Tag results

You are searching documents tagged with "Halifax Industrial Museum"

  • Interviews and Storytelling: Steve Smith and Jeff Wilkinson

    [TRACK 1]

    13 May, 2011 – Tony Wright arranged an interview between Jeff Wilkinson (curator of the closed Industrial Museum, Piece Hall, Halifax) and Steve Smith, a weaver and former dyer. Some of the conversation is a bit inaudible with movement noise and talking simultaneously occurs as they move through the museum.

     

    TONY WRIGHT:

    So these were steam engines originally?

     

    STEVE SMITH:

     

    Well they’d be power sources wouldn’t they for the mill?  Put one of these in and everything could run off it.  You have an overhead belt and then you have a main belt and when you get to each individual carding engine you put some dubbin onto the wheel, it’s a nasty job, and you flick your belt onto the main drive and then you’ve got power to each individual loom running off it.  These things are power belts

     

    TW:

    How many machines could they power do you think?

     

    SS:

    I don’t know, I really don’t, I wouldn’t like to guess, but to be quite honest. I know Fairlea Mill had nearly two hundred and fifty looms when I was there, they were electric then of course but nevertheless they would have been driven by just one engine…..yeah, and so there’s a great deal of power but it doesn’t take that much to run them…. but the great thing about it is that the more dubbin you could get on, the greater the grip, because the faster the loom went, and more money you made, and that’s why a lot of weavers lose hands you know, it’s like having a bar of soap and you’d hold it onto the belt, and even in my day there were still looms running with belts when I was weaving up at Pecket Shed, and so you put the dubbin on so you can kick out more picks and more money but if you had got caught it did leave much of a chewed up…..it was a hive of industry when I was a kid, it was unbelievable.  Straight out of a job, down the street into another one, and I’d ask my parents and when I grew up every factory

     

    JEFF WILKINSON:

    It’s incredible isn’t it?

     

    SS:

    Well I gave Tony a piece of paper that will tell you there were forty four in Mytholmroyd, in Mytholmroyd had forty four different industrial sites in Mytholmroyd, employing from three hundred and odd down to you know, a handful of people, but it was so diverse.  Once they realised they could cast and make things and textile machinery, they rapidly got into making machine tools and moved on to the next stage.

     

    JW:

    Well machine tools is downstairs so we’re gonna go down and look at them later.  Our looms are t’next one up.

     

    SS:

    Right. I said to Tony, Ramsbottom – I don’t know if you’ve heard of him – t’Superintendent of Railways etc

     

    JW:

    Yes, yeah, from Tod

     

    SS:

    And he initially learnt all his trade in the textile industry – patented the weft fork things like that, and one of the things, he learnt how to be an engineer and he develop the Crewe works; we had changed the world, simple as that

     

    JW:

    Invented the piston rack

     

    SS:

    Did he?  I don’t know if he invented it, but….you know, there’s always been debates over who….there were claims

     

    JW:

    We all claim cos he’s from Tod

     

    SS:

    Yeah he’s a Valley lad, but I mean people don’t realise the Crewe works were literally shovelling raw materials, shovel out steam trains, made their own iron…you know, whatever was required on site, put it all together and out the other side.  But his expertise was learnt around here in this valley, you know, diversification

     

    JW:

    That’s what we’re pushing for at the moment – is that we want to rebuild this place as a museum for the valley, from Todmorden right down to Brighouse

     

    SS:

    Which it should be, it’s beautiful, yeah.  I mean you just look at this room alone. I actually think I have been here but it’s a long time ago

     

    JW:

    Yes we were in steam every day because, we generated steam every day …… 

     

    SS:

    Yeah I was thinking, I just wondered if you have to use an alternative power source to get them moving you know, like just putting an electric motor on to the

     

    JW:

    No, it’s as authentic as we can make it, so the waterwheel was actually powered by water and the steam engines by steam

     

    SS:

    So it is potentially there

     

    JW:

    Yes.  It’s just that we’ve got everything covered up like, you know, but…..what we’ve got coming up here is Campbell’s gas engines and Wright’s motors……… 

     

    SS:

    But I would have thought probably a requirement for the wires was the textile industry that started it and then it was a base, starting with

     

    JW:

     

    Starting with card clothing

     

    SS:

    That’s where it came from that

     

    JW:

    Card clothing was…Halifax was probably one of the biggest producers in the eighteenth century and then it moved down to Brighouse……

     

    SS:

    Cord

     

    JW:

    Card. Card clothing, yeah…….

     

    SS:

    First job that I had actually, that.  Yeah, building looms and putting them together for, actually in this case Greenwood Stells corduroy, needle cords and Bedford cords and the likes.  I did that years ago – shuttle looms…..have you got the old Dob Cross and Northrops…. Dodggy and Viney and such

     

    JW:

    No we haven’t, no, the looms that we’ve got here are carpet and moquette

     

    SS:

    Right.  We used to have Moquette at Luddendenfoot.

     

    JW:

    Yeah British Furtex

     

    SS:

    That’s right, I worked there as well….that was a surprise when that went, you know, they’ve all gone near enough.  I think I’m the last of my kind….don’t think there was anybody else who could… knots, weaves tackles any more…

     

    JW:

    Well I’m pretty much the last lad out of Burnley College Textile Department

     

    SS:

    I know things alter, but we should still not neglect what was and what really was the driving force in Britain, never mind here

     

    JW:

    Well what we’re looking at now is…..because obviously when they made the decision to close this place it was political; it was a mistake.  But what we’re looking at now is….with Leeds Industrial Museum and Bradford Industrial Museum, we have the West Riding collection so it’s not just Halifax or Leeds or Bradford, it’s….the area, so what we’re doing now is getting partnerships with people who are still manufacturing, like Ainsworth’s at Pudsey and looking at ways in which we can actually train people

     

    SS:

    Yeah cos there aren’t exactly many in Calderdale any more….if any

     

    JW:

    No, not a lot

     

    SS:

    Yeah.  Weaving, tackling, knotting, very diverse – we do anything now from wool up to hundred per cent cottons, to…you name it, but we just do overflow orders for things like Burberry and Barbour, you know, the waxed jackets and linings, and almost all of it comes from China, but they get like a small modern check, you know, fair enough, with you know, twenty thousand metres, that’s as much as we get in orders now.  It used to be in the old days, you know, hundred thousand, two hundred thousand, but not any more…..we used to do order for five hundred metres or something you know, but….

     

    JW:

    That is short

     

    SS:

    Yeah, you can put it on one beam, so you set up the machine…..how many machines were set up this week….three, and I’ve two more to do next week, and they’ll come out very fast; I’m run off me damned feet because to keep it going, we’re having to change them all the time, lift ‘em out, change ‘em and there’s you know, only a couple of us doing it, so it’s hard work…..

