Tag results

You are searching documents tagged with "Weaver"

  • Interviews and Storytelling: Mary Sutcliffe


    Did he want to do that? Eeeh yer nosey parker! What do you want to know all that for?

    I wanted to know if you could remember your teachers – your school teachers.

    Me dad?

    Your school teachers.

    ANOTHER PERSON IN ROOM (CARER?): Your school teachers.

    MS Who were me teacher? Mr Jackson – everybody remembers Mr Jackson, the school master, boom boom boom – could he cane, oh! He didn’t do it much, but by gum, when he did – he did, and I only were caned once, but by gum I could have swacked him in river, I could – it did hurt, and that’s Mr Jackson for yer, and you know him, you did, I know you did.


    Go on.

    Can you tell me something about your mother and father?

    Well me dad’s the best dad in the world, I’ll tell yer that. Me mum weren’t me real mum because she died when…there were three tiny little girls and she died when we were three tiny little girls and me dad had to bring us up; he had to take us to me grandma’s so she that could look after us and then we could go to school and he could go to work. Isn’t that good? That’s very good. It is that.

    What work did your father do?

    What work did he do? He worked in a factory, a mill or whatever yer called it. I don’t know what he did but, among blankets – he’d a clean job, he never dirtied his hands but…I don’t know what they called it what he did, only I know it were with the blankets he used to chuck ‘em over his shoulder – he were a strong man, he were that. He could knock ‘em to pieces! …He never touched us, never – not with a little finger; he was the best dad in the world, and don’t you forget to tell that. I will. ‘cos I will.

    What was his name?

    Oh I’m breathless – what did yer say?

    What was his name, what was your father’s name?

    Ernest Sutcliffe. I bet yer knew him. I’ll bet yer did, yer beggar! [laughing]….Do yer know where he lived?



    I don’t know.

    Banksfields, yes. What’s this?

    That’s the microphone.

    Oh is it?

    Yes. It will be alright there.

    Am I talking through this?


    Eeeh – I’m a film star! What love?

    How old were you when you finished school?

    How old am…you don’t ask ladies how old they are!

    Not now – when you finished school.

    Did you hear what he said?


    No, he wants to know how old you were when you finished school.

    Twelve, and the year after it were fourteen. There’s just twelve years between me and my sister, just twelve months I mean and I was born…the eighteenth of March and me sister was born on the first of April. Eeeh…the eighteenth of March – that’s my sister’s birthday. Well how old am I? Oh…


    I think you’re in your nineties.

    MS: I’m ninety summat but I don’t know what – I don’t bother about how old I am.

    Did you go to work?

    I’ll say I did! We wanted the money, by gum we did that, because we didn’t have any money, only me dad’s wage for all of us so they wanted me at work as quick as ever they could. Right – anything else?

    What did you do?

    I was a…what did I do? I was a weaver. Were you? Yes…do you know what weaving is? Yes. Oh, were you a weaver? I did do weaving at one time, yes. Did you? Yes – put a shuttle through, back and forth. That’s it, that’s it, and didn’t they clonk clonk clonk – by gum, it’s a good job…if anybody were hurt with that blooming thing that goes across – I were hit once, just once there and luckily it just skimmered across me cheek – oh I were scared stiff, I thought I were done. Oooh – I’m alright. Luckily there weren’t anybody hurt while I were there; if they were it weren’t much of anything…No I don’t want to go back there. I don’t want to go back working, I want to play, that’s what I want to do! Oh, I’m sat on me flipping skirt – pull me skirt up love [carer sorted her skirt out] Let me get…[laughing] that’s it, that’s it,that’s it – that’s it, that’s it, that’s it! She’s a little lion – now come on love!

    What mill did you work in?

    ….wait a minute…Harwood’s, you’ll remember Harwood’s. Where was it? At Brearley. Ah yes. I knew you would because you’re fairly old aren’t yer? I look it – I’ve had a hard life! I bet you have love, I have an’ all. They had at my age, and you’d to work and you’d to work and you’d to earn every penny you got – I could have clonked ‘em one, more than once! I don’t want them days again, I’m glad they’re better than when were when we were young, I am that.

    I’m not gonna be young again and I don’t want to be old, so I’m stopping as I am!

    Sounds good to me!

    Yeh it is good, it is good! I weren’t born yesterday yer know, no – yer weren’t neither were yer?


    I bet you’re as old as me, aren’t yer?

    Not quite.

    How do you know how old I am?

    Well you’ve told me, you said you were ninety summat.

    You shouldn’t go round noseying folk – it’s naughty! That’s what my mum said, you shouldn’t ask questions – it’s naughty. Did you ask questions?


    You have to ask questions.

    I did and then got smacked for it, you’ll go to bed tonight without supper – that’s what we had to do, oooh – then me dad used to sneak up with a sandwich; he was the best dad in the world and the world and the world, ooh bless him, and he’s living, did you know that? No I didn’t. And he’s coming to meet me if it’s fine tonight, then you’ll see him…he’s like a bobby. He wanted to be a policeman and me mum didn’t want him to so she wouldn’t consent to him going for a policeman, but she did later and then he said ‘well I’m not going’ so that’s it, he didn’t go. Eeh he’s a lovely dad, big and strong with a little ‘tache. Everybody thought ‘in’t he smart?’ Did you know him? I bet yer did. I’m not sure. I’m sure you’re sure. How big are you? About five nine. oh, me dad’s taller than you. He’d knock yer flat, he would that – he’d just go bang – dead, no he wouldn’t kill you, yes he used to.

    Do you remember…do you remember Harwood’s?

    I know of it, I never went in. What was it like inside? How many looms did you work?

    And me dad worked there but he had a fairly clean, decent job, he had a clean job, he never dirtied his hands, he never dirtied his hands. Me mam used to say ‘you don’t work’ he did but he didn’t get dirty, no. He used to walk like a policeman. ‘Who’s that man?’ ‘My dad.’ ‘Shut up’ that’s what I told ‘em ‘You say one word against my dad and…’ I’ll show ‘em. I bet you did know him, he were a big man, he weren’t quite six foot but he were tall and broad and he used to walk…and he used to wear clogs.

    **Did you remember clogs? **


    I did because we went to school in clogs, and he used to go down street did me dad in a morning at half past six clonk clonk clonk and they used 8to say ‘that’s Ernest getting up, time we were up’. Up they got, and he were an alarm clock were me dad, eeh the best dad in the world…And don’t you remember him? I bet yer do – what’s this? Oh it’s that in’t it? And don’t you remember my dad? I don’t know anybody from Brearley. I bet he did, I bet he did and he’s reckoning he didn’t but I know he did because you’re me dad’s age aren’t yer. How old are yer?

    I’m fifty-four.

    Fifty-four? Me dad’s fifty-five or else fifty-six, I don’t know which. He could knock you to pieces!

    And we were like little titches, there’s three of us, we’re like little titches, but by gum if anybody touched us….

