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Glenda Gibson

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Can you tell me your full name, and where and when you were born?

I don’t like me name!

Well, whatever name you would like to be known as.

Glenda Gibson, and where was I born – I was born at Edge Hey Green, Colden, Hebden Bridge 1945.

What number?

Number I Cambridge Cottage, on Edge Hey Green.

What was that house like?

I haven’t a clue – I moved out of there when I was two year old when my mum was having me younger brother, so I moved to High Gate House.

Where’s that?

That’s up at High Gate next to what was the Methodist Chapel which is no longer there, and next to May’s – I don’t know whether you’ve heard of May Stocks’s shop, well I lived in the house before May’s farm. We moved there…just before I was two.

Did you live there a long time?

I lived there until I got married; my parents lived there…quite a number of years after we got married.

**What was that house like then? **

That was big – big, yes.

Can you describe some of the rooms?

We’d a big lounge, a hallway, a staircase where we used to slide down the banister [laughing], slide down the stairs on a tray straight through the hall! The kitchen was sort of a keeping kitchen with a round stone roof and stone slabs, and a wash kitchen with the old washer and rubbing board.

So did you have a big tin bucket sort of thing with possers and that, or did you have any machines?

No it was a….I’ve forgotten what they call them…it was heated by electric, a big round thing for all the water with a tap at the bottom, yes, and then me grandma lived in what would have been our front room with a scullery on the other end, so it was quite a big house, it had four bedrooms, didn’t have a bathroom.

So what was your grandmother like?

What was me grandma like? An old lady all her life, do you know what I mean by that? She never aged all the time we knew her, you know she was old, which they were weren’t they? Sat in front of t’fire, got her legs all burnt.

What was her name?


And what was her sort of married or maiden name?

Her maiden was Collinge, her married name was Collinge – she married into another lot of Collinges.

Oh right – did they have a nickname?

Only Collie.

What did she do – did she work at all?

Yes, she worked in the mill when she was younger; I have some certificates somewhere that says that she can work part-time from going to school and then she can work full-time when she was thirteen. She worked in Jack Bridge Mill

And what did she do there?

I would think she was a weaver, I’m not certain about that, but I would think she was a weaver.

Did your parents work there as well?

Yes they did, they were both weavers and then me mum actually then finished up working in the canteen at Jack Bridge Mill.

Jack Bridge Mill – is that the one just below the New Delight then?

It is the one that’s been pulled down and the new houses, yeh.

Did you ever work there?


Can you remember anything about it, what it was like – did you ever go inside?

I used to go in and see my parents from school because we went to Colden School which was just up the road from the mill.

What was it like?

Looms and noisy – very very noisy.

Do you know how many looms they had to look after?

I would think about a dozen looms each, I’m not certain but I would think you know about a dozen each, but I might be totally wrong there.

Did they ever talk about the work – did they like it, or talk about any of it?

I don’t know whether they liked it – I suppose there wasn’t anything else for them to do, I mean me dad was actually brought up on a farm as well; my grandma worked in the mill until she got married and then was a farmer’s wife.

Which one were they on?

Halstead Green at Colden.

What kind of farming did they do?

I don’t know, I’ve got photos of me dad fetching cows from up Sowerby so they must have had cattle, I don’t what else they had.

Did you have any brothers or sisters?

Yeh, I’ve three brothers, no sisters.

Are they older or younger?

Two older and one younger.

Do they still live around here?

They do. Me younger brother farms up Colden, me next brother, he’s retired now – he does old traction engines at Slack, and me other brother’s retired and he’s a gardener, he was having his own gardening business at Luddendenfoot.

Oh right – so they all stayed.


The one that’s at Slack, what’s his name?

Kenneth – do you know him? He has a lot of traction engines.

He doesn’t have two little dogs does he?

He’s one little dog; it’s the first farm or last farm at Slack.

I know somebody that lives up there, but he’s got two of these little furry dogs, curly-haired dogs – only about a foot and a half.

No, he’s only got one. He’s got two horses and he’s got loads of bantams.

Does he make a living out of farming still?


Oh sorry – he’s the tractor…

That’s his hobby.

But the other one, what does he do as a job?

He’s retired.

Oh he’s retired; what did he do?

He drove tractors and things on t’building sites.

And your younger brother then who still farms…

He’s a farmer.

And what kind of farming does he do?

I would think mainly sheep…and cows, but I think – I don’t think – he doesn’t do milking or anything, it’ll be – I don’t know to be quite honest!

