Huddersfield Local History Society: Journal 18 (2006) by various

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No.18 Winter 2006-2007

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CORRA LYNN Memories of Theatreland in Huddersfield in the Late 40’s

It was the summer of 46, on my ninth birthday we the Fairbank family moved to Corra Lynn, a rather lovely house in Bath Street near Huddersfield. Much to my father’s dismay, my mother totally unabashed, sank every penny into its purchase. Times had been hard, very hard and Mummy thought by turning it into a guesthouse and catering for theatricals, it would give full scope to her cooking talents, be an enjoyable experience and hopefully earn some money at the same time. All these things were in very short supply in those dark years after the war. I

Corra Lynn was Bath Villa when it was first built in 1851, surrounded by fields, there was no Fitzwilliam Street and the new Railway Station had only recently been completed. The house was built on Georgian lines and surrounded by its carefully laid out gardens. It was built by the North family, who originated from Manchester. It had a pillared entrance leading into a spacious hallway; this was flanked by a door on the left into the panelled dining room and on the right into the sitting room. It had an elegant cantilevered staircase with a wrought iron and polished wood banister with studs, which meant I could not slide down to the swirly bit at the bottom. The house faced south, with the sunlight gently broken up by the leaves and branches of the chestnut trees in front. There was a small kitchen behind the staircase, where Mummy prepared all the meals and through the back hallway there was a self contained housekeepe~’s flat. When times were busy, it was our only private area. There were four large bedrooms plus a smaller one; this was my bedroom which I shared with my little b other. Everything about the house had a comfortable quality about it.

The North family had been one of Ramsden’s town commissioners and had been very influential in the classical development of the town. Seven members of that family were recorded living at Corra Lymn in the 1851 census. In 1861, it was Thomas North and his wife, Thomas had been a partner with his father in the manufacturing textile business. They had a son John aged 9, another son and daughter came later. John was a musical prodigy and was already playing the organ at both the Bath Street and Highfield chapels.

The most intriguing areas for me, were the stables and coach-house. The cobbled stables were still completely intact, with the horse stalls and feeding troughs still in place, the hooks for the harnesses all there, just as if the horses were still out in the field. The barn floor above was very rickety, so that was definitely out of bounds. Beyond the outer yard, the old garden was by then a tangled mass of weeds but still had lots of scope for two intrepid ‘den builders’. I had to attend school but iny brother was too young then, though this turned out to be in no way inhibiting to him. David was not content with a sizable back garden to play in. Barely four, he decided Huddersfield was well within his range, and began taking off with my toy pram, trotting along to St Georges Square, where he would park it, usually behind the taxi rank. He would then set off to tour all the toy shops, taking care to place orders of anything he fancied. It was not

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until on a Christmas shopping trip that Mummy found out what he really been up to, after finding herself accosted by beaming shop assistants, with lists of items for her to collect.

By 1947 our reputation with the theatre world, was growing at an ever increasing rate. Both the Theatre Royal with its new manager, Robert Sheridan and the Palace, were both putting on bigger and better shows. The friendly atmosphere of Corra Lynn and the good food was very much in demand. It was not long before the ‘top of the bill’ would prefer it to the bigger hotels. I was kept very busy indeed, from running errands to serving in the dining room. The pantomime season was my favourite time as the house would be absolutely full. They were big casts, and would hold their own special ‘celebration parties’ after the show.

Theatre people are in a class of their own and never seemed to be really off the stage. I remember a large car drawing up and a very glamorous lady, swaddled in furs beckoned to me. Before I knew it, I was swept to her heavily scented bosom with a cry: “Darling! Darling! (Everybody was darling by the way), Tell your mother Delya has arrived!” After a few hectic moments I managed to disentangle :nyself and somewhat breathless and ran off to pass on the message. “Delya’ - obviously still exhilarated from her performance at the London Palladium!

Every one was enormously kind to me and I also remember them for their little quirks. Bill Waddington of ‘Percy Sugden’ fame was a comedian by trade, a very brisk sort of person. He kept a pet goose with him down at the theatre, which he took everywhere with him, even when he was ‘on the road’. Lionel Ward, the card king, was always practising his amazing sleights of hand. Boxes of cards would arrive, as he never used the same packs twice. I was thrilled hear that we were having Tarzan to stay, I was somewhat disappointed when I found it was not Johnny Weismuller after all but Tarzan Jr. a very amiable young man; who promptly swung me up to the ceiling and invited us all to go the Palace to watch his act of death defying stunts in a water tank, where, amidst lots of smoke, thank goodness, he always managed to escape in the nick of time.

I had always loved to dance and had appeared in a number of shows of Rene MeNicalls, during the war, but I had the unfortunate habit of lapsing into a ‘Carman Miranda’ routine at the most inappropriate moments. After various failed attempts at hooking me off, I was discreetly withdrawn, so as to allow, we suspect, the shows to regain their credibility. Mother had still remained hopeful that I may one day have a stage career. When Pavinoff (he was actually Polish but they all seem to have those Russian names in ballet), the celebrated ballet dancer, came to stay. I was promptly wheeled in at the appropriate moment, to ask what he thought of my chances. I’m afraid he was quite candid about it and to put it delicately, said I was not actually the right shape. In order to distract from my obvious disappointment, kindly offered us an invitation to one of his performances, where he would dedicate a dance especially for me. It was a night at the Theatre Royal, I shall never forget. It was my first real initiation to classical ballet, his dancing was absolutely wonderful. He did various ballet themes, but the most memorable of all was his dance for me.

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One of the nicest people was Carl Bernard, in those days his voice could often be heard on the radio. One certainly knew when he arrived. He came at least twice, his distinctive voice resonating up the stairs, where my brother and I would be hiding just out of sight, watching the new arrivals. A lot of fuss is made over some of the older comedians but I found them only wanting quiet. Freddie Frinton and I think Frank Randle stayed with us. I saw them very little but Freddie was wi'ling to sign my autograph book. Mummy drew the line with some people on occasions I remember, one particular well known, rather saucy comedian she ref:sed, called Max who very much wanted to stay!

artists were always ready to hand over their photos and I soon had a large collection, sadly, they were all lost long ago. As time went on, I had to help Mother more and more. Luckily Rosaline who was staying with us chipped in to help. In spite of all the hard work, Mother would fill the house with her singing as she always sang when she was happy. Maybe it was my brother who was the one to carry on the musical tradition of the family. So when Percy Manchester, the tenor arrived, it was my brother’s turn to be introduced. It is difficult to say at that time whether he had any leanings in that direction, except for mischief ....luckily for my brother, he had already very narrowly escaped being called Chopin (as we had already had an Haydn in the family). Mr Manchester was very kind and provided a useful list of choir schools and offered to recommend him, should any musical gift suddenly reveal itself. Fortunately both for Mr Manchester and any self-respecting choral school, ir. spite of my brother’s angelic appearance, it was not to be. My sister was born 1947 so we called her Melody.

I had to learn not to ‘bat an eyelid’ at anything I saw. I remember one late evening I was sent with a ‘nightcap’ to the old morning room, where a tall dark haired young man was laid on the bed, just in a dressing gown plastering on a mud pack. There were lots of scenty bottles around him. I did my best not to look too surprised. He was very polite and I retired tactfully as possible. I had just met Bobby Kember, my first female impersonator. Very daring stuff for those days and probably the forerunner of Danny La Rue style spectaculars.

Christmas 1948, we were crowded out for the Mother Goose pantomime and Widow Twanky, a celebrated cross-dresser, proved to be a wonderful comedian, he had us laughing whether he was on or off stage. I loved to be backstage at these times, learning how the tricks were done. It was fascinating watching the characters waiting in the wings for their turn. The comedian’s role was always the most taxing, as they were usually sent on first to test the audience’s reaction. I used to like spending time with the artists in their dressing rooms, amidst heavy smell of grease paint, watching them transform themselves into someone really fabulous. Theatreland could be an amazing life, with lots of joy and gaiety, yet behind the mask it kad its moments of tears and disappointments.

Mother had always enjoyed being on stage herself and had once had great potential. As a young woman she had been entered for the Mrs Sunderland but just before the Competition became very ill, sadly this ended her chances of a singing career. The family were great choristers, my grandfather knew the ‘Messiah’ by heart and some of the great classics. At the time we were totally unaware of Corra Lynn’s own past

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musical connections. The little boy John North, was to grow up {fo later become one of the best choral conductors of his time, not only of the Huddersfield Choral Society but several others too. He was also a composer and a superb organist. It was he who first brought the Choral Society to international fame in the 1880’s and to every one’s joy in Huddersfield, when they won the Eisteddfod. So the house was no stranger to music.