    When we went to school there were a boy, ooh and he were a ‘nowt’- do you know what a ‘nowt’ is? No. Nowt [laughing] and he used to keep waiting for us at school and knocking us, ooh he were a bad ‘un. So bad, me dad went down to his house and had a word with his father; he never touched us again, that flayed him. He were a big man were my dad, a big ‘un and he used to walk like a sergeant, anybody touched us, they had him to deal with, they did that, but let ‘em touch us – they’d run a mile, and me dad after ‘em, he did that – he could run, and he could play football – he could that. Don’t you remember Ernest Sutcliffe playing football? No. You do. I’ve watched a lot of football. He reckons he didn’t and he does, I know he does because I’ve heard me dad talk about you, you little monkey. Has he? What did he say? I’m not telling yer. Oh good! But he says ‘by gum but he could run’, that’s why he liked you on his side when they played football,’cos you could run. He could run, yer wouldn’t think it, would yer? Well he can, he did, he did. It’s true – I could run very fast. Can you run now? I’m too fat now! Are you? Yeh. Ah but I bet you could run if I were after yer! [carer brought a drink] Ooh by gum, oooh…

    We could run and we’d to run at school – we’ve run round that blumming playground till I’m capped it isn’t level! We’ve run round that playground, I’m capped it in’t level. Yes we’ve run round that playground at school, Burnley Road you know, while I’m capped there isn’t a flag on it. Bang bang bang. ‘Get them feet going, get them feet going’ – oh that were Mr Jackson. He were nice but he were a tartar. Were he a pal of yours? Oh I’m shutting up. I don’t know nought, and I wouldn’t tell if I did, no I wouldn’t! That’s what we used to say at school, yer cheeky beggar! [laughing] You daft old woman – I’m not an old woman am I love? No. No, am I heck – I’m only ninety summat…am I ninety summat? I think so. Are You? No. Aren’t You? Well you should be. I would like to be, but not at the minute. When you get oldlike me, you’ll remember. Maybe I will. You will. You’ll think eeh – I wish ‘I wish I’d done that, I wish I’d clonked him an’ all, and I wish I’d knocked him down’. I wish I’d done lots of stuff I didn’t do, but I’ll do ‘em, I will.

    Like what Mary, like what? What would you have liked to have done?

    Me dad? No you Mary.

    CARER: What would you have liked to have done when you were younger?

    MS: Oh I don’t know…well we hadn’t choice, we’d just got to – ‘you go there’ and you went, but not now – they do what they want. We had to do what we were told, had you? Yes. Yes, I thought you would. Life’s different now in’t it?

    It is – how’s it different?

    Yes, where do you live?

    **Eaves. **

    Where did he say?

    CARER: Eaves.


    CARER: At Mytholmroyd, up your neck of woods.

    No – Mytholm Steeps.

    MS: Do you like at Mytholm? Well I’ll go to heck, that’s not far from us is it? Mytholm… Mytholm. Well you’ll know Mytholmroyd then. A bit. I thought yer did. It’s a bonny little spot. Do yer know, somebody once said ‘the prettiest little village he’d ever seen’ now that’s true because I heard it. Did you hear that?

    CARER: No.

    MS No? Come here and I’ll tell yer. I were once talking to a man, I don’t know who he was, and he said ‘where do you live?’ I said ’Mytholmroyd’ – he says ‘the prettiest little village I’ve ever seen in my life, and I’ve travelled the world over’. In’t that grand? Very good. Don’t you wish you lived at Mytholmroyd? I like where I live now. Where do you live, Mytholm? Mytholm Steeps. Well that’s not far away is it? No.

    I like where I live an’ all. I don’t think I want to live – sometimes I think I’d like to live where I can see a bit more. There’s houses across, houses across bottom; I wish sometimes they weren’t there and I could a lot, I could see everywhere, so when I move it’s going to be so I can see everywhere, in’t that nice? That is nice. But I don’t think I’ll move, I don’t think I will. I like where I live and I like the people around me, and they’re all nice.

    CARER: And your sister’s just up road in’t she?

    MS: Are yer talking to me?

    CARER: Your Mabel’s just living up road from you now in’t she?

    MS: Yes, do you know where…where does she live?

    CARER: Near you.

    MS: Where does Mabel live?

    CARER: Up road from you.

    MS: I live in Albert Street, she lives…Aspinall, yes, Aspinall Street. I know it. You know where that is? If you know Banksfields you know where Albert Street, you know where Aspinall Street is, you know where…there’s lots of streets – everybody wanted to live in Banksfields at one time but they don’t now, they want to be posh. Good luck to ‘em, get out of road, that’s what I say– that leaves more room for us doesn’t it! In’t it lovely to be alive – say yes! Well, you don’t know what it’s like to be dead do you? No. Andwe don’t want to be do we? No, we don’t.

    So you lived near Aspinall Street? Did you know a chap there called Ted Highes? He may have been a bit younger than you.

    I can’t tell a word he says, I must be deaf!

    CARER: Do you know a man called Ted Hughes?

    MS: Ooh no – Peg – that’s not a name – is that a nickname?

    Ted. Like Theodore, Teddy

    No I don’t love – should I do?

    Well he lived there, but I think he was a bit younger than you.

    Eeeh no – I’ve lived there as far as I can remember all me life, but I were born, so me dad says, in Brearley, at that little village in between, oh it’s a bonny little spot.

    They’re very particular in Brearley, who they have born there; it’s a lovely little spot is Brearley. There’s nothing there but one shop, one shop the Co-op so if you don’t shop there you’ve to go somewhere else. Everybody helps one another, they do. If you go out shopping, they’ll help you carry your shopping home – it’s a lovely little spot.

    Where do you live? Hebden Bridge. Oh, Hebden Bridge – they think they’re it at Hebden Bridge but they’re no, they’re nowhere near us! It’s a lovely little spot is Hebden Bridge but it doesn’t come up to Mytholmroyd, no.

    A man once said it’s the prettiest little village he’d ever seen, and do you know who it was?


    King Kong! [all laughing]

    Do you like jokes?


    Not a person – jokes.

    What does he say?

    CARER: Do you like jokes?

    MS: Oh jokes – I thought he said Joe. Well it depends what sort of jokes they are – not naughty jokes, else you’ve had it! My dad said no and that’s what we keep, no. Anybody says anything, out they go. They don’t come again, no. Me dad’s a clean man and I don’t know whether you know him or not, but whether you know him or not, he’s a clean man – everybody likes my dad, and if they don’t I’ll make ‘em, I will, and he’s a big man – do you know that? You do, I know you do. He’s nearly six foot and he’s a little ‘tache and he walks like a sergeant, and he wears clogs for work – ah that did yer – clogs!
    We wore clogs for school, everybody wore clogs for school. Do you wear clogs?

    CARER: Yes.

    MS: Them’s slippers! Are them yours?

    CARER: They are.

    MS: Oh she’s a clever thing, she thinks she’s it because she wears slippers!

    Well we wear clogs and we used to run up and down, and you know they’d irons on – you’ll remember them won’t yer? They’d irons on and we used to run and go ‘bump’ and go like that on tram lines and then they made sparks, eeh we’ve had some fun with that, then we’ve rolled over and bust us knees, running home – ‘well you should stand on yer flipping feet, that’s what they’re for’ that’s all the sympathy we got, so we used to run around again, roll over again – bless ‘em! Bum to ‘em, that’s what I say.

    Do you know any nicknames?

    Is that it? Can I go now?

    Do you want to go now, or would you like to talk a little bit more?

    Eeeh I could do with him, but I can’t tell what he says. What did he say?


    Do you want to go now, or do you want to carry on talking to him?

    MS: Oh I’ll talk as long as he likes, go on love – I’ll talk as long as you want, but you tell me what I’m talking about.

