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Margaret Walton

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School children:Thirtieth of November at scout Road Primary school. Did you have any pets and home and if you did, what kind?

Margaret Walton:We had a cat and my brothers had a dog, and my father had horses – well, one horse because he went round with a horse and cart for his work.

What were meal times like?

What were meal times like?  Oh, very hectic because I was one of five children so at meal times there were always seven of us sitting down with my mother and father.

Can you remember anything that you loved to eat?

Oh I always loved Sunday roast – roast dinner, and usually it was rice pudding or apple pie and custard to finish with and it was always quite a big joint of meat, there being seven of us.

How many schools did you go to, and if you went to more than two - why?

I only went to two. I went to St James Church of England School, Mytholm, in Hebden Bridge and for the last twelve months we went to what was Central Street then, because in the July as I should be leaving at the Christmas, they put the age up to leaving school at fifteen from fourteen and Calder High School wasn’t finished, so quite a lot of the small schools, we all had to go down to Central Street for the last twelve months so I just went to those two schools.

Which school subject did you like the most?

Which school subject….I liked domestic science and……………I liked English, I wasn’t very keen on Maths but I think domestic science……..

What were lessons like?

Well, they were very strict the teachers, and you had to do as you were told and listen, and you gave no back chat to teachers or anyone, you know… elderly person.

What was your favourite holiday?

My favourite holiday?  What when I was a child?.........I think going to……….oh, we used to go to Cleveleys which was very nice, and we used to go to Cleethorpes, but in those days you kept yourselves, you didn’t have your meals like today you know, your parents took food for the lady in the boarding house or small hotel.  They cooked the food in those days, whereas now you more or less go and the hotel supplies the food.

How many jobs did you have and which was your favourite?

How many jobs did I have?  Well I trained for two years as a baker when I left school and I was there…doing baking up to being twenty-one, and then my father was ill so my parents had a greengrocery business and I left my baking to go and work in our own shop with my mother and I did that until I was married, and then when I was married we had a newsagents, and…… know, I helped in that, and then when we came back to live in Mytholmroyd I just did part-time in Waites’s shop in Mytholmroyd.

Was your job hard?

My job hard? …very hard.  I used to………..I was at Heptonstall Co-op bakery when I left school at fifteen and it was very hard.  I used to have to be up to catch a bus, it was about twenty-past seven in the morning, but we finished most days and I used to be home just turned four o’clock, but you know it was an early start, and on Saturday mornings it was half past six I started because we only worked while about eleven o’clock, but I enjoyed it very much but it was hard work, especially when it snowed and I had to walk down from Heptonstall back home [laughed].

Were children’s clothes a different style to adults?

Yes, for school we wore gym slips and blouses.  Their weren’t really a uniform like you have today with a badge on, but in the winter we wore gym slips and a woolly blouse or cardigan, and then in the summer we just wore our own cotton dresses.  

Has anything really shocked you to make you realise your values?

Yes, I suppose really some things – I can’t just think what, but……oh I can’t really think what to say, but I do think you have to look at values…………….I don’t think I’ve answered that right good!

TONY WRIGHT:Do you think values are different today than they were when you were growing up?

Yes definitely.


Well I think for one thing you value things – for Christmas for instance, you didn’t get a lot of toys, you got one toy and an annual, and usually fruit but of course with my parents having a fruit shop and always a game and a selection box, things like that, which we valued, and as an example, my birthday’s in November and so of course with it being near Christmas if I broke anything, which one year I’d had a doll for Christmas and I broke this doll and I couldn’t have another doll till my birthday the following November, and I used to push our cat Nigger, round in my doll’s pram, whereas now today they’ve everything and if they haven’t they just go out and get it don’t they, and I think in my day we really valued that, and valued what our parents did for us.

Do you have any other interesting things you want to add?

……….I still like cooking and I used to do a lot of knitting and embroidery, things like that, which nowadays I can’t knit for health reasons but I still do some embroidery, and I like to go out and about and see places.  If I go on holiday, I like to go where you can go somewhere interesting and historical places, things like that.

What has changed in your life?

What has changed in my life?...Well a lot of things really… you grow up, I mean you lose your parents and….a big change in my life was when I lost my father, which was quite sudden - my husband, I beg your pardon.  (I was looking at Helen, thinking of Helen’s father).  No, when I lost my husband, that was a very big change, it was quite sudden, and your life changes completely, and you’ve got to make a new life for yourself, you know, not just sit back and moan and groan, you’ve to go out and make new friends and other interests.