People also enjoyed the peaceful ambience of the place, I remember Mother saying goodbye to a very nice lady, called Merula Salaman. She was Alec Guinness’s wife, touring with her own company and making her own way, her husband already in the limelight and a great star of the theatre. We had many actors from Old Vic and the Young Vic, some had already been in films as character actors, Wally Patch, who appeared in ‘Peace comes to Peckham’. I served him in his room with his fellow actors. He complimented me on carrying so many dishes without any disasters. We had acrobats, bird entertainers, trick cyclists and even ace swimmers like Johnny from Aquatic shows. We had many musicians from orchestras like Palm Court to Harry Roy’s Band and Troise Mandoliers, so we had a continuous and ever-changing medley of interesting people coming to the house. I

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was another favourite pantomime and yes, we had Snow White and her seven companions. They always kept together and ate together. Two of them were man and wife. They were quiet, rather sensitive people but on stage they were so jolly and full of fun, except Grumpy. I soon made friends with them; along with their autographs and the couple gave me a treasured photo of their son, who was already taller than them. I just loved to see tiiem set off down the street, walking in file behind Snow White, knowing they would be sure to cause a stir soon as they turned the corner.

These were still days of austerity and rationing and my parents spent much time preserving masses of fruits and vegetables and, of course, meats. She could not have kept up her high standards without her ‘contacts’, which enabled her to acquire excellent sides of pork and hams. Corra Lynn’s superb cellars were excellent stores for such unobtainables and other rare delicacies.

In 1949 the situation in the theatre-world began to change with the advent of TV, changing attitudes and the growing expense made it difficult to keep up the shows. On my twelfth birthday, we finally left Corra Lynn. Long after in the 1970’s, I went back hoping to see Corra Lynn and show my children, only to find it had completely disappeared, as if it had all been a dream. The ring road had cut right through where it once stood. The only trace left of its existence, were two charred stumps where the lovely chestnuts trees had once been. Corra Lynn was an enchanting time for me and deserves to be part of the town’s theatre history.

June Strong

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Readers of the Examiner earlier this year may recall some articles about the Bradley Viaduct and its current restoration as part of the Calder Valley Greenway. This Viaduct spans the River Colne and Huddersfield Broad Canal close to the Mirfield end of the Midland Railway branch line from Huddersfield to Mirfield Junction, and one article was illustrated with a postcard of the actual construction scene. Now, thanks to another postcard, kindly supplied by Mrs England, it is possible to see the works at the other end of the line.

This postcard shows its progress from Newtown Goods Yard, through I Hillhouse, where it crossed Halifax Old Road, and cut a swathe through the adjacent terrace houses. The actual postcard, somewhat enlarged and enhanced for publication, is remarkably informative. Not only does it give the date and purpose of the photograph and its photographer on the front, but on the back describes the - centre piece of the action. According to the writer, known only as Fred, this is the Steam Navwvy cutting through Halifax Old Road and not surprisingly, he tells the recipient, you would not know the place now. The agent of this destruction was a steam excavator, whose business end can just be seen above the horse-drawn wagon to its right, while its power — unit steams away in what Jooks like a large wooden shed. America in the 1840s, the “Navvys” apparently came to Britain around the I 1870s and were much used in large scale constructions such as railways — I while The Manchester Ship Canal employed over 50 at one time. I

The work was obviously of great interest to the locals, especially the children, who might have been connected to the shadowy building in the background, which is identified as a school on contemporary maps and may well have been the St John’s National School, whose headmaster. John Wood, lived around the corner at No1 Clara Street, according to the 1909 Directory.

As to the card itself, it was posted, rather optimistically, to a Mr John Wild at the General Post Office, Wellington, New Zealand on 27" November 1908. This was subsequently changed, possibly by the Post Office, to 28 Mortimer - Terrace, but whether it actually reached Mr W.:id with its news of Hillhouse’s great event and Christmas greetings is unknown. What is known, is that, whatever its’ adventures it now resides only a short distzince from the scene depicted. A modern photograph of the same scene today is reprociluced for comparison.

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HAPPY TIMES IN HONLEY Martin Hirst describes the source of these memoirs

When my father, Geo’ge, died in May 2005, I came across some notes that he had made, at some unknown date, conceming his memories of his early years living in Honley in the 1920s and 1930s. He lived all his life in Honley, from 1916 to 2005, arid throughout his working life was employed in the bulding trade. I trust that our readers will find the following of interest.

My earliest recollection of Sunday School is of attending the primary class of the Wesleyan Chapel, later to be known as the High Street Methodist Chapel. I recall drawing in the class with coloured wax crayons, depicting such subjects as “a little ship was in the sea’ etc. I vividly recall the annual visits of Father Christmas to our Primary Christmas parties, bringing a small, but treasured, gift for each child. The hymns that we sang in Primary included Jesus wants me for a sunbeam and Hear the pennies dropping one by one, our collection hymn. Maybe in later years this particular hymn inspired the writer of Pennies from heaven who knows? I still have my cradle-roll certificate.

Moving eventually upstairs to the Sunday School proper, I can picture now the scroll written on the gable wall behind the Superintendent's desk. In large letters it said Remember thy Lord in the days of thy youth. Boys and girls were segregated, girls on the left, boys on the right. After a hymn and a prayer we went into our respective age groups and there we would take turns, each reading one verse from the Bible lesson for that particular Sunday. We had some worthy teachers, including a Mr Moss, whose daughter, Jesse, was a lifelong friend of my wife. One hymn we used to sing remains indelibly stamped in my mind Life is opening out before you, youthful lives so fresh and bright, be a hero, be a hero, be a hero in the fight. Little did I know then that the girl, Mabel Thornton, who sat on the piano stool and accompanied the singing, would one day be my wife.

Occasions such as the Whit Monday walk around the village and the Sunday School trips are brought to mind. Each scholar was given three old pennies on Whit Monday to spend on the Gala Field (Rec) on legging up canes, sweets etc. In those days your local church or chapel not only catered for your spiritual needs and aspirations, but also provided the fulcrum of your social and I entertainment needs as well — before TV, cars, and new technology intervened.

At the age of fourteen. we moved up to the young men’s class, under the influence of a Mr C Woodhead. The class flourished, having about thirty

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members for the Sunday afternoon meetings. We had to make two classrooms into one td accommodate the membership. In a picture frame on the wall, we had a motto, what next and before each meeting we sang our signature song Fight the good fight with all your might.

Sadly the War came along and eventually the class had to close, alas, never to be resurrected. However we had some wonderful times and inspirational speakers; the Rev Bramwell Evans (Romany) and Eric Liddle (from the Chariots of Fire film) spring to mind.

In the late 1930’s I was working in an empty cottage in Oldfield Buildings at the rear of School Street in Honley. Just to digress for a moment, I do recall from my early days at the National School, that there was the school caretaker’s house and a tuck shop run by Mrs Hallas directly across from the school gates. Round the back, in Oldfield Buildings, a flight of outdoor steps led up to the woodwork room which was used by scholars to learn practical woodworking skills on one afternoon each week. Back to the empty cottage.c.1938, I noticed a small pulpit , or Prie Dieu, apparently long abandoned, and then used as a sort of cupboard in the stone flagged kitchen. At the time, I did not realise its’ potential historical value, otherwise I would have salvaged this relic. Sad to say, I believe that it was eventually chepped up for much needed firewood during the War. In the late 1960’s, the cottages in School Street were demolished. I was asked by Mr H N Holdroyd to retrieve from the rubble a stone plaque, which was originally set high in the gable end of the end cottage facing into Cuckoo Lane. I removed the engraved stone and fixed it at its’ present location by the top entrance gate of St Mary’s Church in Church Street, very near to the door leading to the Clock Tower. The inscription on the stone reads; National School 1816 Similarly, a few years later, I was to rescue the original datestone set high in the front apex of the High Street Methodist Chapel when that building was also, sadly, demolished. The inscription on this stone reads


I fixed the stone in its’ new location, with a small coping stone surround, in the small garden at the left front of Trinity URC/Methodist Church in Moorbottom, Honley.

Looking back, it was 2 shame about the Prie Dieu at Oldfield Buildings, but at least the two original engraved stones, rescued from two buildings which had both held many happy memories for me, will, hopefully, remain to be seen long after I have said my final farewell to Honley

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As achild my father Frank Lockwood lived in Marsh, the family home being what 1s now the Conservative Club, and my mother Sadie Shaw lived at Robin Hcod House, up Hood Street and under the tunnel, in Berry Brow (now under a tip).

