Stuart Jackson

Stuart Jackson

Interviewed on 25.11.2011

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[TRACK 1]

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

It is the 25th of November 2011 and we are interviewing…….

 

STUART JACKSON:

Stuart Jackson.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Stuart Jackson……Year 5 Riverside Junior School.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

How long have you lived in Hebden Bridge?

 

SJ:

I’ve lived in the Calder Valley almost…..well all my life……sixty-seven years…..is that alright for you?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Have you any sisters or brothers?

 

SJ:

Yes I have two sisters and one brother. One brother’s older than me; I’ve a sister older than me and a sister that’s younger than me.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What are your brother and sister’s names?

 

SJ:

Pauline which is the youngest one…Constance Jackson, which is the next to the eldest, and Keith Jackson which is the eldest.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What school did you go to when you were younger?

 

SJ:

I went to Burnley Road School in Mytholmroyd for a time, and then when I……became eleven years old, I came here, which were the first year of Calder High School in those days, and we did twelve months here and then we moved down to Mytholmroyd, to the big school in Mytholmroyd, and we all wore short trousers [chuckling]

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Did you have a pet when you were younger?

 

SJ:

Not…..only the usual dogs and cats, which were family pets, which I didn’t have a lot to do with but I got a pet of my own when I was about…..fourteen and it were a sheep dog; she were a sheep dog.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Did you like the school you went to?

 

SJ:

Yes, I think I did…yes, I had a good time here.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What games did you play when you were a kid?

 

SJ:

……well the usual ones; football, cricket, things like that, nothing any different to what you play I don’t think……I remember one we used to play, which we used to call Topsy Topsy. Do you know whip and tops?........No?.....well it’s like a spinning thing, you know, you whipped it and it kept spinning round, and we used to colour t’tops in different colours and we made different patterns on it, and it were t’one who could make t’best patterns really who were considered t’best at it.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Was that your favourite game?

 

SJ:

No, they came in….they came in cycles did games in them days; you’d have a game of…..everybody played hopscotch and then everybody did this whip and top, then there were conkers came along, things like that, and…..no, I think really me favourite pastime in those days was swimming really; I used to do a lot of swimming than any other. I’m never very successful at anything like that.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

If you did have holidays, which was your favourite?

 

SJ:

Holidays…..we had holidays…..I would say the first holiday I really went on were from t’age of about nine, and we used to go in a…..a caravan at Morecambe - I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Morecambe or not - and it weren’t a caravan as you know now, it were half a railway carriage which were bought by two people; they bought a railway carriage, an old tram or a bus, and we used to go and stop in that for a fortnight. You’d all your own water to fetch and everything else; there were no…..there were no mod cons, there were no electricity in it at all and no gas; you went to bed when it were dark, and that were it.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Do you have any pets now?

 

SJ:

Yes. I have a dog called Sidney, and a cat called Poppet.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Did you like your job?

 

SJ:

My job, yes, it was an excellent job.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Why did you like it?

 

SJ:

Well I were a gardener all my life, so I spent a lot of time outside and we did something fresh and…we did a lot of these designs that you see in flower beds today, and it were interesting to do, but it were also cold in winter time; it weren’t a very nice job in winter, when there were two foot of snow and it were really freezing cold, but…..all in all it were a nice job….and dirty.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What do you do in your spare time?

 

SJ:

I do a little bit of farming; I take t’dogs a walk; my daughters have dogs; I do a little bit of that; I take t’dogs every morning; I do a bit of farming with my son-in-law, and a bit of gardening of course – that’s it.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

How has Hebden Bridge changed since you moved or were born here?

 

SJ:

I weren’t born here; I were born in Mytholmroyd, but…..since I was about eleven years old and….more or less I were discovering Hebden Bridge and……more or less had my recreation in Hebden Bridge, it’s changed by the amount of mill chimneys there is to be honest. There isn’t as many mill chimneys now as there were then; there were about a hundred, all belching smoke out; nobody cared; all t’buildings were black, they weren’t coloured like they are now, light coloured, they were all…..well black, straightforward black….that’s t’main way it’s changed, and it’s changed from an industrial town into a…..a tourist town basically.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What has changed the most in Hebden Bridge?

 

SJ:

Well just like I’ve just said, that’s what’s changed mostly – changing from an industrial…..town which used to make a lot of trousers for the army and uniforms; during the war they made all…..all the uniforms and it were…..it were a massive trade. All the ladies used to work in these….sewing shops they called them, whereas there’s hardly any now is there? The sewing shops – there’s a lot of shops but not sewing shops, where they used to just sit at a sewing machine and sew all day.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Is there any shops that you miss?

 

SJ:

Shops that I miss?......No because they’ve not been here have they? There’s been no Marks and Spencer’s or…Top Shop or Burton’s or anything like that; they’ve always been the same sort of shops. They’ve always been these sort of shops that you see today……you know, the uniquer type of shops.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

How….how many children do you have?

 

SJ:

I have three – three girls…….and they were born in 1966, 1968 and 1970.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What are their names?

