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  • Interviews and Storytelling: Linden Vardy

    [TRACK 1]

    This interview suffered through equipment failure, so had to begin again in mid-flow, as it could be called. Therefore, there may be some reference to the earlier conversation. No photo available.

    TW:

    We were talking about the building.  How old did you think it was?

     

    LINDEN VARDY:

    I really don’t know.  I’d say 1600, give or take a few….just going on the date of the other old buildings that’s been in Midgehole; it is fairly unique but I haven’t a clue what it was originally.

     

    TW:

    Do you think it might have been built for the mills so that people could have a social club or do you think that’s

     

    LV:

    I don’t think that would be t’original intention for it, I mean it might even have been somewhere….it could even have been a staging post for the….there’s a packhorse track you see, runs down past – it’s part of t’Calderdale Way – might even have been a staging point for t’people who were with the packhorses, you know, it might actually have been a place of refreshment for years….well hundreds of years….might have been, I really don’t know.

     

    TW:

    So it was 1907 that they joined

     

    LV:

    The CIU

     

    TW:

    Yeah.  What is the CIU?

     

    LV:

    It’s a club and institute union, I think all the Working Men’s Clubs in the country, well, all over…CIU affiliated…..there’s thousands of them join this CIU and it’s like a…..like a union of clubs and institutes, and they sort legislation out and things…

     

    TW:

    What’s the advantage of being in it then?

     

    LV:

    You may well ask, probably not a lot!  There might have been at one time but I don’t think there is now, but it’s certainly…..I just don’t understand, I’ve never sort of gone into it, it’s known as a Friendly Society apparently, and it gets away – we don’t have to pay tax because everything’s for the…..for the members

     

    TW:

    It’s like a charity in a way?

     

    LV:

    Yeah I suppose so really, yeah…..a co-operative would be probably nearer t’point than that, yeah, but you couldn’t just…..you couldn’t just open up a licensed club selling beer without some body like the CIU to be part of

     

    TW:

    Was that because of paying tax or

     

    LV:

    Yeah probably for tax and things, as I say I really don’t know, I haven’t gone into t’legal side of it, but I mean all the……well all the Working Men’s Clubs locally were in the CIU but there’s more and more of ‘em dropping out now…

     

    TW:

    Right.  So what other old buildings were there in Midgehole?

     

    LV: 

    Well that’s fairly old is the one just at the side of the bridge, New Bridge Hall and Hob Cote  over the other side of the river… the original Ivy House which has fallen down a long time since, it’s got a bungalow built on the site…..oh, and the Lane Ends – they’re old buildings to which, you know, I can’t just remember, I’m sure it’s 1550 or something that Hob Cote goes back to, so as I say there were buildings around here at that sort of time.

     

    TW:

    Do you think they were farm buildings or are they associated with the mills?

     

    LV:

    Well……I don’t know really….no I don’t think any of them were really…..the Lane Ends could have been a farm building….but Hob Cote is just…well it’s a row of three terraced houses, but…..they’re too old to be part of the mill because the mill was built after that, honestly I don’t really know; none of them’s farm buildings anyway, and I don’t know if any of the old buildings were associated with the mill or any other mills.

     

    TW:

    Well they were here before New Mill and Gibson Mill, they were here a long time before

     

    LV:

    Oh yeah, yeah, because I mean it were just to do with the Industrial Revolution weren’t it really that mills would get built, you know, so you’d be talking…..when  would you be talking…..oh it would be….the mill up t’side of the road were built in 1840, you know, which was only yesterday really [laughing] and the other mills would be….round about the same sort of time, Gibson Mill included

     

    TW:

    Way back they were gonna turn this valley into a huge reservoir weren’t they?

     

    LV:

    Yeah but higher up……the dam were going to be higher up, a lot higher up, up above Gibson Mill

     

    TW:

    Oh really?  That high up?

     

    LV:

    Yeah, oh it wouldn’t have been flooded here, well unless the dam burst [laughing]

     

    TW:

    Oh right.  Do you know whereabouts?

     

    LV:

    Somebody did say…..about half a mile past Gibson Mill I think is where the dam wall were going to come across, but I’m not a hundred per cent sure

     

    TW:

    So would it be all Blake Dean and

     

    LV:

    Oh Blake Dean would have been, yeah, Blake Dean would be gone, and it’d have nearly…..it’d have nearly filled it up apparently about up to the Ridge pub 

     

    TW:

    That high up?