    I’m just wondering –did you know any nicknames?

    Eeh I don’t know – I might know a lot of stuff, but I don’t know what – ask me.

    Nicknames – can you remember any nicknames for people?

    What’s he say? Nicknacks? Oh nicknames, no – I’ve just Mary, all I have is Mary, bless her little heart, I wish cat had it, that’s my name, not one more. I don’t think any of us have two names, not even me dad – do you know me dad? No. I bet yer. Go on then. Ernest Sutcliffe. Ah! I knew it, I knew it, I knew he knew him.


    Yeh, but do you know any nicknames?


    Ay, nicknacks! Nicknames – what my nickname?

    No, other people’s.

    Who do I know? Nick Jones – who’s he? Do you know Nick Jones? No. Well I don’t neither! Anything else – go on.

    Did you ever go mumming, at New Year – did you go mumming?

    I know what you mean, ho heck – do you mean knocking at people’s doors and opening ‘em and saying Happy New Year, do you mean that? Well I didn’t but they did, but me dad wouldn’t let us go. ‘you are not going out tonight in that dark’ so that’s that, so we hadn’t to go. When me dad said no he meant no, when he said yes off we went…the best dad in the world, and you knew him, and he were a big man, you know that don’t yer? Yes. Bigger ner you. I’m not very big. You’re not six foot are yer? No. Me dad’s not quite six foot but nearly, but he could just bang – they’d be over the moon, he was the best dad in the world.

    Did you go maypole dancing?

    No but I’ll tell you what we did do once – they used to call it Demonstration, do you remember that? Gala Day.

    Did you do that?

    Did you? I did. I do an’all, and once the schoolchildren and I were one of ‘em and me sister, me both sisters were…you should have seen us dancing round that maypole with us ribbons [singing] – did you ever see that?


    Yes, I’ve done it.


    Oh, we thought we were Lord Almighty because we were dancing for demonstration! Round and round the mul…no that’s mulberry bush..it were maypole weren’t it? Yeh. eeeh we had a good time – they must have thought we were good mustn’t they? Yeh. Well we were.

    Were all the girls from the school or was it from the church – where were they from?

    MS: Oh I don’t know love. They might be dead I don’t know – no they won’t ‘cos they’re only my age, they won’t be dead. Eeeh they won’t be dead, never! You can’t be dead at my age –how old am I?


    Eeeh – did he say ninety-odd?



    MS: Am I ninety-odd?

    So I believe.

    MS: How old are you?

    I told you once.

    MS: Have you told me?


    MS: Well I forgot – well I won’t ask you again., ‘cos you don’t want to tell me do yer? What’s this?

    That’s the microphone.

    MS: Oh it’s this thing in’t it?


    MS: Are yer tekking me picture?


    MS: Oooh did you see that? Can I go now?

    What did you do at Wakes Week, when you went on holidays?

    MS: When we were little we had to stop at home ‘cos we’d no money, and we’d to wait till we’d started working and we only worked part-time, do you remember that? we only worked part-time so we couldn’t go for a week, we only had to go for Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday – then when finished, and then when we started working full-time we could go for a week – oh we thought we were God Almighty because we could go to Blackpool for a week – eeeh we thought ‘nobody like us’ – we used to walk about as if we were King Kong! I bet you did, didn’t yer?


    MS: Ay bless ‘em! When I say we’ve had a good life, no we could have had a better but…we’d a good dad… we’d the best dad in the world – did you know that?

    Yes you said.

    MS: Did you know him?

    I do know.

    MS: Oh he’s the best dad in the world. I won’t say he’s six foot but nearly, and he walks like a sergeant – anybody touches us – ‘I’ll go see to them’ and do you know there were a boy at school and I’m not telling yer his name because you’ll know him, and he used to wait for us coming home from school and he used to stop us, he wouldn’t let us pass, and it got while we were crying us eyes out because we daren’t go to school and we daren’t come home, and me dad were working, so me dad says ‘right, I’ll see to that’ – off he went down to his house; he never did it again. That put lights on him. Never did he touch us with a finger again, because he knew what he’d get…and by gum me dad would have clattered him. Do you know what clattering is?

    No, what does it mean?

    MS: Clonking, you know – he would have belted him while he couldn’t stand. Anybody touches us – only once did somebody stop us coming home from school and it were this same lad, me dad says’ I’ll put a stop to that’ – off he went down to his house, his father – ‘come here’ – he never did it again. Me dad could have squashed him with his hand, he were a big man. Did you know me dad?

    CARER: No.

    MS: Oh he were a lovely dad, weren’t he love?

    **Yes. **

    Did you used to sing?

    Sing? We had to sing at school.

    What did you sing?

    Oh what did we sing – well we used to have to start school with a hymn you know, I bet you did, didn’t yer? We used to start school with a hymn, and we’d to sing ‘get them voices going, get them top notes’ – oh gosh he were a…oh I could swear, I still could swear at him and he’s dead, I don’t care whether he is or he isn’t, I could still swear at him – by gum he did make us sing. We sang while we couldn’t sing another note and still it were ‘get them top notes’ – I’m capped he didn’t swear at us, but by gum did we sing – we sang better than anybody else in the world and we were school children, but could we sing – them top notes, they were like a bell; we could sing. We had to do, whether we could or not we had to do – he made us – by gum I could kill him now although he’s dead, I could – eeeh he were a monkey! We liked him but we hated him, you know – that sort. I were glad when I left school and got rid of him, I were that. Now he’s dead; you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead should you, well I don’t, but I don’t like him. If you’re up there I don’t like you, and if you’re down there I still don’t like you!

    There’s lots of folk I don’t like, go on ask me who.


    MS: You! [laughing] I bet you did didn’t yer?

    That’s a joke!

    MS: No I like you love because you don’t shout at us, but if you shout at me, I’ll stop it…I don’t like people shouting at me, besides you haven’t to shout at people, you’ve to talk natural – that’s what they told us at school, you talk natural, you do not shout, so we never shouted – you see, we did as we were told. It were a good school. Did you go to Burnley Road?


    MS: You’d go to a posh ‘un wouldn’t you?


    MS: Where did you go then – Hebden Bridge?

    Oh no I didn’t.

    MS: You lived in Hebden Bridge didn’t you?

    I did live in Hebden Bridge, yeh.

    MS: Well which school did you go to then?

    Well – my son went to Central Street.

    MS: Oh Central School, that’s just behind Market Street in’t it? Yes, I know where it is. I’ve been there but I used to go there when I went to night school. I had to go to night school.

    What did you do at night school?



    Well I stopped at home for a long time because my mum weren’t so well so I had to stop at home and look after the house – I were a little mother because me mum had died, so I were a little mother but I got through…but we had to work, everybody had to work – blumming hard an’ all for children. You shouldn’t have to work so hard, not children, no. I’m not coming again.

    Had you to work


    MS: Yes, well we had hadn’t we? You didn’t work did yer?

    CARER: I weren’t born then.

    MS: Did you love?

    Mary, what did you study at night school?

    MS: Tailoring, you know, tailoring – making coats and dresses. We had to make all our own clothes – I used to be sewing and sewing while I couldn’t see hardly, but I had to do because we had no money, so I had to machine, and then I put the things together, made them fit – they went out like two little birds – everybody envied us because I made the clothes, and they kept coming to my house – ‘will you make me this, will you make me that’ and I said ‘no, I’m not making it for anybody else, you mun make your own I I’ve had to make my own, you make your own’ then they wouldn’t speak to me! I thought ‘well I don’t care if you do or you don’t’ I can make mine, I can make family, I don’t care about them; ‘make your own’.

