Queensbury Centenary Celebrations Committee
Back Row Standing (left to right): Rev. M. B. Slaughter, Mr. G. D. Sands, Mr. G. Lord, Mr. W. Peel, Coun. R. Harling, Mr. M. Cookland, Mr. A. Entwistle, Mr. C. H. Hesselden, Mr. E. Foulds, Mr. F. Shelley.
Front Row Seated: Mrs. C. Drake, Miss I. Firth, Dr. E. Hainsworth, Mr. F. Barrett, Mr. C. H. Jones, Coun. W. S. Smith, Mrs. J. Sands, Mrs. J. Bolton.
President: Captain Ronald A. C. Foster
Vice-President: R. Goodwin, Esq.
Chairman: F. Barrett, Esq.
Secretary: Dr. E. Hainsworth
Treasurer: C. H. Jones, Esq.
Minute Secretary: Miss Irene Firth
Rev. M. B. Slaughter Messrs. V. S. Noble
Messrs. R. Binns W. Peel
M, Cookland A. Rinder
E. Ellis G. D. Sands
J, Emmott W Shelley
A. Entwistle C. H. Smith
E. Foulds W. S. Smith
R. Harling Mesdames J. Bolton
C. Hesselden C. Drake
R. Lawrence G. D. Sands
J. H. Moore
As Civic Head I feel it is your wish and my duty to thank the Chairman and Secretary along with their Committee for the great work and effort which has been put into this event, The Queensbury Centenary.
Now I ask of you to show your thanks and appreciation, to give full support to this great venture, we must make this an outstanding success.
Thanking you. Very sincerely yours,
Councillor R. GOODWIN, J.P.,
Queensbury and Shelf U.D.C.
A Message from Captain Ronald A. C. Foster
18th January, 1963.
Dear Mr. Chairman,
I have been asked to send a message on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of our village (if that is the appropriate name for our community) assuming the name of Queensbury. Up till 1863 we had gone under the name of the original hamlet which was situated on the Hill Top. But this hamlet had grown beyond all recognition and it was thought by our forefathers that a name should be borne more in keeping with the dignity of the thriving community which had emerged.
My great grandfather, who had done so much to bring the new village into being, was associated in the proceedings for this change of name. It is perhaps appropriate therefore that I, who am the present Chairman of John Foster & Son Ltd., should be associated with the celebrations to commemorate 100 years of honourable civic life.
I would, therefore, wish to send to you, Mr. Chairman, my congratulations on this achievement, I fear in these days of great amalgamations it may be impossible to hope for another 100 years of individual and separate life, but Queensbury has a great tradition and I feel sure that even if we lose our individual entity, the spirit of Queensbury will survive strongly and be the mainspring in action of Queensbury folk.
RONALD A. C. FOSTER,
The Centenary Queen and her Attendants
Queen: Miss Patricia Moore
Attendants: Jackalyn Briggs—Secondary School
Lynn Gates—Secondary School
Linda Woodhead—Foxhill School
Kathryn Foulds—Catherine Slack School
Pauline Barritt—Ambler Thorn lnfants’ School
Elaine Robinson——Queensbury lnfants’ School
Page Boy: John Harold Patchett—Queensbury lnfants’ School
MESSAGE FROM THE CENTENARY QUEEN
Dear People of Queensbury, It is with much pleasure that I take this opportunity of writing to you as your Centenary Queen. I am very thrilled and proud to have been chosen for this memorable office and I hope that the Centenary Celebrations will have the success which an historical event of such importance to our village certainly deserves. I trust that all of you will support the Centenary Committee in its work and enjoy the Celebrations to the full. Yours sincerely,
Programme of Events
Wednesday, 1st May, 7 p.m.: Official Opening by His Worship The Mayor of Halifax (Councillor T. Berry, J.P.) and Crowning of the Centenary Queen by The Mayoress (Mrs. Berry) at the entrance to the Victoria Hall.
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, 1st, 2nd, 3rd May, 7.30 p.m.: Drama Group of the Queensbury Civic Society present When We Are Married, at the Victoria Hall.
Saturday, 4th May,
1 p.m.: Judging of Fancy Dress, followed by Grand Procession to the Cricket Field.
2.30 p.m.: Sports in the Cricket Field.
7 p.m.: Evening Gala in Littlemoor Park.
Sunday, 5th May,
10.15 a.m.: Civic Parade to the Parish Church.
10.30 a.m.: Civic Centenary Service in the Parish Church. 12 noon: Historical Playlet at the Victoria Hall.
7.45 p.m.: Band Concert at the Victoria Hall.
Monday, 6th May,
7.45 p.m.: Opening of Historical Exhibition in the Co-operative Assembly Rooms.
Tuesday, 7th May,
7 p.m.: A performance of the Messiah in the Parish Church.
Wednesday, 8th May,
7.15 p.m.: Grand Ball at the Victoria Hall.
Thursday, 9th May,
7.30 p.m.: Unveiling of Commemorative Plaque.
Light refreshments and teas will be available at the Cricket Field and Littlemoor Park on Saturday, 4th May. lf the weather is too inclement, as many events as possible for this day will be transferred indoors to the Victoria Hall.
Queensbury Road Safety Committee
The Annual Rally this year will be held on the Sunday prior to the Celebrations Week. The Centenary Queen will present the prizes at the Centenary Ball on 8th May. Please support us and have a preview of Queensbury and its environments. A small exhibition of your Road Safety committee’s achievements in the fifteen years of its existence may be seen amongst the Historical exhibits in the Co-operative Assembly Rooms during Celebrations Week.
Queensbury Civic Society Drama Group
will present the Yorkshire Comedy by J. B. Priestley
“When We are Married”’
on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of MAY, 1963, at 7.30 p.m. in the
VICTORIA HALL, QUEENSBURY
ALDERMAN JOSEPH HELLIWELL Clifford Dobson
MARIA HELLIWELL Joan Bolton
COUNCILLOR ALBERT PARKER George D. Sands
ANNIE PARKER Edith Lord
HERBERT SOPPITT Russell Todd
CLARA SOPPITT Marjorie Coates
RUBY BIRTLE Mavis Calloway
GERALD FORBES Brian Bulman
NANCY HOLMES Hilda Ward
MRS. NORTHROP Harriet Priestley
HENRY ORMONDROYD Philip Mann
FRED DYS0N David G. Coggan
LOTTIE GRADY Marjorie Sherry
REV. CLEMENT MERCER Harry Sherry
The action takes place about 60 years ago, in the sitting room of
Alderman Helliwell’s house in Clecklewyke, a town in the West Riding.
ACT 1 A September evening
ACT 2 About half an hour later
ACT 3 About a quarter of an hour later
Producer…………………………………………..Una M. Williams
Stage Management:…………………………..Roland Lawrence, Caroline Coggan, Stanley Coates Properties………………………………….. …. Jean Stavert, Ann Greenwood
Wardrobe Mistress……………………………Alice Ellison
Prompter……………………………………….. Barbara Wolstenholme
Lighting…………………………………………. Harold Bolton House Manager………………………………………… Norman Ellison
Refreshments………………………………… Audrey Cruickshank, Alice Holmes, Janie Sands
OFFICERS OF THE GROUP
Chairman: George D. Sands
Hon. Secretary: David G. Coggan
Assistant Secretary: Barbara Wolstenholme
Hon. Treasurer: Clifford Dobson
Committee (1962): Geoffrey Lord, Jack Spencer, Russell Todd, Marjorie Coates, Joan Bolton, Marjorie Sherry
The Holly and the Ivy White Sheep of the Family
Acacia Avenue The Whole Truth
The Hollow Beside the Seaside
Off the Deep End Love in a Mist
The Happy Prisoner The Paragon
The Love Match The House by the Lake
Bonaventure The Happiest Days of your Life
Separate Tables Sailor, Beware!
