Mrs Davenport

Mrs Davenport

Interviewed on 24.11.2011

Listen to the interview:

Download a PDF transcript of the interview
(96.61 KB )

Adobe® Reader® required.
Get Adobe® Reader®

[TRACK 1]

 

TONY WRIGHT:

24th of November 2011. Year 5 students from Riverside School will be questioning Mrs Davenport.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

How many years have you lived in Hebden Bridge?

 

MRS DAVENPORT:

I’ve lived here for eighteen years.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

How many children do you have?

 

MRS D:

Now, just my daughter but she’s at university and my other children have all grown up.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

…….how has your life changed in Hebden?

 

MRS D:

It’s more relaxed; I came from Keighley which is just over the hills so isn’t too far away, and that’s quite a multi-cultural town; it’s got countryside. I was born there, and I moved here as I said 18 years ago, and it’s more relaxed. There isn’t a trend to follow, you know, you can be who you are.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Which junior school did you go to?

 

MRS D:

Well my junior school wasn’t in Hebden Bridge; it was in Silsden, a little town just outside Keighley and that was Aire View Infant School and from there you left and you went to South Craven which was in Craven District near Skipton, and you went there when you were 11 . Now there’s another school in Silsden which takes juniors, and so you spend a few years at the infant school then you go a few years to the junior school, and then you move on to the comprehensive.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Were you one of the oldest or the youngest in your class?

 

MRS D:

One of the oldest because I was born at Christmas and the new term starts in September.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

……….what is your favourite memory of Hebden Bridge?

 

MRS D:

Oh gosh, there’s lots of them. I used to be on the Carnival Committee many years ago and I also worked for Central Street, and I brought all the children together to do the floats for the procession, and I think that was probably one of my most favourite moments, watching all the kids joining in with the costumes, and I was in charge of the dog show .

The first year was a pet show when you could bring any pet down but we didn’t get so many; it was the usual rabbit or the odd guinea pig or the odd cat and the odd dog,

So the following year I decided to do a pet show with dogs. It was not quite a dog obedience thing. It was catergories like the dog with the waggiest tail and cutest dog and the naughtiest dog and that ran for a few years.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

And what’s your favourite place and why is it so special?

 

MRS D:

The Carnival. It wasn’t a competition where my dog’s better than yours, it was everybody joining in, it was all the fun things and that was nice to see, and to watch the children showing how to look after your pets, and you were proud of showing them off. It was all done in fun, so there was no falling out, so it was a nice atmosphere.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

……….what do you like to do in your spare time?

 

MRS D:

I don’t really have a lot of spare time now because I’m also a Town Councillor for Hebden Bridge so I take part in a lot of things that affect the people in Hebden Bridge, be it the park, or the Handmade Parade. We try and help to suppor all these things. You might not know about the Handmade Parade. It took over from the Carnival a few years ago. I sit on the Council with 18 councillors where we’re all deciding what we’re going to do, how we’re going to help the community, what projects need our support, so I don’t have a lot of spare time.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

But if you did have spare time, what would you like to do?

 

MRS D:

Before I became a Councillor I used to love walking and photography, and old fashioned pubs with fires and good food. I know you’re too young for that, but I have only two days off from work and you have one day to do the jobs you need to do and one day to do the hobby, So I used to go walking up in the Yorkshire Dales, in Whitby, up in Scotland, anywhere, take my photographs, and that was the second part of my hobby. Then at the end of the day we’d find a nice pub with an open fire and talk to the locals, so I did all three of my hobbies all together in one day.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

…….do you have a pet?

 

MRS D:

I’ve got a cat and she’s called Gremlin. She’s a big white fluffy cat and she’s 10 and she’s quite a snob. You know, cats can be very proud anyway can’t they, but if you laugh at her she’ll turn her back and she’ll wag her tail and she’ll peek, and then she’ll look at you again and peek, and yeah, she’s my best friend. She knows when I’m poorly, she knows when I want to relax, and the beauty about a cat is they’ll teach you how to relax.

