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JOGRNGL No. 10 WINTER 1999/2000
Dialect in a Druggist’s Diary
Huddersfield 1815 - 1851
by Jennifer Stead
A small leather-bound, clasped diary was recently found in a Huddersfield junk shop. It had presumably been wedged at the back of a drawer in a piece of old furniture sent for sale. Inside the front cover was pasted a manual alphabet for the deaf and dumb, and inside the back cover was written: J Swift Aurist Newsome near Huddersfield 1 Jan” 1850. Five folded letters to his daughter, had been enclosed, dated 1843, 1844, and a receipt for 100 shares in the Huddersfield, Halifax and Bradford Union Railway dated 1845.
This little find initiated a search. In the Newsome Parish Magazine for 1886, the Rev. Lewthwaite in his: series on Newsome history, gives an account of the life of John Swift, clothier turned druggist, whose ledgers, account books and diaries were in the vicar’s temporary possession. I advertised for descendants of John Swift and discovered his great- grandson Mr A.S. Crosley of Shadwell, who kindly loaned me two commonplace books of his ancestor, but who knew nothing of the lost diaries.
The surviving manuscripts, aided by Lewthwaite’s account, reveal a courageous man, whose ingenuity, perseverance and ultimate worldly success would have earned the approval of Samuel Smiles. John Swift was born in 1784, the son of James Swift, a prosperous clothier in Honley whose turnover in 1808 was £5,000, and this in a period of growing distress for the labouring population. John was literate, and no doubt enjoyed the authors afforded by the Honley Book Club. He played the violin, wrote verses, became a clothier himself, and married the daughter of a Flockton glazier. Then in 1815 the Honley banks failed, his business failed, his young wife died, he made a disastrous marriage to the widow of Newsome property - owner; soon afterwards, she disappeared and he took her teenage daughter as his common law wife and found himself struggling to support a growing family. For more than twenty years he seemed to fail in everything lie did; he was successively clothier, shaw] manufacturer, general hawker, shoe-mender, dealer, until in desperation in 1838 at the age of 54 he taught himself the rudiments of medicine and, styling himself “Dr. Swift”, took to the roads as an aurist, or ear specialist, travelling, at first on foot, to all the big towns of Yorkshire and Lancashire. It was in that same year 1838 that
Samuel Smiles came to Leeds where, deeply impressed by the struggles of Leeds men to improve themselves, he began formulating the principles of Self Help. John Swift, by sheer hard work and initiative, quack though lie was to a certain extent, began to make a successful living, and in 1643 was even Invited to give a lecture on “The Human Ear” to the Sheffield College, where the audience cheered him roundly.
How did this man speak? He is widely read, uses an extensive vocabulary, and though his spelling is sometimes wild, his letters are grammatical, formal and at times even graceful in style. They give no clue as to how he would have read them aloud. The feet of his verses, however, wear clogs - that here poise the reader at the end of a couplet; in thoughts on the new Newsome Water Works he writes:
To provide reservoirs Is a serious Matter But this is the rub, the price of spare water.
Elsewhere in the manuscript, water is spelt watter. A recipe for ink requires 3 Quarts of rain Watter, a recipe for paste for a standing pie begins: Boil 1/4 of butter in a cuppfull of watter, and he writes, of a starving patient: he hears noise like distant Watter fall. In one of his verses, local pronunciation Is explicit. Give the Divel his due, and this substitution of 1 for the e sound is to be found throughout the manuscript: remidy, turpintine, church-warding, labills, ding (deny), gardining, barril, kitchin, travilers, dispair, linin rag. Allibore (Hellebore), essence of limon, lavinder, vinigar, dridge. Other substituted i sounds occur in custidy, accoinpiny, Nelson Terrice.
It is certain that he dropped his aitches. He was fond of reciting in public, and would surely say, as he, wrote, in a poem (not his own) called “The True Born Englishman”: Let the oughty stranger seek to know, and a line in his own verse: they’ ve atched in the dark.
He writes as he would speak, in a letter to his daughter: your letter as not been answered, in a recipe: artshorn shavings, and there’s an int for you. Conversely aitches are added, so Mrs. Uttley is occasionally Huttley, J am becomes I ham, he
uses Hepson Salts, for marzipan he uses sweet halmonds, and he is to be found hearthing up the taties.
He adds extra syllables, increasing the force of words: a very boistruous day and snow fell, a boistrious day. In a poem “Composed in 1815 by J. Swift at Newsome in a Season of Distrefs” he writes: God by his tremendious power. Elsewhere, Huddersfield Gala becomes the Galia, parsley becomes parsally or parselly, and he writes: I walled up a pedestial for the Water Tub. One wonders whether these extra-syllabled words were simply writing slips, or phonetic spelling, and if the latter, whether they were in general usage in the district among those who had some pretensions to education. When he describes one of his patients, a-fevered, consumptive carpet weaver, aS a poor emasticated fellow, his attempt to use it polysyllabic epithet throws a spotlight on both “doctor” and patient, their exact positions in society, the limits of their education, their dress, diet, speech. (The poor fellow, whom Swift charged 5/-, would describe himself as skranni.)!
Several more words are spelt as they sound: Our John’s burn began to superate, strain throw a cloth, I bout my Mrs. 2 pair of shoes, Emela (Emily), planted turnip reddish.
In reading old handwriting there can be real quandaries in interpretation. In complaining of all the house-visiting and fuss connected with his son’s wedding he writes: I do not like such bustling work. Or Is it busking work? Generally Swift’s hand is clear and distinct, but here is open to question. Haigh 2 gives for busk: to get ready; hasten, hurry; to hustle, drive out. Also to go about from place to place singing and playing for money. Another instance of difficulty is the possible omission of a dot over an 1. For the past participle of the verb to mix, twice Swift writes mext: well mext togeather, when they are mext. The local pronunciation of mixed is meist, and so he may have really intended the e. Similarly, twice he writes I bout for I bought - is this a spelling error, or phonetic spelling for the dialect bout? He is very meticulous about noting financial transactions and usually gives pound for pound. But once he writes / took a pund first day, which again may be a spelling error, but is, one suspects, phonetic spelling. In a poem on the death of his first wife he writes:
The chair where she sat, the cloths that she wore, The language she spook with her eyes
One cannot be sure spook is his version of Huddersfield spoak, or merely a spelling mistake. (The rhythm gives no clue, since it is rarely regular.) Cloths must be a spelling error also even though he uses it elsewhere; of his present wife: her cloths
hang on her like a consumtive person. He would surely pronounce clothes as [tluez] tlooaz. Sometimes his spelling is simply picturesque as in frunt,- from Eear to Eear.
Picturesque also are obsolete words: brought a kreel and the bread to put on it, bought a coalscep, bought 40 Ibs of kemp taties, I mended the bow of the kit, my Mrs. was in the enjoyment of good (noun), women are brickle ware, a sad rheum in her jaw, netted a purse out of an old silk warp (rope), windows twining, Poll is in a pucker, Mr. Learoyd tipped the blunt (money). The meaning of a gardening term, however, still remains obscure. In July 1851 he removes the old privy (and true to form, tries to sell the ashes). On the site of the old privy he makes a pine:
Mon July 7 I sew a little Sweet W™ seed on the new made Pine
Wed 9 I sew the edging for or on the Pine and planted a few Stocks.
