Huddersfield Local History Society: Journal 9 (1998) by various

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OGRNAL No. 9 WINTER 1998/99

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Longley Old Hall

c 1300 - 1900

Patricia Ann Dyson continues her history of the Longley area

(Photo from the Isaac Horden Collection, by courtesy Huddersfield Public Library Service)


In 1920 Huddersfield achieved fame as the town that bought itself, when the Ramsden family, who had their first home in this Hall, sold out to the Corporation. (The hall wasn’t included in the sale to the Corporation). Even when the Ramsdens first came to the Hall, the house was already over 200 years old and had been the ancestral home of the Wood family of Longley.

The Background

The suffix ‘Ley’ indicates that Longley began as a clearing some time before 1150. This clearing was on quite a narrow shelf of land and ‘long’ was all it could be! It was the last in a line of leys covering the south-facing hillside from Almondbury village to the Iron Age fort on Castle Hill. Of the others Benomley is a familiar name still, but Birchenley has passed into history. At the time these leys were created Almondbury was growing fast and extra land was needed to feed extra mouths.

The surrounding woods were only planted in the mid-nineteenth century, and in mediaeval times the house perched on the hillside would have been visible from far around. The land fell Steeply away to the river Colne and the site of the manorial Corn Mill below, which in 1340 was valued at 110 shillings a year. Above Longley had stood Norman castle of the deLacis, built to administer the far western parts of their Honour of Pontefract. The end of the thirteenth century had seen more peaceful times and the castle had become a hunting lodge, with the outer bailey turned over to agriculture. The nights rode out to hunt red, fallow and roe deer, wild boar, badgers, partridge, wood pigeon and Greylag geese. There were large hunting dogs to bring down the animals, and falcons to catch the birds. The Earl of Lancaster, having married the deLaci heiress was now in control of the Honour of Pontefract. In 1322 he was

executed for treachery towards his cousin King Edward II and his lands passed to the crown, the Manor of Almondbury was now in Royal hands. It was probably at this time that the castle was dismantled and Longley returned to a rural backwater.

The Wood Family

By the late middle ages the Wood family was already at Longley and Robert Wood is first mentioned in 1330. In 1342 his widow Marjorie relieved Sir John deBeaumont of all actions concerning the death of her husband - it seems he met an untimely end. The Poll Tax returns of 1380 listed William Wood, his grandson, who paid 6d and whose occupation was given as Wright (carpenter). Beams in Longley Old Hall have been carbon dated to the late fourteenth century and the same period saw a wooden framed house built at Hey, a property owned by he Woods. Perhaps both were William’s handiwork.

The years passed and the Wood family flourished - Robert, Thomas, William, John, Laurence, George and finally, the last of the direct line, John Wood of Longley, Gentleman. He had succeeded to his father’s estates when he was only 15 year sold and according to the Lay Subsidy Roll of 1532 he paid 10s tax on £10 worth of lands and was the largest landowner in Almondbury that year. In 1501 he married Elizabeth Beaumont who bore him three daughters - Elizabeth, Joanna and Cecily. His only son, George, was unfortunately illegitimate. When he died in 1538 he thought he had settled his affairs to his own best satisfaction. He had disposed of all his land and property before his death and his will only laid down religious observances to be carried out after his death. His executrix, Isabella Beaumont of Okes in Almondbury, was most likely a relative. Both John Wood’s grandmother and wife were Beaumonts and he was so closely related to his wife that a special licence had been needed for their marriage.

The Inheritance Mystery

Thomas Savile of Bradley was related to John Wood through the Beaumonts of Newsome, and received some lands when John Wood was settling his affairs, though it was never the intention that Thomas Savile should inherit the Hall. However, he was certainly in possession of the Hall after John Wood’s death, and the reason for this doesn’t seem to have been clearly set out until now.

When it came to his family’s ancestral Hall, John Wood’s plans had been carefully laid to ensure the continuation of his line in Longley through one of his daughters. He had agreed that Cecily should marry John Appleyard, the son of another prominent family in Longley, and had included Longley Hall in her marriage settlement. Thus in 1536 the documents were drawn up for a marriage between Cecily Wood and John

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Appleyard. This marriage settlement described Richard Appleyard (John’s father) as a Yeoman, and John Wood as a Gentleman, and there were benefits to both families in the alliance. Cecily’s marriage portion of Longley Hall and lands would ensure that the Appleyard family took over the Wood family’s position in Longley and could, perhaps, aspire to being Gentleman too. In common with many ambitious families, the Appleyards sought to increase their wealth and power through marmiage alliances. They had lived in Longley for many years and in 1425 Thomas Appleyard had paid 23d a year for land there. Richard’s own marriage, with Anne Bunny, had further increased their land as her father, Richard Bunny, had inherited land in Almondbury from William Turton in 1499. On Richard’s marriage in 1513 his father was described as settling Longley on him. According to the survey of 1584 this refers to the farm called Longley, which had land running alongside the present-day Lowerhouses Lane as far as the junction with Longley Road, and some fields enclosed from the Hey Green. The farmhouse stood just across from Longley Hall.

However, John Wood’s carefully laid plan came to naught and their failure gave William Ramsden his first foothold in Almondbury.

The Ascension of William Ramsden

Although agreed in 1536 the marriage of Cecily to John Appleyard didn’t take place immediately, perhaps because John was only 17. Then in 1538 John Wood died and by 1540 Cecily had completely disregarded her father’s wishes and married Thomas Savile of Bradley and Exley. Richard Appleyard was furious and demanded compensation. This was forthcoming in an annuity of 20 Marks to run for two and ahalf years. (A Mark was worth about 67p). That these monies were the rent from Longley Hall and lands must have rubbed salt into Richard Appleyard’s wounded pride.

Cecily and Savile now jointly owned Longley hall but had no need of it for a home and by 1540 Joanna Wood’s husband, William Ramsden, was renting it from his brother-in-law. Always a man with an eye to the main chance, William Ramsden sensed a power vacuum and moved quickly to fill it. When he actually bought the Hall is not known but maybe it was at the end of Richard Appleyard’s term of compensation in 1542/3. John Wood had settled lands, shops and workshops in Huddersfield worth 200 shillings on his daughter Joanna and William Ramsden but by 1542 William has acquired almost all of the rest of his father-in-law’s estates. This included ahouse and shops from George Wood (the illegitimate son), lands in Almondbury from Savile, and the lease of the Huddersfield Mills from his other brother-in-law, Thomas Kaye as early as 1539. These mills on the River Colne were the manorial corn mill and a fulling mill.

Of Barrenness and Bastards

With Joanna at the Hall, John Wood’s plans still had a chance of success, albeit with a different daughter, However as the years passed it became clear that the marriage would be childless, and William’s dynastic ambitions were channelled towards his brothers,. In 1555 he settled lands on his brothers John and Robert. John was given land in Longley and this may have included Longley Hall, maybe as a wedding present. For

it was about this time that John Ramsden must have married Margaret Appleyard. After the fiasco with Cecily, Richard Appleyard’s son John had married Margaret Haldeworth of Sowerby in 1541. In 1555 their daughter Margaret Appleyard could only have been fourteen years old at the most but as her third child, William, was born in 1558 her marriage to John Ramsden could nothave taken place any later. This finally saw the end of John Wood’s hopes of seeing his descendants at the Hall, and may have been a factor in William and Joanna’s separation which occurred in the next year or two. The marriage was childless but in 1561 William fathered an illegitimate daughter. Her mother was a local girl, Joan Hill, who swore to the midwife that Esther’s father was William Ramsden. In 1565 Joan had another illegitimate child - this time a son - by a different father. At the age of 33 Esther married Richard Blackburn and at 43 had her only child, Hester.

Who Built the Tudor Mansion?

At some time in the late Tudor period the Wood’s mediaeval Hall was almost entirely rebuilt. One piece of evidence is the painted board discovered in the roof of the kitchen when the Tudor mansion was pulled_down at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The text on the board is from the 1st book of Peter, chapter 1 verse 24: “All flesche is as grasse and all ye glorye of man is as ye flower of grasse; the grasse withereth and the flower falleth away, but ye word of the Lord indureth for ever’. This text differs in two places from the authorised version of the Bible of 1611 and places the new mansion before that date. The differences are the omission of the second “is” in the authorised Bible, and the addition of “thereof” in “the flower thereof falleth away”.

William Ramsden was a ‘financial adventurer’ who made his money speculating in monastic land after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Sometimes his deals failed to stick, and he spent several periods in the Fleet prison for debt. Rarely at home, he was often in London and known at the court of Queen Elizabeth I. He must have cut a dashing figure in provincial Longley! Perhaps the precarious nature of some of these land deals was one reason why he preferred to settle land upon his brothers rather than keep it in his own name. His ‘wheeling and dealing’ continued right to the end, and even at his death in 1580 he was in London engaged in law suits. His brother John, however, preferred a quieter life developing the Ramsden Estate in Almondbury and Huddersfield. In 1555 he was the first of a new family at Longley Hall, with a new wife, what better time to start a new life with a new higher status house? Bearing all this in mind it seems probable that John Ramsden was the builder of the Tudor Hall. The 1884 restoration of the Hall returned it to its Tudor style so John Ramsden’s house would have looked much as the Hall does now.