You sit there and you stroke them and they purr, and then you then relax with the purr of a cat, so if you think you’re nice and comfortable, a cat will show you what relaxation is all about.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What did you like to do at school?

 

MRS D:

I loved drama. I used to do a lot of Shakespeare plays and a lot of behind the scenes with my team. I used to love writing plays and I have a voice that carries.

I don’t have to shout, it just projects and so I was called a little bit of a loudmouth when I was younger, because I didn’t have to shout and it would be clear, but it was a nickname that was in a nice way, not in a nasty way.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

How many houses have you lived in?

 

MRS D:

Oh not too many. There were about three as I was growing up, maybe about a dozen houses from being a child, because I always lived in them for a long time, or tried to

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What was your favourite out of all of them?

 

MRS D:

I spent a few months living with my grandmother in Waddow, which is in Lancashire, and that used to have a garden just across the road. But to go in you had to go through some big gates because they were little cottages at the back of the big house.

My grandfather was the market gardener at that time, so he lived in one of the worker’s cottages and I think that was my favourite place to live, because it had such a lot of laughter. There was a lot of fun going on in that house and then the views. Yeah that’s the favourite picture of my childhood I think.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What did you like to do with your family?

 

MRS D:

All my children now have grown up, and my grandson’s here.

I like to have them together and do the traditional games, turn off the TV and just listen and chatter. Last week, I was teaching my grandson and my granddaughter how to make spaghetti Bolognese, so James was cutting the onions up and his sister was stirring, helping to cook under supervision. And because they’d taken part and helped to cook that meal, they enjoyed it all the more when they came to eat it.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What’s your favourite hobby?

 

MRS D:

My favourite hobby has definitely got to do with Whitby..We did a lot of work with the trawlermen who understand about fishermen and fish and we’re doing a lot of work with them campaigning and by doing so we’ve learnt a lot about the life of the trawlermen. So now every time I go to Whitby it’s not just for the holiday.

If I had anywhere to retire to I think it would be there; the old town of Whitby, not the new town; it’s very, very lovely, but I’m in a lovely town here.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Why did you move to Hebden Bridge?

 

MRS D:

My marriage broke down and I used to come through Hebden Bridge with a friend and I had a chance to move here, and this is where I decided this is where I wanted to be. But I also had relatives who lived near the area, so I didn’t feel completely new.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What’s your dream holiday?

 

MRS D:

A camper van and tour around the country. All the places that I’ve always wanted to go like the Highlands of Scotland and Ireland and the sunny places here in England. We can go on a nice sunny holiday somewhere abroad and that is a holiday, but I’d love to discover all the little hidden towns of England because there are some lovely towns like this one, all on our doorstep.

 

 

TW:

Have you finished your questions or do you have others…….I have one or two which, remember we talked about follow-on questions, so if I ask one or two then if you wanted to ask some others after, would that be alright?......okay……..you’re a Town Councillor; I’m just curious

 

MRS D:

This is my grandson, James

 

TW:

Oh right. James, pull up a stool…….sit on that end over there, that will be best……..

 

TW:

Well I think I won’t ask my questions; I think we’ll go straight to James and allow him to ask his questions.

 

MRS D:

Now this is where I am under some grilling now!

 

JAMES:

How long have you been living in Hebden Bridge?

 

MRS D:

Well we answered that earlier on, but 18 years.

 

JAMES:

Which school did you go to?

 

MRS D:

Aire View Primary School then on to South Craven in Crosshills.

JAMES:

Which was your favourite holiday?

 

MRS D:

I think we’ve got to say Austria haven’t we? Myself and James have been to Austria a number of times and we always travelled on the coach so you got to see other countries on the way through. France and we also did Germany, the Black Forest, and James actually pretended to be drunk on apple juice in a winery because he made believe it was alcohol and it wasn’t, So we’ve had some lovely times and made snow angels in the deep snow. And we’ve been to castles.

I’ve been to Austria nine times, and you’ve been about three three times with me, and Germany with the Black Forest in Germany…..yeah

 

JAMES:

What would your dream job be?