Swift uses several dialect expressions: finished graving the garden, graved up side of flagged gate? in back gata, path), cleaned the grownd about the berry trees gooseberries), July 101 got up ome fine taties for our Sunday dinner but they were very wattry, jobbed about in the garden, made a gimmer to the Tub lid (Haigh: pronounced jemmer, a hinge), J netted a piece of net for the bottom (of the garden) and I think now the Pullan will keep in (fowls), Thursday I made a bucket, gired the Great Water Barrel etc (geared up), a dark roaky day, It is mearly a Bridle stile or a footpath, I am like to see her through this Murry (of his daughter who had committed bigamy. Haigh has blorri), I shall not go again I do not like such stir so he is a stoute goodlike man, sweet spirits of Nitir in a little lithe simple syrup (gentle medcine), a quart of good Ellicar made of good Ale (Haigh: zliker, sour ale; hence vinegar), making spells and jobbing about, How to make Puff paste (take flour, butter, olive oil) roll it out 3 times and cloam the butter on and dridge on a little flour - and clap it with your hand before you double each time. After mixing the icing or cover for a bride cake to a nice consistence you should plaster it on. The forcefulness of cleam, dridge, clap and plaster match the energy of both the diarist and his dialect.
John Swift’s language reveals the man - stubborn, proud, independent, versatile, selfmade. The surviving fragments of his writing give us a tantalizing sample of the speech of a literate man who grew up among the Holme Valley clothiers of the eighteenth century.
] Whilst applauding Swift’s initiative and applications smiles would not have approved his exploitation of the ignorant.
Indeed, Swift himself had qualms about it.
2 W.E. Haigh, Dialect of the Huddersfield District 1928.
* This article was originally published in the Transactions of the Yorkshire Dialect Society Vol XIV, 1977, and is reproduced with their permission. We hope to publish a fuller account of Jennifer’s researches in a future H.L.H.S. publication.
The Cost of Progress
Pam Cooksey uncovers the tale of Dr. Winterbottom and his small invention
Dr. John Winterbottom (1758 - 1826) was the son of a John Winterbottom (1713 - 1764) a manufacturer of Manchester and his wife Elizabeth (nee Greaves) the daughter of Joseph Greaves of Gorton near Manchester, a member of the Greaves family of Thurlstone near Penistone. After attending Manchester Grammar School he went to Edinburgh University (1778 - 1782) where he studied Physics and Surgery. He took up an appointment at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in Newbury in Berkshire at a time when a new dispensary
To visit the various members of his family living in the north of England, Dr John would have had to undertake the much longer and more arduous three day journey to Manchester to Thurlstone near Penistone and to Wooldale near Holmfirth where his brother James lived. He and James, through inheritance and their own purchasing, owned property and land near Holmfirth- namely Fulstone Hall, Horncote and New Croft in Fulstone, The Ridings in 4 7 Wooldale, land and a quarry Aw ADAM near Bank End Thurstonland Bank and
A was opened and by 1785 had oo I Upper Field Farm in established himself in the MEMOIR I ¥ Thurstonland, and town as a physician and LON THE Nabscliffe in Shepley.
His first wife Anne died in childbirth in 1789 co MG another ten years beforehe = ae — married again. On October ~*~ 25th 1799 he married an Anne ‘Townsend, the daughter of a leading family in Newbury. They had nine
History and THEORY.
: ‘ROADS FROM MUD.
eo To. IS ADDED, —
“a af ing a , Description of the Mauckine, the manner of Operation ind Testimonials af its Utility,
The interest that Dr John obviously had in the poor condition of Turnpike and other roads may have arisen because of the many hours he must have spent travelling on them, in either his own carriage or in the notoriously perilous and
children, all of whom wwii, , + Uncomfortable public survived their childhood wien was oe ze sy Ss BRC >. coaches. years, although a son and SOCIETY (. 6 ocr a four daughters died in their m te of NS ae, ay 2 These personal experiences early twenties. ACTURES, AND COMINRGCA D 1 ti oftravelling may have been
the reason for his designing
It would appear that during his lifetime Dr John became
a ‘machine for clearing mud
a prominent figure in Newbury and as such he would have travelled a good deal as he undertook his professional duties, pursued his social activities and fulfilled his family responsibilities.
His work as a Doctor would have involved a considerable amount of travelling in the locality of Newbury and the surrounding district. The maintaining of contacts with his wife’s family and a social life befitting a person of his standing would have required many journeys from the family home at Tile Barn, Eastwood Hay, near Newbury.
by C. and W. Galsbin, Ingram-Court, Feachurchtrect.
On a 2 from Turnpike roads’. hea * At a meeting of the trustees f of the London to Bath road, held at the Globe Inn Newbury on 21st February
1803, those present agreed I that ‘Dr Winterbottom’s machine will be of public and save considerable expense of labour’.
Of his machine Dr John wrote, “I can state that the machine will clear three miles a day twenty feet wide which is considerably more than one hundred and twenty men can do in a day.’
120 men at 2s a day 12:0:0 Four horses, 2 men hired to work the machine a day 1:5:0 Difference 10:15:0
The cost of the machine made by Mister Joseph Moss of Greenham near Newbury was ten guineas.
Two years later the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce awarded Dr John Winterbottom ‘the silver medal of the Society or twenty guineas at his option’ for a machine for clearing mud from Turnpike and other roads. Dr Winterbottom preferred the honorary award of the Society.
This innovatory machine of Dr Winterbottom did indeed prove to be of ‘public utility’, for it’s use resulted in an improvement in the road conditions for the travelling
public. It did indeed ‘save considerable expense of labour’, for it’s use deprived 118 men of the opportunity
for the casual labour necessary for their own livelihood
and that of their dependants. It is to be wondered what became of these men and their families for whom there was no longer temporary work- especially during the winter months
Without any alternative source of employment how did they manage? Did the numbers of the itinerant rural poor increase? Were there more incidents of petty crime- particularly theft, reported? Were there a greater number of families found to be dependant “on the parish’?
A further search in the archives may well provide the answers to these questions. A search of the records of the Quarter Sessions could well reveal the harsh reality, for some, of progress.
A week in Crosland Moor workhouse
Opened in 1872, at a cost of £26,000, to replace inadequate premises in Birkby, the workhouse at Crosland Moor became the unwitting residence of many local people. In October 1900, the Colne Valley Guardian ran a series of articles explaining what life was like- everyday in the workhouse.
