Lancashire Textile Project
TAPE 82 / HD / 05
This page represents the fifth page of in depth interviews during which Harold Duxbury was asked about his recollections of the Lancashire Textile Project. The interviews were conducted by Stanley Graham and as such remain his property. At the bottom of the sixth page Mr. Graham invites anyone with a query to contact him. The pages are all interspaced with the time taken during the interview to give some idea of how in depth the interviews were, whilst the "R- " refers to the reply from Harold to a specific question.
This Tape Has Been Recorded On The 2nd Of August 1982 At Banks Hill, Barnoldswick. The Informant Is Harold Duxbury And The Interviewer Is Stanley Graham.
Keeping to the buildings and the interesting things like drains and that, I know that this name’s going to crop up a lot - what can you tell me about Ted Smith?
R – Not a lot. Not a lot. He was a builder. He built some of these mills. I don’t know which. He had two sons and two daughters, I think. I’ll tell you who could probably give you more information about Ted Smith. You’ve heard speak of Jim Wright? He’s a Methodist Minister and he’s retired and he lives up Moseley Street. Tell him I’ve given you his name and he’ll tell you no doubt, everything you want to know about Ted Smith. It was his grandfather. His mother was Ted Smith’s daughter and there’s another - there’s a daughter which is Jim’s sister - you know Vic Cadle that had compressors?
R - Well, you’ve heard speak of Moira Wright Well that’s another sister, she married Vic Cadle and she could tell you quite a lot but I think Jim would be able to tell you more.
Of course, he was a builder before your time, he’d be finished before your time?
R - I know of him and he built Briercliffe and lived there up at Rainhall.
Briercliffe, that’s the house at Rainhall?
R - Well, that’s a good house near where the Briercliffe Mission is or whatever you like to call it.
Very strange. Not quite sure about that lot, Harold. Now, Springs Dam. I went up there to have a look around. What can you tell me about Springs Dam?
R - Again, not so very much.
You see, literally speaking, as far as I know, Springs Dam were formed as a storage and they made use of it with supplying Calf Hall Shed. I would say that was the time when Springs Dam were built, or formed whatever you like to call it. When Calf Hall Mill was built.
It must have been before that Harold, because when they formed the Calf Hall Shed Co. one of the first things they did, I’ve forgotten the name of the person they’d to go to now to ask for rights for water from that dam. It seemed to me that the only thing it could have been built for if it wasn’t for Calf Hall - was to supply water to Butts originally. You know when Bracewell built Butts.
R - Yes, yes I quite agree with that but you can’t stop water, you can’t stop the water rights. If that water runs through your premises, you can’t collect unless you put back.
How would it be though, because obviously I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this and what puzzles me was somebody with undoubted business capabilities such as old Billycock would have had the rights to that water, you know, gained control of that water that was running down to his mill because then there was only the Butts and Clough Mill. Clough had its own water supply. You know, coming down from Bancroft. That beck that comes running down from Gillian’s beck. So they didn’t enter into it, well Mitchell’s Mill as it was then didn’t enter into it. When Bracewell’s estate was broken up, I just wondered whether you know, like this big sale in 1887, whether whoever lived up there had bought the dam or whether any agreement they’d had with Bracewell, had been cancelled.
R - Well as you well know, at Butts Mill there was a clow and it flooded, the water was collected and it would be I should think four foot deep and it would be right under the mill. They used to collect it from there and it backed up under the mill, there’s tunnels under the mill both from the beck and overflow from Clough Mill. There was also a clow at Calf Hall. You know where it was at Butts do you?
R - The clow. You know where it were at Calf Hall then?
By the side of the road, at the end of Calf Hall Lane, there.
R - That’s it, yes and it backed up again, right to the other side. I think there was another clow at the far end.
Yes, there was a lodge and a drop down and a bit under the mill at the back. Only a little lodge.
R - That’s right, yes. All that storage underneath the mill and that. You see someday there’s going to be a fair collapse at Butts. I’ve been under them and followed them.
You were saying you’d been in those tunnels under Butts.
R - And they’re not good. This is twenty years since!
That’s cast iron girders and flags over the top?
R - Oh no.
Is it stone vaulted?
R - Aye. With the stones out at the top!
So it’s stone vaulted and underneath it’s tunnelled?
R - Yes, it’s stone vaulted and it’s tunnelled, arched.