     

    LV:

    Yeah, apparently it was one hell of a wall. You know, a barrage.

     

    TW:

    So….the Lady Royd School, was it just for people who lived on the Saville Estate?

     

    LV:

    Yes I’m fairly sure that nobody from down the bottom went there, yeah, if you were in the Saville Estate, yeah, well in fact everything through the Lodge gates was Saville Estate

     

    TW:

    Did you go there when you were young, or were you allowed in?

     

    LV:

    Lady Royd?

     

    TW: 

    Well into the….past the Lodge gates

     

    LV:

    Oh yeah, yeah, because…..well I mean I’ve always had a lot of friends who lived on the Saville farms that were part of the estate you see, they were two separate things really…….there was the…..well there was Shackleton, it were all part of t’same thing really, but the farms were let and then there were Lord Saville who had the moors for shooting, so yeah, he were financing both of ‘em really, but it were……you know, there were lots of reasons why you could go but it wouldn’t have been appreciated wandering round the moors [laughing]

     

    TW:

    So they’ve always done shooting up there, for like hundreds of years?

     

    LV:

    Yeah, yeah……I’m not sure, but I think it’s….it’s about a hundred and fifty years, because as long as they’ve been doing grouse shooting, because they’d only just…..they’d only just tumbled to driving grouse, you know, with beaters and driving ‘em over t’butts…..they must have tumbled to that, well I guess the Victorian times wouldn’t it?  Yeah I’m sure it would, Victorian times really, but before that…well he owned the land and I don’t know what…..I don’t know what he’d do with it, just graze sheep I suppose, but it’s…..I think it’s about a hundred and fifty years since they started driving grouse.

     

    TW:

    Did you used to do beating?

     

    LV:

    I did when I were younger, yeah

     

    TW:

    How many people would be in the line?

     

    LV:

    Oh a lot……thirty or forty perhaps….and still are when it comes to that yeah, thirty or forty I’d say

     

    TW:

    So….what, about four or five thousand grouse up there do you think?

     

    LV:

    Oh…..as I say they were shot…..they must have shot six thousand, six or seven thousand this last season and there didn’t appear to be any less about than what there was before they started; obviously there was, there were seven thousand less, but it hadn’t made a….it didn’t seem to have made a…..it hadn’t decimated the population, put it that way, but anyway they’d have stopped if it were decimating the population because you want to keep the breeding stock on don’t you?

     

    TW:

    Do they keep them in pens?

     

    LV:

    No they’re kept…they’re purely a hundred per cent wild; there’s nothing they can do with grouse….you know with pheasants they can rear them and hatch their eggs in incubators and then let the poults as they call ‘em, let ‘em go and they go back to the wild, but with grouse, they just can’t…..they just can’t do anything with ‘em, they’re just a hundred per cent wild.  They do get lots of care in that the predators and the…..they put grit out for ‘em, medicated grit because they get a…..they get a worm called stronga…strongyles…or strongletes….(Ed. Strongyle) some bloody thing, some worm that they get which makes ‘em really weak – they put medicated grit out to keep the worm….try and control the worm, which they seem to be doing.  It’s very expensive apparently you know, as I say, there’s nothing they can do to help grouse other than keep predators, keep predators out of the way and, you know, that’s all you can do really

     

    TW:

    Why don’t they do pheasants then, as well?

     

    LV:

    He just isn’t interested – oh there are lots of pheasants but they just go…..they’re just natural wild pheasants really, they aren’t doing anything to promote ‘em… I say Richard Bannister, he’s a grouse shooter, you know, and pheasants aren’t really his…. barra 

     

    TW:

    And he just brings his visitors to shoot

     

    LV:

    To shoot grouse, yeah….it’s supposed to be the pinnacle of sporting prowess in this country, is driven grouse, you know, they can go seventy or eighty mile an hour with the wind behind ‘em, [laughing] they’re just bullets

     

    TW:

    He owns Boundary Mills you say?

     

    LV:

    He owns Boundary Mill, yeah

     

    TW:

    At Colne

     

    LV:

    At Colne, yeah, well they have one or two up and down the country.  He’s a nice fella.

     

    TW:

    Right.  So your parents worked in the diner but why didn’t you go into that then?

     

    LV:

    Well I wasn’t really interested, I mean I really….I really wanted to be a motor mechanic but there just wasn’t any jobs around and an electrical apprenticeship turned up and I thought ‘that sounds like it might be alright’ I thought mistakenly

     

    TW:

    So you did your apprenticeship then you just did other jobs?

