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Barbara & Wilfred Shepherd

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The first question is – what is your full name and where and when were you born?

Well my name is Wilfred Edward Shepherd and I was born on the 11th of February 1920, and at that time we lived in Trinity Street on Stubbing Holme, that’s where I was born. Well I used to live on Oxford Street when I first came here. Oh did you? Well all those streets are named after the colleges of course – Cambridge, Oxford, Eton, Trinity.

How long did you live there?

…About…I don’t just remember…around about five to six years and then we moved from there to Cambridge Street. Just two streets along. That’s right – I moved from seven Trinity Street to seven Cambridge Street.

Can you tell me something about your family?

Well my father was James Shepherd and my mother was Emily Shepherd. My father…lived in Charlestown actually as a boy and his father, who I never knew – he died before I was born – worked at Moss Brothers, in the dye works at Springside. My mother, she originally came from Brighouse and her father and mother came and took the…tenancy of the Railway Hotel and she lived there for quite a number of years, and then she married my father. My mother has been married twice; her first husband died quite young and left my mother with a daughter, one daughter, who is still living and is ninety-seven years old.

Where does she live?

My sister? Yes. She lives in Mytholmroyd…in a little flat; as you go over the bridge from the main road as if you’re going up to Cragg Vale, they converted some years ago what was the old Co-op, Mytholmroyd Co-op on the right, they converted that into about half a dozen flats and she’s lived there ever since they were converted because her husband had died and she lived in a bigger house on her own which she thought was a bit much for her and so she moved into one of those flats, and she’s still as wick as a weasel as you might say at ninety-seven! Perhaps I should interview her as well! Yes well, yes she might be a better person to be interviewed than me actually – I think her mind is a little bit sharper than mine!

BARBARA SHEPHERD: But she’s very very deaf, that’s the only thing really.

WS: My mother lived to be ninety but my father died when he was sixty- three that’s quite young really yes that’s right, so I mean I must have inherited my mother’s genes because I’m eighty-six as you know.

What school did you go to?

Well I first started going to Mytholm School in the infants class there, and then I was there till I was ten and then I got what they were called in those days the County Minors Scholarship which I went to the Secondary School, which is now Riverside, but when I started going there in 1930 it was Hebden Bridge Secondary School and then, while I was there, I hadn’t been there long, and then they re-named it as Hebden Bridge Grammar School, then of course it was incorporated into Calder High then.

What were your favourite subjects at school?

I don’t know that I had a favourite subject – there were lots of subjects I didn’t care for – I didn’t care for physics, but I can manage maths alright and the languages – French, Latin and so on - only school boy standards of course because I left when I was fourteen.

Did you go to work when you left school?


What did you do?

Well I went working to what was John Pickles and Sons at Mytholm Works. They made sawmill and woodworking machinery.

What was your job?

I was a draughtsman, I went to work in the drawing office actually and I was there from fourteen till…I was there eleven years.

Did you like that kind of work?

Yes I did, it was hard work because in those days we worked longer hours than people work now; we worked a five and half day week, we worked Saturday mornings in those days and when I went to work there, well when I went for a job interview, I was told what I would have to do – I would have to go to night school during the winter, which I did three nights a week and homework for the subject, and I did that for seven years.

Was that like an apprenticeship?

Yes it was in the deal – ‘if you want the job, that’s what you’ll have to do and that’s what the pay will be’ – they gave me the list of what my wages would be over the next seven years.

How much did you get paid?

I got twelve shillings a week, I started at twelve shillings a week, now how much is that in new pence? It’s not much is it – about sixty pence.

So that was your starting wage, and each year – how much did it go up each year?

Oh I think it after the first year or two it went up about probably two and then as I got nearer to twenty-one and you might say a little bit more experienced, the increments got larger. I know when I was twenty-one and I’d finished serving my seven years apprenticeship, my wages then went to three pounds ten shillings (£3 10sh) a week, which is less than what the minimum wage is now for an hour! But we were told what it would be and if you want the job, that’s it, you had to accept it.

Was it a living wage then?

Well I managed to save money; I got married originally when I was twenty-five and I had money in the bank, but I didn’t smoke and I didn’t drink, and I wasn’t extravagant in any sense of the word.

So when you got married, where did you live?

Originally we went to live in King Street, just on the left hand side as you go past where you turn to go up to the Stubbing Wharfe pub, the row of houses on your left, we went living in a house there – number seven.

Did you rent that?

I rented it and the rent was seven shillings and sixpence a week (7sh 6d) and the rates, or now council tax were five shillings (5sh) a week, so my rent and rates there at the start of my married life was twelve and six (12sh 6d) a week, so I mean everything’s in pro rata isn’t it to these days?

When you young and still at school, what kinds of things did you like to do?

Well, I had an accident when I was seven years old which left me with only one good leg; I still have two legs but my left leg is a bit…it’s always been a bit of a swinger really. I have no hip joint. I got crushed across my middle and destroyed my hip joint, so I have no hip joint. The doctor in those days fused my femur, is it your thigh bone? to my pelvic area so I wasn’t able to take part in sports, or in the gym and that sort of thing…with limits. I did take part but I was limited naturally.

What other things did you do?

Well I used to do my best and I used to play a bit of cricket, a bit of tennis and eventually a bit of badminton. I was never really very good but I did take part.

Did you go off into the woods or anything like that?

Well of course in those days…people had to make their own entertainment; I mean as lads we used to play cricket and at that time if we played cricket on Stubbing Holme, Salem Tennis Club was just across the river in those days – do you remember? Well I’ve seen photographs; I’ve been here nineteen years now and I think it had just gone when I came. They used to sell their used tennis balls for tuppence, two old pennies and there would be times when there would be six or eight of us young lads on Stubbing Holme and we couldn’t raise tuppence between us, so we used to have to kick a tin can about. We used to play a game called ‘Tin Can Squat’ as we used to call it, where somebody kicked a tin somewhere and everybody ran and hid.

BS: We called that ‘Kick Can’.

Then we used to go on walks all around - up Horsehold area or Heptonstall area; that was before Calder Holmes was made.

When was Calder Holmes Park made?

Just before the War, about…1938 I would think. It was always an open space but the gasometer used to be at one end and then there was a scrapyard there, Will Crossley. Salem…no, Birchcliffe had a little area down there where they played cricket; that was in the days when all the churches and Sunday Schools had their own cricket teams and tennis teams and so on, I mean St James, they had a tennis club but that was up at Naze Bottom, by Naze Bottom Chapel. St James had one half and Naze Bottom had the other half; we used to play tennis up there. There was lots to go on with; during the winter all the workshops, they used to have a Workshop Competition where all the workshops in the area raised a football team and they used to have knockout competitions on Calder Holmes.

Two questions really - when you were at Pickles, did you ever remember a chap called Joe Hartley?

Joe died a few weeks ago. He did yes – he was one of the first people I met when I came to Hebden and I knew him pretty well really. He came and worked as a pattern maker – yes, I remember Joe. I remember him coming to Pickles’s because I had been there a few years before he came. I don’t know how old he was when he died, in his eighties I think. Eighty-three I think he might have been. Yes, that puts him at three years younger than me you see. Yes, I remember Joe well enough. Pickles’s employed over 100 people at one time – all male apart from the office staff, all male, and they made the machinery which was exported all over the world.

Did you do the drawings then for the patterns for people like Joe and others…

Yes, the drawing office where I worked made all the drawings and these then went to the pattern maker who made the patterns for the castings and then other things went to where the lathes were in what we called the turning shop and the milling. It was quite a self-contained business there. They made their own castings; they had their own foundry.

When it became Browns, was it just a change of owners?

Yes, just a change of ownership. They didn’t carry on with the sawmill and woodworking machinery, I think that had gone because when Browns went up there they went into pre-fabricated steel things, then they went into commercial body building. A lot of the things that Browns did…one thing they made that sticks in my mind, they did the steel railings for the bridge at Scammonden, that crosses the motorway at Scammonden, so I mean they had quite a varied…they did a lot of varied things there.

They have like a mill pond at the back there don’t they?

I don’t know how long Pickles’s were there, but the stone building at the back was some sort of textile mill at one time and the mill pond, and at one time they had a water wheel there, not in my time because when I went they had a big engine. I’ve always been curious about that because I don’t know what you call them…all the streams that come off the hillside – they all filtered down into that bit of a pond and it would only be for a wheel I would have thought so it was presumably originally a textile mill. Yes, but I don’t know what because ever since I can remember when I was a young boy, born on Stubbing which of course was quite near to where it was, it’s always been Pickles’s the sawmill and woodworking machinery people, and they started at Royd Works where the Social Security offices are now, that was a mill then, and Pickles started there, and they started making steam engines, road rollers and tractors mainly I think. I have seen pictures of the machines they made, and that was at Royd Works at the bottom of Royd Terrace there, then they moved…that was before my day.

When you left Pickles, where did you go?

I came into the family business. What was that? We had the garage on Valley Road and also a haulage business which my father started. The wagons were garaged on Valley Road; we’d only two at that time, and then he bought a garage a fella from Cyril Crossley who had a newsagents shop in the square at one time. He also had a brother who had an auctioneers, a saleroom where that Coffee Cali is now. That’s a long time since.

What year did your father start that business?

Well he started in the early twenties. He served….he was a soldier during the War; he was wounded several times and then was sort of invalided out of the army and worked on farms. He came out of the military side and had to go working on a farm, somewhere over Ripon way I think, but that’s before my day. But he started in the early twenties with a wagon and the make was Pagefield which is a name no-one knows about, so I suspect it was an ex-army surplus but it wasn’t a very reliable motor. Then he got a new one, a Leyland, in 1924 bought on hire purchase and his repayments were seven pounds a week. He used to say ‘I’ve got to pay a pound a day including Sundays’ which was quite a lot of money then. He traded the haulage business in to go in as a partner in Bankfoot Garage, which used to be about 100 yards nearer Hebden Bridge then but it was demolished when they widened the bridge, round about 1930 maybe when they took two or three houses off the top of Adelaide Street. The vet’s house originally was nearer the road; they built a new house there. It was built for Arthur Crabtree who had Crabtree Brothers Dyeworks just across the road, which is now Colden Close.

What job did you do when you went into the family business?

We had the garage and two wagons so I managed the whole issue, then we gradually added to the fleet. We gradually built it up and in subsequent years, two of my younger brothers came and worked in the business as well. We mainly used the wagons for textiles – both cloth and finished goods. We carried an awful lot of cloth from the Lancashire side and it went into factories all over the country to be made into shirts, trousers - you name it.

Was the garage very busy?

It gradually got busier. We eventually managed to get the Vauxhall cars and Bedford trucks agency, and it grew from there, eventually having twenty wagons. When my younger brother Trevor came into the business, he mainly took over looking after the garage workshop and I was mainly in charge of the haulage side. The business isn’t in the family now but it has kept the name. The haulage actually moved twenty-five years ago. I think we were the scourge of the neighbourhood really and the local council, because people were forever saying that we shouldn’t park where we did and one thing and another and by means of persuasion, we managed to calm people down. But we employed about 30 people – at one time, after a lot of the clothing trade had disappeared from Hebden Bridge – we were the biggest employer of male labour in Hebden Bridge.

Has the business always been where it is now?

No, it was a bit further down the road where those shops are and those flats. The garage side occupied the top half and the haulage side the bottom half. Eventually we bought the council yard which is where the garage is now. I stayed in the business till I retired. When we sold the haulage side in 1981, it was taken over by a trio of young men who already owned a haulage business in Pudsey and their trade was in the woollen area, but some of their customers were the same as ours so they thought it would merge very well. We sold the garage business in 1991 to another trio of young men. We sold the business but not the property, in two halves. We sold the property to Derek Parker who is Setbray Properties, and he rented it to the new owners, then a few years ago he demolished it and built the new garage a bit further up the road where the electricity works used to be. The back part of the electricity works is a gym now. John Cockroft used to have what is now the funeral home. In fact the pews in the funeral home came from this building here. When the church closed, some of the pews went to the funeral home and some went abroad.

When did you buy this house?

I think it was about 1986; it was redundant and it was going to rack and ruin. We lowered the ceiling but most of the walls are the same but we’ve added bits on. I think we took about ten foot or more off the top because it was a tall building.

Do you know when the church was built?

It was a comparatively young church, built in about 1930. There is a foundation stone in the outside wall of the house next door.

Were you a church-goer when you were young?

Sporadically. I lived just across the road; I left King Street in 1952 and came to live in Birch Villas so I came to this church, or sometimes St James’s and also Salem Methodist for some reason or another.

Were there any particular events that the church used to hold?

They were always having events in those days; they had their own Amateur Dramatics, they would have bazaars and sales of work, there was also the Whit Monday Field. This was when they would have races in fields; churches would have a field each – we went to Bents Farm at Horsehold from Salem. It was mainly races for young people and parents. A tea was provided which was a current teacake and a mug of tea, that was the Whit Monday feast!

Did you ever go on the walks up through Colden to the place where they used to pray at the beginning of May?

I’m not sure where it would be up Colden – I never went; mind you, there used to be churches and chapels scattered all around the place, most of them are now defunct.

Did you do anything special at Christmas, birthdays etc?

When did you get married?

I got married in 1945 to my first wife after the War which was a strange anomaly of the time really because I was medical Grade 4 because of my leg, so I didn’t go in to any of the armed forces but my wife, girlfriend at that time, got called up but she went working for the Ministry of Aircraft Production who were located in a lot of the hotels in Harrogate, so she worked in Harrogate all through the war. I used to go over at the weekend so it wasn’t so bad for us. Unfortunately she died, she was only forty-seven when she died in 1968.

Did you have children?

I have two sons. One is an architect in Sowerby Bridge; my younger son has had psychiatric problems and he lives in Huddersfield.

Can you remember any characters?

There was a man called mad Dan; he was referred to as mad Dan because he was one of the few local people who had a Bentley car; he lived just up Birchcliffe Road and he used to come tearing up the hill at what in those days was considered a terrific speed; I don’t suppose he’d be doing more than 30 or 40. There was another fella who was referred to as Professor Bunny; he used to go round to children’s parties doing conjuring tricks and he always used to open his act by saying ‘I perform these tricks before the Crown Heads of Europe’ and whenever a fair or a procession came to Hebden Bridge, he was there selling balloons, windmills and all sorts of things. He used to deliver Sunday papers at one time with his two sons. They were a bit of a strange family but nice – they had these little peculiarities but they were nice people. Then there was Billy Sunderland, Billy Sunny we used to call him - Norman Sunderland’s father. He lived up Commercial Street before they knocked down all those houses. He worked for the local council, and Billy would turn out on a Sunday morning picking up bits of litter, and I don’t think he was paid to do it – he was just public-spirited.

