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Kathleen Priestley

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Right then – you ready?


First thing, can you tell me your name and where and when you were born?

My name is Kathleen May Priestley, I was born at 19 Ribstone Street, Banksfields, Mytholmroyd.

When were you born?

1922, May the 7th.

Can you tell me something about your family?

Well my mother came from Great…well she came from outside Great Yarmouth; up here because there was no work down there and she went into the mill.

Which mill did she go into?

My father, he came from Leeds eventually you know, before and – no, I’m telling a lie, he was born in Otley in Otley? Oh right It was my grandfather that was born in Leeds.

What type of work did your father do?

Well he was out of work when he was younger, but when they were out of work, they found them work on the roads – you know, doing road work or clearing snow and various things like that. If they didn’t do it they got their dole stopped, so they had to do it.

Did he work on the roads all his life then?

No, no – he was a barman and cellarman at the White Lion Hotel in Hebden Bridge, then he went doing seasonal work at Butlin’s at Skegness. He started off as a waiter at Skegness- there’s one at Skegness, you know…Inglemells at Skegness; he was started out there as a waiter then he gradually got up to the head of Filey Dining Hall, York Dining Hall in Filey and he was there….you know eventually he worked hisself up and he had about five hundred people under him.

Did your mother work at all?

Yes, she was a winder….she was a winder in a cotton mill.

What was a winder?

Well they made things for warp, for the weaving.

Right, okay – which mill did she work in?

That Calder Mill that burnt down here.

Oh right – just over the road – how long did she work there?

Oh for quite a while, till…till she retired.

What age was she when she retired then?

…oh I forget now, I think…I don’t know if it was sixty when they retired at their age, or whether it was earlier, I couldn’t tell yer, but….

So you were raised in Mytholmroyd mostly when you were young?

Well yes, I was brought up with my grandparents.

Which school did you go to?

Burnley Road.

Do you remember any of the teachers there?

Yes, Miss Littlemore.

And what did she teach?

She…infants, and she had; one was a kindergarten teacher at Hebden Bridge and I don’t know if the other one was at Luddendenfoot – all teachers.

What was your favourite subject at school?

Well I liked art, geography and history.

So could you draw and paint then?


Do you still like to do that now?


Did you have any brothers or sisters?

I had one sister called Blanche.

Did she go to the same school?


Was she older or younger than you?

She was younger, four years younger.

What kind of things did you do out of school – did you have hobbies, or did you play out?

Well we used to play hopscotch like they do now, and marbles…what do they call it…practically everything that they do now.

Do you think that they still do those same games now?

Yes, the play hopscotch and play French cricket and that and one thing and another.

What’s French cricket?

They have a bat and they put it against your leg and they bowl it like they do when you’re playing cricket, and if it hits a certain part of your leg you’ve to put the bat round where the ball hit you and bat from there. Sometimes it went to the back of your leg or something you know, or – it was a funny sort of a cricket!


You didn’t have wickets – your legs were your wickets.


Your legs were your wickets, yes.

Did you ever play out, on the rivers, in the woods, or owt like that?

Well – we used to go out, yes – oh, we played out when the moon was out many a time you know, in the dark. We used to knock on people’s doors and run away! I tell you what we used to do – they had knobs on their doors then, not snecks, and we used to get a clothes line, tie it to the knob of the door, tie it to a downspout and then tie it to the knob of the next door neighbour, knock on each door and they couldn’t open the door to see who it was!

Did you ever get told off for doing that?

We did when we got caught! [laughing]

How old were you when you left school?


Did you go into work then?


What did you do?


Which mill did you go into machining?

Waterside, at the top of Bridge Lanes, it’s pulled down now – yeh, Waterside.

What did you sew?

All sorts – little boys’ knickers and everything, even things for the lunatic asylums, for you know when they put them in the straight jackets – right thick mole, white mole and when you’d finished, they were padded and when you’d finished them, they were like that – they were stiff and stood out as if a person was in them. They were awful to sew.

Can you remember how much you got paid when you started?

Five and six a week (5sh 6d) and we worked Saturday mornings as well.