     

    LV:

    Oh aye, then anything else.  Once I’d got it under me belt I were glad to get out of the job you know

     

    TW:

    There’s been of benefit in the end though

     

    LV:

    Oh it has yeah, yeah, oh it’s been alright, I’m glad I did it, I’m glad it happened, I’m glad I did it now really

     

    TW:

    Because if you raised your kids on your own, because you had to be near

     

    LV:

    Well yeah, I were gonna say, I could just please myself, I didn’t…..sort of took the kids to school at nine o’clock and then went off to whatever job I were doing, or not doing…..and it just…..well it just worked out right – I could make me own hours you see, whereas if I hadn’t have had a trade I’d have been….I’d have been struggling really

     

    TW:

    So you live in the house you were born in and your parents were there – how far back does it go in your family, that house?

     

    LV:

    Well just as long as me parents have been there – me parents have been there…..I don’t really know….cos they rented it at first…..probably t’mid thirties, probably t’mid 1930s, I’m guessing actually because I can’t actually remember when we did go there, but I know they bought in 1958 for two hundred and twenty five pounds….

     

    TW:

    That’s very good

     

    LV:

    Yeah

     

    TW:

    That was a lot of money then mind

     

    LV:

    Well yeah, it would have equated to…..to reckon it up and I know I’m fairly accurate, my dad would have been taking ten, twelve pounds home because he was a foreman fustian cutter round at the mill there, so he were taking….and me mum were working in the mill as well, she were part-time so if you take it that me dad were taking ten pound a week home, actually twenty two and a half weeks of his life would buy the house – you try and buy a house now for twenty two and a half weeks – you’d have to be a bloody footballer wouldn’t you or something

     

    TW:

    To be able to afford

     

    LV:

    Yeah you know, I mean it’s…

     

    TW:

    Are they from around here, your parents?

     

    LV:

    Yeah, yeah, me dad were born around here and me mother were from Mytholmroyd.

     

    TW:

    So your dad was a fustian cutter?  Have you still got any of his old tools, his old cutting knife or anything like that?

     

    LV:

    No, well at the time that he was……..I don’t know if me dad had ever…..those knives, those great big long knives – there’s supposed to be one in the square which is…..they didn’t use those in my lifetime, they had a machine for doing it, you know, it were a machine with circular knives that cut the ribs in the corduroy.  Sometimes these circular knives would miss a little bit and they’d use something similar to those knives, but they were only just for…..there might be six inches that had missed so they’d just run a knife down and open it up, but it were…..no they didn’t……I don’t actually know if me dad had ever used those knives because that would have been a laborious job, boring grooves in corduroy

     

    TW:

    Hundreds of ‘em

     

    LV:

    Hundreds of ‘em yeah, only you’d just get ‘em coming through a machine – not going all that fast – but certainly a lot faster than what you could……no, he just didn’t have any…his tool were a machine

     

    TW:

    So they didn’t do just dyeing there, they did finishing as well?

     

    LV:

    Yeah, they got…..well I suppose we did everything other than weaving

     

    TW:

    Oh right

     

    LV:

    It used to come……woven but then they’d to……to get those lines in - they cut the lines – it’s smooth is corduroy when it’s woven but they run the knife up the grooves to give it that ridged effect, well yeah, so it would just come as smooth cloth, grey I think they called it….greys…..grey cloth anyway, you know I mean it would go out dyed, well I presume when it went out it were ready for being made up into trousers or whatever

     

    TW:

    Did they do moleskin as well?

     

    LV:

    I don’t think they did actually, surprisingly….no I don’t think they did….you see it were part of a Manchester outfit were this ‘English Velvet’ but we had quite a few mill owners about, it weren’t just you know, that wasn’t the one mill standing on its own, t’were part of a group and it may well have been perhaps the Manchester lot looked after the moleskin, no I think it were just corduroy…..

     

    TW:

    Right……

     

    LV:

    I’ll go and get a pint

     

    TW:

    I’ll put the pause on…………you said earlier about how lots of people used to come to the Crags but they all walked but now people just come in cars

     

    LV:

    Mainly

     

    TW:

    So that’s a big change isn’t it?  What other things have changed, like in your lifetime, not just in Midgehole, but in Hebden as well?

     

    LV:

    Oh well…..well Hebden Bridge has only, in my opinion, changed for the worst….

