Barnoldswick Local History Articles

Friday, August 29, 2003


Last week’s article contained a couple of mistakes and I apologise to all my readers but particularly to Mrs Turner, the daughter of Emma’s older sister Margaret. The picture I showed of Dam Head Bridge and Ribblesdale Terrace is no such thing. Thanks to Dorothy Carthy, who rang the Times first thing Friday morning, I now know it is actually the bridge over the beck at Salterforth. The really bad thing is that I knew it was wrong because Betty told me and I completely forgot to alter the article which had already gone in. So I am down on my knees, grovelling, please forgive me! The nice thing is it shows people are reading the articles!

My last paragraph about the Co-op shop also was wrong. Mrs Turner says it was never a shop, indeed when first built, the first occupant of the house in Ribblesdale Terrace nearest to the bridge was Mr Atkinson the dentist who later practiced in Croft House on Station Road. The house the Greenwoods moved into in 1907 was number 9 and the iron gate still has Jessie’s initials in it. Mrs Turner lent me an old postcard of Ribblesdale terrace so we can see what it really looked like in about 1908. The road hadn’t been widened then and if you look carefully there is work going on where the Catholic Church is now. I think this was preparations for the corrugated iron church which preceded the present church which was dedicated on July 25th 1929. Johnny Pickles made the clock for it in 1931. One little thing about this which cropped up recently was that the old iron church was used as a dole office in the 1930s.

The end of Dam Side Cottages has hardly changed at all. You can still see the small shop in the end which was a clogger’s, I think his name was Marsh but I have also seen a man called Frank Thornton mentioned as having a clog shop in Gisburn Road.

Right, I think that clears that mistake up. Once more, my apologies, all I can say is that old age and incompetence is evidently having an effect! In my defence, can I repeat what I have often said before, the research goes on and mistakes will occur. The nice thing is that when I do something like this I am always corrected and the end result is better history.

On a different matter; I don’t know if I have ever mentioned being told about a man who was walking down the canal near Eastwood Bridge during the war and got a dreadful shock when he saw a German U Boat coming down the cut. It turned out it was a boat converted to look like a U Boat which was being used in a National Savings campaign. Well, I heard a similar story this week when a man called Ray Jackson wrote to me from Hemel Hempstead after having seen the articles about Jack Platt on the internet. He lived in Barlick from 1940 to 1953 and remembers one dank and foggy morning when he saw one of Wild’s buses stop at the gasworks and a German soldier in field grey uniform stepped out! For one moment he wondered whether there was something he hadn’t heard about, like an invasion! It turned out he was a prisoner of war who had been allocated to work at the gas works but hadn’t been issued with overalls.

Ray also remembered Wild’s buying two ancient buses from Scotland, one of them a Tilling-Stevens. The last time he saw them they were walled up in an abandoned corridor in Butts Mill in about 1950. He said they both had the original destination plates on them, one said Dalmahoy and the other Dixon’s Pit. Dalmahoy is near Edinburgh and Dixon’s Pit was at Blantyre Colliery and is famous because of a mining disaster there in 1877.

So, two pictures this week, one of Dam Head in 1908 and one which Mrs Turner lent me of the seven Greenwood sisters. Married names, left to right. Back row: Emma Clark, Margaret Corner, Jesse Bailey, Olivia King. Seated: Sarah Heyworth, Ellen Petty, Grace Harrison.

SCG/25 July 2003
708 words.


When Emma was telling me about Croft Cottage she mentioned that Garibaldi Pickles lived in the end house on East View. His by-name was ‘Gara Pickles’. In 1978 his son Jack Pickles, who I also knew as Gara, lived in the middle of the three cottages at the end of Park Avenue opposite the Dog. Jack Platt remembered Garibaldi as well. He was a carrier who had a horse and a two wheeled cart and Jack said that before the days of piped water he used to sell water in the town for three halfpence a bucket. He is mentioned in Barrett’s Directory for 1902 as a carrier who went to Burnley on Monday and Friday and Colne on Thursday and Saturday.

