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Lancashire Textile Project

TAPE 82 / HD / 03

Harold Duxbury

This page represents the third of six in 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 page containing the sixth session 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.

Transcript Four

This Tape Has Been Recorded On The 27th Of July 1982 At Banks Hill, Barnoldswick. The Informant Is Harold Duxbury And The Interviewer Is Stanley Graham.

This is the third interview and today is the 27th of July and what I’m going to do today, Harold, we’re going to have a rest from all the domestic stuff and I want to ask you one or two questions about the more interesting things like buildings. But the first thing I’d like to clear up, was Henry Brown that started ‘Henry Brown & Sons’, was he your mother’s brother?

R - No, he was my father’s cousin.

He was your father’s cousin.

R - It was ‘Henry Brown & Sons’ in the first place, then they went into liquidation. [They liquidated in 1929 immediately after completing the foundry on Havre Park.  Willie Brown kept on the small shop in Earby.  Henry Brown and Sons paid out 19/6 in the pound so needn’t have gone out.  Johnny pickles started on his own, it was only later that Willie Brown went in as a partner.] Johnny Pickles came in with him with Willie Brown who was my father’s cousin. Johnny Pickles was his foreman. They went in partnership and they became ‘Henry Brown, Sons & Pickles’. Well, Henry Brown was my grandmother’s, my grandmother Duxbury’s brother, therefore my father and Willie Brown, who was the firm in later years were full cousins.

Henry Brown was your grandfather Duxbury’s wife’s brother. That’s it, that’s where I’d got it wrong. I knew there was something I hadn’t got quite right about that and I just wanted to clear it up. Now then, one of the things that’s always intrigued me in Barnoldswick was - or one of the many things that’s intrigued me was the ‘Majestic’. The whole complex of the ‘Majestic’ buildings and the Bank Chambers. Do they call it Bank Chambers? Where Steel and sons are now.

R - Station Chambers.

Station Chambers, that’s it. Now what can you tell me about Hartley and the Majestic?

R - Well, Mathew Hartley, I would say was a good business man with a good foresight. I don’t think held any trade, he was just a business man. He had three sons. Freddy who was a painter; Rennie, who was a plumber and Harry was a bricklayer.

5 min

He brought them all up in the building trade but I wouldn’t say these sons built the Majestic and the Station Chambers, but they all worked on them.

Who built them?

R-  Well, I don’t know but Mat Hartley or Mathew Hartley was the owner. He was responsible for building them. [The date stone on the Majestic reads ‘MH. 1914] Where Station Chambers is and the Post Office is, periodically it was let off as a fair ground. Where the Post Office is, there was big hoardings, all round and where the ‘Majestic’ is there used to be a blacksmith’s shop and oh! I’m forgetting the name, the first name but it was a fellow called Wright who was the blacksmith. He had the blacksmith’s shop on there.

It wasn’t Roger was it?

R - Oh no! No relation. Roger was only a young fellow. He’s younger than me.

R - Roger was the son of a butcher.


The only reason I’ve asked you that, Harold is because I’ve seen a Roger Wright mentioned in the 1890s as doing some work for the Calf Hall Shed Company to do with sheet metal and things like that.

R - It could be the same man but not Roger. Are you sure that it mentioned Roger?

I think I’ve put a red herring out there, it might be another Wright all together.

R - I think his name was Stiv - Stephen. Stiv Wright. I’m almost sure that it was. He had three sons and two daughters and one of ‘em is still living now, in Barlick up Mitchell terrace. His father had a blacksmith’s shop where the Majestic is. You’ll get further details, if you want it, from him but he’s the youngest, you see so I’ll doubt if he’ll remember his father having that workshop there. Jess Wright, Billy Wright, (who was the same age as me to the day) and Charlie Wright. And then there was a daughter who married one of Weirs, the grocers, I think I’m right and then there was a younger one again that married one of Efgraves, Alf Efgrave but they’re not Barlick people.

I was once in a house in the street that runs alongside the ‘Majestic’ behind the Co-op.

R - Ellis Street.

It was Teresa Hartley who lived in that house.

R - Teresa Hartley was the widow of Rennie Hartley.

She lived there and I went to the bathroom of that house and it was panelled. The bathroom was panelled. The strange thing was that none of the panelling fitted and I asked her about it and she said that her husband’s father had bought a lot of stuff out of the old liner ‘Majestic’. Is that right?

R - That’s true, yes. There was a tremendous lot of it used in the ‘Majestic’. Old panelling and things like that. I don’t think there was any used in Station Chambers.

(10 min)

I remember how strange that bathroom looked because in a ship, when you come to think, hardly anything is straight. The panelling was beautiful but none of it was square and it must have been some that they had left over and they used up doing this bathroom.