The Workhouse is a comparatively modern institution, despite the antiquity of the saying that the poor we have always with us. The very Poor Law itself dates only from the reign of good Queen Bess. Prior to that time the care of the poor was the peculiar and appropriate function of Holy Church. The land was dotted with monasteries and convents,
me Se Ae mnt Lon
most of which were richly endowed with broad and swelling acres. Though the monks, it was alleged, fared sumptuously every day, they could not devour the teeming produce of their lands. They kept open house for the wayfarer. Hordes of vagrants swarmed over the country, a constant menace to life and property. For reasons of his own Henry VIII
abolished the monasteries, and then the poor were in grievous plight. They had no resource but to work or steal. Some couldn’t and some wouldn’t work, and bands of robbers roamed the country far and wide. Then Henry’s masculine daughter or her ministers devised the first Poor Law. At first and for many a long year all relief was outdoor relief. There were no workhouses. The guardians, especially in agricultural districts, gave relief indiscriminately. It paid to give low wages to their hinds and to supplement them by doles from the rates. In some parishes the Poor Rate was set as high as 17s. in the pound. The whole agricultural population of England was pauperised. The manhood of the peasantry was broken down. At long length a remedy was found, but not, if my memory serves me right, till the early years of this century. Then workhouses were erected, and applicants for relief were told they must go into the House. This aroused wild indignation. The House was dubbed the Bastile, and there were nots all over the country. There was one at Huddersfield.
The first workhouse in this district was an ugly little brick building at Birkby, now pulled down. There was attached to it a small patch of land, in which potatoes were grown. I remember as a boy being shown three or four decrepit old men feebly tending the land. I was told they were paupers. I could not have been more impressed if I had been told they were murderers.
In 1872 the present palatial structure on Crosland Moor reared it’s majestic head. In external appearance it is noble, nay ducal. Every breath that blows from the four quarters sweeps front or rear or gables. It commands a fine prospect, and confronts the Jubilee Tower on Castle hill. No more healthy site could have been found. Nor are the internal arrangements unworthy of this stately pile. So far as 1am competent to judge, every disposition is as near perfection as human forethought and trained intelligence could devise. The rooms are lofty and well ventilated. They are cool in summer and warm in winter. There is abundance of light. Pleasant gardens, well cultured and, in season, a mass of bloom delights the eye and sweet fragrance salutes the sense. The rooms are not only commodious and lofty. They are spotlessly clean. Everything about the place is clean except the habits of some of the paupers. True, the Workhouse 1s no more a Castle of Delight than it is a Castle of
Indolence: but it is not the gloomy horror the uninformed imagination is sapt to picture it.
The presiding genius, under the Guardians, of course, of this imposing edifice with it’s Tramp Ward, it’s Hospital, it’s Wards of every description (I speak only of the men’s side, for obvious reasons) is Mr. George Hadfield, the master; a bright, cheery, active man, with a ready smile and pleasant joke, who, throughout the day is here, there, and everywhere, as well he needs be. It is, I think, La Fontaine who writes of the “master’s eye,” I’ oeil du maitre. Well, Mr. Hadfield has the master’s eye and it scans every detail. He has daily a bewildering mass of detail to deal with, and only a perfect method, rigidly enforced, avoids endless confusion. His wife, the matron, I presume, is his reflex on the woman’s side of the house. Then, next to the master comes Mr. Hoyle, the porter, and Mr. Ashworth, the boss of the Tramp Ward. With the latter I formed no acquaintance, but of Mr. Hoyle I saw a good deal. He is the master’s alter ego, or second self, always bien extendu, on the men’s side. Mr. Hoyle is a Lindley man, and stood high in the esteem of Mr. Alfred Walker, J.P., when in his employ. He 1s a tall, well proportioned man with the frame of a Hercules, and a frank handsome face with crisp, black beard neatly trimmed. Then under him comes Mr. Robert Farrand, the labour master, a fine specimen of the sturdy John Bull type, with broad, rounded chest, and arms like sledge hammers. His, I should imagine, is the most thankless task of all, for he has to keep at their allotted task, a motley crew, some of whom are apt to use language more forcible than polite, and others, who having no fear of the law before their eyes, do not stick at words. But “Bob” as he is often called by the men, is a match for the roughest and the toughest of them all.
And now one word on a subject much misunderstood by the outer world, which, for the most part, bases it’s conception of a workhouse official upon the pictures drawn by Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist. A more erroneous notion could not be entertained. Bumbledom is dead and buried. Charles Dickens, to his immortal glory, doubtless helped to kill it. It would be impossible in these days for there to be any serious or prolonged persecution. The Guardians meet frequently. They are easy of access. They are intelligent men and women. They are quite disposed to listen to any
tale of grievance, and if it be well founded justice is done. I speak of men as I find them. From the master downwards I met with nothing but civility and consideration meted out to others. Indeed there were occasions on which had I been labour master more condign punishment than the lick of my tongue would have befallen the insolent, profane, and idle offender.
SECOND ARTICLE (BY ‘PAUPERIS’)
But the reader will perhaps be interested in more detail than is furnished by these general observations. Let us begin, then, da capo. You are, we will suppose, destitute, no matter why. You go to the Union Offices in Ramsden Street. If you have spent one night in Huddersfield the law gives you an absolute indefeasible right to relief. That one night’s residence constitutes your title. You may have your home in “India, or China, or South Carolina;” but all the same, you are for the time being a Huddersfield man. You see one or other of the relieving officers, Mr. Ellam or Mr. Kilburn. You state your case; your age; whether married or single; the number, names, and residence of your children, or nearest relative if a Benedict. This is that should you die in the Union, or indeed be seriously ill, your friends may be communicated with. Then a ticket is given to you, and you drag yourself up the weary hill to the Workhouse gates. You present your ticket. An official shows you into the Receiving Ward and your workhouse life has begun. The man now in charge of the Receiving Ward is called Tom, a little thin, clean shaven, spry, cheery, good natured man, much addicted to snuff. He has an excellent memory, and as some of the inmates come and go as often as Darby and Joan in the weather boxes, it is well he has. If Tom is in a particularly good humour, he will give you a pint of tea, overplus from the morning’s allowance. Then he prepares your bath. You can have it as hot or as cold as you like. Oh! the luxury of that bath to one who is footsore and weary, and has, perhaps been unable to procure a complete ablution for many days. And yet I am told many, if not most of the new comers regard it as a crowning indignity, and protest against it as “weakening.”
Your bath over, you await with what patience you possess, the arrival of that dread functionary, the doctor. The medical attendant at Crosland Moor is
Dr. Wilson. To you he is Fate- Detiny, for he practically shapes and determines your lot while in Pauperdom. Dr. Wilson is, I opine, a Scotchman, a tall, broad shouldered man, with whom his own physic, if ever he takes any, which I doubt, evidently well agrees. He looks and moves the very picture of hardy health. He feels your pulse, looks at your tongue, asks at the outside half a dozen questions and he has you diagnosed in a jiffy. There is no playing “old soldier”, with Dr. Wilson. I suppose he must pass some score of new comers every week, and either by instinct or divination he spots your complaint. “Rheumatism with gout,” he said to me. Tom, the attendant satellite stood by. “Old Men’s Ward,” was the brief command. My destiny was fixed. I was glad, for I had feared the hospital with it’s dreary monotony of bed, bed, bed, slops, slops, slops. Some men in the workhouse complain of Dr. Wilson’s sharp, peremptory manner, and apparently cursory and inadequate examination. But I reflect that much practice maketh perfect, and that at Crosland Moor you are not in Belgravia, with a guinea fee to be paid every time the doctor counts the beating of your pulse.