You find odd little things in the minute books, like the fact that William Holdsworth was asked to make a cover for the valve gear, for the clow at Springs Dam, to stop the people letting water down when they shouldn’t. You know, after Calf Hall had taken over the water rights or had rented the water right and there was many complaints afterwards of course but it was inside the company. There were complaints from Butts Mill Company who were running that mill - (I’m not sure if it was a fellow called Eastwood that was running it then) about the fact that the water that was coming down from Calf Hall was too hot and Calf Hall did something which I’ve never come across before. Between 1890-95 they fit up some piping to pump the water over the top of the shed roof in Summer to cool it. I’ve never come across that before. You don’t seem surprised when I say they pumped it across the roof?
R - Oh no! You see and various types of sprinklers and that kind of thing, you know. They had a right sprinkling plant at Crownest. You knew about that, didn’t you?
No, I didn’t know about that.
R - Oh yes, it were quite an elaborate affair. It were a wood structure and it were in the line of Butts Beck where the dam is now for Crownest. They used to pump it up this and let it run round this all down, louvered, you see.
At Bancroft we were never really troubled with that because we had a big lodge for the size of the engine. The only thing there’d ever been at Bancroft, was troughings along the side of the dam to carry the condensate right back up to the top of the dam.
R - We used to have to do that at Wellhouse. That was all wood troughs all the way around.
William Bracewell and Burnley iron works. Now Burnley Iron works, obviously, was Burnley iron works all during your time. What sort of work did they do. Obviously there was the engine trade but did they do other cast iron stuff?
R - I would think so. I don’t know enough to give you any details but they did do these new engines and that kind of thing, you know.
And Roberts would be the same? Roberts at Nelson would be the same?
R - Quite, yes.
The foundry that Henry Brown built down in the bottoms there [at Havre Park], who built that foundry? When I say, it was Henry Brown’s foundry but who actually did the construction? [Later research showed that Brown’s built the foundry and Johnny Pickles, their foreman, supervised the construction. See AG series of tapes.]
R - I don’t know. I think the first people to use it would be Henry Brown and Sons. not Henry Brown, Sons and Pickles. Henry Brown and Sons. Father Ashby was the foreman down there.
That later founded Ouzeldale Foundry.
R - Yes, well he later went up to Ouzeldale. I think they found they couldn’t make a do with it and gave it up. He went up there and started on his own did Father Ashby. You don’t want me to follow that on, do you?
We’ll do the foundry in a minute, it’s Henry Browns that I’m interested in at the moment really. Newton doesn’t know a lot about it really because of course he was only a young lad at the time. Obviously, Newton was 15 years younger than you..
R - Well, I’ll tell you as I remember it .... I think I’ll be right. In the first place it would be built for Henry Browns, Sons and Pickles. Whether they paid for it or not I just don’t know.
Can I ask you, it would be built for Henry Browns?
R - That’s right, Henry Brown and Sons and then Henry Brown got into financial difficulty and Ashby went up to Ouzeldale and started up there. That would be the time when Henry Brown and Sons became ‘Henry Brown’s Sons & Pickles’. [The firm started as John Pickles and Son and became Henry Brown, Sons and Pickles when Johnny took Willie Brown in as a partner.]
Yes, that’s it and Newton told me, he said that actually, his father had told him, he said that really Henry brown should never have finished because he said the trouble they were in wasn’t that bad. [They paid out 98new pence in the pound when they liquidated.]
R - No, I can quite understand that and I would think that that’s quite true but that was the time when Newton’s father went in.
What year are we talking about?
R - Well, I should think about 1925. [Browns liquidated in 1929 and Johnny Pickles took over then as J A Pickles and Son. In 1932 he took Willie Brown in as partner and firm changed its name to Henry Brown Sons and Pickles.]
I’m sure I have that date off Newton but that’s all right. And Johnny....
R - All these things will be proved in Calf Hall’s minute book.
Oh yes, yes but I haven’t come to 1925 yet, you see. Just a word of explanation there Harold, what we’re doing isn’t a quiz but the nice thing is that backing up what you tell me is the information I get from things like the minute book and from other places like from Newton as well. I mean its gathering the whole lot together so that we can get a whole picture. One thing can only give you a flat view of things. Johnny, I’d forgotten whether Johnny, at that time was working for Burnley Iron Works. [No, he was foreman at Henry Browns and had been since 1908. He served his apprenticeship with Henry Brown in Earby. ] When Henry Brown’s finished, he decided that he was going to set up on his own. Newton’s told me the story about Johnny starting and I wondered if you knew anything about it because it seems to me that what happened was that the Calf Hall Shed Company decided that it would be a good thing to support this mechanic because they were going to need him.
R - That’s very likely true. I don’t know just how long I was interested in Calf Hall Shed Company before I became managing director, well it was right away, as soon as I went on the board. I was made managing director, the same time as I went on’t board.
When was that, Harold?