R - It was a break-up, you see. The ship was being broken up and he bought wagon loads of it,

The thing that’s always struck me about the ‘Majestic’ building itself, it must have been one of the earliest ‘leisure centres’ as they call them now that was ever built because there were a lot of different functions going on in that building weren’t there. Can you tell me what some of them were?

R - Well there was part of it was let off as a billiard hall. And then the main job was a market hall and then it became a dance hall and then it went back to a market hall one day a week. That were the main ballroom and the other was, as far as I remember, a picture palace. So there was a billiard hall, a market hall and a picture palace.

I was once told that there was a ‘gentleman’s club’ there.

R That ‘gentleman’s club’ was there and that entered from Fernlea Avenue. It’s there yet.

That doorway that’s up near the library?

R - Lower than the library, no no. There’s one lower down and then there’s the other and there was a section up there where the back entrance is just near the library that was used as a gentleman’s club. There was the other common-or-garden.


And then the shops at the front as well which I think were let off. I take it they’ve always been there.

R - That’s right, yes.

Yes, there’s four shops isn’t there?

R - Oh I don’t know.

Yes, there’s the grocers at the end, then Thackeray’s, the outfitters and then there’s the entrance to the cinema, isn’t there.

R - Yes.

Then at the other side there’s what’s now called ‘The Magic Eye’, the cheap shop and then there’s a boutique on the end isn’t there.

R - I thought there was another between.

There could be.  [There was and it was very small.  In the 80s Malcolm Spencely from Stainton house Farm had a car accessory shop there]

R - Ah but Pilkington’s used to be there and they weren’t at the entrance were they? There was another shop and then Pilkington’s and then the dress shop, boutique or whatever you call it.

That was carpets was it, that one?

R - Well, the one near the entrance, yes but I don’t ever remember the other being carpets.

Anyway the point I was trying to get at is that it was a well planned development.

R - Definitely, yes. I would say that they did very, very well out of it.

Sad to see it now isn’t it? You know, the cinema isn’t used, the ballroom isn’t used it’s just got the pool club and pool hall and I think that’s about all that’s being used is it?

R - That’s right, yes.

Can you remember anything of the Co-op building being built?

R - No.

That was before your time?

R - No, I can’t remember.

I’ve forgotten the date that’s on it, I think it’s 1905 [1907 actually], I’m not sure. Obviously Briggs and Duxbury’s themselves were, well you tell me. The building jobs that Briggs and Duxbury’s did?

R - Well, you see, Briggs and Duxbury’s started business in March 1909. They bought the existing building and business of William Holdsworth who was a joiner and undertaker and we took over his premises and also we as a family, Duxbury’s, went to live in the house that Will Holdsworth lived in - or William Holdsworth. Now, he was a one of the old Victorian type and was one of the original directors of Calf Hall Shed Company and of course we took over. (It was only a small building at that time) Over the years we - next on the Croft there was Singleton had his landaus, wagonette and hearse all horse drawn. His stables were down below our works. As his landau business, horses, disappeared, we gradually extended. What he gave up with, we took and crept right on to literally speaking very nearly the end of those buildings with the slaughterhouses underneath.

Is that what they were underneath those red buildings?

(15 min)

R - Oh no, they’re not red brick buildings isn’t the slaughter houses. There was a red brick building on the left as you walk down, an extension to the stables at .. Bob Hudson used to keep his horse in there, the fish man.

Yes, now I must be getting confused here. Now the building I was thinking about when I said stables was directly opposite the house you were living in. Now at the left-hand side of it some steps going down into that yard at the bottom. Then on the right, them brick buildings going down that looked to me as if they’d been stables.

R - Now just a - The steps that you’re speaking of were just a temporary effort that somebody did on the left hand side on their own. There was a pillar put up at the top to stop traffic going down. An iron pillar - in fact I think it’s there yet! It used to stand at the end of Commercial Street, at the corner, you know where Green Street Club is? And the next to Green Street Club coming towards Commercial Street was a shop, a confectioners shop and at the corner there, there was this iron pillar and that iron pillar was moved from there to the little hill beside our workshop. The brick wall now that you’re speaking of, we decided that the building we were in wasn’t big enough. The road down to the slaughterhouses at the bottom and underneath and through between the stables and our workshop.


There was stables underneath our shop at one time, underneath our joiners shop. Now we threw girders across there and re-built that gable end - we did it. We built over the top of the road and left a way through down and joined up with the stables on the left, you see. So that’s what brickwork you’re thinking of.

R - Then that brickwork continued down to the bottom and all that lot down there was stables right down to the ginnel leading to the bridge.