Can you remember any Yorkshire sayings?

There was a fella up Heptonstall who was always referred to as Dick Straight Up because he tall; maybe he was a Greenwood – he’d have to be either a Greenwood, a Sutcliffe or a Pickles! I’ve heard my mother talk about a fella called Joe of Our Sam’s and he was a bit of a character. When she lived at The Railway when her father was the publican, he used to go in there selling bits and bobs. I’m told he was a bit aggressive but my grandfather Hepworth, my mother’s father, could handle him even though he was only a small man.

I never knew my grandfather or grandmother on my mother’s side and I only vaguely remember my grandmother on my father’s side; she lived at Charlestown and she was a midwife, apart from having about nine kids of her own! My father was the middle one of the nine – he always said he was propping up the top four and bringing up the bottom four.

When you worked at Pickles, did the house at King Street go with the job?

No – I rented it but funnily enough there was a connection between the Pickles family and the people who owned the house because it was owned by a fella called Wilfred Crabtree who lived in the top house of what we called Snob Row (this row of houses), and his wife was part of the Pickles family. I really think I got the rent because I had a steady job.

Snob Row got the name because they were always considered the poshest houses in Hebden Bridge and anybody who thought they were somebody lived there; they were all either commercial or professional people, accountants, mill or factory owners. When I came to live in Birch Villas in 1952, I was told that I was moving into a more salubrious area of the town!

How has Hebden Bridge changed through your lifetime?

It’s changed because of the loss of industry. At one time there was quite a variety of industry. I thought that Hebden Bridge would last forever as a commercial place because if one industry was having a bad time another side was perhaps doing all right, but it’s all gone. There was weaving, spinning, dying, garment making. We had Ormerods who made machine tools at the end of Victoria Road and when it came empty, that property was bought by Setbray who made it into separate industrial units and then there was Pickles’s of course where I worked so they were the two main engineering places and they would employ anything up to 160 people between them. There was a little engineering shop down here, Gibson Brothers, and there was Crabtree & Stansfields where the flats are at the bottom of Birchcliffe; they were sheet metal workers then it became a joiner’s shop. Leslie Speight who had the joiner’s shop, he retired and made it into flats. There were also thirty or forty sewing shops as we used to call them where garments were made, all over the place they were; whole families would work there – the father would be a cutter or a presser, the women then were the machinists, also the sons and daughters would work there. +There was tremendous industry in Hebden Bridge. We used to import an awful lot of labour. When I lived at King Street there were three double-decker buses from Todmorden that came down about quarter to eight every morning, and there were people getting out to go to Pickles’s, some to Stubbing Holme to the dye works and sewing shop on there; countless people came up the valley. At about half past five at night, Hebden Bridge was absolutely seething with people. We were on Valley Road and it was a solid mass of people who came walking down the road at about half past five or quarter to six every evening from all the various factories in the Hanging Royd area and there were whole lines of buses in Hebden Bridge waiting for them. There weren’t a lot of cars then.

There’s a big change at the moment which I’m not quite sure about – the pedestrianisation of Valley Road. My father used to say that you …tape ends

After the tape ran out Wilfred told a joke.

There was this dog that ran into a butchers and stole some meat. The butcher knew whose dog it was and went to see the chap. He said,’I need some advice, if a dog ran into your house and took some meat, what would you do?’ The man said,’ I’d make the owner pay for it.’ So the butcher gave him a bill for 7s 6d. The next day the man went to the butcher and gave him a slip of paper. The butcher read it and it said, consultancy advice - 10 bob.



BARBARA SHEPHERD: A lot of property that people have just abandoned, whereas now everybody does everything up and it’s lovely old property that’s been done up, but in those days it was just left bare, you know, empty, rotting, doing nothing.

WILFRED SHEPHERD: I can remember the time when you could buy a house…..a cottage, for fifty pounds

BS: Yes, fifty pounds….at Heptonstall and…..

WS: Yes, fifty pounds.

BS: I know somebody who bought a house in Heptonstall when they got married - I’ll tell you who it was later – for fifty pounds; they lived there about ten years and sold it for five thousand…..and then, now, the same house is going for six figures…..yes, yeah…..

TONY WRIGHT: When was that? When did they buy it for fifty pounds then, how long ago was that?

BS: Oh this would be in the seventies some time, early seventies, when they first got married, yeah.

WS: A few years ago……you’d a job to sell them hadn’t you?

BS: Yes.

WS: You know, you were giving them away, and fifty pounds was a lot of money.

BS: The prices of housing now, well you will know, Hebden Bridge is way above……..all the surrounding area.

WS: People think it’s a desirable place to live. It’s a nice little town; I’m not decrying that, nice little town, but I mean when you’ve lived here as we have all our lives, you get a bit blasé about it you know

BS: But you see Wilfred regrets all the loss of the industry. Well in a way I suppose I do, but……it is so much cleaner now, so much more enjoyable to me. I can remember as a child when everything was so dirty, with all the mill chimneys. You had a lovely summer day, you would open the window and the window sill would just be covered with blobs of soot.

WS: Well the rain used to bring it down didn’t it?

BS: Yes, if you had your washing hanging out and then it started to rain, you’d to bring it in and wash it all again because the rain made the soot stick to the clothing and

WS: They used to say that Sowerby Bridge was one of the dirtiest places around

BS: And they used to send it up here

WS: And they say that all came from Oldham, I don’t know [laughing] if it came from a Lancashire lad and dropped on Sowerby Bridge! Now how true that is I don’t know, but that was one of the stories that went about in those days [laughing]…..but…..but you see, household chimneys too, they’ve all gone now

BS: Yes, smoke free zone

WS: And now we’ve nowhere to burn the household rubbish

BS: No, that’s it

WS: You know, what do you do with your household….it used to go on the fire

BS: Yes

WS: And now it goes to the Council, and now they’re

BS: Bugging the bins

WS: Yes, and now they’re blathering on about how many hundreds of tons of rubbish they have; well you can’t have your cake and eat it, can you?

TW: Yes very true, yes. I suppose they want us to recycle it, but you can’t recycle plastic.

WS: No, no, you can’t

BS: We do a lot of recycling, both with Kerbside and taking it up to Eastwood ourselves

WS: Up to Eastwood ourselves, yes……but…..we shall see, but it’s a problem, and it’s an ever increasing problem

TW: I think it is. The shop on Market Street, which shop did you have there?

BS: It’s the one now that… a closed down….it was number seventeen Market Street, which was my husband’s, my first husband’s family newsagents when we were first married, and…….I think it’s where……there was some sort of an Asian…’s been closed for ages hasn’t it

WS: I don’t know

BS: That Asian one. There’s a cycle shop as now

WS: That used to be the Labour Exchange

BS: That used to be the Labour Exchange, two shops was the Labour Exchange, then we had Farrar and……Holroyd, and then it was ours, and then it was Lumb’s Electricians…..

WS: And Crabtree’s used to be there didn’t they?

BS: Crabtree’s before……yes

WS: Harold Crabtree’s

BS: And then…..

WS: Hardacre’s

BS: There was a chemist there as well

WS: Oh yes, Tom…..

BS: Yeah and when the chemist moved - Lumb’s had two shops - but they moved one of their shops to there and we got one of their shops, so we had two shops together on Market Street, and then in 1968 became the Co-op fiasco when everything, all the Co-ops closed because of the wrong doings

WS: [incomp]

BS: And we came on…..we were the first one into the Carlton building there, for the newsagents…….that was in ‘68

TW: You were saying earlier about…you’d seen a difference in the clientele of the newsagents from ’68 up to

BS: Oh every year it increased. We were there from ’68 until ’89, and every year it increased far more than inflation.

TW: Right.

BS: Yes, and when we first went there, of course everybody had the Wakes Week, and when it was Wakes Week everything closed down, and so then…….a newspaper stall was organised in the square, and anybody who didn’t go away for Wakes Week had to go to the stall in the square to buy a newspaper. Well after we came on into this area, that lasted for quite a few years, and then we decided that it just wasn’t fair to the community to close down for a whole week, and we decided to……we were the first of the newsagents to stop open at Wakes Week which didn’t go down very well with some of the others. There used to be one at the bottom of this hill, where the hairdresser is, that used to be a newsagents. There was the existing one in the square……and there were two on Market Street…..none of the…..there weren’t supermarkets so you couldn’t get your newspaper anywhere else, yes, and so…….by which time we’d got more staff in the shop. We……we had my husband and myself and four ladies

TW: What was the name of your shop?

BS: W Jones……Jones’s newsagents, which it probably…..if you’ve been here nineteen years

TW: I remember the name, yes.

BS: Yes, yeah, and then we had…..we had ten……newspaper deliveries, yes, ten boys

WS: But as you say

BS: As well as having the hill top round, which after a few years, we…..well we bought the little newsagent’s in Heptonstall and then we used that to sell the little shop with the hill top round, so that my husband didn’t have to go up there with papers, yeah, that was a lot easier after that.

TW: So over the years, did it change from being…..more locals to being more sort of tourists or off-comers, that sort of clientele?

BS: Gradually…..gradually, yes.

WS: You see you’re talking about changes in Hebden Bridge. The whole…….populous of Hebden Bridge has changed. I can go down into Hebden Bridge now and walk round, and not meet a person that I know, whereas at one time I could walk round Hebden Bridge and knew everybody, and the same applied to Barbara because Barbara being in the shop there and me being in the garage on Valley Road, people coming to us, people coming to the shop, we knew everybody. We knew who he was and we knew who his mother and father were, and who his grandfather and grandmother, you know, but you go down Hebden Bridge now and

BS: I think I still know a few more people than you don’t I?

WS: Pardon?

BS: I think I still know a few more people than you

WS: But I’ll meet…..go down Hebden, I don’t go down an awful lot quite frankly, but when I do go down, perhaps meet one person that I know and he’ll come, he’ll stop and have a chat and he’ll say ‘you’re the only person I’ve seen this morning that I know’…’s all

TW: Yeah, I mean I feel a bit like that, even in my short time here

WS: Well you’ve been here how long? Seventeen years did you say?

TW: Nineteen it’ll be yeah

WS: Yeah, yes…..well I don’t know whether you are one of us yet or not, but [laughing]

TW: I’m trying! [laughing]

WS: You’re what we call an off-cumden you know

TW: I know [laughing]

WS: But……

TW: But my son was born here so he’s local; he’s eighteen now

WS: What is your name?

TW: My name’s Tony Wright.

WS: Right, yes.

BS: You’re obviously perhaps Canadian.

TW: Well, American.

BS: American.

TW: My mum’s English but she’s from Liverpool and my father was American

BS: Oh right.

TW: and he was in the Air Force and so we travelled…..all over America and all over this country, and I never lived anywhere for more than two years, until I moved to Hebden Bridge really and I decided that I wanted to stop, and when my son was born that confirmed it, and I’ve just stayed ever since

BS: What attracted you to Hebden Bridge?

TW: A number of things. One……my wife at the time……we were living in Tilsley in Lancashire, between Salford and Wigan, and I was working at the Manchester Poly in the History of Art Department, and she’d just got in – she’d never been to college or anything like that - and she’d gotten into Leeds University to do a social work course and…..and it kind of…..this sort of happened, and we were going on holiday up to Scotland and then we decided to come this way on the way up, and the car broke down

WS: Where, in Hebden Bridge?

TW: Well, under the arches there down by The Woodman.

BS: Oh yes.

TW: It was dark and we walked down to

BS: Whitely Arches.

TW: Yeah, and walked down to Ian Coates and he said could - we had an old Morris Traveller - and the king pin had gone or whatever it was and the tyre had gone

WS: The suspension yeah

TW: So he couldn’t really fix it there and then; he had to send off to Sheffield for some parts so we were here for three days

WS: Oh I see

TW: And while we were here we just looked at about twenty houses [laughing], we saw one we liked [incomp] and we said ‘right we’ll have it’….I mean I like the countryside really

WS: Oh it’s a nice little town; it’s a nice area but as I say when you’ve been here for your lifetime you get a bit…..a bit blasé

BS: I like to try and look at it through somebody else’s eyes.

TW: Well I like to walk so

WS: Oh well you’ve plenty of walks

TW: And I also like the fact that, because I’ve travelled so much, that you get to know people

WS: Yes

TW: and not just your own age, but younger and older as well, and you learn about their lives and tell them about yours, and it’s good to raise your kids in an area like this. It’s much better….I’ve lived in Manchester and I’ve lived in London and in New York, and I thought I don’t want to bring a child up in any of that, and I thought this would be the ideal place

WS: But you see, and now, another thing, what changes have we seen in Hebden Bridge? Well we’ve seen…….a great change in…..disdain of the law……vandalism….that’s something that never existed, probably didn’t exist when you came here.

TW: Very little I must admit, there was very little.

WS: No, but I mean we’re a little bit fortunate that we’re a little bit out of the centre, but at the same time handy for the centre, but I mean you walk round on a Sunday morning and you can…..not always but regularly see a shop window that’s been smashed, you know, and I was walking down last Sunday on the……on the new part of Bridge Gate and there were empty cans thrown on the floor; admittedly there are no bins there yet, so whether they’re going to put bins there, I hope they do because if not stuff will just get thrown on the……well we were never, we never did that; we weren’t angels I know, but we knew what we’d to do and what not to do, and rubbish had to be taken home or put in a…..if there wasn’t a bin, and there again I walk through the park many a time and the rubbish bins will be full to overflowing, and there’ll be rubbish….well you can’t really blame it on people if the rubbish bins – if the Council won’t take the rubbish away when they’ve put it there, I mean you can understand…..a bit of that, not that I agree with it and never shall, and even so I still bring my rubbish home

TW: Well I do

WS: Yes that’s right, but… there’s been a lot of changes.

TW: I’m thinking about like all the shops on Market Street then, can you remember, I mean you were saying all the ones from where you were along that bit up towards West End. Can you remember any of the other ones down towards the Bridge Gate, sorry, the Bridge Lanes end. Can you remember any of the shops along there then?

BS: Well we had…..we had Wheelhouse and Fletcher which was where the silver jewellery, the first one, that was Wheelhouse and Fletcher men’s oufitters

WS: Outfitters and tailors, yes.

BS: And there was

WS: Webster’s

BS: Webster’s grocers next to Duckworth’s grocers…..Leicester House

WS: Which was a draper

BS: A really upmarket baby, toddlers clothing shop. Some lovely clothes there; I clothed my children there when they were little you know

WS: Then there was Arthur Collinge

BS: Rex Collinge

WS: Well Arthur Collinge……Arthur was Rex’s father

BS: Oh right I didn’t know

WS: He had a pork butcher’s shop there

BS: Yeah that was Rex Collinge.