     

    JW:

    So what you weaving on?

     

    SS:

    The looms themselves?  Sonnets and

     

    JW:

    Is it projectile?

     

    SS:

    No,

     

    JW:

    Rapier?

     

    SS:

    Rapier, yeah…..they’re all rapier there at the moment, but I think we’ve got one Dob Cross as an antique, but we had that break down last weekend and had to have Space  Engineering in Foot had to make the part, specifically, it cost eight hundred quid but you know, you want it….they do jobs that the new ones won’t do – heavier work – slower but steady and the quality’s there.  We used to do Jacquard looms all the time you know, but you don’t need the Jacquards any more because a computer runs the shafts, I mean ours will run twenty four shafts and the computer will run the Jacquard equivalent.  Can’t do really really detailed work, but you can write names on the cloth, you know, with the convenience of the Jacquard, because they block up, you know, the strings coming down are sort of weighted at the bottom and whatever, but because you’ve got to separate them they have a tendency to clog up with all the filth, so you can get them floated so your cloth has got a float in it, it’s no damned good…..nowadays they’re not even weavers any more, they’re just machine minders.  The machine stops and tells you what to do – it reverses itself, sucks out the broken pick and it’ll start again unless it can’t clear it, and….no, the old trades have gone.

     

    JW:

    I don’t know where we’re going to go next, you know, because there’s nothing is there?

     

    SS:

    No, I’m trying to get my kids to emigrate, and I can’t see what the country’s gonna do, I mean Germany had the sense to keep its core industries and we just haven’t.

     

    JW:

    Well, I mean back in the eighties we were saying that once you’d got rid of your manufacturing base and the bubble burst cos you can’t continuously make money out of money, what do you do?

     

    SS:

    I mean Thatcher was then claiming we were gonna be the first post-industrial society, well I was like yourself, bit sceptical as to what this was gonna be, and anyway it’s turned out that it’s nothing……no I think Britain really is in big trouble.  Our balance of trade deficit with other countries is huge…..huge, and we’re not paying, you know, the population, it makes America’s look stable, but we haven’t, we’ve no resources any more, natural resources, it’s gone, and what intelligence we had seems to have been…..I mean they’re cutting the university and science budgets etc…..very close to me heart you see; I’ve done a Doctor and Master of Physics, and they’ve just pulled another two million from the research budget so there’ll be more people down the drain.  We were quite good at that, but…..no, they’ll all be going abroad, they’ll go to America to do it.  I don’t where it’s going, but we should still even make an effort to keep it alive

     

    JW:

    Well this is what we’re trying to do, so you don’t just have the machines sat here idle doing nothing, but we do have the skills attendant necessary for proper operation for maintenance, because one of the things we’re looking at, because you were saying like you were doing short runs, well with the machinery that we’ve got collectively, that’s what we can do, so you know, we’re working with people like Ainsworth’s at the moment in Pudsey, cos they sometimes get requests for a short run which they can’t do, so – well they can do it but they put it to the back of their schedule cos they’re……manufacturing, but you see, it’s stuff that we could do .

     

    SS:

    Yeah.  Well I work with…..as I was telling you, I work with a lad that’s…..oh he’s far better than me….he lives engineering; he’s just restored a canal boat and he’s done the railway, that’s all he does and he’s good.  Honestly he’d look at this machine and start pulling it apart, and redo it and you’re thinking ‘Richard, have you done this before?’ he says ‘they’re all the same’ I said ‘they’re not really are they?’ he said ‘more or less’….he’s the sort of guy you need here actually.  He could have them up and running in no time, and he’s very much into it as well.  What’s his hobby?  Well, as I say, he’s done his canal boat – it’s up and running, and currently I don’t know what he’s actually on to at the moment, but he’s a good engineer, a very good engineer.  He’s sixty though – we all are, you know, we’re good uns ….

     

    TW:

    Shall we go to another room and have a look at some of the other machines?

    We move to another room…

     

    JW:

    Representing exiled ones from Crossleys

     

    SS:

    …….. oh aye, Crossleys

     

    JW:

    Of course they were actually made by Crossleys down at Dean Clough

     

    SS:

    ……incomprehensible….

     

    JW:

    Yeah very much so.  They did have their own pit in the twenties and thirties

     

    SS:

    Right so we’re running the Jacquards off…..off a creel at the back, the main instructions there’s one or is it two…..

     

    JW:

    There’s two.

     

    SS:

    Yeah they’re a pain in the arse these Jacquards. Are they sprung or weighted?  Do you know?

     

    JW:

    They’re weighted

     

    SS:

    They’re weighted, so if your little holes get blocked, the weight doesn’t take ‘em down and you can fetch the fabric up

     

    JW:

    Yes, we’ve got, Avena are still using them up at Boothtown

     

    SS:

    Avena, really…

     

    JW:

    Yes. Because anything else is face to face……

     

    SS:

    I don’t think they’ll be using these any more

     

    TW: 

    Are these for carpets?

     

    JW:

    Yeah. Yes it’s Nick Crossley.

     

    TW:

    I have e-mailed him twice and phone him once and still had no response, so I might have to go up and knock on the door I think.

     

    SS:

    Yeah for some reason a lot of these companies don’t seem enthusiastic to get involved in things; if there’s no money in it they tend not to want to.  That’s a painful job by the way……you know, the cards

     

    JW:

    Card cutting

     

    SS:

    Oh God it’s a pain is that.  You know, we’ve still got the old machines to do the work

     

    JW:

    Have you?

     

    SS:

    Yeah, don’t think we use them any more; I’m not certain, but I don’t believe we do.

     

    JW:

    Well don’t throw them away.

     

    SS:

    He’s thrown a lot of the stuff away already.  You know a drawing in machine?  That was a lovely little machine – you know, cast iron, clamp it down, lift….got rid of that. It had a reacher in, you know, individual, so….. a little like that sort of thing…

     

    JW:

    Fantastic. You won’t know the maker?

     

    SS:

    It’s gone.  He sent it up to a scrap yard

     

    JW:

    Yeah but you wouldn’t know who made the machine

     

    SS:

    I wouldn’t, no.  No the oldest ones we’ve got running, are raising machines and they’re Rileys of Rochdale, and they’re about a hundred and twenty years, hundred and thirty years old……

     

    JW:

    Here are, I’ll give you me card because I hate to see things scrapped.  But at least you know where I am.  Something like the card cutters, don’t dispose of them because I don’t think we’ve got any.

