FORGOTTEN CORNERS

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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 21 Sep 2019, 03:43

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Thornton village in 1894.

I started off by thinking about Booth Bridge Mill in Thornton in Craven. Originally a corn mill it was later converted to a very successful bobbin turning mill in the mid 19th century. In contrast to County Brook there is almost no fall on the Earby Beck, it runs in an extension of the bottom land that extends all the way back almost to Foulridge. This is of course the reason why over the years flooding has been such a problem in Earby, not enough fall to get the water away quickly. Despite this drawback they must have had enough weight of water to run successfully because they survived!
In looking for a map to illustrate this I found I was in the position of a general planning a battle, the venue was on the junction of three maps! While I was puzzling over this problem I saw something on the village map that, if I have noticed it before, I had forgotten. If you look on the other side of the road from Thornton Hall Farm you'll see 'Manor Hill on the site of Old Hall'. This explains why the farm is called Thornton Hall Farm when what we might assume was Thornton Hall is a 19th century building named 'Thornton Manor'. This suggests that the original farm was the home farm for the hall in medieval times and not connected with the manor as it's site suggests.
Incidentally, I seem to remember Ernie Dawson, who farmed Thornton Hall when I knew it well, was owned by a firm of animal feed suppliers, I forget the name but they weren't local.

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Ernie with one of his pet ponies in 1976. He is in the croft next to the large farmhouse which has since been converted to a private house.
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Wendyf » 21 Sep 2019, 05:53

Pretty pony! Thornton looks to have developed along the road doesnt it, whereas Earby was scattered development linked to the various water sources. If you look at the 1825 Thornton Enclosure map Thornton looks very much the same as it does now whereas Earby had changed beyond recognition by the first OS map in 1853.

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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by PanBiker » 21 Sep 2019, 08:19

I used to visit Ernie to repair his TV, his wife made lovely cakes to go with your brew. :smile: We serviced just about every other farming family as well around Earby, Thornton, Kelbrook and out to Lothersdale. It used to be fun in winter with the van and many service trips in winter when there was a lot of snow were half day jobs just getting there and back :smile:
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 22 Sep 2019, 02:22

Mrs Dawson was a good woman. I always loved that big kitchen!
It is a nice pony Wendy. Ernie reckoned to keep them for his grandchildren but on the quiet they were his pets.
One funny thing that happened at Thornton Hall was that one day in summer they were late with their milk. What had happened was that morning after a very rainy night the cows refused to go down the passage to the milking parlour. It took a while to realise that the reason was that a fault in an electricity cable had made the ground live in the passage they entered by. The lads couldn't feel it, they must have been protected by their Wellington boots. I never asked how they worked that one out!
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 23 Sep 2019, 03:54

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Kelbrook in 1894.

I've always had a soft spot for Kelbrook, largely because in my boozing days the Craven Heifer (originally called the Scotch Laddie) was my local and I got to know many of the locals. Notice that in 1894 what is now the main road hadn't been built and the through route was still down Main Street, past St Mary's church and forwards to Sough.
One of the reasons why Kelbrook has always attracted me is its air of independence. It never came under the direct influence of Thornton and had a church and a vicarage long before Earby. Earby was still soldiering on with a tin tabernacle. The fact that it had a better water power site at Dotcliffe than anything in Earby was a factor until the arrival of steam ills and the railway allowed Earby to develop. The mill was the major employer and from what I have gathered there were always strong links with Lothersdale.
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Wendyf » 23 Sep 2019, 06:50

As I understand it Earby had a good source of water in Wentcliffe/Earby Beck which fed the corn mill. There were attempts to convert the mill to cotton spinning at the start of the 19th Century but it ended in financial failure. Perhaps there wasn't the space to develop a mill in that part of Earby. It looks as if only Grove Mill opposite the old Grammar School used the beck later on.