 

SJ:

Helen, Suzanne and Ruth.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What’s your favourite shop now?

 

SJ:

My favourite shop now……..I don’t know cos I don’t do a lot of shopping [laughing], I don’t really know…I can’t answer you that one truthfully really….I don’t smoke or anything like that so I can’t say tobacconists can I, which I would say if I smoked…….

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What’s your favourite hobby?

 

SJ:

Well as I’ve said it’s….it’s farming and gardening mainly. I have no hobbies apart from that, and a little bit of do-it-yourself maybe and decorating, but that’s about it………

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

When were your born?

 

SJ:

…….1944, at the end of the Second World War, and there were no sweeties….or very few sweeties in them days, and it were another ten years before they actually came off ration, so I couldn’t go in and buy a Mars bar or a bar of chocolate, but anything like that, it was just……you could only get what you had a ration for which was about two ounces of sweets a week, and that was your lot; can you imagine that nowadays? So we….we grew up virtually without sweets…..just a few.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

How many pets have you had?

 

SJ:

Altogether?........I’ve always had a pet, or the family’s always had a pet, so there was quite a lot really - I don’t know really – about sitting down and trying to count them up….I’ve had a lot of pets through the years……

 

Who is your favourite relative?

 

Favourite relative – well I’ve only got one left now, apart from me brothers and sisters; I’ve only got one aunty and she happens….she is me favourite aunty, so it’s….it’s quite a good thing really and she’ ninety-two now; it was….and she isn’t really me aunty, she’s my uncle’s wife……and she’s the only one left; I’ve no more left……..

 

TW:

How are you doing on the questions? Have you run out?........Because I could ask one or two questions and then you could do some follow-up questions from there if you wanted to; would that be alright?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Yeah.

 

TW:

What kind of farming do you do with your

 

SJ:

It’s……beef farming; suckler cows.

 

TW:

Oh right.

 

SJ:

And I’ve had…..I’ve kept a few hens in me time, but it’s mainly what I’m involved with now are suckler cows. Suckler cows have a calf and then you don’t milk the cows or anything, just leave them on the calf; cow and calf together for two years or more you know, and then of course it’s…..hard luck for the calf you know, eventually you know.

 

TW:

Where’s the farm?

 

SJ:

Up above Jerusalem Farm.

 

TW:

Oh right.

 

SJ:

It isn’t my farm; it’s me son-in-law’s farm, you know, but I…..I go up there quite a lot and….I don’t help him as much now as I used to do obviously, but I do…..if we’ve got a move on or anything like that I help move them or…..I help calve them sometimes you know, I’m sort of midwife sometimes you know

 

TW:

Was it in the family then, farming?

 

SJ:

No…..no it weren’t, no I think I’m first; I’ve always done it – I started working on a farm when I started work, and…….no, nobody else has ever been farmers; my brother’s a painter and decorator and me sisters worked in t’sewing shop as I’ve said earlier, and me other sister worked in a solicitor’s office.

 

TW:

Oh right. What…..what made him go into farming then, cos it’s such….it’s difficult times for farmers isn’t it?

 

SJ:

Well he’s always been into farming

 

TW:

I see

 

SJ:

He were born in ’58, 1958……he’s just turned fifty now of course, and he worked…..he worked when he left school; he worked for a local farmer round here, like I did, and then he joined t’fire service which gave him a lot of free time off when his shifts weren’t on, so he sort of took up farming.

 

TW:

How many cows?

 

SJ:

He’s got about twenty-eight I think, or thirty now….but enough, enough to manage, you know…..

 

TW:

Sorry go ahead. Was there something you wanted to say?

 

SJ:

No….no, it’s alright. Go on, carry on.

 

TW:

Okay. I was just wondering, you were talking about all the chimneys all belching out smoke and you said nobody cared. Do you have any interest then in the environment being clean and that sort of thing?

 

SJ:

It’s a heck of a lot nicer now [laughing] – it is…..you know, I know…..a lot of people like to burn things…..burn coal and such like, but it can’t be anything like these mill chimneys that they used to…..I know they all added to it at the end of the day you know, but…the mill chimneys they were horrendous because they just used to throw the coal on and all of a sudden a big black cloud would come out of the chimney, and it’d go on for about quarter of an hour then it’d settle down till they threw some more on you know, and……when you looked down the Calder Valley, if you stood at the end of the Calder Valley and looked down it were horrendous with all these chimneys you know.

 

TW:

Right. Cos you’re from Mytholmroyd really aren’t you, not Hebden Bridge?

 

SJ:

I were born in Mytholmroyd, yeah…..yeah……..I lived in Hebden Bridge for quite a while.

 

TW:

What seems to have happened in the last say fifty years is that Hebden Bridge was……the industry closed down and then it went a bit depressed, and now it’s come back up as more or less a thriving place, but Mytholmroyd hasn’t seemed to have kept up with it; why do you think that is?