20 min

So where exactly then was the slaughterhouse?

R - The slaughterhouse was underneath the buildings that faced onto Commercial Street. They never did come under our works; there was stables underneath our works and then from our works to the original works to the far end used to be slaughterhouses and various people had slaughterhouses.

And they’re not there now, are they?

R - Yes.

Is that where those garages are on top?

R - Yes.

Ah, well I’ll have to have a look at them.

R - I think them slaughterhouses underneath will be in the original state. If they aren’t well you know where I am.

I will definitely have a look at that, Harold, that’s very interesting.

R - Something else that might interest you. At the far end from where our shop was, there was a rag and bone merchant.

Now when you say the ‘far end’ do you mean the far end of the stable block or the far end of the slaughterhouse block?

R - Far end of Commercial Street, on Commercial Street, over the top of the slaughterhouses, far end. There was a rag and bone merchant there, Paul Brydon, old Paul.  Well he had a wooden leg, had old Paul and he were there for donkeys years and Billy Friar, is his grandson. Billy Friar’s mother was old Paul’s daughter. Paul Brydon’s daughter. I could tell you a let but you’ll get it more....

No, you tell me what you know

R - Paul, well I don’t know what he lost his leg with but it was off by the knee. It was a wood leg and he strapped it on and he come pegging along and it never seemed to be any hindrance to him and he had two or three daughters and one or two sons had Paul. he had a lorry, you know and I would say that he, as we understood as a living then, he seemed to maintain a family in fairly reasonable circumstances.

So Briggs and Duxbury’s are established in Commercial Street. What was the main part of the business when they first started?


R - Joinering and undertaking.

Your father hadn’t anything to do with undertaking before he went there?

R - Oh yes! Oh yes! He used to do a lot of that type of work at Waite and Lamberts. 

Before him and Briggs started together.

Well, I’d like you to tell me about the undertaking part of the business because it was slightly different in those days than it is now in that I assume that most people kept the body at home.  What exactly was the function of the joiner and undertaker?

R - Well, literally speaking in the villages, small towns and villages, most joiners did undertaking as well. In those days the hearse and landaus were all horse-drawn and everybody in those days who died was buried and the main burial ground was either Ghyll Cemetery or Ghyll Church.

(25 min)

Of course there was Bracewell and occasionally we got one that had to go away for miles sometimes. I remember my father setting off early morning and getting back late at night. I remember one going to Cark near Cartmel. We was riding on the dicky in the middle of the winter and the driver with his top hat on and my father with his top hat on and all the landaus or whatever they were. The driver on the dicky with all top hats, you know and they wouldn’t stand examining because they’d been rough-handled and very old, you see. My father used to take a pride in his top hat.

This one you’re talking about that went to Cark near Cartmel, did they go by rail or

R - Oh by road!

I bet that was a journey wasn’t it?

R - Oh it was a fair journey.  Yes, it would be over a hundred miles, there and back.

I’ve always assumed, I don’t know whether I’m right or not probably the reason why joiners became the undertakers is because they’d be the people that made the coffins.

R – Quite.

And you say that was the reason why it eventually fell to them.

R-  Yes, that’s right and of course in those days, you see nearly everybody booked their funerals for a Saturday, so that Saturday afternoon, so that they hadn’t to get off their work, so that family would normally be off their work. So if the friends and distant relatives and so forth wanted to come to the funeral but didn’t want to get off their work; therefore for their convenience it was put to Saturday afternoon and there was always two or three funerals on a Saturday. Anybody that died, it was a custom to keep them at home, you see and it needed quite a long number of years to get people educated into letting them go into a chapel of rest. We had a chapel of rest in 1936 and believe me we had it about four year and I don’t think we had above two or three in it so we stopped it and went back to the old way.

(30 min )(250)

Then it started coming again so we made another chapel of rest and made it like a little chapel and of course it was used but from 1909 until motors came into being we used to carry the coffins, my father and me or my brother and me or somebody else, you know and they were nearly all pitch pine and then they come to elm and oak. Then, of course, now they’re mass produced but on the undertaking side, you see our business developed and in - I qualified as an embalmer in 1936 so and I’m still a member of the British Institute of Embalmers.

Would that be fairly modern stuff, then, Harold?

R - Embalming was just coming into being. I would say that I’m not the original member but one of the oldest members of the Institute of Embalmers and you see undertaking is a personal job. Everybody wants to see the "Boss". When the War came in ‘39 well we had about forty men and then we got all this war work thrust on us and well, Bankfield, Calf Hall, Butts, Grove Mill at Earby Sough Mill at Kelbrook, Waterloo Mill at Clitheroe and so forth and so on. We had all this work and it developed into five hundred men, we’d over five hundred men during the war. I personally could not do undertaking so Arthur took on the undertaking and I left it entirely.