And now it is time to explain what is meant by the Old Men’s Ward. In law a papuer is a young man till he is sixty. Till then he is a young man, despite the saying that a woman is as old as she looks, and a man as old as he feels. Now I am not quite sixty, but a certain discretion is left to the doctor, and if he thinks a young man too infirm to endure the labour and to flourish on the diet prescribed for young men, he can dub him an old man. We read about the prisoner of Chillon, whose “hair grew white in a single night.” Why! Dr. Wilson added a decade to my natural age with a breath and I was deeply grateful. There is a vast difference between a young man and an old man in a workhouse, and the difference, very propery, is in favour of the old man. Imprimis, there is the all absorbing question of diet.
Look at this table. The provision at the top in each case is the old man’s, that beneath the young man’s.
Breakfast- Tea, bread and butter. Breakfast- Boiled milk, a pint. Dinner- _ Rice, milk. Dinner- _sDitto.
Breakfast- Breakfast- Dinner- Dinner- Tea- Tea-
Breakfast- Breakfast- Dinner- Dinner- Tea- Tea-
Breakfast- Breakfast- Dinner- Dinner- Tea- Tea-
Breakfast- Breakfast- Dinner- Dinner- Tea- Tea-
Breakfast- Breakfast- Dinner- Dinner- Tea- Tea-
Tea, bread and butter. Ditto.
Tea, bread and butter. Boiled milk, a pint. Beef and potatoes. Ditto. Tea, bread and butter. Porridge and milk.
Tea, bread and butter. Boiled milk, a pint. Soup and bread. Ditto. Tea, bread and butter. Porridge and milk.
Tea, bread and butter. Boiled milk, a pint. Boiled beef and potatoes. Suet pudding. Tea, bread and butter. Porridge and milk.
Tea, bread and butter. Boiled milk, a pint.
Bacon, cabbage and potatoes.
Ditto. Tea, bread and butter. Porridge and milk.
Tea, bread and butter. Boiled milk, a pint. Beef and potatoes. Soup. Tea, bread and butter. Porridge and milk.
Tea, bread and butter. Boiled milk, a pint.
Dinner- Potato hash. Dinner- _ Ditto. Tea- Tea, bread and butter. Tea- Porridge and milk.
It will thus be seen that for breakfast and tea the old men get tea and bread and butter every day in the week. The bread is really excellent. I do not say I have never tasted better, but I certainly have eaten much worse. No one can grumble at that. The butter? Well, [really cannot pass an opinion on it, for being short-sighted I have never yet been able to decide on which side my bread was buttered, and there was not enough of it to guide you by the taste. The young men on the other hand, bar Sundays, have a milk diet for breakfast and tea. Now porridge and boiled milk are right enough once in a way, and from a hygienic point of view doubtless better for you than tea. But try a milk diet for a month, and I'll warrant you, you will not be able to look a cow in the face. The young men of Crosland Moor groan over their breakfast and tea, and many of them scarce eat those meals at all. A depraved appetite, you say. Well, but when it is the only one you’ve got, qui dire.
Then there’s that Wednesday’s dinner for the young man- suet pudding, with a thin, yellow sauce supposed to be treacle. The treacle is added as a digestive. A blue pill and a black draught would be more to the purpose. The men call the awful compound “Brick,” and the term is an insult to the brick. I would as soon eat boiled putty.
THIRD ARTICLE (BY PAUPERIS)
Then the old man has another pull over his junior. He gets an ounce of pig-tail tobacco weekly; the young man none at all: no! Not though he be fifty nine years and eleven months old. Now in the workhouse, tobacco takes the place of current coin in the realm. You pay your footing, as it were, in tobacco. If you have a stock when you go in, you can purchase from your fellow inmates anything they have to sell, aye, even common civility. The young man wanders the yard, when not at work, with listless eye, and chews a bit of string, vainly endeavouring to persuade himself it is twist. His beer he can do without, on compulsion. In time, indeed, if he never go out, he loses the desire for it; but the taste for tobacco, once acquired, is as
imperishable as the everlasting hills.
Now the institution at Crosland Moor is called a Workhouse. Let us see where the work comes in.
Imprimis, nearly all the internal work of the house is done by paupers. The windows are cleaned, the floors and tables scrubbed, the fires lit, the beds made, white-washing and painting done, the meals served,- all by paupers, and they are not paid.
Again, there is a stretch of land of many acres, in which potatoes and cabbages are grown. The land is prepared, the seeds set, the ripe vegetables won,- and by paupers. There were, too, ducks and geese and poultry to be fed and tended. These are not for the pauper’s table. It is the old tale:
vos non vobis boves, oves, Sic vos non vobis aves, apes.”
No, these delicacies, it is darkly muttered, were for the table of the Guardians after their bi-weekly labours; and I have even heard it hinted that the toothsome goose, after death, at the workhouse, no longer knows his natural element-water-unless indeed that water be mildly qualified with rare glenlivet.
Then there are some forty pigs, fine plump grunters of a verity. If I were a pig, I should like to be a workhouse pig. There 1s so much porridge and rice milk and cabbage left by the men that the pigs may be said to cost hardly anything for their keep, and they are as fondly cared for as a lady’s lap-dog. The piggeries are well designed and kept scrupulously clean. The pigs at Crosland Moor know the time of day as if each porker kept a gold repeater, and as the hour for refreshment approaches you can hear them raising their squealing demands in notes that rend the air.
Then there is stone breaking. But I know nothing about that; nor yet of the corm grinding, which is another industry much practiced at Crosland Moor.
Then again, there is the chopping of wood into fire- wood, and the bundling and sale thereof. Gentle housemaid, fair Hebe, should you read these lines, reflect that likely enough the wood with which you kindle the morning fire has been made ready to your hands by pauper labours, and when upon your knees before the grate, breathe a fervent prayer that you
may never have need to admire ought but the outside of Crosland Moor Workhouse.
Well, stone breaking is bad, wood chopping not so bad: but a worse ordeal awaits you- to confront the committee of the guardians at their fortnightly gathering. Over this Miss Siddens presides. Miss Siddons, if I may be allowed to say so, is a revelation. I have always, in theory, believed that a woman’s sex should not debar her from participation in public duties, and yet I had always a sneaking subconscious idea that so to do were to unsex the woman, gradually to wear away the gentleness and delicacy that constitute woman’s chiefest charm. But lo! Miss Siddons sits at the head of that committee. Not Dr. Playfair himself ever ruled the committee of the House of Commons with more command of precedent, with more tact and readiness and firmness. And yet Miss Siddons does this without abating one jot the winsome gentleness and cultured refinement of her sex and class. I do not know why the inmates dread to be hauled up before the committee, unless it be that secret, restless, inexorable private prosecutor- a guilty conscience.
