews he conducted with leaders of the industry published under the title, “Men at the Helm”, and a fascinating series on British hill sheep.

Randal wrote in a bold and vigorous manner and didn’t believe in wasting words. His language was often as colourful as the patterns of his sports jackets. He once told us: “It’s no use playing cricket if your opponent is playing karate”.

We all nodded our heads in agreement as we thought this was good advice.”