R - Again, I’d have to look. Teddy Wood, he was the chairman of Calf Hall Shed Company when I went on. I learned a lot from Edward Wood and he was hand in glove with Johnny Pickles was Teddy Wood, and literally speaking if anything went wrong in any of the mills, it was Johnny Pickles that did it. Teddy Wood had nowt to do but ring Johnny Pickles up and he’d no need to bother any more about it, you see and Teddy had a free hand, just the same as when I became managing director, I had a free hand, you understand? Before me, Edmondson Banks was the managing director. [July 1908 to September16th 1946 when he died]
Was he a jeweller, originally?
R - Oh no!
What was he originally? What was his profession?
R- Well, he was a bookworm, that’s all, not a practical man.
And of course, he’d be a fair age.
R - Oh yes, held be climbing up to 80 when he died. He certainly tried to look after Calf Hall Shed Company. And so did Teddy Wood. They took everything out and put nowt in. Immediately, I stopped that, right bang off and they took nowt out but they put everything in. There were thirty odd thousand pounds overdrawn and in them days it were a lot of money.
So Johnny was doing the millwrighting for the Calf Hall Shed Company.
R - For Calf Hall Shed Company but not only for Calf Hall Shed Company. Proctor & Proctor, the accountants at Burnley, they were big room and power people. They had any amount of mills besides Calf Hall Shed Company that they controlled, you see and well of course he were all over Lancashire were Johnny Pickles.
And of course Teddy Wood was Proctor and Proctor.
R - He was the King Pin!
And of course, his daughter is Mr. Victor Hedge’s wife. One of the things you must have seen a big change in over the years is the roads and we did just touch on this subject earlier on but I’d like you to just if you can say any more about it. You know, the days before the roads were tarmacadamed and you know the dust and the nuisance that meant.
R - Yes, well of course when I was a kid, I lived down here, I saw the first motor car.
When would that be, Harold?
R- I would think about 1906. I’ll tell you who were driving it, Joe Standing.
Joe Standing, was he a printer?
R - Yes. He used to come down and he’d have a cap on but he’d have it on neb at back and there he were brrr ...... I remember running out to see it going just ower’t bridge down there.
And of course the road then wouldn’t be tarmacadamed?
R - No, no, no. There was no houses, the first houses from here - well there was Lane Ends and Foster’s Arms but none of the houses on each side of Gisburn Road. The next that we came to was the Henhouse and we used to call it ‘Th’henous’, and then on the opposite side before Grimestopes and all them, that used to be the Cricket Field. There were all hoardings up the side of the road and we could walk between the hoarding and the road. There was a hedge and kids used to walk at the back of the hedge you know, and it were all broken down and that kind of thing and we could just reach and have a look over into the cricket field.
What was the idea of the hoardings? Was that because they used to charge people to go in?
R - Yes, I suppose, as a barrier, to some extent for cricketing, I should think.
One of the things I’ve come across in Public Health figures is the fact that as roads were tarmacadamed, the dust decreased, the amount of diarrhoea, especially in infants went down tremendously.
R - Well, of course, I don’t know anything about that.
The thing about that is, it’s something that really quite surprised me. Then I realised what common sense it was. If there was less dirt flying around, there’s going to be cleaner food and you know, there’s going to be less infection..
R - That’s right, yes.
It’s something that we don’t think about nowadays with tarmacadamed roads and good food.
R - You see in those days if you got to the bottom of a milk kit, it were black with dust. There were always so much to throw away!
When you were kitting milk?
R - In the kits you see. They came and all milk had to be sieved [‘siled’ in dialect], that were a law that came in and you had to run it through a fine sieve as you put it in out of your milking bucket. You milked by hand, you see and you’d to pour it through this sieve into the kit. But even then you see, as you say, they were serving milk, measuring it out and there were dust blowing about and part on it were going into the kit particularly in windy weather and there were any amount of dust as you say, from the roads. Well, the main roads I would say were not too bad, but all these side roads were hardly made up at all.
You say that there were regulations to ensure - well regulations that said milk had to be siled had to be sieved before it went into the kit. Who enforced those regulations?
R - Oh it would be a Government order.
I’m just wondering if it was like a local board of health or....
R - Oh I don’t think so but they used to have inspectors coming round taking milk samples. You know, any milk man, they’d turn up anywhere.
And was that when you were a lad as well?
R - Yes, yes and in them days you know, there were lots of folk watering their milk. Well, there were a real panic when Randerson, I remember the name, they called him Randerson and he were the inspector and he used to, every now and again turn up and then “Oh so and so’s got nabbed” and then they’d be up at court and I don’t know.
