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Lancashire Textile Project

TAPE 82 / HD / 04

Harold Duxbury

This page represents the fourth page of depth interviews in which Harold Duxbury was asked about his recollections of the Lancashire Textile Project. The interviews were conducted by Stanley Graham and as such remain his property. At the bottom of the sixth page Mr. Graham invites anyone with a query to contact him. The pages are all interspaced with the time taken during the interview to give some idea of how in depth the interviews were, whilst the "R- " refers to the reply from Harold to a specific question.

Let the interview begin

This Tape Has Been Recorded On The 28th Of July 1982 At Banks Hill, Barnoldswick. The Informant Is Harold Duxbury And The Interviewer Is Stanley Graham.

Last night, Harold, well we were talking about quarrying when we finished and something which I wanted to ask you about but obviously we didn’t get round to was what can you tell me about the brick works at Salterforth?

R - Very little, very little. I know where they were and that’s about the limit .

Can you tell me where they were?

R - Yes. What do they call the cottages there where Whitham. used to live? On...

Where you turn to go onto Bradley’s farm?

R - No, you turn onto Bradley’s farm lower down than the cottages.

Yes, you’re right.

R - You turn on at the top side of the cottages and they were between the road to Bradley’s farm and the cottages. Between them two roads there was the brick works.

So in that case, those are the buildings that I marked on that sale catalogue that goes with the Bracewell property, I thought that was what they were but that confirms it.

R - Well they were beyond the cottages.

That’s it and sort of on the left hand side of that little lane there going past the cottages.

R - There’s relics of them there yet - or were.

Have you any idea whether the brickworks were run as part of the quarry?

R - I would imagine so because they’d use the offal from the quarries for these bricks. I think the waste material because they were a very poor quality brick were Salterforth brick.

Can you ever remember them being used?

R - Oh lots of places where they were used in Barnoldswick and they were just disintegrating in a very short time so you can quite well understand why they went out of business. The quality of the bricks was just hopeless.

(5 min)

Now we’ll stay on building material for a bit. Did you ever buy, I don’t mean produced in Barlick, but if you can tell me where they’re from, did you ever buy grey slate.

R - No, no. There was no new grey slates produced in this area. I would say that I’m only assuming this, the grey slates or stone slates as they’re very often called, we used to call them grey slates were, I would say, a product of I would think in the Bradford district, Southowram and near that place and the Cotswolds. You see there was a grey slate that came from the Cotswolds that was extensively used in the old days but the ordinary grey slates that was used in this district, I would say was from the Southowram area but I must say that I’m guessing on that.

That matches with what I know.

R - Does it?

As far as I know, the only places where I’ve been able to find out that new grey slate definitely came from was Southowram or Halifax. between Halifax and Bradford.

R - They could not turn out slate in this area because as I told you last night there was no bed, it was gritstone. There was no bed in the stone that was quarried in this area and you see there must be a bedded stone to split into slates.

How about - er the same question, but flags?

R - The same thing applies.  The only flags that was turned out here in some cases were flags that were sawn out of a block - and they were made, but not often because they couldn’t produce it at a competitive price because it was a special job.

Do you know anywhere where those were used, Harold?


R- I don’t.

Of course the big flags, the Rossendale’s, well you tell me where they came from?

R - Well they came from the Rossendale area didn’t they.

As I understand, mainly Bacup.

R - Yes, mainly that way, that’s right, yes.

Of course there’s other things you can put on roofs besides grey slate. What did you use for roofing material when you were house building?

R - Mainly slates. Very often Velinelli or Penrhyn and Cumberland slates, you know, Cumberland green from Buttermere, Coniston, and Honister but they were mainly, most common was Welsh. Of course if you wanted a right good quality you’d get Cumberland, Westmorland and all up that area.

How would they come into the town?

R - They’d come by rail in those days.

Roof slate as well?

R - Yes.

(10 min)

R - The railways used to run right into the quarries - in some cases at any rate, I would say most cases.