One of the things that crops up time and time again as we look back at Old Barlick is the fact that before the days of refrigeration perishable foods like milk, meat and vegetables were bought from local shops on a daily basis. Non-perishables like tea, coffee, sugar and flour weren’t affected and quite a few people in the town bought in bulk at cheaper prices from grocers in Skipton and Colne. Emma was friendly with a girl called Edith Bateman from Colne and her family had a wholesale grocers there. People in Barlick used to post an order to Bateman’s and Gara Pickles would pick it up on Saturday and deliver it to the door in Barlick. Emma could remember them getting seven pound tins of either Lipton’s Tea or Mazawatee at home. In 1978 Edith Bateman was still alive and was 90 years old.

There was another grocery connection in Emma’s childhood. Her best friend was Ada Bracewell the daughter of Edward Bracewell and his wife who had a grocer’s shop on Rainhall Road where Penney’s chemists is now, number 19. In the 1960s this was Duxbury’s upholsterers shop and later became a secondhand shop, was it Ken and Ern’s? (There was another grocer’s shop at 26 Rainhall Road owned by Edmondson Bracewell) Edward was the son of William Bracewell of Springs who was one of the Bracewell Brothers from Coates who went out of the textile trade during the Cotton Famine. These were the same brothers who had the scavenging contract.

Ada went to the Wesleyan School and was the same age as Emma, they were both 83 in 1978. Emma went to Bracewell’s for her tea after school almost every evening and if she missed doing this, went up to visit after tea. She said that Mrs Bracewell was “the kindest woman I ever knew”. The friendship with Ada lasted all her life, they were still mates at 83.

In 1909, when she was fourteen, Emma’s father gave her a violin and started to teach her and her younger brother Joe to play. Before long they were both playing as an accompaniment to the hymns at Sunday School. Emma’s first encounter with the violin didn’t last long, by the time she was 15 she was ready to start going out and enjoying herself and she gave it up. In 1915 when she was twenty she went to a concert in Barlick and enjoyed it so much that she took up the violin again and went for lessons to Mr Peckover who was also an examiner. Within three months she was playing in the Barlick orchestra and in the small orchestra that played for the silent pictures at the Majestic. She said there were ten of them in the orchestra at the weekend but during the week Marion Hawes played the piano accompanied by one violinist. Emma said they got half a crown a night for playing. (twelve and a half pence).

The Majestic was built in 1914 and had electric lighting powered by a gas engine. Emma could remember it being just through the side door in Ellis Street where they went in and hung their coats. She said that a man called Jimmy Brown ran the engine. He lived in one of the cottages near the Dog and in his spare time he repaired and sold bicycles. Emma bought one off him for three pounds but she admitted that it was a bit dangerous because it had no brakes. This didn’t stop her from riding it to St Annes and back during the war!

Whenever I talked to people of Emma’s generation they always talk about a theatre on the corner of Station Road where the Post Office buildings are now. Emma was more specific, she said it was Leyburn’s Theatre and they used to come and stay for six months at a time. They brought the wooden theatre with them and put it up on the site. She could remember seeing Maria Martin and the Red Barn Mystery, The Colleen Born and the Face at the Window. Her parents didn’t like her going so she had to keep it a secret. On the quiet I think Emma was a sparky lass!

Life wasn’t all play though. In 1907 Emma left school and started working half time as a weaver at Nutter’s shed in Bankfield. When she started as a learner she got half a crown a week from the couple she tented for. Unusually, Emma didn’t start working full time on her own looms until she was fourteen. I asked why this was and got a bit of a surprise. Miss Goody Two Shoes couldn’t leave school at thirteen because she had spent so much time truanting! She told me that if it was a nice day she used to run away and spend the day in the fields. Inside a year Emma starting full time she and her sister were running ten looms between them, very unusual for those days.

Emma made a lot of new friends in the mill and this was to introduce her to a whole new circle of acquaintances that was going to open her life up. There had been another big change in the family at this time. In 1907 the Co-op had finished building the first houses in what is now Gisburn Road. They built a new shop, added a terrace of superior houses and called it Ribblesdale Terrace. The Greenwood family moved into one of them in 1907.

SCG/18 June 2003
1,053 words.


I can’t tell you a lot about Emma’s schooldays apart from the fact she once mentioned that she went to Rainhall Road School. This fits because Gisburn Road wasn’t built until 1907. However, she did talk a lot about those days, particularly how they dressed.