After their marriage at Armitage Bridge 6 weeks before War was declared in 1939 they moved to Sheffield where my father worked, to live in a 3™ floor flat. As Sheffield was being blitzed in Dec 1940, it was decided 1 would be born where it was safer, at my grandparent’s home in Berry Brow. Little did they know then that a stray bomb would drop near Castle Hill about 10 days after 1 was born.

I spent many happy holidays at “Robin Hood” as a chila until my grandparents left it in 1952 to live at 1 School Lane which had been my great grandmother’s and later my great uncle’s home. Robin Hood became a very special place for me. 1 remember super times, like Christmas with the holly tree and reali candles, and many long summer holidays, lying in bed listening to the ping-ping of the tennis balls from the tennis club opposite, which was next to the playing fields. We also played in the Shrog. They were magical carefree times as in Sheffield I was cooped up in a flat. I even managed to have a long spell there with Scarlet Fever!

My grandmother kept bantam hens and 3 ducks she called Freeman, Hardy and Willis, but [ don’t think I can recall much before my brother was bor in 1945, except I do remember when he was born. Dad was due to come over by train (no ‘phones there) and as we could see the trains from the house, it would pass Robin Hood. I do know that he would know if the baby had been bom, as if it was a boy, a Union Flag would be flying, and it was. I never found out what the sign would be for a girl.

It seems we went quite often by train for a weekend or a couple of days during the war, and I still have the label which was pinned on me. It had my name and number, and “In case of accident, to be sent to the care of Mrs. R.. W. Shaw, Robin Hood House, Berry Brow. Huddersfield.”

Around 1947, we moved from the flat to a house, and ihen in 1955 to a large cold Victorian semi, with 5 bedrooms, attic, and cellar, which had one coal and one gas fire. My grandfather came to live with us there, after my grandmother died. In 1969 my parents moved to a small centrally heated semi for their retirement. At this time a lot of things had to go, including many books, and it seems, a Diary.

In 1993 my husband began reading our local evening newspaper “The Star’ — a rare event as we bought it less than a dozen times a year, which makes the following even more amazing. He began reading:


Exactly 50 years ago today... “Thursday July 15" (1943) Backout 5.09am. Arose 7am. Very showery day, Caught the 9.10am to Guide Bridge, travelling up with Mr. Powell....”

The start of the day’s entry from the secret diary of a Sheffield gentleman — identity unknown, extremely precise about times, always writing in blue-black ink probably living near Wadsley, very likely a businessman also in the Heme Guard (‘Lectured to ‘A’ Company in the Wednesday Football Stand on Gas’). Wife probably called Sadie. Daughter probably Valerie. Friends at Berry Brow near Huddersfield, where the family spent Christmas.

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Does this ring any bells?

If so Mrs. Kathleen Burr would be glad to hear frem you. Mrs. Burr, who used to run the Overseas Aid charity shop in Sheffield city centre, was walking her dog through Endcliffe Park when a man she’d never before met thrust a red Collins diary for 1943 into her hands with the works: “Here, you’re interested in books. You can have this”

After reading the diary, Mrs. Burr is little the wiser. There’s no name or address, nothing on the Memoranda pages, nothing in the Cash Accounts column. Just the everyday tale of Home Front life, rather oddly combined with a detailed account of the progress of the wear.

On this day 50 years ago, ‘Messina had a terrific battering again. Sicily advance continues...’

Any clues?

Roger came into the kitchen where I was making the evening meal and said: Hey — [ think this is about you!

So that evening in 1993, I ‘phoned “The Star”, and a few days later the Reporter came up to see my father and me. The following week we were again in the paper, this time with a photograph! Dad by now was 87 and had forgotten writing the Diary, but 1 was so thrilled to be given it, and recognised it immediately as having been in the bookcase at home, though I had never opened it before. It was thought there musi have been diaries for other years, but their whereabouts are still a mystery.

Every day Dad wrote of his daily schedule, and what we did in the evenings and at the weekends. His Home Guard duties were written about, plus fire-watch, and bedtime was very late. Most evenings my parents had a game of chess ~ ‘Beat Sadie at chess’. At Robin Hood it was cards. It said what J was up to — ‘another sleepless night with Valerie’ appearing very often, and on my Birthday, spent at Robin Hood, Dad ‘arose at 4.30 (having gone to bed at 11.40 the previous might), caught the 6am train from Brockholes, (to Sheffield) work 8.16 — bed 11.15pm.’ A long day. He met us at the station at 6.40pm. That year my aunt and uncle made me a marionette of Pinocchio which was 2ft tall, which must have been as tall as I was. It survived until the 1960’s when the moths finally finished him off.

As it said in the papers, the 2" half of each page has the happenings at war, which he had found from the radio or newspapers. For example it was revealed on June 1°: “Official figures given for 3 years of war. Empire Casualties 514,993. Britain 275,844. Made up as follows, killed 92,089; missing 226,719; wounded 88,294; prisoners of war 107,891. 12 enemy raiders over S.E. Coast during day, 6 brought down”. It maxes us stop and think.

On Sunday 26" December We had a busy day, with relatives calling, but the 2" half said “No papers. No wireless at Berry Brow’, therefore there wasn’t anv war news.

What are the chances of that Diary coming ‘home’ after 24 years of roaming Sheffield? I wonder where it went after it left home. I have spent many hours reliving 1943 and reading about myself as a 2 year old.

Valerie Atkin 39 Whiteley Lane Sheffield. S10 4GL

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THE LANGUAGE OF THE HEAVY WOOLLEN DISTRICT or SHODDY AND MUNGO. The area of the Heavy Woollen District was quite small, in fact if you were to take a map of the area, stick the point of the compass into where it shows Batley Market place and make a circle with the pencil, taking in places like Ossett where I understand the shoddy industry is still carried on, believe me there wouldn’t be much of the heavy woollen district outside the circle. The district referred to is an area where the process of shoddy and mungo manufacture were developed, and where production of these cloths was concentrated. The area did have its share of mill chimneys, dams, muck stacks and spoil heaps from the coal mines. chimneys or ( chimleys) hundreds of ’em pointing to the sky belching out filthy black smoke. Mill dams, every mil} had at least one , a dye works at Birstall had one of the tallest mill chimneys in the area, and two large dams one at either side of the main road leading to Bradford .- During the war I was working there and used to fire watch, taking my turn on all night fire watch duty. One day the ministry men came along to cover up one of the dams with a camouflage net , it seemed that on moonlit nights the two dams ,one at either side of the road and a moonlit road between showed a direct run into Bradford for the German bomber pilots, but one night Lord Haw Haw announced over the radio, “Germany Calling- Germany Calling”, that one dam was as good a landmark as two. It gave us quite a fright I can tell you. One of the dams still remaining is now a very popular place for leisure angling , houses have been built over the other one. Muck stacks or spoil heaps may not usually be linked with the textile mills, but really they were all part and parcel of the industry, which was first of all powered by man power , then by water , one place had its own method of power ‘donkeys’, it was called the coddy mill, I understand some of the power supplied at this mill was by a donkey gin , and coddy was the name given to donkeys or anything small, but along came the steam power which needed fuel. There was a plentiful supply of coal in this area and not very far underground , this prompted the mill owners, some having substantial business interests by now, to open their own day oils, Day oils being the name given to coal mines which were entered by a drift or tunnel from ground level and were only worked in the hours of daylight. There would be scores of these day oils all over the West Riding, one is still working in my village now supplying coal to the power stations, it’s one of the last remaining privately owned coal mines in the country There was alsoa little railway running right down the valley from Birstall to Batley, serving the mines and mills, this was also named coddy, the coddy railway

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Yes the heavy woollen district was quite small ,But the heavy woollen That’s a different story, it was large, very large, but why “heavy woollen’ ?