    I bet your knees are sore aren’t they?

    Just a little.

    MS: Yeh I know – I’ve knelt down there long enough, I’m not gonna kneel know more – ay bless ‘em, but me dad is the best dad in the world. Have you a dad?

    My dad’s dead – he was a good dad, but he’s gone now.

    MS: When did he die?

    Oh quite a while now.

    MS: Oh dear, so have you a mum?


    MS: Is she nice?

    She is nice my mum, yes.

    MS: Ay bless ‘em – well I’ll be your mum, oh you have a mum. It’s a dad you want. We’d the best dad in the world. He’s living now. Do you know my dad?

    Did you get married and have any children Mary?

    Well I am his child – one of ‘em!

    No you – did you have children?

    No I didn’t get married – I had too much work to do at home to get married, I’d to work work work, ‘cos we’d no money so we had to work.

    What work did you do at home?

    I worked at home because, I had to work at home to keep the house clean and tidy; oh it were like a little palace, everybody used to say ‘hasn’t Mary a lovely home? Doesn’t she keep it nice?’ I thought ‘yes, I do keep it nice’ and heaven help somebody if they don’t – I’ll clonk ‘em one, and I would. You went to work didn’t yer?

    Yes I did.

    MS: You weren’t a bobby were yer?


    MS: That’ll do then. My dad had wanted to be a bobby and me mum said ‘no you’re not going to be a bobby’ oh me dad were cross – he says’ right’ and then she says a few years after, ‘you can go for a bobby if you want’ he says ‘I don’t want’ – he never went, they fell out. My dad – he was the best dad in the world, heaven help anybody that touched us, and there were a lad at school – I’m not telling yer his name because he’s your age, he’s my age, and he used to wait for us coming out of school and he would not let us pass to get home – he used to keep going, you know how you do – this way, if we went that way he went that way, if we went this way he went this way and then me dad went down to his house – I’m not telling you who he was because you know him, and he knocked at that door – ‘may I see your son?’ [in a ‘posh’ voice] – he could speak nicely could me dad – ‘may I see your son?’ ‘what do you want to see him for?’ me mum said ‘never you mind, just let me see him’ so she let him see him – he never touched us again – ‘you touch my child again and any of ‘em, you’re in that river’ – he never touched us, not with one finger – that showed him, that showed him who were boss. He says ‘I’ll show you for touching my children – you let them come home from school in peace, and go to school in peace’ [someone coming in?] Who’s that?

    CARER: They’ll sort him out.

    MS: So he never touched us again, never – not with a little finger, and me dad used to watch from the window or the door where he could peep through and watch him – he daren’t touch us – no, he’d have been thrown in that river, he would that – ‘you touch my children and you know where you’ll be.’

    What did you do at Christmas?

    Oh what did we do at Christmas? Everybody came to our house – family I mean, I don’t mean everybody, family you know, everybody came to our house and me mam used to cook – we’d to save up for a turkey and we’d the biggest turkey you ever saw, it hardly went in the oven but she got it in and she cooked it, and we’d the best meal anybody could ever have – ooh we had a good do, and they all came to our house for their Christmas dinner, and then we’d finished we all sang every little Christmas song we knew, and then they all came and they stood outside and they all sang with us. That was the best Christmas we’d ever had – eeh we were poor but we’d – oh –we’d the best family in the world, we had. They all liked to come to our house; we’d no money and not much food, but we used to share. Everybody came and they just – well they just had what they wanted and if they couldn’t eat it, well….but by gum we had a good time, eeeh. I wouldn’t like to go through it again, but they can’t stop us having a good time, can they? Did you have a good time?


    Everybody did because they had to make their own entertainment hadn’t they? There were no money, you couldn’t buy things and think ‘we’ll have that, we’ll have that’ – we couldn’t because we hadn’t any money so we’d all to panto, and by gum there weren’t anybody had a better time at Christmas as we had.

    Did you ever come to our house?

    Not at Christmas.

    MS: No, well – and you never came? Me dad were there, uncles were there, aunties were there, everybody that we knew – oh we had a good time – and then we used to stand at door, just outside the door and we sang for if we hadn’t a penny piece – by gum, we did sing! In fact, they all came from Banksfields to our house and we stood and we sang and we sang and we sang until we couldn’t sing no more, so we had to go to bed, but did we have a good time.

    Can you remember those songs?

    MS: You mean the Christmas songs?


    MS: We used to sing ‘Christians Awake’, that were the first song. [Mary sang part of the song] isn’t that good?

    Very good!

    MS: I knew you’d like that because you could sing couldn’t yer? Yes you could because you’ve sung, you’ve sung when we’ve sung – you’re a little monkey, but you could sing, and by gum couldn’t he sing! He used to chuck his chest out – by gum, didn’t yer? [Mary singing – everybody clapped]

    What do you know love?

    Not very much.

    MB: Ooh in’t he posh? ‘Not very much’ – I know a lot – go on, what do I know? What can we sing that you know? What do you know that I know?

    I’m not sure – what other ones do you know?

    MS:…you won’t know ‘Hallelujah’ will yer? [Mary sang it – everybody clapped] Eeh I know a lot but I can’t sing ‘em. We used to have some lovely times at Christmas, and we’d no money, but by gum we had a lovely time. We used to go singing at doors, knocking – they used to give us a penny and we thought we were Lord Almighty ‘cos they’d given us a penny, then we used to put it in a box and then when we thought we had enough money, we used to go and we’d buy some – well no, we used to sing not buy, we used to sing Christmas hymns at doors, then they’d give us a penny, then we’d put it in a box and then when we thought we’d got enough, we went round singing again for some more and they used to say ‘ger off with yer, you’ve got enough!’ didn’t they, do you remember that? Yes. I do. Eeh gosh, they’d have clonked us if they could have done but we were too sharp for ‘em, by gum we were too sharp for ‘em – they’d none clonk us so easy, no they won’t.

    Ey your dad were schoolteacher – oh by gum, we’ve run from his house scores of times – ‘get out of this house, get out of this room’ and we used to be peeping through windows to see if we could see him then when he’d gone we used to come again, sing again. ‘What did I tell you? – Hop it’ But we didn’t! We’ve had some lovely times at Christmas, even if he his dad did shout at us – bless him.

    And your dad could sing, couldn’t her? He could that, and he used to make us sing an’ all, and we couldn’t but we had to do – ‘get them top notes, get them top notes’ and by gum – we had to do, if we’d to stand on us seat at school, we’d to get ‘em. ‘Up you get’ – we’d to stand on seats and sing, and by gum did we sing – they could hear us at Hebden Bridge, they could that – them were the days, different to what it is now – we made our own entertainment, but not now, no – ay bless ‘em, everybody joined in – even little children that couldn’t walk and had to be carried, but we had a good time. Everybody enjoyed themselves, everybody sang till they couldn’t sing no more, I bet they heard us at Hebden Bridge or in Halifax! They once came from Halifax to listen to us singing, they did. Go on – that’s true, in’t it love? But could we sing – they used to call us ‘ranters’ – who called us ranters? That were Methodists weren’t it, and I was a Methodist. Our family were all Methodists, but could we sing! And by gum we did, and they used to come and listen to us – can’t they sing, can’t they sing? By gum I’ll say we could – we had to do, there were Mr Jackson – that were our headmaster. ‘Get them top notes, get them top notes’ and we had to do. By golly he were a….he were one of them, I could have killed him, but everybody like him, but I could have killed him – ooh I could, and then he’d come to school at Monday and tell us how good we were – I thought ‘you…’ one of them, but by gum, he made us sing and we couldn’t sing, but we had to do, we did that ‘get them top notes, get them top notes, get ‘em’ and we had to do – do you remember them?