Arthur’s your brother?

R - That’s right, Arthur’s my brother. You see and he still does that. These mills, there was an awful lot of work and they converted them all into aircraft factories for the Rover company.

(35 min)

We literally speaking, nearly had a free hand in those days on what we did. There was an architect on the job, Jacques from Nelson, and him and me worked in close co-operation. The only plans we had a short pencil about two inches long that he used to carry in his waistcoat pocket and held just draw a bit o’ something on the whitewashed walls and that was the plans.


And then when the job were finished, when they had time, they’d get plans out, you see, after’t job were finished, you see.  You see by that time, I knew Jacques fairly well and he knew me and we understood one another and people came up from Coventry and various places and they thought we were a couple of ninnies, Jacques and me. It took us a while to find out that it were them that were ninnies and they were picking our brains and that’s all they could do. They were intelligent enough to pick our brains, you see. Anyway we got through and I remember the Government auditors coming in and they were in after the finish of the war and there were about four of them came and they were in our office about six weeks going into our accounts and everything. I said to the boss when they’d finished, I said, Well, what have you to tell me?  What have you found?"  He says, “Well, as near as I can say, there’s twopence adrift over the years!”  I said, “Oh and which way is it?” He said he didn’t know and that were the last of it. We were straight up and down and I hadn’t a fear for anybody.

About when was it that Briggs and Duxbury’s started to develop? Just from a joinering firm into building and general contracting?

R - Oh I would say within two or three years. We would be building before the 1914 war.

Now when you say ‘building’ do you mean building new property or building repairs?

R - Building new property and repairs.

Have you any idea what was the first building your father put up?


R-  I would say we completed the right-hand side of Gisburn Street,

Now then, remind me which is Gisburn Street.

R - Up by the side of the Catholic Church.

Now when you say the ‘right-hand’ side, you mean the side facing away from Gisburn Road.  [I was confusing the issue here.  Harold actually meant up Gisburn Street]

R - Yes, walking up [Gisburn Street] where the shop is, there’s a shop and there’s about half a dozen houses there, about six or eight houses there. And then we completed the even numbered side of Federation Street. We built one or two at the bottom of Brogden Lane on the right there, a few of them. I think we built all of them, I don’t know. We built Glenwind where John Clark lives up at the top, that big house, stands back in the field.

Whereabouts is that, Harold?

R - There’s Raygill, isn’t there where Pickles used to live, where Peter Gooby lives now, climbing up the hill on your right, up Brogden Lane - well that’s Raygill.  Further on than that there’s one stands back in the field, still looks new which was built in about 1920. That’s moulded and carved stone and that kind of thing was built for Hartley Edmondson, he’s coming back into it, the fellow that I…

What’s the name of that house?

R - Glenwind.

And your father and Jack built that?

R - That’s right, we did everything on that. In the meantime we did buildings here and there, lots of bungalows and that kind of thing, you know.  One-offs, we didn’t normally specialise in municipal housing or anything or that sort, just one-off sort of effort.

(40 min)

So you couldn’t be described as speculative builders, building for sale, they were built to order.

R - Generally, yes. Well, we built Federation Street and Gisburn Street and they were built for sale but generally speaking, same as these in Brogden Lane were built for individuals.

I know that you did build one Chapel.

R - The Inghamite Chapel? Yes, well of course I told you about that didn’t I. It were the first big job that I took control of.

That you were Clerk of Works on.

R - That’s right. There was me father and Briggs there you see, but I looked after the job. Jack Briggs was coming on the job and keeping me right I suppose. Generally speaking it were left to me and during .. er the firm was gradually growing all the time and by 1936 we moved from Croft down to where we are now and it was a lodging house and we converted it to suit ourselves. It was a three story building and I don’t know, it was about eighty foot by sixty foot, yard space at both sides and later we bought the adjoining property nearer the town.


We bought it from Sam Yates who had buildings and greenhouses and all that kind of thing there. There was a big brick wall between and we knocked that down and it joined right up, you see.

(45 min)

In the far corner, I say the far corner, the nearest corner to the beck, that piece of land that you’re talking about that you said you bought off Sam Yates. Now there’s a building, it’s a red, Accrington brick building. Was that there in those days?

R - Yes, three garages. Yes, that was there and we bought that from Sam Yates and there was a greenhouse and a big lumbering house and we took it all as a builders yard and we go right up to the waterfall, you see.

And just to nail a date down, I’m right am I in saying the Inghamite Chapel, you completed it in 1932?

R - Er yes.