     

    SS:

    Right.  Yes, it’s

     

    JW:

    Mind you I don’t think we’ll be able to get cards [laughing]

     

    SS:

    Aye, well what we ended up changing to – most of the looms changed to – obviously using these, when I was working as a weaver and tackler and knotter etc, is plastic; they’d altered from wooden, as in the card, to plastic.  The same machine would cut the holes in the plastic but it was a continuous white sheet and that’s hanging around, there’s lots of, you know, lots of that hanging around still, but it’s the same stuff apart from it’s continuous.  If you look, these are joined together aren’t they because they go round.  Well the plastic is more flexible and that’s the only difference between the two, but our place is one of these silly ones that carry it, you know, they just cover it with a piece of cloth that they’ve stolen from another company and say ‘cut it out’ then they copy it, and so you’ve got to pull it apart with tweezers to see how the pattern goes etc, and then you can……well, it’s the same as this apart from….you actually do it on graph paper with little holes and then you transfer it to the computer which will then copy the pattern, and then we try and cut them, but you know….I think we’re all getting close to retirement, that’s the trouble, and the young ones have just no idea

     

    JW:

    Well no, I mean we don’t really seem to have…..apart from skills it’s discipline

     

    SS:

    Yeah it’s physically hard work – again, those beams up there – you know, it’s not an easy pass when you’ve got multi beams, it’s running how many….

    It’s running three isn’t it? [walking round machine] It’s only got three beams running through at the moment, so three different specific……thread patterns….I can see better now…..that’s the tension on it…..yeah…..they’ve not altered….the only difference seems to be in reality that….is this a shuttle

     

    JW:

    Yes, oh yes

     

    SS:

    I can’t see through t’fence  

     

    JW:

    Well yeah it generally is only the…….incomprehensible….

     

    SS:

    Well that’s right you would you know, the picker and shuttle itself and of course the wooden bobbins…..there’s still a Crossleys shuttle manufacturers in Todmorden

     

    JW:

    No it’s closed hasn’t it?

     

    SS:

    Yeah, he doesn’t make shuttles.  He’s a Jack of All Trades

     

    JW:

    There’s only one shuttle maker left and that’s…..Pilkingtons at Preston

     

    SS:

    And then…..it’ll be composite fibre they’ll be made of.  They stopped using wood even when I was doing it for shuttles

     

    JW:

    Pilkingtons does. If you specify they will actually make them from wood, but they’re not cheap

     

    SS:

    No they weren’t there.  They went on to these composite ones made in America and……but we just loved them because you could grind ‘em down easier.  They were softer, you know when you want a nice point on them, you could smooth them off because all you need is one, it snags and takes the ends out so you’ve got to keep them smooth, so the weavers did but nobody else did because they used to get carried away and grind ‘em down to a….so they won’t fit in the box, you know, the leather box that grips, well if you grind enough off it doesn’t and it bounces back off the picker, so when the picker hits it next time, bang goes….I mean you’ve got guards, but believe me they don’t stop ‘em coming out and they hurt by the way; I’ve been hit by a couple of ‘em – God they hurt when they shift and hit you.  Straight in t’leg the first one and they said ‘congratulations, you’re a textile worker now’….yeah I’ve got a scar still to this day where it broke away from the…you know, with no guards on it.  As I say you’ve got the guards here to stop ‘em coming out but they come out at an angle.

     

    JW:

    Generally.

     

    SS:

    So you’ve lost them, and these are narrow, very, very narrow looms.  I mean they’d be forty eight inch or more, they’d doubled -  Pickenalls were they Pickenalls yeah they were Pickenalls Pickenall Masters and Pickenall Presidents….they’d be sixty odd inches wide in the cloth, so you know, we haven’t got anything like that

     

    JW:

    Have you ever been up to Bradford Industrial Museum?

     

    SS:

    I haven’t no.

     

    JW:

    It’s worth a visit.  They’re textile collection’s really good.

     

    SS:

    Right.  I’d like to have a go. I’ve never really bothered; I’ve been…..as I say I’ve been an academic obsessive, so I’ve been doing degrees and other things and it’s only recently I’ve started to take an interest in the local – the valley – and the history of the valley.   I think I’ve probably told you actually, I started a couple of years ago and I thought ‘oh I grew up here’ so I were asking me mates you know, what they did

     

    JW:

    It’s an enchanting place.  This is why we’re fighting to get a museum back for Calderdale because once you start looking, it’s just amazing what you’ll find.

     

    SS:

    I’m just thinking of all the…..it brings back the noise of these because the rapiers are relatively quiet; shuttles aren’t, you know because you’re literally bashing them and it’s phenomenal;  strap driven, you know, this one that I’ve been working on is flying

     

    JW:

    Yes, Queen Street Mill, in Burnley, if you’ve ever been there

     

    SS:

    I’ve heard of it.  Again, is that supposed to be good?

     

    JW:

    Yes, I used to work there

     

    SS:

    That is a working mill though isn’t it?

     

    JW:

    It is.  It was a producer co-operative, bit like Nutclough and….they were sort of winding it down in the mid seventies and then it was taken over by….it was David Fletcher to begin with

     

    SS:

    Oh I know David.  He was a Biology teacher at Calder High School when I was a kid, yeah.

     

    JW:

    But it is a bit of industrial archaeology because what you’ve got, unlike what we’ve got here which is the machines have been collected as representative examples, what  you’ve got there is how the factory was set up

     

    SS:

    Right.  So t’sections all t’same?

     

    JW:

    It’s all the same.  It was preserved just as they walked out

     

    SS:

    Oh that’s excellent.

     

    JW:

    The only thing that they did, I think initially there was something like….there was over a thousand looms in the shed, but they had – to make the museum – they sub-divided the shed, so I think we were down to about six hundred of which we had about thirty or forty working, just doing you know, plain calico that they used to sell for printing

     

    SS:

    About how wide?

     

    JW:

    Thirty six

     

    SS:

    Right. The Northrops worked on that basis

     

    JW:

    (there’s noise in the background) Pigeon.

     

    SS:

    I wondered what was creeping around. [incomprehensible – walking round machines]. It’s a nice area isn’t it.

     

    JW:

    Well, the upper valley is just amazing isn.t it. (a mobile phone rings)

     

    TW:

    That’s about mending that big one there is it?

     

    SS:

    I’m not certain.  I think it’s a possibility; I’d have to have another look, but yeah we used to put all the belts together when we were doing a big job

     

    JW:

    We’re looking at different engineering products, particularly cork.  This is the only cork display in Britain

     

    SS:

    Is that right?

     

    JW:

    Because people don’t usually think about cork as an engineering product for clutches and stuff.  I’m going to have to let this chap in.