So you worked five days and Saturday morning?

Yes, from eight till five – no tea breaks.

How did you get from Hebden Bridge to Mytholmroyd then?

Well I lived in Hebden Bridge at the time, then; I came up to Heben Bridge when I was about ten.

Where did you live in Hebden Bridge?

…Now then where did we start off? Wood Street, what they’ve pulled down against the Fox and Goose, they’ve pulled that down, then we came down into Heptonstall Road to…what they call it – against The Bull Inn, you know that white building across there and they pulled that down, so eventually we went onto the river…by the river on Old Gate, we finished off there on Old Gate.

Can you tell me what it was like – was it Wood Street next to the Fox and Goose, what was it like there?

Well you had to go up Heptonstall Road, through what they called a ginnel and on to Wood Street, and it was on top of another house – there was a house underneath.

Was that house on the main road?

That was on the main road and we were above it.

Can you tell me what the house was like – how many rooms were in it?

Well the house had a very small kitchen, a small bedroom and a larger bedroom, outside toilets, no bathroom – we had a zinc bath.

Did you have a range in the kitchen, or just an open fire – what was that like?

We did by the fire, the fire was like a cooker at one side and a boiler at the other side, you know and it was…you’d to black lead it and we did most of the cooking on the fire.

Did your mother do a lot of baking?


What kind of things did she make?

All sorts – apple puddings in cloth – practically everything – Yorkshire puddings and beef, rice puddings and all sorts!

So you worked right across the street from where you lived?

More or less yes.

How many houses were there in Wood Street?

Well ours was number five, ours was the end house, but there were some further back (one two three) with another three at the other side.

Didn’t there used to be a chippie there – a fish and chip shop?

Yes, there was a fish and chip shop against the Fox and Goose.

Was that always there?


Can you remember it from being little?


Do you have any idea when it closed, because it’s not there now is it?

Ooh…war years, it closed down then about the war years, yes.

So were they all big families that lived in those houses?

Well, there was a family from Burnley in number two, they were a fairly big family but Greenwoods, they only had one girl next door to us, and there was me sister and meself.

When did they knock those down?

[pause] I think I was living on Old Gate at the time when they did it; I couldn’t tell yer what year.

Did you work in that same sewing shop all your working life?

Oh no, I went to….I’ve been up and down all over shop. I went to Browns and I worked there till they…they banked did Browns, then Hoyles took us because I was a younger one, and they took us ‘cos we made armour clad, a special sort of a trouser, thick trouser you know for winter, and they took us on at Hoyles, well I went into the Hoyles nursery and learnt everything the Hoyles way but my Aunty, she stopped with the Browns crowd and she made armour clad – they took the sale of the armour clad over, and then I went from there…I don’t know….I’ve been in a mill an’ all, I’ve been all over, I’ve done three or four sewing shops.

Did you always sew the same material then?


Did you like that kind of work?

No, I wanted to go into the mill with my mother and eventually I did do, I went into the mill here.

What did you do there?

I was a dobbler.

What’s a dobbler?

They have a great big frame like that, and you put your bobbins on the top, you know, your cones on the top and then you make them into bobbins, and then when you’ve done that it goes up into the spinning room and they make it into hanks, what I did, but I did the other sort of dobbling; I worked in everything bah the devil hole. I worked in the spinning machines, you know with Jennies and carding machines, ‘cos I got my finger trapped in a carding machine, and I did the blending downstairs there’s a blending machine.

A lot of young people won’t know what any of those jobs are at all – they won’t know what any of that is, so I’d like to talk a little bit more about that really. When you did blending, what did you actually do?

Well I was in a room and there were shutes on all sides, and they came from the dead hole, you know, where they broke the shoddy up, it was the shoddy place – they made for mops and things like that, it was what they called shoddy, and I had – the boys threw the stuff down from different angles you know, I’d about four shutes and I was in there on me own, and oh they were devils! They’d shout me to one shute and throw a right lot of stuff down, and I’d be underneath it! [laughing] They kept doing that, you know tormenting me ‘cos I were a girl. I had to blend it all together.

Was that on a machine?