That’s interesting because I didn’t know that. I thought it would be a function of local government in those days.
R - I don’t think so.
Now then, the Gas Works. Nowadays the Gas works is a place where there’s a couple of gas holders which just act as a reservoir of gas but tell me about the Gas Works in the old days because it was a very important place in lots of ways wasn’t it.
R - Oh yes, yes.
(35 min) (250)
I mean it was a source of coke and …, tell me about it.
R - Again, in a way it’s vague what I know, but I can remember the boilers all being down there and nearly like a Lancashire boiler as far as I was concerned, a very similar effort and stoking up. Eventually they got the automatic stokers and so forth and so on down there. There used to be they took the gas from coal and the offal was coke and you could go down and get 2cwt bags, you know. I think it was 6d. We used to go down with the trucks, you know and I think it were only 6d were a 2cwt bag.
And then you’d be able to buy gas tar there.
R - Gas tar, not creosote, and it was very cheap. I don’t know how much it was but I don’t think it would be more than 9d a gallon, something like that - if it were so much! Barrels and barrels of it we used, to paint roofs and that kind of thing with it. We used barrels and barrels of it. Eventually they stopped it.
How did the Gas Works get the coal? How did it come into the town?
R - I would say that probably the majority of it came by rail.
Can you remember coal coming into the town in boats?
R - Oh I should think up until about 1930.
Now if you’ve got a boat load of coal coming into the wharf, say at Coates, how did they actually, physically, get that coal out of the boat and down the shoots into the coal yard?
R - There was hand worked cranes there and I would think, I’m not sure on this, it would be lifted into a kind of a barrel and swung round to the inside and emptied on the inside. There used to be special barrow lifts. I don’t remember any drop leaves, boxes with drop leaves or anything of that. All that I remember is the barrow lifts.
The reason I ask you that Harold is, having shovelled some coal myself, I’ve often wondered about these coal wharves, how they actually work. It seems to me that if they were just shovelling the coal out of the bottom of the boat, they would have arranged it so that the boat could get right up to where the shoot was so that they were shovelling it straight out into the shoot, so it seems to me that they must have got it out in some sort of a barrow or container and I just wandered whether you’d seen anybody wheeling a barrow up a plank or something like that?
R - There was certainly shovelling it out of the bottom of the boat into barrows on a plank. There’s no question about that, they did that. I can remember that more vividly than any other type of unloading. It was a common thing. They were biggish barrows. They were probably iron wheels. They’d planks from the boat, that went right onto the bank and dropped down into the doings. I can also remember Bankfield, they had a cat-head.
This is Bankfield Shed?
R - They had the cat-head effort.
So they could like pick a barrow of coal up and just take it straight in and drop it onto the coal heap.
R - That’s right, yes.
That’s one thing where rail had a great advantage, really in some ways. It’s not one that would be apparent to people but when coal came in on the railway it was 4’ high above the ground.
R - Yes, that’s right, yes.
You were shovelling it, if not downhill, you were shovelling it on the level when you were unloading.
R - Yes, that’s right, yes.
And you’ve got to shovel it yourself before you realise.
R - You see with these horses and carts, coal carts, they had raised sides and front and back, you see. Well they called them shelvings, they had raised sides, you see. They used to shovel over the top into the cart. I would say the majority of the coal was thrown over the top of the wagon, into the cart.
That was a two wheel cart that’d tip?
R - That’s right, yes.
How much would they hold, those carts?
R - Oh I should think - er .....
I’m talking about coal, obviously.
R - I should think they held a couple of tons.
So they were perhaps a little bit bigger than, say the muck carts that we used to see.
R - Oh yes! I would say, literally speaking, they were a standard cart, a standard big one with extended sides.
Now then, how about the Ingleton coalfield? You were telling me one day that you’d been down a mine. What can you tell me about that?
R - Not so much.
When did you go down the mine there?
R - I should think I’d be about 27.
Why did you go there?
R - Well, it’s a story in itself is that.
Good! Good! well, if you can tell it me.
R - We consider these youngsters today, they’re half daft, they don’t know what they’re doing. Anyway, we decided, we’d no money and we were married…
Who was we?
R - There was four of us went and the other couple had a little lad. I told you about old Paul [Brydon] the other day. Well a fellow, Norman Wellock followed on with the marine business of old Paul’s.
That was the rag and bone business at the bottom of Commercial Street. Paul Brydon.
R - Paul Brydon, aye. Well, Norman Wellock followed him. He used to work for Paul did Norman and when Paul give up or died Norman continued. This other couple and us we decided we’d have a caravan holiday and it was a horse and four wheel lorry. You see we were brought up out in the country, I knew a bit about horses; I can handle a horse you see, and anyway, I won’t go into all details but we went to Ingleton.