    Can I ask you another question?

    MS: Ay we had to sing, and he used to make us stand on us seat, do you remember that? Yes, stand on us seat ‘put your hands on your heads – sing!’ and by gum we had to sing, whether you could or not.

    CARER: He wants to ask you another question.

    Have you enjoyed talking about when you were younger?


    Is there anything else you would like to tell me about that I haven’t asked?

    No and I won’t tell yer- I’m not telling you because you’ll tell! I’m not telling him 0 he’s a schoolmaster, I know what he is – he teaches me, I’m not telling him.

    CARER: What games did you used to play with your Mabel and your other sister?

    …what did we play?

    CARER: Did you play with spin and top?

    MB: Yes, yes we did, yes, and then we had ‘in and out the windows’ you know, do you remember – in a ring, and then we used to go in and out everybody you know as you walked round…

    CARER: ‘in and out the dusty windows’

    MS: That’s it, eeh – yes, we hadn’t any money but we had some lovely times,and everybody sang to top of their voice – I bet they could hear us at Hebden Bridge! We had a good time hadn’t we love? Yes we had.

    Read more

  • Interviews and Storytelling: Thelma Collinge

    [TRACK 1]

    The tape did not record for the first 30 seconds.

    [start of CD] Winnie and Hilda, we lived next door to each other

    How many rooms did it have, can you remember?

    [pause] It had a house and a kitchen and two bedrooms probably, yes.

    What did your parents do?

    Me dad were an outside worker, building and that and me mother were a weaver.

    Was she? Where did she weave?

    At Jack Bridge Mill.

    Did she do that all her life?

    Yes, she did that after she was married as long as I can remember she were at Jack Bridge.

    What kind of games did you play when you were little?

    Rounders, skipping…eeh what sort of games did we play? I can’t remember.

    Did you have any toys?

    Not many, no not many, happen one or two, but I weren’t a child that had a lot of toys, no.

    Did you have brothers and sisters?

    Yes – I‘d three brothers.

    Were they older or younger?

    I’d two older brothers and one younger.

    Do they still live around here?

    Harry lives at Luton doesn’t he? Yes.

    Did your mother tell you what it was like in the weaving sheds?

    I know what it were like – I went in t’weaving shed when I left school.

    So you were a weaver as well?

    I learnt to weave and then I went machining – sewing, but I learnt to weave when I left school.

    How did they teach you?

    To weave?

    Yes, how did they teach you – what did they show you?

    Well they showed you what to do – like putting a cop on a shuttle and things like that, how to take up ends when an end came down.

    Was it a machine that you worked on?

    It were a loom, we had looms.

    How big was it?

    Oh they were big ones, just normal looms.

    What kind of cloth did you weave?


    That was very fine.

    It were dull underneath and like shiny on top – sateen.

    When you did a piece of cloth, how long was it – how big was the piece of cloth when it was finished – was it just a small piece like that or…?

    Oh no, it were wrapped round a warp thing – it were like on a roller thing, loads of it. You got it in as a warp you see and you wove it until it were finished and there were yards and yards of it.

    What’s the difference then between a warp and a weft?

    Weft is that what…it weaves with the weft in a shuttle.

    Did you do it by hand?

    Well you used to use your hands to fill the shuttle.

    Did you have to push it through?

    Well you put your shuttle in and then you set your loom on.

    How long did you do that for?

    Oh…happen two years and then I left there and went in sewing – machining.

    [sorting microphone out]

    Did you sew in the same place, the same mill, or did you go to a different mill?

    No, I sewed in the same place.

    Which did you like better?

    I don’t know.

    Were they both good or were they both bad?

    Oh they were both about alike. I don’t think I had a favourite.

    Was it very noisy?

    No, no not really noisy, no.

    Not in the weaving sheds?

    Oh t’weaving shed were noisy, yes, but not sewing, no.

    Some people have told me that the people in the weaving shed, they used to learn –they would speak..

    Oh yes, a me-mo things, talk with their hands.

    Did you do that?

    Well you do don’t yer?

    How many machines did you have to work?

    I don’t know, I think you start with two, and then they go to three and then four.

    Can you remember what your first wage was when you first started?

    I don’t know – it were seven and six (7sh 6d) – seven and six seems to ring a bell.

    What was Jack Bridge mill like – was it big, or a little shed?

    Well it were quite big weren’t it, it weren’t a right little building, no it were a quite big mill.

    How many looms did it have?

    It had three sheds – it had t’lower shed, t’middle shed and t’top shed.

    How many looms were in each?

    Well t’top shed had t’most looms in – in t’top shed they were both narrow looms and broad looms, and t’bottom shed were all broad looms, and t’middle shed were all broad looms.

    Which shed did you work in?

    Well when I were learning, I learnt in t’top shed and then I were in t’middle shed quite a while. You started off with two looms, then you get three looms and then four looms, and I finished up in t’middle shed.

    How many girls or women worked in the sheds?

    Well they all worked in there that left school.

    How many were there do you think – was there like five or ten or loads?

    Oh there’d be more than that, oh yeh.

    How many do you think?

    Oh there’d be thirty of us, oh yeh. Then they started going down to t’sewing shop at Hebden Bridge.

    What school did you go to?

    Colden Council School.

    Did you like it?


    Can you remember any of your teachers?

    Yes there was Miss Livermore, Miss Oxley, Miss Garside. Do you remember ‘em Glenda?

    Somebody said to me that all the teachers – they weren’t allowed to be married.

    Oh I don’t know owt about that. I’ve never heard that before, have you?

    Somebody told me that when they worked in the GPO, you weren’t allowed to be married there – if you were gonna get married, you were out.

    What was Blackshawhead like in those days – were there shops up there?

    There were t’Co-op and Ashmore’s.

    What did they sell in Ashmore’s?

    Well they sold ice cream and sweets and things.

    Were there any other shops?

    Co-op, that’s all.

    How did you get your milk?

    Well I think it were delivered, I think they came round with t’milk.

    Do you know who delivered it?

    Well it would be t’farmer, t’local farmer, he’d have his round, he’d have his own milk round.

    Did you walk to school?

    Yes, oh yes – there weren’t buses then – oh no, we had to walk to school.

    Did you wear clogs?

    Yes, yes, I did wear clogs yes [said very happily].

    Did you wear them all the time?

    Well you did wear them all the time, unless you were lucky and your mum bought you some pumps to put on, but you see…it depends how much money you had didn’t it? If you hadn’t any money, you wore your clogs all t’time.

    Did you wear them in the house?

    Yes, I wore clogs all t’time – they keep your feet warm do clogs.

    Yeh, lots have told me that.

    Did you play in the woods or owt like that, down the rivers or anything, or outside?