John and Margaret’s Family

For the next 20 years John and Margaret raised their family at Longley Hall. Their first four children, Elizabeth, Ann, William and John all survived infancy and thrived. After John’s birth in 1559 Margaret had three more sons none of whom lived more than six months, there were two Roberts and a Richard. At some time there was a daughter called Jane who died at the beginning of December 1580. Unlike many women of her time Margaret survived all her pregnancies and lived to see her

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grandchildren born at the Hall. Her daughter Elizabeth married Edward Beaumont of Whitley in October 1571 and came home to Longley to be with her mother for the birth of her daughter Grace in 1572, and again in 1574 when Richard was born; he was to become the first Baronet of Whitley Beaumonts. John Ramsden continued to build up the family estates and in 1571 was buying up common land and property in Huddersfield from John Byron. The land had only recently been enclosed and was still called ‘Overgreen’ and ‘Neythergreen’. John Byron of Newsteede was, of course, an antecedent of Lord Byron the poet.

The Great New Hall

By 1576 John Ramsden felt that his family needed an even grander house and on the 26th April that year work began on his New Hall. The site chosen was the lower down the hillside, to the north and east of Longley Hall, on land which had belonged to John Appleyard. Most probably it had been part of Margaret’s dowry. Work on the new house was carried out _ by Richard Longley and William Horsfall. Richard lived at Longley and his family may have lived there since before 1370 for in that year Adam deLongley had granted land to his two sons. The Ramsden Commonplace Book lists an account of payments, mainly to Richard Longley and William Horsfall, which runs from April 26th 1576 to August 3rd 1577, when presumably the house was completed. In 1579 Richard worked with George Horsfall for the Kayes at Woodsome Hall. As well as being a skilled mason he was also a small landowner and in 1560 was trading land in Dalton with Thomas Blackburn.

The new hall was certainly large and in the Hearth Tax of 1664 it was taxed on 24 hearths. When the family moved into this mansion they took from Longley Hall not only their possessions but its very name. Maybe the Tudor equivalent of taking your old phone number to a new house! It did mean that to avoid confusion the original Longley Hall had to sink into obscurity, and this had made following its history quite difficult. Not only the Hall was downgraded, the hamlet of Longley in time became Upper Longley, as emphasis shifted down the hill to the Ramsden’s New Longley Hall.

The Rise of the Appleyards

The evidence suggests that the Appleyard family then took up residence at the Hall, 40 years after their first attempt, and at the same time achieved the status of ‘Gentleman’. In a marriage agreement of 1583 John Appleyard of Overlongley, Gentleman, made an agreement with Thomas Crosland of Crosland Hill for between his son Richard and Elizabeth Crosland. In this document Thomas Crosland is described as a ‘chapman’ but he must have been rather a high class pedlar for his daughter to have been considered a suitable match. John Appleyard settled on his son Richard ‘all the Capital Messuage known as Longley Hall with all houses, lands and tenements’. (A messuage was a farmhouse with associated farm outbuildings, and a Capital Messuage was one with high status). This Richard Appleyard was among a number of local Gentlemen who appealed to king James I in 1608 for a school for Almondbury.

As can be seen, the name of the eldest Appleyard sons alternated between John and Richard. The Old Hall always remained part of the Ramsden Estate and it seems that the

Appleyards only occupied the house until 1623. The will of Richard Appleyard of Overlongley, Gentlemen, was proved on January 2nd 1623. He seems to have been the last Appleyard of Longley although the family thrived in North Crosland and district.

The North Stewardship

The 1584 Survey of the Manor of Almondbury described a John North who held the freehold of a house in Almondbury called the Wellhead. He also collected the rents in the Manor for which he was allowed 3s 4d, probably for every £1 collected. By 1639 when Sir John Ramsden appointed Isaac Wormall as his Bailiff this had risen to 4s in the £1. The 1634 map of Almondbury shows that John North held lands around the Old Hall, and the first mention of him in Overlongley was in 1635, when he died. He was followed by his son Matthew, and the John North of Overlongley who christened his son at Almondbury Parish Church in 1685 was probably his great grandson. Sir John Ramsden had bought the Manor of Almondbury from eh Crown in 1627 and installed his Bailiff, John North, at the Old Hall. Maybe his descendants continued as Estate employees, but the family were certainly at the Old Hall for the rest of the 17th century.

The Decline of the Hall

In 1716 Timothy Oldfield was commissioned to prepare amap of the Ramsden’ Huddersfield and Almondbury Estates, and this provides us with information about Longley at the beginning of the 18th century. John Kershaw was farming 21 acres of land around the Old Hall and had a house and barn on the Calf Croft. On the map this house proves to be the Old Hall, and the land corresponds with that farmed by the North family. The Kershaw family grew and it was probably during their time athe Hall that it was divided into two cottages. In the early years of the 19th century William and Thomas Kershaw were living at upper Longley and paying rents of £30 13s 6d and £13 15s 6d respectively to the Ramsden Estate. Could it be that the Kershaw family had been at the Hall since 1716? By 1820 there were lots of Kershaws around Ashinghirst, Squirrel Ditch and Longley Green in addition to the families at Upper Longley. Many of them were engaged in the home woollen industry and the 1851 census records a Joseph Kershaw of Longley whose three children were all handloom weavers. His son Matthew was a widower with a five year old son and his daughters Elizabeth and Amelia were 31 and 25 but all lived at home with their parents. This meant that the house had at least three handlooms in it and a first floor room at Old Longley Hall has a specially reinforced floor, probably to support looms. These are facts which when taken together may indicate that the Kershaw family had a long term connection with the Old Hall. I

All Change Again at the Hall

Early in the 19th century the Hall was once more at least partially demolished and rebuilt. This happened within living memory of Canon Hulbet’s ‘Annals of Almondbury’ (1880). He describes the stone porch and the gables being removed and the house taking on a much plainer appearance. In 1848 George Searle Philips described this house in his ‘Walks around Huddersfield’ as ‘a low narrow house with a kind of Gothic doors and windows.’ Prior to its restoration in 1884 one

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of the tenants was Mr John Sykes, not surprising as for a century of more the village of Longley was dominated by he numerous Sykes families. The restoration of 1884 was undertaken by Sir John William Ramsden in order to return the house of his forbears to something approaching its original g lory. A footstone was discovered which indicated the original pitch of the front gables and the house should now resemble John Ramsden’s Tudor Hall. During restoration enough old oak wainscotting was found in out of the way places to form a dado around the inner hall. Some original oak panels from the Tudor house also came to light and were made into large corner cupboard, unfortunately the panels don’t match. A massive oak beam let into the wall by the front door may date back to the Civil War, (1642-1648), Woodsome Hall and

Elland New Hall have similar ‘shot-bolts’. The Hall Gets Religion

St Mary’s Church Longley was opened in 1888 and the Curate, who had previously lodged in the Schoolmaster’s house, took up residence at the Old Hall. In 1891 this was the Rev. William Herbert Dodd, from Manchester, who was living there with his widowed mother and older sister Laura. At this time the Breakfast room was being used as the Parish Room, and this was Still the situation at the end of the century.

Patrica Ann Dyson 29. APRIL 1995

A New Look At An Old Dispute

By Leslie Robinson


Historians have - not infrequently - to re-examine their views to some degree concerning certain historical events which they have hitherto accepted at face value as being almost established truths. Such a readjustment might be called for when some new piece of evidence is brought to light, or when the event is reviewed from an angle hitherto unthought of. A reappraisal of the second kind had to be considered by the author of this article after reading through the papers of a local court case dated the 18th July 1812; relating to those turbulent times then being enacted in the Huddersfield vicinity and sometimes referred to as the ‘Luddite Uprising’ or ‘Luddite Riots’.

My first introduction to that subject had been in a history lesson at school where the teacher had told us the ‘story’ as he himself knew it, and which he no doubt had culled from the establishment’s version of the event - there being no other then available. This portrayed the event as beimg a rather bitter struggle between two groups of men with widely differing views about the use of machinery in textile mills. On the one hand were a group of croppers who played an important part in the finishing of cloth, and who, to achieve the ends they sought, were prepared to break the law, hold illegal gatherings, swear secret and dreadful oaths, break-up new machinery, and finally resort to murder all to prevent the introduction of machinery into the trade. On the other hand were a group of equally single-minded manufacturers, determined to introduce those machines into the industry at any cost, and which they claimed that by doing so, they would improve the lives of all textiles workers - even those of the croppers who so vigorously opposed them; and as the teacher added, ‘history had proved them to be night’.