SATURDAY AFTERNOON, 4th MAY:
1.0 p.m.—Procession to form up in the Queensbury Church School yard. This will comprise decorated lorries carrying the ·Centenary Queen and her retinue and other reigning Queens of Queensbury.
Decorated trades vehicles of the village.
A Fancy Dress Parade which will be judged before moving off.
The combined bands of the Black Dyke Mills.
The procession will proceed down High Street, turn into Albert Road and then into Chapel Street, making its way via Foster Street to the Cricket Field.
CENTENARY SPORTS—JUNlOR SECTION
5 yrs.—40 yards FLAT 5 5 yrs.—40 yds. FLAT
Peter Scott Jean Schofield
David Weatherall Linda Watson
Stephen Howard Josie McGee
Peter Denton Caroline Stocks
Philip Langford Janet Powell
Graham Hill Janet Smith
6 yrs.—60 yds. FLAT 6 yrs.—60 yds. FLAT
Graham Scott Helen Wrightson
Steven Turner Nancy Insull
Stephen Dwyer Caroline Norton
Lynton Marsden Hazel Taylor
Neil Read Susan Bolton
Mark Tomkinson Angela Wilby
7 yrs.—SACK RACE 7 yrs.—EGG & SPOON RACE
Robert Sutcliffe Jacqueline Wood
Brian Fearnley June Wilkinson
Simon Brewin Jill Bairstow
Stephen Barkworth Penelope Rollinson
Michael Ebden Jean Foster
Peter Thorpe Christine Forcer
8 yrs.—THREE-LEGGED RACE 8 yrs.—SKIPPING RACE
John Blake/David Midgley Lynne Stansfield
Andrew Wood/Rodney Flood Sylvia Drake
Stephen Smith / David Smeek Barbara Craven
John Patchett/David Streetley Barbara Ambler
Michael T0mkinson/Kimbal Jones Gillian Kingham
Kenneth Jeffrey/Peter Cummings Susan Hewson
9 yrs.—WHEELBARROW RACE 9 yrs.—EGG & SPOON RACE
Graeme Wright/Peter Broxholme Susan Baldwin
Neil Drinkwater / Terence Smith Lynne Dawson
John Sheard/John Sabey Christine Moody
Philip Binns/Christopher Norton Kathryn Rothery
Matthew Teale/Robert Coates Shirley Hobson
Michael Cain/John Walker Susan Spencer
10 yrs.—SACK RACE 10 yrs.—SKIPPlNG RACE
Paul Mellor Sandra Pluck
David Fearnley Sheila Drinkwater
Trevor Bendrien Pamela Howard
John Dufton Judith Appleyard
Brian Foster Patricia Mansley
Keith Gamble June Gatenby
11 yrs.—POTATO RACE 11 yrs.—POTATO RACE
Brian McKinley Patricia Brennan
Michael Smith Margaret Abbey
Michael Harrison Shirley Morley
Glenn Cookland Margaret Eggett
Philip Ashton Susan Bentham
Gordon Fearnley Barbara Leng
12-13 yrs.—1OO YARDS 12-13 yrs. 100 YARDS
M. McKinley E. Carter
D. G. Roberts
12-13 yrs.—44O YARDS 12-13 yrs. 220 YARDS
P. Craven J. Hoyle
D. Allott J. Read
D. G. Roberts
12-13 yrs.—880 YARDS
14-15 yrs.—OBSTACLE 14-15 yrs.—OBSTACLE
J. Grogan D. Wilcock
Further entries will be accepted at the Sports if numbers allow.
IN LITTLEMOOR PARK ON SATURDAY, 4th MAY
Commencing approx. 7 p.m. ADMISSION FREE
Dancing to the Moontrekkers Guitar Group. Plenty of Jive for the Young.
Listen and dance to the Black Dyke Mills Band.
Enter for or just watch the Fashion Contest.
Come and see the displays
by the Duke of Wellington’s Regimental Band which will beat the Retreat;
by the Scottish Dancers of the St. Andrew’s Society;
by White Rose Morris Dancers.
Enjoy yourself at the various sideshows.
SUNDAY, 5th MAY — CENTENARY DAY
MORNING; Procession of local dignitaries and organisations to be led by the Black Dyke Mills Band from the Victoria Hall to the Parish Church for a
CIVIC CENTENARY SERVICE at 10.30 a.m., to be conducted
by the Vicar, the Rev. M. B. Slaughter, B.A.
ADDRESS to be given by the Right Revd. The Lord Bishop of Bradford (Dr. Michael Parker, M.A.).
Following the Service, at approximately 12 o’clock noon, there will be a short play at the Victoria Hall, given by the children of the Queensbury and Shelf County Secondary School, depicting the historic meeting of 5th May, 1863, at which the name of the village was changed.
MR. WILLIAM FOSTER, Chairman Patrick O’Keefe
REV. J. C. HYATT, Vicar James Walmesley
REV. R. HARDY, Baptist Minister Philip Hey
MR. ISAAC PATCHETT Keith Llewellyn
MR. W. WHITE Haldane Blues
MR. JOHN BAIRSTOW Trevor Priestley
MR. ROBSON, Solicitor Steven Hellewell
MR. JAMES BRIGGS Stephen Walker
FIRST VILLAGER Christopher Esgate
SECOND VILLAGER Paul Denny
THIRD VILLAGER Michael McKinley
FOURTH VILLAGER Richard Athurton
Produced by T. TROTT, ESQ.
Being based on historical fact; story written by Dr. E. Hainsworth.
EVENING: At 7.45 p.m. in the Victoria Hall, the Black Dyke Mills Band will give a GRAND CENTENARY CONCERT in which the musical achievements by the Band over the past century will be recalled.
MONDAY, 6th MAY and continuing to the 10th MAY
THE CENTENARY EXHIBITION
To be held in the Co-operative Assembly Rooms
Official Opening at 7.45 p.m. on Monday, 6th May, by Mr. Richard Harrison, Keeper of Bolling Museum. Open thereafter from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Display of books, papers, documents, and maps concerned with Queensbury’s past.
Tools of old crafts and samples of workmanship.
Old pastimes and pleasures.
Dress, Crockery, Ornaments, Photographs and other items connected
with Queensbury in bygone days.
Recordings of Queensbury dialect (by kind permission of Miss P.
Ambler, of Bradford) will be played at intervals.
TUESDAY, 7th MAY
A performance of Handel’s Oratorio, “THE MESSIAH” to be given in the Parish Church, Queensbury (by kind permission of the Vicar).
Guest Conductor; Mr. NORMAN B. HARRISON, of Halifax
Soprano: Madame A. SPENCER.
Contralto Madame ELSA KENDALL.
Tenor: Mr. VERNON OGDEN.
Bass: Mr. KENNETH DIXON.
Trumpet: Mr. THOMAS WATERMAN, of the Black Dyke Mills Band.
Organist: Mr. LESLIE PARKINSON, of Queensbury.
United Choirs of Queensbury rehearsed by Mr. H. GAUKROGER.
WEDNESDAY, 8th MAY
A GRAND CENTENARY BALL
To be held in the Victoria Hall, commencing at 7.45 p.m., Reception from 7.15 p.m.
Dancing until 1.0 a.m. to The Collegians Dance Orchestra, directed by Norman Dixon.
EXCELLENT BUFFET SUPPER TO BE PROVIDED.
A demonstration will be given during the evening by JACK and JOYCE BRIGGS, of Queensbury (All England Old Time Professional Dancing Champions of 1962) and their Formation Team.