    I played outside but I don’t think I played in the woods, no.

    Did you go to church?

    Yes, I used to go to Heptonstall church – vicar Greaves. [laughing]

    What was he like?

    Very nice, yes.

    Did you go to the Sunday School there?

    Yes, I used to go every Sunday.

    What kind of things happened at the Sunday School?

    What do you mean what’s happened?

    Was it just religious teaching or was it sermons, or did you do any kind of recreation – did you play any games?

    Well they were little classes you see and you had a teacher, and as you got older you moved into different classes, you moved up.

    Did you sing hymns?


    Can you remember any of them?

    [pause] I don’t know – well they’d be hymns that everybody sung wouldn’t they? Yeh, I can’t just remember any.

    How long did you work as a sewer then?

    Well I started off when I left school, I went weaving didn’t I? And then I sewed all my life.

    In the same mill – all the time in Jack Bridge mill?

    Oh no not at Jack Bridge mill – down in Hebden we went later.

    Which one?

    …On Central Street, what do they call it?…Salem? Salem Mills, that’s right yes.

    Why did you go down to Hebden?

    Well there were only Jack Bridge mill – if you didn’t want to work in t’mill, well there was no option only to go to Hebden.

    Didn’t you like Jack Bridge then?

    Well happen you could earn more money down Hebden, I don’t know, it were where you could get most money in them days really when you were younger weren’t it? You went where t’money was.

    When did you leave school?


    Did you get married or have children?

    I got married yes, and I had one boy.

    What was his name?


    Is he still in Hebden?

    He’s in Cragg Vale. Not far. Not far, no.

    What does he do?

    [chuckling] What does Roy do? [to Glenda Gibson in same room]

    GLENDA GIBSON: He’s retired – he were an Environmental Health Officer.

    TC: He were an Environmental Health Officer but he’s retired.

    Did you know Betsy Collinge?

    Yes I knew Betsy, she lived up Blackshaw didn’t she? Yes I knew Betsy, yes. She used to go to Blackshaw Chapel.

    Was she related to you?

    No, she weren’t t’same Collinge – there’s a few Collinges.

    Did you have a nickname?


    Did the Collinges have a nickname?

    I don’t really think so, do you? I can’t think we had a nickname.

    GG: Collies?

    TC: I don’t know.

    One or two have told me that particularly Greenwoods and Sutcliffes because there were so many, they used to give them little nicknames. I was just wondering if Collinge…

    I don’t think there were so many Collinges to have nicknames…I can’t remember. [sorting wires out]

    When did you get married?

    At Heptonstall Church.

    And what year?

    Oh dear me! I don’t know what year I got married, I don’t know…

    I’d like to ask you about special days, like at Whitsun – what did you do at Whitsun, Whitsuntide?

    We used to go hiking at Whitsuntide and that yes [said happily].

    Where did you go?

    Well mostly over to Townley in Lancashire, we’d walk it happen to Townley at Whitsuntide.

    Did you just do the walk or did you do anything else when you were there?

    Well, me mother and father they came from Worsthorne, and then we should go into Worsthorne to the relations we’d have there and see them.

    What did you do at Wakes Week?

    Not a lot – we never had holidays, no we just played at home, we didn’t go on holidays.

    When you got married and had your child, did you go anywhere on Wakes Week?

    Oh when I got older we used to go on holidays yes, but when I was younger and that we didn’t go, but as I got older, you know got a boyfriend and got married I used to go on holidays every time.

    Where did you go?

    Well I don’t know – we went all over. We didn’t go abroad a lot, but we should go – it depends what time of t’year it was whether we went like to Scarborough or Blackpool or if we went further away you see, yes.

    Did you do anything special at Christmas?

    I don’t so – we should be getting all ready for Christmas at home.

    What kind of things did you do to get ready?

    Well we used to make plum puddings and stuff like that you know, yes [said happily]

    Did you like plum pudding?

    Oh yes!

    Did you used to have a Christmas tree?


    Did you decorate it?


    What did you put on the tree?

    Well we’d all sorts of little things – well I think it originated, it were me dad’s and he had a lot of things on it and then I had but not as many and then mine come on it and then if we went anywhere and saw something we liked we should buy it you know, and it accumulated over t’years like that.

    Did you ever go mumming?

    Oh yes, we went mumming every year! We never missed at mumming – eeh yes, that were a big occasion! [laughing] They don’t do that now do they? Eeh yeh we did!

    What did you do?

    We used to black us faces and dress up so nobody knew you, and then we used to knock on the door and when they opened it, we used to push them aside and then go and clean all round t’fire you know, dusting and that and then you used to hold your hand out for money. [laughing] eeh we did that every year, mumming.

    Was it like a gang of you that did it?

    Yes, yes, a lot of young ‘uns used to do that. [excited]]

    Was it boys and girls?

    Yes, yes, and different gangs you know, you weren’t all in t’same gang, they were different gangs.

    So people didn’t mind you going into their house?

    Well you knew which houses to go into, you know – when you knocked at t’door you’d know you couldn’t go in, they wouldn’t let you in, and you knew t’people that would let you in – which houses to go to.

    Why did you do it – was it just for the money?

    [laughing] Money were t’attraction, yes, it were yeh!

    Did you used to do anything on mischief night – can you remember mischief night?

    No I don’t think I remember mischief night.

    GG: Halloween.

    TC: Halloween, yeh.

    Did you do anything that night?

    I can’t remember doing owt on mischief night, no.

    What about bonfire night – on plot night?

    Oh yes, we’d always a plot, oh yes we used to go down t’wood and drag you know, logs and wood and that up to have a plot.

    Did you have a guy?

    Oh we used to make us own Guy Fawkes yeh and dress him up.

    What did you make him out of?

    Well I’d brothers and that, and they had old overalls and that, and we used to tie t’legs up and shove ‘em full of newspapers and that and fill it up you know, and put him a hat on and stick him on top – eeh yes.

    Was it a big plot?

    Ooh yeh, a big plot.

    Was it just your gang, or was it the whole of Blackshaw?

    Well there used to gangs of you, different groups; I think you used to try who had t’best plot, didn’t they? It were a case of whose plot were t’best.

    Can you remember then any old sayings that your mother might have said?

    [pause] eeh I don’t know…

    That’s okay if you can’t remember.

    I can’t think at all.

    Did you ever go maypole dancing?

    No we never went maypole dancing, no.

    Did you know anybody that did that?

    I can’t remember ‘em doing it at my age, but later on they started doing it.

    Do you know who did that – what group did the maypole dancing?

    Well they were a lot younger than me then, you see – I don’t know, but I do know they have done it since, but they weren’t doing it when I were…no.

    Was there any big events in your lifetime that you can remember?


    can you remember that winter when there was the bad snow?

    [pause] I remember that winter with t’bad snow.

    What was it like?

    Well t’roads were blocked weren’t they, we were walking on t’wall tops, it were all blocked – little narrow lanes. It depends where you lived an’ all didn’t it, a lot of it; if you were off t’main road you used to have to struggle sometimes.

    Can you remember any fires – any mill fires or house fires?

    [pause] No, no I can’t remember any fires.

    Jack Bridge mill – when did that stop? Do you know when that finished?

    I don’t know ‘cos I went working there when I left school and it seemed to continue a while after I left school, but I can’t remember how long it went on, can you Glenda?