No I did it by hand.

You didn’t have any tools?


When you’d finished with it, what did you do with it then – where did it go after that?

…I don’t know where it went then, I couldn’t tell you where it went….It went into…oh the spinning.

Were you ever a spinner?

I worked in the spinning with the Jennies, what go alternate; they should have gone alternate but one day I had a tin full of cops and I was going through, and I was nearly clear of the Jenny and he set them both off together and trapped me – he did it for a joke! He trapped me and I had this big tin in front of me like that and ‘Jenny at back of me – they were torments you know, they got up to all sorts of tricks, you had to have your wits about you!

Did you give as good as you got then?

Oh yes!

What were some of the things you did to get back then?

Oh I did all sorts.

Are you gonna tell us a few?

Hide their clothes and all sorts, put stuff in their shoes – put nails in their shoes [laughing]

What’s carding?

Well there’s a big roll at the back like leather and they go like that, and what they call it, the thing at the back – it was a great big roll like that and different ends you know, a bit like a bobbin of cotton only bigger, and they’d come through and it would make them round, make it round you see and it was flat stuff at the back, a bit like cotton wool and it come through, and when it come through it was all individuals, and they put them onto these…things at the front and made them for the weaving, for going into the shuttles.

So when you carded it, it went into the shuttles?


It’s and interesting work you did, because you did lots of different jobs in the same place.

Ooh yeh, I worked at Acre Mill in asbestos.

Oh did you? What did you do there?

I was a service girl, I worked for the Home Office.

So you were like an office worker?

No, no – it was called the Home Office, you know we were paid by the Home Office.

Oh right, I see – and what jobs did you do there?

Well we were making extensions for civilian gas masks, it was that time when they were threatening you know to do gas war, and we were making green extensions for civilian gas masks, then I then went into the Land Army when I was younger,,,I’d be…about…no I wouldn’t be twenty, I went in in January….1942 or 43 I think it was; I went into the Land Army, I volunteered.

Did you work on a farm?

Yeh, I worked on all sorts of farms.

What kind of work did you do on the farms?

Dairy work, horticulture, agriculture, timber felling.

Really – you chopped trees down?

I went into about ten counties.

So it wasn’t just in Yorkshire, it was all over England?

Mmm – I went as far as Harrogate, well just outside Harrogate doing tomatoes, cultivating tomatoes and I got right down as far as Penzance.

That’s a long way – what did you do in Penzance?

General farm work and milking.

Did you like the farm work?


What did you do after the war then?

…Oh I went back in the mill.

Did you get married?


Were you very independent then?


What sort of things did you do on special occasions like Whit Week, Easter, Christmas time, birthdays, that sort of thing?

I was in the St John Ambulance Brigade.

So you could do First Aid?

First Aid and Home Nursing, yeh.

Did you do a lot of that?


And what kind of events did you go to?

Well I never went to any, but they used to go to football matches and all sorts of events that were going you know.

Working in the mills, you would have had Wakes Week off – is that right?

Oh yes, yes,

When was Wakes Week for you then?

The first Saturday in July.

Did you go anywhere?

We used to go to Fleetwood mostly, or down to Grandma’s in Great Yarmouth.

So to the seaside?

Well it was a little seaside village.

So what sort of things did you do there?

All sorts- go on beach and one thing and another, walks and various things.

What did you do at Christmas?

All the family used to collect at Christmas time at Grandma’s, all the nieces, nephews, in-laws – you name it, everybody used to come at Christmas time to Grandma’s.

And where was that?


Was that the same place – whereabouts in Mytholmroyd was your grandma’s?

20 Jubilee Street, just up back of where I was born – moved to the other side.

Can you remember Ted Hughes at all – do you know who I mean – Ted Hughes – he was a poet who was raised in Mytholmroyd.


He went to Burnley Road School.


So you don’t remember very much of him then?

No. I’m not into poetry I’m afraid. [laughing]

Can you remember any old sayings that you used to use when you were little, or your parents or your grandparents used – any sort of Yorkshire sayings?

