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Netherthong and the Holmfirth Floods

The history of the various floods that occurred in the Holme Valley and Holmfirth are well documented and it is not the purpose of this chapter to re-visit that information. However those floods must have impacted in numerous ways on  the inhabitants of Netherthong. Some may have had friends or relatives in the stricken areas, many  helped to raise funds for flood relief , others would have traveled down New Road to see if they could be of any assistance and others would have gone simply just to ‘look’. 

The involvement would have more likely on the days following the Great Flood of 29 May 1944 which was at its worst between 6.30pm and 7.00pm. It occurred  just over 73 years ago, so if there are any eye witnesses living today they would have been children or teenagers at the time.  However many years ago, when I first started researching and writing the history of the village, I interviewed a lovely lady who lived in one of the cottages in Outlane. Her name was  Nancy Millican and, among the items of local history she shared with me,  she said that she remembered having gone to the theatre in Holmfirth on that Whit-Monday with her mother and returning home along the Huddersfield Road and seeing the waters flooding down the roads . They were near enough to New Road not to be in any real danger.

It would have made great copy if she had said that the floodwaters chased them, lapping at their heels all the way and that they just managed to get to New Road and scramble up the hill to safety with the waters trying to suck them back down….. 

A recent visitor to the website, Margaret H, supplied me with some great photographs of the village and the school and also eight photographs of Holmfirth, two taken before the flood and six afterwards.  I make no apologies for including them in this chapter as they may stir the memories of any remaining Netherthongians in the 80-year bracket. The villagers set a target of raising £200 for the Flood Relief Fund by organising various events.


Victoria Park before the flood.


Victoria Square before the flood


Hollowgate showing flood damage


Hollowgate showing flood damage


Flood damage to Lower Mills


Market Walk flood damage


Victoria Square and Towngate flood damage


Victoria Bridge flood damage

How this History started, website activity, statistics and other useless information.

I first started researching the history of Netherthong in 2002 and I began to realise, that with the amount of information that was becoming available, publishing it as a book  was not going to be the answer. The  only  alternative was to set up a web site  in 2005 and the large number of people who have visited the site  and  supplied information, memories and photographs has more than justified that decision.  What is encouraging  is that in July 2017, 12 years after the start, I had a new visitor who had been born in Rob Roy, the house standing by itself on the right hand side of New Road opposite Netherfield Drive,  and had corrected the dates of several photographs and supplied a number of her own which are dotted through the various chapters. They include two good photographs of the ” big snow ” in 1947 and some great ones of the school including the school orchestra.

In 2010  Google Analytics was installed and this system records very comprehensive data each time  anyone clicks on my History.  It includes  the number of sessions, the number of users, page views, the pages read per session, the average  session duration, the Bounce Rate ( the percentage of single page sessions of which there was no interaction with the site ), the percentages  of new sessions and  returning visitors. There is a pie-chart comparing these percentages  and there is also a moving   monthly chart, updated daily, of the number of visitors per day. At its peak there were  500 a month but over the years that number has steadily dropped  to about 200 .( May 2017). As I said in the first paragraph  after all these years, people are still discovering the site and   70% of the current visitors are first timers.

The Analytics also details the nationality and language groups of the visitors. The UK is obviously top with 72% followed by the U.S. with 20% and Australia, Canada and New Zealand feature as they are countries that  villagers would have emigrated to. Other countries on the list include  Brazil,  Russia, Germany and Italy.  Since it was installed  there have been 15,910 visitors to the site,  many of whom have been returning visitors, and  this figure does not include the people who would have visited the site in the five years from its start in 2005 to 2010 during which time no statistics are available. 

I find it hard believe that after 15 years of research just how much information  I have accumulated about this delightful little village of ours. The History has  a word count of over 230,000 plus 315 photographs, maps and other ephemera and this compares with Moby Dick at 209,117 words, East of Eden at 226,741 and yours and my favourite bedtime read of War and Peace with 544,406 .

The History is split into 76 chapters ( 77 if you count this one ) and, because of the large amount of information in certain categories, I decided it would be appropriate to split  them into more easily manageable  chapters of between 5,000 to 7,000 words.   Crime and Punishment needed to be split into four with  the Wesleyan Church , All Saints Parish Church, Football, Deaths, Deanhouse Workhouse/Hospital and Interesting Odds and Bods all being split into two. One exception is A Netherthong Story which is nearly 11,000 words long, much of it written in Yorkshire dialect. ( I’m not sure if anyone has actually read it from start to finish ). My next chapter will be a complete record of all the graves in the Parish Church graveyard.




Mothers’ Union.

The Mothers’ Union is an international Christian charity that seeks to support families

The organisation was founded by Mary Sumner in 1876 in the Church of England parish of Old Alresford near Winchester where her husband was the rector. She wanted to bring mothers of all social classes together to provide support for one another and to be trained in motherhood. The growth of the movement beyond the boundary of the Dioceses of Winchester was due to the emphasis in Victorian British society on morality. It spread rapidly first to the dioceses of Ely, Exeter, Hereford, Lichfield and Newcastle and then throughout the UK. By 1892 there were 60,000 members in 28 dioceses which grew to 169,000 by the turn of the century. In 1893, AGMs were organised and in 1896 the Mothers’ Union Central Council was formed and Mary Sumner was unanimously elected president, a post she held into her nineties. In 1897 during her Diamond Jubilee, Queen Victoria became patron of the Mothers’ Union. Branches were set up throughout the British Empire.

The Netherthong branch of the Mothers’ Union ( MU ) was started on July 6 1912 and affiliated to the Parish Church and, at its 70th. birthday in October 1983, the special guest was Emily Sykes, aged 92. Although they met once a month their meetings were infrequently mentioned in the local paper and these were often just a few lines. In July 1921 a public tea was promoted and given by the Mothers’ Union and held in the Church School. The objective was to raise funds for the renovation of the Parish Church. The evening was spent in the grounds of Fairfield, courtesy of Mrs. Floyd, with games and competitions. In August 1922, members under the leadership of the president, Mrs.Floyd, went on an outing to Ripon and Fountains Abbey.

At the December meeting in 1924 they were entertained to a lantern lecture illustrating the work of the Mothers’ Union in different parts of the world. The next report was March 1928 when the services in connection with the Parish Church were conducted by the vicar, Rev.H.Hind. The address was titled ‘ Mothers of the Canadian Prairies.’ Three months later they had their annual outing visiting Ripon, Fountains Abbey and Knaresborough. In February 1929 they held a cake and Apron sale. That same year they held a Winter Sale which took place in the National schoolroom. There were lots of stalls , a public tea plus entertainment. Annual outings were very much a feature of the organisation and, in 1930, 30 members went on an excursion to Harrogate and Knaresborough. In 1947 they went to Rhyl and the following year in June they visited Llandudno in one of Messrs. Castles 33-seater coaches.

A service was held in April 1949  for the declaration of the new Mothers’ Union banner with the service being taken by Rev.S.Black. He said that the Netherthong branch of the Mothers’ Union was founded on July 6 1912 by the late Mrs. J.Peel Floyd. 40 members were enrolled at the first meeting and six were still living – Mrs.Hoyle, Mrs.Taylor, Mrs.Albert Wimpenny, Mrs.Arthur Wimpenny, Mrs. Knutton and Mrs. Tom Wood. The first of the four ladies were still attached to the branch. The next report was in October 1950 when their meeting took the form of a Curtain Fund. Mrs. Gledhill gave a cinema show of Whitby and the Gower as well as the recent school concert.

 At the AGM held in May 1974, Mrs. M. Capstick, the enrolling member, welcomed everybody and Mrs. E. Hincliffe, the secretary and treasurer, gave her report. A small committee were formed to be responsible for various duties and they were : Mrs. M.Capstick, enrolling member ; Mrs. Hinchliffe, treasurer and secretary ; Mrs. K. Woffenden, Mrs. D. Horncastle and Mrs. I. James , refreshment committee ; Mrs. J.Rothwell, flowers and cards ; Mrs. J. Jarvis  ; Mrs. S. Gledhill, Mothers Union representative on the Parish Council Committee. The next report wasn’t until 1976 when the AGM was held in January. Mrs. Jarvis was appointed Enrolling Member, Mrs. Hinchliffe retained the post of secretary with Mrs. Rothwell becoming the treasurer. The committee members elected were Mrs. B. Taylor, Mrs. R. McKenna and Mrs. M. Wilson. There were no reports for 1977 and 1978.

There were 30 members at the March 1979 meeting when Mr. Aubrook gave a slide show illustrating the history of toys. He was thanked by Mrs. M.Jones and the tea hostesses were Mrs. M.Taylor and Mrs. B.taylor.

Deanhouse – a hamlet that shows the changes of time

  In April 1973 the Holmfirth Express printed two articles titled ‘A brief history of Deanhouse – a hamlet that shows the changes of time.’ It  was written by Eileen Williams, who was the secretary of Holmfirth Civic Society. It is superbly researched and, as Deanhouse features throughout the history of Netherthong, it is a valuable addition to this web site. With acknowledgements to Eileen.

” Few hamlets in the West Riding can show the changes of time as clearly as Deanhouse. It now comprises two separate entities, on the one hand are the neat rows of modern dwellings, while barely a stone’s throw away, via a ginnel passing the 18th.C. Wesleyan Chapel, a cluster of 17th. and 18th. cottages still survive – one bearing a date-stone marked 1698 above the door. Deanhouse Mills standing just below give their evidence of the Industrial Revolution.