The Centenary Queen will attend.
Presentation of prizes won by competitors in the Centenary Rally organised by the Queensbury Road Safety Committee.
The Why and the Wherefore
Why all this fuss about something which happened a hundred years ago? What is so special about a change of name that we need to celebrate? These questions, and others like them, are no doubt being asked by many Queensbury folks at this time. The simple answer is that we are not just making a fuss about the mere changing of a name or the short ceremony that preceded it but remembering an occasion that was much more significant. It was only one of many signs that the more enlightened inhabitants were becoming aware of a growing community spirit and the need to improve the local amenities by every means that they could muster.
It was not the first time that the name had been changed. It had happened about 160 years earlier. That time there had been no formal proposition or public meeting, but the name of Queenshead had slowly replaced the older name of Causeway End. In 1702 the Old Queen’s Head Inn was built on the Leeds to Manchester Turnpike Road. It was a stopping place for the many coaches which travelled daily over that road. We can well imagine the traveller boarding the stage coach at Leeds or Manchester and remarking to his fellow travellers “I shall be ready for the stop at Queen’s Head”/ This, I believe, is how the new name first came to be used and later completely ousted the old name. The locality so far back in the 18th century was populated very sparsely, there being probably no more than 250 inhabitants
The inn from which the village got its name (By permission of Mrs. Woolley).
and each little group of houses formed its own small hamlet with its characteristic name, for instance, a few houses on West End being known as Swamp, another group further on where the road crossed the stream, known as Ford, the next group being at Beggarington, then others at Ambler Thorn and Catherine Slack. These tiny habitations were not at that time part of Queen’s Head but shared with that place the common name of Northowram. On the other hand Sandbeds, Scarlet Heights, Shargate Head were parts of Clayton. Most of these little settlements were in close proximity to the Turnpike Road but there were others at some distance from the road which were probably much older. For instance, there were three lots of dwellings at Hazlehurst to which references have been found as early as 1311 when some land was enclosed there. The Hall at Hazlehurst was owned in 1515 by George Bairstow but the one now standing, in part, was only built in 1724 by Timothy Ramsden and his wife Elizabeth. It replaced the old hall and is presumably on the same site.
There are no really ancient dwellings left in the parish of Queensbury; most of those that did exist have either been rebuilt or destroyed. Hangingroyd was one of our old buildings but was pulled down a few years ago. There are references to a dwelling there in 1307 and it was most certainly there before that time, but again it was either rebuilt or encased in 1630 by Richard Thomas whose initials were over the door. Upper Shibden Hall is another old site. The house there being occupied by Hugh de Shibden in 1277. It too, was either encased or rebuilt by James Foxcroft whose initials and the date 1626 appear over the kitchen fireplace. Whilst owned by the Foxcrofts it was occupied for a time by its most famous tenant, Dr. Thomas Browne. It is now derelict. The most complete house of any age is West Scholes House, built in 1694 by Wm. And Isabel Hird, but it is just outside the boundaries of Queensbury. This house is very probably on the site of an even older building.
Thus we see that up to the middle of the 18th century Queensbury was nothing more than a few groups of houses here and there, some being part of Northowram and some of Clayton. It was not to remain so. In 1779 a survey was made of common land and waste land and very many awards were made. The new owners of this land began to develop it in whatever ways they could. Some found coal, some found stone, some farmed and most of them carried on some textile occupation or other in their cottages. On a map of 1850 there are more than twenty coal mines shown in the parish. No doubt many were very small and only family workings, but others would employ labour.
The beginning of the 19th century brought the increase in population; a fact that John Foster and others were to take advantage of when they began their businesses as employers of handloom weavers. This increase was to accelerate from 1835 onwards when John Foster built his first mill. The population in the next 25 years had grown to about 6,000, and was to continue to grow to around 7,500 but then declined to near the 6,000 mark at which it has remained very steady for many years.
The mill was preceded by the one at Mountain which was built by Peter Ambler and was one of the earliest mills in Yorkshire.
Co-op. Gala Procession (By permission of Miss A. Lee).
John Foster had rented a spinning mill in Horton in 1834 and it was spinning which he began at Queensbury when he built the “Old Mill”. The first weaving shed was opened in 1842. From that time onwards the mill was extended from time to time, assuming roughly the present size about 1890.
It can be readily understood that this thriving community, part of which was in Clayton and part in Northowram, yet with no visible connection with the two places, should desire to manage its own affairs and the change of name was just one outside sign of this new feeling.
The next and most logical step, in view of the passing of the Local Government Act of 1858, was the formation of a Local Board. In December 1864 the Home Office gave its consent and in January 1865 nominations were accepted and in February the election took place and Queensbury was now well and truly established. The details of this history can be found in my book on Queensbury. Now I should like to look at some facets of the last 120 years which have not been covered in that book and to give one or two up-to-date facts about our village.
Obviously the provision of work, which attracted so many people to Queensbury, was not enough to satisfy all their desires and many outside interests were developed. In the early days groups of people who lacked formal education used to meet in various places to hear the newspaper read and to discuss political affairs. These people were, in the main of a radical turn of mind and eventually formed a Radical Society. There were many Radical groups throughout the country but they had no common purpose or unifying policy and when the People`s Charter was drawn up the Queensbury group joined the Chartists.
They held their own secret meetings and joined in many other meetings and processions. It is reported that they attempted to wreck the procession which proceeded to the church for the laying of the foundation stone in 1843. The places of their meetings are now unknown but one or two of the adherents were amongst the group of men who formed the “Queensbury Public Institution”, one of whose objects was to provide a meeting room where any subject could be discussed and where lectures could be given. The result of their efforts was the building of the Hall of Freedom in 1854. It was from its association with the Chartists and Radicals that the Hall gained a rather unsavoury reputation, probably undeservedly. The “Public Institution” was never a big financial success and in 1908 the building was sold to the Rechabites and it is still owned by them though the upstairs room is now used as a dancing school by Mr. and Mrs. J. Briggs. This room was the lecture room and was for a number of years one of the local cinemas but it was never converted to “talkies”.
A year after the Hall of Freedom was built the Co-operative Society was formed. Here again one or two Chartists were amongst the early stalwarts. Whether they were interested in the first scheme to form a flour milling concern is not quite so certain, but when this scheme proved fruitless and an Industrial Society was formed, in August 1855, some of them became members and at least one, Mr. John Bates, was on the committee. After a very shaky beginning the society began to flourish and soon they left their rented premises in Chapel Street and in 1859 built a store for themselves where the Central Premises now stand. This was quickly followed by branches at Mountain, Thornton and Shelf. The Society continued to expand and for many years many more branches were acquired; either rented or bought. The Central Premises were enlarged in 1896. Not all the branches remained faithful to the parent society, however, for in 1885 the Denholme branch was relinquished, followed by the two Thornton branches in 1908. Finally, the Queensbury Co operative Wholesale Society was merged with the Bradford and District Co-operative Society as the result of two general meetings held on the 11th and 25th October, 1962. At the time of the merger Mr. E. Ellis was the president, and Mr. Fred Booth was the Secretary—Manager.