     

    JW goes off.

     

    TW:

    Okay

     

    [incomprehensible) TW & SS looking round machinery meanwhile]

     

    SS:

    There are some beasts here. It was like a belt repair machine.

     

    TW:

    An old wagon

     

    SS:

    I looked at the name on it, a Worsted spinners so it had to be Murgatroyd’s which it is I believe the manufacturer is.  I think it’s Murgatroyd’s Mill in Luddenden, so I would have thought they’d just….well you’d just adapt it to anything wouldn’t you?.....Is it people drawn looks like it is? Looks like it’s pulled by people.

    Harness a few to it and get ‘em to drag it….oh I see….it were electric powered here,  obviously relatively new motor.  So this must be a working…..a working job…it’s a while since I’ve seen one of them going.  Let’s look at the age of the cloth….no it’s a bit tacky…..it’s just been redrawn through the reed at the front, the reed needles…yeah the edges are dead tacky. Modern ones, they use a thing called a crow hop – little pointy thing that went up and down, but they don’t have one on this machine, so it wrapped round it to make a nice smooth edge.  It’s ages since I’ve seen a good crow hop. 

     

    [JW returns]

     

    They were wilfully damaged to stop them getting preserved

     

    SS:

    I can believe it.  We took it off the Stubb Fields, Mytholmroyd

     

    JW:

    Oh right, yes, yeah. 

     

    SS:

    There’s Little Stubb around there.  My girlfriend at the time who was living there, so we went down there and borrowed it. Oh, it was heavy, cast iron, beautifully done, but it’s now in a collection in Nottingham….Lancashire Yorkshire Railway, please do not trespass on the track.

     

    JW:

    Yeah, so the…Holdsworth’s who did Moquette, they stopped about two years ago

     

    SS:

    Oh right, so they carried on for quite a while.

     

    JW:

    Yeah.  They’ve gone east, moved to Mirfield.

     

    SS:

    Not surprising really……I thought you meant really east!

     

    JW:

    I think……John Holdsworth actually does have textile interests in Singapore cos every time I met him he had just come back from wherever and he always had a deep tan.

     

    SS:

    Right.  Well that’s not from Yorkshire is it?

     

    JW:

    No.  They did most of the stuff through…..for London Transport…..

     

    SS:

    Yeah I’m not certain who they were producing for; someone said it was airlines before they went under. 

     

    JW:

    I couldn’t get much out of him to be honest, but he was all raised pile, obviously his name suggests it was…..they were doing a lot of…..fake fur lines.

     

    SS:

    Oh right.  They were doing that were they?

     

    TW:

    So that London Transport down there?

     

    JW:

    I’m not so sure about that, but we do have…..you see, we ended up getting the Holdsworth’s archive so we do have some very very interesting bits, particularly stuff that was done in the thirties by…..it was Paul Nash and Enid Marks and somebody else whose name I can’t remember, so really nice Art Dec stuff…but some of the swatches…..whether this is what the Yanks called recovered memory I don’t know, but I was accessing these swatch books and one of the patterns….I’m sure it’s the same pattern that…or if it isn’t it’s so similar….of the bus seats of the buses that I used to travel on round Dumfries in the late sixties and early seventies. It was so weird.

     

    [whispering] [laughter]

     

    SS:

    It was one I may have come across it you see and thought ‘oh I like that – we’ll have that for our bus seats’

     

    JW:

    Well he did a lot for Claxton’s and Jimple, what we’re trying to do with textiles while it’s on this floor is I’ll look at, well, obviously Moquette because it was a major Halifax product and….knitting yarn manufacturing, but I’ve had to take a lot of that off display so it’s all boxed up.  I’m bringing a collection from Baldwin – Baldwin and Walker, it’s really nice stuff

     

    [walking around]

     

    TW:

    What does that actually do then?

     

    JW:

    It’s a braiding machine.  It makes the sheath covering, originally for electric cable which was then coated in gutta percha…….

     

    SS:

    Just complex twisting isn’t it?

     

    SS:

    It’s maypole dancing……..very inefficient in a sense isn’t it, that’s the thing, you know, how often are you going to have to alter them and change them?

     

    JW:

    Yeah.  Mind you at the time it would have been state of the art……oh, big end

     

    SS:

    One heck of an arm….is it functioning?

     

    JW:

    It is but it’s locked off

     

    [walking around]

     

    SS:

    Oh right, I see how you’ve knotted the main core and then it’s wrapping around the main core

     

    JW:

    Yeah, we’ve got quite a….very important collection of very early textile machines, wooden framed, but sadly we can’t take you up….we’ve got a Spinning Jenny, original.

     

    SS:

    Right, nice, yeah

     

    JW:

    We did a survey about fifteen years ago and there’s either six or eight original, or substantially original, left in the country

     

    SS:

    How come it’s all locked off?  Is it….have you had problems with the building? 

     

    JW:

    What’s happened was, ‘em, like I say it was a political decision, somebody wanted to do something with the industrial museum and we didn’t let them, so there’s a bit of….pique…they said ‘right well if I can’t have it, nobody’s gonna have it’ – it’s as simple as that

     

    SS:

    I was reading the 1971 Hebden Bridge Times and it was specific whether or not, a debate in the Council – whether or not Stoodley Pike was worth keeping.  Should they put money into, you know, a structure which was crumbling or whether to knock it down, and they were serious, and you’re thinking ‘this is unbelievable’ but that was how it was going

     

    JW:

    Some of the…..it is scary, it really is.  We had this conversation, me and Tony, a bit back, that there’s a number of people from the Council, particularly a certain officer, and they’ve forgotten that they’re public servants……they’re just in it for the money, and some of the decisions they make, well, you just think ‘how the hell have you come up with that?’ [laughing]

     

    SS:

    They’re not accountable any more….to themselves that’s all

     

    JW:

    Well I think things might change, but….

     

    SS:

    I think we’ve had an opportunity with this recession to make major changes, but it’s not happening, I mean even the AV voting wasn’t a very good idea to be honest; it was a badly designed process, but nevertheless nothing’s come of it and we’re back to where we were, Conservative, Labour, alternatively undoing each other’s ........changing all these because they’re all about the same length, so when you change the entire frame goes at once, and you get bored, and if you make a mistake and put the wrong colour in the wrong place….you’re not loved!

     

    JW:

    Certainly not. 

     

    SS:

    Easy to do it, cos, it looks, if nowt else,  there’s a lot of bobbins there to switch……similar with warping, we would make our own warps and we had old machinery, very very old machinery, don’t know where it is, no idea what happened to that cos we stopped making our own warps, cos your bobbins go on to your creel

     

    JW:

    So, who did bring them?