One of the things I’ve always wandered about slate, lets talk about blue slate, Welsh slate, is the size. There are a lot of different sizes, can you tell me about the sizes of slates, how they were classified?

R - Well, they all had different names. Various sizes had different names. Until they came right down to small slates and then they were called Peggy slates and I can remember too that Bracewell Hall, we bought, for demolition and we sold the slates for more than we gave for the Hall and they were Peggy slates, little small slates and they all went to Macclesfield.

What date was that, Harold?

R - Oh that would be 1950 or something like that.

I seem to remember hearing some of those slates, I think in a larger sizes, called things like ‘Ladies’ and ‘Duchesses’ and ‘Countesses’. Have you ever heard that?

R - Yes, and Tun slates and so forth. They had all various names and the various names related to the sizes. I could tell you the sizes of the standard slate. The most popular, even today is 24” x 12”.  You see there used to be 22” x 12” and there’d be a 10” and down to 8”.  8”, 10", 12” and 14” and sometimes 16”.   20” x 16” and so forth and then it comes onto Tun slates, bigger slates all random sizes.

How do you spell that?

R - T. U. N.

One thing about slate that I’ve always wandered about, I’ve noticed on some, I suspect high quality buildings that I’ve seen falling into disrepair that the heads of the slates are round instead of square.

R - The corners cut off, not round. I’ve seen the corners cut and just nailed with one nail but normally the slates are nailed onto the lath by two nails, one on each side about half way.  And the normal… and you see if a slate, say take a 24” x 12” slate. There’s a 3” lap one over the other so there’s only 21” to be reckoned with and half of that 20 is swallowed up with the cover you see, so therefore out of a 24” x 12” slate you get a covering area of 12” x 101/2”  You lose more than half the area of the slate by lap and covering. Coverings double. [What Harold means is that at any place on the roof there is at least two slates thickness.  This applies to grey slate as well.  Slating was a very complicated and highly skilled job when using blues and greys.]


Anyway that’s what the position is and you see on the grey slate these days I know that they used a special nail, supposed to be blacksmith made and galvanised but in the old days they were just blacksmith made and just a nail. Previous to that they were pegged with oak pegs and they didn’t go into the laths, the pegs just went at the top side of the laths and their own weight kept them down, the pegs just stopped them from slipping down.


Something that we never see nowadays but which there was a lot of, mortar. Now, then how did you make mortar?

(15 min)

R Well, we used to make mortar in the early days with a mortar pan.  That was a big pan maybe cast iron pan and I would say that it was maybe 8ft across and maybe 18” deep. In that pan there were two rollers which were driven by any kind of an engine, preferably. We used to have a mortar pan outside the mill. One of the shafts would come through the wall with a pulley on outside and somewhere near the boiler house


and we used to use clinkers out of the boilers to grind, and grind the clinkers and old ash up into the mortar mixed with lime and that was called ‘blue mortar’. If you get that properly done it needed some whacking! I think I could take you to property that was built about 1920 that were built with the old fashioned clinker mortar, pan ground mortar with nothing only lime. Just occasionally we used to add a bit of cement but after 60 - 70 years I think I could show you mortar today that was used then. It’s never been disturbed and the property’s never been pointed.

I can believe that. What sort of lime did you use?

R - Putty lime.

That’s quick lime that you’ve slaked yourself.

R - Yes. There were no such thing as hydrated lime in them days.

I’ve come across accounts where people were building in late nineteenth century where one of the first things they did was dig a pit and put quick lime in that and slack it down and it went like putty in the pit.

R - That’s right, yes.

Is that what you’re talking about.

R - Yes, yes. Putty lime

Did Briggs and Duxbury’s ever have a mortar pan driven at a mill like that?

R - Oh yes.

Can you tell me which mill?

R - Well the last one that we had was at Salterforth Mill when we built the Inghamite Church.

(20 min)

Ah that’s it so..

R - And it was just at the bottom corner. There was a road from the main road down the side round to the boiler house and the last shaft came through the walls and we..