What was transport like?

Transport?  Well, just, to say, where my parents’ shop was, it was up Bridge Lanes in Hebden Bridge, I don’t know whether you know that – where you go, you come on Market Street past the Co-op and then you start going up the hill, well my parents had a greengrocer’s shop there and in the winter, in those days it was a lot of big wagons and the buses, there weren’t cars like today, but a lot of wagons and across from where my father lived, the steep bit, there was a rise there, and in bad weather all the wagons got stuck, and my two brothers used to go out; potatoes came in sacks then, in hundredweight sacks, and in those days they used to go out with the sacks and put them under the wheels and help them to go up, you know, to get up, and once they got past that bit you see it started levelling out and I mean, we thought it was fun you know, we all used to watch, all the kids…it wasn’t fun for the drivers but you know…when you think back about it, and today….the men used to snow shovel…like my father couldn’t go out with his horse and cart on the tops where he went with the greengrocery, he couldn’t do that because of the snow, and they used to like work for the Council and snow shovel – they cleared all the pavements which you see they don’t do today, but that was one of the things with the transport, you know, trying to keep it moving………..but there were trains as well, but of course they were the old stream trains.

TW:Have you got any more questions?

INTERVIEWER:Yes.  What kind of clothes did you wear when you were little?

Well I wore like I was saying, the gym slip for school and we wore black stockings which are all in fashion again now, and then at Sunday, we wore brown stockings for Saturday and Sunday and our clothes, our Sunday clothes, we could only wear them at Sunday to go to Sunday School in, and we always had, when it was the Anniversary at church, we always had a new straw hat and it had little flowers on , and the more flowers you had on it, the….it looked posh if you were well off, you know, and the more flowers you had on, and you always had a nice new dress for the Anniversary which was in June, that was at St James’s Church at Hebden Bridge.

TW:Are there any more?

INTERVIEWER:Did you wear clogs..

Oh yes, for school, I used to have some red clogs, a man that lived on Market Street, they called him Gabriel and we always called him Angel Gabriel, and the boys wore lace-ups and the girls, we usually had red ones with just a….you know how you have a bar over your shoes, well we had those and we wore those in winter, and then in summer we wore sandals.

What was your school called?

Mytholm Church of England School.

Well I’m going to ask one or two questions now and if you have any other questions that you’d like when we start talking, then just join in and ask other questions as well, okay?

Were you born then in Hebden Bridge?

Yes, I was born up Bridge Lanes where my parents had the shop and I was there until I was married, and my mother and father they had the business forty-two years, the greengrocer’s, which now it’s a garden, it’s where…well all the greenery and the trees.

What number was it?

Ninety – ninety Bridge Lanes, yes, and when my parents retired, they moved across the road and it was eighty-nine Bridge Lanes, [laughing] and when my father died and then my mother eventually came to live at Elphaborough in the flats, and the number there was ninety-eight, so she went from eighty-nine to ninety-eight [laughing].

I was going to ask about the work that our father did in the horse and cart.
He went round up to the war, he went with the horse and cart and it was set out like a shop you know, all set up, and they used to go as far over as the…you know the pub over Cockhill…Dike Nook, I don’t know what it’s right name is, I’ve forgotten what it’s called now..

The Coach and Horses?


Horse and Wagon, something like that..

Wagon and Horses, that’s it, well they used to go as far as there and they did all over Pecket side and then Old Town, I think he did Old Town first, and then he went, did Heptonstall and he did over Fairfield and up Eaves Avenue, and on a Thursday where Jack Bridge mill used to be – it was like a little market there on a Thursday and a butcher came and my father with greengrocery and a man at Todmorden, I can’t remember his name now, but he sold paraffin cos of course in them days there were paraffin lamps and than, and hardware and, I’m not sure but I think a baker and it was like a little market and they used  to go for five o’clock I think it was or six for when they’d finished work, you know, so they could get…so he did that up to..he had to go in the war then and of course when he came out of the war he wasn’t well enough so we just…my mother kept the shop going during the war and my father just worked, he didn’t go out again with the horse and cart you know after that.

What was your maiden name?

Hey [spells h e y] 

INTERVIEWER:Can you remember what the horse was called?