     

    SS:

    Now……Haworth’s Colne,  Nelson, Colne

     

    JW:

    Oh aye, out that way

     

    SS:

    Or Blackburn do our coloured stuff, apart from the new run by us, they do all the fancy warps, the Burberry and the Barbour and that sort of thing, the coloured warps…I’m not certain about the….the woolly ones; I think they come from a company called Batley’s which is Yorkshire based – Huddersfield I think

     

    JW

    Right.

     

    SS:

    He’s a bit of a fly boy is … 

     

    JW:

    Oh wait a minute – he’s not at…..Milnsbridge?

     

    SS:

    Well he could be actually.  He had a weaving shed and it went under, went bust not long ago, about a year ago or so, and he’s not supposed to be in business as such, but he is because he’s now warping and he sends the warps to us and we weave them for nowt etc, we’ve  got some sort of deal going on

     

    JW:

    Because I had to get two put up for Armley and the only dealer I could find was in Bradford, Brigella

     

    SS:

    Right. I don’t think we use ‘em…. 

     

    (Someone coming in, incomprehensible, everyone walks away)

     

    SS:

    (Looking at washing machines)  I think it’s just like the one we had at home until a few weeks ago, we had to change it, quality stuff

     

    JW:

    They’re built so the t’bearings go

     

    SS:

    The what?

     

    JW:

     The bearings

     

    SS:

    The bearings, yeah and the tub starts to wobble, rotate off centre….. I know all winter and it certainly decided it wasn’t going to move again. And they’re that cheap nowadays you might as well just buy a new one. 

     

    JW:

    Well yeah, but….. that’s built for disposal

     

    SS:

    Yes, absolutely, there’s no question about that, yeah. 

     

    Everyone moves to another room.

     

    JW:

    That’s a toffee wrapper

     

    SS:

    Well we will come across like one of those  schematic knotting machines…..forty grand now you know for a new one

     

    JW:

    That’s not surprising, that doesn’t surprise me.

     

    SS:

    Made in Switzerland. beasts, we’re having problems with it.  I’ve got another one as well – Topomatic….you know, as I say, they are literally fashion gems are these; they’re built like clock mechanisms, that must the same with yours, the toffee wrapping machine, at least your vandals didn’t get to this.

     

    JW:

    Yes thankfully, yes.  That’s unique.

     

    SS:

    Yeah it is….yeah it’s lovely. (Looking at a clocking in machine) We still use one of them by the way, very annoying, they depress me, we have to clock in and out, they don’t trust us …..that might go as well then mightn’t it? The mess layer keep on threatening it all the time

     

    JW:

    It’s like anything else.  Once you lose that local connection you know, when I was coming to Halifax as a little lad, late sixties, and….the entire place was so different, but…..you just knew you were somewhere else, you know, it had that character

     

    SS:

    Yeah, in a similar way to Newcastle; I was studying up there and….Newcastle had already fallen well into decline you know, the coal mines were more or less shut, the ship yards were….you know, on their last…but this place, it was still gluing in you know, 1970, come back, a student, it was ‘which job do you want?’ not ‘try and get a job’ – you could go into textiles and you could go into egg packing, I don’t know if you had that, that was very big in the valley wasn’t it, Thornbers yeah, the egg packing factories

     

    JW:

    Well you see that’s it isn’t it – when Crossleys went, I mean that was just…..unbelievable

     

    SS:

    Well when you look at the scale of it, it’s just

     

    JW:

    Yeah but it’s….you know…..I was talking to somebody just the other day and we were talking about employment and how bad it is for kids and what have you, I said ‘well I had my first Saturday job when I was thirteen or fourteen working in a local mill, cos me mum worked in the mill…

     

    SS:

    So, you were a local lad…

     

    JW:

    I spent most of my life on the watershed, right on the border, but you went to work in the mills, it was a Saturday job, because everybody did, and because you thought it was gonna be there for ever.

     

    SS:

    Yeah that was true, yeah…..yes I did, and as I say, you’d finish at university, you’d come back to the thing; I worked at Greenwood Stell’s so I had to learn every job in the mill – tackling, knotting, weaving, even oiling and greasing, and then I became Under Manager…..and Greenwood Stell’s had been there for a hundred bloody years…..and it shut down, and I thought ‘doesn’t matter, there’s lots more’ and I’ve been dangling mobile in the textile industry since and when I said I’ve always been employed, I’ve watched  thousands and thousands of jobs over the years disappear.  It was once an opportunity, to manage a textile company around here was being on the cutting edge of technology in a way, but it has gone; I didn’t expect it to go; I thought it was here for ever, I really did

     

    JW:

    But there’s nothing there is there?

     

    SS:

    I don’t know what people do

     

    JW:

    Well my wife took early retirement and for whatever reason there was a six week period where she had to sign on, probably for insurance or what have you, so she was signing on in Tod, and…..I went up there for once, just out of interest, and there was nothing….the only things that you could find really were….minimum wage, unsociable hours doing stuff like working behind a bar

     

    SS:

    Yes, you’ve got to have a certain personality for that

     

    JW:

    I know which side of a bar I’m usually stood at!

     

    SS:

    But Moderna who were in Mytholmroyd, literally had a bus service and they used to bring people from Bradford – bus ‘em in – I know it was a bit naughty in a sense, bussing them in; they’d all troop off the bus, do their day’s work, all troop back on the bus and off they’d go again, and as they were going the next shift from Bradford and out that way were arriving, I mean it was an industrial centre where there were more jobs than there were people, so we were bringing people from outside to work here, and I just never thought it would, well like the others I thought ‘it’ll have to stay, it’s so diverse’ but what I’ve seen is… frightening, I mean I look at my kids now, they’re graduates etc., what they’re gonna do, well……one’s a midwife, one’s a music teacher so that sums it up really….I wanted an engineer, but I haven’t got one, (looking at photos of Rowntrees) so these are quite recent then are they?

     

    JW:

    This would be about….yeah about fifteen years ago.

     

    SS:

    Right.  So who would have owned it then?           

     

    JW:

    This was just before Nestles took it over

     

    SS:

    It wasn’t Nestles

     

    JW:

    It was Rowntrees, yeah

     

    SS:

    Was it always Rowntree Macs or was Rowntrees separate?

     

    JW:

    Yeah they were separate companies.  Mackintosh were in Halifax and Rowntrees in York, but there were talks of a merger going back to the 1920s and at one point they did operate in the same factory, so they had that co-operation going on before they actually did merge in the, was it the late seventies, early eighties

     

    SS:

    Yeah I can remember it vaguely, remember it vaguely, because we were all wondering then if Mackintosh’s in Halifax would disappear

     

    JW:

    They’re still there and they still do Quality Street, thought between you and me the quality isn’t as good as it used to be, and they are doing After Eight mints

     

    SS:

    Oh right. 