There are all sorts and conditions of men at Crosland Moor: broken down gentlemen, bankrupt tradesmen, army pensioners, and working men of every imaginable craft. I asked the labour master, a very intelligent man, how came it there were so many able-bodied men in the house.
“Well, you see,” he made to answer, “there’s a lot of young men here were born tired. They won’t work when they get the chance, unless they are made. They prefer to loaf and sponge and lounge and cadge and booze. Then, when they can sponge and cadge no more, and have drunk themselves beyond the capacity of work, they come here.” “Ah! the drink?” I queried. “Yes, the drink,” he said- and he is not a teetotaller. “I have seen it stated that seven tenths of a workhouse are there from drink. Is that your view?” “Well,” he replied, “you must make allowance for the women and children. That made, I should say not seven tenths, but nine tenths.”
Mr. Hoyle, the porter,- porter now, but some day, I doubt not, to be master in some other union,- corroborated this view with much emphasis, and he, too, 1s not a teetotaller.
So after this you may write me down strict T.T.
What’s my line?
Seventy years ago, the Colne Valley Guardian reported on one man’s lifetime in Standedge Tunnel, uncovered one of the Colne Valley’s least known industries, and then there was the man who brought home the bacon.
48 YEARS ON THE RAILWAY
WORKING IN MURKY DEPTHS OF STANDEDGE TUNNEL
There are many occupations in everyday life about which the man in the street seldom gives a thought until the fact is brought home to him by some special occasion. Those men who work on the railway line as platelayers are an example, yet their job is one upon which the safety of passengers depends.
For 48 years Mr. Alfred Holroyd, of Marsden, has worked in the Standedge Tunnel partly as platelayer, but for the last 20 years as a ganger. Living for the greater part of his life among grime, smoke and the fumes of sulphur would be no joke even in broad daylight, but it takes a strong nerved man to work under these conditions in the murky depths of the Standedge Tunnel. During the course of his 48 years’ work Mr. Holroyd has walked 40,500 miles! And he has worked and walked with only the light of a duck-lamp to guide him. A duck-lamp is not a powerful hedalight- it is something after the style of Aladdin’s famous teapot lamp- there is only the naked flame burning on a small wick at one end. So one can understand that Mr. Holroyd has well deserved his retirement after such long service in the employ of the
L.M.S. Railway Company.
On Friday evening his workmates presented him with a mahogany-cased timepiece, which strikes at the hour and half hour, and bears a plate suitably inscribed, and the Railway Hotel room
was well filled for the occasion. Mr. Holroyd also received a tobacco pouch, tobacco and a pipe. Mr. Fred Barnes presided and after expressing the hope that Mr. Holroyd would live long to enjoy his retirement, called upon Cr. Wrigley to present the gifts, which he did after making suitable reference to Mr. Holroyd’s work and future.
The chairman moved a vote of thanks to Cr. Wrigley and Mr. W. Bradley seconded. Afterwards a social evening was held, songs being sung by Mr. J. Walker, Mr. S. Walker, Mr. Grange, Mr. H. Bottoms, and Mr. W. Bradley. Mr. George Totcombe gave humorous recitations.
One half of the world doesn’t know how the other half lives, or how it gets its living. Few people, except textile operatives, know much about cloth manufacturing for instance, or take any interest in it except when they want a new suit. And cloth making is the staple industry in the Colne Valley. So it occurred to me that it would be interesting to hunt out some little known trades in the Colne Valley, and tell my readers something about them.
Passing a local butcher’s shop the other day I noticed a plate of sausages. Now everybody knows what sausages are. They are the embodiment of mystery as strange as anything pertaining to Maskelyne and Cooke. The
perpetual stand-by of the red-nosed comedian, and the last recourse of the economical and unimaginative housewife. But what about the Sausage jacket? Where does that come from? Then I remembered that Mr. Scharnhorst, of Bridge Street, Slaithwaite, was engaged in this business, so away I went and put a lot of questions which were answered quite courteously, and here I give the result of my investigation.
The Waterside Casings Co., whose works are at Waterside, Slaithwaite, cleans and prepares sheep casings for sausage skins.
Several new pieces of knowledge were given to me by the proprietor, Mr. H. Scharnhorst yesterday, when he explained to me the processes through which the “casing” passes. First, it seems, the fat is cut from the “guts” or casing, and then by water treatment, and finally by scraping, the flesh is removed from the gut, the finished skin being preserved in salt. From one sheep about forty yards of casing weighing about sixty Ibs,are obtained.
Skins not suitable for sausage making are hung on a frame for about two days until they are dry, when they have shrivelled to a great deal less than their former compass, and large firms send consignments of these dried casings to Saxony, where they are made into violin strings, tennis racquet strings and ropes.
Pig guts are treaed in the same way as are the sheep casings, and the finished product is used for making the skins of the higher priced Sausages.
The casings obtained from beasts are used in the making of polony and black pudding; gold- beater’s skin is also obtained from this source.
Mr. Scharnhorst estimated that there are about 3000 people engaged in this occupation in this country, the home of the industry being on the continent. The pioneers of the trade in England were Messrs. Collins, of Birkenhead, who started business about sixty years ago. The Waterside
Casings Co. is the only business of it’s kind in the Colne Valley, and the company supplies the shops of the valley.
A NOTED PIG KILLER
By the death of Mr. Jonas Littlewood of Scholes, near Holmfirth, a few facts in connection with his occupation as a killer of pigs have been brought to light, and will be read with interest:-
Mr. Littlewood stood high in the estimation of all with whom he did business. He was remarkable for keeping a strict account of all the beasts, &c. which he killed for himself, and also those which he killed for other people. In the pig - killing department, in which he took the lead in the district, he kept an exact diary of all the pigs he killed, with the weight of each pig, and the name of the person to whom it belonged. He began this diary in 1832, and brought it down to 1867. From this daily account, since his father’s death, the son has written out a yearly account, and a very interesting document it is. It particularly shows that at Scholes and the neighbourhood the people are great lovers of bacon, as in 1858 deceased killed 405 pigs, the average weight being nearly 19 stones each. From 1861 to 1866, both years inclusive, he killed 2,061 pigs, which produced upwards of 37,400 stones of bacon. The total number of pigs killed is 9,032, and the weight of bacon produced 164,556 stones. Well may Scholes and the neighbourhood produce such good-looking, stalwart fellows as may be seen there. However, last September, this slayer of pigs had to stay his hand. He was taken ill, which rendered him unable to follow his business, and, growing worse, he lingered on till the 1st of May last, when death, to which he had consigned so many animals, overtook him, and he died in the 65th year of his age, to the great regret of the inhabitants of the whole district.
As controversy continues to surround those who live rough, it is interesting to compare two Victorians who earned their livings from the street. First, in 1860, there was the Mirfield beggar, whose profitable patch included Huddersfield. Then there is the Golcar man, whose plight was eased by a piano organ - and donkey, in June 1900. (All cuttings courtesy of the Local Studies Library.)