Well we had a few different ones.  We’d one that was called Nutty and it was a little trotty horse was that, I can only just remember it, and then…I think the last one we had, I think it was called Chestnut but I’m not right sure because you know we had one or two, but I remember Nutty because it was quite a little trotty you know, and we could….we stabled down on Stubbing Holme, you know – down on there – do you know Stubbing Holme?

TW:I live there.

Oh do you?  Well, I think, now I’m not sure, but I know Boltons had it for carpets and I think he made a live-in, a house there did he?
Yes he did
Well, my father, his cart was in one and the horses, the stables up where there used to be the goit before you go up on to the canal bank, and….you know…..

I know where you mean

It used to come up Market Street and it just trotted and it knew its way home, just went down, turned down on Stubbing Holme and……..

ANOTHER PERSON:There were rats in there weren’t there?  A few rats

MW:I believe so, yes [laughing].  In the stable, cos it were near this goit.  Do you know where I mean?  Do you know the first row of houses?

 I live in the first row, Oxford Street.

Yes.  Well, you know the buildings across, well the first one there, that was where the cart was kept and then you went just up this little passage around the side, and the stables were there, and there was another man, John Tommy, and he had his horse in and his horse kicked one of my father’s horses and they had to have it destroyed; it broke its leg.  Isn’t that coincidence that you should live on Stubbing Holme?

Well, I moved there twenty-two years ago then I moved up Eaves about ten years ago, and I’ve just moved back now; I’ve been there about a year.
Well we used to go and play up Eaves – we used to go down my the Milking Bridge – played hours down there and picnics, and then the sports ground was up at Gypsy Flat. 

Up the steeps?

Yes, where Mr Bancroft used to have his caravans, yes, well that’s where we used to go for our sports and Whit Monday field from church.

Your father got all over the place delivering vegetables. Were there no other vegetable shops in town then?

Yes, actually there was the one…my father’s were in the middle of Bridge Lanes, there was one at the bottom, just going on Market Street, it’s a book shop now, the second shop on, that was a greengrocer’s, Sam Crossley, the man that had that had that, and then in Hebden Bridge itself of course there were Holt’s which is still there, and…….I think there used to be another one….the Co-op I think had one where Maskill’s butchers is now, that used to be the Co-op one.

So when did you move to Mytholmroyd?

Thirty-seven years since this September gone.

What brought you here then?

Well, we had the business and we sold that, and we came back, and we wanted Hebden Bridge or Mytholmroyd…my husband was from Todmorden and we bought this house up Stubbs where we are now, and been there ever since.  Helen was eleven and we came back in time and you know she started Calder High then in the September you know….

INTERVIEWER:So you have lived in the United Kingdom all your life?

Yes, yes.

Margaret’s daughter Helen::You lived in Morley near Leeds.

MW:About eight and a half years, when we bought the newsagents we lived there, and then we came back and….well we moved to Blackpool didn’t we?  Well, to Thornton just briefly and….then we came back here and my husband worked for…that was Mackintosh’s then, and then of course Rowntree’s bought them out and then Nestle, so he saw all that.

How long did you live in Hebden Bridge?

I got married and we went to live up Bank Terrace up by the church at Mytholm, do you know Bank Terrace?  You know where St James’s Church is?  Do you not know that?  No, well we lived up at Bank Terrace and we was there till Helen was three…..

Margaret’s daughter Helen:Number 12 we were.

TW:My sister lives at Bank Terrace

Does she really?  What number?

Number eight.

Oh!  Yeah, we were number twelve.  Helen was born there, and we moved to Morley when she was three, to the newsagents.

Margaret’s daughter Helen.:You were here about thirty years.

MW:About thirty years, yes.

TW:Did you notice any big changes then from when you were here as a child to when you came back?

When we came  back?  Yes, there were a lot more people had come into Hebden Bridge and at that time there were the hippies which, you know, they’d come into Hebden Bridge and…then of course more and more come in don’t they you know, more people from down South, and I think, I mean a lot of the hippies, they stayed on and eventually bought houses or rented houses.

Did you get on with the hippies?