Is it for beef then, do you think?

I think it must be, and his wife’s a hairdresser in Hebden Bridge.

Can you remember anything else about your grandparents?

Not a lot – I never knew my Granddad Collinge and I didn’t really know my Grandma Guy because my mum’s mum died when she was two, then he re-married and that was a bit of a complicated family. I can vaguely remember my Granddad Guy, but that’s very vaguely..

Did you like school?

Yes, I liked Colden School. I remember the teachers – Mrs Featherstone – I didn’t particularly like her because I was always in bother, for going in the fields or something. There was just three classrooms – infants, middle and top class with a canteen. There were different age groups all together; in my class I think there would be twenty to thirty. My favourite subjects were maths, art, music.

Some of my friends actually went to Australia from there, which was a big thing then to emigrate. A lot of my school friends have moved away; I don’t know why.

What school did you go to?


Did you like school?

Yes, yes I did.

Can you remember any of the teachers there?

Oh yes! Yeh, I can remember Mrs Featherstone definitely.

Was she a good teacher?

No I didn’t particularly like her.

Why was that?

I was always in bother, for going in t’fields or something.

So was she very strict then?

I don’t know – it may have been me that was naughty, I don’t know.

What was the school like then when you went there?

There was just three classrooms – infants, middle and then top class and a canteen.

So it was different age groups all together?


And how many were there in a class, in your class?

…Can’t remember – probably twenty to thirty I would think.

What were your favourite subjects?

…I liked maths, I liked art and painting and music.

Can your remember any of the other students there or any of the other people involved in the school?

Oh yeh, some of me friends actually went to Australia from there which was a big then you know then, to emigrate. I don’t know of anybody much now that was there.

So a lot of them have moved away?

Possible a lot of them have moved away, yes.

Do you think that’s because of the work situation?

I’ve no idea really.

It’s interesting that you and your family all stayed, but you’re saying a lot of people moved away – I just wondered why you thought that might be.

Don’t know – maybe they were more ambitious than us!

When did you leave school then?

I left when I was fifteen – that was Calder High School.

So when did you leave Colden School?

When did I leave Colden – when I was eleven.

And you went to Calder High.

I went to Calder High which was then in Hebden Bridge opposite the Post Office, that was the first year, and then you went on to Mytholmroyd, so it wasn’t Riverside then.

Did you like that school?

Yeh, I always liked school, I cried when I left school.

Did you really?

Yes I did.

What did you do when you left then?

I went to work in Melbourne which is now the Co-op supermarket; I went in the office there – I don’t know how long I was there – about twelve months, and then I was saving up to get married so office work wasn’t enough money so I went to work at the plastic works at Mytholmroyd – Morris Plastics.

What did you do?

Making budgie cage things, kitchen knife handles and…I don’t know, all sorts of – budgie cage, you know, the bird things and everything.

Was there like a machine that had a mould or something?

Yeh, yeh – there was moulds and then we cut them, you know – they’d come on, half a dozen on a mould then we had to trim them all off with a knife and cut them all off, or you’d stick them together, glue them together and put balls inside, but it was more money than the office work.

Was that piece work?


Can you remember your first wage there then?

I can’t, not there, but at Melbourne it would be three pound I think.

And what year was that?

…It would be 1960.

What was Melbourne Works then, what did they do there?

Trousers, trouser manufacturers.

Is that all they did – was it just a sewing shop?

Oh no it wasn’t just trousers, it was jackets as well., but it was a sewing shop – quite a big sewing shop, and me dad finished up working there and retiring from there.

But I thought he was a weaver and they didn’t do weaving.

He was but he…changed his trade ‘cos all the weaving sheds closed down didn’t they, so he worked in sewing shops but he also worked part-time for Alice Longstaff part-time from when we was little, many many many years.

What did he do?

To be quite honest I don’t know – I think he would just generally help Alice’s brother, possible framing – he wouldn’t be taking photographs or anything, but…or he’d do a bit of sweeping up or a bit of shopping or…dogsbody I think!

Did he ever talk about what it was like working there?

Yeh, they had a big dog called Mr Bess; we used to call in many a time to see him, because the back of it was like a house, the back of the shop if ever you went into it. I did. Did you? Well it was like a house at the back weren’t it, and then the studios out at the back again, so we’ve a lot of studio photographs, obviously with me dad working there.

Was he there before Alice took it over, when it was at Westermans was it called?