  Earliest traced record of Deanhouse is given in the Poll-Tax of 1379 in the Haneley ( Honley ) section which included a Johanne Dean whose homestead sited in the modernised section was to become Deanhouse. Little is known about him but he grew his own corn, taking it to Honley Mill to grind. 200 years later in 1569, John Beaumont, a husbandman of Deynhouse, bought land from the Stapletons of Honley and appeared to be thriving. Beaumonts remained at Deanhouse until 1675 when Abraham Beaumont sold to Joseph Armitage. From Armitage the property passed to a Woodhead, a Wilkinson and then Sir John Lister Kaye  spanning the years to 1763 when Godfrey Berry bought ‘ Deanhouse and other lands at Honley for £400.

  In the latter half of the 18th.C , Deanhouse was a very small community of farmers, clothiers and handloom weavers. They were among the first of the followers of John Wesley and Methodism and they built their own chapel in1769. In 1772, John Wesley visited the chapel but had to walk from Hagg. A Mrs. Dinah Bates accompanied him back to Hagg and she was a noted Leech-woman, held in deep respect for the curing of ailments. The panorama of the Deanhouse Valley was then unbroken by the Deanhouse Millwhich was built some years later. The brook into which three streams converged flowed unsullied through woods and pasture land. Above it the bridle path, now known as Haigh Lane, led directly to the Chapel skirting a two-storied double fronted dwelling with a substantial barn, presumably a farmhouse, now the Cricketer’s Arms.The four weavers’ cottages stood at the brow of the bridle path while below them was a drinking trough for the horses. Behind these weavers’ cottages was a fold with smaller cottages, one of which still carries the date stone of 1698 above the door.

  It is recorded that in 1798, Nathaniel Berry of Deanhouse was a Constable and a church warden of Honley. In 1838 the Deanhouse passed to Joseph, Ben and John Eastwood the family then connected with the mill. Joseph Eastwood and Sons being recorded as fulling millers. By 1838 a John Jordan had taken over the scribbling and fulling while Joseph Eastwood and his brothers were then known as woolen merchants.

  At that time there was no record of an inn in Deanhouse but an unnamed beerhouse was listed in 1853. As farmhouses in those days often brewed and sold beer as a sideline, the conversion of farmhouse to inn, first known as ‘The Blazing Rag’ seems to have been a gradual one. While officially the Cricketers today, it is still known locally as ‘The Rag’. May 1860 brought about the most significant change to the old Deanhouse community when the house and grounds carrying the name of the hamlet was conveyed from the Eastwood family to the Guardians of the Huddersfield Union as a site for a new Workhouse.’

The second article dealt with the rise and decline of the dreaded workhouse of Deanhouse. I have a chapter covering the  the Workhouse in detail so I have just pulled a few interesting items from her report.

‘ The first inmates were admitted at the beginning of September 1862. Before the end of the month a boy named Thomas Clough absconded and was found drowned near Huddersfield the same day. No regrets or mention of an inquiry was made in the minutes. The following year, in September 1863, the list of absconders over the boundary wall was proving a worry and included a Sarah Jane Hobson who had escaped taking her three children with her to Honley, one man took his workhouse clothing with him and a young female got over the wall for an immoral purpose. As a result a higher boundary wall was built at a cost of £150.’


Deanhouse Workhouse 1916 to 1968

The second part of the history of the Deanhouse Workhouse covers the period from 1916 to the closure of St.Mary’s Hospital in 1968.

 In January 1916 the master presented his half yearly report to the Board of Guardians. He said that large portions of the Institution had been painted but more still needed painting and plastering and the exterior also required attention. He reported that the gas supply had failed on several occasions and  asked the committee to condemn the present lavatory basins and replace them with modern pans.

In May of the same year the Board approved that the wages of J.Settle, engineer, be increased from 31/- to 34/- a week with leave on alternate Sundays. Mr. Froggatt, the handyman, received an increase from 27/- to 30/-.

1917. In September the Board of Guardians agreed to increase the salary of Dr. Smailes, the medical doctor at Deanhouse , from £70 to £100. The half-yearly report of the Master said that he had considerable trouble evolving a dietary which is within the limits of bread, meat and sugar suggested by the Food Controller and had been forced to introduce oatmeal gruel into the breakfast dietary. But in view of the state of world events , he thought the committee would find the diet had been satisfying if not as varied as usual.

In November 1918 about a dozen blind inmates were entertained by Cllr. J.Sykes and Mr. G.Batley. A most enjoyable time was spent and, in spite of the restrictions, there was a “ good spread “.

 Dr. Smalles presented Mr. & Mrs. Rowbotham, the retiring Master and Matron, in April 1919 with a Queen Anne tea service which had been subscribed to by all the staff and friends.

 The Christmas Day celebrations were said by everyone to have been one of the best ever- Mr. Settle , the engineer, said that it was the 25th. time he had attended.

Through the energies of Mr. Lodge and Mr. Beaumont, a concert was given in February 1920 under the direction of F.Whitely. At the Board of Guardians meeting in October , the Deanhouse Committee minutes were read in which they recommended that thanks be given to Mr.Beaumont for providing 48 patients with a charabanc trip. The resignations of Mr. & Mrs. Hill, the porter-book-keeper and the porteress- laundress were received as well as the resignation of Leah the cook. After discussions the Board accepted the resignations.  In the same month the inmates were entertained by Mr. P. Sandford’s party . The concert was highly successful and, as a bonus, chocolates and sweets were supplied to all patients. At the Guardians meeting in December, the Board discussed a proposal for the erection of a nurses home at the Institution. The estimate was £12,000 and after lots of discussion and concern about the cost it was agreed to delay the matter for 12 months.

Christmas day was a very special occasion as it marked the starting of the electric lighting installations. It consisted of a Crossley 23 brake horsepowerengine to run an electric light  plant providing for 300 lights. Mr.Broadbent was asked to start the engine and switch on the lights and he christened the new engine ‘Betty’ after the name of the daughter of the master of the Institution, Mr.Beavis. The normal Christmas activities for the inmates started at 7.30 with breakfast after which the wards were visited and fruit, sweets and tobacco were issued. Dinner was at 12 and was presided over by some of the Guardians and their friends and was followed by games and entertainment. Mr.Tom Bamforth, a patient, said the day was one of the best within his recollection and the food was of first order, beautifully cooked and well served. A  concert was given at the Institution on February 2 by ‘The Middles’ a male voice concert party from Meltham.The first reported meeting of the Board of Guardians of that year was in March  and the Deanhouse  Committee’s minutes showed that the number of inmates at the start of the year was 177 compared to 163 for the same time the previous year. Considering the large number of weak-minded patients the fact that no restraint or punishment had been necessary was deemed highly satisfactory by the Board.

The inmates were entertained in April 1921 to a concert given the Huddersfield Tramwayman’s Concert Party. The reported wrote that due to the length of the programme the encores were limited.

Several months later in  August  , members of the two House committees of the Huddersfield Board of Guardians ( Crosland Moor and Deanhouse ) played bowls on the tennis court at Deanhouse for the Silver Rose Bowl trophy which had been offered by Miss Siddon several years before. Deanhouse had won the trophy for the last three years but this time Crosland were the victors by 373 points to 363.  The following month 92 members of the Institution plus 10 officials and 6 members of the Board had an enjoyable outing. They were conveyed in 5 motor coaches to Marsden and went to the Liberal Club for tea after which they were entertained by local artistes. In October it was found that the disease of smallpox was prevalent in the  Workhouse and this had caused a great deal of alarm. The Institution was chiefly used for the very aged, the imbeciles and the hospital patients with a total in residence of 180 people and staff and, after the presence of the disease was discovered, an investigation showed that 8 inmates, 7 men and 1 woman, were affected.  As soon as the disease was found all visiting was stopped and extensive vaccination and re-vaccination was carried out. Because of the number of people who had been in contact with the Institution,  they were all advised to be vaccinated immediately. No obvious cause for the outbreak was ever found.

In January 1922 the Board of Guardians Deanhouse Committee agreed to open the Institution for visitors subject to the approval of the medical officer. Later in the year in August, thanks to the kindness of Miss Seddon, 130 patients, staff and Guardians had an enjoyable day out. A total of 7 charabancs took them to Fryston Hall at Pontefract. They had a substantial meal on arrival and were given tobacco, cigarettes and pipes for the smokers and sweets for the women and non- smokers. At 4.30 they were fed again and sat down to an excellent tea. The patients who couldn’t make the trip due to sickness or infirmity were not forgotten and were supplied with chicken, beef, tongue and jelly and custard.The Deanhouse Committee met in September and agreed that payments for work involved in the extermination of rats in the Institution be left with the Master to agree with the man concerned. They met again in December to discuss the quality of the accomodation for the nurses. Some of the nurses were sleeping 6 to a room and many of those rooms were like prisons which was why, all over the country, Deanhouse was being boycotted by nurses. It was agreed that the question of accomodation would be considered further. Near the end of the month a meeting of the full Board of Guardians discussed the future of the Institute. Among the items was the movement of the whole management structure to Crosland and another idea was to build an extension such as a new wing. A special sub- committee would be formed.