Well they never lived near me, now they lived near my brother and my brother lived up Heptonstall Road, and quite a lot came in there because [laughing] I’ll tell you a funny tale…Helen had a rabbit, when we lived in Blackpool, a relation gave her this rabbit, so when we came back here to live, we lived with my parents for about six months because a house that we’d bought, this one at Stocks Avenue, it wasn’t ready, they were longer getting their’s ready, so we didn’t know what to do with this rabbit and it was quite an old rabbit, so I said to my brother, well my sister had it for a start that lived up that road…anyway, it bit [laughing], it bit Helen’s cousin, it bit her on the bottom, she were feeding a guinea pig and it bit her, and so she wanted rid of it, so my brother that lived up Heptonstall Road said ‘oh bring it up here’, so it went up to live with my brother up Heptonstall Road, they had two girls, and it had only been there one night, or was it two, and it went missing, and they think…the hippies lived across..and it hadn’t broken out of the cage, and they think the hippies had happen made a pie with it, we don’t know [laughing], so poor Helen lost a rabbit!

What was Mytholm School like then?  It was a church school, was it very religious?

We went in…..sort of…Good Friday…religious days we went in , and if you were Catholic you didn’t go in those days, I mean they probably would today, but they had a religious person in school while we went in for the services, but we didn’t go in every week, it was just sort of like you do now, before Christmas and for Easter, before we broke up and we always had an assembly at Friday.

Margaret’s daughter Helen:They were strict weren’t they though?  You got the cane.

Ooh yes, something very naughty happened.  The boys in the top class, one day it was in winter time and we couldn’t play out in the school yard, so what we used to do, the girls went in the girls’ cloakroom and the boys was at the other end of the hall, they went in the boys, and there was this horrible day and when we came back to go back in our classroom, we heard all this bang but didn’t know what, and when we got back into the classroom the boys had been rollicking around and we had a great big cupboard, a big old heavy wood cupboard, and it was full of paint pots and it had two big doors, and then underneath it had two drawers and all the ink pots, cos we used ink pots in those days, was underneath, and these top class boys had knocked it over, and nobody would tell who it was, and they told the girls if we told who’d done it we would be in trouble, and everyone – nobody would admit – well, and we didn’t actually know – we’d an idea but we didn’t know definite – but the headmaster, Mr Huddleston, caned everybody in that class – boys and girls – once on each hand [claps hands]…and that is the only time I’ve ever had the cane, and it wasn’t for anything I’d done, but we all got it you know!

TW:During Wakes Week when everybody went on holiday, what was it like for you as a greengrocer then?

We used to close on the Saturday and come back – we wouldn’t go so far – and we hadn’t transport in those days, we’d go either to Cleveleys or to Cleethorpes, or happen Scarborough, but we always came back to open…Thursday and we’d open the shop on the Friday and the Saturday so that you didn’t leave anybody, cos we hadn’t fridges and freezers in those days, so it was only a short holiday but we used to go again then in September and we only went Saturday till Monday, came home to open on the Tuesday and we all went by coach or by train.

Did you live above the shop?

Yes we did, and we had like two houses in one – we were the only one in all the row going right up to the top of Heptonstall, you know where Heptonstall Road is now, what happened, my father bought the shop and the live-in above it which was…there was a kitchen with a stone floor at t’back of the shop with a sink in, and my mother washed all the fish and filleted it there – cold water, no hot water, and then up above we had like a sitting room and one bedroom, and as the family grew, my father bought the house above, which you went up the ginnel at the side and on to New Street – we’d like two addresses – we’d ninety Bridge Lanes and ten New Street, cos we were on two levels, and we were the only ones, eventually when, I suppose they’d saved up again, they had a staircase made the whole way through.

So was New Street in between Bridge Lanes and High Street?

High Street, that’s right

Did it run sort of parallel with it?

That’s right, yes.

What was it like living in those houses?

….really, High Street as I remember it as a girl, it was spotless.  Everybody did there door steps, swilled like they did on New Street, swilled the flags and the windows, and then later on it got…a lot of the people moved out into houses with bathrooms, and it got rough, it did – it got quite rough, bit I mean I were married then and my mother and father, they’d moved across the other side you know.

I spoke with someone who lived there, I’m not if it was New Street or High Street, but they ran sort of a hardware store and they had kerosene and petrol and that, and it caught fire and the house all burned down

That’s right

Can you remember that?

Aunt Jane’s.  That was….straight across from our bedroom windows.  What happened, the boys, my two brothers, they slept downstairs over the shop and that was their bedroom, and then the other room was a store room for the shop, and the girls of course and mum and dad, we all…the two bedrooms upstairs, and our bedroom was…sort of the shop that burnt down was there, Aunt Jane’s, and our bedroom was here…oh it was dreadful was that, I shall never forget it you know, when…I’d be about ten years old…yes…

Were people hurt in the fire?

