In September 2020, Haydn Boothroyd ” discovered ” this website and contacted me. As a Netherthongian , who had left the village in 1956 to go to University, the site enabled him to travel back in time to his youth. Reading the various chapters acted as a catalyst and he started to pass on many of his memories of the village as well as supplying great photographs. Initially the information was about his grandfather, John Edward, who had been a master baker at the Deanhouse Institution and later on had his own bakery in Outlane.
All the memories and photos he sent I put into the appropriate chapters, but I then decided , as Haydn continued to supply more information, that a separate chapter of the three generations comprising his grandad, his father and himself, would be more appropriate. There will be some duplication as I will include information from other chapters.
The following photograph, taken in 1947-48, shows the three generations at Blackpool ( see the tram in the background). Haydn, aged 11-12, is on the left with Grandad, John Edward, in the centre, and father William on the right. Haydn told me that he still has his grandad’s walking stick .
I will start with Grandad John Edward Boothroyd. He was born in 1883, probably in Almondbury, and died in 1955 aged 72. He worked at Deanhouse Institution as a master baker, see photograph below ( 1910s-1920s). He is the gentleman in the middle, sitting on a box with arms crossed, surrounded by other workers. Next to him is a young apprentice and the man on the far left with his cap and watch was probably the foreman. I have included an enlargement of John below the main photograph.
In October 1915, John made an application requesting permission to join HM Forces and the request was referred to the Workhouse Guardians Committee. I could not find any report on what decision was reached but, in my chapter on soldiers who fought and survived WW1, his name does not appear, which indicates the Committee managed to make a case for his exemption.
His grandson, Haydn, said that at some date after the war, his grandfather was the owner of a bakehouse in Outlane and Haydn sent me his memories of the bakery.
” I can’t vouch for the previous owners of the bakery in the 30s, nor do I know when “Baker Boothroyd” took over. Growing up through the 40s, it seemed always to have been in the family. And in those days we never asked questions and the “old ones” didn’t talk a lot. I remember loaves, brown and white, baking in the oven – coke fired. Also teacakes – plain and currant and hot cross buns at Easter. With a weighed portion of dough, grandad could mould a teacake, with a rotary motion, in each hand. The doughs were allowed to leaven before being baked. I can still feel the heat as the oven doors were opened to see how a batch was getting on. Perhaps they were put back for a bit or moved to a higher oven to finish off. Currant pasty, jam pasty and biscuit cake were the sweets of the day. Cream was not readily available. Bread rationing was still on in those days and I can remember going round the village and Deanhouse selling bread from a large flat basket and cutting the coupons from the ration books. The bakery also made meat and potato pies, with a crust, in white basins which we took down to “the mill” ( Deanhouse) for workers’ lunches. My Auntie Kathleen ( nee Boothroyd ) worked in the bakery until its closure. Later she served in the Co-op, mainly in the drapery section and she was a member of the WI. At this time in the 50s, Pontefracts in Holmfirth was a somewhat larger bakery and when Baker Boothroyd retired he sold his concern to them.”
The following photograph, probably dating from the 1930s, shows John holding the reins of a horse. The location is unknown but Haydn has vague memories that his grandad owned ” a leg in a racehorse ” but was never sure whether it was true or simply ‘family badinage’.
The above photograph is of John Edward Boothroyd, in the early 1950s, just outside the front door of Fox Farm where he lived. The little lad is Edward Roebuck, who was four to five years at the time. The contraption on the right was a hand pump which raised water from a well. Haydn said he used to be fascinated at the time, because after heavy rain water would appear in the cellar and climb 18″or so up the cellar steps and it was lovely and clear.
The young boy with John unfortunately drowned in New Dam. The report is in my chapter titled ” The family history of the Roebucks ” but I have reproduced it here because of the Boothroyd connection.