Think about Huddersfield, Its fine worsteds, beautiful suits and skirts, thought by many to be the best in the world! Cloth woven with gold threads, ( very popular in the oil rich countries of the middle and far East), I have been told the Sultan of Brunie would have his entire retinue fitted out with new clothes at Ossett when they visited England And Finest Blue Serge once the hallmark of the textile giants, they were even buried in them. Even small villages developed their own specialities, Skelmanthorpe and Scissett designing machines and weaving the finest plush, respected and sought after all over the world

In Mr. Robinsons Queen St. museum at Skelmanthorpe there is a table cover of deep plush, around one hundred years old, and dyed a beautiful deep red, it is as good as the day it was made. Bradford, once the centre of the world for wool trading Huge mills making the finest clcth, in Wool , Alpaca, Mohair, and finest quality knitting wools. Huddersfield ,Bradford, Dewsbury and Birstall, all next door neighbours, all _ manufacturing cloth ,- yet all very separate industries

In the 1940s the same dye works previously mentioned with the tall mill chimney and the two dams, was dying knitting wools and mixtures of wool for air force uniforms. It was a very ancient place which originally dyed Scarlet and Indigo for Military uniform:, they were still dying the Indigo by the old methods in the 1940s when I was there, and fulling it until it was waterproof, but the cloth made then was used for police capes , cloth of the finest quality, this gave a good example of mechanised industry from a very early date. Alongside the dye works was a large shoddy mill, but again why heavy woollen , we have to think of overcoats and blankets, as against fine serge suits and quality woolien cloths.

In Birstall one mill was making army blankets, thousands of ’em from shoddy , woollen rags sorted torn and pulled apart , combed and carded through huge machines which returned them into fibre, this was re spun and woven. There was some decent cloth made from shoddy , but these blankets were poor, the workers called them turial blankets.

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At that time we had thousands of blankets ready, I think for the Russian army, compressed and sewn into huge hessian or to give it its local name ‘ardin’ bales -- but we must have had differences of opinions with the Russians, and the blankets never left the mill yard while I was there, they were stood there in huge quantities, many of them burst open, I think everybody in Birstall had grey blankets on their beds. Rags were brought into the area from all over the world, just imagine rags being brought here from India and the far east, they weren’t all collected locally by the rag and bone man. But the rag and bone men did play a big part, sometimes calling at the schools, giving out goldfish, balloons and novelties for a few rags, we heard tell that sometimes the goldfish would live for two or three days When the rag and bone men called at peoples houses they may have given a few coppers for the rags , I think when they called in the Batley-Birstall area they must have been collecting old clothes already made out of shoddy. Aye shoddy. That’s our first word to day ! Although I worked in a shoddy mill many years ago, over sixty in fact, I am no expert on the subject but Iam going to try and describe the process of shoddy cloth manufacturing , bringing into use the Dialect words as I go along , after all this was originally written for the Yorkshire Dialect Society and it was localized words that I was looking for, I’m not going to make it a very detailed description, just enough to introduce the language.

The first powered woollen mills built in Batley would be in the late 1700s and Batley soon became a busy manufacturing town, Batley up to this time had been largely agricultural and it’s said that in the early 1800s a certain Benjamin Law, who was born in Gomarsall , observed saddles being stuffed with material which he found to be torn up woollen’s. He was immediately interested in the material, in mind of it being used for re- spinning and weaving into cloth! he purchased a couple of bales for experimentation and so started the process of shoddy manufacturing. As previously stated the process of using torn up woollen rags was nothing new, but until now they had only been used for padding and stuffing saddle’s, flock for bedding, cushions and such like, but now Benjamin Law and his brother in law Benjamin Parr were soon spinning and weaving it into a very usable cloth. Other woollen manufacturers frowned on the process treating it with contempt, and the word shoddy, thought by some to be an Arabic word, soon began to mean something inferior when really it meant something discarded , taken off , shed or shod and re-used - how about recycled? Some manufacturers, particularly in Dewsbury would not use the word at all and named it Made Wool , but the name shoddy stuck , tt was firmly established for ever but unfortunately now is taken to mean something inferior. The manufacturers of the time made fortunes from it

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This was made from tailors clippings, and short woollen fibres, (noils), and bits from the shoddy mixture, most considered useless until now , but the eldest son of Benjamin Parr experimented with and eventually developed, and made a very presentable cloth, by softening the fibres and adding the correct quantity of virgin wool to the mixture, another cloth was born , a perfect material for the soldiers greatcoats But why mungo?

Well, when he thought his product was satisfactorily developed he took it to one of Batleys greats, that’s to say one of Batleys leading cloth manufacturers to find his opinion ,but he didn’t get much satisfaction, and was told, to his disgust, ‘it’ll neear goa’. George didn’t think much to this, and on his way home, no doubt the steep walk up to the top of Batley Field Hill, where he lived making him crosser and crosser, kept saying to himself “neear go-----neear go. after all t’ time an brass ah’v spent on it, it mungo”! and it did go, it’s said that he himself never rnade much brass aaht on it but my word his followers did.

The name mungo was and still lives on, travelling through Dewsbury you may see painted in very large letters, on a huge mill wall (SHODDY AND MUNGO), but it’s not made on those premises to day. Another version of the story is that the word is a corruption of the word Mongrel neither one thing or another, but I think the first story’s the better one.

Apart from the large mills and the industrial giants there would be many small factories, maybe only employing half a dozen or so men! In these places the boss would have a very personal contact with them,- my old friend the late Arthur Kinder, who liked a good tale, used to tell us about one of these places where the boss was a bit of a character , many of them were , but this one invariably came to work most mornings in a bad temper and sacked all the workers. While walking through the works he would be saying “yer all secked!----- yer all secked” ! nobody took any notice but one day they hatched a plan. When he came in and (s2cked) ’em they would all put their coats on and walk out , next morning the usual,“ yer all secked”, so as planned -- on with their coats ,--flaring up he shouted “wot ya dooin -- wot ya dooin-- if ya goa aht naah yel be secked reyt. I believe it all ended in a good laugh.

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I have no doubt given the impression up to now that the shoddy business was a profitable business to be in , but not for all , the people at the top end were very wealthy, brass bred brass, but the poor were poor. Children as young as 8 years old working 12 hour shifts, and longer. All through the night,stopping only for a meagre bite , and that without leaving their place of work Here is a part of an inspectors report, or should I say his opinion? it read ,“The children at work were more healthy and better informed than those not so occupied , night labour was in no way prejudicial but actually preferred, the artificial heat of the rooms was advantageous and quite pleasant, and far from being fatigued with for example 12 hours labour, the children performed even the last hours labour with greater intent and spirit than the rest”. He then went on to say “what a pity the term was not lengthened , a few more hours and the children would have worked in a perfect ecstasy of delight”! Can you believe it? Eight years old,- in ecstasy after twelve hours work.

On the night of the 14 February !818 a fire broke out in Atkinsons Cotton mills at Colne Bridge , severiteen young girls between the ages of 9 to 18 years perished in the flames. The doors had been locked and the keys mislaid. A very sad story here which would have be better told in a poem, ‘The Shadder Show’. Written by one of the West Ridings leading textile poets, Fred Brown. Copyright prevents this however!


Willying was the first mechanical process after the rags had been sorted, the linings taken out, buttons and other unwanted bits taken off , and the usable remains cut into strips, the machines tore apart the rags and made them into a tangled mass of fibrous material The machine was called a Deviller! it was a filthy job, the dirty dusty mixture being blown down a wide tube into a square hessian bale with two men stood in it, treading it down, so much dust swirling arcund that they couldn’t see one another.

This is an interesting point to find the origins of the word Willy I understand it

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is an Australian word meaning a swirling dust storm from Aborigine Willy Willy, it would be at this stage when the blending was done , the material laid in layers on the willy oil floor, literally soaked in oil layer by layer, it seems it was only the oil which held the stuff together at this stage, the willymen would then stand among it mixing it by hand, their overalls stood up on their own when they took them off, stiff with grease , no wonder dermatitis was eventually classed as an industrial disease.

Another interesting report from a mill inspector said “The children were less affected by the dust than the old men ”, not really surprising was it? it’s what made them into old men. After the Willying process came the Scribbling, not done with a pencil, but a process which further continued preparing the mixture for spinning, the mixture was passed through revolving rollers covered with spiky wire brushes

all working against one another. We’re still at this stage converting the rags into fibre.

Then came the carding, a similar process to scribbling , but more refined leaving an evenly combed mixture , ready for the slubbing , subbing was an unspun yarn ready for the spinning mules. The carding machines with their scores of wire brush covered rollers were cleaned by the fettlers, who scrambled over the machines cleaning out the fibre clogged rollers with wire brushes or combs strapped to each hand , a very dangerous job, the men had to scramble over the huge machines which were almost as big as a modern bungalow , in the mill districts fettling would be thought of as a textile term, even as a particular job. The machines they fettled were driven by belts or cotton ropes and when they needed to be stopped for cleaning the belts would be slipped onto a free or loose running pulley ,the belts still running, it was not unknown for a belt to slip back onto a driving pulley with disastrous results , it appears that in many places health and safery was not even considered.