To finish off the year they had a great Christmas party with lots of food and music. Mr.J.Lodge, who was chairman of the Deanhouse Committee, presided and Tom Bamforth, one of the inmates, moved a vote of thanks which was seconded by John Morley, another inmate. Mr.E.A.Beavis was the Master.

1923 started off with 2 concerts in February, the first was by the Holmfirth ” Merry Makers ” followed a few weeks later by the Crosland Moor United Hand Bell Ringers. There was a great feeling of loss when the Board of Guardians reported in June the death of Miss Siddon who had been a member of the Board for 41 years with specific responsibilty for Deanhouse and had been chairman for a long time.

The Hospital Day was celebrated on Saturday, August 18, 1923 with a Procession and a Fancy Dress Parade plus a Public Tea and  Grand Gala. The attractions included an Aunt Sally,Kicking Dolly, hoopla, coconut shies, pony rides and top of the bill was Prof.T.McMenemy a ventriloquist. It was a great day and a profit of £30 was made.

In October of the same year, Mr.& Mrs. Beavis, who had been Master and Matron since March 1919, left to take up a similar appointment at Crosland Moor Institute

 After many discussions the Board of Guardians gave formal approval for the enlargement of the present building occupied by the nurses but it wasn’t until July 17th. 1924 that the work was finally completed. On that date in the presence of members and officials of the Board of Guardians, the nurses’ home, which had been added to the Institution, was officially opened by Mr.J.Lodge, chairman of the Deanhouse Committee. The scheme had been carried out from plans prepared by J.Ainley, architect, and provision had been made for accomodation for 23 nurses. On the ground floor there was a large dining room and sitting room. It had been furnished throughout by Shaw’s of Holmfirth and other work was carried out by :  Mallinson & Son of Lockwood – mason’s work; carpentry and joinery by Batley & Sons, Netherthong ; plumbing, glazing and electrics by E. Rayner of Milnsbridge ; plastering by Oldfield Bros. Honley and the painting was done by W. Holroyd, Huddersfield. J.Dyson of Holmfirth was the concreter, T.Allison of Milnsbridge were the slaters and, last but not least, the heating engineers were H.Rayner & Sons. of Huddersfield.  Not suprisingly there were lots of speeches and Mr.Ainley, on behalf of the contractors and himself, presented Mr.Lodge with a gold key to open the door of the nurses home. The key was inscribed ” Presented to James Lodge Esq. on the opening of the Nurses ‘ Home, Deanhouse Institution on July 17th, 1924. After the ceremonial opening all the assembled company sat down for tea.

In December 1923, the Board of Guardians discussed the efficiency of having a single master for Crosland and Deanhouse and it was agreed to try the idea for a probationary period. Deanhouse would be treated as a secondary part of Crosland Moor.

A social evening in May 1924 was enjoyed by officials and staff when they were entertained to supper by the newly appointed Master and Matron, Mr.& Mrs. H.Johnson. After supper they had musical items, recitations and dancing.

The Christmas Day celebrations in 1924 maintained the high standards and Mr.& Mrs. H. Johnson, the Master & Matron, presided over the festivities with 240 patients in residence.

At the end of January 1925 a fire broke out at the Institution. At about 1.30a.m. an inmate discovered that a building used as a store room adjoining the main block was on fire. The Institute buzzer was sounded and the Huddersfield Corporation Fire Brigade was summoned. The staff set to work using fire-extinguishers and when the Fire Engine ” Wilfred Dawson ” reached the scene about 15 minutes later, it was found that a quantity of hay in the loft was burning.The Holmfirth Fire Brigade also attended and in a short time the fire was extinguished and the damage which was confined to the roof of the building was estimated at £100 but covered by insurance. The fire was discussed at the Holmfirth District Council meeting regarding  the response time of the Holmfirth Brigade and the capability of its engine.

At the Board of Guardians meeting in March, Mr.Wraith, the district auditor appointed by the Ministry of Health, attended to hear the views of members on his decision to charge individual members of the Board in respect of Christmas dinners eaten by them at Poor Law Institutions on Christmas Day 1923. He objected to an item of £1 7s 11d in respect to Deanhouse which provoked a great deal of discussion, with the auditor adamant that it was illegal expenditure , that he had no discretion and that he must disallow what could not be supported in law.The matter rumbled on and was discussed again at the Board’s meeting in September. The question of ” free food “for the Guardians who had helped at the Christmas festivities and which the District Auditor had taken exception to, had been referred to the Ministry to approve payment.  They said that on this occasion they would approve the amount of £5 12s 5d made by the Board in respect of meals provided to members who visited Institutions at Crosland Moor and Deanhouse on Christmas 1924. The sanction was given on the understanding that no further charges of a similar kind would appear on the accounts.

 A youth, who was employed at Deanhouse Poor Law Institution, was charged with stealing a silver watch and gold chain, valued at £5, the property of a man who had been an inmate. When the man had been admitted he was in possession of the items but when he was discharged he no longer had them and his relatives reported the loss to the Guardians and the police. The youth was seen and at first denied knowledge of the stolen property but later admitted he had stolen them. At Holmfirth Police Court he pleaded guilty and elected to be dealt with summarily. The Guardians asked that the Court to exercise clemency and put him on probation and as a result he was discharged on the undertaking that he would be on good behaviour for 12 months.

Mr. Armstrong and a party from Meltham visited the Institution in October and gave a concert of quartets, duets and solos. Also in October, T.Dyson gave one of his lantern slide lectures on the subject of Hardcastle Crags.

The Christmas festivities at the end of 1925 were to the usual high standard with 120lb. of pork, 120lb. of beef, 12 chickens and 140 plum puddings being consumed under the watchful eye of the Master and Matron, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. Music was by the Holme Silver Band.

In their first meeting of 1926, the Board of Guardians agreed to the installation of a wireless system at a cost of £92 17s.

The inmates were entertained twice in December. The first was a lantern lecture given by T.Dyson on the Yorkshire Moors and Dales using 100 lantern views lent by the L.N.E. Railway Company.  The second followed on a week later and was a musical entertainment by members and friends of Netherthong Parish Church Mothers’ Union.

The Christmas treat maintained its high standards with the Institution beautifully decorated and masses of food. The Mayor and Mayoress of Huddersfield paid a visit.

A motion at the January 1927 meeting of the Board of Guardians stated ; ”  That his Board  appoint a committee to consider a report on the advisability of disposing of the Deanhouse Institution to one or other of the Mental Hospital Boards or other similar authority as a mental hospital and thus enable the Board to concentrate the administration at Crosland Moor. ” It was discussed and approved.

The Huddersfield & District Band of Hope Union gave a lantern display and concert in March to the inmates. It was directed by J.Pitchforth with views of London plus humorous slides. Recitations and dances were given by  Miss Hilda Hawkyard and Lily May with Miss Hilda Townsend on piano. The latter part of the programme was sustained by a party of girls from Deighton United Methodist Church who were known as The Merry Coasters. A vote of thanks was proposed by one of the inmates and seconded by the master, Mr.Johnson.

At the Board of Guardians meeting in September a letter was read out informing the committee that the late Mrs. Amelia Benderlow of Dalton had given the Guardians a sum of £100 to be used for the supply of comforts for the inmates of Deanhouse Institution.

Mr.T.Dyson and party paid one of his regular visits in October and gave a lantern slide lecture entitled ” The message of the flowers ” and the show finished with a large selection of Hymns.

Lindley Liberal Club visited the Institution in December and gave a pleasing programme to the inmates. A carol party from the WMC got the Christmas celebrations off to a good start and after the breakfast, super dinner and distibution of gifts, the Merrymakers rounded off the day with a rousing concert.

Mr.Dyson and friends visited in February 1928 and gave an entertaining lantern slide show to the residents.

At the February meeting in 1928 of the Board of Guardians, the Deanhouse Committee recommended that a 1st. class man be appointed as charge- house attendant. He should hold the medico- psychological certificate, have musical ability and be able to play the piano. The motion was approved. The committee had received a report by the Medical Officer, Dr. Smailes, and the Master, Mr.F.Johnson, on the accomodation of the Institution, the nursing and accomodation of male patients in the hospital and the employment, recreation and staffing of male patients. The report stated there were 269 beds in the Institution and there was sufficient room for 231. It was now 2.5 years since the experiment of nursing male patients by male staff had been put into operation and it had proved satisfactory in spite of inexperienced attendants being appointed. The employment scheme had proved beneficial to the inmates and to the Institution. The garden, poultry, roads and paths, firewood, painting and general cleaning of the Institution kept the whole of the more-or-less able men fully employed. Cricket, football and walks provided adequate out-door recreation and concerts were a welcome diversion.  Of the nine male attendants at present employed, seven were temporary and these  latter were taken on from unemployed men who were working on the land here or from Labour Exchanges. None of them had any previous experience and this fact emphasised the need for a charge house attendant.

Cricket was on the menu again in July 1928 when the Holmfirth Group of Toc H paid a visit to the Institution to fulfill a cricket engagement against  a team selected from the inmates.The visitors batted first and scored 96. Jones and Webster opened the innings for the Institution but Jones was run out having only scored one run. Webster did much better reaching 19 but the innings closed at 71.

They had another match later in the month against a team representing the 1510 Coronation Lodge R.A.O.B. Honley. The Institute batted first and in spite of Epton top scoring with 39 could only avhieve 63. The visitors scored 77 with Richardson taking 6 wickets. Later in the year in October the same group showed their versatility by giving a well received concert.