“A family death occurred in September 1952 that shocked the whole village. A six year old boy, James Edward Roebuck, son of Mr. & Mrs. John Roebuck of Ox Lane Farm was drowned in New Dam. An unsuccessful attempt to save him was made by Norman Hobson of Holmroyd Nook Farm who dived into the water several times without being able to locate him.
Along with his brother, John Keith, they had been playing near the dam and, when he fell into the water, John ran home across the fields to tell his mother. Mrs.Roebuck and a neighbour, Mrs.Eveline Kaye, of Moor Lane who ran to the dam but could not see the boy. Mr. Gerard Hobson and Mr. Norman Hobson had also run to the dam and with Mr. Albert Briggs of Sands Farm tried to find the boy using a hay rake and a farm drag. Mr. Norman Hobson stripped off and dived into the water several times but as the water was very dirty he could not find the boy. In the meantime Mrs. Kaye had run to the village to ring for the police. When they arrived they eventually recovered the boy after dragging for two hours. Haydn remembers it was a Saturday afternoon and he had been to ‘Town’ and got off the bus at the top of the hill where the road narrows. In those days there was a lane which led behind the farm , across two fields, to the dam. It was obvious from all the vehicles that something had happened and of course it transpired that Edward had died.
At the inquest the District Coroner, Mr.B.Little, recorded a verdict of ” Death by misadventure “. Sergeant I. Williamson said that he was present when the body was recovered and that the New Dam was on the property of Messrs. Thomas Dyson and Sons, Deanhouse Mills, and was private property with no public right of way. He estimated that the depth of water where James fell in was about 20ft. The Coroner concluded that Mr. Hobson had made a very commendable effort to rescue the child and that it would be quite improper for him ( the Coroner ) to make any suggestion for added safety precautions as the dam was on private property.“
Haydn came across a family tree which must have come from the effects of his Auntie Kathleen and it shows Grandad had two younger brothers: The eldest was Crowther (b.1884)who lived in Berry Brow and had a son, George, who was married but had no children. In his day, George was an accomplished cricketer (bowler) playing for a number of clubs in the Huddersfield League and at that time a club was allowed one paid,” professional”, player and George was one such. I knew about him by reputation and can recall looking for his performances in the Huddersfield Examiner. The second brother was Charles Alfred ( 1890-1959) who lived in a lane in Deanhouse and had a son and five daughters.
William Boothroyd was born in 1904 and registered in Almondbury. On his birth certificate, his father wrote as his profession – ‘Bread baker, Journeyman’. In the photograph below, which dates from early 1910s, young William is on the left of the top row next to the girl with long black hair. Looks like there are seven teachers in the photo and the five children in the middle dressed in army uniform are intriguing.
Haydn’s mother, Nellie Wilkinson, was born in 1903 , and in the school photograph she is in the second row, 4th. from the left. The boy in the middle of the bottom row is holding a board saying ‘Netherthong Nat. School. Group A. The first photograph is an enlargement.
T. Dyson was a well-known and respected inhabitant of Netherthong and he gave lantern slides on a wide range of topics and used various local friends to operate the lanterns. In 1928 he gave a show at the Methodist Church titled “All about Yorkshire ” and William was one of his lanternists.
The Home Guard was operational from 1940 to 1944 and was set up by the British Army. It’s nickname Dad’s Army was due to the average age of local volunteers who signed up and were ineligible for military service usually because of age. They were originally called Local Defence Volunteers or LDV, and their role was to provide a local defence in case of an invasion. There was a Holmfirth Home Guard. Haydn Boothroyd told me his father, William, was a member from its beginning until it was disbanded – he did not pass his service medical exam because of severe varicose veins. The ‘battery’ was in a field alongside the lane behind the Ford Inn. His father told him he could throw a hand grenade the furthest in the squad. The photograph shows the volunteers with William on the far left in the top row. Others named in the photo are Hildred Dyson ; Frank Dickinson ( officer) -( he was born in 1882 and died in 1958. He served in WW1 and achieved fame for singing to the troops in France. His name is on the WW1 Roll of Honour in the Parish Church).; Stanley Hepworth ; Clarence Daniel ; Stanley Turton : Harold Hinchliffe 😕 Ellis. Mr. Roberts ( he could be Herbert Roberts born in 1884 who was a private in WW1 and his name appears on the Roll of Honour in the Parish Church ). The second photo is an enlargement of William.