     

    TW:

    Why is that?

     

    LV:

    Well it were……well there were bags of available housing…..at reasonable money, you know, people could afford……you know, if somebody decided they were going to get married when they were say eighteen year old which is not good you know, but it never even crossed through their mind to – ‘well where are we going to live?’ because, you know, they knew they’d just be able to rent somewhere for….probably the equivalent of twenty pound a week - nowadays, you know, it’d be something like ten pence a week or something, but of course they pulled ‘em all down and it were….I mean it were far better when it were….when it were a dismal little mill town, somehow it’s just turned into like a West Riding theme park now [laughing]

     

    TW:

    Well do you think it’s the people then, because it was a working town, everybody worked here and lived here, and now it’s like people who live here, they work somewhere else

     

    LV:

    It’s a dormitory isn’t it?  A dormitory area, yeah

     

    TW:

    Do you think that changes the character?

     

    LV:

    Well it does really, but I mean it were probably inevitable, probably…….well if the mills had closed down then obviously……mind you it could have been the local people living here and going off working somewhere else instead, no I just don’t use Hebden Bridge full stop.  It’s off  my……it has to be an emergency before I actually even buy anything from any of the shops you know, I’d sooner just carry on and go to Sowerby Bridge…….or turn left and go to Keighley, in fact if I just want a little bit of something like…. A tin of peas for the sake of argument, I go to Old Town Post Office – at least you can park outside, you know, you haven’t got to run the gauntlet of not being able to park anywhere

     

    TW:

    Yeah that’s true….is there a well behind your house, or any of the houses on that terrace?

     

    LV:

    No.  I suspect……you see they were built in 1898 actually they were built, and I think when they were built they actually had piped water into ‘em

     

    TW:

    Really?

     

    LV:

    Spring water, yeah, just spring water from……there’s no sign of a well anywhere behind, you know, it’s…..as I say I think it’d be piped water full stop you know, from when they were built…….but I…..the houses down by the river used to be just water out of a well……yeah when I think that’s the only well I know of round here, but there’s one at the side of the road going on there, but that’d just be for horses and things that were passing, you know……no as far as I know and I weren’t around in 1898 [laughing] but I think it were piped water from the word go.

     

    TW:

    I was just curious because….I was doing a bit of reading about New Mill and the one lower down, which I can’t remember what it’s called now, the one just a bit lower

     

    LV:

    Oh……Lower Mill

     

    TW:

    That’s it, yeah, and they were talking about how they…..they did get some of their water from…..I mean they got it from the River Hebden, but it was all…..the dye works, bits of it were fed by……things coming off the hillside like springs and they channelled some of it into it

     

    LV:

    Oh……this weir – there’s a weir outside The Blue Pig here, to raise the level of the water and that were for water that went across the field in a goit they call ‘em like….stream….that went to t’mill at Lower Mill.  There were a dam behind it and then they had actually a water wheel at Lower Mill, but as I say it’s just across here is where the water came off from this run, and then New Bridge…..New Mill….New Bridge Mill?

     

    TW:

    Yeah I think it is

     

    LV:

    New Bridge Mill I think it’s called, New Bridge Mill, that run would take it all down further up the Crags, that’s where they got their water from, via the river, you know, and they had another of these goits coming down

     

    TW:

    Oh where did the dye works get their water from?

     

    LV:

    Up Middle Dean which is up the Hardcastle Crags valley; it’s the one that goes up….

     

    TW:

    Crimsworth

     

    LV:

    Crimsworth, yeah, well that’s Crimsworth Beck isn’t it, the little river that just joins on, well there’s some dams up there

     

    TW:

    Oh are there?

     

    LV:

    That were fed from the river again [laughing] and that’s where they get their water from and it’s piped all the way down…actually when you think about it….the last dam will be….a half or three quarters of a mile of the mill…..and there are some dams, there are some dams actually that have never really been used, even when I were a kid, and I presume…..they could have been for Lower Mill, I don’t actually know

     

    TW:

    Would they be for Lee Mill do you think?

     

    LV:

    Oh no, no they weren’t for Lee Mill, no cos they’re on t’wrong side of t’river really, you’d not be able to get the water across….no they’d either be for Lower Mill or…..it’s funny – I’ll ask the farmer down there, cos he….he might know, do you know I’ve never really thought about it.  There are some dams up in the wood behind the farm in Midgehole, but they could – they could be for…the mill at the side of the road, or they could be for Lower Mill, I’ve never really thought about it actually…..they were disused anyway, but I mean they were for one of the two, only little dams anyway

     

    TW:

    Well you said English Velvet clothes in the sixties and it’s carried on till just this year, you know, denim and other things like that, what are they gonna do with it now?