WS: And then the end shop was

BS: Long Ned

WS: Long Ned [laughing]

WS: He had a grocery shop there. I’ve forgotten his name now

BS: Pickles. Edwin Pickles

WS: Long Ned they called him, for obvious reasons. He was a tall lad, him and his father.

BS: And then past that of course was

WS: The Moss’s

BS: The factory where the Co-op supermarket is, which was pulled down one weekend

WS: On a Sunday

BS: Yes on a Sunday.

WS: They hadn’t got permission you know.

BS: No they hadn’t got permission to pull it down, and so

WS: And so they knocked it down on a Sunday when they knew that

BS: They got a fine

WS: They got fined about fifteen hundred quid or something

BS: Yeah, nothing that mattered

WS: I mean they knew what they were doing. ‘We want the site, we’re going to do this so we’ll pay the fine’

BS: And it had been a……was it a weaving shed or….it was Moss’s

WS: It was a weaving shed…..yes, part of the combined group. They all formed a sort of… association…..they called themselves The Combine, all the

BS: Moss and Melbourne and Redman’s

WS: Yeah a lot of the sewing shops sort of worked together, and then there was Moss Brothers at Brunswick Mill there…..and then of course where the new Methodist Chapel is, there was a very imposing chapel. Do you remember that?

TW: I’ve seen

BS: You’ve seen photographs of it

TW: [incomp]

WS: Very imposing building was Salem

BS: And then the Sunday School behind it

WS: And then in between there was a chemist’s shop

BS: Oh was there, and Billy [incomp] had one on there as well……cake shop….yes

WS: And……and then the Salem Sunday School as well was quite

BS: I didn’t mention the cake shop when I was saying up from where we used to be, the first shops. Lumb and Hodgson?

WS: Lumb and Hodgson, that’s right.

BS: Yeah that was a cake shop.

WS: Well they were the same Lumbs as F & T Lumbs. The…..hatchery people……I don’t just know what, but they were the same lot.

TW: I thought Thornber’s had all the chickens.

WS: No

BS: Oh no there was one each side of Fairfield. There was Watson’s where those new houses are - you’ll see them – that was Watson’s chicken place, and the other end of Fairfield

WS: F & T Lumb

BS: F & T Lumb, and they had…..

WS: Lee Farm

BS: Lee Farm up Lee Wood there, yeah

WS: And a place up in Sedburgh

BS: Yes they did, they had another up in Sedburgh

WS: And another at…….somewhere at…….oh going up the coast from…..from Carlisle…..I’ve forgotten the name of the place now, but

BS: But Thornber’s were the leading one of course.

WS: Thornber’s were the biggest in Europe, and possibly, apart from American I think, probably the biggest in the world……but that was another industry you see. There were three; Barbara’s just mentioned Watson’s, F & T Lumb’s and Thornber’s at Mytholmroyd – all gone. And F & T Lumb’s had a place up at Sedburgh and another one down there, and that was done because of the……foul pest thing, so that they always had a place in a… a pest free zone. If there was a restriction on movement here, Dumfries or Sedburgh would be free, so they operated from there, you know. There were some fairly acute people around here you know!

BS: But talking, going back to garment workers… remember I think I once told you, my father was a great union man

WS: Yes.

BS: and he once told me, and I cannot remember the absolute number, but he once told me that before everything started to collapse, there were over four thousand members of the Tailor and Garment Workers Union in Hebden Bridge

WS: Was there really?

BS: Yes.

WS: Yes, well I was once talking to Jack Midgley on New Bridge [incomp] and he was saying on the right hand side of the river, because of course it bends round, I think he said there were fifteen hundred jobs on there. Well that included CWS and then it came round and you got J B Hoyles, then Jedder’s [sp] weaving shed there, Ormerod’s, Redman’s, [incomp] and he said there were fifteen hundred jobs on there, and I can quite believe it….and they’ve all gone. I mean the economics of a situation like that baffles me quite frankly.

TW: I think people who live, sorry, work in Manchester and Leeds and Bradford and places like that, or in Halifax, and they live here, and I mean they might do a big shop

BS: They do now, but they never used to do

TW: No, that’s what I mean

BS: I know people who lived here and if they got a job in Halifax they moved to Halifax – no travelling – you had to live where you worked.

WS: The local people were so…….it was so convenient to work here. They’d just walk across the street to the factory where they worked, and they could all go home at dinner time if they wanted you know, for lunch and that sort of thing, because…..well they wouldn’t have far to go and , and our fathers would go from here on to Stubbing Holme or somewhere like that…..

BS: Yes

WS: Oh it was a very industrious little area.

TW: [incomp]

WS: But as I say, the economics of the whole thing baffles me…..anyway that’s

TW: It does me to be perfectly honest, and I do try to keep up with things but I mean it’s so global these days that to keep up with all the tentacles going out everywhere, you won’t be able to keep up with it

WS: No, no, no…..but there we go.

TW: Well, I want to ask about… there anything that I haven’t asked that you think you’d like to say anything about?

WS: No I don’t know that there is. Do you?

BS: I can’t think of anything just offhand. I might do when you’ve gone [laughing]

WS: Well that’s it. But that town certainly has been smartened up, and a lot of that……is attributable to Derek Parker…..Setbray Properties. Derek made a lot of money in Hong Kong, but he’s done…..he’s put buildings up in this town and…….good buildings, and buildings which fitted into the town and if you look round the town; I can look round and think ‘oh that’s what he’s done’ and he’s done a good job. Not only Hebden Bridge; in Mytholmroyd they built the new medical centre and altered all that area which is a delightful little area now in Mytholmroyd, where the medical centre is, looking down onto that memorial garden. It’s very nice down there, and where those…..Derek had nothing to do with those new houses, but a lot of those mills have been knocked down; that Longstaff Court or something is it called there? That was a mill there

BS: Westfield

WS: Westfield, and they put…….you know they’ve certainly improved a lot

BS: Did a good job on the Carlton.

WS: On the Carlton; Derek did the Carlton

BS: As I say we were there in 1968; took over straight away when it was the Co-op. How they ever got anybody to work in that building when it was a Co-op I do not know. It was just appalling, and when you got down into the cellars which to begin with, we didn’t have anything below the shop, but…..and there was the most ancient boiler there, but people who used to work there, I remember there was a Co-op tobacconist’s on the corner where Oasis is now, and they used to store the…..the cigarettes down there apparently, and they said that when they went down there they just had to make the most enormous noise and stamp on the floor when they got down because of the rats

WS: Scare the rats away

BS: Down there yes, and we did once have a rat in our… the back of our shop when we were there once, so we got Ex…..not Expertreat…..Rentokil in, we got Rentokil in and……we didn’t have any more problems after that, but they were obviously left over from when the Co-op was there. There was just this… went out of the back of our shop which was an indoor back door, into the bottom of the whole Co-op area which is the entrance to the wine bar now, and it went into a…..a long stone corridor that came out where the entrance to the Carlton apartments is now, which was a loading bay for the……the Co-op, and oh it was just…….and up that corridor was….was just one little place with the most awful sink in it, and that was the only washing place, the hand washing place they had for the whole of the shops on that floor you know , but when Derek bought the building he made every shop into a self-contained unit and we got wash basins and toilets put in each one you know – so much better

WS: You remember, oh sorry, go on

BS: No it’s alright

WS: You remember that…..where the medical centre is, that used to be a big sewing shop you know.

TW: Oh yes.

WS: The new…..on Valley Road

TW: Valley Road yes

WS: On Valley Road

BS: Astin’s, yes

WS: On Valley Road opposite the garage; that was Astin’s, and they were clothing people. That was a big factory.

TW: Oh right. Was the asbestos along there

WS: They had a mill at the end; I don’t know if they ever did any production on there because……..we bought it from them eventually to use it for storing things in, and that used to be a sewing shop as well; that was R B Brown’s in years gone by.

TW: Oh right.

WS: It’s now… it…..what do they call that little……Streamside

BS: Streamside is it? Yes, where those houses are at the end

WS: Where those house are

BS: Just before the river

TW: It’s called Waterside I think

WS: Well it could be

BS: Waterside, not Streamside

WS: Streamside’s at Mytholmroyd

BS: Streamside’s at Mytholmroyd, yes. It’s Waterside, yes.

WS: Well that was a clothing factory, and they had factories in Leeds as well, you know, they weren’t just

BS: It was full of soldiers during the war wasn’t it, Brown’s?

WS: That’s right, that’s right

BS: It was full of soldiers; they stationed….I remember tanks going up Valley Road.

TW: Really?

BS: Yes. And this was a Sunday School across here.

WS: They were billeted in there weren’t they?

BS: And that was all full of…..of soldiers, because I used to lived just over opposite Stubbings School, where that garden area is now was our house, and that was full of soldiers there, yes.

TW: What were the soldiers doing here then?

BS: I don’t know what they were doing, just here.

WS: They were in transit weren’t they?

TW: Was that what it was?

BS: Was that what they were?

WS: Yes, yes I think so

BS: You’ll know more about that because I was only a

WS: I don’t really know, they were just simply there

BS: I was only a little girl then

WS: Yes it was……well we lived at that time; we left Cambridge Street about 1938 I think it was and we left on Hangingroyd Lane which is that long row of houses there, and we used to see the soldiers coming on into Brown’s what we were talking about; they were just billeted there that’s all. They were continually coming and going you know, various people.

BS: And we used to have…..Doreen Edwards used to give dance in this place didn’t she?

WS: Yes

BS: At…..well at the

WS: The Co-op Hall.

BS: At the Co-op Hall and also at the… Hope Sunday School, and that was all in aid of the war effort wasn’t it, and we had……and they had…….where the library, the present library that’s going to be altered, where that is, as I say used to be the Sunday School but there is also a basement to that which was originally a gymnasium, because I used to go down there and it had all the gym equipment in, but during the war they used to have exhibitions down there, do you remember

WS: No

BS: and they used to….they used to bring bombs, you know, so that we all knew what bombs looked like, and…..disguise things because they used to say ‘don’t pick up a pencil if you see one lying in the road cos it might be a little bomb, you know, and all sorts of things that bombs could be disguised as, yeah.

WS: Every year they used to have fund raising things for National Savings

BS: Yeah

WS: You know

BS: There was a big thing at the park gates, the park entrance

WS: Yes, a thermometer to show to show how much

BS: Yes it was like a thermometer

WS: It was……it’d be different things; there’d be a… aeroplane to help to buy an aeroplane, to help to pay for an aeroplane…..oh yes, they did their bit did the local people……Selwyn Cockroft was……was one of the mainstays of that fund raising thing.

BS: You remember the memorial gardens being done don’t you?

WS: Oh yes, yeah.

BS: It used to be

WS: It used to be an open space there, because there used to be……a shed there which was a fish and chip shop and a tripe shop, UCP Tripe Shop

BS: And didn’t…..wasn’t there a tin……cinema place

WS: Yeah, that was before my time.

BS: I remember my mother talking about it.

TW: So the tin hut, that was the cinema?

WS: The cinema, yes. There will be pictures of it somewhere, but

TW: I’ve seen a long distance shot from up… it…..up….just before you get to Machpelah. There used to be a sewing shop there I think it was and they had……over the road they had like a walkway and there’s a photograph from the top of that looking through that walkway down

BS: Oh going through - I thought you meant going up Crossley Hill; yes there was a gantry going across, but that was a weaving shed

WS: That was Crossley’s

BS: Yes, yeah

WS: weaving shed

BS: My mother worked there at one time, yeah, but there was a gantry there, yes.

WS: A mill on both sides of the road

BS: And then……and then when you get to the top of Macpelah there is that old mill there……they used to make….I remember being

WS: Chatburn’s were in there at one time

BS: Chatburn’s…..I remember going in there at the beginning of the war and having a green corduroy suit – lumber jacket and trousers made, yes.

WS: It was a big area for corduroy you know

BS: And then I had some clogs to wear with it

WS: Fustian…….but one where the memorial gardens are now, there was the……the fish and chip and tripe shops…..Arnold…..what they call him…..he used to go in the marathon roller skating…..Arnold Binns

BS: Binns, yes, and he had a roller skating rink down Albert Street didn’t he?

WS: Yes, on the top, where they’ve just raised the roof

BS: That’s right.

WS: That had a roller skating rink on the top floor…..and then as I say there was this……cinema, and then there was another café there, a black and white café

BS: Right

WS: At the back of there I think

BS: Yes I’ve heard that mentioned

WS: Pardon?

BS: I’ve heard that mentioned

WS: Yes, because it was painted black and white, and at the back half of that I think the Salvation Army used to be in there, and that’s a hell of a long time since is that. I can…..I’m sort of dredging it up from deep down, but….that’s where it was. I can remember the Trades Club, I remember the Post Office being built; the Post Office used to be on Market Street, in part of Barclays – where Barclays Bank is

TW: Oh really?

WS: Yes……and then they built the new one up Holme Street there, and Barbara used to work there, in the telephone

BS: Yes when I first started work

WS: The telephone exchange there; that was your first job wasn’t it? Oh I’ve seen lots of alterations……some for the better and some……

BS: Not

WS: Not as……not to my opinion anyway, which…..for what it’s worth, which isn’t worth much actually[incomp]

TW: What do you think about what we’ve just done then, I mean how has it made you feel, talking about all of this?

BS: Oh we always enjoy going back don’t we?

WS: Yes, and what do you think about it?

BS: Do you remember this that and the other?

TW: I find it fascinating……well, all aspects of it really……because I’ve been here trying to find out little…..I find little bits and pieces over the years, little bits of things and they…..they don’t really join up; it’s like a jigsaw with a couple of corners missing and lots of pieces all spread about. Having listened to you, it has joined a lot of it all up

BS: Oh good

TW: I find it interesting

WS: You see, the Mebourne……they call it Melbourne Building or something don’t they? They’ve made it into flats; well that was a sewing shop at one time you know, and it was a billiard hall at one time

BS: I’ve heard about that

WS: When the billiard hall had to move from……from the gardens, I rather think it was the old cinema that we were talking about that was made into a billiard hall, and they had to move…..they…..they pulled it down to make room for the gardens and they were in……what are now Melbourne apartments or something, they were there at one time. I don’t think they did much trade because it moved it away from the centre of town and it did close eventually……….but…..oh it’s different is the place

TW: Yes indeed….well it probably will change again I’m sure, but it’s nice to try and keep some of the tradition I think; I mean you have to progress and all the rest of it, I suppose we have to go with it in some ways but also it’s nice to keep some things, you know

WS: Well I mean that applies nationally doesn’t it

TW: Well yes it does really

WS: I mean…..I don’t know what they teach them now at school in the way of history, but we were taught history and we knew all about……Nelson and……and Wellington and that, and the Romans coming to England; I don’t know if they teach them those sort of things

TW: To be quite honest I’m not sure. They have little units on different centuries

WS: Oh yeah

TW: And you get a little sort of general thing about what happened in those centuries, until you get to the Twentieth Century I think and then they do it……up to Year Six anyway, they go by decades then, so they’ll say ‘well all of this happened in the 1970’s and all of this happened in the 1960’s and the 40’s

WS: Oh I see

TW: And they do it through decades, and they do a decade a term I think, that type of thing

WS: You see, when my father, in his early……my father drove his own wagon, that was how he started, and he used to go to Liverpool occasionally, and I would go with him, and I was only a little lad; I’d go with him and we’d go down onto the docks at Liverpool, and they were an absolute hive of activity, and the river……was full of ships. You could have walked across to Birkenhead actually, from one ship to t’other, and that’s all gone, but I read some time ago that the tonnage of freight being handled in Liverpool was, if not more, than it was in the days I’m talking about.