No, no. And then Alice lived up Colden as well.

So what was she like?

Alright, we always thought she was alright. We used to take her bluebells and beech leaves every first Sunday in May from down the wood and leave them on her doorstep, when we could pick bluebells – that was from the May morning meetings in the wood.

Did you go on those?

Yes we went every year.

And where did you go from?

From High Gate, we used to walk down and past Alice’s and down into the wood and then through the wood to the May morning meeting.

Was there just one church involved in that, or were there more than one?

Don’t know right at the beginning but it finished up by all the churches taking it in turns and I think that is how it’s still run, although I haven’t been for the past three years I think.

Why do you do that?

I think it was a custom, like everything else – like your Pace Eggers and everything, where it was said that Charles Wesley or John Wesley preached on the rock but I don’t know actually whether he ever did, but that’s where I think it stems from.

And what kind of things do you actually do there?

They just sing and say a prayer and just sing some hymns, everyone has a chin-wag then off they go home for their breakfast.

So what time of the morning is it?

It starts at eight – eight o’clock in the wood and I think my father only ever missed one year and that was when he was in the forces, so we all went as a family families used to go down and as I say we picked bluebells and beech leaves and…

How many people would go?

They varied, and I have got a little diary and I’ve forgotten to bring it with numbers that my dad used to keep. Every year he’d put down how many adults there were, how many children, how many dogs there were, whether it was wet, whether it was fine.

That’s a fascinating document.

Yeh, it’s in a little diary.

How many years does that go back?

I thought it went back further than it does actually – I think it’s only going back to about 1960 something or 70 something, so I think he must have just decided to start keeping a record.

And you still do that now then?

I did do, but as I say, I don’t know – the last few years I haven’t been, so whether anybody still keeps records or not I don’t know.

It’s a fascinating place isn’t it – do you know the carved – the circle that’s carved out – there’s a big rock with a circle carved out – do you know where I mean – at the back

Oh you mean with the hole in it, where we used to go and sit – yeh.

Who made that hole?

No idea.

What do they use it for?

No idea, we used to scramble all over when we were kids I suppose – we weren’t right interested in singing and we’d go up to play round the woods [laughing] so no, it’s like a great big hole in’t it, on top of t’hill – Stuart might tell you more because he’s studied quite a bit about the praying hole, so he might tell you more about the history of it.

So you were a church-goer then when you were young?


Is that because your family was?


Which church did you go to?

To High Gate which is just a big pile of stones now.

Was that a Methodist?

It was, yeh. Just along the road there was Broadstone which was a Baptist but we went to activities there as well, because that was us social life weren’t it?

So High Gate – is that the one where Widdop Road goes off?

Oh no it’s not, that’s a different one.

That was Slack Baptist.

So did you have any other jobs before you got married, after the plastic?

Yeh, I went to Moderna doing winding for the blankets…then after I got married I worked at Fisher Kar Parks where’s that? at Brearley, set up on the hill, newish building, saying new – it’s not new now but it was then, then I went doing wiring controls for launderettes; it used to take about a week to wire one big washer.

So you were an electrician?

Yes [laughing] Then I started having my family so I did outside catering a bit, then I went sewing trousers at Dunckleys, I worked at Shasco sewing horse gear, and then I went back into an office and I spent eighteen years until Stuart had a stroke and I gave up – I was made redundant then.

Which office was that?

That was down at Tommy Sut’s at Mytholmroyd which was sort of a circle for Melbourne because they were all part of English Fustian, so I set off at Melbourne and finished up at Tommy Sut’s.

Can you remember what sort of things you did on special days, like during Wakes Week or during Whitsun, or Christmas time?

Well Whitsuntides we used to have Whit Mondays where we’d have sports in the field, in the farmer’s field in front of the church; there was three-legged races and egg races, various races and things. We used to attend Heptonstall Gala and do the fancy dress and the floats and everything from the church. We used to go on Sunday School outings, Southport usually.

And what did you do when you went to Southport?

I suppose we’d just go on t’pleasure beach and have a picnic, we’d go in a coach – you know, all the Sunday School.

We used to have socials on a Saturday evening at the Sunday School where we’d play games.

Was that allowed?

Oh yeh, yes – we’d a really good man that used to come, he was called Mr Worthington and he was a really good…get you all going doing musical chairs and all sorts of things, pin the…you know donkey’s tail on and all them sort of things – yeh, they were good.