Mr.& Mrs. Johnson, the Master and Matron, were appointed in September to the Harton Poor Law Institution under the South Shields Union.

On Christmas morning  two parties of carol singers traversed the Netherthong district. The WMC, conducted by H.Preston, stopped and sang on 29 occasions. The other group was the Male Voice Choir who had a great time and raised funds for their choir. The Holme and Hinchliffe bands also visited the area and every group paid a visit to the Institution.

1929.  In 1925 it appeared that the question of Board members having “free meals ” when helping at the Institutions had been resolved but it raised its head again four years later. At their meeting in March the Huddersfield Board of Guardians were flustered when the District Auditor asked why the Guardians had shared the Christmas festivities of the Deanhouse inmates and why they should not be surcharged for the cost of their entertainment. The Guardians are not allowed to feed at the ratepayers expense. 41 Guardians had visited Crosland Moor and others had visited Deanhouse and all had had dinner and tea. It had got rather confusing and bitter as some of the Guardians who didn’t have dinner,  had received notices of surcharge and a few who “ went the whole hog “ got no notice at all. The sums involved amounted to £6 11s. 8d. and £1 7s. 11d. The outcome was never reported !

The Board of Guardians announced in February 1929 that Mr. &.Mrs. F.Lewis, the Master and Matron at Berkhampstead Institution had been  appointed to the same roles at Deanhouse. They replaced Mr.& Mrs. Steadman who had moved to Crosland Moor. Mr.J.Settle of Miry Green who had been employed at the Institute as an engineer died the following month. He had had a honorary connection with the Sons of Temperance, was one of the trustees of the Wesleyan Chapel and had been caretaker for a period. In July members of the Honley Group of Toc H visited and played a game of cricket against a team composed of attendants and inmates.The Institute batted first and scored 92 runs but Toc H passed this total for the loss of only two wickets.

The Christmas day celebrations  involved  a visit by the Mayor & Mayoress of Huddersfield, Alderman & Mrs. Priest. They were welcomed by the Master and Matron, Mr.& Mrs. Lewis. The superb dinner was followed by lots of speeches and thanks and the evening’s entertainment was provided by the Merrymakers.

The first entertainment for the inmates in 1930 was in February when the Netherthong Operatic Society visited and gave several selections to an appreciative audience.

April 1930 was a a very important date when the Board of Guardians, which had been formed in 1834 and had always been unpopular performing a very difficult duty, ceased to exist as a local public body. A special valedictory dinner was held for its members. It was replaced by the new Public Assistance Committee.

June saw the return of cricket when a team from the R.A.O.B. Coronation Lodge Honley narrowly beat the Institution by 93 runs to 82.

The able-bodied inmates at the Institution had a very enjoyable outing in July visiting Southport accompanied by Mr. W. Stephenson, the vice-chairman of the Institute committee and the Master & Matron. The party travelled in 6 motor vehicles, 3 for the men and 3 for the women. Several months later Mr.Dyson gave a lantern slide lecture of a trip to Southport with illustrated slides which were  of particular interest as the inmates had visited many of the places shown  during their earlier outing.

The Patients Sports Day was held in August with a full programme including flat races, potato sack races, egg and spoon, tug-of-war and throwing the cricket ball . The tug-of-war was most popular with 15 nurses and female officers competing against 11 male officers which was finally won by the men. The proceedings were organised by the Master & Matron, Mr.& Mrs. C.Billington and tea was served on the sports ground. Later in the year, Mr.T.Dyson gave a lantern show titled – Views of North Wales. The patients were entertained in October with a concert by Mr.A.Taylor’s Concert Party from Meltham consisting of vocal and instrumental items. The next month St.Georges ( Brockholes ) children’s concert party  visited on Guy Fawkes Day and presented a play ” The Enchanted Forest “. There was even more entertainment during that month when the Male Voice Choir visited and, during the interval, went round the infirmary wards and sang for the bed-ridden patients who had not been able to attend the concert. At the end of the month there was a concert presented by Moldgreen Congregational Church Married Ladies Party organised by Mrs. George Brown. The show was a great success and patients were amused by the Party of Midgets and the Yorkshire dialect was very much in evidence.

The first entertainment for the inmates in December was a concert organised by the Meltham “Lyric ” Male Voice Quartette accompanied by Mr.Herbert Downes. The humorous element was provided by John Drake, the once-champion Yorkshire humorist from Meltham. The penultimate treat of the year was for the deaf, dumb and blind patients who were entertained to a tea arranged by Mr.& Mrs.Batley, through the generosity of anonymous friends. The tea was partaken in a comfortable room provided by the Master & Matron and was followed by an excellent concert for all the patients presented by the Speedsters Concert Party.

The hospital was beautifully decorated with holly and bunting on Christmas Day and  the Mayor of Huddersfield, Alderman T. Shires paid a visit. After a superb dinner, the patients received presents from the tree that had been donated by Mrs.Law Taylor. To round the year off, the entertainment on New Years Eve was provided by the Woodroyd Handbell Ringers.

The first entertainment in 1932 was a concert presented by the Thongs Bridge Church Married Ladies and during the interval, sweets, tobacco and cigarettes were distributed among the patients. A very successful Whist Drive and dance was held at the Hopital in February in aid of the Local Government Officers Benevolent and Orphans Fund. Over 130 people attended and music was provided by Monreve Dance Band. Mrs. C. Billington (Matron) and her staff served the refreshments and the Master was in charge of the dancing with the assistant manager running the Whist drive. Under the auspices of the Colne Valley Divisional Labour Party, a large group visited the Hospital. They were shown round everywhere and then walked to Holmfirth for tea at the Co-operative cafe.

The Hospital Sports Day for 1932 was arranged by the Master and Matron and they organised 21 events which included flat racing, egg and spoon, team races, potato races and tug-of-war. Upwards of 200 patients were entertained. The Holme Silver Prize Band played music during the day and also for dancing in the evening. Mrs.Law Taylor presented the prizes.

Several friends, resident in the Hospital, arranged an outdoor concert one afternoon in September. Music was by the Marsden Senior School Brass Band . After an interval for tea at the Wesleyan School, the inmates returned to the field for dancing. T.Dyson visited in October and gave his lantern entertainment with slides of a miscellaneous nature. Harold Atkinson of New Mill also entertained with stories and songs.

The deaf, dumb and blind patients were given an enjoyable and appetising tea in November  by Lt. Col. Sir Emmanuel Hoyle and Lady Hoyle. All the patients were presented with buns, sweets and fruits and the males received cigarettes. T.Dyson gave another of his lantern lectures in December on Christmas Hymns and their writers. He was assisted by C.Bray and T.Dufton.

Two of the early entertainments in 1933 were a concert party in February organised by Mr. F. Merritt followed in March by a T.Dyson lantern lecture on ‘Messages of Flowers’. A most unusual item was headlined ” Killing the Pigs ” by the Express.  The Huddersfield Town Council had commented at one of their meetings on the fact that pigs were being killed by the old-fashioned method at St. Mary’s Hospital. Councillor W.Scott pointed out that the Corporation abattoir at Great Northern St. was equipped with modern electrical killing instruments and he suggested that the pigs should be sent from Deanhouse to be slaughtered there. Mr.J.Barlour pointed out that the killing of pigs was not governed by the regulations of the Huddersfield area and that no action should be taken.

The Annual Sports and Field day for the patients at St.Mary’s was held in August 1933 in ideal weather and 150 patients took part. There was a full programme of 18 events and the proceedings were enhanced by the Holme Silver prize band. The outstanding events were the tug-of-war contests and the potato race. Cllr. Barlow made some pleasant remarks and his wife presented the prizes.

In October Mr.T Dyson presented one of his lantern slide shows of holiday pictures and local beauty spots.

At the end of the month the Express printed a very interesting letter .  It was entitled ” Jolly Times at St.Mary’s ” and was a message from Deanhouse Institution by someone who signed themselves C.G.

Some of my friends who possess considerable knowledge of this delightful valley of ours have not the slightest idea of where St. Mary’s really is. Now if you come up to Netherthong you cannot miss it.  It is a most lovely spot in summer or winter. One lady said she thought she might have mistaken her way and must be in Cawthorne and St.Mary’s was Cannon Hall but she had seen no swans and thus could not make out where it was. However we were able to guide her and put her right for that ancient little village of Holmfirth. There is not much chance of getting lost and you are in one of the beauty spots of the North of England. The object of these famous places is to have a home for every poor cripple, persons who have lost their sight or who have lost control over their mental powers or the use of every organ of their bodies.

St.Mary’s is governed on Communistic lines. Do not let anyone be frightened. We are much in advance of the “Red Flag “of 20 years ago. It is more like a New Haven with gardens, poultry farms, piggeries,heating appliances, cookeries and electrical machinery.All work under the principle of every man and everything working for others as well as for themselves. Also everty trade and profession are represented here at some time or another, We have tinkers, tailors and skilled gardeners. In our gardens besides the ordinary things of life such as potatoes, onions, cabbages, turnips etc we go in for salads of all kinds, herbs, tomato culture and flowering plants. We have a little mission church or chapel in which some of the ablest preachers in the district visit. We have some delightful times in the wireless and occasionally friends from Deanhouse and other parts of the district will come to entertain us.”