Presented in such simple and conclusive terms it is easy to see in which direction our immature judgement and sympathies would lie. And further, since we lived check-by-jow] with the textile industry we were well acquainted with both croppers and cloth manufacturers; and whereas croppers seemed to be no more important than any other textile workmen, cloth manufacturers were seen to own large mills, employ large numbers of people, live in fine houses, hold important civic offices, and were altogether seen to be much more important figures on the textiles landscape. Thus was our introduction to the Luddite affair slightly coloured, and was to remain so for a long time, for this was the interpretation of events which mostreadily came to mind whenever Luddism was mentioned. A further misconception was that of tending to see the 19th century action as if it were taking place in a 20th century setting of large mills, prosperous mill owners and a general body of workmen; a view which distorted any relationship with reality. Additional background material to the quoted case however went some way in correcting this aberration, to give a much more accurate picture of the industrial scene as it was at that time.

Although William Horsfall, mill owner, cloth manufacturer, and a leading player in the Luddite drama, employed 400 people; large complex mills - although moving in that direction - were not then the norm and cloth dressing (which employed croppers) and the weaving of cloth (which employed hundreds of out-weavers) were in the main carried on as two separate arms of the same industry, running side by side but under many small but different ownerships. Good communication therefore between the two was a basic ingredient of the industry. Employers form both arms would have working relationships with each other, many would be friends, members of the same clubs and institutions, - a very integrated society where their individual lives would meet and cross at many points.

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It was the very presence of this grass-root relationship between people, work, politics and social intercourse which we had previously tended to overlook when attempting to analyse and understand the situation as it was in the years 1811-12. We had not hitherto seen the protagonists in the dispute in terms of one-time friends and acquaintances (which sadly was sometimes the case) but rather in terms of arrogant, cloth manufacturing, William Horsfalls and hot-headed cloth cropping George Mellors - enemies of long standing. The case papers, however, show that the division brought about by the introduction of the shear frame ran through all section and levels of that close community and that there was probably just as much animosity and ill-feeling between two cloth dressers such as out George Sykes (with his shear frames) and our William Brook (without any frames) as there was between many a cloth manufacturer and cropper’s shop. It is however, unnecessary here to quote hypothetical possibilities, for in the case appended we have the ultimate in estranged, once close, relationships. That of long-standing next-door neighbours who by their own statements were once on, “come in and sit down’ terms, but who then found themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.


The original copy of the afore mentioned court brief - with its large content of legal jargon - being much too long to be given in full, only a summary of it is given here. The statements, however, of William Milns (the defendant) and his wife, Fanny, are given in full as they give a graphic account of the events as they saw them.



The plaintiff James Brook is.a cloth dresser and lives with, and worked for, his father William Brook, also a cloth dresser and both abide at Lockwood. The defendant is one William Milns, a cloth manufacturer also of Lockwood and they have all lived next-door neighbours for some 10 to 12 years.

William Brook (plaintiffs father) has on various occasions been accused of being a strong and vociferous supporter of the Luddite cause; William Milns (the defendant) on the other hand - who is deputy constable for Quarmby - is violently opposed to the movement, and who, having had his windows broken on two occasions had laid the blame for it on the Luddites. Feelings between the two families were worsened, when one evening at the Shoulder of Mutton Inn, Lockwood, it was alleged that Milns (the defendant) had stated there, that William brook (plaintiff’s father) and another of his sons, Thomas by name, were both Luddites.

The matter, however, came to a climax on the 20th May 1812 when the two neighbours met in acroft near their houses, when Milns (the defendant) who was drunk at the time, accused the Brook family of having a gun in their possession which he believed had been stolen on the 5th March from one John Sykes of Hoyle House Clough, Linthwaite. (William Horsfall had been shot on April 28th, only a short time afterwards).

Later the same evening, at about 3am, Milns (the defendant) came with soldiers and arrested James Brook (the plaintiff) and took him into custody where he was detained for 24 hours. On the following morning James Brook (the plaintiff) was questioned by Joseph Radcliffe JP and as he could find no real evidence against him, he released and acquitted him. Radcliffe then convicted Milns (the defendant) instead, on the usual penalty of him being drunk, in his opinion. During the period of James Brooks’ (the plaintiff) custody, his house was search, but no gun was found. It is true that Milns (the defendant) had see a gun or gun stock, but this was proved to have been brought to the Brook’s household by George Mellor, to have the stock attended to and belong to John Wood’s son.

West Riding of Yorkshire:

The information and Examination of William Milns of Lockwood in the said Riding, Clothier, and Fanny his Wife, taken upon oath this 21st day of October 1812, before me, Joseph Radcliffe Esquire one of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the said Riding.

The said William Milns says that about the latter end of March or beginning of April last I was in the Shoulder of Mutton public house getting a pint of ale - this was in Lockwood - and I was complaining that the Luddites had broke my windows and I did not know why, for I had never done them any harm - I said this to Luke Bradley who then lived in Lockwood (but he is now in Rothwell Goal for debt) - Upon this Luke Bradley replied that it was believed that I had said nothing against them, otherwise I would have been popped off long since and that he knew it, - and but for good friends I should have been popped off before then, and added that he knew that. This conversation took place a few weeks after they had broke my Windows - They were broke in the dead of the night, - there were only thirteen squares then broke, and we found several large stones in the house afterwards - Previous to this (and I thinkin March last) four houses were broken into, namely, two Swallows, John Sykes and William Cotton all in Linthwaite and about three miles distant from Lockwood, and their Shears, Shearing frames and other things were broken or destroyed but it is not discovered who did the damage - I recollect hearing that all these were done in one night - and that that very night was a heavy raining night. On that same night about ten o’ clock my wife happened to go into the house of my neighbour William Brook who lives next door tome, and she soon after returned and told me she had seen a pistol lay to dry upon the hob of the fireplace and that she was afraid she had affronted them for she had told them she was afraid they were Luddes - she said - she had seen George Brook and another, and had spoke to George about the pistol and he had given no reply, nor had even asked her to sit down as usual. The next morning we heard of Swallows; Sykes; and Cotton’ s robberies and my wife afterwards told me that she had gone again into Brook’ s house to tell them of it and that she had told them what she had heard, and William Brook replied that those who had been there must have had wet jackets for that it had been a terrible rainy night. She further told me she had seen a drab close coat dripping with wet, which happened to touch her arm and was so cold that it startled her. She further told me that when Brook observed that it had been a wet night his wife looked very intently at him and nothing more passed as she came away; but that she had again gone into Brook's house in a few minutes afterwards and the wet coat had been

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removed. A day or two after this I myself saw a Drab close coat and one or two other coats hanging out of the back window, which are shop windows, to dry, the sleeves were turned inside out and sometimes not. They hug for two or three days in this manner. I only saw the Drab coat once - Iam sure it belonged to James Brook. There was an old corbeau top coat which I have seen both William and his sons wear at times. The Drab coast was hanging out of the window where James Brook works, and when it was observed that my attention was fixed upon it, it was immediately snatched into the room, but I cannot say by whom. At this time Iwas Constable of Lockwood and I happened to go over to John Sykes’ s of Linthwaite to see the things valued that had been damaged, and Sykes describe to me particularly a gun that he had lost, and which had been stolen from him that night. A few weeks after this my wife came in and told me she had seen the prettiest little gun or pistol she ever saw - and it was lid to dry on the outside of the window in William Brook’ s house in avery secret place and it could not be seen from my house except from the Door Stone nor from any of the neighbouring buildings except from Thomas Brook’ s shop. I went directly and looked at it and saw it was a Gun Stock and told my wife so, and that it exactly answered the description given me of John Syke’s gun that had been stolen. Soon after this W. Horsfall of Marsden was shot, and my wife told me on my return form Huddersfield Market that night that she had heard great shouting and clapping in William Brook’s house and that she had run in to hear what it was about and that they were rejoicing because Mr Horsfall had been shot. She said also that she had heard James Brook say that the man who shot Horsfall deserved a Hundred Pounds. I recollect hearing of the attack, made on Mr Cartwright. My wife told me what she had seen and heard that morning and that she had heard James Brook say that before he would be engaged in anything of that sort again he would suffer to be clammed to death - it was the most dismal thing, and one might hear them - screaming half a mile. After this I took James Brook up upon suspicion of being concerned with the Luddites - but I had no warrant. I only took some of the soldiers with me and we all went together and took him to Mr Radcliffe the Magistrate who remanded him till the next day and ordered the house and premises of Brook to be searched. He was kept in custody till the next day and then appeared before Mr Radcliffe again who discharged him. After this James Brook brought an action against me and one George Mellor who is now in York Castle on suspicion of the murder of Mr Horsfall was produced as a witness, and a verdict was obtained against me for maliciously causing Brook to be taken up, and a verdict given against me for one hundred pounds - damages at the last assizes. On the 18th of June last my windows were again broke between eleven and twelve at night and several shots fired into my house - next morning we found several balls a pistol ramrod and seven large hedgestakes.