[pause] I can remember what Granddad used to say when he didn’t believe you but I don’t like telling yer! [laughing]

Well I won’t make you say it – you can say it if you want to, I don’t mind but you don’t have to.

Well it was – ‘I’ve heard hens break wind, well they didn’t say break wind, I’ve heard hens break wind before when the water has gone up their bum’ and I could never fathom out why hens went into water because they hate water!

Were there a lot of characters around?

Oh yes. We had a man come round every Friday with oatmeal, oatmeal cakes and people doing scissors, scissor grinders – all sorts used to come round with horses and carts.

Can you remember any of their names?

Meadowcroft were greengrocer.

In Mytholmroyd?


Where was the greengrocer?

Well he had a cart, he didn’t have a…he had a cart and a place where he kept his things but he didn’t actually have a shop I don’t think.

Were you a church-goer?


Which church did you go to?

St Michaels when I were down Mytholmroyd then I went into St James’s when I came up there.

Did you do anything special at Whitsuntide?

Well they used to have a lot of field days; the Co-op had a field day, I forget now what part of the year it was, for all the people that were in the Co-op, it were up Banksfields. The farmer threw the field open and we had races, stalls and one thing and another, but on a Good Friday we used to always walk over – we used to catch a bus to Turvin, that’s as far as it would go, then we’d walk over – this was when I was at Mytholmroyd – walk over the moors to Littleborough to the fair, there was a fair at Hollingworth Lake every Good Friday, and we did that every Good Friday, walk over moors to…it was a good stretch of moor an’ all!

That’s a good walk. What did they do at the fair, what kind of things were at the fair?

Well…coconut shys and all things like that, and rides – like there is at a normal fair now.

So very much the same now as it was then?


Was it all the family that went or did you just go with some friends?

Oh there was a gang of us

All girls together, or girls and boys?

The family and friends, there used to be a bus load of us go!

Did you ever go down the monkey run?

Time and time again, but I’d to be in for half past eight.

Can you remember what it was like on the monkey run?

Oh it were crowded sometimes…

Did you ever go on the prayer walks up Colden Valley?

No, no. We used to go to Shibden Park a lot, Shibden Park at Shibden Hall at Halifax.

What did you do there?

Well they went on the boating lake and that.

Did you like going on the boats?

No, I didn’t like water – I’ve never been swimming in my life, I don’t like water, not to that extent anyway! [laughing] I don’t even like it to drink, never mind row in it!

Did you go in the pubs?


Which was your favourite pub?

The Bull.

Why was that good then?

Because I was on the dart team.

Were you good?

Not bad.

How long were you on the dart team?

Oh a year or two.

Did you ever go to the Fox and Goose?

Yes, once.

What was it like in there?

Just ordinary people, not overcrowded. More people went to The Bull further down or The Hole In The Wall and places like that.

Was it a better crowd of people in those pubs did you think?

They were more friendly when you weren’t a crowd.

Did you ever go to the Working Men’s Club on High Street – wasn’t there a Working Men’s Club there?

My dad used to be a steward at Hebden Working Men’s Club when it was up Machpelah, that big house what’s standing on its own up Machpelah – you know where Machpelah is, well we used to have that and then eventually he went up to Heptonstall up there, and I used to go on Thursday nights so they could have a night off.

**So you worked in the pub as well? **

Mm – oh I were a Jack Of All Trades and Master Of None. [laughing]

Did you used to go to any of the dances?

Me sister was a dancer, I used to like sport. I used to like playing hockey.

Did you play for the school team?


What position did you play?

Bully off.

When you were younger, how were you expected to behave by older people – how did older people expect younger people to behave?

Seen and not heard, and if you asked for a second helping, you got sent to bed. You’d to wait till the elders had their second helping and if there were anything left you got it, if there wasn’t you didn’t. You were taught to respect your elders.

What kind of people were most respected – teachers, policeman, vicars…?

Well we had to respect the police because if you stood on the corner of the street, if you were only talking in a gang they used to get hold of you by your collar and frog-march you off, tell you to move on; you weren’t allowed to stand on a corner of a street, you had to keep moving.

What do you think about young people these days?

Ignorant, a lot of them.