What about Wakes Week – did you ever do anything during Wakes Week if you worked in some of the mills?

After I worked – not really no, we used to just go down to Stuart’s sisters in Stoke-on-Trent during t’holiday, then as I say we started a family then we’d start camping as they were getting a bit older, but when we was little, we went to Redcar because my mum came from here originally so we’d go back to Redcar.

Did you like Redcar?

Well I suppose it was a seaside place then; I believe it’s a dreadful place now somebody said, so she was brought up – well she was born in Middlesborough then she went to Redcar, then moved here when she was eleven.

Do you know why the family came here from there?

I would think for work.

Me great-granddad – was it me great-granddad – in Redcar was the lifeboat on Christmas Day.

Did he survive?

No he didn’t, he was…they were in the church apparently when it went out for the lifeboats to go out and it wasn’t really his turn, but he was older so he said to one of the younger men ‘it’s Christmas Day, you stay with your family’ so they went and they were washed overboard, and he was washed up at Marske just up from Redcar, and I have a plaque in memory of him.

Did you do anything special on Christmas or around New Year time?

At Christmas my grandma would come in and we’d all open our presents; we’d have a tree with candles on it, which when you think now would be very dangerous wouldn’t it, with all these little candles lit, and I was doing piano lessons so I’d play carols and we’d sing carols.

Did you ever do mumming?

I didn’t personally no, we didn’t.

Did they ever come to your house?

Not that I remember, no. Maybe we was too far out, you know – midnight, you’re sort of talking midnight aren’t you? The first I knew about mumming was when I came down to a friend’s who lived at Queens Terrace and I stayed there one Christmas when I was in me teens, and they had some mummers that came in there and that was the first time I knew anything about mummers.

What did they do then?

They just literally came in [mmmmmm – hummin sound] and swept your hearth, put their hand out for money and off they went again.

Were there any other special days that you liked to go to – galas, parades or anything?

I can’t remember…me godmother was Betsy Collinge who lived at Mytholmroyd next to the zebra crossing, and every year she used to give me a birthday party; she was very good at playing games, chasing me round the house and under the beds and over the wardrobes and everywhere else, so I certainly remember those.

Was that when you were quite little then?

Yes, and t’British Legion Club was opposite and we used to go and hide underneath that because it was on legs, it was built up on legs.

Did you get told off for doing things like that?

Yes, probably! [laughing] We spent a lot of time up at Strines Bridge in the river and up at Rodmer Clough dam, we used to go swimming – well I was pushed in there and it was swim or drown, so that’s how I learnt to swim – in the dam.

What other things did you do when you were little then, what kind of games did you play, or toys did you have?

Well I had a doll; my friend had a big walkie-talkie doll that stood about this high and I got one, I think I’d be about eight, and I remember it was broken and it had been repaired, and that’s how I found out that there was no Father Christmas because it was a second-hand doll that my parents had had to buy for me. There used to be dolls’ hospitals where you got them repaired then – I don’t know where it was, but I know it was the doll’s hospital.

We had pets and animals – we had rabbits and me brothers had goats. Guinea pigs, bantems, we’d all sorts of things.

Did you used to sing any songs then – either at school or in church?

I remember always singing ‘Molly Malone in Dublin’s Fair City’ at school, and I always wanted to go – I thought ‘one day I’m going to go to Dublin’ and I did!

Did it match up – was reality as good as the song?

Yes I think so, yes, but mainly I suppose it was hymns from Sunday School that we used to have, and prize-giving – every year we had a big prize-giving where you got prizes for attending Sunday School and that was a big event, a big social event and then you’d have all your prizes given out.

What kind of prizes did people get?

You used to be able to request what sort of books you wanted; I think you’d probably have a limit to how much you could spend, for how many times you’d attended Sunday School, I don’t really know but I think that’s how it worked.

Can you remember any kind of big events like floods or fires or snows?

Yes, I have some photos of making an igloo in the snow up at High Gate. The field in front of the school, I can remember that being flooded and the cows up to their knees in water; it was right up to the school nearly.

The biggest snow that I remember was when I was going out with Stuart and we walked down one Sunday evening down to Hebden Bridge. There was a Hebble bus at Knowle Top buried under the snow, it was level with the walls; you couldn’t find any roads, there were just drifts and walls and blizzards. We were wrapped up, I think we’d got goggles and all sorts on, and when we came down The Buttress we went into The Swan at the bottom to get some cigarettes I think, and everybody was in shoes and everything else looking at us as if we’d come from I don’t know where! It was so different up there, yeh really different.
I remember sliding down The Buttress on me satchel; we always walked to school, we never missed school down at Calder High School.