Oh they died, they all perished, well there was just Aunt Jane and her husband, and a little dog and…..they just suffocated you know… was dreadful was that, yes…

Did they rebuild it afterwards?

No, wait a minute, now I’m not right sure……do you know I can’t remember, I think they would do because it was a long while after that before it was all pulled down, yes.

Can you remember any kind of unusual characters around that time?

Yes, a friend of my father’s [laughing] – Dow, Mr. Pilling, he lost his wife and he went to live with his daughter and unfortunately she died, and you know if I remember she were happen early forties but it were tragic, and he came to live – you know the houses off Bridge Lanes that look on to Stubbing Holme – the little houses – well he lived in one of them and they were just built into Bridge Lanes, into the hillside, and he just had a living room and a kitchen and his bed in – a very clean man and he lived to be, he didn’t just make it to a hundred, and he swept out, he was a right one for nature, and always walked, I can’t remember what he did for a living but he worked up to being retired

Margaret’s daughter Helen:
He puffed on a pipe

MW:And he puffed on a pipe, he smoked a pipe from being about twelve year old….

Margaret’s daughter Helen: He drank nettle tea didn’t he?


Margaret’s daughter Helen:
He were really healthy weren’t he, even though he puffed on his pipe, he lived…

He used to come up to my mother and father’s, we he did when they had the shop, and if they’d had beef, my mother cooked beef or pork and the dripping which you had in those days, she always saved it for him, and every morning he had, I can’t remember, but he bought teacakes as they call them now, but…what did he call them….and he had a teacake every morning for his breakfast with either pork drip on or beef drip and he lived to be nearly a hundred, and he was never ill, I never remember him being ill until he died.  And he lived under the archway, you know, we always called itlow side, you know, they had the gardens in front, then t’river, then Stubbing Holme, yes.
Calder Terrace they call it now I think.
Is that what it’s?  Yeah…..and I can also remember the Co-op mill being on fire, we saw all that…….and also Barbreck, my brother worked there.  He wasn’t there when it fired, but I think in fact, I think he were doing his National Service then, but Barbreck of course, that’s where they made furniture which is now Vale in Mytholmroyd, you know, the top of the hill, yeah, so I’ve seen quite a few fires really.  Fortunately, apart from the one in High Street, Aunt Jane and her husband, the others, nobody was burnt you know in the Co-op mill and Barbreck.

Did you know Sammy Pie?

Yes [laughing]

What was he like?

Shall I tell you a tale about Sammy Pie?  This’ll make you laugh!....Mr Holroyd as he was called, Pie Sammy, that’s what we called him, they had this bakery’s and the bakehouse was down in High Street which you’ve heard us talking about, and the shop was up another level in Heptonstall Road, and they house where they lived, well Mr Holroyd, he was really…I wouldn’t say he was an unkind man, he was with his children, he was a good father really, but I’m afraid he liked his beer, and he used to go out selling the meat pies – they made the best meat pies and custards and vanilla slices you’ve ever tasted – and what he did, he used to go around the pubs in Hebden Bridge with a big basket on his arm, and he wasn’t much bigger than any of you, he was only a little man, and he’d have it full of meat pies and custards and things, and he went round to the pubs, but what happened, when he’d sold all his pies, instead of bringing his money home for his wife and children, he drank it didn’t he!  And he used to catch the bus up home, the bus that went from Hebden Bridge to Todmorden, and…..he was always falling off it, well one day he came home and his wife was so cross at him, when he came in at the house door, there was a door there that went down with a wood staircase, that went down into the bakehouse, and she was waiting for him with an umbrella, and when he came in she was so cross because she knew there’d be no money, and she hit him with the umbrella and this door flew open and he fell down the stairs, and she told my mother, she said ‘oh I though I’d killed him’ she says, but the morning after, he got up, he was a little black and blue, but bruised, and he said to Mrs Holroyd who was called Janey, he says ‘oh Janey, I don’t know what I did last night, I must have fallen off the bus’ and he didn’t know till the day he died what had happened, that his wife had knocked him down the stairs! [laughing] And as kids, we never forgot it but we daren’t ever tell, yes…..yes…but they were funny…sorry am I interrupting?  