Fanny Milns - says on the night of Swallows, Sykes and Cotton begin robbed I happened to be in William Brook’s house and saw a pistol laid to dry on the hob oft the fireplace - George Brook was there and another - I spoke to George about the pistol and sayed I thought they were Luddes. He made no reply, - and as they had not asked me to sit down as usual I went away without saying anything more. The next morning we heard of Swallows, Sykes and Cotton’s robbery, and I went into Brook’s house to tell them the news, William Brook replied that those who had been there must have had wet

jackets for that it has been a terrible rainy night. I saw a drab close coat hanging behind the door there dripping with wet. It touched my arm and startled me it was so cold. When Brook had sayd it had been so wet a night, his wife looked very earnestly at him, and nothing more passed. I went away, but I went in in a few minutes and the coat had been saw a blue coat or jacket hanging out of their windows to dry afterwards. A few weeks after this I saw a little gun or pistol laid to dry on the outside of the window in William Brook’ s house in a very secret place, and it could not be seen but from our doorstones and Thomas Brooks shop. I told my husband of itand he looked and sayd it exactly answered the description given to him of John gun which had been stolen, but that it was only a gun stock. On Sunday morning after Mr Cartwright’ s mill was attacked I was standing at our own door betwixt 9 and 10 o’ clock and observed 5 or 6 men in Brook’s house, busy about something that seemed to be secret. My curiosity induced me to stay and hear what was going forwards when I heard James Brook say “Before I would be engaged in anything of this sort again I will suffer to be clammed to death - it was a moist dismal thing, and one might hear them screaming half a mile”. I told my husband of this at the time. James was not above three yards from me when he sayd this. He was telling them all a most dismal story. He thumped his hand upon the table and declared ‘it was the most dismal din I ever heard’. I remember the evening when Mr Horsfall was shot. I heard a huzza in Brook’ s house and clapping, and ran in to hear what was the matter. They were rejoicing because he was shot. I heard James Brook declare that the man who shot him deserved a hundred pounds. I told my husband this. Our house has been twice attacked as stated by my husband. My cloak was shot thro in the Cloaths press as it was hanging up.I saw the pistol ramrod found the next morning. Itisaniron one and my husband has it yet. I saw James Brook and George Mellor (now in York Castle) together that night in our fold.

The said William Milns and Fanny William Milns his wife were both sworn before me Fanny X Milns this 21st day of October 1812. her mark. (Punctuation as in the original document) FOOTNOTES TO THE CASE

On the 15th of July during the night, two pistol balls were fired into the grounds floor bedrooms of the defendant, and one of the pistol wads fell upon, or near, one of the beds on which a child slept and set the bed on fire. The next day the defendant went and got himself discharged form his duties of constable, not daring the serve any longer.

The jury assessed damages in favour of the plaintiff at £100.


On the back of the first working brief, the solicitor has made some shortcomments, apparently statements taken from people as he interviewed them and happily he has affixed their names. Once again they are too numerous to quote in full and therefore only a few are given here.

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Mr Brougham: In the neighbourhood of Huddersfield great outrages have been committed. I believe by a few, only of the most deluded, - the same persons, - few in number alsol am sure have been engaged in seizing arms. Defendant is a man of some money - purse proud - puts £300 bills in front of his hat.

James Brook; (Plaintiff) Next door neighbour is defendant who is a man of a rash, disagreeable temper, overbearing and purse-proud.

William Brook: father) I followed 5 soldiers with fixed bayonets. Milns came and said he came for James for stealing a gun. Milns said ‘Twill hang you and all your family’. - he desired the soldiers to take James. There were many persons round the house, - he went.

John Sykes: (Cloth dresser)

I live in Linthwaite. Cloth dresser. I was robbed of a gun on March 5th. Luddites broke into my house at night. Broke my shears.

Joseph Thornton: (Cloth Dresser) I met defendant on 13th May. Defendant asked me if I had

seen a gun. I said, ‘no’. But he said he had in William Brook’ s window. I said it is John Wood’s gun and Mellor has taken it there to be polished.

George Mellor: I know John Wood. I had broken a gun and carried it to be



At the Luddite trials in York on the 12th January 1813, George Brook, James Brook, John Brook, James Varley and Charles Thornton, all from Lockwood, all cloth dressers, were indicted for ‘burgariously’ breaking into the house of Joshua Brook of Wooldale on the 1st May 1812 and stealing one gun and one pistol. All were discharged on bail and that they should appear and answer to the indictments found against them at the next sessions.

At the same trials, 5 men were transported for 7 years, and George Mellor, along with 16 others, was sentenced to death.


A really astonishing outcome of the examination of James Brook by Joseph Radcliffe, JP, was the ease with which James was acquitted. After all, William Horsfall had been murdered shortly before, George Mellor was a suspect and was seen to associate with the Brook family and had access to guns.

Damages of £100 was a very large amount in 1813.

Leslie Robinson.

Strictly copyright. Private papers.

Requiem For Huddersfield

Carol Brierly casts a poetic eye over a Huddersfield childhood

In yesteryear in Huddersfield When we were young, the town was old, But we were young, so young, and Oh, It seems so very long ago. When we were young the days pass slow; Oh, Huddersfield, where did you go?

My great-great grandmother used to sit Dressed in her afternoon gown And take her tea in the window, where She could see right down; down into town. Her drawing room lay where the two roads meet, New North Road and Trinity Street; And from this vantage point she saw All that there was to see, and more...

More than I when I was a girl, Much of whats gone long past. but STOP, Do you remember Rushworth’s shop, Before it was grand, when we could buy Pins and needles and wool and socks And take a ride in the lift, the box With the elephant’s back instead of a chair Whilst through the window, borne on the air, The smell of coffee across the street Frm Fields, where most of the World would meet? The coffee each morning, freshly ground, (Costing but one and eight a pound).

Do you remember, in Greehead Park, The ducks who lived on an island in

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a pond all twisted and black as sin, Where every Sunday we’d go along And throw our bread to the jostling throng; And bowl our hoops and scream and shout And trim our boats and push them out, Till evening shadows massed and grew, Do you remember Itchy Coo?

Can you remember the open trams, The Pennystall and the shawls and clogs, The choking sting of the yellow fogs Cutting your chest in half, in spite Of the woolly cap, and the scarf strapped tight Across your chest and pinned behind.

Do you remember, we used to find All that we needed in Woolworths Store For threepence and sixpence, and what was more You could buy a watch that would really go For a shilling or two, and I ought to know, For I bought one once and it lasted well. Do you remember the evil smell Of the great Kings Mill in the Kings Mill Lane, Where the door stood open the whole year round And the air vibrated with horrid sound?

Do you remember Oh what the Hell, The Town’s all gone and the past as well. The present is here with its rows of neat Multiple stores that line the street, Selling their mass-produced, Mess-produced wares. Our town is dying and no one cares. The life we knew and the past we know; We loved you, Huddersfield; why did you go!

The Loosing Clogs and the smell of the fog Swirling low, biting deep in the throat; The coughs and the cuffs and the curses Of the shawl-clad, clog-shod, jostling throng Spilling out from the doors and the gates

Of the mills, going home In the town in the hills; Reeking crudely of sweat and raw wool In their black cotton smocks and rough socks. See the spark of the steel-tipped foot on the stone Cracking sharp on the sets of the street; Hear the quickening pulse of the beat Of the crowd going home; See the clack of a latch shows a snatch Of a room warm as heaven, or hell, With a lingering whiff of the smell Of a pie carried high on the crest Of the yellow-stained mist; Leaving night, and the breath of the fog.

The Park

When I was young we took our boats And pushed them out upon the lake; Proudly with sails unfurled, they sped From one side to the other, helped By child-made waves and puffs of breath And long long sticks and paddling feet. When I was young we fed the ducks With bread and rinds and bits of cake Upon the other smaller lake, Where winter days we used to skate. And in the summer in the Stand It seemed that all day long, the band Played music. Round the paths we ran, Across the flower beds and then Across the flower beds again. When I was young. So long ago. No bandstand now the ponds filled in. The flower beds remain the same But somehow now at eighty years The urge has gone. No longer do I have the wish To run and sing and carry on!

Wessenden Memories

Donald MacFarlane recalls family life in the Wessenden Valley in the early years of this century. The family left the area for Birmingham c. 1927, and the author would be interested in any further information that anyone could supply

The Wessenden Valley is not one of the most beautiful or renowned of the Yorkshire Dales, but it has its charms and a special place in my memories of childhood. It was the scene, seventy-five years ago, of an escape from school and from town life - one long, long holiday.

We were living comfortably in a terraced house in what is now

Trinity Street, formerly West Hill. Behind the row of houses was a lane, used by tradesmen and refuse collectors, where I learnt to ride a bike. On the other side of the lane were the back gardens of the large rich houses which overlooked Greenhead Park, where I learnt to skate on the frozen pond. I went to school on the other side of Trinity Street, to a ‘dame’ school reached, I think, by going down Mountjoy Road. In the same

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area was the Presbyterian Church which we attended. The trams went to Outlane in one direction and in the other to Field’s Cafe where our mother would meet her friends for coffee. I and my elder brother, David, would have Horlick’s. Father was employed as company secretary to Crowther’s and on fine days he would walk to Milnsbridge through the park and through Paddock.