The story was told about the chap who was walking between two of these machines, he was at the time wearing a long woollen scarf which got caught up in the overhead shafting taking him round and round before bashing him onto the floor , his mate dashed up to him bent down and said “speyk t’ mi Fred speyk t’ m1”, Fred said, “speyk bi damned aahv just past thee twenty fower times an tha near spock t* me.once.

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Richard Arkwright patented his‘improved rollers’ for spinning in 1769! Hargreave patented his Spinning Jenny in 1770, an improved Water Frame by Arkwright was introduced in 1775. In 1778 Samual Crompton combined the principals of the three designs into his machine - a cross bred or hybrid , The Spinning (Mule), another word, nothing to do with the donkeys mentioned before , they didn’t eat hay ,they were machines which twisted the unspun yarn into a finished twisted thread. Long rows of spindles one row running in towards the peicener while the other row ran away from behind, spinning and twisting the yarn in the process, then immediately reversing the performance, the piecener having to quickly turn around picking up and twisting together any broken threads before the broken ends travelled beyond reach, then back to repeat the process once more, that was hard hot work, I did it for 12 months about 1940. The yarn was spun onto wooden bobbins or cardboard cops, cops for the weft / bobbins for the warp. when the bobbins or cops were full the peiceners took them off the spindles and became Doffers, then putting put on new empty ones they became Donners, time then to become peiceners again. The spindles were driven by spinn’le band, the stuff we used to light our fireworks with in days gone by.

If the warping rooms were the quietest places in the mill, the weaving sheds were the noisiest,- noise beyond belief, the shuttles banging backwards and forwards quicker than the eye could see, the weavers usually women, became adapt lip readers and could talk to one another across the noise.

The weft bobbins were taken into the loom sheds by young lads , not a very well liked job, the women would play some very nasty tricks on the lads when they first started working, most of them I cant tell here , It was normal practice to send the young lads, when leaving school, to work in the mule gates, the first lads to learn to pick up and repair the threads got the job, those who were a bit slower io learn were given the jobs of bobbin lads , taking the warp into the weaving sheds I know of one lad who for a bit of so called fun, just before home, time was locked into a skep, - that’s a large basket with a lid which fastened down with straps, the workers went home and forgot him , poor lad he was still there next morning

Some of the weavers could earn very good money not minding just one loom but quite often two, or even more , they were also quite often on piece work ,

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paid by the yardage of cloth produced , a great incentive for more effort I have been told of a couple in our village who were both weavers, both weaving at least two looms each , the wife once said that her husband was very good at home , he did all the baking , it was the only thing that got his hands clean.

The most important man in the weaving sheds was the Tuner, no he didn’t play the piano , his job was to service or Tune the looms , Even if only one of the looms stopped ,-- both the production and the weavers wage went down , the story goes that somebody reported the tuner to the boss saying , “That tuners been set dahn all t’'day”, the boss replied “that’s just weear I want of coarse he knew if he was sat down everything was running smoothly. If things weren’t running smoothly ,--then the tuner would be very different person

Well the weavings dore , but the job isn’t finished, the cloth is to Perch. -- The perch was a large frame which would stand in front of a window to catch the light , the percher would then inspect the cloth for any faults in the weaving, marking them by putting in a white thread , these faults would then be repaired but the faults caused by the weaver would cost them a cut in wages The purcher inspecting unwashed or greasy cloth would be called a greasy purcher

Fulling. -- Pummelling the wet cloth to felt it, making an open weave into a tight weave cloth, in the old days it would be laid on the floor and walked on, wet with urine, Lant, which was collected around the villages If you know anyone called walker, it’s likely that walking on the cloth, to full it would have been their job, walking on the cloth ! it was a good job for curing chilblains. Cuttling, folding the cloth , it would take two persons to do this , a bit like folding the blankets at washday, - now done mechanically of course. Burling and Mending, repairing faults in the finished cloth, a very clever job needing good eyes and nimble fingers Tentering and Tenterhooks. That’s a word which now is used with a different meaning that it had in the cloth industry , in the early days of cloth manufacturing cloth would be stretched outside in the fields ---between posts, the cloth fixed to the posts

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with sharp hooks and stretched out to bleach and dry, in later days it was stretched onto hooks ‘tenter’ hooks which travelled through a tentering machine to complete the process. Tenterhooks now of coarse describes modern day personal tension. As the industry grew sone of the mill owners became very rich people, building beautiful stone factories and houses, some of the mills in out of the way places, because of the water supply of course, A good example of this was in the village of Howden Clough where I lived as a lad ,a beck ran through the valley, at one side of it was a long sloping valley side, the Clough, the other side was a steep wooded area covered with fern, aptly named Bruntcliff In the valley bottom a stone built mill named ‘Beckers Mill’ had been built over the beck ! Some workmen working on a draining job down the valley only a few years ago found a huge reservoir under the mill, beautifully built with an vaulted roof, built with just as much care as it would have been done above ground These people spared no effort or expense on their beautiful buildings But what has happened to many of them ? Demolished to be replaced with what ? Well they’ ve pulled down the mills, shut down the pits, It must be getting near ligging off time now.

Working in the heavy woollen industry wasn’t all bad , for people who worked in the mills it was the normal way of life. Somewhere to live, and earn a wage which meant something to eat, most people were in the same boat anyway, and there were many happy textile poems written which present this opinion.

Ernest Beaumont.

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FOR THE SUPPORT OF INDIGENT AND NEGLECTED CHILDREN “One of the greatest movements of Victorian Philar:thropy”

Before the 1870 Elementary Education Act laid the foundation for the State’s role in public education, a variety of religious bodies endeavoured to meet the educational needs of the poor. National and British School buildings have often survived to give a tangible reminder of the two great church organisations, Anglican and non-Conformist that vied for young minds, but another significant educational organisation has almost slipped from view. The Ragged Schools, originated in the early 19" Century, and, initially, had strong Scottish connections. They received a boost with the foundation of the Ragged School Union in 1844, chaired by the great Reformer Lord Shaftesbury, and quickly spread to include several hundred sites, including more than 140 in London alone. Aimed at the very poorest children, they also aimed to look after their pupils’ physical well-being, a role that was to continue even after the schools themselves had been absorbed by the new School Boards.

This dual role is illustrated by the following account, compiled from the personal papers of a surviving Trustee, Mrs Nora England, which throw. some light on the foundation of the Huddersfield School and its subsequent role as a charitable foundation.

In 1865, Joseph Sykes of Marsh house, leased from the Ramsden Estate a plot of land in Fitzwilliam Street to erect at his own expense ....a schoolhouse with residences for a Master and Mistress.{to} be used as a school for the Religious moral and industnous Training and support of indigent and neglected children of both sexes. The operation of this School was then placed into the hands of a group of carefully selected Trustees, who would represent the various Protestant denominations of the Town, for, although this was to a Christian school it was also to be a determinedly non-denominationai one. An Indenture of 26" January 1865 which lists the Trustees to whom Joseph Sykes was leasing his new property reads like a roll-call of the local commercial and religious Establishment. James C Laycock, Solicitor and Robert Henry Tolson, Cloth manufacturer, represented the Established Church of England and Ireland, Wright Mellor( soon to be Huddersfield’s first Mayor) and WH Greenwood, the Independents, Isaac Robson, Dyer and Henry Fryer, Chemist and Druggist, the Society of Friends, Thomas Blenchem, Brewer, and George Brooke, Manufacturer, the Wesleyan Methodists, William Sykes the Younger, card maker, and Joseph Crosland, Cloth Manufacture, the New Connexion Methodists, Alfred Crowther, Cloth Manufacturer and Henry Shaw, Merchant, the Baptists, WP England, Chemist, and James Whittaker, Merchant, the Unitarians, James Blackburn, Merchant, and Alexander Glendenning, the Primitive Methodists, and, finally, William Mallinson, Merchant, and James Shaw, Merchant, the Free Wesleyans. Future Trustees were to be chosen by each of their churshes, at meetings held within two miles of Huddersfield Market Place.