Can I just ask you one thing, Harold, who did you go to - was it a purpose built caravan on four wheels that could be pulled by a horse?
R - It was an ordinary four wheeled lorry.
Oh I see and you had a sheet over the top?
(45 min) (350)
R - We had a sheet over it.
Like a tent?
R - Aye, yes. That’s what we did.
And whose lorry was it?
R - Norman Wellock’s.
Oh, I see!
R ~ And his horse. Anyway, we got to Ingleton and we decided we’d stop there. We got there at Sunday, I’ll not tell you why because as I say, it’s a story in itself but anyway this feller got swilled out on Saturday night, no Sunday night! We were swilled out - yes. We knocked the farmer up and he come down and held one leg. Anyway he were the timekeeper at the colliery and of course he’d take us down the colliery - the pit I should say. He took us down, either him or somebody else I don’t know and went up to the coal face and that kind of thing but I can’t remember a lot of details but it were working then and it’s only twelve months since we called at this house and there was a girl, it weren’t same people as were there then. The girl working there then, it were a cafe then - it’s a cafe now and this girl was one of the granddaughters of this feller.
It isn’t that Harlin House, is it?
R - Oh no posh place at all.
That’s not a posh place.
R - Going down into Ingleton on the right hand side before you get to the bend in the road.
What used to be the railway bridge and that bend where the garage is?
R - Yes.
There used to be a skew bridge at the top of the village, they’ve done away with it now.
R - They’ve done away with it now, yes. Just down that hill on the right hand side and there’s a wood hut, farm buildings I would say, or a farm house and that wood hut is there yet. And we lived in that wood hut all that week and I tell you it’s a story in itself is that..
But you had a weeks holiday, anyway.
R - We had a weeks holiday, aye. Of a sort.
Well there’s one thing about it, the horse would have a holiday as well.
R - The horse had a holiday and it’d feed out of my hand, it had nowt tae do but I’d shout of it. It were badly fed.
Of course, William Bracewell used to have a big interest in those collieries there.
R - Yes.
I’ve got a funny question for you now, all these little odds and sods of questions. When you started in the joinering trade with your father, what was paint made of ? Did you make your own or did you buy it or what?
R - Oh, we made our own!
Tell me about making paint. What did you make it out of ?
R - White lead, linseed oil and a bit of driers (turps).
That would be proper turpentine.
R - Oh yes, proper turpentine. There were no turps substitute then.
So like, cart paint would be red lead, powder.
R - Red lead, powder.
Where did you get the powder from and the linseed.
R - I don’t just remember that, where we got it from. You see there wasn’t so much white lead in a cwt. and I try to think - I can’t tell you where we got it from.
Was it good paint?
R - Yes. Oh yes! It didn’t stop on top, you know, it went in. We used to put a bit of drier, that were a chemical (we used to call it drier) to make it dry but it soaked in. You couldn’t burn it off when it were done. It would still be white when you’d done your burning off and if it were red lead it’d still be red you see, and it’s still the best primer there is. There’s none of this peeling off same as there is now you know.
And would you say for preserving wood and metalwork, is modern paint any better?
R - Definitely not! Not in my opinion, see.
Do you think anything of that, particularly metal, has anything to do with the fact that the metal was better in those days?
R - No, I wouldn’t think - I wouldn’t think the metal was better in those days.
If you were making anything like a cart and you wanted some iron work, where would you get it from?
R - From what? Where would we buy the metal work from or what?
I was thinking of a big heavy set of hinges or something like that.
R - A big heavy set of?
R Oh well, a lot of these blacksmiths can do that sort of thing but you see as we remember blacksmiths, I know that such as Gissing has a blacksmith; Henry Browns had a blacksmith and ... but the old-fashioned blacksmith was a farrier and that kind of thing. In them days there was Dick Jagger and there was Steve Parker and then following them there were Tom Walker and now there’s - there isn’t what you could call a blacksmith’s shop in Barlick. There’s a blacksmith’s shop at Earby, Taylor and he’s not a bad lad! He’s a fair good lad.
There’s a good lad at Marton.
R - Jimmy was, like he’s not interested now. You’ve a job to get him to do owt.
He’s just about retired. Good man but he’s not bothered. He seems to be doing all right without working.
R - Aye!
One of the big jobs that Hoggarth did, he did all the ironwork for Gledstone.
R - Aye, that’s right, yes. Turned out some good work did Hoggarth. He used to do quite a bit of work for us did Hoggarth but you see we used to go to anything that local people could do. I’ve a chisel in there with Dick Jagger’s name on; if he made any chisels, cold chisels, he stamped ‘em. I’ve one here with ‘Jagger’ on.