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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 24 Sep 2019, 03:10

I think you have it about right Wendy. The most successful early mill was Old Shed run by Bracewell on New Road but that was never water power, concentrating on spinning roving and putting out to cottage industry much like Barnoldswick. As soon as coal became available they put an engine in but realised eventually the site was too restricted to develop much so they switched to Big Mill, later called Victoria. By that time the railway had arrived and they started with the biggest engine in the district which was very successful.
One thing about Kelbrook that Johnny Pickles pointed out to Newton was that the clock on the church was always unusual in that it had four faces, North South East and West.
In passing, it's worth mentioning that Horace Thornton told me that when he was churchwarden at Carleton church Johnny visited to have a look at the clock which had been made by a local farmer. Johnny picked up on the fact that a free-wheel was incorporated in the governor mechanism for the chime. He said that this was the earliest one he had ever seen and he knew about these things!
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Wendyf » 24 Sep 2019, 05:55

The clock in Kelbrook Church was built by Thomas Cooke of York, a famous maker of astronomical instruments.

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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 24 Sep 2019, 07:13

I didn't know that Wendy. Yet another example of how high their standards were in Kelbrook.
I remember Horace Thornton telling me that Earby church were so stingy they didn't have a bell but a large piece of steel pipe. He knew because when he first went to Earby he rang the 'bell'. But then he fell out with the minister and transferred his allegiance to Kelbrook. It's all in the LTP.
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Wendyf » 24 Sep 2019, 07:41

Kelbrook Church which was built in 1839 was originally a Chapel of Ease for Thornton in Craven, funded by Frances Mary Richardson Currer of Eshton Hall. Her grandfather Henry Richardson had been minister at Thornton in Craven for many years. The clock, which must have been very expensive, was installed years later in the 1850s. Local astronomer Martin Lunn, who is an expert on Thomas Cooke, has been trying to discover who gifted the clock to the church but can find no evidence.

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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by plaques » 24 Sep 2019, 07:58

I didn't know that Wendy. Most instrument makers were interested in clocks.
Here is a link to the Towneley Hall clock. Link.
Thomas Cooke..JPG
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 25 Sep 2019, 03:50

Isn't it amazing what we dig up on this site!

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Let's have a plug for Johnny Pickles here seen making the clock for Barnoldswick Trinity Church in 1960. He built the clocks for the Catholic Church in Gisburn road and the one that used to be in Riley Street chapel in Earby. The latter was made as a tribute to his old master when he was an apprentice in Earby and when the chapel was abandoned he took it back and re-installed it on the shop at Wellhouse. When that was demolished Gissing and Lonsdale bought the business and moved the clock again to their offices in Wellhouse Road.

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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 26 Sep 2019, 04:27

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August 1923 outside John Pickles' workshop in Federation Street at Barlick. L to R; Herbert Hildersley (an amateur clockmaker from London, friend of JP), John Pickles, Newton Pickles, Dennis Pickles (no relation, worked under John at Browns, Brierley holding dog, he was a greengrocer on Wellhouse Road in Barlick.
Hildersly had travelled North to collect a conical volute drum for a fusee mechanism clock he was making. Making these was a complicated turning job and Johnny had adapted a Drummond round bed lathe for making them and did the job for others if they asked him.
That's the reason for the pic but what interests me is that there was such interest in these matters and it extended as far as London because of Johnny's association with the Worshipful Company of Turners and other organisations. This would be notable even today but in those days, a trip up to Barlick from London was quite an enterprise and says volumes for the regard in which Johnny was held.
In Barlick itself there was an association and even some of the manufacturers had a shed and dabbled in miniature engineering. This isn't surprising when you consider that their profits from their mills depended on them having a good working knowledge of the machinery they used and efficient running.
One thing that struck me in the latter days of the industry was how ignorant most of the managers were when it came to the nuts and bolts of their enterprise. It was almost as though any association with getting their hands dirty was below them.
Of course I might be biased!
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Wendyf » 26 Sep 2019, 06:12

What a grand looking dog! A Parson Jack Russell or a Fox Terrier?

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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 26 Sep 2019, 07:45

I'd say a fox terrier Wendy. (But what the hell do I know about dogs....)
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 27 Sep 2019, 03:49

As I learned more and more about textiles I was always struck by the vast amount of knowledge and real skill all levels of workers had to have in order to do their jobs. Even the loomsweeper, the lowest form of life in the mill, had to be skilled. Not the easiest thing to clean, a Lancashire loom!