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A geographical restriction also applied to the Trustees themselves, who had to reside, or hold property, within three miles of the Marxet Place, and should a new building become necessary, that had a!so to be within the same three mile radius. So what was this Institution so painstakingly established in 1865? It was called, in the direct, and decidedly non-PC language of the time “The Huddersfield Ragged and Industrial School’ and its purpose was” forever [to be} devoted to providing the benefits of a good common and evangelical scriptural education, maintenance and industrial and moral training of children of both sexes who through poverty and neglect or any cther cause may be without proper superintendence and instruction ...The education to be based on the Truths of the Gospel No child shall be disqualified for admission by reason of the Religion of his or her parents or relations. Religious instruction grounded in the Holy Scnptures shail form part of the regular daily teaching of the children. (The only children to be excluded were “Juvenile Delinquents’)

At this point, unfortunately, these forward into the Twentieth Century, so the actual workings of:this: somewhat. neglected Victorian institution can only be briefly outlined here. I

The Directory for 1866 shows that the Huddersfield Ragged and Industrial Schools were already established in Fitzwilliain Street with George I Higginbotham as Master, and that by the following year, he had been joined by Frances Higginbotham as Mistress. But they were scon replaced by Edward and Georgina Whitehead. That year, 1868, also contains an intriguing reference tc an apparently rival organisation, The Ragged (Church) of Wellington Buildings, Queen Street is listed under Schools, and has Geo H Allatt as its Master. This is described in the Directory as “solely under the management of Churchmen and was founded by the Rev. Benjamin Tan, then Curate at the Parish Church’. It is listed in the Directories until 1879.

Meanwhile Fitzwilliam Street continued its separate existence, with some indication of its role described in the 1868 Directory thus “a portion of the scholars are loaged and fed at the expense of the institution, and industrial operations, such as carpentry, mat and bag making are carried on’ This aspect of the School's activities would become more important after the Education Act of 1870 began to make itself felt. The 1879 Directory revealed the new order with No17 Fitzwilliam Street described as the /ndustrial Home, with Miss Barrett as matron. Five years later, Fitzwilliam Street was still recorded the Ragged School, but in the Schools section it was again described as the /ndustrial Home, and had a new Matron, Mrs Grant. A tantalisingly rare insight into the late Victorian Home is provided by D F E Sykes in his 1898 history Huddersfield and its vicinity in which, he refers admiringly, to the “useful and unostentatious service” of the Huddersfield Industrial Home, “ still known to many as the Ragged School” and the “loving care’ of the Matron, Miss Bickerstaff. The original school had provided the

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rudiments of education free of charge to young and destitute children, whilst taking care that “they should be decently clad and spared the sharp pinch of hunger’. Since the Elementary Education Act had removed much of the educational need, the School had become a Home “and is conducted on the lines of the celebrated homes founded by Dr Barnardo”. Miss Bickerstaff, who seems to have been personally known to the author, presided over” 21 children of both sexes and of varying ages’ who were to be afforded” the benefit of a Christian education, and by training them in the habits cf industry so as to enable them to earn an honest livelihood and fit them for the duties of life’. Sykes also mentioned two other female officials, Miss M M Hirst, the Secretary, and Miss Keighley, the Treasurer. The Directories finally cease to record Miss Bickerstaff's establishment in 1917.

It was inevitable that a new Century would find new ways of dealing with the sort of poverty that the Ragged Schools had been set up to tackle. From 1923, what had become known as the Huddersfield Orphan Home was replaced by the Huddersfield Orphan Home Endowment. The School or Home was not to be carried on and its funds: were to be used to support other = activities. Apart from seeing to the needs of those still in residence, the investments, then yielding £190-6-1 per annum, were. to focus on providing holiday visits for “orphan and other necessitous. children of the County Borough of

_ Huddersfield”, a role which was to provide the chore of the work described it in

our second set of papers. By the 1980s and 90s, the need for provision in the Victorian sense, may have diminished, but there were still plenty of deserving cases, on the margins of a prosperous society. The Fund, with its Secretary now a Kirklees Official, operated under the: wing of the Educational Services, and provided money for much-needed holidays. Its clients were disadvantaged children, often from single-Parent families, or for those with seriously ill parents They were nominated by church groups, pre-school playgroups, educational services, and individual schools. Venues included seaside resorts, and a variety of activity centres, as local as Scammonden, and as distant as the Lakes, Suffolk and Wales, There was no longer a threat of the “sharp pinch of hunger’, but it is salutary to reflect that even in the 1990s, a trip to Blackpool was an unattainable luxury for some.

There is comparatively little literature about the Ragged Schools, but the Ragged School Museum in the East End of London does have a website As to the Huddersfield School, its building is now occupied by an Islamic organisation

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RICHARD ERIC BATLEY -— my early life on the Farm at Emley Woodhouse. The Farm was a mile from the village of Emley and half a mile from the main Wakefield- Denby Dale Road.


The farm was part of the Savile Estates and was tenanted by Mr. Arthur Mitchell, for whom my father worked. Mr. Mitchell was elderly and badly crippled by arthritis and not capable of doing much, if any, manual work. My father was a kind of a foreman and did all the skilled jobs on the farm. There were usually two other employees, one around or in his early twenties and the other a boy from school, usually from the workhouse in Wakefield. These two employees ‘lived in’ along with a maid. The farm was a ‘mixed’ farm. There would usually be the following animals: Around 20 milking Cows 1 Bull (sometimes also a younger one veing brought up to take over later) About 20 Stirks (Heifers) I 12/15 Calves (at times there would be bull calves which would be allowed to suckle their mothers and were being fattened for Veal). The ‘wye’ (female) calves were not allowed to suckle their mothers and were taught from birth to ‘drink’ milk. 4 Pigs 4/5 Horses and perhaps 2 foals aged 2 or 3 years About 60 Sheep Poultry, Ducks, Geese and Turkeys, all free range. I don’t know what the total acreage would be but there was plenty of grazing land, plenty for making hay and arable land for the growing of wheat, oats, barley, potatoes, turnips, mangles and sugar beet

1 was born on the 29" August 1920, the first of four children, the others being girls.

From an early age the farm yard, stack yard and the farm generally was my playground. My parents tell the story that they once found my chasing ducks in the stack yard saying ‘Come here you budders’

As I got older, on returning from school in an afternoon I changed and went straight into the farm watching the milking and helping to feed the ca‘tle and horses.

The milk was all separated and the separated milk served to the calves which were in loose boxes; the cream was made into butter by Mrs. Mitchell once a week. I spent a lot of time turning the handle on the Separator — in fact it became my job at the afternoon milking. Mr. Mitchell used to take the butter to Horbury once a week to Mrs. Mitchell’s family who were Butchers anc it was sold in their shop. He used to travel by Pony and Trap but I believe later he did get a Car and did the journey in that.

The older I got the more jobs I used to do. I have done my share of ‘mucking out’ the cows and horses. As I have said, the calves were in loose boxes and during the winter to keep the animals reasonably clean straw was continually put in the boxes. As you can imagine, as time went by the depth of this straw and ‘muck’ rose and by the end of winter it was almost to the top of the door. So in Spring there was a great cleaning out and muck spreading on the fields and in the ploughed fields where the potatoes, turnips etc were to be planted

My Father did all the ploughing for the corn crops as well as the potatoes etc. This was usually done with a single furrow plough with two Horses. They had a double furrow plough pulled by 3 Horses but this was not used as often. In the case of corn crops the ‘muck’ (manure) was spread over the field but in the case of potatoes etc it was spread in each furrow and ti:cn by taking the plough and splitting the furrows and making new ones the manure was covered. In the case of potatoes these were planted down the rows on the manure before covering over. The Turnips, Mangles and Sugar Beet were sown usually by a double furrow drill running along the top of the furrows. This of course lead to a continuous row of plants as the seeds germinated and when the plants were large enough these were ‘singled’ leaving a certain space between each plant giving them space to grow. For the corn, after the land had been ploughed, harrowed and generally got ready the seeds were sown by a drill at least 7 or & feet wide with lots of tubes ending up a few inches in the soil. This drill was taken over all the field and when the seeds germinated you could see if any part had been missed.

Haytime and Harvest were among3t the busiest times and at these times two Miners from Emley came to help. There were three fieids on the edge of the village and these were usually sown with corn. What used to happen at Harvest time was at the end of a day one cari/wagon load would be feft in the stack yard to be unloaded the following morning. Three carts/wagons were ::sed for transporting the corn from the above fields to the stack yard, nearly a mile. The following morning two carts/wagon would be taken to the fields and, usually the two miners, would then load the corn onto one of the carts/wagons and take it into the road and then I would lead the

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horse and cart down to the farm. When I got there my Father would take it into the stack yard (I wasn’t allowed to steer the carts through gates!) and I would then take the cart/wagon that had been emptied back to the field and by the time I got there the other cart/wagon would have been loaded and be ready for taking back to the farm. This would go on all day. Fortunately there was very little traffic on the road at that time. I would be around 12/13 I suppose Mr. Mitchell always gave me ‘a wage’ — this is where I got my spending money. The building of the stacks — both hay and corn — was always done by my Father.