Yes, because that’s the obvious place to do it. I’ve noticed that at Bancroft, there’s a hole in the wall at the back of the shed.

R - That’s right, yes.

It was still open when we were running the weaving shed. Well open - it was filled up with a wooden door. It was quite obvious.

R - I think, if I remember rightly there was a mortar pan at the back of the boiler house where the canteen is now.

At Bancroft?

R - Aye.

There could very easily have been because ...

R - it might have been further back than that.

There’s certainly a hole in the wall at the end of the lineshaft at that corner. It’s good to see that it would have been very easy to have run a mortar pan there and of course there is a reference in the Calf Hall minute book to Edward Smith having a mortar pan.

R - Ted Smith.

Aye.  Drains, interesting subject. Can you remember - what can you tell me about the disposal of waste water?  The thing that has always intrigued me about some of the old property in Barnoldswick is that if you look, we were talking about it the other day, they obviously had ash middens and pail toilets, so we’re talking about the days before the water carriage system for the lavatories for the soil from the houses. Surely there would be a waste water system of some sort because there would be a waste water from things like sinks and washing and baths before there was sewers big enough to accommodate the water carriage system.

R - Yes, there was that kind of thing which of course went to the sewage and then they had the bright idea of making these ‘tippler closets’. Is that what you want to get at?

Yes, things like that.

R - Well, you know how that worked, don’t you?

Well I do but I daresay people in a hundred years might wander what we’re talking about. You describe a ‘tippler closet’ to me.

R - Well, the tippler closet, the waste water from the sinks and the baths ran into a pivoted pan, which had the inlet from that drain came over the top and ran into this.   The inlet from the drain ran into the pan and the pan at the outlet side was extended and bevelled so that it automatically tipped when it got full because the weight of the water was more than the inlet side.

(25 min)

Therefore it tipped and ran through the toilet and took the solids away.

That’s it. We used to have a ‘tippler’ at Sough when I lived down there. It used to fascinate me. You  used to sit there and all of a sudden it would go!  There was a warm draught and of course one of the big faults with those toilets was, I don’t think there was a trap onto the sewer, was there?

R - Yes, there was a trap at the bottom of the shaft of the vertical shaft. A 12`` pipe, vertical pipe and at the bottom there was a trap but you see that trap was holding solids all the time and the solids stuck on the side of the shaft.


Some of these shafts were 6ft or 7ft deep and you can imagine that there was solids stuck for donkey’s years on the sides and well, who cleaned them? You know, scraped down the side and if they could they couldn’t get down them properly. The smell came from the solids that were always there in the bottom because it didn’t always flush everything away and very often they used to get made up. I’d been to tippers where it’s been running out at the top, they couldn’t go to the toilet. We used to have a chap and he were a specialist on the job and he’d go to these tipplers and he had a special mop and the only way to get them loose you know was to pump ‘em wi’t long mop and it’d be splashing up and splashing up and he’d a long moustache. I could tell you the name of him he has a family today and that was the way to move a tipper.

Just while we’re on that subject can you tell me anything about ... I’m deliberately making this question vague because if it’s what I think it is I want you to tell me I don’t want to trigger you. Can you tell me anything about blockages in mill toilets? Is there anything special about blockages in mill toilets?

(30 min)

R - In the old days, there was a series of toilets all ran into a common pipe and usually that pipe ran to a manhole or an inspection chamber outside the factory. If they couldn’t get it outside the factory it’d be inside the factory and from there you’d to clean both ways and very often do just the best you could.

R - Very often you might have 20 or 30 drain rods between or sometimes up to 50 drain rods between one manhole and another and you’d to get down and we had special wire ends you know that screwed into these blockages which was very often caused with old rags and all sorts of filth and things that shouldn’t have been put down toilets but which were.  [What I was after, and I think that Harold got there, was the blockage of drains by the practice of flushing waste cotton down the toilets to avoid being taken to task when you took it in to the waste bags in the warehouse.]  Generally speaking the drainage was a first class job because it had to be because if it wasn’t you were continually at them.  Not often did we have to go to mill toilets.