     

    LV:

    Got no idea…..don’t know

     

    TW:

    I’ve heard they might turn it into flats or something like that

     

    LV:

    Well that were one of…..that’s one of the thoughts isn’t it, but I mean it’s got a….there’s a hoarding…..there’s a hoarding outside saying To Let, May Sell, so I don’t know, I mean To Let, you presume that means to let it for commercial purposes again, I really don’t know…..it’s in the lap of the Gods [laughing]

     

    TW:

    Yeah!  Right……so……do you think other people who live up at Midgehole have the same kind of attitude that you do, that they’re separated from Hebden and they don’t want a lot to do with it, do you think?

     

    LV:

    Yeah, that’s possible really because……I don’t….yeah…..funnily enough, I mean, I think that’s probably true……I’ve never really thought of it before but I mean I must admit I don’t hear of anybody talk about doing shopping down in Hebden Bridge, cos I say if you’re going shopping you’ve got to have…..well some means of transport, well I can carry t’bags, but everybody up here has some sort of transport, but by t’time you’ve started your car up and gone down into Hebden Bridge, well if you go to Lidl at Sowerby Bridge, say, which is where I tend to go, you’ve like another ten minutes past Hebden Bridge and you can park in the car park, there’s no problems, you go in and do your shopping, well it’d probably take you about ten minutes to find somewhere to park in Hebden Bridge, if you could find anywhere to park in Hebden Bridge, oh of course there’s the Co-op isn’t there, I might go to t’Co-op but I don’t…..I don’t think a lot of local people do this walking around Hebden Bridge going into cafés and, in fact I’m bloody sure they don’t [laughing] you know, perhaps somebody who lives…..perhaps somebody who lives down in Hebden Bridge might, but I don’t

     

    TW:

    Well I must admit, I mean I live fairly close to the centre of Hebden, but I do my shopping in Tod

     

    LV:

    Well, yeah

     

    TW:

    Because they’ve got a Lidl’s there

     

    LV:

    And it’s a proper little town is Tod – Hebden Bridge isn’t.  There are a few meaningful shops in Hebden, sorry in Todmorden – very little, very little in Hebden Bridge really, I mean there’s Bonsall’s

     

    TW:

    That’s about it really

     

    LV:

    Well I were gonna say, I can’t really……in fact I don’t even know what there is to be quite honest, because as I say I just don’t….I just don’t bother

     

    TW:

    Right, just pause that for a second…..what do you know about Tom Bell’s cave then?

     

    LV:

    Well…….it seems to me to be hardly…..hardly practical that…..Tom Bell were a highwayman and he used to escape from….don’t know, the excise men or whatever, and he could go from up by Cosy Corner up near the Scout place…..but I’ve been down the cave

     

    TW:

    Have you been to the end of it, because I’ve been in it but not to the end?

     

    LV:

    Oh no…..it must be….it must be a mile

     

    TW:

    Do you think it’s that big?

     

    LV:

    Well it’s suppose to…..t’idea was that he was supposed to go in there and then come out at Mytholm…..I don’t think it…..you know…..round here we do not have the sort of…occasionally there’ll be a pot hole that’s caused by an erosion of water, and stalactites and stalagmites, we don’t get that, but if we do get a little bit of a cave round here it’ll be old rocks that have fallen together, you know, just sort of…..not eroded away, just general loose rocks, well you will not get I’m sure……nobody…..nobody has ever been through…..you can only go so far and it peters out, I mean we used to go….forty foot into it and it were a bit frightening really because we were kids and there were a bit of a drop down, about six or eight foot, and then you went on a bit but……I think it’s just…I think it’s a bit similar to crocodiles in the sewers of New York is this Tom Bell’s cave, [laughing] it’s a good old story like, but t’general idea were that he used to escape…..well presumably coming from that end…..he could get into this cave and he’d come through and he finished up, and he’d evaded whoever were pursuing him, and I do not believe that ever…..that cave went a mile underground from here to, well I’m saying a mile, it’s probably further than that actually isn’t it

     

    TW:

    Well straight through the ground, it’s a straight line or thereabouts, it might be…..it wouldn’t be all that far really, it would go under Heptonstall wouldn’t it?