No, no – go on

They were things that happened and they weren’t…it weren’t they were bad parents but a lot of the men did that in those days didn’t they, you know, and she was such a worker, so she used to have a big apron with a pocket in and instead of using the till in the shop or in the bakehouse, she put in there cos he’d have it you see!  

Can you remember any of the by-names of like Greenwoods..

Yes….there were…..what did they call….Wackies were Greenwoods, and Bushies were Greenwoods, and still you know, there’s still families of them living….Wackies, Bushies and there were another……..eeh I can’t remember it now, but there were three and they were all Greenwoods, but they were all…Bushies and Wackies…yeah.

Were there any other shops down Bridge Lanes then?

Oh yes, yes, starting from the top there was a little hairdresser’s, about the second house down from the top of Bridge Lanes, and then there was what they called the Lodging House, they were men that had come over from Ireland mainly when they were building the reservoirs at Gorple, and they came over, while what happened, when they were building Gorple reservoir, they had all these huts like that they slept in, but after it was built a lot of them didn’t go back, so they were called Friths that had it, and it was like where all the men slept, and then coming down from that there was a little baker’s, they’d sweets and she made home-made teacakes and cakes, and then there was my parents’ greengrocer’s, and next door but one to that there was the painter and decorator’s, Oldfield and Spencer’s, and…on the other side of the road there was a newsagent’s at the top, and then another shop that sold bread, they didn’t bake it, I think it was baked by Breezes, but they sold bread, and there was a little sweet shop, Miss Gill’s, then when you turned down to Stubbing Holme there was a Co-op butcher’s and Co-op grocer’s, a fish shop across the road from that, fish and chip shop, and a cobbler’s, and a pub, the Bull, Bull Inn, and….a sewing shop at the bottom, and then you were on to Market Street, so it was shops really both sides.

That’s changed quite a bit

It has, yes…… fact, you know where…straight across from…..where the big window is when you come up from Stubbing Holme, well that was the fish and chip shop, then the one next door, you go up a few steps to it, well when I was a little girl, that was a dressmaker’s and she used to make our winter coats you know, and a dress for the anniversary and that, and Mrs Holroyd’s son and his daughter moved when they pulled High Street down, they moved into that until…they were in for a few years anyway yeah, yeah…

Did your father or your brothers, did they go into pubs at all?

Yes, they liked a drink, my father did but he sort of didn’t go every week, it was…Monday was our half day and he’d…

Do you know where he went?

Yeah, [laughing]… he used to go down Hebden Bridge at Monday and…it was half day, my mother would get the windows ready for doing in the morning and my dad would do his jobs, and then he’d go down to Hebden Bridge to pay the bills to sort of…William Clegg’s, they sold potatoes and the bananas….which during the war there wasn’t any, but when they started coming back again they had a room where they ripened all the bananas, that was up Bridge Gate, you know where Bamboo shop is now, where they sell jumpers and handbags, well it was there and in that yard where the sweet shop is, that was where they had the wagons for the potatoes you know, and… he’d go and pay the bills and at Holt’s and Brennan and Taylor’s, they were wholesalers they were, and then him and my mother they’d go onto town and have some tea, and they came back and my father would go for drink then, they’d go to the cinema or…my mother liked The Palace, it were variety, came back, my father used to go in either to the Con Club or to t’Railway pub and have a few bevies, and…he’d go out at Saturday night but more or less at Saturday night just went to t’Fox and Goose at the top, but during the week he didn’t go out because he’d be too tired, you know coming back off the tops…

So were you church-goers, were your family big church-goers?


And which church – was it Mytholm?

Well my mother was brought up at St Michael’s in Mytholmroyd and went to school here, and my father, their family went to St James’s, so really we kept connections with both, we always came to the harvest and anniversaries at St Michael’s, but we went to Sunday School and church at Mytholm at St James’s you know…which I now go to Mytholmroyd because I don’t drive and in winter it’s…I’ve gone you know for a few years like now.

Did any of your family ever work in any of the mills then?

My mother, before she was married

Oh really?  Which one?

She worked at…Roger Shackleton’s at Hawksclough

And what did she do?

She was a weaver, yeah, and she had to have a box to stand on because she couldn’t reach the looms, she were too small, yeah…

How long did she do that for?

Up to being married, yes.

Did she ever teach you any of the sign language or the mouthing as they called it?