So you walked from the tops all the way to Calder High School?

Hmm, and me dad, if he missed the Hebble bus in front of the park gates, he would run round to The Buttress and catch the bus from the top, up at the top of The Buttress and that is steep in’t it? You could just about make it, if it were just going, if you ran like mad, you could just about catch it at the top.

Can you remember like any characters – people, individuals a bit out of the ordinary?

Yeh we had a couple, two or three I would think up Colden – we used to have a lady, I’ve forgotten what they called her, she used to have a little window in the door with a curtain on and she was always peeping from behind it, so I suppose we used to torment her a little bit because she was a bit different.

There was a chappie called Harry Huts which was Aunty Betsy’s uncle I think…they were called Harry Huts, he was Harry Greenwood really but he’d have the huts – they’d call them whatever they were doing sort of thing.

There was another man that use to travel up and down on the Hebble buses who had a wooden leg which was different then I suppose. Did you have a name for him or a nickname, anything like that? It would be Peg Leg or something wouldn’t it?

Can you remember any old sayings – maybe things that your mum or your grandmum or your dad said? I mean they might have been just ordinary figures of speech back then, but I mean now we’d think of them as being a bit different.

I can’t think off the top of my head.

Did you ever do any maypole dancing?

No – no we didn’t have a maypole.

Was there just certain churches then that did that?

I think they must have done, or the squares in villages in’t it, it seems to be more up North Yorkshire doesn’t it where they have the village green and the poles and the mayole. I think they do it – do they do it at Luddenden? They have a maypole haven’t they?

**They have a maypole and also at Warley I believe. **

Yeh that’s what I meant – Warley.

**I have seen photos of Hebden with people doing it. **

Have you? Yes. But you see we lived…Hebden Bridge was a big city to us – I didn’t come down very often; we actually went to Burnley a lot more, with being up there. The Hebble bus ran over to Burnley and we used to go shopping over to Burnley.

Was there a dialect or a particular accent from up that part, up Colden way that was different to anywhere else around, or was it just Yorkshire?

Well I don’t know, a lot of people said we’re Lancashire, you know – they think we’re Lancashire.

What do you think?

Well we’re Yorkshire aren’t we? But I think it’s with being on t’Yorkshire and Lancashire border in’t it that we probably pick up some Lancashire sayings, some Yorkshire sayings.

So are you proud of being Yorkshire then?

Yes, yes, I’m a thoroughbred Tyke, I am – I’ve got so many generations ‘cos of course Redcar used to be Yorkshire; it’s not now but it used to be then, and I’ve got three generations both sides – Yorkshire, so we’re thoroughbred Tykes!

Did you wear clogs?


All the time?

No, we wouldn’t at Sunday, for Sunday school but I did for school, but much to my disgust mine had rubbers on because I was a girl and all t’boys had irons and they could spark, so we used to swap! [laughing] The playground at the back actually sloped a bit and we used to slide down on your clogs but mine wouldn’t because they were rubber, so we used to swap with t’boys so we could spark!

Were there any shops then up that way?

Oh yeh, there was two shops on Edge Hey Green; one was…forgotten what it’s called, but there was a Co-op, there was a Co-op and there was a little sweet shop – Amy’s, Aunt Amy’s, a little sweet shop, and then there was Ashburner’s down at Slack and another down at Slack, one at Slack Bottom – there was one at Slack Bottom and one at Slack Top. There was a Post Office up at Blackshaw Head and the Blue Ball, which I’ve got a photo of the Blue Ball – I don’t remember it at Blackshaw Head and it had some stickers outside saying ‘sandwiches’ or something, and I have a photo of somebody stood at the doorway of that, a really old one.

The shops at Slack then, what did they sell?

Everything the Co-op.

So it was the Co-op at Slack was it?

Sorry not at Slack, at Edge Hey Green. Slack was the little pops and crisps and chocolate and biscuits I think but the Co-op, we used to go and do all our shopping there; that was my job.

Did you get a good dividend?

Yes – I used to walk all the way from High Gate on top of the walls – I didn’t walk on the road – and walk back with the shopping.

So this bus then that used to come up – how did it go about then?

It used to come up every hour did the Hebble bus.

Did it go through Heptonstall?