In what ways?

Well they don’t respect their elders. There are some nice ones, they’re nice ones in our church because they’re taught that way.

So do you still go to St James Church?

No, I’m a Latter Day Saint now.

Why did you change?

Well I was an Atheist, and my son – I had a son – he went on to the park and and he said ‘I’ve met some right nice boys on the park, mam. They’ve been learning me to play…you know that…baseball’ and he says ‘can I bring them home?’ I says ‘certainly you can’ – I was living on Old Gate at the time. When I came to the door, they were six foot missionaries, they were the missionaries – he’d brought the missionaries home! I had three lessons and I joined the church and I’ve been there ever since, since 1964.

Do you prefer it then?


Why did you become an Atheist, being raised C of E?

Well I had a little boy and he was two and a half, and he double bronchial pneumonia and they were treating him for measles and he was in the infirmary, and he died within the week so I turned an Atheist.

Is your other son still alive?

Yeh, he’s a security guard at Burnley precinct.

Does he live in Burnley then?

No he lives about a mile and a half off where I live.

Oh right – so he stayed in Hebden Bridge mostly?

No, he’s in Todmorden with me.

Oh right, so whereabouts in Todmorden do you live?

At Ridgefoot – it’s a care home, it’s opposite the Calder College.

Do you go into the Acorn Centre at all? Do you know what I mean – it used to be a pub, the Fox and Hounds I think it was called, but now it’s a Community Centre where you can do things.


How has Hebden Bridge changed then from when you were younger till now?

More commercialised – we were free and easy; we went to bed and we didn’t have tp lock the doors, we went to bed with the windows wide open and the doors unlocked, now you’ve got to lock everything. I wouldn’t live in Hebden Bridge rent-free now.

Do you like Tod?

I like Todmorden better, yeh.

Is there anything that’s good that’s changed about it?

[pause] I don’t know – they were friendly enough were the people that I knew but I mean there’s so many people come from outside that have more or less taken the place over, and they look down on the people that are ‘locals’ as they call them.

I’d like to go back again now to when you lived at Wood Street – what was on the land behind there – was it just grass or was there trees, or did people grow vegetables there?

Well me dad had an allotment. He had to go up some steps and he had a greenhouse and a small allotment.

Was there a well there do you know?

There was a well at the bottom against…I think there was one near the Fox and Goose at one time.

Was it behind the Fox and Goose, not on Heptonstall Road but behind the building – was that where it was?

No at the side I think it was.

On the side? Oh right. The house there – did the house come with the job, working in the sewing shop?

Oh no we rented it.

Who was the landlord?

I couldn’t tell you offhand now.

Is there anything you would like to talk about that I haven’t asked about, that you think might be interesting to other people?

[pause] Well one theory I have is that everybody should have Home Nursing and First Aid training.

Why do you think they should have that?

Because it’s essential for the people now that are getting injured and one thing and another, if anybody was injured or anything like that, you wouldn’t rely on the doctor mostly – they’d know what to do, and help the doctors more, you know by doing these things. It sits through your life, because I get into bed now – I went into hospital in Huddersfield and I’m eighty-four, well I wasn’t eighty-four then, I was about eighty, and I got into bed and the sister said ‘by golly, you can get into bed quicker than I can!’ I says ‘it’s my training through the St Johns Ambulance.’

Do you think they should teach that in school?

Yes, yes.

When you did the St John’s Ambulance then, how long did you have to train with them to learn all the different things?

We had a year. I did me First Aid and Home Nursing and got the certificates for both of them. I think it’s beneficial, especially if you’ve got small children.

I must admit it would be a very useful thing to have for most people, particularly if you have children.

Can you remember any of the shops down Bridge Lanes, from the Fox and Goose down Bridge Lanes?