I don’t particularly know Bancroft well of course, the manholes there were in the yard but they were on the same principle as they all ran into the one pipe and out of that into the manhole.

The situation was at Bancroft was, the reason those toilets used to block up easily was with that being made up land at the top side of the dam and it sunk over the years.

R - Yes, and as you well know the land there well.... There was a growth below part of that mill. You see I dealt with all that at the time; excavated and sent samples away and got all the reports, foolscap after foolscap of it and I lent them to Nutters and I never got ‘em back. They’d be destroyed and you know it was nearly like asbestos was that stuff. I sent it away for analysis and all that kind of thing. I nearly forget now what the general report was but it was definitely a growth.

Did you ever go when they were demolishing the mill, Harold?

R - No.

Well I’ll tell you something interesting about that, I think it might interest you because I told Norman and Reuben, the demolition contractors when they were doing it, I said, when you get down to this end of the warehouse and you get to this lump in the floor, "I’d be very interested what you find underneath” and I told them about this stuff underneath that lifted the floor up and lifted the tape room up.  Norman said, “We’ll have a look” and he got rather intrigued with it.  When they got in with the big machines you know, all that floor out there, he said to me afterwards. I wasn’t there when they were doing it, I was in America, but he said to me afterwards, he said,” The biggest wonder is with this place is that it ever stood up!”  He said "Do you know what’s under that floor when you get down below?”  For interest sake they put a bucket in and dug down about 10ft or 15ft and it’s on a big peat bed and he said, he got a girder, a thirty foot girder, and got it on the end of the crane, because they had all the machinery there.  “We got a big cast iron girder and lifted it up and dropped it down onto it and kept lifting it up and dropping it," and he said,” We got it in thirty foot and we thought, well it must be at least thirty foot deep so we pulled it out" He said, “It’s the same behind the canteen as well” And he said, “What that chimney’s stood on, I don’t know!”  I asked him that because I’m sure you must have noticed over the years. In the bunker, the coal bunker at Bancroft, I was always intrigued by the fact that there was almost a dome of stone under the wall. It went over in a curve and the brick wall was built on top of it and it almost looks to me as though they’d been trying to cap something that they’d found in the floor there, as if they’d been capping it and building over the top of it.  And that boiler house, to my mind, is completely the wrong way round.  The way they’ve got it, the steam pipe is as far away from the engine as it can be and that boiler should have been the other way round.

(35 min)

I’ve always suspected that when they laid that mill out and when they hit peat, it was the position of the chimney and the bearing ground for the settings of the boiler that governed how that had to be built. I don’t know that, obviously, but I suspect that.  Reuben said that at the back of the chimney where that little canteen was and going under the shed itself, it’s a big bed of peat to the (what was) the end of the warehouse where that mushroom was. He said it’s a wonder it didn’t move more than it did. It was perhaps some sort of mineral coming up in the water from that peat.

R - When we did that investigation up there, I had a lot of timber up there. They were all second hand ones but they were big beams maybe fourteen inches by eight inches, long ones. I suppose they’d go in’t demolition, I never got ‘em back. There’d be half a dozen - oh more in that warehouse.

I’ll tell you what happened to them. George Bleasdale used them for building the front of the coal bunker before ever I went there. There was these big beams and they were spiked together and they were used for holding up the coal bunker so that the wagon could back further into the coal bunker.

R - Oh I never got paid for ‘em.


Anyway, if it’s any consolation to you, I lost a telegraph pole as well. I had one up on the roof of the tape department, they had no money and we had a piece of shafting go and I took a telegraph pole up there and lifted it up on the hoist and then put it out through the roof to put on top of the Warren trusses to put a sky hook on to take the weight of all this shafting, cutting it out and putting a new shafting and bearing into it.  It dawned on me when they demolished the mill that my telegraph pole was still up there.

R - Well, them girders were due for collapsing at any time. The Warren girders on that tape room.

(40 min)

They were well covered with lead underneath at each end.