     

    JW:

    I don’t know who eats them [laughing]…..

     

    SS:

    They’re nasty……would this be a coal drawing

     

    JW:

    Yes

     

    SS: Forcing it through an eye, to give it

     

    JW:

    It goes through a soap bag, to give it some kind of lubrication. Then through a drill plate,

     

    SS:

    That’s some weight. Of course, they get narrower as they… so you’d be squashing Literally drawing as it says, drawing it through, making it thinner… Where was this then?

     

    JW:

    It was pretty much the industry from Halifax and towards Brighouse.  The last major works was Caledonian, which is now…..Pete Sut and Next is. Caledonian were quite big. One of the lads who ran it, he was called Holroyd Smith, he’s the chap who invented the tram, the electric tram car

     

    SS:

    I suppose he has a

     

    JW:

    The telephone was invented in Halifax as well

     

    JW:

    That’s debatable, people would argue with that one, but he did have a vested interest in cables didn’t he, if he did the tram cars….. why not. I wonder if he did trolley buses?

     

    JW:

    Don’t know…..but

     

    SS:

    There’s a lot of wire potential there isn’t there?

     

    [incomprehensible – walking about]

     

    JW:

    One of the earliest mechanical card setters was actually developed in Hebden Bridge in the 1830s, pretty much similar to one of the machines that we’ve got down here…..

     

    SS:

    Was it a potential working lathe? 

     

    JW:

    I’m not so sure about this, because we were thinking about completely redisplaying this so we could get more potential out of it, because of you think about wire, it’s in more or less every… you’re gonna come across it at least once in an average day.

     

    SS:

    This is actually as well, it’s a straightener…

     

    JW: A straightener.

     

    [incomprehensible – walking about]

     

    SS:

    So you got some of end products as well, I mean the potential’s here isn’t it, without a doubt?

     

    JW:

    The ones that we’ve got are the carpet looms and the moquette; we do have some Bradford Tappet worsted, but they’re not on display, they’re just standard Attersley’s but who knows, if we do get going again….we’ll probably…..

     

    SS:

    If you didn’t get it going though, what would happen to it?

     

    JW:

    Well this is the problem, but…

     

    Another person (an architect measuring the rooms)

    Have you finished? I’ve finished inside.

     

    The conversation ends while JW shows the architect the way out. TW and SS continue talking.

     

    SS:

    Derek, he was selling Butlers machines in South America and South Africa and obviously, this is of the manufacturing, it was a machine tool company, brothers’ n Halifax, gone, like all of ‘em. I believe.

    CrossRol as well, that’s where my father-in-law worked, they make carding engines.  He was a Managing Director of CrossRol   - carding engines, manufactured in the town, sent ‘em all over the world, and now they know how to make them themselves. 

     

    TW:

    So what was this machine actually used for?

     

    SS:

    That’s just a centre drill 

     

    TW:

    What would it make?

     

    SS:

    Well what it would do is…..looking at it specifically, it would just have a repetitious job or on that basis it would have been set up differently.  I reckon it was probably just there for repair purposes, you know, things that were damaged and for making a new part, because if you look at it it’s not set to do thousands of repetitions, it’s set to be available when someone comes in and says ‘oh damn, so-and-so’s failed in the boiler, we have to make a new part for it’ – I think it was just for a repair workshop and a drill, a centre drill to be honest.  They have a tendency, I mean, your Butlers machine there would almost certainly be row after row and it would have one specific part which would be passed on to the next lathe which would cut it a bit more and you know, it would have been assembled from there…..and the beauty of it, when you had drilling machines like this, if you had to do a drilling job, they weren’t set like that…..there were fixed rather than….you see that height adjustment on your box and lower end bit, they had a tendency not to do that because it takes a lot of time to keep bolting it in and setting it up, so you’d probably have it for specific jobs and……rather than just for [makes a repetitive noise] it’s very likely to be doing that

     

    TW:

    So this would be the same, just for a much larger type of job?

     

    SS:

    Yeah but I would have thought this was part of a running process to be honest, part of you know….it drills its holes, then it goes to the next machine, it drills it holes then to the next machine, so I always thought it was a machine-making machine so to speak, a machine tool.

     

    JW returns.

    JW:

    Yeah well the machine tool industry in Halifax was second only to Coventry.

     

    SS:

    Well you’ll know, as I said my father in law, CrossRol, he was Managing Director in the end.  He retired – he didn’t retire that long ago

     

    JW:

    So when did they finish?  Was it about ’92, ’93?

     

    SS:

    Technically, a lot later, but all the manufacturing had moved to China and there were still office staff in Halifax but no manufacturing.  They did that over a period when I first met him and that was the eighties, early eighties; we were already shipping out a lot of them machine tools to manufacture in the……you know, carding engines and they were moving them out then.  We had a couple of those at our place as well, three of them, and they were at CrossRol as well; don’t know what happened to them either – oh yes, they went to the Middle East, we sold them out.  We had something called……we did all our spinning at one point….open end spinning….yeah we had an open end spinning plant and that went to Iraq I think it was, sold en mass, you know, they came with about four articulated wagons, took it all, just dismantled it.  We downsized about three, four years ago; the looms were again taken to Pakistan this time.  They were all Rapiers very wide; they were older, than Sonnets, but…..they just came in, took away fifty per cent of the shed and loaded it onto wagons and off it went to be transported abroad and be set up.  They sent the guys over to work with us for about two……about two months so they could get to know the machines before they took ‘em.  We weren’t informed by the way that they were gonna take ‘em.  We thought they were just gonna get similar of the machines and set up their own company over there; they didn’t tell us that they were cutting the staff by I think it was sixty per cent and shipping ‘em out, so we taught them how to…..because we were redundant….so it was a bit of an eye-opener that…..we were making then…..interlinings, you know, for curtains, a lot of us were doing that, electric blankets…..making electric blankets – not for this country any more, for South Africa, but then again we shipped out the machines to South Africa; we sold them out there for them to start making it, so we don’t do them any more. They were Jacquard looms, you know, because you had channels for the wiring, the Jacquard system, then we lost all that as well and the machines.  Forty eight people ten years ago; six now….but, you know, that’s what happens

     

    JW:

    Aye well, that’s the magic of capitalism

     

    SS:

    Yeah….there was a similar debate when we worked at Butler’s.  I think that’s gone completely hasn’t it now, Butler’s?