A BEGGAR’S INCOME- On the person of a lame beggar, named Joseph Walker, who was apprehended the other day at Mirfield, by Sergeant Holden, of the Dewsbury police, and was sentenced to two months’ imprisonment, at the petty sessions, for dog stealing, was found a very curious document, showing the amount of his earnings, while pursuing his vocation, during forty days in May, June and July of the present year. It will be seen from this document that he has netted on an average each day upwards of 4s. 10d. The following are the entries as made by the prisoner himself in a notebook found in his possession:- May Ath, at Huddersfield, 1s. 8d.; 5th, at Halifax, 13s. 2 1/ 2d.; 7th, at Heckmondwike, 4s. 3 1/2d.; 8th, at Batley, 3s. 8 1/2d.; 9th, at Leeds, 1s. 9 1/2d.; 12th, at Leeds, 6s. 7 1/2d.; 14th, at Huddersfield, 8s. 9 1/2d.; 15th, at Shelf, 1s. 8d.; 19th, at Halifax, 10s. 2 1/2d.; 21st, at Leeds, 16s. 9 1/2d.; 28th, at Dewsbury, 8s. 1d.; 29th, at Shelf, 1s. 2d.; 30th, at Huddersfield, 1s. 4d.; 31st, at Huddersfield, 1s. 2d.; June 2nd, at Huddersfield, 3s. 2 1/2d. The remaining entries merely give the date and the amount obtained, as June 4th, 1s. 2 1/2d.; 5th, ls. 8 1/2d.; 6th, 1s. 3d.; 8th, 4s. 6 1/2d.; 9th, 6s. 4d.; 11th, 1s. 2d.; 12th, 4s. 8d.; 13th, 1s. 4d.; 15th, 1s. 8d.; 16th, 11s. 2 1/2d.; 18th, 4s. 9 1/2d.; 19th, 1s. 4d.; 21st, ls. 2 1/2d.; 22nd, 2s. 8d.; 23rd, 10s. 11 1/2d.; 25th, 4s. 6 1/2d.; 30th, 5s. 11 1/2d.; July 6th, 3s. 4d.; 7th, 6s. 3 1/2d.; 9th, 6s.; 10th, 4s. 9 1/2d.; 11th, 3s. 3 1/ 2d.; 14th, 9s. 8d.; 16th, 1s. 10d.; and 21st, 3s. 7d.; being a total of nearly £10.
INTERESTING PRESENTATION- On Monday evening the large room at the Rose and Crown Inn was excessively crowded with an audience who manifested the greatest interest in the ceremony of making a presentation to Mr. Willie Hartley. It will be remembered that Mr. Hartley lost the use of his hands through sustaining burns some fifteen months ago. A movement was afterwards set on foot to obtain subscriptions for his benefit, and a committee, representative of the various public bodies in the village, was appointed. In response to the appeal subscriptions have literally poured in- an evidence of the generosity and kind sympathy of the residents-
and no difficulty has been experienced in obtaining sufficient money to carry out the desired object of the committee, viz.:- to provide some means whereby the unfortunate Mr. Hartley could earn an honest and comfortable livelihood. The consummation of the committee’s efforts was reached on Monday evening, when a piano organ, erected on wheels, and a donkey to draw it, were formally handed over to Mr. Hartley. The chair was occupied by Dr. Webster, who has taken a very active part in the whole affair, and he was supported on the platform by several members of the committee. In the course of his remarks the Chairman gave a brief resume of what had already been done, and what the committee proposed to do with the remaining subscriptions. The purchase of the organ, donkey, harness, etc., and a subscription to the family had exhausted £45. 11s., and with the remaining subscriptions it was proposed to build a stable, and a place in which the organ could be stored, and also to buy two extra cylinders making a total repertoire of thirty tunes. The presentation was made by Mr. Thomas W. Fielding, who, in the course of a few appropriate remarks, referred to the readiness with which the people had responded to the appeal for help. Mr. Hartley responded in a suitable manner. The remainder of the evening was spent in conviviality, songs being rendered by Mr. Fred Hobson (Slaithwaite), Mr. Tom Butterfield (Milnsbridge), Mr. William Edwin Sykes (Golcar), and Mr. Sam Sykes (Huddersfield); and cornet solos by Mr. Shaw Singleton. The duties of pianist were shared by Messrs. Harold Sykes and Isaac Taylor. Attached to the organ was a card bearing the inscription:- “Purchased by public subscription in Golcar, and presented to Willie Hartley as a means of livelihood. June 11th, 1900.” It should also be stated that the difficulty of Mr. Hartley being without the use of his hands has been ingeniously overcome by the contrivance of a leather device in which the handle of the piano 1s inserted and the work of turning is performed by the arm. The proceeds of Monday’s affair bring the total receipts to over £85, so that there is still some £40 left for the purchase of the articles enumerated above.
The making of the “Mellor Ring” and the curious dish of tea pudding.
MARSDEN’S FIRST BRIDGE. Erected in 1775 for £13/6/11
THE FIRST Lb. OF TEA.
Previous to the year 1775, the mere handful of inhabitants of Marsden had to use stepping stones to cross the river, as there was no bridge. Then came a red-letter day in August of that year when the first load of stones was carted to the site of the new “Mellor Brig.” We append a copy of the charges showing that the bridge cost altogether £13 6s. 11d.
£ sd The Foregoing statement and figures are valuable as August 24.-One day leading stone for showing at a glance the striking difference in the price of Mellor Brig, 3 horses and 3 skilled and manual labour and team work. It must be born men, My 10 in mind also that though labour was cheap in those days August 30.-Leading stones, one hors provisions were dear, wheat being perhaps the cheapest and 2 men one day on John commodity. At the time it was £1 11s. per quarter. Key Caf 3 10 August 27-Rob Kershaw, Leading The everyday necessities of working men of our times were stones, 3 h ors and a car, 2 men 7 the luxuries of the rich and few. Clothing was very August 31-Leading Two Bawks of 7 he wedding suit lasted nearly a lifetime and Timber from Huddersfield to “Xpensive and the wedding ya" Marsden on a 10 only did duty on solemn and important occasions. Sugar Sep 1- One cart and 3 hors and 2 men was a luxury, meat a rarity, tea and coffee very seldom Leading stones one day 9 6 seen; and, of course, these things being unobtainable, were Sep. 1-1 peis of wood for Brig, said to be enervating and unfit for sturdy Englishmen. Kershaw had 1 Sep. 2-Half a day with a sled and 2 In 1821 the bridge above mentioned, after doing duty for hors and man 1 3 46 years was found to be infirm and unsafe, and the Sep. 2-Same day payd for mending inhabitants resolved that it was to be replaced by another Iron Gavlick 1 more substantial structure, so the present Mellor Bridge Monday, 4 Sep.- 3 peices of wood was erected in its place. James Kershaw bought for Bridg planks 7 There is a well authenticated legend of Marsden, which Sep. 4-Leading ston, 1 hors and sled took place near Stone Folds. A relative from a distance half day 1 sent a pound of tea as a novel and expensive present. The Sep. 4-Payed Maysons and labourers price was exorbitant. The good lady of the house had heard 22 and half days 3.0 3 of tea as a remarkable dainty which the grand fold of Allowed the maysons ale London used, but how to convert it into food was a mystery when payed 1 to the dame. After serious consultation with her husband Oct. 16-James Kershaw had 4 peeses and the more intelligent neighbours, she decided on a of wood for the use of Brig « Mm value 40 certain method of cooking the tea. A “merry meal” was to be the order of the day and the neighbours were invited. ct. 13-paid James Kershaw 2 3 paid John Kaye for stones......... 1 00 The tea was boiled and after it had undergone this process for Baukes for Bridge, Joseph for some hours the discoloured liquid resulting was thrown Marshall 3167 away. The leaves were then carefully collected, chopped Nov. 2-payed W. Haigh for work sled up, plentifully mixed with butter and pepper and plentifully and hors 3 9 made into a pudding. The compound rather perplexed the payed for ale at the towns guest but as it was faithfully believed the fare of the rich MOSTINGS 2 and fine people the pudding was duly eaten and pronounced very good, though the tale runs that no visitor expressed a £13 6 11 wish for another invitation to partake of a similar meet.