Thus we see that many of our forebears were ardent social re-formers but they were nonetheless illiterate or semi-illiterate men and women. As can well be imagined they were concerned that their children should not grow up lacking the education which had been denied to themselves. Consequently we find that men like John Taylor, the first Baptist minister in Queensbury, started a small school in his own home for the children of some of his flock. Perhaps his primary motive was to augment his income but the response was not great enough to justify his continuing the school and after about two years it was closed. Then in 1818 a group of people met at the New Dolphin Inn, under the chairmanship of Mr. Richard Wharton, the landlord, to promote a scheme for raising public subscriptions in order to build a Sunday School at Ambler Thorn. This was converted at an early date to a day school and it appears to have been the first public day school in Queensbury. It was closed in 1897. There may have been an earlier school at Catherine Slack where Michael Stocks had a school almost on the site of the present building but further back from the road side, but the details of this
school have not come to light. Another school, no longer in use, was the Raggalds School built in 1851 and closed in 1898 when Foxhill School, which had been built to replace the Raggalds School, was opened. The present headmaster of Foxhill School is Mr. C. H. M. Smith. Queensbury today is served by the Ambler Thorn Infants’ School built in 1895 and the headmistress is Miss Beevers. In addition to Foxhill Junior and lnfants’ School there is another Junior School at Catherine Slack. This school was built in 1895 by the Northowram School Board, the headmistress is Miss Harrison and Miss Barbara Mann and Mrs/ Winn her assistants/ The main infants’ school in the village is in the building which was once the National School, built in 1850, and the headmistress is Mrs. Barclay; there is a nursery department attached to this school. Secondary education is cared for by the Queensbury and Shelf County Secondary School, opened in 1949, and the present headmaster is Mr. A. Rinder whose appointment began in January 1958. Those who are selected for Grammar or Technical Education go either to Hipperholme Boys’ School, Brighouse Girls’ Grammar School or one of the schools in Keighley.
Inscription on Raggalds School
(By Permission 0f Mr. B. Smith).
The old days were not devoted entirely to the more serious pursuits of learning, religion or social progress; they had their moments of relaxation. The television, the wireless, the cinema and their like, were unknown and pleasures had to be largely of the people’s own making.
Thus we find that music played a considerable part in the lives of many. In my History I have written about the Hoyle family which produced many notable musicians. There were many other families too who could be the subject of a short essay, notably the Moores, who were stalwarts at Ambler Thorn Methodist Church. It is recorded
that at the Golden Wedding Celebrations of John and Mary Moore, eight of their children sang glees. A surviving member of this family is Mr. Ernest Alwyn Moore, Mus.Bac., F.R.C.O., who is now the organist at a large American church,. Another musical family was the Bower family. Their most notable performer was Mr. Phineas Bower, who was born on the 12th September, 1846 and died lst May, 1922. His father, Mr. Isaac Bower, was a violin maker and played the ’Ce11o. Phineas took up the violin at the age of 12 and was 22 before he took a brass instrument, first a tenor horn, then the euphonium, and also the trombone. lt is reported that it was owing to his prowess on both the euphonium and trombone that the rule was formed to prohibit brass band contestants from competing on more than one instrument, since he had won so many prizes on both instruments. He became conductor of the Black Dyke Mills Band in 1874 and resigned in 1895 when he took charge of the Junior Band until 1907. He had a son, Fred, who played the trombone with the Black Dyke Band for many years. Fred’s daughter, Miss G. Bower, still lives in the village. A story is told about Phineas that when he was learning the violin he was told by his mother, tired of his scraping, to “put it away until you can play”. Mr. Fred Bower was the last Queensbury member of this family to follow the pursuit of music. He played the trombone with the Black Dyke Band for 40 years.
Many others were members of choirs and the like; a Musical Union being formed in 1867 and we know that it lasted for about 20 years since in 1884 it gained the 1st prize at a Musical Festival held at Hawes. The first conductor was Mr. John Moore and his successor was Mr. Herbert Barker. There was an effort to form a Queensbury and District Musical Festival Society in 1920 and the First Annual Festival was held at Littlemoor on Sunday the 13th June. There was a choir of 150 voices and the Black Dyke Mills Band accompanied them.
Another quite recent musical society was the Victoria Hall Amateur Dramatic and Operatic Society. This really began at the Parish Church where performances of Cupid and the Ogre and A Nautical
Knot were given during the First World War for War Relief Funds. In 1920 it came under the auspices of the Victoria Hall, and the first profits were given to the Victoria Hall Committee. These profits over the first four years amounted to £185. Over the next eight years the profits, amounting to £441.5.1, were given to the Queensbury District Nursing Association.
The complete record of their performances is as follows:
Dogs of Devon—January 1920.Mikado—November 1920.
Pirates of Penzance—December 1921.
Yeomen 0f the Guard—November 1923.
Merrie England—November 1926.
The officials for this society were Mr. Cecil G. Foster, President; Mr. R. Hall, Chairman; Mr. H. A. Robertshaw, 1920-22, Secretary and Treasurer; Mr. H. Petty, 1923, Secretary and Treasurer; Mr. H. Petty, 1924-1928, Secretary; Mr. Geo. Whitely, 1924-28, Treasurer.
To mention all those who took part, even those who held principal parts, would provide too long a list, but one or two people appeared in almost all the productions and were obviously not too proud to be part of the chorus when they were not principals themselves. Notably there were Messrs. Herbert Craven, Ambler Craven, E. R. Jowett, S. Jackson, A. Sheard, D. MacDonald, Madame Dorothy Hartley, Miss C. Burniston, Mrs. H. Craven among many others.
All the above mentioned operas were given in the concert hall of the Victoria Hall. The prices of admission ranged from 1/3 unreserved seats to 3/- reserved seats, at the first production and from 1/- to 3/6 at the last production.
The society was always under the patronage of one of the Foster family; first that of Col. and Mrs. H. A. Foster and then Col. And Mrs. E. H. Foster.
But certainly the most notable musical combination ever to be connected with Queensbury is the Black Dyke Mills Band. An outline of their history is given in my History of Queensbury. Here I should like to add one or two more details of their 108 years’ continuous existence. It is reported that they were the successors of a reed band, known as Peter Wharton’s Band and was formed in 1816, but there was another band in Queensbury about 1830 known as the Queensbury Brass Band and I believe that this band was the true forerunner of the Black Dyke Mills Band.
There is no proof which was the actual band taken over by John Foster since the names of the first bandsmen have not survived and it is most probable that many of the players in the newly formed Black Dyke Mills Band would be players in the Queensbury Brass Band and also in Peter Wharton’s Reed Band. Although the names of the original members of the Black Dyke Mills Band were not recorded there is a list of names of the band of 1860 which won the Crystal Palace Contest that year and probably many of them, if not all, were the first band members. They were as follows: Frank Galloway, warehouseman; Jonas Jagger, warp dresser; Wm. Rushworth, woolsorter; Jubal Rothera, woolsorter; John Rushworth, wool comber; Joe Gregson, warp twister; Robert Rushworth, warp dresser; Jonas Fawcett, wheelwright; Abram Halliday, cordwainer; John Smith, woolsorter; Greenwood Firth, warp dresser; Abram Oldfield, woolcomber; Wm. Firth, wool washer; Samuel Halliday, cordwainer; John Taylor, warp dresser; John Oldroyd, woolsorter; James Greenwood, warehouseman; Samuel Longbottom, manufacturer, was the conductor. There were only 17 players in these days, the number being changed for contests in 1873, when the number was fixed at 24. The first prize was £40 in cash, a silver cup for the bandmaster valued at £20. and a contra bass valued at 35 guineas. This award in 1860 was not the first. They had previously won a second prize worth £5 at Hull in 1856, a first at Halifax worth £10. and second at Batley worth £6 in 1857, a first at Dewsbury worth £10, second
at Cleckheaton worth £6. 2nd and 3rd at Bradford worth £13 in 1858, a second at Hull worth £10, and first at York worth £30 in 1859, so that in their first five competing years they won awards totalling £186.15.0. This total had increased to £27,164.8.1 by the end of May 1961. This figure is, of course, rather misleading because it includes the value of many shields, cups and other trophies which were not retained by the Band but held only for a period, usually of one year. Up to the middle of 1961 the Band had 240 first prizes, 131 second prizes and 64 third prizes to its credit.