At the side of us was a paperer and decorator, then at the other side was Heys Greengrocers, then two doors up a house shop with sweets, there was a sweets and confectioners shop across from my house with big windows, a proper shop you know, and a small sewing shop there you know in the houses, then there was Waterside at the top then there was another sewing shop at the bottom, I that was Helliwells, there were quite a few shops in Bridge Lanes – oh, and the fish and chip shop near The Bull, oh and the Co-op at the top of here where you’ve got the car park now, that was the Co-op, a big building, the Co-op and practically… we didn’t have to go into town, you know Hebden for anything really. We hadn’t a butcher’s, we had one on Market Street – Master’s Butchers. I can remember where the war memorial garden is, there used to be four huts on there – one was a black and white UCP tripe shop, one was a café called Mrs Norland’s, one was where they did clogs, you know, put the irons on clogs and mending shoes – I don’t know who that was, and I forget what the other one was – I know there was four huts on there, all shops.

Can you remember any other shops that aren’t there now in Hebden?

Well I can remember Holts and Waites, they’ve practically all changed bah those two I think.

When you were in the sewing shop and you did all the different jobs, what was your favourite job?

Twin needling, making bib overalls.

Why was that your favourite?

Well I don’t know – it was a big machine and I liked doing it.

Was it less boring or more interesting – what do you think it was, because you said earlier that you liked art and I thought maybe there was something more artistic about it that you liked.

I don’t know – you’d got to have your wits about you because if one thread broke, you couldn’t carry on because you’d got to have the two. You know the seams in a bib overall, like that – there was a step on, like a propeller, half of the propeller your step was, well one piece of material went under there, one went on the top, and it made those seams, and you had two big bobbins of cotton, two big bobbins of cotton, and you’d two more bobbins of cotton for underneath you know. You’d got to have your wits about you, you know.

Did you get paid more money for that job?


Oh it was all the same. All the different jobs then, were they all the same pay?


Oh really. Did men get paid more than women?


A lot more, or just a bit?

Me sister started four year after me; I’d be eighteen and she was fourteen and it had only gone up to ten and six (£10 6sh) from nine to five something you know, it had only gone up that in four years.

Did you get a raise every year then?

Well it just depended what you were doing.

Can you remember anything about Helliwell’s?

No I didn’t work at Helliwell’s.

Did you used to sing any songs when you were young?

All sorts.

What were your favourite kind of songs?

.…I forget now what they called it…I know it were a hit at the time…we used to sing ‘Blue Moon’ and that sort of stuff.

What kind of toys did you have when you were little?

Not a lot I’m afraid. I can’t remember having a teddy bear, I had a doll, and I had a Manx cat. I used to put a bonnet on her and a matinee coat, and put her in me pram and tek her round the block, and she’d lay there and let me! All her kittens had tails. [laughing]

What did you call her?

I forget now what they called her, I know I had a dog called Floss and a goat called Jeanette, and some bantams and rabbits.

Did you eat the rabbits?

Mm. Dutch ones, them Dutch rabbits.

So your father had a greenhouse and he had an allotment and he had rabbits and he had chickens as well?

Mm, and he had a nanny goat and bantems.

Did you milk the goat?

No, she…they got rid of her before she started milking.

What did your sister do when she left school?

She went in the sewing shop.

Did she work there all her life as well?

Well she got married when she were twenty-one and went living down Morton-in-Marsh down in Gloucestershire.

A long way off. Do you still see her?

No, she passed away last year; multiple sclerosis.

Do you think you have any special talents?

Well I’ve been in four choirs.

So you do sing!

[laughing] I’ve sang at Belle View with the mixed choirs twice or three times, I’ve sang at Keele University, I’ve sang at Loughborough University, I’ve sang with the Black Dyke Mills Band twice, oh really, the brass band, they’re very good, and it’s only up to press that I’ve stopped singing. I’ve sang in the Hebden Over Sixties Choirs and three Church Choirs, the Relief Society which were all sisters, and the State Choir which was mixed – we’d to have an audition for that though, and then I was in the Ward Choir.

Are you gonna give us a song then?

No [laughing] I were first soprano but I’m afraid I can’t reach them top notes now.

What’s your favourite kind of music?

I like them from the shows. Musicals? Mm.

What’s your favourite musical then?

Oklahoma and all them sort of things.

Can you remember anything about your grandparents?