When I was about seven years old, my brother, who was about nine, developed lumps in his neck which were diagnosed as “tuberculoid’. Possibility this was a delicate way of saying that he had TB (a modern medical dictionary gives a different, irrelevant, meaning). In any case the treatment was the same- fresh air and sunshine, so we lift the town’s smoke and pollution and for six months lived on a farm near the dame of Wessenden reservoir, where our host was a Mr Sykes. The farm is just beside the alternative Pennine Way route that descends from Wessenden Head. When we were there you could see the ‘Isle of Skye’ inn on the horizon. It’s no longer there. Father bought a motorcycle and sidecar for his daily journey into Milnsbridge. The sidecar body was made of basketwork - the only one of its kind I have ever seen. He could take mother and me in the sidecar and David on the pillion.

Staying on the farm was quite a change of life-style for all of us and an adventure for us boys. Cooking and heating were by peat fire and lighting was by oil lamp and candle. I suppose our mother gave us lessons to make up for our absence from school but this part of my memory is blank.

In the barn was a pony and in the loft above was a supply of fodder for its use. We were allowed to turn the handle of a dangerous machine, a sort of circular guillotine, which chopped hay into chaff for the pony. We helped Mr Sykes to harness the pony into the trap and we occasionally went down to Marsden when shopping was necessary. We boys were allowed to take the reins but only because the pony knew exactly where he was going.

In fine weather we played on bracken-covered slopes of the valley below the dam and explored the outflow tunne!] with its damp dark echoes and trickle of rust-stained water. It never occurred to us that one day someone might open the valve and wash us away.

remember another boy on the farm, presumably the Sykes’ son. He was older than us so he didn’t join in our play but one day David was allowed to ‘help’ him to whitewash the inside of the hen-coop, with disastrous results to his hair and clothes.

Another entertainment was to watch the peat being dug and made into rectangle blocks for fuel. If my recollection is correct these were also used as building blocks to make Shelters for the grouse-shooting season. We would daily search the shrubbery in front of the house for hens’ eggs and occasionally found them.

In the spring there were a few rhododendrons in flower, clinging to the rocks beside the waterfall. There are many more now. In late summer we gathered wild bilberries from the rocky outcrops beside the road that led down to Marsden,

One day in warm dry weather David got hold of some matches and we made a bonfire which set fire to the dry bracken. Father and Mr Sykes came running and shouting and beat out the flames with spades.

On another occasion David tried his first smoke, using an old clay pipe and the discarded butt of a cigar. After a short while he felt sick and ran to mother who was very sympathetic until she smelt the smoke.

For wet weather, so that we could be out-of-doors, father built a lean-to roof shelter against the wall which supported the footpath where it ran along the steep part of the hillside through the farm. When J re-visited the farm a few years ago I imagined that I could see the remains of this structure.

One day the motorcycle caught fire. I don’t know if the sidecar was damaged but we soon had our first car. It was a ‘Swift’, an open two-seater with a ‘dickie-seat’. This was an occasional seat for two made by raising the boot lid on arear hinge. It was big enough and comfortable enough in fine weather, but we were cut off from our parents when the hood was raised over them. We boys were a source of great amusement for the local children when we drove into Huddersfield. Nevertheless I remember the car with affection. It was finished in an unusual mauve colour and the radiator badge was a trefoil with a bird (presumably a swift) superimposed.

Looking back I wonder how my mother passed her days during that spring and summer. She was a keen golfer, belonging at one time or another to Fixby and Crossland Heath clubs, but I didn’t think she could have got to either of these during our Stay at Wessenden, She was, however, an avid reader and an accomplished knitter. If the pattern was not too complicated she would read, knit and smoke at the same time.

Our isolation was happily relieved when we had week-end visitors. Then we would picnic on the banks of the overflow from the reservoir and paddle in the stream and innocently pee in Huddersfield’s water supply. Once we were seen by a water authority official, who trudged across the valley to reprimand us.

Once I was taken by my father into Crowther’s and met Mr Crowther (Stoner?). My main recollection is of the top half of an enormous wheel rising out of the floor of his office. This was the flywheel and its motion was symbolic of the activity of the mill. He gave me a present of a pen-knife stamped with the name - Mark Shaw and Sons, Engineers.

Shortly after our stay in the country we were packed off to boarding school - Pannal Ash College, Harrogate (now a police college). We would occasionally visit Wessenden during the holidays and skim flat stones over the still surface of the reservoir.

The lumps in my brother’s neck? They disappeared and he grew up to be a fine Rugby player and airline pilot.

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Fit to Eat?

Stanley Sheeard recalls the sad story of the Hirst family’s Sunday dinner, one fateful day in 1914

A sad story about corned beef poisoning during February 1914

On Sunday 15th February 1914 Joseph, Clara and Mary, the youngest daughter, felt ill. They had sickness and diarrhoea. By Tuesday, the 17th Joseph was no better and Dr Bell was called. It was thought that a savoy cabbage was the cause of their sickness. The family had had mutton and savoy for their Sunday dinner. By Wednesday the 18th Joseph had begun to rally round but he collapsed on Thursday the 19th. Dr Bell was then told about the family having had comed beef for dinner on Saturday 14th of February. Ellen, their eighteen year old daughter, had fallen ill on Wednesday the 18th with the same condition but she had not eaten any savoy. Their 21 year old daughter, Beatrice, fell ill on Thursday the 19th. The three sons had felt a little unwell but nothing serious. Joseph never recovered and he died at 6.10am on Friday the 20th.

Dr Bell then wanted to know the origin of the cored beef. Clara explained that she had purchased a pound of the meat from the local shop, in Station Road. She explained that part of her purchase was from the last of an old tin and part of anew tin of corned beef. She had complained that the end of the first tin looked rather fatty and so a new tin had to be opened. She said that the meat from the new tin looked “right grand”. The tins held six pounds of corned beef.

Poor Clara was called upon to make the above statement when the inquest into her husband’s death was opened, at Skelmanthorpe Working Men’s Club on Saturday the 21st of February. The cause of death was given as “ptomaine poisoning”. Clara, of 178 Station Road, explained that her handloom weaver husband had not worked for eight years due to rheumatism, but had otherwise been fit and healthy. The

inquest was adjourned until 4th March.

The 4th of March saw the arrival of a barrister and secretary who were representing Messrs Yuills Ltd of London and Liverpool - importers of corned beef “Q.M.E.” brand. Also present was the coroner, the shopkeeper and Dr Bell. There was also a foreman and a jury. Much was discussed about the labelling and instructions upon the corned beef tins as well as the storage of the same once opened. This was the first case known to the importer of the corned beef since they started in 1898. They had certificates to show that the beef was not contaminated before it was tinned, The batch concerned was shipped to England, by steamship, in July 1913. A bacteriologist with the West Riding Country Council presented a certificate to show that he found no food poisoning organism on the tins of corned beef which he had taken away for samples. The shopkeeper explained his procedure for storing the corned beef once opened. He kept it upon a board form where it was cut into slices at the customers request. At night it was covered with greaseproof paper and stored in the cellar to keep it cool.

The jury then went away to discuss the findings and after three hours said:-

“In some way the corned beef was contaminated by either an animal or human. In corned beef and potted meat the organism grows rapidly. They advised that the meat, once opened Should be kept onan earthenware dishwithan earthenware lid to prevent accidental contamination.”

Ithad been observed that the shopkeeper kept a cat and that the deceased had kept canaries. A sad affair for Clara and family. The outcome, however, pointed the way towards a greater awareness of hygiene when storing food.

A Weaver’s Tale

Arthur Hirst writes to Charles Edwin Field

I have been working, indirectly, for Edwin Field & Sons ever since I was about eight years old, you will no doubt wonder what we could do at that age, fetching weft. Well, the beaming frame had to be turned by hand and my Father and Mother would work at it until the school loosed and then we used to go to the beaming hoile (shed) and then take hold of the handle to let my Mother go home and make the tea. Our Percy would be on one side of the handle and me on the other.

When it was a side border we used to handle the two short sleys, to let my Father turn the handle (holding ends of warps at finish).

The Beaming Places were:- Tommy Lodges - up Cumberworth Rd, J. Bincliffes and Sam Jenkinsons in Gib Lane, One at the top of Croft head, (Proshires), One called Josse’s - where the Double Pile shed it built,

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And one in Jepson Fold (now called the Dog Hole). We used to pay 3° for the use of the frame.

When we had a Cotton Warp to beam, my Father used to engage a man to turn the handle, called Abraham Shaw. “Bufty” was his nickname and he used to pay him 2/64 for the job, then when Watson peel was at liberty, he would let him twist it in for 2/67 - he was the best twister-in I ever saw - that was Peel of “Outram & Peel’.