In November the inmates were treated to a Firework Display  on the Saturday and on the following Monday received a visit from the Berry Brow Wesleyan Choir. The final entertainment of the month was a lantern slide show by T.Dyson entitled Christmas hymns. The Christmas festivities were up to their normal high standard and the Mayor and Mayoress of Huddersfield, Alderman and Mrs. A. Hirst, paid a visit.

The first show of 1934 was in February  by F.L.Merritt and his concert party who entertained both staff and patients. This was followed in March by a concert by Mr.A.Taylor and party from Meltham. In the same month they were treated to a lantern slide show on Bonnie Scotland but not this time by T.Dyson. Miss Jessop was the lecturer and her address was interspersed by songs by G.Earnshaw accompanied by Miss R. Dufton on pianoforte.

August saw the Annual St. Mary’s Field Day with flat races, egg and spoon races and the ever popular tug of war. The Master and Matron, Mr. & Mrs. C. Billington presided over the events.

T.Dyson made a welcome return to St. Mary’s in October to give a lanter slide lecture titled ” A tour of Ireland “. They were entertained in November  by the Gay Girls Concert Party of Heckmonwike. The firework display had to be held on November 6 due to the very bad weather the previous day and Mr. Edwin Greenhalgh sent them a parcel of fireworks.


The Master, matron and a guard at St.Mary’s Hospital. Date ??

The first entertainment in 1936 was in March when Mr.Dyson gave a varied lantern slide show  on Yorkshire scenery, Blackpool in Winter, the Netherthong Jubilee and the School’s festival. Later the same month Mr. Nelson of Huddersfield gave a concert that was very well received. Nothing else was reported for the year but at Christmas all the patients were treated to the normal special festival feast.

A letter from Ivy Guest says that in 1937 her parents were the Master and Matron. Her father, Stanley, ran 3 local hospitals and left Deanhouse in the 1950s. He had a Jaguar car and also liked a pint so he would drive his car to the Cricketer’s Inn.

The only recorded entertainment that year was a concert by the Zion Methodist Sunday School in March.

The Christmas festivities were up to their normal standard and 226 inmates were entertained by the Male Voice Choir.

Numerous rumours in October 1938 caused a great deal of concern among the 200 inmates and their relatives because the West Riding County Council were proposing to transfer all the inmates to other Institutions. Many were going to be sent to Pontefract, Penistone, Todmorden, Clayton and others. Huddersfield Corporation owned Deanhouse Institution and for the last three years had leased it to the West Riding County Council. When the lease expired there was a dispute between the Corporation and the County Council as to the terms under which the County Council should continue to occupy the buildings ending in the County Council’s decision to evacuate the Institute. There were no further reports until December when the Holmfirth UDC reported that the patients were likely to go back to Deanhouse as negotiations between West Riding Public Assistance Committees and Huddersfield Corporation on the future of the Institution had  reached a successful conclusion.  The Institution would be repaired and when completed the patients would be taken back. It would then become a County Institution.

 The repairs must have been completely very quickly as all the residents enjoyed their normal Christmas treats.

1939. In January the West Riding County Council approved a proposal by the West Riding Assistance Committee that Deanhouse Institution should be purchased from the Huddersfield Corporation for £15,000. There had been a public outcry in 1938 because the majority of patients from Deanhouse were transferred to other institutions in different parts of the West Riding, miles away from their relatives. Previously the County Council had rented the Institution from the Corporation at a rent of £848. The Public Assistance Committee in their report said the institution was an old one, structurally in good repair but about £5,000 was needed to provide adequate heating arrangements. They were satisfied that an Institution in that part of the County was essential and recommended the purchase of the building and land at the price named.

 In September a member of the Board of Guardians stated “ It would appear that the inmates were evacuated from Deanhouse sometime in August due to a Home Office order. Friends and relatives had experienced hardship, inconvenience and expense to visit the patients at various other institutions throughout the area “ – his report concluded “ it will be the Committee’s earnest endeavour to have all the patients returned to Deanhouse as soon as the present crisis has been brought to a definite and victorious conclusion.” The above reports were taken from the Holmfirth Express but there does appear to be some confusion between the events in 1938 and 1939.

The situation must have been resolved because in November Thomas Dyson gave one of his lantern slide shows titled Shakespeare’s County – Warwick to the patients. Mr.C.Bray was the lanternist and many songs were sung including Holmfirth’s anthem. 

In December 1939 the patients of St.Mary’s Hospital spent a most enjoyable Christmas. Members of the Netherthong Male Voice Choir visited and sang carols and hymns. As usual there was a special dinner with gifts and in the evening there was a concert. On Boxing Day, the staff held their own celebrations and enjoyed various presents sent by local firms and individuals.


Male patients at a Netherthong field day 1940


The same picture as the one above but this time 8 nurses have miraculously appeared.

In October 1940 the patients at the hospital were treated to a meat tea, supper and a concert. The artistes were Mrs. J.Dixon ( soprano ), Mrs. Merritt ( elocutionist ), F.Dickinson ( bass ), E.Mortimer ( baritone ), A. Sanderson ( tenor ) and the Male Voice Quartette. Tobacco, cigarettes and sweets were handed round to about 60 guests.

In spite of the restrictions  due to the war the patients at the hospital enjoyed the Christmas festivities. There was no pork or poultry available but they still had a good meal. In place of a concert they were entertained by gramophone records and the wireless. The nurses had their dinner on Boxing Day.

The following photograph  shows many of the nurses at the hospital – it is undated but I suspect it must be circa 1940s.

Nursing staff - date unknown
Nursing staff – date unknown

In July 1941, 60 old women from a bombed-out convalescent home on the coast were sent to the Institution. Among them was 97 years old Mrs.Mary Giese with curly white hair, rosy cheeks, twinkling eyes and a keen sense of humour. She had been bombed-out twice but very quickly won the hearts of everyone at Deanhouse.

The old folk at the Hospital were treated in June 1942 to a concert by the  “ Oh Kay Gang “. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the show and among those present were Mr. and Mrs. S.Pugh , the Master and Matron.

 In the same month Mary Wimpenny aged 82 years passed away peacefully at the hospital.

In February the patients were entertained by the Four H’s Trombone Quartet directed by Mr.W.Kay.

The “Balt Cygnet ” Scheme was the first labour scheme which marked the influx of DPs ( displaced persons ) into Britain, mainly from various eastern European countries.The main purpose of this plan was to relieve the acute shortage of nursing and domestic staff in hospitals and sanitoria. Initially recruitment was limited to single women , between 20-40 years old, coming from the Baltic States  under the condition that they could not change employment without the permission of the Ministry of Labour. The first recruits arrived in mid- October and Huddersfield was among the first places to receive its share. In 1947 many more came to the area and 15 went to St.Mary’s Hospital and the Holme Valley Hospital.  The term “Cygnet ” symbolised ” a spotless white femininity ” and to ensure good assimilation and acceptance, a desirable and social background were key factors. They used every opportunity to present themselves well and six Estonian war orderlies were involved in a staff pantomime called ” Babes in the Wood ” which was presented to the immobile elderly patients at St. Mary’s at Christmas 1947. A special feature was the dancing of the Estonian workers who appeared in their national costume. An excerpt from the St.Mary’s Hospital staff records shows the names of the Estonian persons and the dates they started and left their jobs. e.g. Lia Astrid Sormus started in 5/2/47 and left in 8/4/49. The 1948 Christmas festivities followed the normal pattern with plenty of meat, plum pudding , cake and mince pies. On the  Wednesday prior to Christmas the choirs of the Meltham Nonconformist Churches visited and sang carols to the patients. In the new year the staff held their annual dance.

An ” Estonian ” wedding was held in the village in March 1949. It was attended by 30 Estonian guests some of whom were colleagues from St.Mary’s and Holme Valley hospitals plus workers from Washpit Mills with  the reception being  held in its canteen.

This information is taken from a superb document written by Frank Grombar titled ” Brief Encounters : Baltic Hospital Workers in and around Huddersfield 1946-1951″. It can be found on the net.

May 1949 was a very special occasion for Mr.C.Hobson, a patient in No.8 Ward, as it was the first time in two years that he had been out into the open air. He and five other patients were taken by taxi on a half-day trip round New Mill, Penistone and Hade Edge. All the six patients were able to afford the 10/- which was the cost of the trip and thought it was money well spent after such a long time in the hospital. Most of the other patients did not have enough money to afford such trips. Mr.J. Whittaker, the male nurse in charge of Wards 8 & 9, was trying to get help from some philanthropic organisation. Holmfirth British Legion offered to meet the expenses of ex-Servicemen.

In September  the Hospital Clerk , Mrs.Robertson, was fined by Holmfirth Magistrate’s  Court for fraudulent conversion. Old Age Pensions money had not been paid over to bed-ridden patients. There were 6 summonses totalling £12 5s and after the Chairman ( Major Brian Tinker ) had announced that the Magistrates had found the case proved, Mrs.Roberstson asked for a further 8 cases totalling £9 10s to be taken into consideration. A fine of £5 was imposed on each of the six cases with witness costs of £1 1s 2d and she was also ordered to make restitution of the amount of £12 5s. The Express devoted 3 columns with a detailed report of the case. In May 1950, members of the Holmfirth Inner Wheel Club entertained 19 patients to a bus outing to Wharfedale and also thanked the two nurses who accompanied them.