Emma had a friend, Edith Bowker. I think her mother was Sarah Bowker who had the dressmaker’s shop at Forester’s Buildings. Her father was Binns Bowker and he had a small clogger’s shop on York Street. This later became an antique shop and has now been converted into a dwelling. Binns made clogs for his daughter and not surprisingly made them as fancy as he could with a brass toecap and brass nails all round the edge of the sole. As soon as Emma saw them she asked her mother if she could have the same and all her clogs after that were made by Mr Bowker to match Edith’s.

As we’ve seen already, the Greenwood family were relatively well off but even so, domestic economy was the household mint and so clothes were handed down. Olive, one of Emma’s younger sisters once had a dress made out of one of her eldest sister Grace’s cast-offs. Grace was twenty at the time so some fairly severe pruning was called for. Olive remembered until her dying day going to school in a frock with pockets in it down near the hem! Emma said that by the time they’d finished with them their old clothes were only fit for the rag and bone man and they usually got a donkey stone for them.

I asked her how long their dresses were in those days. She said that when they were young they had to be long enough to hide their bloomers which were roomy knickers that buttoned below the knee. The older women and her mother wore skirts down to the floor and Emma said that they were a terrible nuisance in wet weather because you had to hold your skirts up all the time and even so they got wet and muddy round the hem. All the women in the family wore clogs and shawls during the week and button up boots for Sunday best. The work shawls were fine woollen cloth with a fringe but her mother crocheted shawls with tassels which many women wore in the house.

In those days everyone wore a hat. Emma had a straw one for school but she remembered when she got older she had a ‘Merry Widow’. She described this as being oval and worn sideways so that it reached down to her ears. As she got older, just before the First World War ‘rinking boots’ were all the rage. These were soft leather boots laced almost to the knee and they were originally made for roller skating. Whilst we’re on the subject of footwear, I came across something the other day which intrigued me and this is as good a place as any to get it in.

On the 18th of March 1932 there was a report in the Craven Herald of the death of Bob Hartley, aged 80 years, clogger of Jepp Hill. He had retired at 78 and was a well known figure in the town. His byname was ‘Bob Greenwood’ after his father Greenwood Hartley of Salterforth who was also a clogger. He started Bob off at 12 years old in the forge at his shop in Salterforth making clog irons. When he was seventeen he came to Barlick, probably with his father and they had a shop on the site of the Ivory Hall Club in Brook Street but very shortly afterwards moved to Jepp Hill into premises on the site of the British Legion Club. Harold Duxbury once told me that his clogs were so good that they used to walk to Barlick from Paythorne to get them off him. He sold clogs by post all over Britain and exported them abroad as well. He was on the committee of the Ivory Hall and was a member for over 40 years but the thing that really intrigued me was that he was famous for making light clogs for athletes! No trainers in those days! His youngest son R Hartley carried on the clogging business and another son, Greenwood Hartley was a grocer at 29 Long Ing Lane.

Right! Sorry about that digression, let’s get back to Emma. She could remember being taken up into Church Street when she was young to the stalls that flourished there on Saturday night. She also remembered that there was a sheep fair in Spring down near the Seven Stars and that they sold Barlick Fair rock. It was a long stick of white rock with a streamer on the end and cost a halfpenny. This was nice because it coincided exactly with what Billy Brooks told me. Both said that they thought this finished before the First World War.

She told me that when she was a girl, Jim Wright had a farm where the new church is now. Where the block of big shops is now with the Yankee Bar at the end there used to be three little cottages. One was a house and then there was a shoemaker called McGuiness and Jim Wright’s butcher’s shop. The hill up to St James’ Square was always known as Sagin Hill. Hartley Robinson, the Landlord of the Engine pub had a yard up there where he ran a business as a sawyer and maker of clog soles. ‘Sagin’ is an old dialect word for sawing and this might be the origin of the name.

The building where Thompson’s had their garage was originally built by Matthew Hartley as a billiard Hall. He had ambitions to develop the area but WW1 put a stop to it. Emma said that the cottage which backs on to the new church next to the old billiard hall with the round end was called Croft Cottage in those days. One of her school friends lived there and she used to go up and they played in a summer house in the garden. It’s now a retirement home for Donald Harrison!

SCG/16 June 2003
1,039 words.


I’ve painted a fairly rosy picture of Emma’s early life up to now but we should perhaps balance this by noting some of the disadvantages the family suffered. One of the biggest drawbacks we would experience if we went back to those days would be in medical care. Midwifery, dentistry, medicine and surgery were very primitive by our standards.