The Black Dyke Mills Band has not devoted all its energies to contest playing but has toured the country on many occasions and must have been heard by millions of people. They have occupied the concert platform many times and during the last thirty years have broadcast on numerous occasions.
Perhaps the most famous tour undertaken by the band was the Canadian-American tour of 1906. This began on the 29th June, 1906, beginning about 9 o’clock on that morning by the playing of a few tunes in the village before catching the 9.20 a.m. tram to Brad ford where they also entertained a crowd of people outside the Great Northern Hotel at which they were given a lunch by Major F. C. Foster. Then they caught the 11.10 a.m. train for Liverpool to board the liner Empress of Ireland. They played Rule Britannia, Lead Kindly Light and Auld Lang Syne on the first class deck as the boat moved away from Liverpool.
The journey began on a Friday and on Sunday the band accompanied the singing of hymns, in the morning in the 1st class saloon and in the evening for the 2nd class passengers. The collections amounted to £2. On Monday they played for the 3rd class passengers and gave a concert on Tuesday for the Sailors’ Orphanage at which £9.15.8 was raised. There was fog for almost three days and one day of rough sea. They arrived at Quebec at 5.30 a.m. on the following Saturday morning, playing on deck, after breakfast, “A Fine Old English Gentleman” for the captain, and finishing with “Maple Leaf” and “God Save The King”. All the bandsmen shook hands with the captain as they left the boat.
The first two concerts were given on the day of arrival to good audiences though the theatre was not quite full. Thus began a long and successful tour. Successful, although the second day in Canada began at Three Rivers with a concert which had to be cancelled owing to having a very small audience.
They stayed in Montreal and Toronto for nearly a week at each place, giving usually one concert a day. The last concert in Toronto was given in the middle of a thunderstorm and the canvas roof of the bandstand caught fire but the band played on until the fire was put out.
On Saturday, the 28th July, they crossed the River Detroit into the United States. On the night of September 6th they stayed at Toledo in a wooden hotel and in the next building a fire broke out which caused great consternation, but nine fire engines managed to put it out.
The band re-crossed into Canada on the 17th September, staying at Hamilton, and they entered the U.S.A. again on the 24th. On the 7th October they arrived at Waterbury to find that something had gone wrong with the sleeping arrangements; the Exchange Hotel, where they should have stayed, had let all the beds to some others but it was not long before they found accommodation at the Connecticut Hotel. At Worcester they met a man called Haggas Hodgson, a mill owner, who, owing to his being born in Queensbury and “serving his time at Fosters”, called his mills “Queensbury Mills”.
They again entered Canada on the 4th November and on the 16th left Quebec for England. The return journey saw some stormy weather but the band was able to accompany the service on the Sunday and provide three concerts in aid of the Sailors’ Orphanage. They arrived at Liverpool at 7.30 a.m. on Saturday, November 24th and were in Bradford at 11.40 a.m., where they mounted a special tram after playing in front of the Victoria Hotel. In Queensbury they could scarcely move for crowds. They played again at the top of Mill Lane and thus ended a tour of 12,692 miles and visits to 65 towns.
The details of this tour are contained in the diaries of Mr. W. Jeffries and Mr. Fred Bower, who were members of the band at the time. Mr. Jeffries is still living locally.
An example of the tours in the British Isles, of which there have been many, is the Autumn Tour of 1907. They left Queensbury on
the 13th October and returned on the 6th November, having visited 32 towns, giving two performances a day at many places. A further foreign tour was undertaken by the Band in 1957, although this time only eight of them went. They visited Russia to take part in the Sixth World Festival of Youth and Students. They left England on the 24th July and returned on the 15th August. The Bandsmen were Colin Monkman, Eric Bland, David Pratt, Maurice Murphy, Ernest Keeton, Gordon Sutcliffe, John Slinger and Geoffrey Whitham, and the bandmaster was Mr. Jack Emmott. They played at the opening ceremony and took part in eight concerts, at two of which they joined with a Russian car factory band. Their visit was an enormous success and one of their greatest difficulties was to convince the Russians that they were not professional musicians.
During the hundred and odd years that the Black Dyke Mills Band has been in existence, contesting and concert work have been equally welcome to them. We have seen earlier that that they began in contests within a year of their formation and were successful in winning the national title at Crystal Palace as early as 1860. The next time they achieved this distinction was in 1902 and again in 1928. They were Great Britain`s champions again in 1947, 1948 and 1949, after which triple success they were barred for the year 1950, but returned to win the championship again in 1951.
The next time they won the coveted trophy was in 1959 and they had great hopes for the Centenary event in 1960, but in this year they were placed third. They came back to winning ways in 1961, when in the face of many difficulties they once again became the “Champions”. The pre-contest time in 1961 was a chapter of accidents; Mr. Maurice Murphy, principal cornetist, and Major Wilcocks, the professional conductor, were involved in a motor car accident at the end of September. Mr. Murphy suffered cuts and bruises, whilst Major Wilcocks had to have over 40 stitches in facial wounds. In that month one of the cornet players, Mr. Owen Bottomley, collapsed after a concert in Wales and was detained in the infirmary there. On the day before the contest, whilst the bandsmen were travelling down by bus, one of them, Peter Hainsworth, following in his own car, ran into the rear of the bus, giving himself concussion and badly damaging four of the instruments. He was detained in hospital but discharged himself after four hours and journeyed to London by train in order to play in the contest. The band was able to borrow four instruments to replace the damaged ones, and in spite of being drawn number 13, they were successful for the sixth time since the war.
After each of these performances the homecoming of the Band has been the scene of great rejoicing in Queensbury. In 1928 the streets were decorated with bunting and flags. The band, by custom, march down the village street to the Stag’s Head Inn, where they receive an official welcome, after which they play one or two selections. The tune they march to is their signature tune called “Queensbury”. This was composed by Mr. J. Kay, who first offered it to two other bands, but they rejected it on account of its difficulties. “Black Dyke” accepted it gladly, and after playing it at 13 competitions in two years, twelve of which they won, adopted it as their signature tune.
This is a complete record of their National Championship victories, but an almost equally important contest was held annually at Belle Vue, Manchester, and here they have also had many successes, winning the first prize on no fewer than 15 occasions between 1853 and 1943.
One could fill the pages of this Brochure with records of the performances of the Black Dyke Mills Band, but I wish to conclude now by mentioning one or two of their famous bandsmen who have from time to time been associated with the Band.
I have already written at some length about Phineas and Fred Bower, who between them had 69 years’ service with the band. This family also provided the band with two other notable players: Mr. Harry Bower, who succeeded his brother, Phineas, as conductor in 1896, and retained the position until 1911; the other brother was Mr. Alfred Bower, who played in the band for 36 years.
Mr. Arthur O. Pearce was bandmaster for 37 years. He succeeded Mr. Harry Bower. During his career the band won 51 first prizes and undertook many lengthy tours. Most of the conductors remained with the band for many years; there have only been nine since it was formed in 1855, the present bandmaster being Mr. Jack Emmott, who was engaged in 1956.
Perhaps the most famous of all the cornetists to play with the “Dyke” was Mr. John Paley. He was playing the cornet in public at the age of seven years and by the time he was 14 he had won seven first class trophies against the most prominent cornetists of the day. He had played with a professional band in America before he came as solo cornet to the Black Dyke Band in 1893. He stayed with them for 36 years.