R - Underneath the lead they’d never been attended to and they were just corroded to nothing nearly. I know, I inspected them a time or two.  You see I’ve known, I was once brought over to Blackburn for some Warren girders that had collapsed and I can tell you when it was too. It was in 1934 because that car was new.

The one that was turned into the wagon?

R - Aye. It was a 1934, it was a new one and when I was coming back at the far side of Whalley, the signals, and the War Memorial is half a mile to the centre and when I got to the signals at the centre I had Willie Brown with me, Henry Brown Sons and Pickles. We got to the signals and I pulled up and there’s a car pulls up at side of me.  Will you stop when you get to the other side of the signals?  It was the police - I’d exceeded the speed limit. I got fined £2.  And I got fined £2.

It was a serious amount in 1934.

R - Aye, well I got fined £2.00. Well, I don’t know about endorsing my licence, they didn’t endorse my licence or anything but that was in 1934.  I’d been to take particulars of these Warren girders and Henry Brown, Sons & Pickles made ‘em for us and they were at India Mills in Blackburn.


R - No, Blackburn.

The one with the big chimney, the one with the ornate chimney?

R - It could have, I’ve forgotten. It’s just as you’re going into Blackburn beyond the cemetery.

Drains and water supplies. Now then the water supplies in Barnoldswick. What can you tell me about the water supply, the source of water for Barnoldswick?

R - Well, you see the only source of water in those days was the bore hole at Tubber Hill. Well that was the only source of supply.

Have you any idea when that bore hole was put in?

R - No. It would be the latter end of the 19th Century wouldn’t it. I should think 1890 or something like that but I don’t know.

And what would the source of water be before that?

(45 min) (350)

R - Well, I would thing the various springs that there is about the district.

Do you know of any places in the centre of town that used to have their own well that’s covered in now?

R- Well, the only one that 1 know of is Monks’ Well.

Where was that?

R - Well, you know where Shitten Ginnel is?

In between Esp Lane and Calf hall Lane.

R - Yes, well just where it runs into Calf hall Lane there, you’ll find a big stone flag and that is Monks well.

Is that in the ginnel itself or…?

R - If I remember rightly it’s just before you get into the lane, Calf Hall Lane. It’s at Calf Hall Lane side of the stream.

Yes, that’s interesting.

R - I would think that there would be various forms, windmills and that kind of thing. Storage places, storage tanks and so forth and so on. Supplying so many houses and so forth. That Monks Well, I’ve never looked for it for a long time but I’ll tell you who showed me where it was. Old Stephen Pickles, that’s the original S. Pickles and Sons, cotton manufacturers.  I was, as a youngster, Stephen Pickles was a good friend to me. He was a big business man you know, but I was young and had a lot to learn and I was prepared to learn and was prepared to work.  And Stephen made use of me to some pattern.  He gave us some work and he got to that stage, you know, had one or two managers and he says,” We’ll have Harold down here and see what Harold has to say”   It got to that stage with Stephen, and same as this kind of thing, showing me where Monks Well was.  Well that was outside business and he were interested in me and I were interested in him because I liked him and he was prepared to tell me and teach me a lot which he did.  His pattern, same as I’ve told you about Hartley Edmondson, he says to me, and I’ve never forgotten, "Harold, never forget, best is always the cheapest in the long run.”  Little things like that but you’re prepared to learn. Anyway, go on.


No, that’s good stuff, Harold. I mean he was quite right. Can you remember any of the mill chimneys being built in Barnoldswick.

R - Well of course I can remember Fernbank and Bancroft and them being built but we never had anything to do with building chimneys. The only chimney that I ever had anything to do with building was the laundry down Gisburn Street and that’s a square chimney and we built it.

I’ve often wondered if the building of the mill chimney was a specialised job or if it was undertaken by the people that built the mills.

R - Generally a specialised job.

(50 min)

Do you know anybody that used to specialise in building mill chimneys?

R - No. No. No. You see there haven’t been many built in my time.