Do you know, I’m sure you know this, but I’ve always said you can’t buy a good cold chisel. The best chisels I used to use a lot of was repairing wagons when you’ve rivets to cut off. The best chisels I had, Jimmy [Thompson] came up to my house one day and I was using a bar, I had a bar, it was a good bar and I’d found it at the bottom of a muck midden and I just happen to drop it on the floor while Jimmy was there and it rang like a bell, you know, this bar and he said, "Eh, do you know what that is?’’ and I said,” No." He said it’s an old rock drill out of the quarry. It was eight sided I think. He says, you want to let me take that and I’ll make you some chisels out of that, it’s good stuff that. He took it and cut it into four and drew it out in’t fire and made me four chisels and I still have two of them and those chisels will cut through nearly anything and I don’t know what I’ll do when I blunt ‘em. As you well know, you can’t sharpen a cold chisel on a grindstone. People think you can but you can’t. They’ve got to be sharpened in the fire. Jimmy used to have a steel anvil.
While we’re on that, what do you know about the building of new Gledstone?
R - I didn’t have anything to do with it at all. In a lot of ways it’s not as good as it looks. It wasn’t supervised as it should have been.
Who actually did the building, do you know?
R - It was done by direct labour with employing foremen; foremen joiners, foremen bricklayers and so on coupled with representatives of Lutyens. Jacques at Nelson had a good lot to do with it. Jacques would work through Lutyens.
He finished up, by marriage, he finished up by owning half the shares in West Marton Dairies before it was sold to Asda now that I come to think.
R - Who?
Jacques, at Nelson, he was a solicitor wasn’t he?
R - No, he wasn’t.
What was he then?
R - He was an architect.
He was an architect! I’m sure it was Jacques at Nelson. Did he marry Gilbert Nelson’s wife, when Gilbert died? [I was wrong here. The Jacques I had in mind was a solicitor from Crosshills.]
R - He did not. Ah but you’re on about Amos’s grandson, it wasn’t his son. He was as daft as a brush! Joe Nelson belonged West Marton Dairies.
That’d be Amos Nelson’s son.
R - That was Amos’s oldest son. David Peacock was his right-hand-man and eventually became the managing director did David until they sold out to Asda and David cashed in very nicely and he’s still a director. You see, Jacques, I don’t think Jacques had anything to do with West Marton Dairies. He was a Director of Calf Hall Shed Company. He was a director of Victory V Gums and several other things and it was Jacques
(1 hour 5 min)
that took me into Calf Hall Shed Company. I worked with Jacques and he knew me inside out and we did all the Calf Hall Shed Co work. When Edmondson Banks died he said, “Harold, I want you to come onto the board of the Calf Hall Shed Company.” I said, “I can’t.’” He said, “Why?” I said, ‘‘Well, I’ve no shares.” He says, "I’ll see you get some." I said, "How many have you to have?” He said "You’ve to have at least 500.” I said, "Oh, That’s up to you, how much are they?" “We’ll have to get you some first," But anyway, I were on, Managing Director, well I’d everything to do! I’ll tell you they were 30,000 odd thousand pounds in the red and that were a lot of money then. Anyway, we altered that eventually.
(1 hour 10 min)
Now, Gledstone. I remember hearing you say you’d got hold of a coping stone one day and you could rock it.
R - A parapet.
You could rock it. Well, how did you come to be in a position where you could rock a parapet?
R - Doing maintenance, repairs in Gledstone Hall.
For the Estate?
R - For the estate after Sir Amos died and I got friendly with Sir Amos about two or three years before he died but up until then I didn’t know him. Sir Amos were 12 month and never saw me but he knew what we’d been talking about last time we’d met which was twelve months since and he were an old man then.
What kind of fellow was he, Sir Amos?
R - He was a grand fellow, very humble fellow. No side on him, you could talk to him like us two’s talking now. That was Sir Amos, no side on him. I would say that he was a very shrewd business man.
Why do you think he built that new hall?
R - Well, all these people had money to burn in them days.
When was it that Gledstone was built? Was it 1926 or something like that?
R - It could have been.
I was only looking at a book the other ‘day Lutyen’s Country Houses’, those were fairly good times for the manufacturing of houses.
R - That’s what it was, you see and I mean it was er in a very very big way in those days. Then before he finished it, you know he was in financial difficulties.
Because of the Hall?
R - All the bottom flopped out of everything and it was donkey’s years before Sir Amos was out of the red. He was in terrible trouble with the tax people! Eventually he got out of paying everything.