No, I think your Grandma, my husband’s mother, Grandma used to do it cos she worked in the mill at Todmorden, Helen’s other Grandma, and she loved it.  She worked in all her life and she, mind you she shouted a bit sometimes, I think with working in the mill you know

Margaret’s daughter Helen:Yes but they could lip read

Can you remember any…like skipping rhymes?  Songs, that sort of thing from when you were young?

………I don’t know really, I can’t…we used to skip, you know two turning and you went in, I can’t thing what now… I know we used to sayMiss Nan Knock-About wouldn’t wash her faceand everybody said it was a real disgracemud soot and marmalade made her cheeks and chinand I’ve forgotten it now…[laughing]…it’s funny how at some point that stuck with me and, that always sticks with me

Did you ever go mumming at all?

Yes, yeah we used to do, yes at New Year’s Eve

They won’t know at all

No they don’t do it now do they?

I don’t think they do

Mind you, I think t’way things are, parents daren’t

Margaret’s daughter Helen:They just used to wander in didn’t they?  It was scary sometimes you know, but

Can you explain what mumming was then for everybody?

Well, you used to dress up and at New Year’s Eve you went to people’s houses and you just mummed [hummed], you never spoke, you just [hummed] all the time and you went round, and in those days we’d coal fires and your coal, and they used to go and reckon to wipe the hearth and to wish you luck.  I don’t know what the real meaning was, do you know what it really was?

I think it’s just one of the old traditions for good luck

Margaret’s daughter Helen:To see a black person wasn’t it, you know anybody with dark hair because even now sometimes I still get it – the first person on New Year’s Day

MW:You used to take a piece of coal in didn’t you, yes,  to wish them luck for the start of the New Year.

But how did you dress up?

I think we used to put me grandma’s shawl on and just happen our gym slips, I don’t know – black stockings we wore and I think with it being New Year’s Eve we probably had shoes on, we only wore clogs at school you know, yeah.

Did you black your face?

Yes we used to black our face and put a pair of my mother’s or my grandma’s old black gloves on and go with a cloth, we used to black our face with soap

Whereabouts would you do that?

Well we’d go all on New Street and up High Street, that was about as far as we’d go.

Did you ever get anything?

I think we would, but I don’t think we got money, I’ve a feeling we got sweets like they do now at…..

Do you any old sayings?  Yorkshire sayings or Hebden Bridge sayings?

I’m always saying ‘em aren’t I?  You know they come naturally and you don’t think till somebody’ll say ‘oh you’re from Yorkshire aren’t you?’……I can’t think…I know when I go on holiday, even if I’ve been abroad, folk’ll say ‘you’re from Yorkshire aren’t you?’ I can’t think of any [laughing] I’m sorry!

Can you remember any of all the floods?  Did it flood down that part of Hebden?

Yeas, I can remember only ever once it were really bad, and it came up Bridge Lanes.  It came up about…you know where the sewing shop is, the cuckoo steps, well just further up, it had never been known, but what had happened, I think they’d let the reservoir off, I don’t know whether it was Gorple, one of the reservoirs, I think probably Gorple, they said they’d let some of the water off and they’d let too much.  Market Street was just awash and you know it was really bad.

When was that?

…………it’s hard to say…..oh I bet it would be fifty years ago……..but it’s never been know, I mean it does come out in the centre of Hebden Bridge and up the grates but nothing like that was.  I were just trying to think, I would have left school then……I’d say fifty years.

I need to ask you what  your full name is and when you were born

Margaret Hey

And when were you born?

February 23rd, just had a birthday last week.  1933.  A long time ago.

So all these changes that have happened in Mytholmroyd and in Hebden Bridge, do you think any of them have been good changes?

Some, I think some have, but I think some…you know…I know you’ve to go with the times haven’t you, you’ve to move with the times, but things don’t…I mean on a Thursday, you’d go to the market, you always met somebody you knew and you had a chat, even since I’ve been married you know, but this last what…ten years…I go up Hebden Bridge, I don’t know anybody, very rare…it’s probably the same all over, but I have noticed that you know, quite a few of my age group, they’ll say, fair enough some of them’s died, but you used to have a chat and you might go in and have a cup of tea, whereas you go now and you don’t know anyone.  But we’re in modern times and we hope it’s going to be for the better don’t we…

What did you do on Plot Night?

On Plot Night?  Well I think we used to have a plot on Stubbing Holme.  