Oh yeh – my granddad was the signalman at Mytholmroyd West Point box when I lived here. He was at Eastwood and then he went down to Mytholmroyd and I used to take him his dinners and he used to say, when he was having his dinner, he says ‘down train’s coming Kath’ so I had to pull the signal for him and they were hard going I tell yer! They’re big – if you’re little, they’re very big!

So did he work on the trains all his life?

mm. London Midland and Scottish Railways he worked for.

There used to be a goods yard at Mytholmroyd, so there were a lot of trains in those days.

I can remember one coming off at Hawksclough, you know – Maudes Clog Soles, what used to be Maudes Clog Soles. It came off there, and it was a vegetable train and we all went scrumping apples and oranges! All boxes were smashed to smithereens you know, and we got as much fruit as we could!

Was anybody injured?

No, I don’t think so, no.

Did you used to go to the Mytholmroyd Gala or Hebden Bridge Festival?

Oh yes, I used to walk in Gala for Sunday School.

Did you make a float for it?

The youngest went on a float and we had to walk.

And it was for the church?


What other things happened at the Gala then?

Well there was all sorts, they had a Gala Queen and all that you know, plates – where you smashed plates and one thing and another, you know throw balls at plates and one thing and another, coconut shys and all sorts of stalls. I don’t know if there was a roundabout for kiddies – I think there was some roundabouts for kiddies.

Did you do anything special on your birthday?

[pause] Can’t remember…I think we had a family party, sort of.

At the church, did they do anything special at anniversaries?

Yeh, they used to have Harvest Festivals and one thing and another like they do now.

The tape will run out in about three or four minutes – what do you think about what we’ve just done, how has it made you feel?

Well, it’s very interesting indeed and maybe it will show the children a bit of respect for their elders; I wish they would because some of them are really cheeky.

Were you cheeky when you were little?

I was when I was out of sight! [laughing] I was good at home, but I let rip when I was outside – I’m afraid I was a tomboy! I went up scrumping apples one day with a friend up Banksfields, up Crabtree’s farm and she said ‘Crabtree’s coming’ so I shinned down the tree, never knowing there was a big rusty nail like that in the tree, I’ve got the mark on my leg – I’ve got a scar about that long down my leg, and I never went to hospital; me aunty took me upstairs in the attic and poured a bottle and a half of iodine in it. She took me up to attic so they wouldn’t hear me screaming, and I’ve still got the mark, and then I’ve got a faint mark down the side as it as though I’d had stitches in it but I didn’t, I never went to the doctor at all with it. I walked down from Crabtree’s farm down three fields, down through the village and home with a handkerchief round my leg! Laughing. I were a tomboy.

Is there anything else you’d like to say at all?

Do you know any good jokes?

Well I can tell you a good laugh –I don’t know if you’d laugh or not. go on then, two of my friends were Catholics and I was up at Ibeginten it was an old vicarage and it’s supposed to be haunted, and I was going for my breakfast one day and they were going to early morning Mass in Penzance, and I’d what they call it….I’d just got for my breakfast and I heard somebody giggling and laughing, and it were my two pals come back – I said ‘mass has been over quick’ and she says ‘yes, we got kicked out of church’ I says ‘for why?’ she says ‘because there were a little parson and he had to stand on a buffet to see over top of pulpit and he kept saying ‘in a little while you shall see me, and in another little while you shall not see me’ and she said ‘he were saying that and he fell off buffet and fell down flight of steps!’ [laughing] Well they killed therselves laughing – they laughed all way from Penzance right up there on bus – they got kicked out of church for laughing!

Well I’ve really enjoyed this, I hope you have as well.

Oh I like a good laugh, I make everybody laugh don’t I?




In fact when I fall over, I sit on floor laughing even when ambulance men are there; one of chaps said ‘you’ve missed your vocation missis – you should have been a comedian!’

Everybody says ‘ooh I like coming to your house’ I says ‘aye ‘cos I’m daft aren’t I?’


I’ve enjoyed it – it’s brought back a lot of memories about Hebden Bridge that you forget – all down Cuckoo Steps and shops


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.
The Birchcliffe Centre
Hebden Bridge

Phone: 01422 844450
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