No it went round Lee Wood. Stuart’s dug it out many a time in the snow coming up!

Did it go then to Slack, Colden, Blackshaw then on to Burnley – is that the way it went?


It didn’t go to Widdop then?

No, no.

Did you ever watch the Pace Egg?

I don’t remember going down to watch the Pace Egg because that was in Heptonstall and it was a different area again was Heptonstall, we just used to go to the gala at Heptonstall.

What kind of things did they have at the gala?

Floats and decorated bicycles and I think we’d have stalls.

Where was that?

I think it would be on the park or somewhere in the fields at Heptonstall, I’m not just sure where it was. I know I’ve got photos of us little sitting on the floats on the back and we had fancy dresses and these decorated bicycles with t’wheels all going round, all decorated. I went as a daffodil one year. [laughing] – a photo of a daffodil!

Did you ever go into pubs at all?

Not a lot; we’d go into the New Delight after pottery painting. I used to go to pottery painting at Colden School after I left school and we’d just go in there and have an odd drink and then come back, but I didn’t go into pubs. My mum and dad were both tee-total.

Have you been into it recently?

Into t’Newdy? Yes I have – last year I think I went into it.

Has it changed any since when you were…

Yeh I would think so, and I went into t’Top Shoulder once but that was…really old.

When did May’s shop come about then?

[pause] I can’t remember actually…it would be after we were married I would think, and I think that just snowballed from starting from a little, a little shop in the outhouse until it went into…I think she’s just about everything there now hasn’t she? You can buy anything.

[going for a drink of water]

How has it changed then – how has Colden changed or how has Hebden Bridge changed?

Well Colden’s changed…expensive houses up there now where they were cheap because people relied on the buses, whereas now they all have cars or two cars. They’ve improved a lot of the farms up there and a lot of the buildings were derelict farms you know when we were kids, and it was cheap to live up there then. I think my parents paid £800 for their house and thought they’d never get their money back on it; I think it’s worth a quarter of a million now, that’s the comparison!

But people didn’t have transport, you know there were horses and carts and we used to have to carry all the coal on sledges up the road when we were snowed in – I can remember that very well, pulling all the coal up on sledges.

Hebden Bridge was very dark and smoky; it’s been opened up a lot. If you’d asked me prior to this – what they’re doing now I’d have said it were a big improvement – I don’t think this is.

The new roadworks and the square – why? What’s wrong with that?

It’s all modernised and Hebden Bridge is a little old town that should stay a little old town [laughing]. It’s like t’yellow brick road. No, I don’t like it.

Do you think it’ll last?

Well it’s gone down and been taken up about twice or three times already hasn’t it, so I don’t know. I’ve heard of three different things that we were going to have in the centre of the square, from a sundial to a fountain to a big knife.

It’s a weaver’s – not a weaver’s…a cutter’s knife for t’English Fustian where I started.

I think they’re making it up as they go along.

And I believe that they’re taking the flags up at the old bridge now again and putting the setts back down are they, I’ve heard?

It’s rumoured.

And outside the butcher’s all was laid and then it’s all come back up, and it’s been re-laid…a lot of money.

Did you ever go in Nicky’s café?

A few times, not as a general rule – it was sort of the age, a few years older than me that went in Nciky’s café a lot, I did just go in a few times but we were frowned upon because me brother’s age group, they went in. I can remember a juke box being there, but no – I didn’t go in there. There was an institute as well at… a Men’s Institute at Edge Hey Green next to the bus stop which is pulled down now.

I’ve heard of this.

My brother used to go playing snooker there and they used to go telling stories, I think ghost stories round the fire inside.

Was this for any age then?

It would just be men; my brother would be in his teens so it must have been, yes.

What was the Men’s Institute then? I’ve heard of the building and where men used to go and talk…

I think they’d play cards or darts and snooker. They had a snooker team ‘cos my brother won a cutlery set once playing snooker.

Did it have alcohol – was it like a Working Men’s Club type of thing?

I’ve no idea – no idea – possible it did; I know me dad used to go and rake our Ken out a lot ‘cos he’d got talking and it were bedtime!

Did you ever meet Mrs Norland?

Norland’s Café – no I didn’t really, no.

I just wanted to ask about young people today then – do you think young people today had the same types of values that you and your parents had, or the values that you were taught?

No I don’t think they’re the same values but they’ve got a lot better scope with education and everything I would think.

So how are their values different?