When we were learning to weave we had to learn the lot, - Beaming, Twisting (both Right and Left hand) on account of the side border warps, they never tied any warps in, in those days.

Itwould be a sight today to see Father and Mother, mostly with apram and one or two children in it, and two carrying rods and sley, going to a beaming place, Father with beams and warps on a wheel barrow.

When I got to twelve years of age I had to go to Tom Blackers (your Wife’ s Grandfather) for my attendances at school, then

take it to Tom Bradbury at the Coop and he gave me my half- time certificate, then I could go out wiring.

I wired at Elm Mills for Allen Fisher, Joe Shaw (Willie Shaw’ s

father), Harry Hey, Robin Senior, Friend Lawton, Fentant

Kilner, Allen Appleyard (Wab) as he was called then, Albert Lodge (he wove covers 81 inches wide), and Harry Lodge (Clock) as he was called then - he wove covers 91 inches wide, he had his loom at home, Walter Shaw, Tom Gaunt & George Tom Haigh, Wilson Hobson wove on a Jaquard loom and he used to take the weaver’s pieces in as they came along, and then George Atkinson would fetch them down to the mill with a horse and wagon on a Saturday morning.

By this time I had got my full-time certificate and I had to stay

and work with my Father and let our Percy go out to work for your Uncle John Thomas Field.

And so as time went on my next Sister got old enough and she stayed at home wiring half-time, sol had to go out again half- time wherever there was a vacancy.

Society Events

Recently, the Society has tried to widen the scope of its activities, with talks and visits expanding beyond the immediate Huddersfield district. The past season’s talks have ranged from the history of South Yorkshire to public parks; from the medieval residences of the Templars to twenteeth century fire brigades. Not to mention the wildlife imagey m church decorations, the long-neglected Yorkshire cotton industry, and the pleasures of dialect humour.

But it was perhaps, with the June excursion and October day school that things moved away from the usual pattern.

On the face of it, a museum devoted to medical matters isn’t perhaps, the most obvious venue for a local history society, but the Thackray Medical Museum is far more than a ghoulish collection of bizarre specimens. Cleanliness and godliness were dominant themes of Victorian life, and after a visit here, there is no doubt as to why the former, at least, was so important.

The industrial towns were often filthy and their slums would have rivalled the Third World for insanitary squalor. In the Thackray you can experience - thanks to Yorvik-style technology - something of that squalor as it was lived in 1840’s Leeds. Sights, sounds and smells emanate from the Black Dog Pub, Mr Sowerby’s butchers shops and open air slaughter house, plus Mrs Ingham’s (very) common lodging house. The 5,000 strong Irish population are represented by Mrs O’Flaherty’s house, complete with obligatory pig, while Mary Holmes’ tiny, airless cottage illustrates the hard life of the seamstress. Pervading all, the pungent aromas of privies and polluted water help to illustrate just why Leeds was described

as the “vilest of the vile” in 1837.

From there on, public health improvements began to improve the general environment, and the museum covers these, together with the actual medical techniques. But for many of the poorer inhabitants, these benefits filtered down very slowly, and it was to products like Lydia E Pinkham’s vegetable compound (the original Lily the Pink of Beatles fame) that they turned for relief, or made their own remedies, like the Huddersfield weaver, James Hirst, whose cure for toothache included an egg laid ona Thursday, powdered with salt and rubbed into the worm affected tooth.

“Have you the guts to look inside?” demands the Museum’s publicity leaflet - if you have, it is well worth visiting this former workhouse to appreciate just how much “guts” it took to be an ordinary citizen of Leeds in the 1840’s.

In October, a rather more picturesque programme greeted visitors to Newsome, as Sheila Stead reports:-

The Study Day October 17th

Instead of the usual two session October Study Day, 80 members and friends were entertained to a full afternoon entitled “A Century of Fashion 1850-1950”. It was presented by Miss Joan -Wood to the accompaniment of melodies appropriate to the periods. There was so much of interest that it is worth sharing what we learned with those who could not be present. It would be impossible to remember everything even after seeing the programme several times so these notes are the combined effort of a few of those who enjoyed the

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occasion. Even then the accuracy cannot be guaranteed.

We were first of all invited to stand for the National Anthem. Then the show started with a yellow and black crinoline gown worn with a black bonnet and, true to period, fabric shoes. The delightful young lady who modelled it was chosen because of her 18” waist. The skirt was lifted to show the pantaloons and the hoops which had been bound with horse hair and linen. (Crinoline is from the French based on the Latin for hair and flex). This was followed by two dresses, one which had a full bustle on its nipped steel frame, and then a smaller version. The next dress with its wig of mutton sleeves was also a French fashion.

All the ladies wore gloves and carried parasols (used to protect their complexions from the sun), carried not by the handles, but a ring on the end of the ferrule was slipped over a finger. The fashion changed when Queen Alexandra who had a very bad limp hadher parasol strengthened and the handle lengthened so she could use it as a walking stick.

We were shown arich blue, full skirted dress with a beautiful silver chatelaine round the waist. Keys, a tiny purse, acase for needle and thread, a thimble and a minute notebook all in silver hung from it. The lady of the house wore this dress at home but an elegant cream dress was worn for “calling”. A call would last no more than 15 minutes. A card for each lady of the household and for the master would be taken form a silver case and left on the hall table as she went out. If no one was at home one card would be left with the corner turned down.

A particularly impressive dress was made of pink satin with smoking down the outside of long sleeves and down to the waist. A huge eight feather ostrich fur was elegantly wafted.

It was interesting to learn that when ladies went visiting to house parties, in additional to such glamourous gowns, they had to take a black dress in case there was a bereavement because mourning was compulsory.

The black cape had an intricate decoration in cut steel beads. The cape would have been kept in bran to stop rusting. Pity the poor maid who had to clean up afterwards. A very different cape in beautiful beige lace from the end of century was also shown. It had Dolman sleeves similar to those on the uniform of a Turkish soldier.

Also from the early period was the dainty wedding dress of Miss Wood’s grandmother. Another family heirloom which entranced us, was a beautiful long christening gown and matching shawl worn by a life-size baby doll. This was a memorable item because it linked a beautiful garment with a long standing textile mill tradition. The tradition was that the child of a mill owner’s family could not learn too early about workings of the mill. The baby was taken to the mill in its christening gown, and while the parents remained in the directors’ room, the oldest worker in the mill carried the baby through each department, as an introduction to all the workers and the processes. Miss Wood herself had been carried in the baby clothes we saw by a lady called ‘Old Annie’. When she was returned to her, her mother said “the clothes and the baby were ‘black bright’; she must have been given every bit of oily metal in the mill to suck on”. Miss Wood also told us that her

father had been carried round the mill by the same Old Annie, wearing the same christening clothes and she also showed us Annie’s large woollen shaw] which had been bequeathed to her.

At the beginning of this century skirts became narrower and a model showed how a fur muff was worm by suffragettes not so much for warmth as for carrying handcuffs to chain themselves to railings batons, and in this case a small banner saying “Votes for Women”.

After the war there was a feast of fashion, a delicate pale turquoise georgette dress with handkerchief hem, a cream tussorc dress shorter at the front than the back and a smart ribbon strapped black dress which could have been worn today. Pearls were now fashionable because the Japanese had learned to put a piece of grit into an oyster, which then coated the grit to make a cultured pearl.

The ladies in the audience exclaimed at the chinchilla, ermine and silver fox fur capes and coats and the feather fascinators which were worn on the head. The model wearing the flapper dress wore just one osprey plume on a headband and carried a holder (for a black Russian cigarette) which extended to a yard long. Another carried in her hand a small fitted metal handbag, And another wore a bangle which had been thrown by Josephine Baker to Miss Wood’s father when he had been to a show in Paris.

There was a gentleman model as well, in three completely different scenes from the interwar years. It was a pleasure to see the court dress worn by Miss Wood’s parents at the coronation of George VI. The gentleman’s velvet coat had a small plain pad at the back of the neck, arelic of the time when men wore powdered wigs and the powder had to be brushed away. Secondly the very liverey teddy bear coat and huge fur- backed gauntlet gloves, the plus fours and thick socks worn by the gentlemen of an early motoring couple outshone the outfit of the lady. Thirdly both he and her Regency style fancy dress costumes which were worn on those liberated days, so that people could enjoy themselves without being recognised, won our admiration.

On adifferent theme there were contrasts between the smocked and all enveloping nighties wom with a white, embroidered cap so that untidy hair should not be seen, and a diaphanous rainbow hued negligee from Paris.

It was sad to see a coming out gown created by Molyneux which was not worn because of the outbreak of war in 1939 and also to see a wedding gown of great beauty which never adomed a bride. I

From the years 1939-45 most of the audience were familiar with the plain coat, woollen turban and woollen mittens wom by the model who carried her gas mask and felt a little nostalgic at the appearance of the pin striped utility suit.