 In 1951 the death occurred at the  Hospital of Miss Mary Mallinson, daughter of the late Mr. & Mrs. John Mallinson. She was 90 years old and the oldest lady in the village and had been closely connected with the Parish Church. Because of the prevalence of influenza among the staff in February, a ban was imposed on visitors for three days. At that time the number of staff suffering had risen from15 % to 20%. It was also discovered that there were six fresh cases in one of the wards. In January of that year , following on from complaints made by visitors  regarding the difficulties of obtaining transport to the hospital, the Huddersfield & District Hospital Management Committee discussed the matter. They decided to support an application to the Traffic Commissioners for the institution of an additional bus service.

In December 1953 the patients were entertained over Christmas by several local choirs. The Moorland Singers turned up on Christmas Day and sang carols as dinner was served by members of the house committee. In the evening there was a film show of the Coronation and the Queen’s visit to Edinburgh.

The festivities for the patients of the hospital in December 1955 were spread over a long period . They were entertained by the Huddersfield Co-op choir, Holme Silver band, Meltham Baptist Choir, Netherthong Church Choir, Linthwaite Church Choir and Slaithwaite Church Choir. On Christmas morning they were visited by Father Xmas and entertained by the Moorland Singers. Relatives and visitors were welcomed by Miss Smith, Matron, and Mr.A.Stangroom, secretary.

The Chairmen of Holmfirth, Meltham and Colne Valley District Councils paid a visit to the hospital on Christmas Day 1966. They were received by the Matron, Miss M.A.Smith and the Assistant Matron, Miss E.Nesbitt. Turkeys on each of the wards were carved by the visitors and all the patients received a gift. The entertainment was by the Moorland Singers. 

A report in the new look Holmfirth Express stated that, on Tuesday 16th. 1968 ,  Deanhouse Hospital, St. Marys, would close and the 53 patients  transferred to other hospitals in the surrounding areas. It added that the future of the premises would be decided by the Regional Hospital Board. Alfred Stangroom, who lived in the Lodge at the hospital and had been the hospital secretary for 16 years, died aged 55. He had also been the treasurer of the Parish Church and one time chairman of the Holme Valley Scouts.

In March 11 members of the staff of the now closed hospital received awards for long service as hospital employees. All had completed 25 years service of which a minimum of 10 years had been worked in the Huddersfield Group of Hospitals. The awardees were Miss M.A.Smith ( Matron ), Misses N.Smith, C.Bray and E.Beever ( State Enrolled Nurses ), Miss A.Winter( Enrolled Nurse ), Mrs.M.Leach ( dressmaker ), Mrs.A.Brooke ( housemaid ), the late Mr.A.Stangroom ( Hospital Secretary ), Mr.W.Rhodes ( deputy Hospital Secretary ), Mr.D.North ( barber ) and Mr.H.Taylor ( porter).T he Express reported in August – ‘ the former patients of the late Dr. Brian de la Harpe Meyer will be pleased to know that the teal seat which was presented to the hospital in his memory has now been handed over to the Holmfirth UDC and placed in a new position at the junction of Victoria Street and Huddersfield Road in Holmfirth.’

On November 1st. 1968, the Secretary of State for Social Services sold the buildings and the land to B.Dunford of Flockton  for £8500. He started work straightaway  demolishing all the buildings except for the Lodge and the first people to move in said that by 1970, 2 new houses had been built and all the  demolishment was  completed the same year with  the estate finished by  1974. The Lodge, which had been  semi-detached with one half the accomodation for the Master and Matron and the other half for the Engineer, was converted into one residence and remains so to this day.

  This brought to an end over 100 years of an Institution that had been a key factor in the life and times of Deanhouse and Netherthong residents.

Arthur Sanderson- Mr.Music

Arthur Sanderson  achieved fame in the village as the founder of the Male Voice Choir and was its conductor throughout its existence as well as being the conductor of the choir at All Saint’s Church. He also composed music and  deserves the title of Mr. Music.

He was born on April 28 1904 at Lower Hagg Farm ( now a private residence ) and was the youngest of 12 children. His father was also called  Arthur and he was born on March 13 1856.  After moving from Hagg ( date uncertain ), the family lived in a house opposite the Zion Chapel and they were definately there in 1907. Arthur went  to  school in Netherthong but there is no record of when he left. He was employed , like so many others in the village, at Deanhouse Mills and at one period worked in the dyeing department. He married Rachel Porter on September 6 1939 at Netherthong either at the Chapel or the Parish Church. He died on July 7 1987 and was buried at the Parish Church.

I have been very fortunate to have given a lot of information and photographs from his son John Sanderson.

As I mentioned above he was the youngest of 12 children – his father was Arthur and his mother was called Jane.  His brothers and sisters were, in order of birth, Herbert born September 14 1878  : Sarah Eliza born December 10 1879  : Brook born September 1881 : Harriet Hannah born June 19 1884 : Clara Jane born April 6 1886 : Harold born October 21 1887 : Emily Ann born September 29 1889 : Herman born October 2 1892  : Edith Annie born November 30 1894 : Ethel Marion born February 15 1896 : Florence Gertrude born December 23 1897.  Apparently it was the custom in those days that daughters were given two christian names at birth whereas the sons were only given one. Arthur Sanderson is seen standing in his garden in the early 1900s.

Arthur Sanderson, born 1856, in his garden in 1900s.
Arthur Sanderson, born 1856, in his garden in 1900s.

The photograph below shows a number of the Sanderson family outside their house which was opposite the Zion Church.They are from l to r  – Herbert, Florence Gertrude, Edith Annie, Arthur ( father ), Emily Ann, Ethel Manon and ? .In the front is a very young ( 3years old ) Arthur.

A family photograph of the Sandersons in 1907 in their house opposite the Zion Church with a very young Arthur in the front.
A family photograph of the Sandersons in 1907 in their house opposite the Zion Church with a very young Arthur in the front.


 Like many of his friends he joined the local scout group and the photograph below was taken in 1916 aged 12.

Arthur in his scout's uniform 1916.
Arthur in his scout’s uniform 1916.

He was also a keen sportsman and played football for the Netherthong A.F.C. He started with the Argyles, a youth team, but later progressed to the senior village team. In the first photograph he is seated first left on the bottom row.

Argyle Football Club.
Argyle Football Club.

In the next photograph, note the change of shirt colour, he is seated in the front row , second from the left.

Netherthong A.F.C. in striped shirts
Netherthong A.F.C. in striped shirts

The following photograph of 4 young men on a mission makes one wander exactly what they are up to. The one on the left  has the shears but unfortunately the bottom of the photograph was cropped so  one can only guess that the other three had rakes. They are from l to r : Harold Wimpenny, Arthur Sanderson, George Charlesworth and Arthur Buckley.

4 men on a mission.
4 men on a mission.


He formed the Netherthong Male Voice Choir  in 1926 when he was still only 21 but I have given the history of the Choir and all it successes a separate chapter.

In 1927 he appeared in the Netherthong production of H.M.S. Pinafore. The photograph is titled Nether Thong P.C.S.S. H.M.S.Pinafore Easter 1927 and Arthuris the sailor sitting right in the middle of the front row between two ladies.

H.M.S. PinaforeEaster 1927
H.M.S. Pinafore
Easter 1927

He was appointed choirmaster of All Saints Parish Church and took up his duties on Sunday, March 3 1929. At that time he was also a member of the Holmfirth Parish Church Choir, conductor of Netherthong Male Voice Choir, a member of Holme Valley Male Voice Choir and a principal in the Church Operatic Society.

The next photograph is of 10 very smart men all in a row for whatever reason. Difficult to date but would fall between late 1920s/early 1930s. Seven of them have been identified so from the left : Morley Mallinson, George Charlesworth, Bill Buckley, Arthur Sanderson, Gilbert Bailey, ? , Leonard Hilson, ? , ?, Harold Wimpenny.

Line of 10 men - 1920s/1930s
Line of 10 men – 1920s/1930s

His wife to be , Rachel Porter, was a member of the Holmfirth & District Amateur Operatic Society and she starred in their presentation of Our Miss Gibbs which ran from Nov 29 to Dec 3 1927. In the first photograph she is in the front row 3rd. from the left. In the second photograph she is seen in full costume and is the 2nd. from the left of the five girls.

Holmfirth & District Amateur Operatic Society - " Our Miss Gibbs " Dec 1927
Holmfirth & District Amateur Operatic Society – ” Our Miss Gibbs ” Dec 1927
" Our Miss Gibbs " Dec 1927
” Our Miss Gibbs ” Dec 1927

The photograph of Arthur shows him sitting on the steps of the War Memorial in Townsgate with one of the many cups he won with the Male Voice Choir.

Arthur sitting at the village War memorial
Arthur sitting at the village War memorial

I mentioned in the very first paragraph of this chapter that Arthur wrote music and this hymn composed by him  below is titled ” May “.


May. A hymn with words and music by Arthur Sanderson.
May. A hymn with words and music by Arthur Sanderson.


Reports of Inquests held at the Workhouse and Hospital.

It is not suprising, considering the ages and general health of the inmates/ inhabitants of the Workhouse and later on St.Mary’s Hospital, that there were a lot of deaths. Inquests were conducted by a District Coroner when it was thought that the circumstances of a death warranted a public examination. Some inquests required a jury on which occasions a foreman was elected. The procedure followed a general pattern and someone, usually a close relative, was always asked to give evidence of identification. The witnesses were normally the nurses and the Medical Officer at the hospital who had diagnosed the cause/causes of death and invariably the verdict given was in line with the medical evidence. 