Yes, because that Messiah we sang in the other day was their 50th Anniversary of course. So during the War Briggs & Duxbury were doing the work for the Rover Company ?

R -Yes, but before you come onto that should you come onto the flood?

Ah!  Now which flood are we talking about?

R - 1932, July 12th.

You nail that down for me.

R - I don’t remember which day it was but it was July 12th and it was 1932.


I’m wrong - no I’m not. July 12th 1932 was the date of the flood and it was in the afternoon and we was in the old joiners shop and of course, this storm came and we’d no idea how severe it was although we were watching it [At Butts side]and watching it into Commercial Street and there were pieces of ice coming as big as two inch, some of them bigger. Generally speaking there were lumps of ice two inch, you know. There was Evered Holdsworth, the son of William Holdsworth.

How do you spell that Christian name, Harold? Did you say Everett?

R - Evered. Evered Holdsworth, he was watching the storm. He belonged the property below us. He belonged the property that we were in. Well, we were watching it through the window at the back and then we saw this torrent as it were come down. It was at the bottom of Butts coming down Butts, it was a raging torrent! There was no doubt about that and it washed the back walls into the beck of these buildings down below. We saw them go, the walls and there was a set of buildings along the bottom, red brick buildings and it washed a good portion of them. And we’re watching this and by this time we didn’t care whether we got wet or not, we were watching this torrent you see. It was up to the level of where they go under the slaughter houses and there’s a fair fall from there.  And I would say it was about, as near as I can say, it was within a foot of the top of the doors into these low places.


Suddenly, we saw two hands right at the top of tie door and well, we couldn’t face that, it were a torrent! Into one of them buildings that runs parallel with the road down to our shop before you get to the bridge. Well we got a rope and Sid Barnett, that’s the father of Sydney Barnett that lives in Hollins Road now. We tied this rope round him and we set off with me hold of him. Anyway, eventually we got there and we couldn’t open the door because of the rubble you see.  So we’d to keep ducking under and pulling away stones , both of us, and we pulled and eventually we got him out. We took the rope off Sid Barnett and he were a Widdup, he were a carter and he lived down on Bankfield Street.  We tied the rope round him and we got one of us at each side. Well you know, they didn’t let us come back quietly, you know. Of course we were like drowned rats but anyway we got him out and I went up home. We lived up Robert Street then and I got a change of clothes, me father’s, oh no me own - no me father’s! I was married then and we did what we could and anyway, eventually we went home.

(50 min)

All where we are now, you know was all a-flood.

Down in the bottom.

R - Down in the bottoms. There was huts and dogs and cats (that were never seen again), garages, motor cars going down Walmsgate and all that were chock-a-block with rubble you know, and the bottom of Tubber Hill, you couldn’t get up there it was full. We went up Occupation Road and I’m not exaggerating, it’s solid rock up there wasn’t it? And the road was washed out. You could get a horse and cart up in the ravine that it had made in the rock. Anyway, like they did damage, washed the gable end in at Calf Hall Mill, a lot of damage at Wellhouse Mill, all these Mills had been damaged but the full force of it came down Butts Beck. You see it came down from Weets you know and down Occupation Road and there.  And this fellow, Widdup, he seemed to be all right but he didn’t live long after that. I think he died as a result of that experience.


There was a big report of it, like in the papers you know, and Sid Barnett and me father’s name pulled this fellow out.  Me father’s name, it weren’t me! That doesn’t matter but I lost a gold watch.  Well, I’m saying I lost it, I didn’t. I couldn’t get it to go again, I got it for me 21st birthday and it were a pocket watch which you used to have in them days.  Now that’s about the flood.

Yes, now it washed the walls out on the lodge at Bancroft.

R - That’s right, oh yes.

Yes, I have some photographs at home of the weavers stood outside the gate at Bancroft watching the water rise. Ernie Roberts told me, he was weaving at that time at Calf Hall and he said that it…

R - Took the far gable part of Monkswell Manufacturing Company was it?

(55 min)

Yes, there was a Monkswell, yes. They were in Calf Hall, weren’t they?

R - Yes, they were the top place.

That’s it, yes. Yes and Ernie was saying that it burst up through the floor as well and took some of the floor out and swilling through the shed. He said it was a good thing at the time because he said they’d some lousy warps in, he said they were better warps afterwards. He said they were out of work for a bit but he said they were better warps and it wasn’t a bad thing.

The undertaking.  You said that all the bodies then were buried. When did cremation come in?

R - Oh I would say it started developing after the second World War. Yes, there’d be very little of it before. We used to have to go to Leeds for cremations.

Is that right!