     

    JW:

    Yeah

     

    SS:

    Yeah they’ve shut down

     

    JW:

    Yes, we’re not left with much

     

    SS:

    Yeah I don’t know what’s left of the engineering round here, but there’s not a great deal.

     

    JW:

    There’s……Broadbent and Stanley merged and they’re Stanley Broadbent, and they’re at…….just up near Friendly, near t’top of Tuel Lane

     

    SS:

    Right.  I didn’t know they moved up there

     

    SS:

    Not Broadbents from Mytholmroyd?

     

    JW:

    Yeah

     

    SS:

    Yeah, they used to specialise in…..what was it called…… milling machines and the likes…..I had a few friends that worked there - Alfie Walker and the likes….it’s now housing is it?

     

    JW:

    Yeah…….yes, you see it’s always puzzled me that…you know, because we had all these specialist manufacturers…..if Halifax was the second only to Coventry, after Coventry got blitzed, why the Germans didn’t come and blitz here cos if they had done that they would have flattened the machine tool industry in this country.

     

    SS:

    Yeah…..bit obscure is Halifax isn’t it? [laughing]  And people today, they can’t comprehend what is was like forty years ago, I mean you couldn’t do it, not unless you were there

     

    JW:

    Well the age of mass employment’s gone I think.

     

    SS:

    Unfortunately yeah.  Obviously it’s there elsewhere.  We had a lot of manufacturing machines, but we’ve been left behind.  Apparently the euro zone has done very very well hasn’t it?  Its economy is way up, I mean Germany’s booming

     

    JW:

    We aren’t.

     

    SS:

    We’re not, because we can’t make it any more.  If we could make, that’s what people are after

     

    JW:

    Well this is what Cameron’s been saying isn’t it?  He said we want to get back to Britain – we want to get back to making it rather than making it up, and I thought ‘well that only shows how well you understand manufacturing’ – once you’ve lost the skills…..but you see, you know these people are toffs from Eton aren’t they you know, so they’ve probably never held a spanner in their lives…..

     

    SS:

    Well the apprenticeship system would have to be reinvented, but then again where are you gonna send the apprentice to work?  They’d have to go to special colleges

     

    JW:

    This is what we’re looking at because they are looking at….basically bringing back technical colleges, but then if you’re going to do that, who’s got the skills to teach, because we’ve moved from the actual to the virtual so much, and at the end of the day who’s going to employ ‘em?

     

    SS:

    Yeah.  I know the people that have these skills, such as people like Richard you know, he’s gone into retirement and he certainly doesn’t want to now….he’s too old to go back and start retraining.  He wants to do it for himself, you know, ‘I don’t want to be teaching kids any more – I want to try my skills out on new things’- that’s why he did the canal barge by the way, not because he loves canal barges, in fact he’d never been on one so he had to find out how it worked, and how the motors work

     

    TW:

    Well shouldn’t the Government give all these small railways all over the country a load of money to train up a lot of young people?

     

    SS:

    That’s what we’re looking at with the textile collections in Yorkshire.  There is some money available out there which is called the…..it’s Industrial Maritime Aviation and Technologies Training, IMATT, but they’ve set it up in a very peculiar way.  Lancashire have gone that way; they’ve got three placements, so you’ve got two people being trained at Helmshore, which is the spinning side, and one person at Queen Street Mill which is weaving, and there’s another one at Wigan, who’s steam engineering, and they’ve just got the Trencherfield engine.

     

    TW:

    Do you think that will grow?

     

    JW:

    I don’t know – I think there’s….it’s a different kettle of fish really for Yorkshire because our needs are a little bit different, so we’re probably looking at initially…..what we’re trying…..tell you straight….what I’m trying to do is create the job that I wanted thirty years ago, but basically what we’re trying to do is develop a class of people who would be technical curators, because a lot of people who come to work in museums – this is why this place shut – because a lot of people who come to work in museums are usually from humanities and a middle class background, so when it comes to machines they’re a bit kind of…..they can’t see what they’re looking at, because the person who shut this place down, his attitude was ‘well they’re just rusty old machines that nobody wants to look at’ so…..that was the kind of attitude that we were facing, but strangely enough because of the recession and this Government’s now saying like we’ve got to get back to work, you know, at least it’s thrown the attention back to manufacturing and what we’re saying within West Yorkshire is if you take over the museum collections that we’ve got, we’ve got the biggest didactic resource without parallel you know, and we’ve been trying to move that into Lancashire as well so what was the textile industrial north – so you’re looking at Manchester, Leeds, us, Bradford, Preston, and I think we can get there, and Bolton as well, it’s just that some of the museum services in Lancashire are not going through a very good time at the moment…..but if we can sail through I think we can get somewhere, because it will put back into the industrial museum side of museums what’s been taken out, you know, which is the skills, and a lot of it is to do with poor management as well because you see these people who got themselves into management, they didn’t understand manufacturing, they didn’t understand what you need to know, you know, I think they’d be hard pushed to wire a plug to be honest, you know, and they were spoilt, they were spoilt rotten because when all these museums were being put together in the 1980s, there was a lot of people who were time served and who were about forty, forty or fifty, and they were glad to get a job anywhere because of the eighties, and a lot of them – because they were quite passionate about whatever area they worked in, whether it was textiles or engineering, so they came here, so we had people who not only knew what they were doing but they could talk to the public, and they could talk to the public with knowledge, because they’d spend a life time doing it and we kept saying all the way through the 1980s and into the ‘90s, ‘we’ve got to get some kind of apprenticeship scheme going because once they’ve gone, you’ve had it’.  I tried to set up an apprenticeship scheme here in ’93 but it wasn’t funded, it wasn’t funded properly, so I had to wind it up sadly, but if we don’t capture the skills now, we really have had it

     

    SS:

    It might be too late already actually

     

    JW:

    Well I think with…..looking at woollen textiles, I mean worsted’s a different kettle of fish, but looking at

     

    SS:

    In Mytholmroyd, down at Moderna, that’s what you’d do in the morning, well,  you see the belt up here, you’d have your belt and you’d flip it over, you’d catch it on t’wheel and then you’d already have it on t’bottom one, then you put your dubbin on the belt as it’s spinning to get some grip so you could kick out a few extra…. These are the lines… 

     

    JW:

    The power source was the diesel, for the Robson.

     

    SS:

    The one we’re looking down on …

     

    JW:

    No, no. That’s a diesel.

     

    SS:

    Oh right, a diesel.

     

    JW:

    So, we’ve just rigged this up to show what transmission systems you have from a central power source, but you want to go over to Queen Street Mill in Burnley because that’s all… it’s a Lancashire boiler so it’s coal fired you know, t’steam engine’s….