In November 1882 an inquest was held at the Clothiers on the body of Edward McArdley, 62, a paper stainer, who died in the Workhouse on November 14. The coroner was Mr.Barstow. It appeared that Henry Mitchell, a mechanic, was going down Marsh Lane when he found the deceased in a very weak state. He told people who lived nearby and they attended to him until he was removed to the Workhouse by PC Battle. The deceased did not rally and died the same day in the presence of Mrs. Hinchliffe, the matron. The jury found the deceased had died of natural causes, accelerated by want of food, and exposure to the cold. 

At the end of 1910 an inquest was held into the death of Martha Hoyle, aged 67 years. She had been admitted to the Workhouse in 1893 and was classed as a harmless lunatic. She was well nourished with no signs of violence and was adjudged to have died of pneumonia.

The next record I could find was In April 1911 when the District Coroner, E.Hill, held an inquest at Deanhouse into the death of Sarah Gledhill, 80 years, who had died at the institution. She was a hawker who used to travel the district with a man known as George the Grinder. Mary Hughes, the night nurse, said Sarah had gone into the lavatory to wash and had slipped and fell forward. She was attended by Dr. Smalles who found that her right thigh was broken at the hip joint. The jury returned a verdict that her death was due to old age accelerated by the fracture.

In November 1912 an inquest had been held into the death of Mrs. Mary Broadhead, aged 93 years, at the Workhouse. She was poorly and on getting out of bed had fallen on the floor and broken her leg. The jury returned the verdict that death was due to old age accelerated by the fracture of her thigh.

An inquest was held in April 1919  into the death of J.W.Berry an aged inmate who had passed away after a seizure. He was an epileptic and was injured in a previous seizure in February.He was born in 1840 and admitted in 1898. Various members of staff and Dr. Smalles gave evidence and the verdict was given as death from natural causes.

An inquest was held in October 1923 into the death at the Institute of Elizabeth Sykes ( 50 years ) who had died suddenly. Mr.Beavis stated that the deceased, from the Lockwood district,  was a single woman who had been very ill when she  was admitted in June. Dr.Smailes said the woman had been bed- ridden and at his post mortem he had found a tumour on the brain which had brought about her death, A verdict of death by natural causes was returned, Another death occured in July 1924 when Martha Armitage, an unmarried woman, was admitted to the Institution on July 15th. and died a few days later apparently due to senile decay. The death was reported to the District Coroner who deemed that an inquest was unnecessary.

In October 1926 an inquest was conducted by the District Coroner, Mr.E.Norris into the death of an inmate, Harry Grange ( 30 years ), who died suddenly in the grounds. His mother, Mrs. Ellen Grange of Slaithwaite, said that he had been subject to fits since he was 6 years old. Charles Newell, head attendant, and F.Earnshaw, attendant, both gave evidence. Dr. W. Smailes, the Medical Officer of the Institution, said the deceased was an epilectic and that, on post-mortem, he found the epilepsy was the cause of death. The Coroner recorded a verdict that death was due to epilectic convulsions.

Mr. Norris, the District Coroner, conducted an inquest  in July 1927 on the body of Joe Morgan, aged 54 years, of Cross Road, Huddersfield who had died at the Institution. A few weeks previously he had jumped out of a window on a visit home but was not injured and was released from Huddersfield Infirmary after a day. He returned to the Institution and the male attendant said that death took place at 5.15 pm on the Sunday. The doctor said he had seen the deceased and said he was suffereing from valvular disease of the heart. The jury decided that death was due to valvular disease of the heart and was accelerated by the fall.They also agreed that the fall was his own act.

Two months later there was another inquest held at the Workhouse relating to the death of Ben Haigh, an aged inmate of the Instution. Mr. E.Norris was the Coroner and Mr.Settle was chosen as foreman of the jury. Prior to entering the Institution, Ben had been a casual porter and had been in the Workhouse for 3 years. Fred Taylor, his grand-nephew, said he had visited his grand-uncle the previous week and he had looked ill. He said he had been told he had broken his arm some time ago. Herbert Sykes, a male attendant, said the deceased had broken his arm about six months previously. On this occasion  he apparently had been standing by a table, the floor was slippery and he fell although  he was wearing boots. Sykes was in the dormitory and was called immediately and picked Ben Haigh up. He added thar he had seen the deceased numerous times on the Tuesday morning and he was obviously very ill. He died in the presence of witnesses. Dr. Smailes said the deceased was admitted to the Institution in 1924 and that after his admission he was certified, he stated that the broken arm had healed but was somewhat deformed and that he also had a club foot. He said that death was due to a softened brain and in his opinion the fall had nothing to do with his death. The verdict was death due to natural causes.

An inquest was held in January 1928 into the apparent suicide of Hildred Shaw , 18 years old. He was a patient at the Institution  and his body was recovered from the service reservoir adjoining the main block. The coroner was Mr.E.Norris and there was a jury. The boy’s father said that five years ago his son began to be afflicted with sleepy sickness and in November 1927 was taken to Crosland Moor Institution and brought to Deanhouse in November 1928. Various witnesses including Stanley Stoke, an attendant, and Willie Castle, a gardener’s labourer, were questioned. Dr. Smailes said that the sickness made any patient almost an imbecile and affected him mentally and physically. The jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased had drowned himself while of unsound mind and while suffering from sleepy sickness.

Mr.E.Norris conducted an inquest in November 1931 sitting with a jury with Mr.J.R.Ellis as foreman. Emma Lingard ( 73 ) a married woman and inmate fell down in the ward cutting her head and dying a few days later. Giving evidence, Mrs.Mary Sykes said the deceased was her mother and had been feeble for some time and had had falls on many occasions. Dr. Smailes said that Mrs. Lindgard had sustained a scalp wound as a result of the fall but he considered the death was due to softening of the brain. A verdict of death due to natural causes was returned.

At the beginning of 1935 an inquest was held at St.Mary’s Hospital on the death of an inmate, Sophia Hallas aged 84 years from falling  down a flight of stone steps. Formal identification was given by her son, Arthur Hallas of Newsome, who said he was very satisfied by the treatment his mother had received at the hospital. When his mother was at home she had frequent falls.Dora Marsh, a nurse, said Sophia had fallen about 4.50 just after she had had tea in the day room. She heard a cry and rushed to the bottom of the steps where she found her laying on her right side and unconscious. The flight consisted of 10 steps. With the assistance of another nurse she carried the woman into a ward and went for the sister. Dr.T. Samailes said he saw the deceased and she was unconscious and suffering from concussion. There were no signs of fracture and she recovered consciousness two days later but as she was suffering from senile degeneration she was never sensible afterwards and died after a further two days. The jury returned a verdict of death due to heart failure and concussion following a fall.

In January 1937 Mr.T.Norris, the District Coroner, opened an inquest at St.Mary’s Hospital into the death in the hospital of Cornelius Kennedy, aged 64 years, a journeyman and stonemason of Linthwaite. Evidence was given by his son who said his father had been ill on and off for 4-5 years and he added that his father had been examined on three occasions by the Silicosis Medical Board. The inquest was adjourned. When it resumed Dr. Denton Guest a pathologist at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary who made the post-mortem examination, said that death was due to tubercolosis but it was likely silicosis was a contributory cause. The verdict was returned that death was due to tubercolosis and silicosis accidently contracted at his work.

4 Inquests were held in 1947 at Deanhouse Hospital  into deaths of patients. The first was in January and concerned Miss Eva Daniels, 77 years, who had been left in a hot bath prior to treatment for a skin disease and had been found dead by a nurse. Mr.E.W.Norris was the District Coroner. Her brother, Alfred Daniels of Saddleworth, gave evidence of identification. Eva had lived with him but had been admitted to the hospital. Nurse C.Bray said she had put the deceased into a hot bath at about 12.45 and had left her to “soak ” for about 15 minutes prior to treatment for a skin disease which necessitated the soaking. At 1pm she said she was fetched by another nurse, Mary Lucas, who had found the patient dead. The Coroner called on Nurse Lucas to give evidence. Speaking in a quiet voice she answered the question but the Coroner was unable to hear her.After he had asked further questions he was still unable to hear her and dismissed her in favour of  Sister Edith Broadbent. She said that when she arrived Miss Daniels had been lifted out of the bath and Nurse Bray was applying artificial respiration. After calling for the doctor and the Home Sister she gave the deceased an injection of one sixtieth of strychnine but there was no response. Dr. John Lubran, Medical officer for the hospital, made a post-mortem and in his opinion death was due to myocardial degeneration and atheroma of the mitral valve. He stated that there was no evidence of drowning although he had looked specifically for any such evidence. The recorded verdict was that death was due to natural causes.

The next inquest was in April with the District Coroner, Mr.E.Norris, investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of Miss Ada Hanson, a patient at the hospital. Evidence of identification was given by Miss Clara Pearson, her niece. Ada was 77 years old and had lived in Marsden and was formerly a burler and mender. She had been a patient at various local hospitals. She had fallen from her chair at home and witnesses had lifted her onto a sofa. Dr.Wallace was called and he ordered her removal to the Infirmary straightaway as  she had had a seizure and a number of falls. Mrs. Eleanor Ivy Pugh said Miss Hansen had died in her presence. Medical evidence was given by Dr. John Lublan of Honley who stated that the deceased had been admitted to the hospital on March 20 suffering from a fractureof her femur. Her heart was very bad and he was mentally confused and in his opinion death was caused by myocardial degeneration accelerated by the injury. A verdict that death was due to the above causes was recorded.