    GG: not sure
    TW: late fifties, sixties…
    GG: something like that.

    Did you have chores around the house then that your mum made you do?

    Oh aye, I used to have to help me mother – I used to have to mop t’floor and stuff, yeh I did all sorts.

    What else did you have to do?

    Well dusting, you know – everything that she did I had to help with, oh I didn’t used to get to play out till I’d got me jobs done.

    Was that every day?

    Oh we didn’t dust and clean up every day you know.

    Did she have different days for different jobs?

    Oh yes – she used to have baking and that you know – baking days, and days when she washed.

    Can you remember what days they were?

    …Well washing day were always at Monday or Tuesdays; it would be getting on during t’week when it were baking day – we used to rush home from school at baking day – we used to like baking days! If she’d left some pastry, we could make a cake for usselves, yes.

    Did you like cooking?


    Did you ever see the Pace Egg play?

    No, no I never went down Heptonstall to watch that – we lived up on t’tops. Did you ever go down to watch it? [to Glenda]

    GG: No.

    Somebody said to me the Co-op had a divvy. What is the divvy? I don’t know what that means.

    Well…it might be t’same as two shillings in t’pound, and same as they’d pay it every six month. They’d add up all what you’d spent in that six months and you’d get two shillings in t’pound back – that was your divvy.

    And they gave you money?

    Yeh they gave you money back.

    Did they change that to stamps then?


    So that’s where it came from.

    I want to ask you about young people today – do you think young people today have the same values that you had when you were young?

    I think they’ve more, don’t you?

    Why do you say that?

    Well I think there’s more money about.

    Do you think they have the same beliefs as you?

    Well I don’t know…

    Do you have grandchildren or great-children?

    I have grandchildren.

    What are they like?

    Thomas and Oliver, two boys.

    Are they in Hebden?


    What do they do?

    Oh they’re only going to school.

    Do you see them often?

    I should say every week, some parts.

    When you talk to them, what kind of things do you talk about?

    Well all sorts of stuff that they do, you know – what they’ve been doing, you know, what’s happened at home.

    What kind of things do they like to do now?

    …Well they seem to be interested in all sorts really, I can’t really just think what.

    What school do they go to?

    Do they live up Cragg Vale?

    Yeh they live up Cragg Vale but they go down to…Halifax, I forget where it is…I can’t think, eeh dear me. Do you know Glenda?

    When you came to Hebden and worked in the sewing shop in Hebden, were there shops near there?

    Well there were shops, yeh.

    Can you remember any of the shops on Market Street, when you went to work at Salem mill?

    [pause] There were that children’s shop – what did they call that?

    GG: Leicester House.

    TC: Leicester House, I can remember Leicester House, yes – I can’t remember t’names…

    GG: Dewhirst’s,butchers…

    TC: Butcher’s yes…..

    When you worked in Hebden, did you still live in Blackshaw then?


    **How did you get into Hebden Bridge? **

    I had a motorbike.

    Oh did you? What kind of motorbike was it?

    [laughing] oh I don’t know what it was – I should have had Jack here. [sorting wires out]

    Could you fix it – could you fix your motor bike or did your father fix it, or your brothers?

    GG: Was it Jack’s motorbike?

    TC: Oh yes it were Jack’s motorbike.

    Oh right – it was your husband’s.

    Did you ride it yourself or were you just on the back?

    Oh I sat on t’back. We had a bike for a long, long time then we got a car.

    Where did you get your car from?

    Eeh God knows – I don’t know.

    I’m just curious – I’ve just interviewed Mr Shepherd and I was just wondering if you got it from there.


    I’m trying to think of other days…

    GG: Coronation Day – with torches up Knowle, when they carried torches up Knowle and a big bonfire.

    TC: Oh yes – right at t’top of t’road, it were near our house, yeh just round t’top, yes – they had a big fire, just round t’corner from our house.

    Did you watch it on the telly?

    I don’t think we’d have a telly then would we?

    Can you remember the day Winston Churchill came to Hebden Bridge?

    Churchill come to Hebden Bridge? No! I didn’t know he’d been!

    I think he was only here for two minutes!

    Do you think Blackshaw and Hebden Bridge have changed since you were little?

    Oh yes they have haven’t they, eeh yes.

    How have things changed?

    Well they seem more opened up and know what’s going on more don’t they? You know, I think there’s more younger people and they’ve more interests and there’s more going on.

    Do you think it’s good that it’s changed?

    Yes I do, yes – don’t you Glenda?

    Is there anything bad about the change?

    [pause] I can’t think of any…

    Did you ever go to Nick’s café?

    Nick’s café? In Hebden?


    Now where were that?

    It was on West End, just at the end of Old Gate.

    Oh yes I remember that, I don’t think I ever went, but I do remember it – yes it was there, there were a café.

    There was another woman who had a café on Crown Street.

    GG: Mrs Norland.

    Norland yes.

    TC: Oh Mrs Norland, she used to live up Gorple, she came from Gorple.

    What was she like?

    I don’t know – I only knew her by name, I don’t know her really.

    I believe she worked when they were building the reservoirs – she had a café up at Dawson City.

    Oh yes, yes, she were well known up there, yes she was.

    Did you ever go into the blacksmith’s shop at all on Crown Street?


    Did you ever go in pubs?

    Yes, we’d go in pubs, yes.

    Which pubs did you go into?

    Well we’d go in any pub.

    Did you have a favourite pub?

    I should think if I were tekking a friend I should go to t’White Lion.

    Why did you go there – what was nice about that?

    I liked the situation of it.

    Was the landlord nice?

    I don’t think I knew t’landlord.

    What was your favourite drink then?

    Eeh I don’t know, I don’t think I had a favourite drink, no.

    So if you went in, what would you order?

    A shandy probably – a shandy.

    Did you go in any other pubs – Top Shoulder – did you go in there?

    Shoulder up Blackshaw – I’ve been in that, I’ve been in t’New Delight, yeh I’ve been in there.

    What were they like when you were younger – like say when you were in your twenties – what were they like when you were in your twenties? Did they change at all from when you first went in to later on?

    I don’t think…you didn’t go in pubs really when you were younger, did you – it’s only like as I got older that it was more popular. When I were younger, you know if you went in a pub, they thought you were awful didn’t they, but as it grew, folk didn’t think owt about going in a pub.

    Did you like to go dancing?

    Oh I loved dancing, yes!

    Where did you go dancing?

    We went dancing Hebden Bridge.


    Co-op Hall, Vic Hall, Trades Club.

    How often did you go?

    Friday nights and Saturday nights probably.

    What kind of music did you like?

    I liked it all – no favourites, I loved dancing!

    Did you ever go to Tod or to Halifax to dance?

    No I didn’t go to Halifax, no – there were never nobody to travel with really, you know what I mean.

    [sorting wires out again]

    So what kind of dances did you do?

    Oh I joined in them all.

    What different dances did you do?

    Foxtrots, waltzes…tangos.

    Did you like to tango?

    Oh yeh, I liked tango yes, I used to like all the dances.

    Did you go with your husband?

    Aye but he didn’t dance! He’d no interest in dancing, hadn’t Jack.

    Who did you dance with?

    Well you had to know different people, different folk that go in your gang don’t know – there’s a group of you, you danced with anybody you knew.

    Did you used to have a sing-song sometimes?