     

    SS:

    Moderna was coal.

     

    JW:

    Yeah.  You’ve got the steam engine, I think it’s about six hundred horse power,  horizontal, I think it might be tandem compound anyway it’s well worth having a look, and all the looms are belt driven

     

    SS:

    And so you’re still having to start them in the morning by flipping ‘em onto

     

    JW:

    Well the belts are always static but they had a fast and loose

     

    SS:

    Right, yeah.

     

    JW:

    So you put it onto the loose one and …till the shafting had …

     

    SS:

    You see the Moderna ones, you’d actually flip ‘em on

     

    JW:

    Well that is primitive isn’t it?

     

    SS:

    It was at the time.  There were different looms; they were blanket looms

     

    JW: Briggs?

     

    SS:

    Probably were. I don’t know; I didn’t work in that department - I was only a kid then.  As you said you worked Saturdays, well my job was to collect the coal; they unloaded it, well it fell over t’road and everything and all this, and it was valuable you see, so I had a little wheelbarrow and I used to shovel it in and I was only about this big, and then of course it was a big power source, so I used to be able to walk around watching all these looms going and all these people covered in oil skins cos in the wet houses they were belting across, water coming down, slipping here, you know, scouring and dyeing….it was impressive when you were only this big, and nobody bothered stopping you, there was no health and safety you know, it was ‘get out of t’way kid, get out of t’way’ you know, ‘do you wanna get run over?’ yeah I used to collect the coal – what a job……Because Moderna was on a road you see, and when it…..you couldn’t tip it in so a lot of it did fall over the road and then it got run over and broken and they’d say ‘you can’t waste coal’ …………..but you see you were brought up with it….you were used to the noise, the lighting….in here is pretty typical  

    of…..even the shed I’m working in at the moment, to be honest, so it was maybe a bit brighter because was it north, south windows and…but otherwise no, it’s the same

     

    JW:

    What we’re doing down in the basement is ….obviously the safest place under us is the floor…

     

    Incomprehensible talk while walking

     

    JW:

    I’ve greased everything up …[incomprehensible] … but you see I can’t come down here on my own because according to the council, that’s lone working and you can’t be alone on the site, well I don’t think somebody’s gonna jump out and shout at me ‘boo’ [laughing] I really don’t know, but no, Sir Alex’s well  because with the extracting industry you’re on the edge of two coal fields, the West Yorkshire and Tod, so you’ve got clay canister for fire bricks and what have you

     

    SS:

    We used to do that at Calder High School that, they don’t that any more – they used to go out up onto the hillsides above Calder and we used to build kilns, and collect 5our own clay from the streams coming down – in the right place you  get the clay and then we’d have a go at it.  It went through a pug wheel I don’t know if you’ve come across one to get rid of t’bits and rubbish in it, and it comes out like….big long worms and then we’d make something and actually build a kiln into the hillside so we could fire the pots, you know, it was teaching people where it came from, how it – hands on completely.  Apparently they don’t even do kilns any more because it’s dangerous, you know, they get hot [laughing]….well when I was teaching Chemistry not long ago, one of my earlier subjects, it was all on computer you know more or less, and all the experiments were done by me and they watched, because we couldn’t, you know, a fume cabinetsyou can’t have them doing that Steven, not any more’, so they had some Bunsen burner points and  they said – this was at Calder High – they said ‘they were set up when you were a kid’ I said ‘yeah and we used ‘em’ ‘not any more, you can’t have that’

     

    JW:

    That’s just unbelievable

     

    SS:

    So they all stand round, watching

     

    JW:

    That’s just unbelievable

     

    SS:

    But Health and Safety wasn’t allowing it at the time so it was a bit pointless

     

    JW:

    Well this is it, we’re just seem to be breeding a generation now of passive consumerist

     

    JW:

    That’s what some people say one of the gifts that made the west was consumerism, but unfortunately the other gifts have gone and that’s the only one left.  This historian said ‘oh a lot of it was driven by religion in this valley in particular - there was an ethic – work got you nearer to God, you know, the Methodists….

     

    JW:

    This is the other side of though isn’t it which people all were finding, that there is a social aspect to work, that work socialises you and I think that’s why there’s so much naughty behaviour…..I mean people just don’t know any better and they’re kept at school far too long

     

    SS:

    But you had work in this valley – lots of industry, lots of pubs, lots of churches

     

    JW:

    When you went to work and in a pub, they were adult spaces and you had to behave like an adult and it annoys me the way pubs have done – well the pubs that are still open – you get kids running up and down, and they think that’s normal, that’s normal behaviour…

     

    JW:

    Mind you I drink at t’Stubbin you see, so

     

    SS:

    Well I was at t’Stubbin not long ago and I was sat outside in that nice weather and having a drink, and then a family came next to me and the kids started jumping up and down, banging into me table, and I thought ‘I can’t put up with this’ so I went down to t’Fox – they don’t come into t’Fox on the basis, you know, there’s no space for them to run around, so….

     

    JW:

    Yeah well I pop in at tea time, just have two pints on my way home and it’s not so bad then because they don’t start to drift in for their dinners

     

    SS:

    Yeah I don’t like the smell either of the food with the beer, it just throws me,  but the pub culture, everything revolved around it in a sense, I mean all football teams would beet at your local pub, the Dusty Miller in Mytholmroyd – we’d play football

     

    JW:

    It was self-contained

     

    SS:

    Completely within Mytholmroyd, when I went to university at the time, people would say ‘where’s he going?  What’s he doing?  People don’t do it – they don’t leave Mytholmroyd, they’re born there, they stay there’ and I don’t know, I must have been naughty, but certainly from a council estate…..them days no, most of my friends are still local and they’ve spent most of their working life around here…..and it was a violent pub culture as well, you know, on a Saturday night there was always some trouble, and it was expected sort of, that you’d get a bit drunk and then have fights and you sort of forget about it, it’s been done and dusted you know, but no knifing people in the back or whatever, it was just a couple of punch-ups outside and  ‘oh God, they’re at it again’….. I was going to say, but women knew their place then, so I’ll have to be careful on that one….you know, it was a man’s environment to a great extent, especially if you’ve just come after work and you’d had a few beers and you know, the female workers went straight home and…..

     

    JW:

    Somebody’s got to make the tea….

     

    SS:

    Exactly. And it was work, things worked like that

     

    JW:

    So shall we go back up?

     

    On the way we stopped to look at a painting which says, ‘Mytholm Mine’

     

    JW:

    That, it was at Shibden, and …. Oh right, and that was one of the last pit ponies in the Halifax coal field

     

    [END OF TRACK 1]

    Read more

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