 

MRS D:

I would love to have the money I think to buy and renovate a castle, not a big one, a small one, in lovely countryside and turn it into a visitor centre with a café and donate the money to the heritage of whatever to keep it going.

I love re-enactments like the War of the Roses and the Scottish/English battles. So when you’re watching someone pretending to be William Wallace or whatever, behind those battle scenes there is a very good dance technique; it’s not just a case of putting your arm up, there is a system and they work the shields like a tortoise shell and they move into position. It’s fascinating, so I’d love to do something like that.

 

JAMES:

What do you do with your spare time?

 

MRS D:

I haven’t got a lot of spare time but usually when I’m not busy on Council, it’s usually book a room in Whitby and head over there.We spent Christmas in Whitby and we’ve done balloons and bubbles on the beach on Boxing Day, swims, a lot of happy times there.

 

JAMES:

Has Hebden Bridge changed in your life?

 

MRS D:

Yes.

 

JAMES:

How?

 

MRS D

It’s very funky, it’s very relaxed, there’s different cultures of people here from all different walks of life. The dialect has changed, so Hebden Bridge has now got its own dialect. As people from London have come there’s a more southern dialect to it. To hear a proper Yorkshire accent now you need to go and talk to the old people and they still have the ‘th’ in front of the word, so Th’Hole in t’Wall.

But the ‘t’ before the word is actually Lancashire and because we’re four miles from the Lancashire border, God help me if they hear me say this, they have a lot more Lancashire traits than they have Yorkshire traits.

 

JAMES:

Thank you.

 

MRS D:

Is that it? I thought I’d get a grilling!

 

TW:

Right, well I’ll go back to my question then about being a Councillor. You must have a kind of wide view on…..deciding to be a Councillor in the first place, you must have opinions on what Hebden Royd should be like and I’m just wondering what kind of things do you think could improve……people’s lives in this area.

 

MRS D:

There’s a lot of things that can improve people’s lives, but I think what we need to do is we need to drop the myth that Councils are full of upper class people.

I represent a lot of people like classroom attendants, like bar staff, you know.

I don’t have a high education, but I represent a big group of people and by coming onto Council suddenly these people have got a voice. We’re all the same, we’re all counted. What you think counts.

 

TW:

You said you worked in Central Street School?

 

MRS D:

Yes.

 

TW:

Could you sort of compare and contrast, like the school you went to in Silsden and Central Street School?

 

MRS D:

Oh, when we were in school there were slightly longer hours.

You certainly did as you were told. I can’t comment on the teaching but we were all facing the teacher, whereas now you seem to be in little groups and you’re working together. Can we say it’s good or bad? I don’t know, but there’s certainly been a big change.

To get through and into school you are checked thoroughly by security. In those days you weren’t. But you played outside and you never felt fear, so there was a big difference between when I was a child at school and today. We walked to school.

But I think you can blame the media; the media will jump on to a story straight away and that makes everybody frightened. We had a luckier childhood, we got to do more things; we weren’t scared.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

How long since you’ve been working at Central Street School?

 

MRS D:

I left Central Street about ten, eleven years ago, maybe a little longer.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Have you been back since then?

 

MRS D:

Once or twice, yeah.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Has it changed?

 

MRS D:

Just a little bit. Some of the staff are still there. Some of the children who I remember have now got children of their own, so that’s quite scary when you see a child of one of your children in the nursery. I makes you feel very old.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Just wondering because my mum works there.

 

MRS D:

Does she? Who’s your mum?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

The reception teacher.

 

MRS D:

I used to help when our Sammy was on holiday, and I used to help clean the classrooms out. I used to do the football yard with some of the boys and I was a little bit strict because I wouldn’t have two boys playing football against 14 boys.

I used to pick the two best boys in the dinner hall and they became the captains and sometimes those two boys in the dinner hall were best friends and the didn’t want to actually be separated.

But we used to make them and they had to pick the team and they had to play properly. And I became quite well known in the end.

I remember one day two boys came into school with a big bouquet of flowers with Pauline the secretary and I just jokingly said ‘oh you shouldn’t have bothered’ and she continued walking towards me. It was a big bouquet of flowers from two young boys who had got together, and they’d written a little note to say ‘thank you for helping me to win.’