     

    LV:

    It would have to go under Heptonstall, yeah, but it’s….it’s

     

    TW:

    It’ll be, yeah, it’ll be a mile, yeah

     

    LV:

    Actually it probably is, it probably is only a mile, but yeah, I were thinking it might be longer, but actually, but it’s a fair

     

    TW:

    So when you were down there then when you were a little lad, did you have like torches and things like that?

    LV:

    Oh it’d be candles, I think…

     

    TW:

    Oh right

     

    LV:

    They blew out – we didn’t go so far [laughing] oh we didn’t go so far, you couldn’t get, you just couldn’t get so far

     

    TW:

    But could you now?

     

    LV:

    No, it just petered out, it just dropped, you know, there just wasn’t anywhere

     

    TW:

    Do you think there was a fall inside that blocked it off?

     

    LV:

    Well I mean there could have been, but….yeah but I’ve never heard of anybody going in any appreciable distance neither from what’s supposed to be the other side neither,

     

    TW:

    They reckon it comes out at Hell Hole

     

    LV:

    That’s right, yeah, Hell Hole rocks, yeah, which is just, which is just under, well it’s above the Eaves estate at Mytholm isn’t it?  I mean it’s….as I say you don’t….there are little bits of caves that you get up in the…up in the woods up here, but honestly I mean there’s one, well the longest one would be perhaps….thirty feet….in fact it wouldn’t be that actually….it’d probably be like diagonally across this place, and here again it’s the old thing that you get around here, is the loose of rocks, and it just so happens that there were rocks all fallen together, that just happened to leave a void that you could, you could get through, but it weren’t like something that’s been eroded by water and were nice round, like a proper cave, know what I mean, it were just a…..passageway through tumbled rocks [laughing] to actually….the odds of there being one on that sort of length….the rocks had just fallen, but just coincidentally, just left room for people – for somebody to get…..I’m sure it’d never have gone through….. well, that’s my view.

     

    TW:

    This place, it’s run by volunteers now isn’t it?

     

    LV:

    Yeah, yeah.

     

    TW:

    How long’s that been going on for?

     

    LV:

    ………it must be twenty years now……..to be honest I’ve never actually thought about it….what’s twenty years go back to – ’81……no is it buggery, it’s back to ’91 isn’t it, twenty years…..it’s probably more than twenty years……

     

    TW:

    So you opened up last week didn’t you?

     

    LV:

    Yeah, yeah, I do it very little.  I don’t do it half as much - I did quite a bit at one time, in fact I once….well once me and this other bloke ran it for a month….we were….I don’t know if we ever actually had a steward after that you see, I were trying to…..I were trying to think…….wait a bit…..early 1980s……and the steward had left……and me and this guy ran it initially for a month to sort out what we were going to do, but I don’t know if we ever had a steward after that you know, so that’d be t’early eighties, so that’d be thirty years……..oh no we did, no we did have……we did have stewards after that…….I think if you say twenty years you’d probably be nearer t’mark, yeah.

     

    TW:

    Right  Cos you don’t really find that often these days do you?  Places where people give lots of time for free to run it

     

    LV:

    No [laughing]

     

    TW:

    Mind you it keeps the price of beer down.

     

    LV:

    It does, yeah, you see a lot of it as well really is……..if a lot do it, it’s fairly convenient, fairly convenient for everybody, it’s…..I mean people tend to do it…..well they do it a little bit different now than what they did right at the beginning.   They used to have…..you’d have a given night that you’d say you’d do, well you weren’t told to do it, you’d say you’d do it……well when I were doing it regular I used to do Sunday night and Tuesday night, but I used to come down playing cards on Sunday night and Tuesday night, so it fitted in – I’d have been down anyway – now if for some reason I couldn’t come on the Sunday night, I’d make arrangements for somebody or perhaps swap, say somebody who were doing Thursday night, I’d swap with ‘em you know, and it were…and you’d actually come and open up and lock up, there were nobody else involved, now it’s got a bit…..got a bit more messy now……somebody’ll open up and they’ll do an hour or two then somebody’ll take over from ‘em, you know, but it’s a lot better if somebody has a given night, and does it week in week out, and if they can’t do it, comes to some arrangement with somebody else and swap, that’s a lot better way of doing it, it doesn’t need any arranging really, it’s just fair and it were in tablets of stone virtually.