The cutting of the grass for hay was done with a Mowing Machine, This was pulled by 2 Horses with my Father sat on a seat along side the cutting blade. The grass was left to dry then ‘turned’ by a Spinner and gathered together and made into “Hay Cocks’ after this it was loaded up and taken to the stack yard. It was either stored in lofts in some of the farm buildings, stored in the Dutch Barn or made into stacks. The corn was cut by a ‘Binder’ which was pulled by 3 Horses with my Father again sat on a seat at the back. The corn was thrown from the Binder tied in Sheafs and these were stacked into ‘Kiffers’ — that is 5/6 sheafs on either side stood on end and left to dry. When the corn was dry it was then carted into the stack yard and mostly made into Stacks ready for Threshing. I used to follow my Father round the field as he cut the corn and down hill I rode on the Binder and if we passed over a hole in the ground I used to put my hand down to see if there was anything in it. On one occasion I did this and got bitten. I put my hand in again and the same thing happened. I waited for my Father to come round with the Binder and told him what had happened. He said ‘Dare you put your hand in again and pull out whatever it is?’ I did and out came a very big Rat. As my hand was dirty from the Corn dust I was sent home to get washed and treated with Iodine. In this same field, which was near to a Rabbit warren, one harvest 100 Rabbits were shot. Some of the sons from the adjoining farm had joined in the shooting. Each time a gun went off the Horses pulling the Binder would prick their ears up and seem agitated for a while, all the time my Father was sat on the Binder seat Pellets flying all around him.

The gathering of the Potatoes was usually done in the School half term in September. A number of children from the village came to help. I think the pay one 2/6d per day. It was a dirty and back aching job. The Potatoes were ploughed up by a special plough leaving the Potatoes on top. The Potatoes were stored in a ‘pie’. A large area of ground was dug down ahout a foot, the Potatoes were stacked into this to about 5/6 feet high. This was then covered by straw a few inches thick and then covered over with a thick layer of soil on top. This kept them free of frost and they were taken from the Pie as and when they were needed. The Turnips and Mangles were stored in the same way. The Sugar Beet was collected by Lorries and taken straight to the factory.

If the cutters on either the Mowing, Machine or Binder got broken — this they did sometimes if they hit a stone — or any of the little blades got damuged, these were taken to a firm in the adjoining village of Clayton West for repairs. When the Horses wanted shoeing, they were taken to a Blacksmith in the village of Emley.

The Threshing of the corn was done in the winter. Some corn would be stored in the Dutch Barn as well as in stacks. The threshing would usually be done a day at a time — one stack or one bay of the Dutch Bam. My Grandfather did the threshing and would arrive the evening before to set up ready for next morning, this being done in the dark. Grandfather had one permanent man with him and in his employ. They would arrive next morning very early and get the steam up ready for an 8 o’clock start. Grandfather and his man would be given Breakfast at the farm (quite often Home fed Bacon — more fat than meat!). There were a number of men who used to follow the threshing machine and the Farmers would pay them at the end of the day. There would be a break mid morning for Tea and Sandwiches, provided by the Farmer. The Farmer would also provide dinner for all the men and I believe they got « drink in the afternoon. The stack yard was usually untidy when the Threshing was over and needed a tidying up.

Lambing time was another busy tirne. In the early stages the Sheep were kept in a field near the farm and I was often asked by my Father, whilst they were milking, to go and check and see if they were all right. He would give me the number of sheep and I would go and see if I could locate them all. They would usually be in a field of ‘pit hills’ and sometimes they would be four:d in the hollows of these hills. (These pit hills were created by the mining of Iron Ore by the Monks in the middle ages). I usually located them all and would report back and say whether or not any were for givirg birth. If there were any in such state, after finishing milking my Father would then probably go and see for himself. As more of the sheep were expected to lamb and if the weather had become colder the Sheep would be brought into the Dutch Barn under cover. Of the four Bays in the Dutch Barn the two end ones would have been left full of hay and the inner two Bays fenced in. There would also be some small pens down one side to put one sheep in if she looked like lambing during the night. Each night around 9 o’clock my Father would go out to the Barn to inspect the sheep and on most occasions take me with him. Ifa sheep was having problems my Father would act as ‘Midwife’ and I would be there to keep the sheep still. A Vet was very rarely called in those days, most of the farmers themselves dealing with routine problems. Each year we would have at least one ‘Pet’ Lamb; that is a Lamb whose Mother had died or had given birth to 3 Lambs. Having only two Teats a Sheep could only rear two Lambs. These Pet Lambs were fed

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by Bottle on cow’s milk. They were kept in a Pen until old enough to go outside and feed partially on grass. We had one sheep for a few years who always came to you if you went into the field and loved to have her nose rubbed. I always thought that she must have been brought up as a Pet Lamb.

I vividly remember in February 1933 it started snowing on the Friday and continued through to Sunday and all the roads were blocked and hedge high with snow. At the time they were 3 foals in one field and sheep in another half way to the village of Emley. Each day we put the Collars on 3 Horses, filled sacks with Hay, hung them on the Collars and took these to the Foals and Sheep. Most of the way we were going up the fields adjoining the road as the snow wasn’t as thick there. I went with my Father and it took us the biggest part of the day. The snow thawed rapidly and by the Thursday the roads were passable with the aid of the Snow plough. (I was going to school in Huddersfield at the time but as the village was cut off there no buses so I had a weeks extra holiday).

Another thing that used to happen. When the Mitchells and ourselves needed more Coal, my Father used to set off with 2 carts and go to a Coal mine on the road to Wakefield called Bullcliffe Wood Colliery. On occasions if I was at home I would go with him. We used to fill the carts with Coal and return home.

I think it was in 1934 that Mr. Mitchell died. The tenancy could not be terminated until after I years Notice had been given. During this time my Father ran the Farm for Mrs. Mitchell. When Mrs. Mitchell vacated the Farm, my Father went to work for Mr. Mitchell’s son in the neighbouring village of Bretton West. However, he only stayed there about 18 months and got a job with a Farmer in Shelley, where he stayed for the rest of his working life. He was supposed to have retired in the sixties, but he never really did. In the end he would go in each morning to wash the Milk Bottles!

The little Hamlet of Emley Woodhouse consisted of the Farm House, two Farm Cottages, one of which we lived in. On the other side of the road was ‘the Big House’ with a garden’s cottage and two other cottages. The occupant of the Big House was the owner of gravel pits in the Doncaster area. One evening he was in the paddock adjoining the house with his dogs, black and golden Labradors. How I came to be there I don’t know, but I was asked to trail a dead Pheasant up the adjoining field, leave it, and then come back by the road. He would then put the dogs over the wall to search for and retrieve the Pheasant. I did this all evening and in the end I got Ten shillings —a fortune to me in those days. I was going on the Church Choir trip next day, so I was really fortunate

Reading the above you would assume, as I did, that I would be following my Father’s footsteps into Farming. However, my Parents must have had other ideas. At that time no pupils from Emley Council School, which I attended, passed to go to Grammar School. My Parents paid for me to go to Central Kayes’ Commercial College in Huddersfield. The main subjects were Book-keeping, Shorthand and Typing. After 2 years 2 months at this school I got a job as a Shorthand Typist with a firm of Solicitors in Huddersfield and stayed in this profession until I retired at 65 becoming in the end a Legal Executive


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A WARTIME MEMORY Mrs Batley recalls life on the Home Front

In Spring 1988 I visited Australia where my son and daughter-in-law live.

One day I visited a Museum and where, much to my surprise, were some of the Accounting Machines I used in my working days at Hopkinsons, Valve Engineers, Birkby.

My mind went back to the years I worked in the Mechanical Accounting Department. Leaving Greenhead High School at 16 years old (August 1937) and working in this department until I left to be married in November 1946.

I was trained to use all types of Accounting Machines, Powers Samas Card Punching Machines, Sorting Machines and a Tabulator. Comptometers, Calculating Machines. Also an Addressograph ‘o print the Time Cards which the work people used to clock in and out of work. Equipment to make metal punching plates for the Addressograph.

In 1941 I became Supervisor of the Department in charge of 12-14 girls. .1941 was the year women were conscripted into service and I was in the first batch of women to register. I was not called to go into the services because I was in a reserved occupation.

1941 was the year my Boyfriend was called up to serve in the R.A.F. and like many I missed his friendship.

In 1941 the rooms of the Sunday School that I attended were taken over by the Army’s Royal Corps of Signals. I was the Primary Superintendant and we had to move into the Choir Vestry of the Church premises. We just about fitted in, using small chairs. In spite of the difficulties these were happy times.