Yes, it’s always seemed to me that it’s a fairly specialised job.

R- That’s right, yes.

When you think of what you were dealing with. The one that I know, the one that I know a bit about, because I investigated it, is that big one at Middleton that they call Swabs chimney at Middleton.  It was a big chimney 320ft high. It was a big one and they put that up in 16 weeks!  You can just imagine it not having time for the mortar to go off properly and the weight start squeezing the mortar out of the joints.  When you think 16 weeks for a 320ft chimney like that!  Anyway we’re still really onto water and drains and things like that. One of the things which I have come to the conclusion about is that if there wasn’t a 500ft fall from Weets down into the bottom of Barlick and quite a lot of water running off it, Barnoldswick would never have been in the place where it is.  That water gave, first of all, it gave power for water mills and it provided the water for condensing the engines.  It seems to me that from time to time there must have been some fair battles over water rights and who had the rights to which water.

R - Er there was. There were a big battle over the Bowker Drain, you know.

Can you tell me about the Bowker Drain?

R - Well, you see, again it’s vague, but it was Bowker and oh I might be wrong with Mitchell, but they both banked themselves with fighting with the rights about the Bowker Drain. Both fought each other and it could be Gaskell oh dear! [Harold might be giving us a good clue here.  He’s generally right with his names and when he said this a bell rang in my head.  Mitchell sold his mill to Slater in 1867 and this was about the same time as the fight over the Bowker Drain.  I can’t see how the Bowker water would be of interest to Mitchell because it’s at a lower level than his mill but suppose there was a connection, it might explain why an established manufacturer had to sell his mill if he had lost a major court case.  Worth bearing in mind….]  I told you where the Bowker Drain started and where it finished didn’t I?

Tell me again so that it’s on this tape.

R - well the Bowker Drain started up against a wall on the West Side of the old iron bridge across the canal halfway to Salterforth.

That’s on the Salterforth side, is it?

R - No the West side is on the .. You see the canal’s running on there and the West is here - Salterforth’s there.

Yes, because you’re nearly facing South there when you’re looking down.

From there it runs on the canal side of Moss Shed. It runs underneath Long Ing Shed underneath the Ouzeldale Foundry and there is an inspection place between Long Ing and Ouzeldale foundry. Probably about ten foot wide between and there’s an inspection place there. It runs right along that bottom underneath the road and underneath Crow Nest Cottages and out into the beck at the low side of the bridge.

That footbridge at the bottom of Crow Nest Road there?

R - Yes.

(55 min)  (450)

Is that the culvert that goes under the road there that I was talking to you the other day?

R - No.

That’s a different one?

R - That’s a different one.  That culvert that runs under the road by Windle’s garage and out into the Crow Nest dam. That’s the one that you’re referring to isn’t it?


R - Well, that’s fed from the dyke [Crow Nest Syke] and it’s gathering ground for that. On the West side of Moss side all up Clifford Street area and that area. That’s the gathering ground and it runs right down on Crow Nest Syke, into Crow Nest Syke I should say, and right under the bend which is being disturbed now and blocked up as you say and underneath at side of and parallel with the road till it gets to Windle’s garage and then it goes under the road and underneath Crow Nest Shed and out into the dam.


So that Bowker Drain is bound to be a low drain, it must have been there for a long time.

R - There’s also another one that I’ve never fathomed and that’s Wellhouse Dam’s overflows. There used to be a dam literally speaking where Gissing and Lonsdale have their shop now which was Henry Browns Sons and Pickles.

You mean where what we used to call - It was intended as a foundry at first.

R ~ That’s right, it was the foundry. Between there and Wellhouse Dam as we remember it, there was another dam and there was a path between them and that one dam was filled in. The other’s been filled in now but the overflows from them dams were piped and came out at the top side of the bridge in Crow Nest Road there going onto the playing fields at the top side.