    I don’t think so.

    Which was the best dance hall?

    Co-op Hall.

    Why was that so good?

    It were bigger, much bigger yeh. There were t’Trades Club and t’Vic Hall- there were the tree, but t’Co-op Hall were t’best.

    Where was the Vic Hall?

    Vic Hall – just lower than t’Co-op Hall on Crown Street, same side as t’Co-op Hall but lower down.

    Oh the Civic as was. So that was the Vic Hall? I didn’t know it was called that.

    Did you ever celebrate your birthday?

    In which way?

    Did you do anything special on your birthday?

    No I don’t think I did, no – just a birthday; might get a card or two but that was it.

    Can you tell me a little bit more then about the house – did you always live up at Blackshaw, or did you live anywhere else?

    I didn’t live up at Blackshaw, I lived up Colden, I lived at Hudson Fold.

    Did you always live there?

    Then we lived at Higher Edge Hey Green.

    What number did you live in there?

    I lived longest at Higher Edge Hey Green.

    Did you ever move into Hebden Bridge?

    Never, no.

    Did you like it on the tops?

    Well yes I think did. You got used to living on t’tops, you didn’t think owt about it, we just used to live up there and that were it.

    Was there a lot of farming when you were little up there?

    Yes, but it didn’t affect me. I didn’t work on t’farms.

    But there was a lot of it though

    Oh I should think so yes.

    Did you know Mrs Clegg at Blackshaw?

    Yes, she lived down Davey Lane.

    Did she have a farm?

    She lived on a farm, Mrs Clegg.

    What did she do there?

    Well I thought she kept hens, I thought she had hens.

    I know her grand-daughter quite well; I just thought I’d ask and see.

    About the weaving shed – what kind of hours did you work in the weaving shed? What time did you start work?

    I should think we’d start at eight till half past five, or quarter past five happen – it would be half past five I bet, eight o’clock till half past five, and an hour for your lunch.

    How many days did you work?

    We worked Saturday mornings – oh we worked Saturday mornings a long time.

    Can you remember the talking with your hands and your lips?


    Can you remember how to do that?

    Well like if you were describing something…

    Say to me something like ‘I’d like a cup of tea’ or something like that – can you do that?

    We’d say [Thelma mouthed the words quietly] ‘would you like a cup of tea?’

    Can you tell me a bit about your mother?

    Me mother? She were very strict. She used to boss me. [laughing]

    What was her name?

    Easter, and spelt like Easter – not Esther [spelt it out].

    Was she from Blackshaw?

    No she came from Worsthorne.

    Why did she come over here?

    I don’t know – she came over here when we were little uns, I don’t know why they left Worsthorne. She came with my Aunt Harriett and they got two houses and they used to live next door to one another; my Aunt Harriett used to look after t’children while me mother went to t’mill.

    Can you tell me a little bit about your father?

    Me father? Well he were an outdoor worker.

    You said on buildings – did he work on any farms, or did he just work on buildings?

    Oh he worked on farms – he did all sorts of outdoor jobs, he were an outside worker.

    What was his name?


    What kind of a man was he?

    Well he weren’t a right big fella, just average I should think; he had a moustache.

    Did you do anything special at Easter at all?

    [pause] Well we used to go down t’Crags at Easter, Hardcastle Crags. Everybody seemed to congregate to Hardcastle Crags Good Friday; Good Friday were a day when everybody seemed to go down t’Crags. It were full of folk. They came in at that end and they come in at this end…

    Was there anything special to do there?

    Well no –no, they catered for people, you know – you could get food there and that, but…and there were boats on t’dams and swings.

    GG: roller skating…

    Did you go roller skating there?

    Oh yeh there were roller skating, course there were – yeh I’ve had a do at roller skating

    Did you like it?

    I never got used to it really [laughing], I was always rolling over!

    I thought you might like it, because if you liked dancing, I thought maybe you’d like that as well.

    Yeh well I dare say I did, but we didn’t go doing that much, no – we didn’t go down t’Crags so much.

    Do you remember your grandparents at all?

    No, no I don’t remember me grandparents.

    What was your aunty like who lived next door?

    Me Aunty Harriett – she had two daughters, Winnie and Hilda and she used to look after ‘em and me mother used to go to t’mill when me mother were weaving and me4 Aunt Harriett were at home for when we came home from school.

    So did you all live together in the two houses then?

    Yes, they had a house of their own and we lived next door – we weren’t all in one. They had their do and we had our do.

    Do you know any jokes?

    Any jokes? [laughing] I used to know jokes but I haven’t told jokes for ages – I couldn’t remember ‘em – eeh no I can’t think of a joke.

    Is there anything that I haven’t asked you that you would like to talk about?


    What was it like during the war around here?

    [pause] I would only be in my teens then [pause] I don’t know…

    Did you have to share a room with your brothers?

    Me brothers? Yes I used to share a bedroom with me brothers, yes, because there were only two bedrooms – me mum and dad were in one and we were in th’other.

    Did you have any special talents – anything you thought you could do that was really good?

    [pause] I don’t think I have any special talents.

    Did you have any hobbies?

    I’d have some hobbies…you can’t thing when you should do, can you?

    It could well be that you were too busy to have anything like that.

    GG: You’d sew and bake.

    TC: Oh yes, I liked baking.

    GG: Did you make jam?

    TC: Oh yes, I used to make everything that were going and stuff.

    Did you collect berries?

    Yes if there were bilberries and stuff like that I used to make bilberry jam – owt that were going – blackberries, you could pick ‘em.

    Did you sew your own clothes then?

    Yes I used to make trousers, jeans for myself, yeh.

    Did you ever do work for other people?

    Well probably now and then, but…if they asked me to do something I’d do it, but I didn’t want to be condemned to do it all t’time, you know what I mean, but if they asked me to do it, I would do it for ‘em.

    Did you have good neighbours?

    Yes – yes, I’ve always good neighbours, yes – I’ve had some nice neighbours.

    What was it like then, if you had good neighbours – did you talk to them a lot or do things for each other like that?

    Oh no, we weren’t always in and out of us houses, no not them sort of neighbours, no – they were good neighbours if you wanted…if you’d run out of anything or if you just wanted…you could go and ask for it, but not in-and-out neighbours, no. As I say, if I’d run out of salt or something and I didn’t want to go to t’shop, I’d go and ask for some salt – I could go and ask for it.

    Were there any shops at Edge Hey Green then?

    Yeh there were a Co-op and a little shop – there were a Co-op and then there were a little shop besides and they used to bake at this little shop and make all their own bread and cakes and that – it was nice.

    Can you remember what it was called?

    We used to call it Amy’s. [To Glenda] Can you remember Amy?

    GG: Amy Thomas.

    TC: Amy Thomas, yes.

    When did buses start to go up that way?

    Ooh I don’t know…I couldn’t tell you when t’first bus were…they’ve been coming nearly as long as I can remember haven’t they Glenda?

    GG: As long as I remember – Hebble buses.

    TD: I just can’t tell how long they’ve been coming up – a long time.

    What did you like at school best – what was your favourite subject at school?

    What were me favourite subject at school…well I liked school really, I think I liked more or less all subjects, yeh I liked school. I liked sums, I liked arithmetic – I did.

    Was it a good school?

    Yeh I think it was, yeh.

    How many children went to it?

    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

Phone: 01422 844450
Contact Us