This year’s chronicle begins, sadly with an obituary. Dr Eagles remembers our former treasurer, John Broadbent.
Since the last Journal was issued, our Society has lost one of its founder members, John Broadbent. In the last few years John was but a shadow of his former self ; but many of us remember with affection a most faithful member, who served as treasurer for years robustly guarding the finances.
I shall always treasure a particular day which we spent together some years ago. We were preparing a small exhibition to mark certain happenings in the Holme Valley in Victorian times. John took the photographs, and did this in a real Victorian manner, with a tripod, a plate camera and a cloth over his head. It was a lovely day, and I-did not mind at all waiting for long periods while the ideal picture was obtained.
Towards the end of the day, I was not quite so happy.
John was photographing very close to our house, and in order to obtain the exact picture that he wanted, he suddenly invaded the garden of a neighbour. I hid under a wall in case the neighbours should come out.
John was a keen photographer and an enthusiastic member of the local branch of the National Trust whose members used to go on frequent short holidays. On these trips he would take many excellent photographs, and then, towards Christmas time, have a gathering in his house to show them to his fellow travellers. This was greatly appreciated.
In earlier days John gave much valuable advice to the committee on the planning of future programmes. But , more than anything else, we remember with gratitude the many hours he spent closeted with his account books.
The “Indoor Season” of talks for 1998-99, ended, as usual with the June Excursion, when a large group of members travelled to the South of Huddersfield for...
...an evening with Friends
As a quiet location for a quiet faith it takes some beating. Tucked away in a fold of a rural hillside, down a narrow lane off the Penistone Road, lies the tiny hamlet once known as Quaker Bottom. Times have-changed and become more secular, there are no longer Quakers in every house and many of the outlying farms - but the heart of it, the Meeting House, continues to fulfil its original purpose.
Public persecution and private persuasion led the early Friends to seek such places, and High Flatts began life in a bam sometime in the 1650s. By 1678 it had become, as it still is, part of the Pontefract Monthly Meeting and in 1701 “all that Newhouse lately erected at Highflatts was handed over by Joseph Bayley of High Flatts in Dertby to Trustees.” From then on it was tory of steady expansion. A plot of land was purchased for the all-important burial ground - the living could meet anywhere, but the deceased needed somewhere permanent outside the realms of “hireling priests” and ““steeplehouses”. Further expansions took place behind the building, taking in the former kitchen garden of Mill Bank House. Quaker custom prevented the use of gravestones in the early years, but from the mid-nineteenth century stones were allowed in a simple style.
The Meeting House itself retains an elegant simplicity, largely dating from the rebuilding of 1864. Men and women face each other, across the main room, watched over by a tier of
Elders’ benches and a gallery that has now become the children’s room. Remote and self contained, the building only received electricity and other services in the last couple of decades. Sadly as facilities improved, the community has dispersed. Once a hive of the industrious, High Flatts had not only farms and a tannery, but a school - and if it seems a touch remote now, it must have seemed like the end of the world to young James Jenkins who came here from London to be a boarder in 1764. His account of the austere regime in school gives a sobering insight into eighteenth century Quakerism in its period of “Quietism”’.
It is a fascinating place to visit, and thanks to our enthusiastic hosts, a very pleasant one. Quakerism is a very particular faith with way of life that is open to much misunderstanding. As our host pointed out, even the concept of quietness in meetings is hard for many, especially the young) to understand. But its practitioners have played a prominent part in local and national affairs, and an understanding of their faith is essential to comprehending their actions.
Apart from the genuinely friendly people in charge today, there is a very readable history available to buy or borrow, by David Bower and John Knight Plain country Friends, the Quakers of Wooldale, High Flatts and Midhope. 1987
The new season gets seriously underway in October with the AGM and Day School. This year, the day school featured talks by three speakers, with varying degrees of solemnity and humour, as befitted their individual topics. Mr Swift spoke on “what, where and how”, Mr White on “disasters in the Barnsley area”’, and Mr Bottomley on the Caphouse museum itself, with “colliery to mining museum”. For those who weren’t there, and even for those who were, the words of our own member Emest Beaumont provide a fitting tribute to that most dangerous profession.
Thoughts of a miner
Darkest darkness Brightest light Can’t tell if its day or night.
Smell of powder Smell of sweat Smell of coaldust Can’t forget.
Men in the bowels of the earth They know what coals really worth
Blackened faces Blackened lungs Fathers, cousins, uncles, sons.
Thinking of the folks on top Just two more tons, we musn’t stop.
Then up into the clean fresh air Breath in deeply, Get your share.
In the showers Nice and clean No one would guess where we’d been.
Feeling human for a while, Just a chance to laugh and smile.
See your loved ones, Breath fresh air, Maybe we’ll just stand and stare.
For tomorrow, once again We’ll be more like moles than men
Huddersfield Local History Society Programme 1999 - 2000
8 December 1999 Annual Dinner at Woodsome Hall Speaker Mr. Cyril Pearce
31 January 2000 The Chantry Chapel Wakefield Ms Kate Taylor
28 February 2000 The Old London Road Mr & Mrs G Minter
27 March 2000 The Penistone Line 1850 - 1988 Mr RP Fieldhouse
17 April 2000 Susan Sunderland Yorkshire Queen of Song Miss Judith Sherratt I
22 May 2000 Victorian Architecture & its Architects Huddersfield and District (Part 2) Mr Albert Booth * 26 June 2000 Excursion
Details to be circulated
All Meetings except those marked * will take place in the Light Reading Room, Huddersfield Library, at 7:30 pm (The 2000-2001 series of talks will commence on Monday 25 September 2000)
Huddersfield Local History Society Publications for sale
PUBLIC LIVES - JOSEPH KAYE The Family of Joseph Woodhead a Notable Family of Huddersfield Builder of Huddersfield c.1779 to 1858 By Pamela Cooksey £4,00 I By Edward J. Law £1.75 JOHN BENSON PRITCHETT QUEEN STREET CHAPEL AND - - First Medical Officer of Health for MISSION HUDDERSHELD Huddersfield Edward -00 By Edward Royle £5.00 I J.B. Eagles £1.50
This has been a prolific year for local history publishing, with publications large and small on a wide variety of subjects.