You know where the house is where you live there, and then there was all – I don’t know what it’s like now, I haven’t been on for years, it was all rough land there, and then you know there were a road where me dad went with his cart and the stables, we used to have it on there.  We used to sort of join in

ANOTHER PERSON:And fireworks

MW:Yes, we used to just have a box, not as many as you have today, there might be a box and a small box and a packet of sparklers, but…and after the war when VE Day was announced, up High Street, they built one, they fetched all their old furniture out, there were a family called Spinks, they were off-comers in them days but I mean they’ve been in Hebden Bridge now…..think one of their daughters is still here, and they built it – wonder it didn’t crack the glass – and that was on VE night when victory went on all night you know, but we didn’t have a plot normally there.

Well are there any other questions the children would like to ask?

ONE OF THE CHILDREN:How many brothers and sisters did you have?

I had two brothers and two sisters.  I’m the middle one.  I had a brother older than me and a sister than me, and then a brother and a sister.  My eldest brother, he’s died now, but there’s still the four of us left.

What was your greengrocer’s shop called?

It was just called Bob Hey.  My father was called Robert but he was called Bob, and everybody said Bob Hey’s.  If you ask one of the women now they’d say ‘oh yes we used to go to Bob Hey’s’, yeah….and we sold all sorts…greengrocery, fish, when the goods were rationed we’d butter and sugar and lard and….jam, sweets…..

TW:Was your grandfather a greengrocer?

No, no, my grandfather on my mother’s side, he was a farmer, and they used to, they were a family of seven, and the eldest lived on Scout End here at the farm, I think my granddad was like a farmer’s [incomp] and then my mother’s two brothers who were killed in the First World War, and my mother and two – an older sister and a younger sister – came to Scout Road School, and then they got a farm up Cragg Vale which is called Broadhead End now, and in fact a vicar and his wife have come to live in it this year, but they help out, they’ve retired but they just help out at the churches you know, if anyone’s without vicar, and so the younger ones all went to Cragg Vale School, so they were sort of split cos they lived Cragg Vale end and my mother came here, and my father on my dad’s side, he was like a….I don’t know, I’m not right sure, but I think he worked for Simpson & Hinchcliffe as like a carrier.  I’m not right sure on that but he was a carrier, but he died young, and they’ve six boys, one six months old and the eldest fourteen.

Unless there are any other questions we might stop there.

I’d just like to say thank all the children for coming up with the questions and being part of this project, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it.  Thank you as well
You’re welcome.  I hope I’ve told them something interesting!

Do you think it’s important that young people should [incomp] the older generation?

Yes definitely, yes.  I think it’s something that we should, we all should keep up and remember, you know because

Margaret’s daughter Helen:You know, like you say at Christmas and things are more easy, just go to the supermarket and buy all your sweets and turkeys, whereas you only had a turkey every Christmas and certain foods didn’t you, you didn’t…

MW:I think it’s also nice to remember things that have happened, you know and right through I like to know my parents, you know, they’ve talked to us, you know to their children…

Don’t you think it’s important to remember

Yes, yes, I mean there’s good things and bad things come out of it, but we like to think they’re good things a lot of them don’t we you know, and look at the bright side. I mean like I remember the war days which these of course won’t know about and we hope we never do again, although there are wars going on and on but we hope never in our country, but you don’t forget…I mean when we were at school, we used to go in the cellar under the school when the siren went.  Under the school there was a cellar where the coke and that and there was another cellar, and half of us went into the cellar under the church and sort of into the crypt when the sirens went, and we all had our gas masks, yes, so you know, things like that you don’t….and yet we’d happy days, we used to sing in the shelters you know, you’d to get up and say poetry [clearing away in background]from the front line you see, and they asked Hebden Bridge people, would they try and take them in, you know sort of at weekends, make them welcome in their homes which a lot of us did, and we had one that came and he was called Ted and he was from Wales, and do you know to him dieing about two years since, my eldest sister, well my brother he died, but they were always in touch.  Every Christmas we got a card from him you know, and..but some of them in High Street were a bit rough, they were a bit naughty and they had some of them staying all night, and I remember one particular, her husband came home on leave unexpected and of course there were fights and it got like that you know
Was that during the war?

That was during the war, but you know up to my young days, I’d be in my teens then you know, but it was…it got a bit rough [laughing] but I mean you can’t do with telling t’kiddies that can you?
Not really, no


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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