Well they’ve all have computers and everything like that now where we had to make our own entertainment more than rely on computers and games and TVs and everything else, which we didn’t have

So you’re talking about technology – don’t you think they feel the same – feel the same things are important?

[pause] No I think they would prioritise…what can I say…material things more, I personally think they do.

In a way I’d like to go backwards to again when you were little then and…’cos it’s quite an isolated place today up where you live – did you feel like it was isolated then or…how did you feel about living up there?

I didn’t know any different, I mean they’ve built – the estate was there so there was lots of people moved in on the estate with children – we used to play with those – they used to come up to Sunday School, as I say we used to spend a lot of time at Highgate at the socials but we’d also go to Broadstone, you know and they’d come to us.
I never felt deprived because I didn’t pal about with anybody down Hebden Bridge until I was sort of in me teens and then you sort of think ‘oh they go to the pictures, they do this’ but by that time I could go and do it anyhow so when you was little you didn’t – you know, you used to…as I say we had dolls and we’d play with those and we’d make carry cots out of cardboard boxes, me brothers would make go-karts with pram wheels and things, then me brother got an allotment we used to go pinching his rhubarb and sugar! We’d make tents out of clothes horses and bedding; we didn’t have a lot of money because my dad was poorly for a long time.

When did the mill close down there then, Jack Bridge mill – do you know when it closed?

No, I can’t remember when that closed at all. I remember me dad going down to work there, down the fields and there was a cockerel in front and it used to go for you and he used to kick it up in t’air and run for t’stile! [laughing]

I ask earlier about the Collinges and if they had nicknames – I do believe that some of the other families did have names, particularly the Greenwoods and Sutcliffes – there were so many of them, they all had different kinds of nicknames. Did you know of any of those?

Only sort of Harry Huts as I say who was Harry Greenwood. Not really, no.

I just thought you might know about that.

When you worked then, how many hours did you work in the first job that you had?

It was an office job so it would be nine till five, I would think five days a week, then when I went into Mytholmroyd it was eight o’clock till five.

You didn’t have to work weekends?


Where did you get married then?

At High Gate. I had a taxi and I lived next door to it! [laughing] Nobody else walks to their own wedding, so why should I! It was only as far as from here to the telephone box, if that.

Can you remember any of the mills when they burnt down?

On Market Street?

Well any really.

In Hebden Bridge, yes. There was Waterside, I think there was Blackburn’s; there was quite a few at one time that burnt down one after another.

Did you ever go and watch any of them?

No, no.

Can you remember any of the floods that happened?

There again, the flood that I remember was up Colden where the rivers all came out – Stuart can tell you about a lot of the floods in Mytholmroyd, because I didn’t come down at them times.

Did you have your own room when you were young – you lived in quite a big house didn’t you?

I used to share with me younger brother for a long while and then they made what was called the box room into a bedroom and me older brother went in that, so me two other younger brothers went in together and I had my own room which was quite big, and then me mum and dad had their own room.

What did you have in your room then?

Wardrobes, chest of drawers, and like a bedchair that we were always getting into bother for. It had a rod across the back and you used to be able to lower it down with notches so it went into like a bed, or you could put it back up and we were always acting silly with it, and me dad would come up and we’d dive under t‘bedclothes ’cos we were playing on this chair!

We used to have paraffin lamps

Was there a fire there?

In the bedrooms yeh, but we only had those if we were sick, if we were poorly in bed we’d have a fire. I remember the icicles on the windows ‘cos we’d no central heating and it was cold. We used to breathe on the windows and make patterns till they ran down in the morning, and it was really cold, but we survived!

There was a beautiful fireplace in me brother’s bedroom with marble pillars down the side, that was still in when my parents left so what happened to it I don’t know

So that house isn’t there any more?
Oh it is, the house is, yeh. If you go on to May’s shop and go down the steps, that’s our house. We used to go to the farm next door.

Did you like the farms?


You said you had a lot of pets – what were your pets, your individual pets?

Cats – we’d three cats, and rabbits.

Were they mousers?

Yes, and they used to fetch mice in and play with ‘em and bat ‘em under t’sideboard and tease ‘em, cruel things!

It’s what they do isn’t it?

Did your parents have any hobbies or part-time activities, things they did outside work?

Me mum used to go to night school for dressmaking and make her clothes or my clothes, and me dad’s was the chapel really, the church. He was a steward there and he used to spend a lot of time there, he used to be the treasurer and as I say he worked at weekends for Alice Longstaff’s all the time we were kids that I remember.