Once a year the Netherthong Co-Operative Society had a day outing for staff, committee members and their wives. Invariably they went to Blackpool or Bridlington. The photograph above was taken in the late 40s/early 50s and include both William and his wife Nellie. William is second in from the right on the back row wearing a dark suit. The fellow in the front with his hands crossed was Phillip Dixon, who with his wife lived in the house that was the Methodist Chapel at the bottom of Outlane. Nellie, with glasses, is just behind Phillip and on her side in the white cardigan, peeping round is Aunt Kathleen, who until her death lived in the big house at the top of New Road with the gable facing onto the War Memorial. I have also included two enlargements of the photograph showing William and Nellie in more detail.
The following photograph was probably taken at a Co-operative outing to Skegness. William and Nellie are in the front. Aunt Kathleen, William’s sister is walking behind him with her friend, Sheila Sykes. The gentleman on the right is Arthur Wild, who was the manager of the Co-op. The second photograph shows William and Nellie on holiday when the temperature was obviously much warmer( no coats ).
The next photograph shows father William and young Haydn on holiday c.1949. It is very interesting to note the formal ‘holiday ‘ attire with Haydn wearing a school-cap and tie.
In the 1949 Co-op Society report , it recorded that William was one of the three retiring committee members who were re-elected, which explains why he and Nellie went on the outings, There was no other reference to him. Haydn had a memory of “stock taking” at the Co – op which he thought took place in the spring – probably in time for the end of the financial year. The Co – op closed over the week – end. His father seemed to “draw” the drapery every year, and each item , with a price, got listed in a little book – thimbles, reels of cotton, vests, pillow cases, tea cloths, you name it, it was there. Then came the calculations ; 20 x 3/6, etc. etc.; half pennies and there may even have been some items priced in farthings. Then the adding up! Quite a carry on. One tried to be accurate but it was tricky adding up the pence.
Haydn Boothroyd was educated in the village school and has shared some of his memories of his time there. “I’ve been reading the School chapter, and Margaret Lax’s account of her years there tallies absolutely with what I recall, with one exception. In my day the school garden was a “going concern”, all neat and tidy producing lots of vegetables. One lunch time, perhaps in my last year, a group of we lads had been sent to collect pea sticks ( on Miry Lane) and were walking back along Giles Street waving them in the air. Later in the afternoon, we were summoned by the Headteacher, Mr. Hinchcliffe, and caned for unseemly conduct and bringing the school into disrepute.
In 1941, and through all my time, Miss Wilson was the reception/infants teacher and Miss Johnson took Standards 1 & 2.
I had forgotten the Headteacher was a cricketer, but I now recall playing rounders in the yard and him “slogging” the ball into the rough ground alongside The Cricketers. In the winter we used to make slides down the playground from the high wall towards the school. Health and Safety eat your heart out! I don’t remember any broken bones or anyone stopping us from doing it.” ( Further to Haydn’s comment that no-one was damaged by sliding down the school yard in the frost, Margaret Lax wrote that she got a scar on her chin from one of the slides. Someone took me to Dr Meyer’s in Holmfirth, and he stitched me up – no anaesthetic in those days!)
The headmaster, Mr. Hinchliffe, was interested in amateur dramatics outside school and he “penned” playlets for the school concerts. The photograph below was taken in Dyson’s garden by Bray & Sons, the Holmfirth photographic studio, and shows Haydn playing the role of a ‘photographer’setting up a shoot of five fellow pupils. From the left they were Beryl Hinchliffe ( headmaster’s daughter ), Joan Hoyle, Beth Dufton, Ian Lancaster and Audrey Wood.