It was a difficult time for our Country standing alone against the enemy, but everyone pulled together and had the hope we would win through.

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Several titles from established local authors have appeared this year. Dr George Redmonds has produced another of his detailed place-name surveys, in the shape of Places of Kirkheaton and District; including Dalton, Whitley, Lepton, Denby and Grange Moor. Thoroughly researched, as ever, from over 50 sources, and using several of his own line drawings, and photographs, the book explains the effects of landscape and economic and social conditions on the origins of place names. Not forgetting the influence of local families, and religious organisations. Although the area is small, ninety-four surnames are mentioned in the text of this survey of the author’s home territory. Modestly priced at £4.50, it is available at local bookshops.

Serial local histories are something of a novelty, not least on account of the smail areas generally covered, so to produce three volumes on one district I is quite an achievement. ae Chris Heath has now produced Denby and District 3: from medieval manuscripts to modem memories. (Wharncliffe Books £18.99). The book i i basically chronologicai with thematic expansions where necessary. The Field I Family and Skelmanthope’s Flag of Freedom are there, as are the Turnpike roads, and the Peace Family of Inkerman mill. Less obviously, perhaps, is the section devoted to a living ‘ worthy", I the actor I Paul Copley of Denby Dale.

For those with memories of last year’s season of talks, the next author will strike a chord. Jill Liddington has produced her study of local suffragists. Rebel girls: their fight for the vote. (Virago,2006). Covering Yorkshire, this volume complements her earlier study of Lancashire suffragists, One hand. Unlike their sisters across the Pennines, many of these “rebel girl” suffragettes were young and politically inexperience, like the cover girl herself, Dora Thewlis. Her arrest in 1907 became a tabloid sensation, with the Honley born weaver dubbed “Baby Suffragette” by the Press. she merits a chapter to herself, along with Florence Lockwood of Black Rock, Linthwaite, a lady of somewhat cifferent social standing, who represented a very different strand of the suffrage campaign. Married to a wealthy manufacturer, and hailing from a professional family in I Plymouth, she became an important member of the NUSS (National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies) rather than the more factory —fioor inspired WSPU and produced her own account of the campaign in her autobiography An ordinary life1861-1924.*

George Sheeran has written several titles on buildings in Yorkshire, and Tempus have re-published a werk with particular relevance to this area. Brass Castles; West Yorkshire New Rich and their houses 1800-191 4. Originally published in 1993, this book is as much about the builders as their buildings, in short, those with incomes above £100,000 per year. (though bankruptcies, bad management, and even philanthropic donations could play havoc with income levels). A house like John Marshall's New Grange at

Page 30

Kirkstall cost £3,000 per year to run, and there are detailed descriptions of the staff and services that were necessary to maintain such levels. There are no such figures for the Huddersfield equivalents, though there were plenty of them; Ravensknowle, Banney Royd, Briarcourt, Crossland lodge, Meltham Hall, Rein Wood, Oaklands, Royds Wood and Stoneleigh all feature in these pages. Yet, for all the grandeur, there was a slight sense of poignancy to the situation, for business men, however successful, could never quite be the equals of the landed gentry. As Sir Titus Salt, one of the greatest of them all remarked to the Earl of Harewood “you are a nobleman with all the influence that rank and large estates can bring ...but outside of my business, I am nothing.” I So where there was muck, there was certainly brass, but not necessarily, it would seem, class.

Buildings are an integral part of the landscape “heritage”, as the current spate _ of restoration programmes on television testifies. Yet, sadly, other parts of oy

_ Street scene are less durable, and, far from being valued, are treated with - $ome disdain. re _ ..Often dismissed as fit only for the despised ° ‘anorak” tendency, trolleys. wo --and trams, with their distinctive liveries, were one of the most Important ore _ identifiers that a town had.: Huddersfield’s striking red and cream livery : _ -befitted the town that had launched the very first municipal passenger

_. transport service in 1883.

Robert Berry's Buses in colour, Volume 2; In and around Huddersfield, (Nostalgia Road Publications 2905, £9.99) vividly recall the blue of Bradford, the tricolour of Halifax, and all the others that contrast with today’s corporate blandness.

It isn’t often that the academic world embraces cricket, but a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund encourage two University staff to work on a project under the aegis of Huddersfield University’s Department of History. 180 not out; a pictoria! history of cricket in Halifax, Huddersfield, Dewsbury and District, volume 3 South Kirklees.(Sigma £10) Compiled by Peter Davies and Rob Light, this isn’t an academic tract, but an illustrated collection of the cricketing heritage uncovered by the Project Team. Score cards, photographs of players, grounds, tea ladies and scorers, jostle with letters, news cuttings and any other kind of memorabilia that can be photographed. The title itself refers to the foundation of the first cricket club in the area, Lascelles Hall in 1825, 180 years before this project was completed in 2005.

History trails are increasingly popular, and for those who like a light-hearted side to history on the hoof, there comes .This publisher has produced many mini-town trails, of which Huddersfield treasure hunt on foot Is a recent example. From the old Borough’s Latin motto, to the origins of the Lawrence Batley and the identity of the prime minister's statue in St George’s Square, it is all basic stuff, but a painless introduction to local history for £2.99

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“Florence Lockwood's autobiography can still be read in the Huddersfield Local Studies Library. Somewhat ironically, in view of its importance to women’s rights, it is written under her full married name of Mrs Josiah Lockwood. Privately published in 1932, it covers her life from childhood in Portsmouth through the Linthwaite days, to widowhood in London. Much of the book is very domestic and contains finely observed descriptions of local life. Referring, for instance, to the Sunday quiet of Linthwaite, she notes “true, the outer world touches us but little, and we haven't the benefit, like those on the Manchester Road, of spending our Sunday afternoon behind the lace curtains and the flower pot, watching the folk pass by in their Sunday best.” But the outside world did touch her, and that Damascene moment is described in some defail. “One day [coming through Linthwaite Fold] I stopped and helped to swell the crowd listening to Mrs Pankhurst ...a woman speaking was something

quite:new. That was 2 psychological moment for me ...what she said. was :new and inspiring to me. Why should women be political nonentities indeed?”

of her sisters-in-law stated that a woman’s place was. in the home, the reaction was immediate. “this limitation of woman’s sphere set my: heart beating and I took up the cudgels in defence of votes for women for the first time “ —— This was a very different response from her first introduction to the political. world, at Josiah’s instigation, in Huddersfield Town Hall, which had come asa complete turn-off, “| was terribly disgusted, I hated the whole atmosphere:of hoary-headed old men.” Considering this afterwards “I! explained that the © dissipations of the Churches and the Chapels were distasteful to me, I hated. bazaars, and there seemed no other outlet. I had tacitly accepted the idea that politics were outside the range of intellect.” From this point onwards though, it certainly wasn’t, for even Josiah liked the sort of women “who were awake to the new order of things” and "seemed proud of my feminist views”. A period of office as a Poor Law Guardian was also rewarding, “it was good for the Socialist publican from the Fountain inn and the manufacturer's wife to associate in representing the destitute of Linthwaite”. It was a long road that took Florence from discreet “at homes” with the wives of the Colne Valley, to the heady delights of the Conference of the International Woman's Suffrage Alliance held in Belgrade in 1913. A life less ordinary in Edwardian Linthwaite is hard to imagine.

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Huddersfield Local History Society

25 September

* 14 October

30 October

27 November

* 14 December

29 January

26 February

26 March

#30 April

21 May

*50 June

Programme 2006 - 2007

The Quaker Families of ‘The Ridings’ Pam Cooksey

Study Day at Newsome South Methodist Church Aspects of Sport

History of the 20 Century Ian Dewhirst

Incorporating the Annual General Meeting

J.P.Pritchett ( theElder) Congregational Deacon and Architect Professor Edward Royle

Christmas Evening Final details still to be arranged

Bamforths of Holmfirth Dennis Broadbent

Best Foot Forward — History of Shoemaking and Retailing Simon Wagstaff

Vernicular Buildings of the Late 17". Century David Cant

Glimpse «f Early Brass Bands in the Holme Valley Jeffrey Turner

Visit of Henry VII to Yorkshire in 1541 Tim Thornton

Excursion. Details still to be arranged

All Meetings except those marked * and # will take place in the Children’s Library,

Huddersfield Library at 7.30 pm

#Meetings in th: Light Reading Room at 7.30 pm

The 2007-2008 series of talks will commence on Monday 24'" September 2007

Membership Subscriptions: Sing!e £6 : Joint £10 are due at the start of the session

Hon. Secretary Mrs Freda Hollingworth

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

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