Those two boys have gone on to Mytholmroyd Saints and that to me was a big achievement, one of my proudest moments and I’ve still got that card.

It was about making them play the game fairly and properly. It wasn’t about winning, it was about supporting and these two boys managed to get through, and continue on, and that’s what they were taught.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What was the caretaker called?

 

MRS D:

The caretaker then was Bob. I don’t know who the caretaker is now. There were two Bobs; one was a neighbour from across the road from me, and then there was another caretaker also called Bob and then he left and I stood in as a temporary caretaker. But I couldn’t take the job on properly because I was working at Spar and the Co-op so I’d other jobs to do.

 

TW:

How do you think the shops in Hebden have changed since you first came?

 

MRS D:

There’s some lovely shops, but you look at them and think who are they geared at? You know, they’re not geared for the run -of –the- mill resident of Hebden Bridge.

I work in a charity shop and there’s about six of them around Hebden Bridge and then you’ve got a lot of the expensive shops where if you don’t see a price on it the chances are you can’t afford it.That’s what a lot of people would say.

 

TW:

Right. One final question from me is……as you are a Councillor, Hebden Royd Council has actually given us money to do this project

 

MRS D:

Yeah

 

TW:

Or some of the money towards doing this project and we will be doing drama workshops with the children in the New Year, probably February or March time, and they will work out their own performance based on interviews that we’ve been doing. I just wondered what your opinion is of this type of work. Do you think there’s a value in sharing your life and…..and looking at heritage in this way?

 

MRS D:

I do value that type of work as it’s archives for years to come.

There’s one going round at the moment with a former Councillor regarding soldiers and people of the war years and I think it’s very important that we keep that going. The Five Hundred faces of Hebden Bridge project is another example and anything which you can look back on has got to be good in the future.

Can I ask these children ?I heard the last group talk about what they felt Hebden Bridge can do with the environment and what can we do about the litter. Can you tell me what you should be doing about the litter?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

I think we should be picking it up

 

MRS D:

Think you should be picking it up

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

And putting it in the bin

 

MRS D:

Yeah, so when you were talking about the rubbish on the streets why not put it in your pocket and take it home, or take it to the bin? We see it every day.

It’s things like Milk Bar canisters from the milkshakes.

I’ve seen them on the wall, left on our shop window, left in our door.

Somebody’s bought them, and they’re adding to the rubbish, and so for the rubbish to be cleared we at the Council have then got to put more money in to pay somebody to clear up somebody else’s rubbish.

It would be just as easy to take them home or take it to the bin in the car park, or the one in the square, or the one in the park, or the school bin.

So you children can go home with that and pass that on to your brothers and sisters. It starts at home as well as in school, as well as in the community.

 

TW:

Okay. Is that the end – have you got any other questions?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Yeah.

 

TW:

Go ahead.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

When we’re around, what do you like to watch?

 

MRS D:

When you’re around?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

No when we’re not around.

 

MRS D:

Oh what do I like to watch on television? Time Team – I love Time Team with Tony Robinson. It’s all history you know.In a hundred years’ time they’re going to find the time capsule in Hebden Bridge and dig it up and find pictures from Central Street all those years ago.

I like to see how our ancestors lived, and what did they eat. We’ve just come back from France and we’ve learnt so much about the First World War. There were a lot of young people who also went there and learned more about what happened.

Records are a very important thing to have and to look down and to pass to your children and your grandchildren. I’m working on the cinema at the moment and it would be nice in years to come if people remember the fight we put to keep Hebden Bridge Cinema alive for your children to look after.

Because it’s a rarity; there’s not many like it, and you have to look after it……

 

TW:

Right well I’d like to thank the children for bringing their questions and for taking part, and I’d like to thank you for allowing us to talk to you, and….that will be the end of that, so thank you all.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

You’re welcome

 

[END OF TRACK 1]

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.

Get in touch

Pennine Heritage Ltd.
The Birchcliffe Centre
Hebden Bridge
HX7 8DG

Phone: 01422 844450
Contact Us