TW: Is that right?

WS: Yes, because it’s all done by containers now, whereas at one time all cargoes were virtually unloaded by hand……and now they’ve got all the container things and they’ve sort of taken over, so there we are, I mean……while I regret the passing of the old…..the old things, you’ve got to accept the new ones. Some of them are filling….are more than filling the gap.

TW: Right, well I’d best….I’d best pack it in and leave you in peace, because I might talk you dry [laughing]….well what I’ll do is, I’ll take…….

BS: Perhaps I can offer you a drink now, after all that?

TW: Yeah, alright then, yes. A cup of tea would be nice.

BS: A mug of tea?

TW: Yes that’s good.

BS: Now then it will be real tea, not tea bags.

TW: That’s fine.

BS: Beware at the bottom.

TW: That’s fine, that’s fine. Milk no sugar please.



Is there anything else then that’s changed that you can think of?


Well there’s a big change at the moment of which I’m not all that sure about quite frankly [laughing] and that’s the pedestrianisation of Valley Road – it’s chaotic at the moment.

Some things are better. My father used to say ‘you’re not fit to see a job half done, you should always wait and see when it’s finished’ so we’ll wait and see until it’s finished till we can pass judgement.


Then it might be too late.


It’s fait accompli then isn’t it? I mean it will be too late to do anything. I seem to thing that they’re having after thoughts on certain bits as they along, which I don’t think is the way it should be done; it should have been – I don’t think it’s been really properly thought through and they’re having to improvise or alter certain things as they go along. I’m not all that bothered about what you lot, the heritage people are on about, is it the sets

It wasn’t me but there were people

I don’t mean you personally but I’m not all that bothered about it quite frankly because I think that the stones which they’ve, the flagstones that they’ve put down are safer, but we shall see what happens, but to me I wouldn’t argue about the present situation – would you?


I’m easy either way but I can understand sort of historically not wanting to get rid of the cobbles that were there before.


But like I said the other day, it was originally a wood bridge so there would probably be people in those days who argued that there was nothing wrong with the wood bridge – why put a stone bridge – so I mean, people will always complain won’t they? Yes indeed. In fact my father always used to say ‘you should complain even when you’re doing well’ which I think is an adage attributed to the local farming fraternity.

What do you think about young people today – do you think they have the same kind of values that you had when you were young?


Well, they live in a different world from what we did don’t they? In these days of television and now video cameras, mobile phones and one thing and another, and then pubs open all hours and that sort of thing – I don’t know, and of course they’ve a lot more time than we had – as I say, when I started work, we did a forty-seven hour week; we worked Saturday mornings in those days. There was a concession on Saturday mornings; instead of working until half past twelve, we only worked till twelve [laughing], which just gave me time and others like me, to get home from work, have a bit of lunch and then shoot off to Halifax to watch Halifax Town play football, or even down on Calder Holmes with if some of the local people were playing football.

Did you ever frequent pubs then?


Not at all?

Very surreptitiously [laughing] but no – I was never a drinker at all, no. I didn’t like the taste.


You used to go down to the snooker hall.


Well not really – I used to go into the Trades Club occasionally to play billiards in there until my father got word of it; my father was a real dyed in the wool Conservative and I don’t know how he just worded it, but he said something about the Trades Club one day and he said ‘it seems to be a place that you are going to’ – more or less saying ‘forget it’ you know, so I didn’t go, that was it.

The house on Trinity Street when you were very young, or even the next one on Cambridge Street, can you describe them – what they were like?

Well the one on Trinity Street is a back-to-back and I was only young when we left, I think I should be about five or six – I’ve very vague recollections of it; I think there was just sort of a living room and what you might call a galley kitchen as is, then there’d probably be perhaps two bedrooms and an attic.

Was Cambridge Street the same?

No, Cambridge Street was a little bit bigger; Cambridge Street had a front room, it had a sitting room and had a back door and a front door; we’d a sort of living room and a sitting room, two bedrooms, two attic bedrooms with a bath in the attic – it used to take ages to fill because it was pumping the water; you had to persuade the water to run up hill because the cylinder was down on a lower level [laughing]

Did you have like ranges in the kitchen?

…no, it was down in the cellar I think – it would be a gas oven down in the cellar.

So you had a gas oven – was there electricity there then?

Electricity was put into that house while we lived there, so that would be in the…in the twenties somewhere, and that was put in by a local - some local people. Before that we had gas of course – there was gas in.

Do you know why those roads from Oxford, Eton, Cambridge and Trinity – do you know why those were built – were they to do with the works or were they to do with the railways?

I can’t tell you; the canal is across the top – I don’t think the canal company had anything to do with it, but I don’t know why they were built.

I’ve been told various things, because I still own one of them and I rent it out


Which one – in Cambridge Street?

No in Oxford Street


Oxford Street - Oh that’s near the top


Well of course there was the mill at the beginning of Stubbing Holme as well wasn’t there – the weaving shed there.


Yes, you see there’s one row of red brick houses there and the others are stone.

Yeh well that’s odd – they’re red brick on one side and they’re stone on the back side, I don’t know why.


Well that’s done to save cost ‘cos bricks are cheaper than stone, so that was why that was done but whether it was something to do with the mill I really don’t know, ‘cos they’ve been there ever since I can remember.

People say that they were built in about 1907 or even a little bit later, but I’ve seen some old photographs where they’re just building the first row and all the rest aren’t built yet, and I think it might have taken them a few years, they kept adding them on – I just wondered if it was to do with the workers, to do with the mill, or railways, something like that and as more people started working for them, they sort of built more houses to go with that.


Well Trinity Street looked out onto a dye works when I was a young boy, there was a dye works there and then it became a sewing shop

What was that called?


It was Stubbing Holme Dye Works I think. I remember once when we live there, they’d big tanks on the canal side, right up to the canal bank which held the dye – big tanks of dye. I remember one of them burst once and dye came flooding all the way down Stubbing Holme Road as it was in those days, but that’s a long time ago, and then they closed it down and they were part of the same group as Midgehole Dye Works, and there was one in Mytholmroyd called Whiteley’s up Cragg Road and they were all part of the same group, and they became a group called English Velvets – they were sort of in a group with some Lancashire people as well.

Do you know anything then about – when all the sewing shops started to close, did you know why that came about?


Imported stuff as much as anything.


Weren’t they paid to…


I don’t think the sewing shops were, some of the weaving sheds were.


Paid to get rid of their looms.


Paid to close down, were some of the weaving sheds – the government.


But I thought the sewing shops were


I don’t know about the sewing shops Barbara, but I know some of the weaving sheds were paid to close down. There were some huge weaving sheds – Stubbing Holme, that was a weaving shed at one time you know; the single storey part was a weaving shed and that was part of a big firm called Roger Shackleton’s whose main factory was in Rochdale, but they had that weaving shed on Stubbing Holme


And one at Hawksclough hadn’t they?


And one at Hawksclough hadn’t they – one at Hawksclough, you know - they’d several weaving sheds around here, but of course – in fact one fella I know who’s still living, Alan Greenwood, he was in charge of Greenwood Stells at Mytholmroyd, and he said they closed down because people could get imported cloth cheaper than he could buy the yarn to weave into cloth if you understand yes I understand so I mean

Was the quality as good?

I think so, I think so. We used to carry an enormous amount of cloth at one time, but it came from Manchester – our proportion of traffic from Hebden Bridge was comparatively low compared to what we picked up in Lancashire and…I remember one manufacturer in Todmorden said to me ‘these Asians (Asiatic factories) – all they can weave is the lower grade stuff, or not as intricate stuff – they can’t do the finer cloth like the poplins and the more or less up-market cloth’ and I said ‘well just be very careful because it won’t be long before they catch up’ – it was the same in the motor trade; I mean the original Japanese cars that came into this country were rubbish – they weren’t built for our climate and they rotted, they decayed and rusted away in no time, but they caught up eventually, so I mean I think for a certain length of time some people lived in a fool’s paradise and then it all went eventually.

It must have affected your trade as well, I mean if the mills were closing down and weren’t producing cloth, didn’t that affect your deliveries?


Yes, as I say we didn’t do an awful lot out of Hebden Bridge – we did quite a lot in Lancashire and then of course when the weaving places closed down up in Lancashire, imported cloth came in and so we carried on with imported cloth.

So you got it from the docks and took it..


Well from the various merchants in Manchester and we used to say ‘well it’s very unpatriotic but foreign cloth just fills our wagons, just like English cloth; so I mean, as I say, it was a bit narrow-minded perhaps but anyway, that’s it.

I’m just thinking about – how do you think Hebden Bridge will go in the next five or ten years because it seems to have a revolutionary technique now.


Yes, I wonder quite frankly how much longer this country can sustain the present situation. This country, I mean I’ve talked mainly about Lancashire, but this country supplied the world with goods at one time and British made was the hallmark of standard –anything British made was the tops; you used to see things that came in that were made in Germany and you’d think ‘that’s a load of rubbish anyway’ you know, but we…I don’t know how we can say – but there’s no manufacturing in the country. Now then, there was a bit in the paper the other day and it was saying that the city of London is still very busy with various things – take overs and all the rest of it – and the city of London was really the engine room of the British economy, which to me is wrong.

It’s different, that’s for sure


But Hebden Bridge itself Wilfred, I think – I can only see an increase in tourism – I mean when we were at the shop, there was very little; my first husband and I, we used to have the shop which is now Fourboys; we moved there from a smaller shop on Market Street in 1968 and from being there in 1968, we saw a vast difference in the people who used to come and go in Hebden Bridge

How did it change then, the clientele?


Well to begin with of course we had a lot of the hippy invasion



I’ll just ask you your full name and where and when you were born.

My full name now is Barbara Shepherd but I was born Barbara Noone just over the back there at 2 Cliffe Street opposite Stubbings School in 1934.

What was it like, that house like then, because it’s no longer there, what was it like?

No, you’ve seen the photograph I’ve seen the photograph but can you tell me what is was like inside? Well inside you went into quite a large hall as we would call it now, but the family always called it a passage…there was a living/dining room facing the hill that went round Stubbings School, facing the hill so nobody could come up and down that hill without us seeing them! I used to see Wilfred coming up frequently to his first wife. Originally the house used to have two big rooms there…my mother went to live there when she was aged twelve, but then when she got married there was only grandma and one of my uncles left, and the lady who lived underneath – I don’t know what happened but she wasn’t there anymore, and so they moved down there, well of course grandma and Uncle Terence needed two separate bedrooms so they took the sitting room off and made a staircase up so that was sealed off so we just had the one big room and a sort of little galley kitchen at the top of the cellar steps, and then a staircase up, a landing, another few steps; you got to the top of the steps and on the left was a little dark room; I never used to like it, it had no windows in and for some reason it was never used, that room, and then there was my bedroom, mother’s bedroom, another little room that there again for an unknown reason was called ‘the dressing room’ – sounds very posh and then a bathroom. When you came up the steps there were some more steps went up to two large attics which now would be called second floor bedrooms and they were big attics and there was a big landing at the top of there as well, so it was quite a spacious house and it would have been if we’d been able to have the sitting room as well. I know when I first got married, Maurice’s step-grandmother who used to be a teacher, she said ‘I knew your grandparents’ she said ‘because your grandfather was a staunch Liberal and we used to have the house as our Liberal Headquarters at voting time’.


What did your father think about that?

BS: I never heard any comments!

WS: Because he was about as left-wing as you could get!

BS: At that time, yes he was.

WS: There are some weird and wonderful places about this part of the world really, I mean it’s one of the features of the district isn’t it – houses on top of houses and back-to-back houses, that sort of thing.

BS: Yes, well as I said there were three houses on one foundation - grandma and Uncle Terence underneath, our house, then the first house round up Industrial Street as it was then was also on the same foundation because their living room was over our cellar and their bedroom was…sort of at the side of our bathroom as it were; it was all intermingled but all on one foundation.

WS: Melbourne Street has Mason Street above it; Melbourne Street – the houses are on one level and then when you get to Mason Street has back-to-back houses so in effect there are three houses on one foundation – Melbourne Street down here, then up above you’ve Mason Street with some looking out over the valley, some looking out up there.

BS: yes, some of the houses on Mason Street – there’d be two doors very close together; one goes into a house facing this way then you go down a long passage and the house faces that way.

WS: I don’t know whether it’s still the same or not, I suppose it is – I haven’t been round there for a while.

I have a friend who lives in Mason Street and he went to the door and it’s a passage. BS: So he must face out the other way.

and then half way along there’s stairs that go up to the bedroom, but the rest of it is next door’s.

WS: That’s right – you get three houses there; you get the Melbourne Street one and the back-to-backs on Mason Street. Very ingenious you know were the builders in those days, mind you they hadn’t much ground to work with, with it being a steep-sided valley so they’d to make the best use they possibly could of the land. They were clever.

BS: At the top of Hangingroyd Road where Melbourne Street goes off on Mason Street, it was a big house there, where there are bungalows now. That was Hangingroyd House wasn’t it, where Barker Clegg…now you asked about characters, and Barker Clegg was a character! He was the local wholesale merchant greengrocer..

WS: Went under the name of William Clegg

BS: William Clegg it must have been I suppose - it used to be on Bridge Gate and it was a big open-fronted warehouse just where that mews entrance is at the side of Theo’s, it was a big open-fronted warehouse there – very dark at the back when you went past [hushed voice]. He was a member of Hope Baptist Church as I was, and he was really quite eccentric.

What kind of things did he do?