(1 hour)

Literally speaking the dams were fed from other places. There was a well, a big well, a deep well there in the corner, very deep, and what’s happened to it now I don’t know. They wanted me to act as consultant and I said well I didn’t want to take an official position like that at my time of life. I didn’t want more work, I wanted less. I said if I could be of service to them at any time, I would tell them whatever I knew. Anyway, I told them a few things but not so much but they’ve never asked me about that well which was a very sticky business.

(1 hr 5 min) (550)

R - I once found this pipe outside the dams and I put some colour down and it never come and there were a fair good flow on this pipe so I put some more colour down and by gum! I coloured Stock Beck to some pattern, let alone Cloggers Beck and Butts Beck. I coloured the whole beck. It wouldn’t do any damage, it was only colour. I found out where it come out at anyway. It eventually came out at the topside and I never expected - you see I expected it coming out further down. It was further up.

It makes you wonder why anybody would ever bother to pipe those overflows down there.

R - That’s right but they were done.

The only thing I can think about that and it’s probably cynical of me but by doing that they made sure that it didn’t go into Crow Nest dam.

R - Yes, but this was going back to before Crow Nest was built.  [Again, Harold is right and is giving us a good clue.  All the evidence points to the fact that Billycock Bracewell was making sure that he didn’t let any water down that could be used in the dam for Old Coates Mill.  By dropping it in the beck below the Old Coates dam he made sure they couldn’t use it.]


It must have been, you’re quite right. It’s fascinating stuff, I mean these sort of things fascinate me. I’d have been a good man fiddling about with that colour with you. You would have been lowering me down the well. I’m a beggar for anything like that. If there’s a hole to go into or a chimney to go up... Newton tells a good story...

R - Well, Newton will know about that well.

Newton tells a good story about the bore hole up at White Moor, you know, Tubber Hill.

R - They did a lot of work on that bore hole at one time and another.

He was down one of them one day. There were two bore holes and what they were doing they were taking the foot valve off to lift it out. It had to be done up and the engine was running away pumping out of the other bore instead. He said that was keeping the level of the water down in the hole that he was in and he shouted to them up the bore. He wanted something, he wanted something raising up or lowering down to him and somebody at the top shouted,  “Stop that engine we can’t hear what Newton’s saying”. So they stopped the other pump and he said as soon as they stopped the other pump, Newton said as soon as they stopped the pump, water started to spout up under his feet. He said there was a four inch pipe and he said it was all scabbed over with big knobs and he said he was climbing that like a monkey. He said the water was chasing him. I said to him, why didn’t you just let the water carry you up? He said well, it was bubbling and there was that much air in it he said he didn’t think he’d float in it. Anyway they started the other pump up and dropped the level back down again. He said he was frightened then. Just to go back to this Bowker Drain, you say that - I realise that you can’t remember the names of it but you think that there was some sort of court action?

R - Oh definitely: Both sides bankrupted themselves fighting it.

What was so important about the water that was coming down that drain?

A - It supplied Wellhouse Mill first of all and then when Bankfield was built they got a water right but not until Wellhouse had had theirs. You see, it came right past Crow Nest, no not Crow Nest, Moss Shed, they’d no right to it, no water right, and Long Ing had no right. Wellhouse had. They had the first call and there’s a big well in the field behind that row of houses. There was a pump at the corner of Wellhouse mill and it was piped from there up into the tank, a pump from the well up into the tank at the top of Wellhouse mill.

Yes, on top of the old engine house.

(1 hr 10min)

I mean the mean the old beam engine house, the one at the end, the original engine house with the iron tank on the roof.


R - The iron tank on the roof but that wasn’t over the steam engine, that tank, not right over, I don’t think.

I’ve always assumed that that was an engine house at that end. I always assumed that there were two engines, two beam engines, one at each end.

R - Yes, well you might be right there but anyway it was pumped from there and that was the water right and we used to clean that out. I have a plan of that well and.1 know where it is and there’s inspection chambers there now.

At the corner of the mill there?

R - No, in the field. There’s Vicarage Road isn’t there, and there’s a row of houses on each side. Newton lives at one side, well at the other side there’s a field between there ands Eastwood Bottoms. The pump etc is in Eastwood Bottoms.

