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, this 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 have 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 than justified. 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 4 to 5 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 of ” 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 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.“
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 interesting.
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.
In the 1949 Co-op report , it showed 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.”
I have had the photograph below 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, son of Hubert, 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.