I know that there were several old people about in Marton and what you say about direct labour I should have known that because there’s several people on the estate who had worked on it.
R - That’s right, yes.
Percy Graham used to drive the wagon and went round and picked the workers up in a morning and things like that. Old George Parker with his free cottage . You know about that do you? I know nothing about the truth of this, but all I know was it was Percy Graham once told me that George Parker, he was a woodman and he was pursuing his duties one day and he came across Amos with Harriett, his secretary, in the woods. Anyway, he turned a blind eye and never said anything and went away and Amos never said anything to him, nobody said anything at all to him but when Amos Nelson died there was a clause in the will that said that George Parker had to have his cottage rent free for as long as he wanted it. When Harriett died the same clause was in her will and George and his housekeeper lived in that cottage rent free right up to the time when I lost track of them. I presume George will be dead now, he must be.
R - He is, yes.
I didn’t know that he’d died but Percy told me you know (and Percy lived in the cottage next door) and he said “I knew what was going on, and I kept me mouth shut but I never got a free cottage!” George got his cottage free.
(1 hour 15 min)
He must have been a decent old stick to have done something like that!
R - That could be quite true because all the Nelsons were fairly good at that job. Of what I know.
Very good, I think we’re skating on thin ice there. How about the corn mill, you were saying to me about going down to the corn mill for flour. I don’t know how to phrase this question, Harold. When did the corn-mill stop grinding corn?
R - I don’t remember.
But you used to definitely go down there and get flour?
R - Yes.
And was it flour that had been ground at the mill ?
R - I wouldn’t say so.
Because it became a provender mill, didn’t it?
R - Yes, yes
Who owned it then?
R - Cramp Hoyle.
Ah that’s it, yes. So he’d get flour in as he used to do right up until them finishing.
R - Yes, yes.
Can you ever remember the corn mill working, grinding anything?
It had stopped before your time. Then foundries of course. Old Ashby went up to Ouzeldale and started a foundry there.
R - Yes, yes.
When did they move down to Long Ing?
R - Well, that was after I became interested in Ouzeldale Foundry.
I didn’t know that - When you say ‘interested’
R - I was a Director there for thirty years anyway.
I’m sorry, Harold, I didn’t know.
R -What happened there, old Ashby died. George was running the foundry. You know he got married again and the old chap left everything to his new wife and George was running it. Anyway, cutting a story short, George came to me and wanted some brass to pay her out. Steele Burniston and me went in with George and found the money to pay her out. Carried on up there [at Ouzeldale], then we decided we’d build down there [at Long Ing] and it developed and it became a good, thriving business until George, it went to his head and he couldn’t control .... Then of course we had to clear George out. He’d already sacked Brian who was the King Pin like when he wasn’t there. Anyway we’d to clear George out and got Brian back and then we became a necessary evil again and he paid us all out again. I should think about ten years ago. We had one or two other places besides that we bought and we sold ‘em; suchlike closed ‘em. When we cleared George out we were in a sorry way and it’d been a very very thriving business. It was being milked left, right and centre and we’d to have a stand up fight really and I’m afraid I was the fly in the ointment. If we hadn’t have done that there’d have been no Ouzeldale Foundry today. Of course, Brian had forgotten that.
Can you remember Ouzeldale [mill] being anything else before?
R - Oh yes.
Now then, tell me about that.
R - It was mainly a wheelwrights....
Can I just make one thing clear just for purposes of the tape, that we’re now talking about the original Ouzeldale Mill that stands at the end of Crowfoot Row behind the Greyhound on Gillian’s Beck.
R - Yes. There’s no doubt about it, it was a wheelwrights place, that type of business and it belonged to Robinson’s.
Which Robinsons do you mean?
R - Well one of ‘em married my Aunt my mother’s sister.
(650) (1hr 20 min)
Bob Robinson and Dan Robinson, their parents used to own Ouzeldale and they ran it as a business, as a wheelwrights business. That’ll be going back before the turn of the century I would think. It was all that type of work that they did. I should think probably they did part bobbin work as well. Farmers and barrows, every farmer had two or three carts, milk floats and traps and all that kind of thing.
Then you say ‘bobbin work’ do you mean turning?
R - Yes.
Ah, now that is fascinating. Now I’ve always suspected that that was a bobbin mill at one time or another! Can you remember there being a water wheel there?
R -I can’t remember there being a water wheel there but there was a water wheel there.
What makes you say that, Harold?
R - Well it’s all there, the water-fall.