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Jack Grayson at Bancroft.

Tacklers were the butt of many jokes, Ernie Roberts used to say that they were weavers with the brains taken out. In truth they were very skilled and loom-tuning was an art, not a science. I remember one tackler going to another older tackler for advice about a loom he couldn't get to weave properly. The old tackler went in the shed with him and the cure was to slacken all the bolts that held the frame together. As it ran the loom gave a sigh of relief, settled into the most comfortable shape and started to weave well!
Newton told me about a tackler who lived on Wapping who made a working steam loco in his spare time. He had no lathe, only hand tools but Newton said it was a good model and ran well when they tried it on the track at the old vicarage. Another made astronomical telescopes and once got some lens from a firm in London but sent them back as defective. He explained how he had tested them and the firm offered him a job! He stuck to tackling.

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Bancroft tacklers in 1937. Bancroft Mill, Coronation 1937. Group of tacklers in the warp preparation department. Top row, left to right; Harry Hartley, George Beaumont, Herbert Crow, Dick Smith, Bill Tomlinson. Front row; Levi Steele, Johnson Carr, Dick Lord, George Monks, Ted Burke.
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 28 Sep 2019, 04:32

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Loading 'sweeps' at Bancroft in 1976. Sweeps were the sweepings from the mill and had to be stored away from the main building as this was required by the fire insurance. At Bancroft the old air raid shelter in the yard was ideal. The reason for the prohibition was that the sweepings were contaminated with oil and some of this was vegetable oil like Linseed. This contamination of the cotton fibres was well know to have made it liable to spontaneous combustion. I don't know where it went after it left us, I suspect to land fill.
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 29 Sep 2019, 04:17

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Stanley clearing the foot valve on the intake pipe for the condenser water in Bancroft dam.

All steam engines needed adequate supplies of cold water to cool the condensers which improved the efficiency of an engine by about 10%. The later mills in Barlick were built next to the canal and used that resource but all the earlier mills used the natural watercourses. Bancroft used the water in the Gillian's Beck.
When you put a dam or lodge into a watercourse it acts as a settling tank and collects any silt that is washed down.

Image

Here's the scale of the problem. At weekends if we were having heavy rainfall I would open the clow and let the water run out as fast as it came in. If you went into the dam with a shovel you could cut mud and drop it in the channel and in that way get rid of enormous quantities of silt but of course you were sending it downstream to the next dam, in our case, Clough mill. By this time they weren't using the lodge as they had no engine so there was never any complaint! Many a time, if we had heavy rain when the engine was running and there was a lot of water coming down I opened the clow to take the excess water.

Image

This helped but you had to remember you had the clow open or the next day you'd come to work and find you had an empty dam.
All this is now a forgotten corner, dams are not maintained beyond ensuring that any trash screens on the outlet are kept reasonably clean.
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Cathy » 29 Sep 2019, 07:26

Just looking at the first pic Stanley, gosh you can't say you haven't lead an interesting life... but a little bit smelly at times me thinks. :smile:
I know I'm in my own little world, but it's OK... they know me here. :)

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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 29 Sep 2019, 08:03

You're right Cathy but the mud in the dam wasn't too bad. And I had a set of waders that kept most of it off me.
I remembered something after I had written that. When we drained the dam there were always duck eggs on the bottom. I was always under the impression that bad eggs floated but those didn't, the ducks must have laid them while they were swimming and they sank down to the bottom and never came up.
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 30 Sep 2019, 03:57

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My forgotten corner isn't Johnny Pickles, it's what he's wearing on his head.

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The Bowler Hat. Originally called 'The Coke', named after the landowner who commissioned it as a hard hat to protect his gamekeepers from attacks by poachers it soon got the name Bowler, named after William Bowler, the English hatter who designed it in 1850. Also know colloquially as the Billycock. (Hence the by-name for William Bracewell of Newfield Edge who always wore one.)
By the early 20th century it was the favourite headwear for Sunday Best but during the week was regarded as a badge of office and was always worn by the foreman or boss. Today it is most commonly seen being worn by the horsey set, both men and women.