As material became more plentiful after the war the fashion industry started to boom we were shown a ball gown such as the Queen wore. And then the ‘mother of the bride’ modelled a lovely outfit of mauve dress and matching coat with a large fur shawl collar and matching hat. She was accompanied by

Page 15

the mother of the bridegroom whose coat of the same style, swinging from a shallow curved yoke was in brown and not so attractive!

Dior’s ‘New Look’ brought us up to 1950 and left us wanting more. The organisers and presenters were warmly thanked by Dr Eagles.

With special thanks to S. K. Stead, J. Auckland, B. Beaumont, R. Coull, B. Eagles and H. Holmes.

The programme for the rest of the 1998-99 season is as follows:-

30 November 1998 The Woodhead Family Mrs Pam Cooksey * December 1998 Annual Dinner Details to be circulated 25 January 1999 The Co-operative Movement

Dr Peter Gurney

22 February 1999 The Secrets of York Minister Revealed Mr Derek Harker 29 March 1999 The Irish in Huddersfield Mr Noel Gilzean 26 April 1996 Mrs Susan Sunderland, Yorkshire’s Queen of Song Miss Judith Sherratt 24 May 1999 Growing up in Golcar Mrs Beryl Kosak *28 June 1999 Excursion Details to be circulated

All meetings except those marked * will take place in the Light Reading Room, Huddersfield Library, at 7.30pm. (The 1999-2000 series of talks will commence on Monday 27 September 1999)


Although this hasn’t been a year for major publications, there has been a good selection of truly local works to consider.

Huddersfield is nothing if not an industrious town, and this busy history is reflected in a trio of new books. Mention textiles in Huddersfield, or indeed any Yorkshire context, and thoughts immediately turn to sheep, clothes and woollen fabrics. Cotton, if mentioned at all, is always associated with the “wrong” side of the Pennines. But it wasn’t always so, for cotton was also Yorkshire’s forgotten industry, with over 250 mills in he county. The Holme and Colne valleys contained many of these, with a dozen in Marsden alone. Even the Huddersfield Coat of Arms contains a ram, with a sprig of cotton in its mouth. All of this, and much more is detailed in George Ingle’s Yorkshire cotton: the Y orkshire cotton industry 1780-1835. A fascinating book (and incidentally, a very good lecture) on a little known subject.

The cotton industry may have retreated back across the hills, but many of its buildings are still around for us to study. Not so for another important industry, for few industrial processes can have made such an impact on the landscape and then disappeared so completely, as coal mining. The large mines have gone, and their spoil heaps are greening, but small scale pits continued locally into the 1990s, providing employment for a select band of small companies. John Senior, from a mining family himself, has chronicled this micro-industry along the Kirklees/Barnsley border in The last of the day-hole miners.

Mining, like all heavy industries was thirsty work and the developing industrial towns produced many entrepreneurs determined to do the quenching. Born in Southowram, but working from Lockwood, Timothy Bentley was to found a

company that became a household name in Yorkshire and beyond. Developing his own brewing process, Bentley expanded the small family fun into a major industrial complex, that only ceased its original purpose in the 1960’s. His life and works are recorded in a most readable paperback by former

employee Anthony Avis in Timothy Bentley : Master Brewer of Yorkshire, published by Kirklees Cultural Services.

Clogs, like textiles are an essential part of the historical mill town image, but in recent years, they have also returned as something of a fashion accessory. Clogs were my life, by Frank Walkley, tells the story of this remarkable footwear and the famous clog makers own childhood in Huddersfield from the 1920s.

Even the industrious need some relaxation, and the football club has provided relief for many. Ian and Gwen Thomas’s; illustrated history tells 90 years of the Huddersfield Town Story in an accessible way that even non-fans can appreciate.

Having washed that down with a pint of Bentley’s beer, what could be better than a slice of pie - Denby Dale style. The stories beneath the world’s most famous crusts are thoroughly savoured by Chris Heath in The History of the Denby Dale pies. Two centuries of gastronomic delights and disasters are served up - from vague beginnings at the White Hart in 1788, through the disaster at Toby Wood to the massive media event of 1988. Will their like ever be seen again in this hygiene conscious age?

The highways and byeways of Huddersfield continue to provide fertile ground for the intrepid Minters, who have now put the north-east of the town under their microscope.

Discovering old Huddersfield Part 3 takes a broad sweep from

Page 16

Birkby and Fartown, across Leeds Road to Dalton and story from monastic grange to modern suburbs. Moldgreen. Packed with fascinating details, the book is also

worth a look just for the elegant line drawings of J. R. Beswick. A more obvious subject, though surprising]y little written about, is Castle Hill. A new popular guide to the Hill and its famous Extracting interest from the mundane is one of the pleasures of Tower, has been written by Huddersfield exile Haydn Bywater. local history, and few places offer more of a challenge in this Happy inspiration: the story of Castle Hill and its tower provides direction than Bradley. Beset by sewage and chemical works, a brief guide and history for the curious visitor. The title itself, besieged by roads and railways, the original village seems all incidentally, comes from a glowing contemporary report in the

but lost. Except in works such as Alan Whitworth’s History of Yorkshire Post, which described the erection of the Tower as “a Bradley. Published privately by the author, this covers Bradley’s landmark for posterity and a happy inspiration”.

ee Visits

In September of this year, Prince Andrew came to Huddersfield to open the McAlpine Stadium’s new North Stand. Almost half a century earlier, in July 1949, his mother, then Princess Elizabeth, also travelled down Leeds Road - to visit Trafalgar Mills, and a ‘a very different football stadium.


[ee Fine fe : Pa Et a

m I

Almost at the end of the day’s tour of Huddersfield the Royal visits went to the Trafalgar Mills, where they talked with many of the old operatives and watched the mill machinery at work. In this picture they are being received at the mill.


i er ' FL is

- : sa ve oe Bar Huddersfield children giving a :

' ~ a >t AL! saa Pt display on the football ground. At ss an pas iia a) tay ee the close they broke ranks and “ SR ss BA teas I followed the Royal car in tude OMe = — en, : ot ‘ NS La ee reer

thousands, cheering and waving their flags, to provide some of the most enthusiastic moments of the tour.

Page 17

Before Victoria:

Huddersfield In The Early 19th Century

Local history has always appealed to local newspapers, as this account from the Examiner of 1883, submitted by Lesley Kipling reveals.

Huddersfield in 1825-6.

We have been kindly favoured by Mr. D. Schofield, Freeman Square, Trinity Street, with some interesting recollections of Huddersfield as it was in 1825-6; and as they relate to the time mentioned in our recent sketch of the rise of the first Huddersfield Mechanics Institute, they may be not mappropriately reproduced here. Our informant says:- The marked was held in the Old Market Place where the marked cross now stands, but the cross was placed in front of the old Longley Hall, at that time a brick building, plastered over and lime washed, standing on the site of the present hall. The stalls in the market were open and had to be removed every Saturday night into the yards adjoining the principal hotel. The George Inn stood where John William Street begins, and faced directly up New Street; it was pulled down when John William Street was formed. The old “George” was the place where most of the stage coaches started for Leeds, Manchester, and elsewhere. New Street was the principal thoroughfare, and was inhabited by some of the first families of that time. Henry Nelson, Esq., lived in the building now bearing his name, and kept a good staff of servants and assistants. The front of the house was railed off, and it was covered with sweet jessamine and other creepers. On the other side of the street there lived T. Pedley, Esq.; who kept liveried servants. He had a woollen mill at Paddock. Next to him lived James Brooke, Esq.; one of the partners in the Meltham Mills cotton thread mills. A little further south, fronting the street, was Schofield’s woollen mill, the owner lived behind the mill, and had a garden and orchard where the Albert Hotel now stands. A little further south, in Buxton Road, lived T. Lockwood Esq.; in a stone building now, after great alterations in the rear, named the Victoria Hall; and further on there lived H. Stables, Esq.; the owner of a mill and the land it stood upon. There was a reservoir at the front next the street, to supply the mill with water. It was well stocked with gold and silver fish, which were fed by children who delighted in throwing bread to them. The post office at this time was on the east side of New Street, about the middle, and was kept by a Mr. Goward. All the letters and postal documents were carried to and from Halifax twice each day on horseback to meet the mail that ran from Leeds to Manchester by way of Bradford and Halifax. The Huddersfield post-horse went by way of Grimscar Wood, and the rider was armed with two holster pistols. One letter carrier did for the whole town, and if he was ill his wife delivered the letters, and would not call twice. If not in when she called people had to go to the postman’s dwelling to pay and get the letters, 7d. for a single letter from London, and 14d. if written on two different sheets. Letters did not go by weight, and if a member of Parliament franked them by writing his name at the comer they went post free. A member of the House of Lords had the same privilege, and some of them raised a good sum by franking letters in this way for tradesmen. Newspapers had a red stamp costing 7d., went free of postage, and could be reposted several times during the space