He always used to take the collection on a Sunday - he always sat in the back pew, I was in the choir stalls and he always sat in the back pew with his wife and his daughter Nancy who was a doctor, and he also used to take the collection, and he always had a flower in his buttonhole regardless of the time of year – in spring it would be a big daffodil – and I used to find it very amusing because it depended on what sort of music the organist was playing and he would always sort of dance down the aisle to the rhythm of whatever the music was you know. When…Mr Davis it was then who was the parson, when he was giving his sermon, if Barker Clegg wanted to say something to his wife and Nancy he would turn and he would speak, and he would speak in his normal sort of almost booming voice, just not concerned with the fact that the sermon was being given you know, he just used to speak, and he always used to come in his car – I don’t know whether you remember Wilfred or not, but he didn’t drive very quickly of course, and he used to blow his horn loudly at every corner, every building corner as he went round – he would blow his horn loudly! [laughing] WS: he was a very astute man you know.

BS: Oh yes he was a good businessman.

WS: He used to get his produce from down in Lincolnshire and all over didn’t he really?

BS: Oh yes, all over the east coast.

WS: And he had interests in businesses down there, you know for the greengrocery, he had interests in that firm that used to can peas –Lincan or something.

BS: Oh did he? I didn’t know.

WS: He was a bit of an oddity but he ‘had all his chairs at home’ shall I say, oh yes he knew what he was doing.

BS: there’s a saying for you!

WS: oh yes he was, as you say, quite a character.

[sorting wires out]

You were saying earlier about Alice being a character, Alice Longstaff. Can yousay a little bit more about her, I mean did you know her at all?

WS: well we used to know her because we had the garage at the time and she bought cars from us, and she always wanted the biggest car. We sold Vauxhalls at the time and she’d buy a Vauxhall, but she’d buy the biggest one and she wasn’t a brilliant driver. At one time I said ‘you want to buy a smaller car Alice’ – she said ‘no, I’ve got to think about the dog.’ It had to be big enough to accommodate the dog on the back seat! But other than that she was… BS: we always had our photographs taken at Alice’s.

WS: Oh yes, well there was nowhere else to go

BS: There was no such thing as photographers who came to a wedding or anything. Wherever you got married, the first thing you did was get in the car or taxi and go down to the studio to have your photograph taken at the studio – they didn’t take photographs outside anywhere, no – Alice never did that, to my knowledge. But we always had to go to the studio to have these photographs taken, all set with the in-laws you know, but I had my photographs taken there right from being born.

Was it a big thing to have your photograph taken when you were young?

BS: Yes, then she always used to put them in the window didn’t she, and you used to wait for your photographs to appear in the window.

WS: Oh yes, weddings and young babies – they were all taken to Alice to be photographed. [laughing] I don’t think I have one of me when I was a baby – is there one of you anywhere?

BS: Oh yes.

Did you have special clothes?

BS: We had special clothes for anniversaries, you put your best clothes on to go for the anniversary which was always at the end of April at Hope Baptist and it was never warm at that time but you always had your newest summer dress on; I used to sit there shivering in my summer dress with my straw hat on, then as soon as you came on at lunch time you had to take it off. I couldn’t keep it on, I had to take it off until it was time to go back to church again and then I could put it on again. [all laughing]

WS: It was sort of the thing to do for Sunday school and church anniversaries - that’s when you got your new suit if you were a boy; you got a new suit – as Barbara says, the girls got new frocks and that sort of thing. It had to be a special occasion when you got them. It went the rounds didn’t it? Some time in May was it?

BS: No our was the end of April because it hit on the…occasionally hit on the changing of the clocks which always is now the last weekend in March, but sometimes before that….then there would be people coming in at the wrong time because they hadn’t changed their clocks.

WS: It’s all altered now has that, hasn’t it really? The churches and chapels are so poorly attended these days…

BS: But there was nothing else you see then so that’s where we had everything, all the entertainment, apart from going to the pictures, not the cinema, apart from that…oh and The Little Theatre every now and again, The Little Theatre, but it was everything that happened at the church.

WS: the Literary and Scientific Society, the Lit and Sci, used to organise lectures during the winter time about once a month, it used to held in the Picture House more often than not. Various semi-famous people would come and give a talk. There was one fella used to come and he used to give lectures on cycling; he’d cycled all over Europe…this was in the 1930s and I think, he cycled all over Europe, and I think the Germans were a bit suspicious of him. It did turn out after the war that he had been doing a bit of a spying on a bike! Joe Bradley had a bike as well, you don’t remember Joe Bradley? BS: no I don’t think so WS: the coal merchant - he had a bike and he used to give talks on cycling you know, so that’s where a lot of the entertainment came from really– it was home-made, shall we say.

Did you have any brothers or sisters?

BS: I had a younger brother yes, he died a long time since unfortunately and I still have a sister twelve years younger than myself who is a district nurse down in South Wales.

So they both moved away from the area?

Yes, Michael actually lived in Holland a long time, he was an electrician – basically an electrician then he seemed to branch out a little bit but he did live in Holland a long time, but he died in…1983, he was 44…he was five years younger than me, born just before the war started and then Andrea was born just as the war finished.

WS: Because your father was away in between! [all laughing]

What were your school days like?

BS: I never had any problems at school; I can’t say I didn’t like school because I did. I mean I used to get anxious at exam times but I can’t say there was ever anything that I didn’t want to go to school for.

So you went to Stubbings School?

I went to Stubbings School and then down to the grammar school; I was the last year of the County Minor Scholarships so I went down to the grammar school when I was ten years old whereas most people were eleven, so I was the youngest in my year all the way through, and then I was the last one when it was the school certificate, before it became the GCE – what is it now, the GCSE?

Can you remember any of your teachers?

At the Grammar School? Well either… I think I have a photograph here of Stubbings School [looking for photograph] yes – that was my class at Stubbings – that’s Miss Stancer – her father was manager of the Yorkshire Penny Bank, so that would be let me see…about 1939 or it could be 1940. I bet you can’t spot me there, can you? [all looking at photograph]. I can remember almost everybody on there. Wait a minute, that’s me there…in front of the boy with the curly lock. The boy with the curly lock by the way is Keith Collinge.

WS: He’s as bald as a billiard ball now.

BS: Now that will do - they’ll have to cut that out!

Who were some of the people in your class then – can you remember some of their names?

BS: Yes – there’s Peter Greenwood there, he went and worked for Nestle and he became the head man of the…below the equator…the Southern Hemisphere, then there’s Margaret Jenkinson who lives down Foster Lane now - her relative…Ezra, he was a character wasn’t he? Perhaps he was her uncle or great uncle…he was a violinist and I believe he was a very good violinist, he used to give lessons but he used to always wear a big opera cloak and a big black hat…

WS: – he lived somewhere round the back of Albert Street didn’t he?

BS: I think so – well Margaret and her family lived…as you’re looking at Commercial Street here, the right hand side, down underneath Wills the barber where Gladys Wills lived, Wendy Marshall, Neville Fielding, now I don’t remember that one, that was David Lawton, that’s Phillip Sutcliffe -Harvey Sutcliffe’s son, Dorothy Sutcliffe - she went to Canada, Jean Aykroyd - her sister still lives here, Brian Greenwood, don’t know where he went - he used to live up Stephen Street, Doreen Hirst- she lives in Mytholmroyd, Margaret Clark, Eric Newsome - I believe he’s dead now, Beryl Clark - no relative – that’s Kathrine’s sister-in-law – used to live up Eiffel Street, she lives in Mytholmroyd now, Russell Bailey I don’t know, Russell Taylor there, Brian Rosier, he lived down there, Peter Tuthill, myself, Shirley Roskill - she became a secretary at the Houses of Parliament, Carol Donaldson, Keith Maynard, Bernard Sutcliffe - he became some sort of a…university boffin somehow did Bernard, Donald Sheard - he was the local coal man, his father started the business didn’t he? WS: grandfather. BS: oh grandfather, beg your pardon, Peter Wilkinson - he went to live in South Africa somewhere, Terry Dewhirst, Keith Collinge – he was the local butcher, that’s it.

You’ve a very good memory!

WS: Well I was one of…I have four sisters…had four sisters, an older sister of mind died last December and three brothers, so there were eight in our family. I think we all attended Mytholm School, perhaps the younger end when we moved up to Hangingroyd came up to Stubbings, I don’t know but we all went to Mytholm School.

BS: Stubbings was the school to come to when I was a girl, it was the one everybody wanted to come to.

WS: I don’t know if Brian and Betty didn’t come when we moved on to…I’m not sure now…

BS: I didn’t know them there, because if they’d all come to Stubbings they would have been in the year above me.

WS: Well we all went to Mytholm School and…[traffic passing] we all took the entrance exam to go to the grammar school and we all passed – it was quite a record actually, because I remember at the time and there is a photo of us all somewhere, I don’t know where it got to now – one of my older brothers or sisters had it – it was quite a record, eight of us and we’d all passed our Country Minor.

You were keeping it in the family!

BS: Harry Potts was the headmaster at Stubbings School when I was there.

What was it about Stubbings School then, why was it the best?

BS: it got the best results and scholarships, I mean we had Barbara Jones - Jerky Jones who was the geography teacher at the grammar school, he lived up Cragg Vale and his daughter came to Stubbings from what in those days was a long way to come from Cragg Vale to Stubbings School.

WS: But he did get the results.

BS: Everybody adored…

WS: Everybody wanted to send their kids to him because he got the best results- well everybody couldn’t go there; it’s like it is at the present time – everybody wants to go to the best schools, but there aren’t the places for them so I mean there’s got to be…they talk about selection – there’s got to be selection somewhere along the line in my opinion anyway; everybody has to have the same chance, fair enough, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

BS: But everybody used to wait for him to come to school, Harry Potts.

WS: Oh yes, he’d quite a personality

BS: Yes he had, you’d be going to school before nine o’clock and anybody who didn’t know Mr Potts hadn’t come, they’d be down the hill waiting for him and as soon as he appeared they would all rush to up to him and they would all come up trying to hold his hand on the way up you know. He was very popular, yes.

WS: Quite a big man at the Conservative Club as well.

BS: I believe so – I think my father held that against him.

WS: Probably! But he was a character. Then of course the headmaster at Hebden Bridge when I started going there in 1930 it was Hebden Bridge Secondary School and then for some reason within a couple of years, I was only there for four years, it changed to Hebden Bridge Grammar School; nothing changed at the school.

BS: Who was the headmaster then?

WS: Howarth – Herbert Howarth.

BS: Oh was he your headmaster, because he was my headmaster – we always called him C. I. didn’t we. WS: for some reason or other.

WS: He was the headmaster and he was a good headmaster. He maintained discipline; he wasn’t harsh but he maintained discipline.

BS: People did get caned in those days.

WS: Oh yes, yes that’s right.

BS: You used to see somebody waiting outside the headmaster’s study and then they would go in and then you would hear….[sound of cane swooshing]

WS: But I don’t think anybody resented it really because you accepted in those days that if you’d done something wrong, you got punished for it and that was it, anyway there we are. I mean all these people with their advanced thinking these days – I think it’s wrong. I suppose there are rights and wrongs in everything aren’t there but there’s no perfect way is there? No, but I didn’t think there was anything wrong in disciplining people. But yes, it turned out some very bright people did Hebden Bridge Grammar School – I mean the latest of course is Bernard Ingham who was secretary to Margaret Thatcher and is now known world wide for his talks, lectures and so on but there were other people there – I can’t just remember them all now.

BS: Wasn’t there somebody from perhaps Todmorden…a scientist?

WS: Well that was Cockroft wasn’t it? They were Todmorden people weren’t they? But there was one fella, Clark they called him, he was a prefect and he got to be very high up in the Electricity Board somewhere – I can’t be very precise about it because it’s a bit vague, but he was very well up in one of the Electricity Boards, but then was also a fella called Carrington going even further back who was something to do with a government department but that’s getting back before my time, so that’s a heck of a long time ago. But it turned out some notable people – I’m talking about Hebden Bridge - then of couse when you get up Todmorden you get the Cockrofts who split the atom and one thing and another you know I didn’t know that Yes, it was at one of the universities – Oxford or Cambridge - Cambridge I think. Archives would tell you who they were, because they were all quite celebrities in those days.

Can you tell me - when you left school, what did you do?

BS: I went work for the Post Office Telephones as it was then, it’s now BT of course

Where was that?

Up above the Post Office as you know it now in Hebden Bridge – the Telephone Exchange was up there.

WS: Before that, wasn’t it on Bridge Gate?

BS: It was on Bridge Gate yes, where the Cheese and Wine shop is now. If Barker Clegg’s telephone went funny - because he didn’t use it properly - he just used to walk along and walk straight into the telephone exchange; Sarah who was my supervisor at the time, Sarah used to say he was an absolute nuisance because he just used to walk in – ‘what are you gonna do about my phone?’ [laughing]

WS: The Post Office used to be on Market Street where Barclays Bank is in half of Barclays Bank, and when the Post Office moved to a new building, Barclays took the whole lot and expanded so to speak.

Can you remember what your first wage was?

BS: Two pounds fifty…and in those days I gave it all to my mother and then she gave me some spending money. I didn’t pay her an amount – I gave it all to her and as I remember, right up to getting married that was. Mind you, I got married before I was twenty the first time.

What age were you when you actually left school?

When I left school when I was fifteen. I did get the best school certificate that year but my parents weren’t in a position to send me any further; I had a younger brother and sister, my mother was a weaver, my father was a presser at Redman Brothers. I think it was just about at the time he’d finished that and went into insurance so there wasn’t a lot of spare money, so I didn’t go any further than that, but I remember Miss Bond who was the English teacher - Dickie Bond we always called her – Miss Bondway-laid me one time; she was waiting for me as I came out of the Post Office. There was a shortage of teachers and she did want me to go on to college and train as a teacher which I never told my parents about, that she’d way-laid me there because I knew from what Mother used to say, I knew that they didn’t have the wherewithal for me to go so that was it.

Was there a kind of rule that teachers had to be unmarried?

BS: not in my day - there was a rule at the Post Office that if you got married you finished. That was just before I first started working there, that anybody who – well, I’m talking about the telephone department – anybody who got married, they had to finish.

What was the reason?

BS: I’ve no idea, but I know that it was a rule, yes.

WS: I suppose they thought that if they were married they were likely to produce children which would disrupt the staffing of the place, I don’t know. Oh yes, they were very strict you know; there used to be a Postmaster in Hebden Bridge who was in charge of the Post Office and the staff and that included the postmen, and in those days the postmen had to wear the regulation uniform – none of this like they are now, shorts and casual wear – they’d to wear the regulation uniform, and Norman Bradley was a postman and he once went one morning - they used to have a sort of inspection every morning to make sure that they were properly dressed, and Norman went one day and he just had ordinary shoes on instead of the regulation boots, and he was sent home to go and change into the boots. But there again, it was…creating some sense of responsibility and sense of discipline – it wasn’t a harsh thing. Nowadays it’s ‘I’m not doing that – I’ll go as I want to go’ and if there’s a shortage of people to do the job, I suppose they will relax the rules but in those days it was a rule and you had to stick to the rules which I thought was quite alright actually.