Ah! Eastwood Bottoms! Now that rings a bell. Which is Eastwood Bottoms?

R - Well, it’s between the row of houses on Vicarage Road and Roundell Road. Vicarage Road is where the Vicarage is or the Masonic Hall now and Windle’s garage. The next one that turns to the right is Roundell Road.

Just past the Jet Station?

R - That runs on to Eastwood Bottoms and between Roundell Road and Vicarage Road, there’s a field and it extends into another field that Roundell Road runs into and all that lot on there is Eastwood Bottoms.  That then is the water right that belonged to the Gledstone Estate, to Roundells’ and Wellhouse, Bracewell.  And when Bracewell built New Mill, it’s in the Calf Hall Shed Company minute books, the early minute books. When Bracewell built New Mill, he came to an arrangement with them whereby, he paid them so much a year. I’ve forgotten how much it was. It was a very small amount a year for the water rights for the water that was coming down through Eastwood Bottoms and it was after the Calf Hall Shed company had bought it that Roundells had to up the rent for that water.

(1 hr 15 min)

It was a serious thing if they couldn’t have that water. That is when they started boring for water?

R - Yes, you might be right there but you see Eastwood Bottoms extends beyond the land that we’re talking about. The land from the end of Roundell Road to Edward Street, that land did not belong to Gledstone Estate and this land going back before Roundell’s time.  Before - oh I can’t remember the name. If I heard it..

Don’t worry about it, it’ll come back to you.

R - I’m not going to worry about it but I can’t just remember it at the moment. I will do eventually. I shall have records of it somewhere. Anyway we’d better leave that because I can’t remember it.

I think what we’re talking about really is how complicated these rights to different pieces of land were.

R - Oh quite.

That’s the whole purpose of me asking you these questions because it’ll bring that out and a lot of people don’t realise how jealously guarded the rights to these, what looks in this day and age an insignificant drain running into a beck can be really important.

R - When we get into this Calf Hall Shed Company minutes, the name of this firm will arise a few times. It belonged that land.

There’s a piece of land there that I never really - was it Meanwood Flat?  They kept talking about selling land on Meanwood Flat. I’ve never been able to find out where that was.

R Well I don’t know.

Well, anyway, I think I’ve talked to you enough for tonight.

R - It’s all right.

Are you all right?

R - Yes, I promised to pick my wife up at quarter past eight.

What time is it now, Harold?

R – It’s eight o’clock.



R - Oh there’s another thing on water that I should have told you. It was quite a common thing for people to have water tanks in their kitchens or under the floor and they had a pump.

What fed that water tank?

R - Well, maybe top water from the troughings.  Sometimes they had a service from a big tank somewhere or rams or anything but very often it was collected from the troughings, gutters.

That’s very interesting, Harold. That’s the first time anybody’s ever mentioned that to me.

R - Oh well, it was quite common.

Do you know of anywhere in Barlick where that applied?

R - Yes, and not very old property. Moseley Street on the lower side of Moseley Street. All that right hand side opposite the Sunday School there. All them houses up there had water tanks in their kitchens.

That’s the first time anybody’s ever mentioned that to me.

R - Well they had, and pumps.

Come to think of it I’ve been in old houses that have had their own pumps next to the sink and I’ve never, it’s never. I’ve always assumed that it’s been a pipe down to a well, you know.

R - Very often they were. I remember across at Crook Carr here. They had a pump and it was pumped from a tank out in the field.

When we’re talking about farm property, we got situations like, as you know I went up to look at Dark Hill well the other day and I was talking to Roddy Hemmingway down at Springs Farm and he said to me, I went back up actually to have a look. There’s a big Holly Bush growing over it, you can’t see it. He said if you look he said below Dark Hill well there s a stone trough in the dyke and there’s an inch hole bored in the side of it and there’s a pipe from there to Springs Farm and that used to be the water supply to Springs Farm. This is the farm itself.

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Copyright © Stanley Challenger Graham 1982