R - Yes, there’d be very little of it before. I’m not saying it didn’t start before then but it started to develop. It become more popular.

One of the things that obviously, in a town like Barnoldswick there was always something needed moving around. It was either coals from the Railway Station or stone into the town, there was a tremendous lot of building going on, things like that.. There must have been a lot of horses and carts.

R - There were.

Now, who operated the transport, the horses and carts? Can you tell me something about that?

R - Well mainly they were individuals who had one or two lorries and horses but there was such as coal merchants and that kind of thing same as P.D. Bilborough [PeterStation Road.  Lived at 18 Mosley Street] and was followed on by his son-in-law Henry Wilson but it still went under the name of P.D. Bilborough.  Well they had lorries and they used to, these coal merchants same as Roger Wiseman and his father before him, they had a horse or two and these big box carts you know.  They used to cart to the mill at so much a ton. Then Evered Holdsworth, he owned quite a few horses and maybe half a dozen men. He could have had half a dozen lorries you see.

(1 hour)

Then eventually, Holdsworth, he got a motor wagon. Harry Hunt drove it and loaded it. It was some job, you know with these big shovels and these big railway wagons loaded to carts and that kind of thing and never a murmur, they were glad to do it. And you could always see two or three carts as you walked between the various Mills either going or coming.


One thing that’s always surprised me that I’ve never been able to find much out really. What I know of the room and power system in the town, the way that the manufacturers moved from one shed to the other it seems to me that there must have been a lot of looms moving about town.

R - There was.

Now then, who moved the looms?

R - Herbert Hoggarth did quite a lot of that sort of work.  You’ll know of Herbert, whether you knew him or not you would. George Hoggarth’s brother who was up at Bancroft wasn’t he?

Ah!  Was it George Hoggarth’s brother?

R - Yes, older brother.

So their father would be - oh I’ve forgotten his Christian name, the Hoggarth who ran the engine at Butts Mill.

R - That was their Uncle.

He was their Uncle was he? He were Albert, no it wasn’t Albert, I’ve got a photograph of him at home.

R - Albert were at Dotcliffe.

That’s right, Newton’s told me about that, yes. He hung himself didn’t he? He told me that him and Jim Fort had an argument over who should take the rope down. He said it was ridiculous because all they had to do, they had some jobs to do there and they found this rope still hanging there and neither of them would touch it. I can understand it. It would be usual for a manufacturer to take his looms with him when he went was it?

R - The room and power, generally speaking, didn’t include the looms. They were their own looms since when Pickles fell out with Calf Hall Shed Company and Butts over rent and this kind of thing. There was some big heads on Calf Hall Shed Company then, and Stephen, he were the type who wouldn’t be dictated to and he bought Barnsey.  And all them looms were moved from Butts and Calf Hall to Bouncer [The by-name for Barnsey] and then when Fernbank was built, all the looms from Calf Hall, Edmondson’s were at Calf Hall, and they moved all their looms to Fernbank.  Alderton’s who used to be at Fernbank was at Wellhouse. They moved to Fernbank and gradually these places were filled up with other manufacturers who were starting up or moving from somewhere else.


We’ll go through that the next time, we’ll see what we can get out of that. There was a lot of employment for horses and carters in the town.

R - Oh yes.

How about transport from the town to the outside? Was most of it by rail or was some of it by horse and cart as well?

R - Most of it was by rail. It was a busy place was Barlick! In the goods yard there used to be some good big sheds you know you could load and unload.

(1 hr 5 min)

I should think there’d be twenty or thirty men working at the station. They had one or two horse-drawn wagons or drays. They used to take part of this weft and that and beams and that kind of thing. They used to deliver them right to the mills and very often these mills, I can remember Nutters and Bradley’s and Bankfield would have horses and wagons of their own.

Yes, and of course Nutters had two motor lorries, as well.

R - Oh yes, but that was getting on, until after the war.

How about transport on the canal Harold?

R - There was a lot of the coal came by canal and there used to be a coal yard called Coates Wharf just at the Long Ing side of Coates Bridge, just going up the hill there. Well its there yet.


Where Rolls Royce used to have their coal stack and the council yard?

R- That’s right, yes. All onto the canal side there there’s sliding gates, you see and it was wheeled off the boats into there.

(1hour 10min)

And then Bankfield used to have an overhead crane into the… er, runners you know on a girder right into the works.  Fill the barrows and just tip ‘em off in the into the boiler house, you see and onto the coal stack as well. You see they had a coal stack.

There was a little wharf down at Long Ing as well wasn’t there.

R - There was a wharf  there, yes, you see, and there was Moss Shed and Barnsey and all these were made so that they could have their coal delivered by canal.

How about transport of stone on the canal?