BS: To me, one of the biggest differences is the lack of freedom for children nowadays, I mean we never thought anything about going out on our own; people won’t let their children go out on their own now. As I say I used to live over the other side of Stubbings School and even in winter we used to play out at night in the dark; we had a game called Moonlight Starlight, The Bogies Won’t Come Out Tonight; everybody would go and hide except for one person and then that person would walk round chanting this until you found somebody, then when you found somebody you had to hold on to them, and every time you found somebody they held until it ended up with a long line of children going round looking for the last person you know – that was one of the games and that was at night time, all up and down the streets.

WS: There were no Playstations in those days were there – not like there is today.

BS: No - we used to swing on the lamp-posts because the lamp-posts, being gas, they had a long arm to prop the gasman’s ladder on and we used to throw a rope over arm and then we used swing round and round the lamp-post.

WS: when I was a boy and you’ve heard me tell this many a time, we used to go to Halifax to watch Halifax Town playing football and getting back to the point of children being able to go and parents knew they were alright, we would set off to Halifax on a Saturday afternoon, we’d go to Halifax on the tram…

BS: What age are you talking about roughly?

WS: Oh I’d still be at school, twelve or thirteen – we’d go there and it was a penny, an old penny on the tram to go from Hebden Bridge to Halifax – we used to go there, that was a penny, a penny or tuppence, we used to go into the Shay which was thre’pence for schoolboys and then we’d go…. my mother would give us some bread and butter, we’d go and get a bag of chips somewhere for a penny, then we used to go to the Vic Hall which is the Victoria Theatre now which was a cinema in those days and it was continuous, andyou could go into the cinema and watch it twice round if you liked for another thre’pence, but the point I’m making is we would be away all day…and our parents never worried about us, not like…you can’t let them out of your sight these days…but we should be away from just after dinner on Saturday lunch time till coming home at night, maybe seven or eight o’clock at night a penny back on the tram and our parents used to know that we would be all right, well you can’t do that these days – I mean if your kids are away for more than an hour they begin to get worried, but as I say we could be away for hours on end in those days, mind you it’s going back top side of seventy years is that, seventy five years I should think.

BS: We used to play hours at skipping as well which was all very healthy exercise, individual skipping but you were very lucky if you got a long piece of rope then you would have one at each end turning the rope and the rest of you would jump in. #

Did you have songs to go with that?

I don’t remember a song to go with the skipping, no I don’t… if you went one way you had to jump in and if you went from the other side you ran in in, depending which way the rope was turning, and then we also used to use it for snakes; at one end somebody would go like this and the rope would go like that and you had to jump it and not get caught in the snake. And whips and tops I used to love – did you know whips and tops?

When I was very young, yes.

I had a lovely collection of tops and all the different coloured chalks so that I could chalk patterns on the top of the tops and when they went round it made lovely pattern and then I would have a whip, and you always got a whip with a leather thong, and then you fastened string on the end so it gave it an extra ‘whip’.

WS: It used to be called a cracking band

BS: A cracking band, yes.

What was that then?

BS: A cracking band? It was a string at the end that made the cracking noise.

WS: You used to be able to flick it and it would crack, a bit like a circus whip.

BS: You asked about Yorkshire dialect things…my grandmother – I used to love hearing a poem that she used to say; I can only remember the first few lines, but I used to love to hear her say that and it was:

Has ta seen our Mary’s bonnet? It’s a stunner and no mistak It’s gitten red roses round it and a ribbon darn its back…..

I can’t remember how else it goes on after that. And a Yorkshire saying, another one is:

If tha ever does owt for nowt, allus do it for thisen!

WS: Well that comes after t’other bit you know –

Hear all, say all, see nowt, eat all, sup all, pay nowt, and If tha ever does owt for nowt, the mun allus do it for thisen! [Barbara and Wilfred together]

WS: You’ll have heard that I suppose?

BS: And another one that I thought about, in winter when it was cold and if somebody came into a room - there was no central heating of course – and they left the door open, and somebody would say:

‘Put wood in th’oil!’ [laughing] That came up frequently didn’t it?

WS: Another thing I’ve thought of is - when you shut a door in years gone by, they used to have a different kind of latch, you didn’t have many doors with door knobs, they’d what they called snecks, do you know what a sneck is? I’ve heard that once or twice

BS: Where you used your thumb…

I’ve heard naughty boys used to do things to those kinds of doors

WS: oh yes, they put grease on and perhaps something even stuff worse than that…but there won’t be many snecks about now. They’re more sophisticated.

Didn’t you work in a shop then, a newspaper shop?

BS: Yes.

When did you start doing that?

BS: I started that when my second child was…two years old so that would be 1963. It was my first husband’s mother’s shop, well his mother’s shop actually which was on Market Street then…about where that central heating place is that has a lot of piping stuff there, about there; it was number seventeen and Maurice was born there so it must have been in the 1920s when they bought that and in those days it was always called Caxton Stores, after the printing press and a lot of the older people still used to call it Caxton Stores. Then Maurice’s mother became not well and so I went down…1963, yes, Wendy was two… she died in 1964, Maurice’s mother died in 1964 – she used to live behind and over the shop there – then in 1968 when the Co-op went out of action we came into that building in 1968 where Fourboys is now.

WS: you could tell which was Jones’s shop because they had a big thermometer outside, on Market Street, provided by Swan ink. They used to have a huge thermometer on the wall outside.

BS: It regularly got broken, even in those days, so eventually it was broken so many times that Swan refused to put another one up.

What was it like, working in that shop?

BS: On Market Street? Yes I enjoyed it, but I mean it was nothing like it was when we came on here. You could go in the house at the back and there was a doorbell; if the bell rang you went in and served somebody so it wasn’t a continuous trade. Then the shop next door became vacant so then I became that we had two shops, 15 and 17 Market Street, then we came on here which was different altogether because you felt to be in the middle of things – you were out on a limb on Market Street. Market Street people won’t like me saying that. I used to come out of the shop and I would come on to go to say Holt’s for something and the number of times I would walk on and there would be visitors, even in those days we had visitors; they would get to where they could look along Market Street and they would say ‘oh there doesn’t look to be much on there, let’s go back’. I heard that over and over again.

WS: Well I mean it was beginning to die was Market Street at the time. It’s been rejuvenated these last few years, but at that time it was certainly going down.

BS: It’s got quite a few empty shops now. Also, where the shop was, the old Times office across the road, well the Times office was still working from there then, which meant that when you were in the shop, all you saw was that but when we got on here, daylight! You could see sky and sunshine! It was lovely – you really did feel to be in the middle of things, it was a lot better.

WS: You certainly got a lot more trade didn’t you?

BS: Oh yes, it was much better – and then funnily enough, we’d only been on here about twelve months and the Hebden Bridge Times followed us on, because they had a shop across from us on Market Street, they sold stationery and so on, well of course we did stationery and we went into that a lot more than Forbuoys do now; we moved on here and they followed us on within twelve months doing stationery, wedding stationery and everything!

When Jones’s was in the square, how long were you there for?

BS: 1968 we came on and sold in 1989 to Forbuoys. They actually came – we didn’t put it up for same or anything – they just came and said ‘This is just the sort of shop we’re looking for’ …and it was too good an offer to refuse, but having said it was just the sort of shop they were looking for, they ended up binning a lot of the stuff we were selling and they literally did bin it – they said they wanted to go more into the stationery side and we’d got quite well into the commercial stationery side with various businesses round and about - they finished with all that. We had quite a lot of toys and they just took all the toys and put them in the skip outside because the girls who worked for us, they stayed on and…Marie who was our longest serving, a friend of mine, said to them ‘you’re not just going to dump that are you?’ because if we’d had anything that was old stock shall I say, that had been there quite a while, I couldn’t for sake throw it away – I would give it to playgroups or whatever you know, but they had to throw everything in the skip, things that were perfectly good.

WS: They just made it into one of their stereotype shops…

BS: Well they did you see, they brought all the confectionery in; we didn’t deal with confectionery at all – we did newspapers, books, stationery and cards; I loved the cards side of it, I loved dealing with cards.

WS: They just had to conform with… they’re a national company aren’t they, they have shops all over the place have Forbuoys, and it just had to conform with everything else.

BS: But when you go in Forbuoys now, half of it is confectionery stuff. I go in occasionally for a walk round just to see.

How did your clientele change from 1968 to 1989?

Only in the way that you had a lot more people in who were not…natives of the area. You had a lot more people coming to live in Hebden Bridge whereas you absolutely knew everybody at one time, then it got while you just didn’t. I’ve nothing against that at all because it was fine, it added to the variety, it was very interesting.

WS: Their money’s just as good as the next man isn’t it really?

BS: Well it did make it more interesting.

WS: Oh yes, but at one time with you having the shop and we had the garage, we knew everybody. You could go down into the town and you were saying ‘hello,hello, hello…’

Did you sometimes find it difficult that you all knew each other’s business with you all knowing each other?

WS: Well I never did I thought it had its advantages because if somebody wasn’t in a certain place at a certain time, they were missed and then if they weren’t there for a day or two, people would say ‘we’d better go and see what’s going on’. There was more of a community feeling; some people wouldn’t like it but I thought it was okay, I thought it was a good thing.

BS: You can always tell when I’m out in the garden now, you can alwaystell if people are used to living in a small community or not because I’m out there you know and I’ll say ‘good morning’ as people pass and that. They’ll have their head down you say ‘good morning’and they either don’t answer or they look up in amazement – I think ‘well, they’re not used to living in a small community’.

Can you remember any big events in this area that happened in your lifetime?

BS: my biggest event was when Winston Churchill came after the war. As we’ve already said, my father was a great Labour man; he’d been in the war and he’d never speak about the war and when I heard Winston Churchill was coming, Mum and Dad would not go and see Winston Churchill but I was determined I was going to go so I went and I stood on the Picture House steps, near the top out of the way, and all the time I was hoping that nobody would see that I had come to watch Winston Churchill! [laughing] I didn’t want anybody telling my parents that I’d been there.

WS: Well I was there too; I can remember he stopped - he was in an open-top car wasn’t he? [Barbara talking as well] And he came and stopped in front of the Picture House and stood up; I suppose he gave the old V-sign I don’t know, and waved his hat to everybody but I mean he was a great man, there’s no doubt about it; he had his critics and he probably had his faults but he was a great man, he was the right man in the right place. When he used to come on and give his talks on the radio, you were sort of hung on to every word he said.

BS: You see my father didn’t drink, he was against drink and he always used to say ‘listen to him, he’s drunk – he’s drunk again.’

WS: Well whether he was or not I wouldn’t like to say, but he was a great man.

Why did he came to Hebden Bridge, do you know?

WS: he was electioneering BS: yes he was doing the whole country wasn’t he? WS; He was on a whistle-stop tour – he wasn’t here above two or three minutes.

BS: In those days when there was a general election they were exciting because you used to get all the big names used to come. The Co-op Hall which is where the Carlton building is, the Co-op Hall was a big hall at the top with a stage and you used to get all these big names came and they used to give election speeches from the stage, and I used to go - my father used to take me along with him regularly to these and they would be packed because of course there was no televisions or anything then.

WS: there was a lot of heckling and so on but they were all good days. There was that job was it last year at the Labour Party conference when a fella started heckling and the bouncers came and they threw him out; that’s a sign of the times. At one time, it was all part and parcel of the job, but not now. The funny thing about it is, this fella is now on some sort of committee to do with MPs so he won’t get thrown out now because they’ve co-opted him on to the committee!

What kind of people did you see at the Co-op Hall?

BS: I’m trying to think who came…

WS: Well the fella I remember as the Labour party candidate for this area BS: there was John Belcher WS: Yes, but before him was a fella called Tout – that’s going back to the limits of my memory now but he was Tout, and the slogan of the Labour party was ‘vote for Tout, keep the Tories out’. But I don’t know if he ever got in or not. But they’d always be full would these meetings – you never see anything of a candidate in that sort of situation now; they’d come and have meetings in the Trades Club as it was then. I remember going to a meeting when John Belcher was there…he got to be the Labour MP but had to leave in disgrace, but you see that’s another difference now – Belcher got mixed up with I think it was Stanley Setty they called him - he was a sort of a bit of a wide boy in those days and he got mixed up with him; taking presents from him and one thing and another -he got to be in the Board of Trade did Belcher, he got to be a sort of a Junior Minister in the Board of Trade and it was sort of obvious that he doing some diverting of things this and that way. It all came out and he resigned just like that; no covering up; he resigned

BS: the full support of the Prime Minister, I say nowadays the full support of the Prime Minister

WS: Yes that’s right, he resigned and that was it, so there was a bit more morality about it in those days, well I think so anyway. Nowadays they get away with…like Tony Blair sad about Prescott ‘well, John’s John’ – that might well be but that’s the John we don’t want you know…

BS: During the war, the wireless as they were then - we didn’t have electricity, it must have been when we still had gas mantles - the wireless was run with accumulators; the battery was a sort of glass oblong thing and it had a battery of some sort inside, and sulphuric acid I think it was. Now then at that time all the buildings were there up Commercial Street and the first one was Lord’s Electrical Shop; mother used to say…and when I think about it, I’d only be seven, eight or nine, and she would give me these two accumulators, and she’d say ‘whatever you do, don’t spill them because if you spill anything and it goes on your legs, it’ll burn like mad’. I used to walk all the way down the hill with these two accumulators, terrified! I took them into Lord’s you left them there then they gave you another two that had been charged up, so then I had to walk all the way back up the hill with these two and then they would go into the wireless and we could use it again. I used to be terrified with those things – I never knew what it was that was going to burn me, but I knew that I was going to get burnt if I didn’t carry tem carefully. Can you imagine now – I would never dream of asking somebody of that age to carry a brimful container of sulphuric acid!

I was going to ask again about the shops along Crown Street - can you remember any of the other shops on Crown Street?

BS: Well of course we were the first to move into the Carlton Building so there was no other shop in that building; they’d all been Co-op shops. Where Waites is now had been the Co-op confectionery and then it became Waites soon after we’d been there…. The next down from Waites was Boococks plumbers, the building where the Courier office is wasn’t there, that used to be Mrs Nolan’s area – she had a funny café there; she was a big woman and she swore like a trooper didn’t she?

Was she the one that had worked at Dawson City?

BS: Yes.

Can you remember anything about her?

BS: Wilfred I thing will remember more than me. All I can remember is this woman with an apron and occasionally you could get some Wall’s ice cream there.

WS: We used to go in there, sometimes we’d go in on Saturday nights for pie and peas or something like that, and you’d go in and she’d say ‘what do you buggers want?’ – she was rough but she was all right really. Such like as Tommy Beaumont and Wilbert Jackson, they used to go in regularly for coffee in a morning; she was quite a character was Ma Nolan, but there again she’d been used to dealing with navvies up there.