of a month. When the postal system was extended each letter carried a 4d. stamp. For some time before the penny post came in the post was a loss to the Government, and a letter posted in London took ten days and over to reach Huddersfield. Everything was expensive. Windows had to pay duty, and salt was 4!/2d. per pound; fine sugar 1s. per pound; coarse ditto, 9d. per pound; flour 4s. 6d. to 5s. per stone. Several banks broke. One on the upperside of the Market Place, Dobson’s Bank, entered from the yard, stopped payment in 1825, and caused a deal of misery. They issued £1 notes, and these were held mostly by a bank kept in Kirkgate by Shakespeare Sikes, and another by Dowing, in New Street. They caused much loss to both master and workmen. Wages were low. A good joiner got 18s. per week, and a foreman 21s. Female servants got from £6 to £8 per year, some less. Most of the working class children had to go barefooted. Milk, eggs, and butter were cheap; so was fresh meat. The working class children were neglected as regards schooling; they got most of their education at the Sunday schools. The factories ran from six in the moming tll eight in the evening, and till four and six on Saturdays; and children of any age could work those hours; they were allowed half an hour for breakfast, an hour for dinner, and half an hour for tea. The only building on the west side of Buxton Road were some warehouses at the bottom of High Street, occupied by Mr. Abraham Dixon, and a gentleman’s house, occupied by Thomas Allen, Esq. This house stood in a garden facing the south; it was walled round and planted with fruit and other trees. From the garden wall to South Parade were fields and brickyards. There was a footroad across from where the Victoria Hall now stands to the end of Manchester Street, near the top of the present South Parade. There were houses on the south side only, with gardens to the front and back of the houses. Another footroad started from opposite the chapel in Chapel Hill, and ran up into Outcote Bank, at a place called Fall Hill. Manchester Road was not made then. There were no houses till the bottom of Chapel Hill, at the place where Dale Street now is; and there were green fields in place of the present Dale Street and Manchester Road. At Engine Bridge there was a narrow stone bridge that would only allow of one cart passing over at a time; there were recesses on each side for passengers to shelter in if a cart were passing over. Engine Bridge took its name from a water mill and pumping engine that forced the river water through wooden pipes that ran through the fields into Upperhead Row, into a small reservoir that was where the foot of George Street now is. The pipes were made of whole trees with the centre bored out, and one end was cut to a point and driven into the thick end of the other pipe. When the new street called Manchester Road was made it was necessary to build a culvert over the pipes, so that the workmen could get to the pipes and repair them. Mr. Schofield never heard of the pipes being dug up, and he thinks they are in the earth yet, if not removed by excavating for the buildings erected in the neighbourhood. The water was tumed on only to certain parts of the town at one time, as the quantity of water would not allow a full supply

Page 18

to the whole of the town at the same time. A railway worked by horses ran from Engine where Colne Road now is, to Stile Common, where there were coal pits; and there was a wooden bridge across the river to carry the rails. Starting from Engine Bridge towards the town there were no buildings till Buxton Road Chapel was reached, an old building facing the south, with one end whitewashed. There were fields all the way to Commercial Street, which was called “Joss Clegg Lane,” from a person who farmed the land on each side of the lane. After passing the old chapel, the next house was one occupied and owned by J. Sutcliffe, Esq.; J.P. Then came the Tenter Fields, belonging to a mill at the top of Chapel Hill. From there to the top of Ramsden Street were no houses except the present Victoria Buildings and a public house at the corner of Ramsden Street, called the Woolpack. There were no buildings on the south side of Ramsden Street (Back Green) till Cook’s warehouse, where the Town Hall now stands. This place was in the middle of a garden, and below this were a few wooden sheds belonging to a timber yard owned by T. Walker. There was a run of water down this side of the street to the Shore Head, and no buildings till the top of Shore Head. On the other sided of Ramsden Street there was a block of buildings - they stood back from the street. Then there was a good house - now standing and used by the Borough Club; and there was a garden and orchard where the Examiner office now stands. There was a farm with a duck pond on the site of Ramsden Street Chapel, and no more buildings until Shore Head, except the farmstead called the Broad Tenter, and a pond where Zetland Street now is, for geese and ducks. The May fair used to held on the plot of ground where the Theatre and other buildings are down to the Shore; and prior to that it was held in the fields between High Street and South Parade, and then in the fields now occupied by Stables Street and the mills in the neighbourhood. Castlegate (Low Green) was one of the most respectable parts of the town, and before persons could get a house in some parts of the Old Post Office Yard they had to get a character from their employer or a clergyman of the parish. Dock Street took its name from the circumstance that a boat builder had a dry dock there and built and repaired boats at the bottom of the street. The old prison, which bore the name of “Towzer,” was situated at the comer of Castlegate and Quay Street. It was a two-storey building in stone; it had six dismal cells on the ground floor and six on the upper floor. There was a stone slab to lie down on and no bedding; and at the comer of each cell there was a cross stone covering a drain into a main sewer, and this had to serve as a water closet, There were no windows in the prison; only a small grated hole in each cell, and Mr. Schofield has seen the friends of prisoners feeding the latter mside, by inserting through the grating a large tobacco pipe, ale being poured in at the head while the prisoners received it into their mouths through the stems. On one side of the prison there were strong stocks, and prisoners were fastened in it by the legs, when the magistrates gave orders for this to be done. The stocks were afterwards removed to King Street, and the Market Place. I have seen both male and females sitting in the stocks at the same time, with the constable looking on to keep the rabble quiet. Prisoners were allowed to have ale or other refreshments if their friends brought them, and sometimes the constable joined in the drinking. The constable wore a drab coat, and he was accompanied by a savage dog, which bore the name Towzer. There were night watchmen who wore thick top coats, and called out the time of night as they walked the streets.

They carried large horn lanterns lighted by means of candles. They often gave a late pedestrian a light for his pipe. They were also private watchmen kept by those who could afford; and they had sentry boxes to go into in wet weather, and often fell asleep there. Those gentlemen who could afford kept private oil lamps over the front doors of their houses. Kirkgate in 1825-6 was a very respectable street, and some of the best shopkeepers had shops here. Dr. Thornton, late president of the Wesleyan conference, was born in this street, in the house next to the New Church Schools, on the south side. His father was a flour dealer and grocer, and the street was the best one in the town for shopkeepers. The Rose and Crown Hotel was a posting house, and coaches started for and arrived from Leeds, Manchester, and Wakefield. It was a good house for travellers. The Dog Inn and Butcher’s Arms were very good inns in those years (‘25-6), and for many years later. The houses opposite were good tradesmen’s houses. At the bottom of Westgate, next to the Old George Inn, there were a few wood and plaster houses, kept by little tradesmen, and they were very low and dark. At the top of the street stood the Old Cherry Tree. Where the Estate Buildings stand there was a cherry tree growing outside, and under its branches people sat and drank their ale or spirits. The inn was a low building and opposite was the old Plough Inn, a low “thacked” building with a gilded model of a plough. A few doors away was the White Bear, which was altered to the Plough Inn. Between there and the present Green Dragon the street was very narrow. The coaches to Manchester had to go this way, or up Cloth Hall Street or High Street, and along Market Street, Manchester Street, and down Outcote Bank, at the bottom of which stood a toll bar. Opposite the present Plough and Old Cherry Tree Inns stood a block of buildings called the Temple; they faced down Westgate, and were used as a grocer’s shop. There was a narrow street containing low cottages on the north side, and this was called Temple Street. The cottages were occupied by working men. On the south side of Temple Street there was another narrow street with some one storey cots leading up to Greenside (West Parade). The Old Red Lion stood in this street; 1t was kept by the parish clerk - Dick Batley. On the other side of this narrow street there was an old farmhouse belonging to Jerry Marshall, a maltster. He had land in High Fields, and above his place were a lot of narrow lanes and ginnels called “Hell Square,” where lived some of the poorest inhabitants, who did not bear a good name. At Greenside there were no houses where the Mayor, Mr. Alderman Brigg, has his warehouse, and the land was open all the way to Spring Grove, and was let out for gardens, comm fields, and sheep closes. A foot road started at the bottom of the present Spring Street; it led to Paddock through Springwood, and it was at that time a pleasant country walk, leading through a pretty wood. At the end of Upperhead Row, nearest West Parade, were a few old houses, still standing; some public wells; a cloth finisher’s place, and a few cottages. There were some one-storeyed houses near; then came the old waterworks reservoir, and after this houses much as they are at the present time. Swallow Street was a very good street, and inhabited by very respectable people. All the houses in Upperhead Row, Manchester Street, and Granby Street, or nearly so, were inhabited by the workpeople of Mr. Joss. Lockwood, at that time one of the chief manufacturers in Huddersfield of woollen cords and moleskins, and he built most of the houses from the top of Macaulay Street to the top of Granby Street.

Page 20

Editor: Mr. K. Brockhill, 52 Croft Gardens, Birkby, Huddersfield.

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