The second photograph , also taken in Dyson’s garden. is another playlet with Haydn in the starring role. He is all dressed up and wearing a bowler hat and surrounded by six ‘ladies’ with babies in prams and cots. From the left they are : Marie Singleton ; Yvonne Hinchliffe with pram ; Barbara Singleton ; Mary Buckley ; Beth Powell? ; Jean Beaumont with cot.
The photograph below has been in my possession for over seven year and Haydn was able to identify three of the fellows in it. On the far left was Morley Mallinson, who lived in Deanhouse. Third from the right was his uncle, Hubert Wilkinson, who later in life lived at 3, St.Anne’s Square, Outlane. Harold Wimpenny was on the far right.
Haydn supplied the following photograph, dated 1934, which showed four generations. The lady with the V-neck top is Haydn’s paternal grandmother, Jane Boothroyd, the wife of John the baker. The elderly lady in the centre is his great grandmother, Mrs. Woodcock, who lived in Holmebridge. The lady on the right in the flowered dress is my grandmother’s daughter ,Renee, my father’s elder sister and my aunt. She’s the mother of Derek, the baby, in the photo who is my eldest cousin.
The Deanhouse Mill was the major employer for the villagers , and the history of all the Mills in the area has its own chapter. Haydn has many memories about his family and relatives involvement with the mill. His father was a “tenterer”, which involved drying the pieces after they had been scoured. When the Mill closed, he ended up doing night work at a mill in Meltham. His mother had been a warper, readying the long threads to go onto the loom. My (half) brother was an ordinary weaver at this time and later became a skilled pattern weaver and my uncle (mother’s brother), Hubert Wilkinson, was in charge of the department where the warp and weft were brought together to be woven on a loom . So at one stage there were four family members working in the mill.
Haydn mentions David Wilkinson as great uncle David ( brother of his grandfather Tom), who had been a hero of WW1, laying down his life for his country. He is remembered on the Roll of Honour in the village War memorial.
The photograph below is of a group of Deanhouse Mill ‘menders’. These were usually highly skilled ladies who mended any flaws, which they could detect from the weaving process when either the weft or warp threads broke. The photograph was taken outside the scouring department – it and the tenter room were either side of the boiler house to make maximum use of the hot water in the scouring process and the heat for drying the cloth. Haydn’s father is on the right with Mrs. Morley Mallinson sitting on his knee. The man in the centre with a cloth cap was Edgar Beardsell, who worked in the scouring department. The lady kneeling in the front wearing black overalls was Cissie Wild, sister of John Arthur Wild who managed the Co-Op.
The following account of Haydn’s holiday memories may ring a bell with people of a certain age who lived in Netherthong and the surrounding villages and remembered the Holiday Week.
As I recall holidays for us were a “must”. We always went away in the summer, perhaps it had to do with “recharging the batteries”. The week in August was governed by the Deanhouse mill closure which, in turn, was linked to the Huddersfield holiday week. Invariably we went to Morecambe one year or Bridlington the next. (My mother didn’t like Scarborough – “it was too hilly”). Day trips tended to be to Blackpool. In those days Baddeleys and Castles were the two coach companies in Holmfirth – we mostly used Baddeleys. Having found or been recommended a good boarding house, we went back year after year. With full board, you got a midday meal but were not expected to use your room on a rainy day. We always seemed “to get lucky” – good summers. Having settled in on Saturday lunchtime, the thing to do in the afternoon was to book for the various shows, which were on that summer, so you could be sure to get in – Arthur Askey, George Formby, Norman Evans, Albert Modley, Sandy Powell, Vic Oliver, whoever was on that season. My memory may be playing me false, but one year I think we saw Laurel & Hardy in Morecambe. Those were the days when a comedian could last a whole season with one routine. There was also a huge lido where the “Miss Morecambe “ competition was held.