R-  Well they used to have quite a bit of transport in stone. They used to have lines right from the quarries down to the canal at - you know where the bridge is on the New Road where the canal goes under the road?  Do you know where that is?  Well at the far side ...

On the Salterforth side?

R - On the Salterforth side. They used to come down to the canal there, lines. [Tramways with jubilee trucks.]

Now I’ve noticed the stones in the side of the canal there and I’ve often wandered. There’s almost like a small jetty there, isn’t there?

R - That’s right, yes. Well, that’s where they used to come.

And that was down...?

R - Prom the quarry, Tubber Hill quarries, yes from Salterforth, up Salterforth Brow from that quarry. I don’t think they came from the top side of the road but they came from the quarries on Salterforth Brow.

Now, there were two quarries there on either side of the road. Did they both belong to the same person, those quarries?

R - No. The one nearest Barlick belonged to Sagars and the one on the top side of the road belonged to Sagars [Loose Games, at the end of Lister Well Lane.]. The one on the Foulridge side [Of Salterforth Lane] belonged to several various people at one time and another. I couldn’t tell you the original owners.

Remember that sale catalogue that you gave me for Wellhouse?  It was sold in 1887 as part of the Bracewell Estate.  So it must have belonged to William Bracewell, that and the brick works. Up to 1887 anyway.

R - Well, you see, the top quarry and the low quarry belonged to Gledstone Estate.

So those were the two that Sagars had?

R - That’s right. Sagars paid royalties for all the stone they took out.

That’d be Roundells.

R - That’s right, yes.

And they paid royalties to Roundells?  And you did mention a fellow called Whitham.

R - Well Whitham went in partnership with a fellow, with eh, what do they call him? What do they call that Councillor fellow that’s a bit of a builder? He’s a Councillor, he’s still a Councillor. Anyway, I don’t suppose it matters, Whitham started in the quarry, he went in partnership with this fellow - well it went the wrong way so Whitham sold his pork butchers shop and went up into the quarry although he’d no experience of quarrying. He spent the whole of his time in that quarry and he worked like a nigger.  He worked with the men and that kind of thing and he made a go of it until he died. He owned it for quite a long number of years, did Whitham.


What was the main output of those quarries, Harold? Or did the different quarries vary? I’m thinking of quarries that were turning out good bed stone, sawn stone or Yorkshire points or whatever?

R - Yorkshire Points came from certain districts in Yorkshire.

(1 hr 15 min)

Tubber Hill stone, generally speaking, has no bed and it’s called gritstone.  Very little stone was being got from there only random, that’s any sort of shape and sawn stone. Now if they wanted stone 6” deep they used to put it on the big blocks of stone on the saw, a stone saw, you know. The blade’s about 12” wide and an eighth of an inch thick of hardened steel. The sawing action was by the friction of backwards and forwards motion and water running onto the part that was being cut all the time, you see. And they used to make window jambs, door jambs, (all sawn stone) 12” x 6”, 9”x 6”, 6”x4”  you know, in various lengths up to 8ft or 10ft but generally more door stuff and window stuff and the offal from that and the edges and that kind of thing was then broken up into points.


6” or 4” or 3” or whatever, they were and made into points which was used for walling. Now Tubber Hill stone is far better than the Yorkshire stone because literally speaking it’s no bed. You’ll see Yorkshire stone, you can get a point out of a wall, you can see the bed of the stone. Put your chisel in there, you can thump it and it’ll split down that bed. With Tubber Hill you’d certainly got to make it into what you wanted. You’d got to know how to tap and how to hit it. With Yorkshire Points, well a chap spends an hour or two at it with somebody that had a bit of experience and he could do it, but it was a trade and there used to be dozens working in the quarry making points and working the saws and making setts for the roads. Now you never see setts made out of Yorkshire stone but piles on piles and thousands of yards out of Tubber Hill stone.  Your Yorkshire stuff or the Yorkshire stone as it’s called, has no wearing quality. It’s [Tubber Hill stone] harder and no bed, therefore it made good stone for making roads, paved roads.

Yes, Jack Platt used to work up there in the quarry and he’s told me about the stone going out to Burnley and the setts going out.

R - That’s right, yes.

If that stone had no bed how did they get the blocks out of the quarry. I know they lifted them out with the crane but how did they cut them out in the quarry to get them out?

R - They blasted them out. They bored holes in where all this stone was and they’d start at the top, you see, They’d bore the holes down and they used to have to bore them with the doings and of course they got the compressed air and put the shots in and all to fire at once, you see. The big block would come sometimes as big as this room, you see, maybe four foot wide! Generally speaking they would try to bring blocks off about 8ft x 5ft x 3ft.