Emma’s mother had nine confinements, none of them with any sort of pain relief. Unless you were wealthy, all dentistry and this was mostly extractions, was done without anaesthetic. I might be one of the last people in Barlick to have had a tooth pulled without cocaine as Mr Atkinson at Croft House pulled me a tooth in 1962 in this way. The interesting thing to me as a historian about that experience is that it didn’t hurt anywhere near as much as the toothache and I regarded it as a blessed relief. This must have been a common experience.

A visit from the doctor always cost money, there was no National Health Service and Emma’s youngest brother had to have an operation for appendicitis in 1909. It was done at Burnley by Mr Sinclair and the wound never healed. The lad suffered for three years and then died. This of course is still a serious operation but nobody in good health would expect to die from it. In these areas at least, we have seen tremendous progress.

Emma’s earliest memory of the house at Forester’s Buildings is that the kitchen had a plain stone floor which was sanded but the parlour had linoleum covering the flags. As she grew up they all helped to make a pegged rug for the parlour and just before they left the house in 1907 she can remember they got a carpet square which they put down on Friday night for the weekend. That’s right, the carpet was taken up on Sunday night, rolled up and put away safely!

I’m sat here in the kitchen writing this for you and the washing machine is churning quietly away under the workbench. Washing day in 1900 was a serious matter, always on Monday morning. Before Emma’s mother could start she had to stoke the fires up in the two ranges, even in high summer, to get enough hot water. The only running water in the house was a tap in the kitchen. Then it was the dolly tub, three legged posser and mangle. At least five hours hard work and this didn’t include the drying, ironing and airing. Emma says she can remember when she got old enough she used to help and can still remember counting up to a hundred turns on the posser. Once she’d done a hundred she got a rest.

All the washing was done with Sunlight Soap, the first washing powder was blue Compo and was a great improvement. Reckitt’s Bag Blue was used in the rinse water for the whites and starch for collars, cuffs and shirt fronts. In later years when Emma was working she used to get a sick weaver for Monday morning so she could help her mother with the wash. By that time there were eight or nine of them in the house and it was getting too much for her mother. Just imagine a wet Monday morning and all the washing drying in the house! The most common complaint people recall about those days was the washing in the house and having a climb up the cupboard door at dinner time because mother was too busy to cook.

Ironing was no easy task. You had a cast iron box iron which was hollow inside and had a little door at the back. You had two or three heater blocks, these were blocks of cast iron which you heated in the fire and then popped them into the iron with a pair of tongues. No thermostat, and almost everything was ironed through a damp cloth.

Emma could remember the end house in the row of cottages which is now the vets being a little shop that sold home-made toffee and the reward for helping with the housework and washing was a penny to spend there. It takes some believing but if you compare a wage of 25/- a week then with £250 now, that penny was the equivalent of 93p today! Not a bad reward by any standards.

Add to all this housework the daily cleaning, shopping and a weekly baking day and it all adds up to a full time job for a woman in those days. Even the evenings would be usefully employed, there was always some mending to do and buttons to be sewn on. The only saving grace about this was that Jim and his daughters earned enough money to allow Emma’s mother to stay at home. Of course, some women hadn’t even got this luxury and had to work in the mill. Emma said she could remember women carrying babies to the child-minder at six o’clock in the morning in all weathers.

This week has been a catalogue of small things. I’m not apologising for this because every now and again while we are telling these stories we have to remind ourselves of the everyday web of life. The unsung heroes were the women. The division of labour was that the men went out to work and as far as many of them were concerned, that was the limit of their responsibilities. Even in this day and age I am amazed by the number of women who don’t know what their husbands earn. Hopefully, this selfish practice is on the decline but what is certain in 1900 is that most women were given the housekeeping money and the rest went on drink. Jim Greenwood was a decent man and didn’t do this. Emma says that he always made sure that her mother had a comfortable amount of housekeeping money and the family’s income was no secret. This was very unusual in those days.

My picture this week is a different view of Forester’s Buildings. Sarah Bowker’s dressmaking shop was on the end gable and in those days there was no pavement on Skipton Road, you stepped straight off the stoned road into the shop.

SCG/16 June 2003
1,064 words.