     

    TW:

    Right.  Well, I think maybe we’ll call that a day, but because….well no, what were you gonna say?

     

    LV:

    No what I were gonna say…..I mean I don’t mind having a talk to you again another time if you think of anything….well if that hasn’t….if we’ve missed out on a lot

     

    TW:

    Well this, I know this bit’s worked fine.  I’m not sure if that first bit did; I’ll have to listen back to it to see if it actually recorded or not, so if so then I might come back to you, because I wanted to talk to you about like, you know, characters and then different kinds of people that you’ve known over the years, that sort of thing…..cos that would be quite interesting [the next thing?] but I don’t want you to sort of libel anybody or anything like that [laughing]

     

    LV:

    Is it still on?

     

    TW:

    Yes it still is, yeah

     

    LV:

    Right well I’d better not libel anybody then!   No I wouldn’t……no, but I don’t think anything….I don’t think there were ever anything…..I wouldn’t say there were ever anything illegal happened here, but something illegal happened here every night because I mean there were licensing…..licensing laws’d be…..well half past ten during the week and eleven o’clock at weekend, and

     

    TW:

    But most pubs around here did that didn’t they?

     

    LV:

    Yeah, I were gonna say, it were, you know, I mean…..it were well known for being…..well, well-known for being an after-time place, like you said it, everywhere did really, in fact…..in fact they were in a minority, the pubs that didn’t [laughing]……but no, it’s been a fairly law-abiding place, apart from….apart from licensing law wise, I don’t think there’s ever been a lot of rogues coming here…..

     

    TW:

    Right……what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna ask you that first question again in case I missed that, and when I’ve recorded I’ll edit it back to the beginning so

     

    LV:

    Well I hope you’re gonna edit it out because I might, I might say something completely different than what I said first time! [laughing]…..no, where are we?

     

    TW:

    Your full name and where and when you were born.

     

    LV:

    I’m James Linden Vardy, I were born in 1944, 17th of November, in fact I’ll try December – put that in – at 4 Crimsworth Terrace, yeah.

     

    TW:

    Right, okay, that’s fine that. Is there anything else that I haven’t asked about that you might want to mention?

     

    LV:

    Well not really, I mean there’d be lots of little bits of things I could mention – it’s very hard really to…..there’s all sort of things…..I respond really better to questions don’t I, I suppose…..there’s all sorts of – all sorts of things used to happen here, well, no, actually to be quite honest very little happened here, being honest, but there was all sorts of different characters that came here that were sort of….sort of, you know, a fair old cross section of…..cross section you know, from……Detective Inspector, a policeman, Police Constables…..butchers, just a fair old cross section……oh you know Russell Dean who we were you know, just talking about earlier, he had a very thriving business, you know, he used to come in with a poacher…..I don’t think he…..in his later years he wouldn’t have been poaching but he’d have certainly done a bit in his younger years, you know, and Russell’d be going round with him, seeing all the old techniques and stuff, you know, they wouldn’t be….

     

    TW:

    Did you ever poach then?

     

    LV:

    No, because I had……I’d permission to go shooting on quite a few of the farms…..well all the farmers’ land around here, I didn’t need to – I’d have to walk an awfully long way to be poaching if you know what I mean, because I’d got permission everywhere so it took the fun out of it all really [laughing] but no, it were……and really……there were rabbits, the occasional hare, very occasional hare, no pheasants, there were never any pheasants round here; these herons that are flying around all over, well nobody would shoot them anyway, but I mean, these herons that are….there were never any of them when I were a kid.  There’s a lot more, it’s obviously a lot cleaner than what it were, the river … and things… but no,  I can’t honestly say really…..that I ever have poached, actually funnily enough I might have done, cos I was trying…..sometimes when you go up…..if I went for a walk and went up the Crimsworth valley, now then I didn’t have permission to shoot on the fields just up underneath Pecket Well, and I would get onto ‘em sometimes on t’way to work, you know, so I probably would – if there were rabbits about I probably would shoot a rabbit in one of them fields, but where I had permission to shoot I’d only be fifty yards off, but you know, I suppose technically it’d be poaching, but……yeah, so I have been a poacher, and that’s good, that’s good, yeah, yeah [laughing]….there’ll be some farmer up there listening to this, and he’ll think ‘oh that’s who it was in 1964’ [laughing]….that’s who that little red-faced beggar were!

     

    [END OF TRACK ONE]

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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
HX7 8DG

Phone: 01422 844450
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