I’ve seen in some quarries but not up here, because I’ve never seen these quarries working. I’ve seen them using plugs and feathers, did they used to use them here?

R - Oh yes, yes, they used plugs and feathers.

It’s a job that’s always fascinated me, quarrying.

(1 hr 20 min)

R - But you see, like, with plugs and feathers without the powder, you’ve still got to bore. Do you understand what I mean? Then you see in those days, they used to before they had boring tackle they used to look for cracks or dries as they called them, in the stone.


So if they found a natural crack, would they try to follow it with a wedge?

R - Yes. They call them ‘dries’ and strictly speaking, I would say that they are cracks. Then you used to have quite a bit of bother. They’d get a stone with, well they used to call it ‘old horse’ like ‘dry rot’ if you will.  It would be a different colour to the stone, you see, but literally speaking, a stone with that in was no good. You’d cut that out you see but you used to try to work it through and let it go but anybody who knew anything about it wouldn’t accept anything of that sort.

So as clerk of works down at the Chapel at Salterforth, you’d be looking out for that?

R - Oh aye, there was nothing of that sort went in. No there’s no ‘old horse’ in it.

How much was walling stone then?

The walling stone that went into the Inghamite Church was 6/6d a square yard I think. Either 6/- or 6/6d.

That’s a superficial yard?

R - Yes.  And as I told you, Inghamite Church is all 6” stones, so there’s 18ft to a square yard. There’s six courses to a yard, you see, three so six threes is eighteen, see.


If you were buying it by the yard, obviously you couldn’t measure every stone as it came off the cart and it’d be random lengths. How did you manage to make an estimate of you know?

R - Well you see, if they’re six inch stones, well there’s eighteen foot to the yard. You have a tape measure; you measure each stone as it comes off and the next stone until you’ve come to the eighteen foot.

So you used to measure the stones when they came off the cart?

R - I did that!

(1 hr 25 min)

I was trying to understand that. I was thinking the only way that Harold could have done it was to measure the stone as it came off the cart!

R-  I measured every stone but I didn’t write it down.

No because you just had 18ft of….

R Kept on dragging the tape on until I had 18ft.

Yes, a piece of string 18ft long would have done you.  Was that stone delivered on two wheel carts or four wheel lorries?

R - Four wheel lorries. It was all wagons, generally four wheeled wagons in those days. I’m saying four wheeled wagons, steam wagons. You know, that kind of thing.

How much would they carry, how much weight in tons?

R - Well, I don’t know, I should say about three or four tons. You see we used to recon that there’s three and a half yards of stone to a ton.

That’s three and a half superficial yards? Tell me Harold can you remember there being a steam engine at the top of the drag at Salterforth to give the horses a lift up with the carts?

R - No.

I’ve heard that there was one there on that little island - don’t you think so?

R - I don’t know. I’ve heard ‘em say so.

I can’t see any signs of it but I’ve heard ‘em say so. But it must have been a very steep hill for them horses out of Salterforth there if they were going up onto that top road.

R - Yes.  It must have been mustn’t it?

Anyway, I think we’ve done very well for tonight Harold and I’d like to leave it there and start off on some more interesting stuff on the mills and such next week. I’m particularly fascinated tonight with the bit - now what was the bit that you told me? You told me something tonight that’s explained something that’s puzzled me for a long while. It was that interesting that I’ve forgot but I’ll know when I go back through the tape.


Just one more thing about sawing stone. When they were running the saws and they were putting water through, did they ever put anything else through? It sticks in my mind that they used to put steel shot through as well.

R - They used to do, yes. Yes, they used to do that kind of thing and they used to shovel the slurry back onto the stone, onto the grooves.

So really the saws were wearing away as fast as the stone was.

(1 hr 30 min)

Well, I wouldn’t say that, you see, but you know you’d see a saw blade would be maybe 12” at the end and it’d be worn, literally speaking, till they broke. Then of course they put a new set in, you see or change and balance them up, that kind of thing.

Cutting the stone with steel saws and water - did that ever mark the stone?  For instance did it ever leave any iron in the face of the stone and that’d go rusty afterwards and stay in the stone?

R - Oh no, that’d be because the water was continually running and at the finish you see, they’d let the water run right down the cuts, you see. They had the water sprinkling right over each cut and when they’d sawn the final do they run them off and took the thing outside on the trolley and the crane lifted the block off, generally speaking as it was.

Did they ever plane the stone?

R - They did not. No you see when they cut these blocks which resulted in big, flat slabs and then they had to put them back to cut them the other way.

Right, well, thank you very much, Harold.

Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four Part Five Part Six

Copyright © Stanley Challenger Graham 1982