Yes, yes, I agree with you and of course that dam of course is all silted up. It came back into that land of mine when I owned Hey farm and that was why I took an interest in that. The tail end of that lodge that used to feed Ouzeldale mill came back through my boundary fence into the field.
R- I’ve never been up there for a long time, never since we sold it. I sold that for £800.
It set on fire a few years back and roof went in and I don’t know, I think there’s somebody doing car repairs down there now.
R - I don’t know, I think it’s the Lund lads now, isn’t it?
On an old ordinance survey map that I saw it was, you know the first edition, it was marked as a sawmill [surveyed c.1850] it was marked as a sawmill. It was another of the water mills of the town. As far as I can make out there was five, there was Gillian’s, the spinning mill and then there was Ouzeldale which I think was a saw mill and then below that on the same beck was of course what was then Mitchell’s Mill because that was a water mill before it became Clough Mill in 1845 and then there was the corn mill and old Coates Mill which was a water spinning Mill as well. That-mill has vanished completely now and no-one is ever really sure where it was. Newton once told me, and I must get Newton to walk down that beck with me. Newton once told me that his father took him for a walk down the beck and showed him where the tail-race was for that mill and he said “Look, if you look you can still see where the tail race was for that mill” He told him about it and Johnny must have been able to remember something about it. Billy Brooks told me, remember Billy?
R - I do.
He told me that his father used to work there and he said that if there was a bit of water in summer and there was a bit of light left, his father and his mates used to go back down there at night and weave a few picks. They used to put the wheel on and weave some. It gave them more beer money for week-end.
(1 hr 25 min) (700)
Do you know of anywhere else round here where they used to do turning, wood turning?
R - Only at Booth Bridge.
Now then, what do you know about that at Booth Bridge?
R - Again, not a lot - go on.
That’s another one that I’ve got no documentary evidence but I’ve been down there and looked at it and I think that that building that stands next to the place where the water wheel used to be used to be a bobbin mill.
R - Yes, it was.
Did you ever see it when there was shafting in?
R - No. Again, going back into family history, it were people they called them Wilkinson. They went to Heysham from here and they were three brothers; now what did they call the eldest? The second one was called Cecil and the youngest was called Bevice.
was one of them called Vince?
R - No, no. They had a sister lived in Barlick and she was a schoolteacher and I’ll have to do a bit of thinking to tell you the relations of ours and how it comes about I can’t tell you. As far as I know, Bevice is living yet but Cecil died last year. The parents were at Booth Bridge and they followed on with this bobbin works and then they transferred it from there to Heysham and this is going back oh this would be in the 1920s.
Either those brothers or their father bought a pump off Calf Hall when they bought Wellhouse. He bought a steam engine and pump off them.
R - Is that so?
Yes, it’s in the Calf Hall Shed Company’s minute books. About 1890 and the funny thing is that the people who now live at Booth Bridge are called Whittaker [I made a mistake here. I knew it was Wilkinson.]. I thought they were perhaps related.
R - No, it’s Wilkinson.
(1 hour 30 min)
The people who are living there now are still called Wilkinson.
R - they’re called Wilkinson?
At Booth Bridge farm. It’s the same name but it must be a different family.
R - It’s not the same family.
When I came across this reference to Wilkinson at Booth Bridge, I thought, they’re still living there! I went down there one day and I said, “Whatever that Christian name is, is the same Christian name as the man that bought the pump off Calf Hall Shed Company in 1890.” and it had thrown me completely and I said to him, “Did your father ever buy a pump out of Barlick?" He said “Oh no.” and then he was called away and we were broken off.
R - Could it be Horace Wilkinson?
The name that I remember, it’ll probably be the father that bought the pump. If it wasn’t Vincent, it was something like that, the father’s name. I’ll look it up and I’ll let you know next time I see you because that’s interesting. I’m pleased about that. You know, you might think there was bobbin work done up at Ouzeldale and of course from that Sales List there, they were also turning bobbins down at Wellhouse. In this Sale List, here, you know this is a really marvellous document, here Harold. Machinery, mechanics and smith’s tools. The bobbin works containing eight bobbin turning lathes, planing and moulding machines; three sawing machines; fret sawing machines and all of the turners plant. Loose articles consisting of bobbins, cans etcetera etcetera... So they had a bobbin mill down at Wellhouse as well. One of the fascinating things about the early textile industry is the fact that all these bobbins were needed and they were mostly coppice wood and they mostly came out of the Lake District until about 1860 when they started to use hard wood and they started moving down toward Liverpool and the factory inspectors started inspecting them there and they couldn’t use child labour and whatnot but it’s fascinating - that’s a gem!
You’ve broadened my scope, Harold - again!
Copyright © Stanley Challenger Graham 1982