BS: Then down from there was Harwood’s Electricians where the Courier office is now, then there was Garnett Crabtree’s Furniture shop which is where Valet Stores is now, then there was a wooden tobacconist’s – Ted Hughes’s family…

WS: Then the local travel agent had a little…what did they call him – John Henry…

BS: Yes, but wasn’t he in that little bit…I’ve missed out the blacksmith’s but that wasn’t there when we came here but there used to be a blacksmith’s there, just past where the Courier office is now, set back with cobbles. There was the tobacconist’s, then there was Madame Head’s.



[Barbara is going through some photos]


These are three postcards that don’t say anything on – oh there are four postcards, no three postcards there that came down by my grandmother and there’s some that my grandfather got in the First World War and it’s three verses of Land of Hope and Glory [laughing] [looking at postcards]

Oh that’s very interesting.


That’s another one from the First World War, it’s the hymn Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus

That’s an old photograph of Hope Baptist Cricket Team.

Now this is has photographs used to be, this little tiny thing, and that one on the right is my grandmother and the one on the left we used to call Aunty Edith and she was no relation but she seemed to be a friend of Grandmother’s, and it was a little shop that used to be on Commercial Street, that photograph you’ve seen today, and it was what you would call a corner shop but it wasn’t on a corner, and when I think about it, it wasn’t very clean either – I never particularly liked going there. She was Edith Thomas, her husband was Thomas Thomas and it was their shop.

What did they sell there?

Like a little corner shop – just all bits and pieces of anything.

Do you know what year that cricket team is?

On the back, what does it say?

It just says ‘Uncle Jack’s seeded left’ but it doesn’t give a date

Oh right - well let me think – it would be before the war so it will be in the 1930s sometime.

Now this is an old photo - this is a Westerman’s photograph which is Alice Longstaff’s – it was Westerman’s before her - and this is my grandmother’s sister, my Great Aunt Martha, with another of her sisters there; I don’t know who the other one is, and gorgeous hats they’ve got on.

Did you used to wear a big hat with hat pins?

No, they didn’t have those sort when I was a girl. I’ve always loved wearing hats but only in dressing up did I ever wear a hat like that.


That looks like Harry Fielding there


Oh yes that’s Harry Fielding, yes.

Now this is a very old one, this is a Westerman one so this will be back at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, and this is one that came down from Mother with no names on whatsoever but this is what I’m writing on the back, but this little one here, this very young person there, looks like my grandfather, looking back at old photographs of my grandfather, so that would be at the turn of the century if he’s so young because Grandma was born in 1878 and they were both born as I remember the same year – oh, so it would be at the end of the nineteenth century that.


Did they take photographs so far back?


Yes they did.

Is that a cricket team as well?

Yes, but I don’t know which.

And this is one that always intrigues me and nobody’s ever been able to tell me and you can’t tell me what that mill is or where it is.


No…no I don’t know.


There’s nothing else in the photograph to tell you where it is, is there? Unless somebody is an expert in local mills…

There might be one or two people who would know – I might be able to find out.


You can take that if you’re interested in finding out, you can take it, but I don’t know.


Well this is where it says where it is – it’s at Eastwood.


Oh that says, yes; that’s Eastwood before they pulled all that property down.


That used to be a little mill up those stairs because I can remember in the early days my father used to carry stuff out when he started at the beginning.

[looking at photo of mill]


You’d think there’d be some clue in the rest of the photograph wouldn’t you as to where it is? [pause] Somebody interested in mills might be quite happy to see that.

Well there are people who are into it in a big way so I might be able to find out for you. I’ll ask anyway.


I’ve heard my father talk about somewhere and it were referred to as the old silk mill


Oh that was up Colden Valley wasn’t it?


I don’t really know. It would be up there.


Well that’s not up Colden Valley because it’s too open to be.

[answering phone]


Talking about the silk mill, whether – I don’t think they were actually silk mills.

I’ve heard that there were one or two.


I think up the Colden Valley there were so-called silk mills.

I don’t think they lasted that long.


No perhaps not, no.


That’s another one of Eastwood – it looks a really dilapidated area.

This amuses me. This is one of a very old bus and it says it’s ‘George’ – the George in question is my grandmother’s brother. It says ‘Very Many Happy Returns of the day George, I hope you will live long and die happy’. [laughing]

WS: Very nice sentiment anyway, especially the dieing happy, I don’t know about the living long!

Do you remember riding on any buses like that?


Wilfred might but I don’t

They’re really ancient


But they obviously sent things like that instead of birthday cards.


Porstmouth – well Portsmouth of course is up the other side of Todmorden.


That is an old photograph of ladies who used to worked at CWS weaving shed which was on Valley Road past where the garage was. It’s all Derek Parker’s property there now. Where that big yard is, that used to be all one building; there wasn’t a big yard and these ladies worked there.


I remember the open-top buses, I remember the open-top trams but I don’t think they were round for an awful long time really


That lady in the middle there is Sir Bernard Ingham’s aunty, that’s my Great Aunt Martha…that’s Nellie Shaw, Phyllis Mason, that’s Doreen Goodman’s mother – hey that’s Mary Sheard used to live next door. That’s Carrie Moses.

Why would they take a photograph of all the ones that worked there?


I don’t’ know - there must have been some special reason for getting them all together, I don’t know what it was, but that would come from my Great Aunt Martha being on that photograph, that’s where that would come from.

That’s very good actually, all that – amazing stuff.

Who are these little ones here?


Two of my uncles.

These are the old Hebden Bridge Band, 1922.


Well I was only two at the time, so I don’t…Sam Townend was the leader


This is my brother, he was a junior cornet player.

Now then I don’t know anybody on that one but it says who that is.

Birchcliffe Boys Brigade.


Yes, you know the Birchcliffe Centre?


Great occasions when the band turned out. Oh this is Sam Townsend.


And there’s Michael there look.

What’s this cup, this Lord Lascelles?


Lord Lascelles it says, yes.

The Lord Lascelles Cup – what’s that?


Well Lord Lascelles was King George the Fifth’s brother-in-law; it was his sister Princess Royal who married Lascelles wasn’t it?


I think so, yes.


The Earl of Harwood, Lord Lascelles.

So would that be like a horse race?


I don’t know – I can’t tell you anything about it I’m afraid, it’s just photographs that have come down.


He was a right stalwart of Hebden Bridge Band was Sam Townend, he did it for years.


Oh yes, h got quite portly and he had this sort of dark maroon coat


They always used to parade on Gala days and that sort of thing.


I don’t know if I’ve anything else accumulated.

Sledging – we used to do a lot of sledging in winter, I used to love going sledging.

Where did you sledge?


Well, the best place in those days – I’m going back to when I was sort of twelvish and hardly any cars so therefore the roads didn’t get salted, and in Christmas holidays all being well the snow was here and I’ve told my children this so many times and they find it incredible - we used to go right up to Mount Skip, right up to the top, you know where the pub used to be right at the top, and we would set off from there on our sledge, without stopping down into St George’s Square – it was wonderful! I can just feel it now. I had my green corduroy outfit on any my little fur trimmed hat, and we used to sledge down, because on Dodnaze which looks as though it might be level but it is a slight slant, so you didn’t really…you came down pretty quickly, no danger because there was nothing coming up, you came down pretty quickly shoom on Dodnaze and down here, and then you either came all the way round Birchcliffe this way or you cut in at the top where the garden is now and there wasn’t a garden then, it was just spare ground, we used to have a bonfire there every November, and we cut down there, down Cliffe Street, round Stubbings School and out here and down into St George’s Square. You could choose which way you wanted to go. We only did that twice a day because we had to walk all the way back up to the Skip again.

When you came down past Birchcliffe Church and on that bend by Eiffel Street, how did you keep the corner?

Well I was usually on my stomach and so you sort of swing your legs out to direct yourself round the corners – belly flat as we used to call it.


Very dangerous – highly dangerous really.


Even in those days.


The steepness of the hill..


I know – it was gorgeous

You didn’t have any accidents then?


No, I don’t remember anybody having an accident – not that there were many of us that did that. If we just went out for the night sledging, which we would do – go out sledging at night in the dark, we just used to sledge down Cliffe Street from the top where it meets Birchcliffe Road at the top because the people at the top side of Cliffe Street have little gardens across now don’t they – it was all rough land you see, and we used to sledge down to the school. We used to have races down there. I had a very good sledge that my father made me, I can just see it now – it was a really good sledge was that.


Well kids had scooters and all sorts in those days, and they just used to knock up a trolley or something with pram wheels and a bit of old timber, get some old pram wheels you know and made trolleys, but that’s all gone nowadays because people don’t – they don’t make their own entertainment.

They don’t seem to – my son and his friend used to do that when they were seven, eight sort of age –he’s eighteen now so ten years ago they were still doing things like that, but it seems to have just disappeared


We used to play football in the streets – mind you there’s a lot more traffic now and the cars are parked on the streets now so you can’t use the streets as playgrounds as you used to be able to.

Is there anything else that you want to specifically..


No I don’t think so really – we’ll probably think about things when you’ve gone.

Well it’s always the way, I mean if you get dead keen I’ll come and do a third if you like! I think this is wonderful

I’ll just ask you again – I know I asked you last time – how do you feel about doing this, what we’ve just talked about today, how does it make you feel?


We spend ages sometimes going back; one thing will spark on another thing and we go back and back


There’ll be quite a lot of people who have the same memories as we have, but there won’t be so many because I am in my eighties as you know [laughing] – I must be the oldest man in town nearly, but you always like to reminisce really, even on your own you sort of remember things – I wonder what happened to so-and-so and where’s he and what we used to do, and that sort of thing.

Do you think there’s any value to reminiscence like this, apart from enjoying it yourself – do you think when other people watch it, what do you think they will feel?


Well my children enjoy seeing things from my childhood. There have been various videos to do with the area haven’t there and they enjoy seeing them. I think the ones…my children have stayed here more or less – they’re Halifax way now – but I think perhaps those who have been away a lot aren’t just as interested, what do you think? I think Graham tends to glass over a bit when we go on about what..


‘Here we go again’ he’ll say’ but I mean that’s not the point – it’s been our life and naturally you remember these things - some things you remember with a great deal of affection, other things you think ‘that wasn’t so good really’


But don’t you think you learn from those things anyway?


Well you should do shouldn’t you? They say no experience is a bad experience; that may well be; it feels so at the time. Of course sometimes you worry about the future, you know when you see the monumental changes that there have been in a comparatively short length of time, you think ‘Good Lord’ – I mean I can’t grasp a lot of the modern things, I don’t what they’ll be like in a few years’ time if things alter at the same rate as they have done.

I just wonder sometimes – you talk about when you were growing up and when you were young adults and then going into business, you knew everybody and now there’s lots of off-comers coming in. Do you think the new people that are coming in – do you think they will form their own kind of communities, because they’re all away and they’ve decided to come and live here, they might actually…


Well I suppose they do because you come across, you read in the papers about certain groups and you think ‘well what group is that?’ and it might show photos of them, of the members of this particular group, and you don’t know any of them


Are you speaking about the Hebden Bridge area or nationally?


Well I suppose it applies nationally to a certain extent, I mean we don’t have the mixed race in Hebden Bridge that there are in the big cities.


I didn’t know which you were referring to.


Well locally, I mean there are numerous groups in the Hebden Bridge Times – you don’t even know the group or what even they’re supposed to be doing, but you can’t condemn it out of hand at all, because certainly there have been big improvements in some things and other things would have been better left as they are. Don’t change for change’s sake; it’s like the Americans say – ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ which I think is quite a good maxim really. If things are alright, leave it alone.

Would it be alright then for me to scan all those photographs?


Whatever you want.

I’ll take them all if that’s okay, because there’s a lot of different sides to it. There are old photographs of the town and the cuttings of the buildings, and then there’s all the group photos from the weaving sheds, from the cricket teams and that, there’s the old bus and then you’ve got all your family that you’ve actually talked about, so you’re going back a few generations.


Yes, when you think that that lady in the beautiful hat is that lady there [looking at a photo]. But I’ve oodles of other photographs but I don’t know whether you’d be interested or not.


Well on television, it was on about – we didn’t watch the programme specifically, we perhaps watched the end of it while we were waiting for another programme – it was on about Les Dawson and how he was mouthing things and that was a flashback to the weaving shed people who worked in the weaving sheds and with all the racket going on with the looms and one thing and another, and they could all lip read because there was no way they could make themselves heard above the racket of the machinery.


Well like I said my mother was a weaver and her mother was a weaver, and Grandma used to live underneath us, we were up here and all of a sudden we would hear this noise – it would be grandma and she would be going [Barbara made a hooting noise] – it was what they used to do in the weaving sheds because it used to carry above the sound of the clackety-clack, and when anybody did that, everybody looked up to see who was wanting attention and then they would spot who it was. Then this would start [mimicking mouthing words] and that’s just how mum and grandma used to communicate; mother would go to the window, grandma would be standing outside underneath and they would be talking through the window like this [mouthing words] and that was their way of communication, like they did in the weaving shed. I’d forgotten about that.


Did you ever go into a weaving shed at all?

Not in Hebden, no. I studied weaving at art school just for three months and I learnt how to do a warp and a weft


Yes, but when you get a whole vast area full of these looms…

When I lived in Wales there was a chap who had about five – they weren’t these big big long ones, they were five individual ones and he had them all stuffed into a littlish room and they were automatic, so you set them up, pushed the button so to speak and they just did it – they would take three hours to do a piece that big or whatever it was, so he could go off; he had a bit of a farm so he could do stuff and come back when he knew it was gonna finish and I was in that, just with those five, and that was a racket so in a big one..


I mean everybody went deaf – partially deaf


They were very dangerous things were looms you know. Those picking sticks used to come and knock the shuttle across – they used to go ‘whoom’ and there was a terrific thump.


I was at Stubbings School during the war and I used to go down to the weaving shed on Valley Road for my lunch quite often with Mother and she would always emphasize ‘don’t go anywhere near those picking sticks - you’ll break your arm if you catch one’. They were terrible things.


Then they got superseded with compressed air and that sort of thing to blow the shuttles across but they were vicious things; you could really get a nasty blow.


Mother always wanted to be a sewer; she was very good with a sewing machine, she always wanted to be a sewer but her father wouldn’t let her go into the sewing shop because all his family had always been weavers, so she had to be a weaver, and she became a weaver at twelve years old on Stubbing Holme, the Co-op.


That was the position with a lot of the girls who worked as machinists; one of the benefits of that was that they were able to make their own clothes. They worked in the garment factories sewing whatever, but they had the technique then to go and make their own clothes which was a spin-off because they weren’t all that well paid.