Do you think you have any special talents or skill that you’ve either developed or not developed – things you maybe might have wanted to have done?

I wish I’d stuck with music and played an instrument. I used to play the piano and the organ but then prams took over so I had to get rid of my piano, but I always wished I’d have stuck with music carried on playing something.

I like artwork, embroidery, cross-stitches – I used to do a lot of cross-stitch.

Did lots of people do that?

I haven’t done many since I finished work full-time; I used to do them when I worked full-time in my lunch time and things.

Was that just for the pleasure of doing it?

Yes, just for relaxation, yes.

Did you ever give them away?

Oh yeh, most of them I gave away.

Have you seen the old cards that they used to have – they must have been around in the First War, in the twenties that were all embroidered – they were like postcards.

Yes, silky ones- I probably have some of those and I have a lot of the…they were like a bookmark, a silk bookmark for when people died in memory of them or something, and I’ve a lot of old clothes, me grandma’s bridesmaid things and the big family Bible.

What do you think about what we’ve just done – we’ve talked for nearly an hour now I mean – what do you think about this type of thing?

It’s interesting – it brings back memories that you forget all about doesn’t it?

Do you think it’s important that other people hear it?

Yeh, I think it gives other people an idea of how people lived and what it was like.

Did you ever do the monkey run then ?

No, that’s before my time. I used to like going on the motorbikes with tlads, well me brothers had motorbikes and we used to go – on a Friday night me oldest brother used to go all over Widdop and Trawden, and all round.

Were there a lot of motorbikes?

There were quite a lot of motorbikes up there, yeh.

Well I suppose really that’s…those are the kind of things I wanted to ask you – is there anything you’d like to talk about that I haven’t asked about – things that you can remember?

Jobs on a Saturday morning – black leading and cleaning the sinks in t’wash house; we used to have jobs to do.

Was it every day or just on a weekend?

Weekend – Saturday morning jobs usually, and shopping down at the Co-op. Special day were baking day.

What day was that?

Wednesday at our house with black-leaded and the oven at the side, but the little oven at the top – the old cat always used to liked to sit in their with a blanket ‘cos it were nice and warm, so that wasn’t used as an oven, the bottom one was used as an oven. We’d have onion and potato cake, tomato soup…

Did you have an allotment where you grew your own vegetables?

Me brother did, me oldest brother – he had an allotment down at…it wasn’t at the house, it was down at Colden Row which was…mentioning names – Lady Willy’s which was Willy Sutcliffe [laughing] and he rented a little allotment down there.

What things did he grow?

Vegetables and rhubarb and gooseberries.

Did you really need all that extra food then, or was that just something he liked to do?

I don’t know to be quite honest.

Was he the one who became the farmer then?

The gardener – he was the one who had his own gardening business and his daughter now has it and her husband.

Actually it wasn’t at Willy Sutcliffe’s when I think Colden Row, it was at down at Fielden Farm near Heptonstall, it was quite a long way off was that allotment.

Which one’s Fielden Farm?

You go down from Slack Top – Slack Bottom nearest one to Heptonstall down the lane, it was down there. Do you know where I mean?

Yeh, it goes down to Lumb Bank doesn’t it?

Yeh it was down there, so he used to have to walk quite a way. Then we used to go and pinch his rhubarb and his bag of sugar to dip it in!

There were a lot of mills down Colden Valley though at one time weren’t there?

There was, but I don’t remember any of them.

Had most of them packed in then?


I was just wondering whether it was all smoky up that valley as well.

No I don’t remember it; it was Hebden Bridge that was smoky and dark and Bridge Lanes was really dark, all behind Bridge Lanes – that was really dark.

Well it’s gonna turn itself off in a minute now, so we’ll call that a day I think. I’ll take these off first [taking microphone etc off].

**Now I need to get you to sign these really – one’s the release form; if there’s anything you want to change, like leave your name out or your address, or if you decide that you don’t want it to be published, and you can say for how many years because it will just sit on the shelf for thirty years if you want, then it would become public – or if there’s certain sections you don’t want repeated then you can name those sections, or if there’s anybody you’ve talked about and you don’t want their names, just to be anonymous, then you can leave…you can just write what their name is and they’ll just become a Mr X or Mrs X or whatever in the commentary, so if you do wanna change anything you can do. **

And that’s the evaluation basically – those four are about what I’ve done while I’m here and those are about how you feel about that side of it. [signing forms]


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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