Bridlington did not have the same range of venues but they did have the “Bridlington Belle”, a boat which did trips across the bay to Flamborough Head and the sea birds on Bempton Cliffs. The crossing could be quite choppy at times.
In the late 40s Walls ice cream was just becoming available again and I can remember buying blocks wrapped in paper and wafers to put the ice cream in.
Blackpool Tower Circus was in its pomp in those days. Two performances stick in my memory, on one occasion whilst the clowns were amusing us, attendants built a big cage around the ring before the lions came out with their “tamer”. Another year it was elephants – placing a foot on the head of the “trainer”. On another occasion the ring floor dropped, water poured in and we were treated to a water spectacular finale.
Haydn mentions his Aunt Kathleen, who was his father’s youngest sister and she appears in many of the photographs in this chapter.. She was married to Bill Woffenden, whose best man at his wedding was Jim Ellis, well known in the village for making walking sticks ( see article in the chapter ‘Portraits of people and events’). The photograph below , dated 1947, is of Kathleen’s wedding with her guests identified. From the back left : Emer Brook, groom’s brother in law, husband of Leila and father of Sheila : Jim Ellis, best man : Bill Woffenden, groom : Kathleen Boothroyd, bride : John Edward Boothroyd, bride’s father : William Boothroyd, bride’s brother. From the front left :Sheila Brook, groom’s niece : Jenny Hine, nine years old, bride’s niece : Leila Brook, groom’s sister, wife of Emer and mother of Sheila : Jane Boothroyd, wife of John and bride’s mother : Helen Bray, bride’s friend.
The next photograph shows Grandad and Dad with a studio portrait of them in their wedding suits with button holes.
Below are several more photographs of Aunt Kathleen. The first one, dated October 1942, was taken five years before she married. The second photo is dated October 1943.
She was obviously well-loved and close to Haydn’s mother as shown in the next two photographs. The first, from about 1937, is of Haydn’s mother holding him with Aunt Kathleen standing by her side. The second photo, taken in spring/summer shows the two friends sitting on a bench by the roadside, part way up Wolfstone Heights ( The bench is still there in 2020 ).
Kathleen had a deserved reputation for the quality of her cakes, probably learnt from her father when she worked in the bakery until its closure, and the photograph below from the Vicarage Party in July 1979, shows her on the left at her cake stall. She served in the Co-op and was a member of the WI.
The photograph above is of a very young Haydn.. He is about 18 months old sitting in a wheelbarrow in a field at the rear of Fox Cottage. In the background is Sands Farm, which seems to have changed little in 80 years. Haydn has added a few more memories of his time when he left the village.
After leaving junior school I attended Holme Valley Grammar School, as it was called in those days, I left Netherthong in 1956 to go to University in London – the London School of Economics from 1956 to 1959. It was a major cultural shock to leap from Moor Lane to the Festival Hall, West End and all the other attractions in London. I spent 1959-60 at Reading University studying for a Diploma in Education which is where I met Jill who was on her way back south having studied French at Leeds. We married in October 1961 (half term!) and lived in Morden. During the 60s I taught at three London boys’ schools. Inner London had only recently “gone comp.” and the traditions of former grammar schools still persisted and teaching was no problem. I was introduced to marking geography examination papers for both Cambridge University Overseas School Certificate and the Metropolitan Regional Examinations Board for C.S.E. In 1970, I was successful in filling a new post with the East Midlands Regional Examinations Board here in Nottingham where my family have been ever since, through the growth of C.S.E. and then the establishment of G.C.S.E. Our three children were educated here and went on to higher education.
I retired early at Christmas 1995 and have since been involved with setting up a local Probus Club and a branch of U3A. A daughter lives in the South Lakes and we occasionally, in summer, cross the Pennines via Holmfirth having lunch at The Bridge Inn. I cannot get over how small the villages now seem with all the cars about – they were not built for the age of traffic!