Image

Heavy horse judging at Sutton Colefield show in 1976.

I have to admit I have always secretly desired one. Yes, hats are another fetish of mine!
It's time we stopped the rot of the baseball cap and brought back proper headwear to regain some balance and dignity in society!
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 01 Oct 2019, 03:53

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Young weavers at Bancroft in 1924 shortly after the mill opened.
No, it's not the clogs I am focussing on, it's the fact that these are all happy, bright intelligent young women, you can tell that by just looking at them. One of the things that struck me most forcibly when I was doing the LTP was the number of people I interviewed, both men and women, who were quite obviously overlooked university material. For various reasons, but mainly because the ethos limited higher education to the wealthier classes, they were never seen by the system as anything but factory fodder. I can't help wondering about the talent that went to waste in those days. It probably still is in some cases but was much more prevalent then.
So today's forgotten corner is the young people who never got the chance to fulfil their potential but in most cases went on to be workers and, in the case of the women, housewives.
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 02 Oct 2019, 03:31

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It's always productive to go back to the old maps and interrogate them. I had something on my mind this morning and dragged this 1892 map up and the thing I noticed for the first time is that Blue Pot Lane, now Park Avenue is marked on this map as Back Lane, a name I always associate with what is now Philip Street. Perhaps the surveyors were confused?
However, that wasn't the reason I was looking at the map in the first place. We know that the lost track through Causeway Carr on the west, Longfield Lane and Blue Pot Lane was the route of a very ancient trackway, later a packhorse track, right through Barlick on its way to the most northerly low level crossing of the Pennines at Kildwick. We also know that Gillians Beck is older than the track therefore there must have been a crossing of the beck at what we now call Ouzledale Mill which came later. The first thing that strikes me is the fact that even today, when Longfield Lane crosses the beck at a higher level, there is still a steep slope down to it from both sides, hence the Forty Steps. So in the days before these improvements it must have been a very steep slope indeed to the beck and out of it. It seems obvious to me that at some point there was almost certainly a bridge over the beck long before the construction of the mill and its dam which gives us the present waterfall and culvert under the path.
My question is, is the original crossing, whatever it was, still there under the path? My guess is that when the path was improved and the level raised and when the Ouzledale Dam was built and the short culvert installed which we have today, the original bridge would have been utilised. Not a lot of point demolishing it and building another one. If that is the case what we have under the path is the oldest water crossing in Barlick, quite possibly at least 1500 years old and if so, one of the oldest bridges in England still in use today.
I think we can make a good case for the possibility and it certainly qualifies as a forgotten corner!
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 03 Oct 2019, 04:01

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1892 25" map of Newsholme.

Another forgotten corner that has always intrigued me is Newsholme, 2 miles out of Gisburn on the Settle road. It barely qualifies as a hamlet, there has never been anything there but two farms and, this is the bit that intrigues me, a railway station on the Blackburn line. Not just a halt but a station with it's own goods siding and signal box. I know it was also a passenger station because Fred Norcross who farmed there once told me that often in summer, after a day out in the fields hay-making they used to have a quick wash and catch the train to Blackpool, have a couple of pints, a stroll on the prom and catch the train back at about 10PM. No chance of doing that now!
My question is why did the railway company consider this place merited this attention? Great for the two farms there and they would be able to get things like coal delivered but the main focus must have been agricultural goods because there is no industry. What was it that justified this scale of investment? If you are thinking of Gisburn, they had their own station.
I don't suppose I will ever know the answer to this one, it will have to remain a forgotten corner and a mystery.
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by noyna » 03 Oct 2019, 21:43

Only speculation, but I imagine the station would also be used by villagers from Paythorne, Horton and Halton West as well as surrounding farms. It was the practice of many farmers in the early 20th. Century to attend the annual cattle sales in Oban, where they could get cattle from the Highlands and Islands and thus widen the gene pool of their stock. Newsholme could have seen some busy days in its time!

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