Collections of old photographs continue inexhaustibly, though the title of Hazel Wheeler’s latest compilation suggests that inspiration may not. Simply called Huddersfield: the old days, this two hundred -strong collection focuses largely on the people rather than the places of the recent past from pre-War to present day. Captions are very detailed and will no doubt appeal to those with a long memory and a personal knowledge of their fellow citizens. (Tempus Pubs. £9.99)
Also hoping to inspire a warm glow in nostalgic wallets is Golden years of Huddersfield. Published by True North Books of Halifax (£ 14.99). This large format book is more of a nostalgic read, with pictures as a bonus.
Taking a slightly more serious view of the past is the magazine Old Yorkshire, which some members may have seen or even subscribed to produced in Otley by Northern Line, this is a quarterly A3-sized journal containing a wide range of short articles and snippets of local information, aiming to fill some of the gap left by the demise of Old West Riding. Items on this area have included Arthur Walton’s memories of mill life at Crowthers of Milnsbridge in the 1930s where his wedding present from the foreman was a permanent night shift, and life in the long-gone job of “ringer-off’ on Saturday night trolleybuses. D J Clarkson writes about the Paddock cholera outbreak of 1849, while Margaret Barwick traces the journeys of John Eastwood , who emigrated to Rhode Island in 1850, and his son who returned some years later to die in Milnsbridge.
Few years pass without something being written on the Luddites, although the latest book concentrates more on the Midland connection, rather than the heavily researched West Riding. The Luddite Rebellion- by Alan Bailey (Sutton), lists
all the familiar stages, but explores the midland origins in detail before concluding with the “Yorkshire climax”’.
Amid the broad sweeps of history there are individual stories to be told, as two recent works illustrate.
Her career began and ended in Huddersfield, and it is in the town’s music festival that she is commemorated, but “Yorkshire’s queen of song” was actually a native of Brighouse. Susan Sunderland, the “Calderdale Nightingale” was born in 1819, and made her musical debut at Deighton in 1834. She subsequently charmed much of the nation, including Queen Victoria, who bestowed the famous soubriquet, before retiring in 1864 at the age of 45. That final concert, at the Huddersfield Philosophical Hall, ended a career of 41 years, before beginning a new one, as tutor and grandmother, of 41 years. John Hargreaves has commemorated one of the finest English voices in Transactions of the Halifax Antiquarian Society (6, 1998), and in the forthcoming edition of the Dictionary of National
The latest publication from our own Society features one of the most prominent families of that era. Pamela Cooksey’s Public lives : the family of Joseph Woodhead. A notable family of Huddersfield (£4), draws extensively on public records and the family collection of Pat Morgan, granddaughter of Joseph and Catherine. Joseph founded the Huddersfield Examiner with the Support of his capable wife , their son Ermest edited it for 42 years, while brother Arthur managed its business affairs. Other members pursued different careers, but all achieved success, and together exemplify that particular blend of philanthropy, religious conviction and
enlightened self-interest that characterised so many successful people in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
As the world of retailing has changed so much in recent years, with its supermarkets, giant malls and out-of-town designer outlets, it is becoming difficult to remember a time when the largest store in many towns was the family-run department store. The demise of these flagships of local retailing has been So swift and complete that names such as Kayes of Huddersfield and Brown, Muffs of Bradford are already the stuff of nostalgia. Which makes it all the more interesting to read the history of a store that closed back in 1966.
Gill Rushworth’s Rushworths Ltd: the story of a department store, is an affectionate inside view of
the business and its staff. It portrays a vanished way of life, with floor walkers and deferential staff, paper packages tied with the most economical lengths of string, battles with the Lamson cash tubes, and paternalistic managements who were known by their Christian names. At just £4.95 it makes an excellent piece of retail therapy for those who remember Rushworth’s Corner as it was.
Not all memories can be so pleasantly nostalgic, and the latest publication from Kirklees Cultural Services enlightens some of the darker sides of urban life. Twenty five years after it was merged with the West Yorkshire Fire Service and 150 years since the Improvement Commissioners’ own brigade was formed, the fire services of Huddersfield finally achieve their own piece of immortality, Chris Smith’s The history of the Huddersfield Fire Brigade: a celebration of 150 years of service, (£14.99) is the product of ten years’ research by a serving fire officer. The large format book concentrates on the human side of fires and fire-fighting in a rapidly growing industrial town. Well illustrated and quoting extensively from contemporary press reports, it presents a graphic picture of the social consequences of packing large numbers of people into confined spaces around such highly combustible materials as oil-soaked textile mills and chemical works.
One of the minor measures of advancing urbanisation has been the loss of so many country houses. Industry, mining and the sheer weight of housing, have all taken such a toll that a new book by Edmund Waterson and Peter Meadows, Lost houses of the West Riding, has uncovered no less than 116 of them. From this area there are Deriby Grange, Whitley Beaumont, Blake Hall at Mirfield and Lower Hall at Liversedge. The former Ramsden residence at Ferry Bridge, Byram Park is also covered, and seems to symbolise the fate of so many of its fellows: built in the sixteenth century, remodelled in the eighteenth, abandoned by its owners in the late nineteenth and finally left to the ravages of subsidence and neglect in the twentieth.
And finally, from an age that has gone, to one that has barely begun. Half a century in historical terms amounts to little more than current affairs, but in some cases changes are so enormous that mere chronology doesn’t seem to count. So much has happened to the social structure of towns like Huddersfield since the M.V. Windrush sailed into Southampton in 1948 that even local history must begin to take notice.
The Journey, produced by the community group ABACUS, comprises a series of interviews with ten people who came here from the West Indies in the 1950s. They include the cricketer Stanley Inniss, whose first appearance at David Brown’s fabrication shop led to a stoppage, but who went on to become a shop steward for 26 years. Eugenia Moses came from Carriacou to spend a childhood in Springwood, and recall what it was like to be one of a handful of black faces at Deighton Secondary Modem. And there is Victor Allison, whose son became one of Huddersfield Town’s leading players.
Their individual stories are a tiny part of a whole that is changing the face of many British towns and will play a significant part in local history in the years to come. The Journey may be the first book written about the Kirklees African Caribbean community, but it certainly won’t be the last.
Due to be published too late for this issue is the Huddersfield volume in the popular “Aspects of ...” series. Edited by Isobel Schofield it will include several articles by local authors, in an attractive and relatively
cheap paperback format.
Editor: Mr. K. Brockhill, 52 Croft Gardens, Birkby, Huddersfield.