The list is unending, but to conclude let me mention the names of some families who have served the band for many years. The Pinches family, of which no fewer than four members played with the band; the Beckwiths, particularly Harry Beckwith, who played for 45 years; Mr. Haydn Robinson, who played for 23 years; the late Mr. Joe Wood, who was solo horn player for more than 30 years; Mr. Owen Bottomley about 35 years and a member of a family who were connected with the band for many years before him; lastly, Mr. E. Keeton who has “blown” for the band for about 45 years, and is still going strong. These are but a few of the many bandsmen and bandsmen’s families who helped to put and keep the Black Dyke Mills Band at the top.
A further singular honour which has come to the “Dyke” was their engagement to play in the procession at the Lord Mayor of London’s Show in November 1962.
Anyone reading thus far may have gained the impression that the leisure time of Queensbury’s inhabitants was occupied in the making of music. This is far from true, however, since there were many other activities for them to take part in. Cricket has been played in the village for at least 115 years. It is a strange coincidence that Queensbury Cricket Club have chosen 1963 to celebrate their Centenary. In the absence of early documents I don’t think anyone can say with
Shops in High Street 40 years ago
(By permission of Mrs. L. Woodhead).
certainty that 1863 was the year of the formation of the Club. l have seen reports of cricket matches as early as 1850. For instance, Queenshead Cricket Team, composed of Messrs. W. Sykes, H. S. Hirst, W. Wadsworth, A. B. Foster, M. Hirst, J. Foster, E. Warburton, J. Barker, I. Benn, T. Pattison and W. Bailey, played a match against Halifax Commercial on the 13th August, 1850, at Higher Hunger Hill. Evidently, even in those days, cricket was at the mercy of the weather also, because the match had to be abandoned at 4 p.m. owing to rain. It was evidently a festive occasion, because the Queenshead Brass Band was engaged to play, and refreshments were supplied from a tent. There is no suggestion that there were any regular fixtures at this time, but another report tells that Queensbury Cricket Club held a close of season dinner at the Old Queen’s Head Inn. Neither is there anything to connect this team with the present cricket club. In fact it is certain that by 1864 there were at least two teams in Queensbury; one called Queensbury United and the other called Queensbury Trinity. It is my belief that the “United” team is the one from which the present Queensbury Cricket Club sprang, whilst the name of the other suggests that it was connected in some way with the Parish Church.
In 1863 the “United” concluded their season with a supper at the Granby Inn. The names of the “United” players at this time does not give any clue to the connection between them and the Queenshead Cricket Club of 1850. The team now was Messrs. Hollings, Evans, Quarmby, Phizackerley, Briggs, Gibson, Appleyard, Hargreaves, Halliday, Shackleton and Hodgson.
In the l860`s there was a traditional match played annually on both Queensbury’s fair days, when the United played against 22 players of the district including the best of the Trinity players.
By 1870 the “United” team were having to look for a new ground. They were already playing in Granby Fields, but at a meeting held in the Granby Inn on the 21st May it was reported that their ground “was scheduled for building upon and was already part used”. I assume that it was at this time that they moved to the present ground.
From the reports of the matches in 1864 they were days of low scoring and often were double innings games. From the scores of six innings in 1864 the average score for the side was 43 runs, and they were the winners in four of these games.
Another feature of the early days was the playing of single wicket matches, usually for a wager. The earliest of these which I have seen reported was one between John Holroyd and Edmund Warburton. It took place on the 12th August, 1850, and was played on the Higher Hunger Hill Ground.
In 1888 the club inaugurated a series of Annual Athletic Festivals to be held in August. An example of the programme is given here from the Fourth Meeting held on the 15th August, 1891, when a crowd of around 2,000 attended in poor weather to see ten events:
1. -Six runs between wickets (Members only).
2. -100 yards youth race (under 16).
3. -1 mile bicycle race (Members only).
4. -120 yards handicap flat race.
5. -440 yards handicap Hat race.
6. -1 mile bicycle race (open handicap).
7. -Obstacle race.
8. -220 yards handicap Hat race.
9. -2 miles handicap bicycle race.
10. -1 mile handicap flat race.
The winners of event 1 were: A. Knowles first, and Athol Wright second. The winners of event 3 were: first, B. Brooke; second, W. J. Cockroft; third, F. Bramfitt. There were no Queensbury men winners in any other event. These sports were continued until 1913, after which they were abandoned and so far never revived.
When the Queensbury Cricket Club began to play League cricket it was with the West Bradford League, but with the formation of the Bradford League in 1903 they were amongst its members. They have played in this group for 60 years but a search through the record books is not very rewarding, since they have won neither the championship nor the cup, though in 1926 they were one of three clubs to tie for championship honours. only to be beaten by Saltaire in the decider. The one record they do hold is the undesirable one of being the only club to go through two seasons, 1917 and 1924, without registering a win. From 1905 to 1953, two of Queensbury’s batsmen.
Willie Bartle and George Emsley, held the record of 147 runs for the sixth wicket partnership, but in this year a partnership of 159 runs by W. Horner and J. V. H. Bowden, of Idle, replaced it. W. Horner, who played for Idle, is a native of Queensbury. One of Queensbury’s batsmen, George Senior, holds the record for scoring 110 runs out of a total of 130 for one wicket in 47 minutes.
Although Queensbury Cricket Club have engaged professional players for a long number of years, in 1891 they had one professional called H. Ingle, they have never had the full time services of a county player. In one match, on the 10th May, 1919, Cecil Burton, the Yorkshire captain, assisted them. They have supplied the counties with three players; first, Spencer Allen at the end of the First Great War, and Norman Horner and Gerald Smithson after the Second World War.
In reading through one or two old minute books and score sheets, I came across the name of Sidney Barnes. He was specially billed in Queensbury when they met Saltaire, for whom he played, in 1916; and he lived up to his reputation by taking six wickets for 15 runs, already having taken seven Queensbury wickets for 21 runs in the first match at Saltaire, In the first of these matches, Queensbury were all out for 45, and at home they could only muster a mere 38.
Throughout the years there have been other cricket clubs in the village, notably the Parish Church team which was disbanded in 1939 owing to the call-up of many of its players for military service. The Mountain Mills team, almost as old as the Queensbury club, also went out of existence, and today there are two other clubs playing in minor league cricket: the Union Croft and Yews Green cricket teams.
Queensbury South from the Church Tower
(By permission of Mr. M. Jowett).
Cricket has always been a club game and consequently records are more readily available than for individual pastimes such as the one time well favoured sport of “Knur and Spell”. This game was played in and around Queensbury until some thirty years ago, but it has proved rather difficult to find many records. So far as I can gather, there were several variations of the game, such as the varying length of the stick used for striking the knur, and the different methods by which the knur was thrown up to be hit. In one method, called “out of hand”, the stick was comparatively short, two to three feet long, and the knur was tossed up from the free hand and was struck as hard as possible with the stick held in the other hand. The part of the stick which came into contact with the knur was called the head, and was a hump-backed piece of wood with a Hat face some three inches by two inches in size. A second method was for the knur to be tossed up by a kind of spring known as the “Spell”. ln this variation the stick could be much longer and could be held in two hands. A third method was for the knur to be held steady at a given height by a contraption which looked like the gallows. This was known as the sling or pin. The object of the game was always the same whichever method was adopted, namely, to strike the knur as far as possible. The distance was measured in multiples of twenty yards, known as “scores”, plus the fractions thereof, so that if a result was given as nine score and two feet, then the knur had been hit for a distance of 180 yards and two feet. The winner was some-times decided by the longest knock out of a given number, or some-times by the aggregate distance over a given number of attempts.
When matches were arranged, the details of method and other things were decided beforehand, a referee was appointed and the stake money agreed. The venue was fixed and spectators welcomed.