But when Mother started as a weaver on at the Co-op mill, which is that place further on from Stubbing Holme, not the first one where the dilapidated cars are. She started at six o’clock in the morning and they had a break at eight o’clock for breakfast. She used to be terrified of being late at six o’clock because if you were one minute late they locked the gates and you couldn’t go in, therefore you lost money; they didn’t open those gates again until eight o’clock at breakfast time, so she used to be terrified of being late for work. She used to curl her hair with rags – you had a long piece of rag, roll your hair up and tie a knot in it; she used to be so terrified of being late for work, she used to waken up in the middle of the night and take her rags down so that she’d be ready to jump out of bed but then it was no good putting them up because her hair wasn’t curly!


The Co-op mill was Robertshaw’s and the big mill was the spinning section and at the Stubbing Holme end, the single storey where Wireform are now, that was the weaving shed. We used to play cricket on there when we were lads and occasionally the ball would get knocked up onto the weaving shed roof, and one of our more active members of the group would have to shin up a drain pipe; we used to do this while they were working and it was highly dangerous – it was dangerous for the people working, never mind the lads.


The weaving shed roofs were always sloping glass roofs


Yes, but there were gulleys in between. I know one time, the ball went through a window and nearly dropped on someone working inside so I think we had to stop after that!

If your mother was a weaver and her mother was, did they ever talk about the old ways of weaving?


Not to my knowledge

It must have changed over the years.


It must, yes.


Well I’m not sure whether this started before the war or after but they got onto what they called Northrop looms which were more modern.


You could run more Northrops. Mother had four originally then she had six - ordinary Lancashire looms - mother never went on to Northrops but the people who did could run eight looms.


They were more sophisticated weren’t they and more modern.


We never had to buy any tea towels as we say now, they were pot towels then, because Mother always brought fent ends home. The beginning and end of a weaving piece would not be as good as the body of a piece – they would walk down to the warehouse with this huge piece on their shoulder but then they would cut the ends off that weren’t as they should be, and so they could bring the fent ends home, and so we always had lots of fent ends for pot towels and aprons and all sorts of things where you might want to use a bit of cotton.


Oh it was remarkable, the diversity of industry which there was round about here. The spinning, the weaving, the dying, the making up into the finished garments, engineers, farmers, poultry people, F & H Sutcliffes with their portable buildings; it was a remarkable area, it was really and such a variety of industry. I thought ‘there’ll be some industry in this town for evermore’, never expecting them all to go.

It’s a different type of industry today I suppose because Calrec make sound equipment and they do very well and they have people in there making things but it’s really high tec, but there are very few compared to what you were saying.


When that was CWS, I don’t know what they call this type of manufacture – is it verticle manufacturing – when they start with the raw material and turn out the finished garment – I think CWS at Hebden Bridge was one of the first, because they did the weaving and the spinning, they had their own dyeworks; that feller who lived opposite you over Fairfield was head dyer at one time – I’ve forgotten his name now


Not Herbert Horsfall?


Not Herbert – Herbert had his own sewing shop


Jim Willy?


That was him. But they did the spinning, the weaving, the dying, the cutting the manufacture and it was one of the first in the country I think to be what they call vertical manufacturing, where you start with the raw material and finish up with the finished product, and they were one of the first.

Were they doing that in the twenties then?


Yes, they’d do it in the twenties and after the war.

Do you know where they got the raw materials from?


The cotton would have to be imported wouldn’t it? The raw cotton would be imported from America I think or Egypt, I don’t know – it depended what they were doing.


Egyptian cotton’s usually more fine isn’t it?


That’s right but a lot came from America I think. It created an awful lot of industry of various sorts. We used to see huge wagons – not ours - with huge bales of raw cotton. They would come and deliver it to these places..


Talking of wagons, I used to like to see Maude’s Clog Soles, Walkley’s was Maude’s Clog Soles, and they used to have these huge logs used to come, I mean a full tree trunk of logs and they used to pile them outside and they had a crane and they used to fascinate me did these huge logs, trying to imagine whatever sort of a tree..


They used to turn clogs out made from the tree trunk. The tree trunk would go in and it was sawn up into the various sizes and then shaped and all the rest of it, made into clog soles

Did you wear clogs when you were little?


When I was a little lad, yes.


I did during the war, but in the weaving sheds they always wore clogs because they were warmest ones; in winter they were the warmest ones but they were the hardest wearing as well. They said they were comfortable and I suppose if you got one that was shaped to your own foot


The clogger would shape it to your foot


They all wore clogs.


The Co-op had a clogger, and Vernie Horsfall - Geoff Horsfall’s uncle - was a clogger. They were craftsmen, not just feeding it into a machine and pressing certain buttons; they had all the various tools for doing it.

[discussing whether or not to continue – seven minutes left on tape so all agreed to continue to end of tape]

Were you in the Pace Egg or did you know anybody in the Pace Egg?


They didn’t do anything when I was young, it was revived – possibly seventies or eighties.


We knew of it, the Pace Egg, but no knowledge of it in depth so to speak


I think it would be about the seventies when it was revived.


Ray Riches has been one of the main men in resurrecting that. It used to be mentioned but we didn’t really know what it was about; you knew it was some sort of play.


We never had a Christmas tree in the square like we have nowadays, but at midnight there was always Christmas Carol singing with the brass band, mind you it was always full of rather drunk people! It wasn’t sort of church choirs and things, it was just people.

People who came out of the pubs all around the square?


That’s right, and everybody else. There’d probably be a dance on at the Co-op Hall and people came out of there .


You used to go to Saturday night dances didn’t you? They didn’t do the Saturday night dances after the war did they? I don’t remember them doing, but I know Wildred used to go in his younger days, but the Co-op Hall was always used for special dances.


It was a cinema at one time.


Not in my life time.


I used to go on a Saturday afternoon, they used to have a matinee every Saturday afternoon and we used to be packed off there to the pictures in those days. They used to have films there at night, but then the Picture House was built and it was rather more up-market and it had a sloping floor whereas the Co-op Hall was flat.


I was a member of The Light Opera Society and we always used to have the Co-op Hall then, which now it’s in the cinema.


But there again, that was a drawback with it being a flat floor, there were just a few rows at the back where there was a balcony with a few raised seats there. Oh I’ve spent many happy hours there, dancing at the dances and so on.


They had one of those sparkly things in the centre you know


Yes – a Limelight. Billy Clay and his boys.


I remember at the sort of annual dances – there was a small Co-op Hall and a large Co-op Hall on the top floor and they always used to have a whist drive in the small Co-op Hall, so the older people always went to the whist drive first, then there was an interval for supper which was always – you got a plate – you got a plate with perhaps a sausage roll or a little pie and a cream bun and something else; there’d be about three things on a plate, and that was your supper – it wasn’t a buffet where you helped yourself, it was all set out on plates. It was done by the Co-op; bilious coloured cakes some of them were – yuk!


The Co-op did their own catering because they were bakers.


When it came to your turn to take a plate, you were looking to see which might be the best plate! [laughing] It was exciting at the time.

When was the Picture House built?


I don’t know - there’s a date on it somewhere as far as I know.

Wasn’t there another cinema on the park, where the memorial gardens is now?


Prior to that there was a corrugated building


I’ve heard older people refer to it as The Blood Tub. I’ve heard older people refer to it as that; they used to have serialised films and it would always end at a vitally exciting bit just as the fair maiden was strapped to the railway lines [laughing] or a man just approaching the circular saw and you had to go back the next week to see what happened! It was all good harmless entertainment. But now the things at the cinema or on television – the effects they can produce nowadays – it’s quite different.


We used to have very good Messiahs and Elijahs. Hope Baptist of course was the biggest church around and it was ideal for that. It would be packed and all the gallery would be full; mostly we would have Janet Hamilton-Smith and John Hargreaves as soprano and tenor, with mass choirs. We also had Isobel Bailey a few times; she was top draw.


It’s produced a lot of good singers has this valley; Walter Widdop, and that fella who used to be in the Light Opera and worked at Pickles, I’ve forgotten his name now, and then there was another fella from down Luddendenfoot


Walter Wells who was a lovely baritone, he was in the Light Opera when we did The Student Prince.


It hasn’t just been the backwater that one imagines it has been; it’s been quite a part of the social scene.


We’re members of a group in Halifax of over-fifties but mostly over-sixties group and they talk about their youth in Halifax and they quite often say to me ‘did you go there?’ Gosh, Halifax was like a foreign country to me. I never went to anything in Halifax apart from occasionally I went with a cousin of mine Saturday matinee at the cinema or a special shopping expedition with Mother and Grandma; we always had to go on the train because Grandma wouldn’t go on a bus, and apart from that I didn’t know anything about what happened in Halifax.


And then on a Sunday night they always used to have what they called the monkey run down the Turnpike; they used to walk up and down the Turnpike from Station Road end to Fallingroyd Bridge. Groups of boys and girls would be marching up and down, that’s where they ‘clicked’. But it was all harmless.

Did you ever do the monkey run?


No, all that had finished when I was in my teens.


I did it occasionally I think. I was nineteen when the war broke out so I mean for a year or two, yes, there’d be half a dozen

End of Tape.

Interview continues in mid sentence.


…ribbons and all sorts of things

What was the name of it?


I can’t remember the name of that; I don’t think that was Madame Head, I think Madame Head became Mrs Mitchell’s, and then the end bit of Mrs Mitchell’s was a knitting wool shop at one time.


There was a house there, you know Norman Butterworth who lived in the flat above, that was a house and – what did they call them – they had a sewing shop across, Cheethams




Atacks, yes that’s right, they lived there, then Norman Butterworth bought it along with what was Cheethams Mill where the bookies and the fish and chip shop is.


And then coming up from where the bank is at the bottom which was the District Bank, then where the chip shop is, that building, that was all Cheethams that the Atacks had, and then the next building was the Civic Hall which used to be the Liberal Club and then past the original building of the Civic Hall there was just a horrible wooden fence where the Spar supermarket is, there was nothing there, then the butcher’s used to be the Co-op greengrocers. When that finished it became a butcher’s, in fact Keith Collinge had it at one time, the Oasis used to be the Co-op tobacconists. The Co-op Furnishings were going on Carlton Street. There was the greengrocer’s at the end and then there was a long stretch of the Co-op furnishers


There was a grocer’s


Across the road. Co-op tobacconists, shoe shop, grocer’s and decorator’s at the end. So you had the furniture shop across and then you had the back entrance to Hope Baptist Sunday School. After the Co-op furnishers was the back entrance to Hope Baptist Sunday School which became the Youth Club, there was the chip shop - Brian Sutcliffe’s mother’s parent’s chip shop which is now the barber’s and Dugdale’s Electricians on the corner which is Durancyk’s Jewellers now.

It’s quite a change isn’t it?


Very few have stayed as they were – I can’t think of anybody that have stayed as they were.

Has Holt’s always been Holt’s?


Now you’ve said the one that’s stayed – Holt’s, yes.


Well it has but it hasn’t.


It’s changed.


Holt’s is now at the end but it used to be about the third shop up


They’d gardens in front hadn’t they?


Holt’s is probably in the same shop that it always was, but it’s a different shop to what it used to be.

So was Holt’s along New Road then?


No it was up Bridge Gate. Didn’t Spencer’s shop used to be there?


Spencer’s Florists was Booth’s on the other corner


They haven’t always been there. They used to be as far as I know at the other corner at the bottom of Bridge Gate, before they went. Holt’s was where it is now but it was further up the street. It’s like Adelaide Street; they took about…to widen the road.

So that’s what you’re saying – Holt’s was where it is but there was one or two other shops going out into the road


I’ve seen photographs of it being further out and from there to the other corner they had gardens in front.


There were cottages where the hairdresser’s is now.


There is still a house between Holt’s and the hairdresser’s


Arthur Holt lived in one of those houses - they had gardens. They altered that in the early thirties I think, perhaps before that – it might have been in the twenties.


I’ve seen old pictures with gardens in front.


Arthur Holt, as I say, and Muriel Holt his daughter, lived in one of them. It’s better; it used to be very dodgy at the end with the traffic and that. There used to be a policeman on point duty there.

When was that?


Well I can remember it - before the traffic lights, I don’t know when they put the traffic lights in. But there was a policeman on point duty there, perhaps not all the day, but at busy times, and busy times in those days are nowhere near the busy times which we have nowadays.

How are they different then?


There wasn’t the traffic about.


There were hardly any cars. I know where I lived up here in the thirties and forties, if anybody came up the hill in a car, everybody would come out of their houses to see where the car was going to. People used to hang their washing across the street, and woe betide a car if it drove underneath the washing and therefore the washing got dirty as it dragged along the top of the car!


Well that was a standard thing every Monday wasn’t it? Monday was always washing day


And anybody who put their washing out on a Sunday!


That was taboo.


Oh absolutely – you never put you washing out on a Sunday.


I know the first time I got a bike, I was still at school, and I was a while before I could ride my bike on a Sunday, I don’t know why. Sundays were church days or chapel or Sunday School days. We had to go to Sunday School in a morning and in an afternoon – that was our Sunday. They used to let used to let us out before the sermon had started because they used to have an opening hymn and the notices and then just prior to the parson or vicar delivering his sermon, the kids were allowed out because they knew there would be a lot of fidgeting.

Were sermons long in those days?


Well about twenty minutes I should think - twenty minutes to half an hour but that was an awful long time to a kid who didn’t want to be there in any case! [laughing]


My father didn’t go to church although he was brought up a Catholic. He was orphaned when he was a little tiny person and was brought up in a Catholic orphanage over in Preston and they were not good nuns; they were cruel nuns as it were and he was really against religion, but he always insisted that we all went to Hope Baptist which is where Mother used to go and he insisted that we went there until we were of an age to make up our own mind, and then it was up to us whether we carried on going or not, that was his doctrine.

Have you got some photographs there then?


I don’t know that they’re very interesting really, they’re just some that came up when I found the cutting.

That’s an old picture postcard; it’s written in pencil on the back and I don’t know what the year would be, but it must have been either into the teens of 1900 or the twenties, and it’s from my grandmother to her sister - ‘you will be surprised to hear that they took Mary to Fielden Hospital on Sunday morning with diphtheria. I told her you would go and see her so I will write again because Sam (that’s my grandfather who I never knew) is going with me on Saturday’. That’s your area of the country now and your house is not on that at all.


In those days you could post a letter in the morning and it would be delivered in the afternoon.

[phone ringing] Interview ends.


About Us

Wild Rose Heritage and Arts is a community group which takes it's name from the area in which we are located - the valley ("den") of the wild rose ("Heb") -  Hebden Bridge which is in Calderdale, West Yorkshire.

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Pennine Heritage Ltd.
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Hebden Bridge

Phone: 01422 844450
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