 

SJ:

I think Mytholmroyd’s gone dead now; it’s absolutely died off, but there used to be Thornber’s down Mytholmroyd and all these blanket firms – woollen blanket firms down Mytholmroyd, and it were quite a busy place then; there were about half a dozen butchers, same with greengrocers, three banks believe it or not, a thriving station and they’ve all gone over the years….you know, with…..with the employment going out of fashion, it……it of course turned into a commuter town more than anything else, and there’s nothing – there’s absolutely nothing there now

 

TW:

Do you think they could do something to…..make it a bit more lively?

 

SJ:

……..no, I don’t think so; to be quite honest I don’t think so; I think Hebden Bridge….they’ve concentrated their energies on Hebden Bridge and…..call it Hebden Bridge [chuckling] that’d be the way forward, not particularly Mytholmroyd; it’s not….it’s not that sort of a place I don’t think, I mean they’ve discovered Ted Hughes, I mean I walked past his house every day when I were a kid, but…..I didn’t know it were his house…..but I did do, on my way down, I lived at Banksfields which is up there, and I walked down past his house every day, but we weren’t educated to that level [??] we didn’t know anything about it.

 

TW:

So, you worked as a gardener; did you work for the Council?

 

SJ:

Yes I did, yes.

 

TW:

Oh right. And did you…..the work that you did, was it just in this area, or was it at Tod or was it all different parts

 

SJ:

It wasn’t in this area at all; it were Halifax

 

 

TW:

Oh right.

 

SJ:

I did t’Halifax area.

 

TW:

I see.

 

SJ:

All up….

 

TW:

To the Manor Heath?

 

SJ:

No, I never worked at Manor Heath; I worked up Halifax North, I worked at…..Mixenden, Illingworth, Bradshaw…..right round to Shibden; I did all that area you know.

 

TW:

Oh right, right…..do you have any other questions?....Go ahead.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Where do your children live now?

 

SJ:

Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge……and of course Luddenden…..all pretty local.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Do you like Hebden Bridge or Mytholmroyd better?

 

SJ:

I think Hebden Bridge……in one; I think it’s……it’s more going for it…..there’s more happening; you can go down Hebden Bridge town centre of a weekend and you can have a free afternoon out if you want.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Do you miss anything about Mytholmroyd?

 

SJ:

No I’d never go back; I’d never live back there. We’ll never buy another house in Mytholmroyd. I’ll always….I like living where I live now basically, here in and….Bradshaw.

 

TW:

Right. Bradshaw the other side of Halifax?

 

SJ:

Yeah.

 

TW:

Oh right.

 

SJ:

Yeah, I have a house up there and I have one down here and all you see…..

 

TW:

Are there any other questions?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Where do you live now?

 

SJ:

I live….I live at Bradshaw now, and in Hebden Bridge…..I split me time between both, but that’s more by accident than design.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Which house do you prefer….Hebden or Bradshaw?

 

SJ:

……I don’t know really……we’ve always come down here as you know at weekends, so we’re always here at weekends you know, and I’m here now and we usually come on a Friday and stop while Monday evening, and go home Tuesday morning, so…..but that’s not going to happen much longer because me daughter’s coming in before Christmas, so I won’t be then – back up Bradshaw [laughing]

 

TW:

Is the reason that you split between the two houses because you come here to see your family?

 

SJ:

That’s one of the reasons, yes, and that’s one of the reasons why we’re reluctant to get rid of it, but the other one was….I was….I was hoping me daughter would take it on eventually because she…..her children were born there, in the same house you see, so….but she is doing eventually, after a few years……

 

TW:

Right, are there any other questions from you?.....I mean if you’ve finished that’s fine, but if there are any you can ask them……..

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Yeah we’ve finished.

 

TW:

Okay. Well in that case I’d just like to say thank you to Mr Jackson for coming in so that we could talk to you about times past, and I’d just like to say thank you to the children for working so hard at working out your questions.

 

SJ:

They’ve done very well.

 

TW:

Yeah, it’s good…….can you tell me about your first memories of Hebden Bridge?

 

SJ:

The first thing I remember what we did, other than with me parents, we’d been all marshalled together on the 4th of February 1952 and….5th of February should I say, and marched up to…..no buses, just marched up to Hebden Bridge from Burnley Road School to stand in the square which was outside the Council offices, now the Town Hall, and listen to a proclamation by the Mayor of Hebden Bridge at the time, that the King had now died overnight and now the Queen Elizabeth the Second …..the King is dead, long live the Queen, and that were my earliest memory of Hebden Bridge.

 

TW:

Right. What did your parents think about the Queen?

 

SJ:

I think they were sort of……it were a new beginning for ‘em in a way, you know, I think it were a new era coming along which it has proved to be hasn’t it really you know, and I think they were quite thrilled with the idea.

 

TW:

Right.

 

SJ:

You know, we have a Queen and lucky enough to know King George the Sixth, that existed anyway, you know…..which most children don’t know now, and…..but they probably see Charles or William.

 

TW:

Oh that’s interesting, yes, thank you.

 

[END OF TRACK 1]

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