The spectators often placed bets for fixed odds, since there was always a favourite. The stake money was usually quite substantial, especially for those days. The highest figure that I have seen recorded was £150 a side between T. Howson and J. Grayson in 1878. Howson was the winner. A more usual stake was £25 a side, but it was often less, and in a match played at Queensbury on the 22nd March, 1913, between two Queensbury men, the stake was £30 in total. This match was held in the grounds behind the “Old Queen’s Head”, and about 300 spectators were there. The contestants were W. Chatburn and F. Greenwood. They played with half-ounce pot knurs with one hand. The odds were 23 to 20 on Chatburn and he won with the longest knock of nine score and six inches against Greenwood’s eight score and 14 yards. The referee was Ike Medley.
Another sport of those days which attracted quite large crowds and was played for comparatively large stakes was pigeon shooting. One match that I have seen reported was for £500, but again the more usual stake was for £25 a side. In this game the live pigeons were released singly from a trap and the object was to kill as many as possible out of a given number, using a prescribed amount of shot. The rules were that the pigeons should be allowed to fly a certain distance after release, usually from 20 to 25 yards, and on being shot must fall within a predetermined distance, usually 60 yards. The number of pigeons and the amount of shot to be used was agreed beforehand.
One Queensbury stalwart was S. Holdsworth, who, on the 16th February. 1895, met T. Whiteley, of Sowerby, on Halifax Race
Course, to shoot at eleven pigeons each for £25 a side with three-quarter-ounce of shot. The favourite was Holdsworth with odds of 24 to 20 in his favour. Often, in this game, the side bets were quite heavy, and in the match between Holdsworth and Whiteley there were bets on each bird released, usually at odds of 5 to 4 on the bird. This match was tied with six birds out of 11 to each man, but Holdsworth beat H. Wright, of Laisterdyke, on the 6th May, 1895, by six out of eight to his opponent’s three out of nine, at Quarry Gap Grounds, Laisterdyke. At one of Holdsworth’s matches on this ground, in January 1894, there were over 500 spectators.
West End, Queensbury (By permission of Mr. Jowett).
Our ancestors had many pleasures. Apart from their cricket, knur and spell, and pigeon shooting, they enjoyed their hound trails. In this sport, a man would set out early in the day over a route of five or six miles, laying a trail of aniseed, which the hounds would follow later in the day when they were released. Whippet racing was also a common sport up to about 40 years ago.
Club life has also had its appeal for many, and the Conservatives were meeting in the National Schools in 1872, when they first formed an association, but in this same year they rented rooms in Chapel Street, moving into the premises at the top of Spring Garden Street in 1890. Now they are back in Chapel Street but in different premises. The Liberals met at first in the Baptist School Rooms, but later in the Hall of Freedom, until they bought a plot of ground, called Jacob’s Croft, and situated in Chapel Street. The Club’s new premises
were built in 1875, and these are the premises now occupied by the Conservative Association.
Another highlight of Queensbury`s life in the past was the annual fair and the Sunday “Thump”. The fair was originally a horse and cattle fair and took place in front of the Granby Hotel, but a pleasure fair was associated with it and gradually replaced it. In 1904, the two-day pleasure fair included pot stalls, chip and pea stalls, shooting galleries, Aunt Sally, coconut shies, Barker’s Circus, Ashington’s Cinematograph Show, switch backs, steam horses, dart throwing, strength testing, ice cream and sweet shops, swing boats, and an exhibition of a man born without legs or arms. This was held in August, and the Saturday crowd packed the ground behind the Old Queen`s Head Inn, surpassing any previous occasion.
There are many stories told about Queensbury’s past which ought to be recorded for posterity, but unfortunately the time has come for me to close this story, if it is going to appear in print in time.
There is still much that could be written about Queensbury’s history, and it is my hope that some day an opportunity will arise for this to be done.
Much interest has been shown by a number of people who left the village years ago, and the following letter which I received some time ago seemed to me so interesting that I felt it was worthy of inclusion here.
358 Skipton Road,
I was very much interested to read in the Telegraph & Argus, also in the Dalesman, about the forthcoming Centenary at Queensbury. I was born at Thornton, but moved to Queensbury with my family, when I was four months old in 1902, and left when I was fourteen to come to live at Keighley. We came to live in Moor Street, off Albert Road or ‘dahn t’back at Moor’ as everybody called it, and I am anxious to know if it is still known by that name. Thornton Road, off Chapel Street, was known as Charkitt Heead (Head) and the ginnel which leads from Chapel Street to High Street (or Dahn Queensbury) rejoiced in the name of Mokesome Nick, official name Providence Place, On T’Swamp was West End, and Kitchen Loine had the grand name given New Park Road, we knew places as up in t’Navvy Houses, up Granby Fields, on t’Sahr Heeads, up t’back at Small Page, Stooany Loine by the Church, and Mucky Loine at Mountain.
Then there was Raglan Street on Sandbeds always called All Nations Street, because in those· days there were such a lot of ‘off cummed uns’ lived there.
Later we moved to Ada Street, off Kitchen Loine; there we got water from well and used paraffin lamps. We moved again into Union Street, then into Clifton Street, again Dahn t’back at Moor
Our playground was on ‘t’Round Abouts’, behind the Council Offices
Why this name I do not know, but I remember there were three
squares with a kerb edge paving around each, with a path on the bottom leading to Charkitt Heead.
For the Coronation Celebrations for King George V and Queen Mary, a huge bonfire was erected on the first square, behind the Council Office. We children had watched the wood being carted there weeks beforehand.
On the Coronation Day there was a Union Jack flying on top. How we held our breath when the flag was hauled down and the bonfire set alight. It was a magnificent spectacle to us. All the school children received a Shelley china mug, the gift of John Foster & Son; I still have mine, and I suppose there will be some on show at the Centenary.
I suppose Whitsuntide walking day is a thing of the past, but something for us to look forward to. We practised hymns for weeks beforehand, the choirmaster coming in to Sunday School a few Sundays before Whitsuntide to polish our singing up. On the great day, Whit-Monday, we assembled in the school, carefully placing the mugs we had taken on the window-ledges of our classrooms; there we had to wait until the Great Black Dyke Band arrived to head the procession. What a scuffling and pushing there was before we were finally marshalled and marching off down (Queensbury) High Street, trying to keep in step with the Band. Our destination was to sing for the Fosters, sometimes it was to Harrowhins, down Mill Lane, which did not seem very far, but if the Band kept marching on to Sandbeds, we knew we were going to Littlemoor, and were in for a long trek up over Scarlet Heights, and in at the far gate; the only thing that kept us going was the thought of the bag of boiled sweets we got after we had blown our tops off. Then the trail back to school; we had set off in step, but I know we were a weary lot struggling back to the tea and currant buns. But here again was a highlight, the teacakes were made at the Co-op. and Katey Green’s in the High Street: we always tried to get into the queue where Katey Green’s currant teacakes were being given out, they were delicious, they had a lovely sugar glaze on top.
In the evening there were races in the field behind Harrowhins, also the Band playing. The grounds of Harrowhins open to wander round, and a special event was coloured balloons sent up, lit by a flare; a few burst into flames before they got very high.
The Co-op. also had a walking day. We were members at the Central Co-op., and got our tickets from there. On the day we assembled in Granby Fields, along with the children from the other branch shops, each branch had a boy carrying a placard with the name of the branch on. Again the ‘Black Dyke’ headed the procession, the Central Branch taking the head (and we lot feeling very important to be first), and off we marched up to Foxhill Park, where we had tea and currant buns, this time all from the Co-op. Again there were races and the Band playing, and once, I remember, a display of fireworks.
The younger generation will perhaps wonder what we did for amusement. Sundays we went to church and Sunday School, through tie creek we went to Christian Endeavour at the Baptists. Thursdays to the Band of Hope at the Church School, and Fridays once a month to the Rechabites at the Hall of Freedom. Our family were not Rechabite members, but some of our pals were, and they would lend us a book and let us pay the money in for a younger member of their family too young to attend.
We paid at the low door; once inside the proceedings began with two boys and two girls sat up on the platform with a blue ribbon over the shoulder and fastened across under the arm. They each read out one of the objects of the Society. The only one I remember was: “All those who are not members of this Society of Rechabites, will they please retire”.
This was an awful moment. I always felt guilty, and felt like getting under the seat, despite the borrowed book by which we had got in. At the close of the meeting we got a magazine with stories and pictures about the evils of drink. However, we never did sign the Pledge. At the Hall of Freedom, too, on Saturday evenings in winter, there used to be the Tuppenny Pops (Popular Concert Parties). Entrance fee; Twopence Adults, a Penny for Children; they were very good shows, one Concert Party was called The Arcadians.
Sunday evenings, also at the Hall of Freedom, there were Lantern Slide Shows; a lady would read a story, we sang hymns also thrown on the screen with words and a picture about the hymn. One hymn I remember in particular (‘Will your anchor hold in the storms of life’); the picture for this was a girl clinging to a cross and an anchor and the sea washing round her. We always marvelled how
the girl was still clinging to the cross and anchor every time the hymn came round; the story, too, was sob stuff. The Fair, too, was one of the highlights of the year, held about the last weekend in July, in the Held behind the Queen’s Head. We would sit on the wall on ‘Sahr Heeads’, the patch leading from High Street to Stooany Loine (Deanstone Lane), watching the stalls and the roundabouts going up. We saw our first moving picture in a marquee at the fair; later the moving pictures came to be shown at the Hall of Freedom, and later at the Victoria Hall
The Bachelors’ Ball was held at the Victoria Hall. It was a very grand affair—all the ‘posh folks’ went. It was an evening dress ‘do’. On the evening of the Ball, we children, and grown-ups too, gathered round the front entrance of the Victoria Hall to see the carriages roll up and the fine folk get out in their line clothes, the ladies wore long dresses and carried fans.
There were a few personalities, too, in those days. There was ‘Old Gold Arm’, who lived just above the Hall of Freedom, and had a large garden. We used to go for a pennyworth of Rhubarb, it was his speciality; he was supposed to have enough money to buy a gold arm, hence the name. I never knew his real name. On Chapel Street lived an old soldier who had lost both legs in the Boer War; he was known as ‘Old Peg Legs’. Also on Chapel Street was the Curiosity Shop, a middle-aged couple kept it. The man had a big walrus moustache, and wore gold-rimmed spectacles and a thick gold watch chain across his middle. The lady wore a wig, and gold-rimmed spectacles. They both looked enormous persons to me. We went to the shop to buy wool for knitting stockings; one brand of ‘worssit’. as it was called, was three—halfpence an ounce. There were all sorts of funny nooks and corners and revolving glass cases in the shop. We were always glad to get out with our purchases.
We all wore clogs in those days, and it was to the Co-op. cloggers` shop where we went to have our clogs mended. We were regular customers as there was always one or the other of us wanting clogs mended. We sat on benches round the outer shop and moved round in turn until we got round into the part of the shop where the clogs were made and mended. There you could watch the clog soles shaped out of a block of wood and the uppers cut out of a large piece of leather. It was here, too, at the Cloggers’ Shop where we begged lashes for our whips when it was whip and top time.
Thursday was baking day, when my mother baked all day, filling the Yorkshire dresser from end to end with plain loaves, currant cakes and seed cakes, biscuits, scones, and bun and sweet cakes, enough to last a week. We fetched the flour in a flour poke (‘Flar Pooak’) tied up in a printed cotton square.
My mother also used to brew beer with malt and hops, and we children used to fetch twopennyworth of wet yeast (Brewers’ Yeast) in a pint pot from an old lady who lived in a low-roomed cottage opposite Foxhill Park. My father worked at Brigg’s Pit in Charkitt Heead; he was engine tenter. The engine was a stationary winding engine with a grooved steel drum. Attached to the drum was a wire cable, the other end attached to a waggon. Lines ran down to the pit which was halfway down the hill, and then on down to the bottom to Queensbury Station. There were pulleys in the middle of the track for the wire cable to run on. The coal was brought up to the pit head in four-wheeled trucks (or ‘corves’ as they were called), then pulled to the top by the engine. The corves were then run off the waggon and emptied straight into the coal carts for delivery. My two elder sisters both had a trip down the pit. I never got to go down.
I think the pit would be quite a good concern in its heyday. When Mr. William Briggs died, the whole place was closed down, and my father went to work at John Foster’s to drive one of the new Foden steam engines, which were replacing the horses and carts. They were marvellous things; you could hear them coming a mile off: They rattled over the cobblestones, there was a chimney which belched forth smoke from the coal tire underneath. They looked like little railway engines on the road. There was a driver and firer to stoke up.
We children went to Chapel Lane day school, and I wonder if there is still the big blackboard on the wall, with the names on of the lucky ones who had passed a scholarship, and gone on to a grammar
school; the names and year of entry were in gilt letters. How I longed to pass and have my name up in gilt letters. But we knew our move was half-timers at twelve years old down at the mill, and full-time at thirteen. Very few parents could afford to let their children sit for a scholarship.
I wonder if there are any shut-up beds in Queensbury now? These were quite common in those days. In Clifford Street there were four houses which had them, and three in Ewart Street, in the houses under the Liberal Club. The beds were in the living room and were shut up in the daytime, and looked like a big cupboard. Some were made to look like a chest of drawers when closed up. Both my grandparents at Thornton slept in shut-up beds. I never dared to chance sleeping in one; I was afraid it might shut up with me inside. These shut-up beds were a great feature round Queensbury, Thornton and Denholme districts; with large families the parents slept downstairs and the children upstairs.
I suppose the ‘blunderbuss’ still goes at nine o’clock at night, and I wonder if there is still an echo on Sahr Heead just below the Church. How we used to shout and the echo came back as clear as a bell. Perhaps the fields are full of houses now, and the echo has gone.
Do the boys and girls still have ‘millband’ at plot-time’? It was all right for lighting fireworks. The older boys used to have a long length done up in a lovely coil. I never had the fortune to have a coil, my piece would be about three or four inches long. I had to keep it hidden away out of sight at home; it would have been confiscated, and woe betide us if the ‘Bobby’ caught us with it lit; we went in fear of being taken to ‘t’Bobby hoil’.
Old Year’s Eve was mumming night, when both children and grown—ups went round dressed up, some with faces blackened and with a brush to sweep the Old Year out.
Christmas Day morning children used to come round with a wassail box trimmed up, and sing the wassail song.
And Whit-Sunday we had our new clothes on and went round to the neighbours to show them off; we generally got quite a few pence given.
But l must stop reminiscing and send you all good wishes and success for the Centenary Year. I shall look forward to reading all about it.
ADA MAUDE (Mrs.).
Finally, in this Brochure, may I express my hope that you will support our Centenary Celebrations to the utmost of your ability.
We, as a committee, have tried to provide something to appeal to everyone, both young and old, and if our efforts are to bear fruit we need your support.
Chairman of the Centenary Celebrations Committee.
Published on behalf of the Queensbury Centenary Committee by The Northern Advertising Agency (Bradford) Limited, 85a Bridge Street, Bradford, l, and printed by Thornton & Pearson (Printers) Limited, 80 Captain Street, Bradford, 1.