The next inquest was the following month with E.Norris the District Coroner. It concerned Miss Elizabeth Barker, 78, formerly of Todmorden who died at the hospital. Evidence of identification was given by Miss Mary Smith of Todmorden who said that, about three weeks before the deceased was taken to hospital on March 28, she had been in the habit of sitting in a chair in front of a gas fire. Nurse E. Lenderyew said Miss Barker died in her presence on April 30. Dr.John Lublan said that when the deceased was admitted to hospital her heart and circulation were in poor condition and she had scalds on the front of both shins. The Coroner recorded death by natural causes.

The final inquest of the year was in July and concerned the death of Mrs. Alice Hobson of Lepton who died at the hospital. Mr.E.Norris was the District Coroner. Evidence of identification was given by James Hobson, a male nurse, who said his mother was 82 and had been blind for about 2 years. She was hard of hearing but not deaf. On May 23rd. she had had a fall on the stairs coming from her bathroom and she was attended by Dr. Paterson. About 5 weeks later she was taken to hospital and was pleased to go. Nurse Margaret Ball said that Mrs. Hobson died in her presence on August 12. Dr. John Lublan of Honley said the deceased was admitted to hospital on June 20 and she  was suffering from blindness, deafness, myocardial degeneration, a fractured left wrist,vancrose eczema and a rodent ulna near the left eye. In the doctor’s opinion, death was due to myocardial degeneration due to old age and the coroner gave this as the recorded verdict.

The first inquest of 1948 was in January and, as the District Coroner Mr.E.W.Norris had died earlier in the month, it was conducted by Mr.A.C.Ackroyd, the Deputy Coroner. Miss Ada Jobson, 76, a retired power-loom weaver of Skelmanthorpe had died in the hospital.  A nephew said that until recently his aunt had been in good health but in December she had been climbing onto a buffet and holding on to a chair when the chair slipped and she fell hurting her arm and leg. After being seen by a doctor she was taken to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary for an X-ray which showed she had a fractured arm. After having her arm bound she was taken home but removed to Deanhouse Hospital in January where she died. Dr. John Lublan, the medical officer, said in his opinion death was due to cerebral thrombosis from arteriosclerosis accelerated by the fracture of her arm. The Deputy Coroner recorded a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.

The next inquest was in April . A verdict that death was due to carcinoma of the liver accelerated by carcinoma of the bladder was returned  by the jury on Jack Woodhead of Linthwaite who died in the hospital on March 25. The enquiry was conducted by the acting Coroner, Mr. A.C.Ackroyd and W.E.Batley was elected foreman of the jury. Also present at the inquest were Miss Forest, H.M. Inspectorate of Factories, Miss Atkinson representing the relatives and J.D. Eaton Smith who represented ICI Ltd. Huddersfield.

The Acting District Coroner, Mr. A.C.Akeroyd,  conducted an inquest in May on Mrs. Emma Barker who died in the hospital. Evidence of identification was given by Mrs. Annie Barker her daughter-in-law who said Emma was 82 and in fairly good health but only had one leg. On March 18 the deceased told the witness that she had fallen off the bottom step of the stairs. Dr.Hubbard was sent for and the deceased was kept in bed until removal to Deanhouse suffering from cerebral thrombosis.She did not make any progress and died 10 days later. The recorded verdict was that the deceased died from hypostatic pneumonia due to confinement  owing to injuries sustained by an accidental fall.

The new District Coroner , Mr. M.G. Billington, conducted his first inquest at the hospital in June. It concerned Mrs.Ann Roberts of Dobcross who died at the hospital. Evidence of identification was given by Eber Longley, the brother in law of the deceased, who said Mrs. Roberts was 84 and lived with him in Dobcross. He said he found her lying on the floor in her bed-sitting room complaining about her leg hurting. The doctor came  and Mrs. Roberts was admitted to the Institution on May 13. The patient was deaf and could not give her history as she was mentally confused and restless. An X-ray revealed a fracture of the right femur and she also suffered from arteriosclerosis and a weak heart. She progressed quite favourably until June 14 when she had a cerebral  thrombosis . The doctor said in his opinion the cause of death was due to arteriosclerosis accelerated by the fracture of the femur. A verdict of accidental death in accordance with medical evidence was returned.

In July the Deputy Coroner, Mr.H.Whitely, held an inquest  into the circumstances surrounding the death of James Dawson of Netherton. He was 83 and formerly a woolen fettler. About 6pm on July 13th. he was standing in front of his house taking a newspaper from a boy. He turned round to go back into the house and slipped. Witnesses saw him fall but he was not unconscious. His daughter got him into the house and Dr. Smailes of Honley was called for. Two days later he was removed to Deanhouse Hospital. His daughter was present when he died on July 22. Dr. John Lublan, the medical officer at the hospital, said the deceased had been suffering from a fractured femur and arteriosclerosis due to senility and in his opinion this was the cause of his death. A verdict of natural causes was recorded.

There was another inquest in September on Annie Halstead , 59 years, by the District Coroner, Mr.G.Billington. Dr.John Lublan said Annie had been admitted to the hospital suffering from a scald on her right foot, severe arthritis in both hips and degeneration of the heart muscle. Her wound healed completely but her general condition became worse and she also failed mentally. In his opinion death was due to myocardial degeneration. The Coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.

The next inquest was in held in October saw yet another inquest into the death of Gertrude Leigh ,75, a spinster of Leeds. The Coroner was Mr. G.Billington. Evidence of identification was given by her sister who said the deceased had been a patient at the hospital for 4 or 5 years. Assistant Nurse Elsie Parker said the deceased had been suffering from senility and blindness ever since she had been admitted but she was allowed to get out of bed to go to the toilet. On September 6th. she heard a commotion and found Miss Leigh laying on the floor with her head on two steps at the entrance to the toilet. Dr.John Lublan had attended the deceased since her admission to the hospital and stated that after her  fall she was bruised and complained of a pain in her left hip. She developed bronchitis a week later and when that cleared up her heart began to fail and continued to fail. She died from miocardial degeneration caused by senility. A verdict of accidental death was recorded. The Coroner asked if the floor had been polished and the doctor said it was not polished where the woman fell.

The last inquest for the year was in November. It was held  by the District Coroner, Mr.G.Billington, into the death of Miss Harriet Moseley, 77, of Honley who died in the hospital. Her sister, Clara Moseley, said she had been bed-ridden for 12 years at home and in August had fallen out of bed and complained that her arm was hurting and Dr.Smailes was sent for. After a fortnight she was removed to the hospital. The witness added that her sister had never had bed sores in the 12 years she had spent in bed. Dr. John Lublan said the deceased was admitted to hospital on 26th. August and had extensive bruising down her left arm. He diagnosed a fracture of the neck of the humerus and found she had signs of cerebral softening. Her general conditioned deteriorated , her heart became weaker and she died from miocardial degeneration due to general arteriosclerosis. The verdict was Death by Misadventure.

Death occured in the hospital on December 24 1955 of Mr.John Shaw of Denby Dale who had been suffering from the effects of gunshot wounds received in the 1914-18 war and had been in and out of hospitals ever since. At an inquest held in Halifax and a verdict of ” Death from Natural Causes ” was recorded.

Mrs. Ann Mallinson of 17 Outlane died in Huddersfield Infirmary and an inquest was held in May 1956 under the Borough Coroner, Mr.S.Lister.He was told that Mrs.Mallinson who was 83 fell whilst hanging clothes out in April.She was taken to Holme Valley Hospital and later to huddersfiedl Royal Infirmary. Dr.Abdul Hafiz said she received a fractured thigh in the fall. Death was due to hypostatic pneumonia due to recumbency om account of the fractured thigh. A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was recorded.

Political and non – political parties, organisations, associations .

  In the early days in the village there was always support for the various political  parties, the Liberals, the Conservatives and Labour.There were also many other organisations  and  associations  which attracted members.The ones in this chapter are listed below as they appear.

1. Working Men’s Club.

2. Band of Hope Union.

3. Ratepayers Association.

4. Liberal Party.

5. Conservative Association.

6. Labour Party.

7. Women’s Unionist Association.

8. Fascism.

9. Men’s Fellowship.

10. Women’s Institute.

11. Civic Action Group.

12. Junior Imperial League.

13. Economic League.

 The Working Men’s Club ( WMC ) was established in the village in 1874 and its main function was as  a social club without any political connotations. For more details please read the chapter in this history on the WMC.

  The Band of Hope Union was a Temperance organisation for working class children which was formed in 1847 by the Rev.Jabez Tunnicliff, a Baptist Minister in Leeds. Its objective was to teach children the importance and principles of sobriety and teetotalism. In 1855 a national organisation was formed and meetings were held in churches. The Movement grew to nearly 3 million by 1935 but by the early 1950s it had all but succumbed to changing habits. It transformed itself into Hope UK. In August 1915 an open-air summer campaign by the Holmfirth & District Band of Hope Union was held in Netherthong where Mr.Chas. Smith, secretary of the British Temperance League, delivered an address.

Ratepayers Association

The most important people in the village were the Ratepayers and although they elected members  to various  Councils, there were instances where Ratepayer Power was needed. The first instance was in February1866 when a number of Ratepayers in the Township of Netherthong, who were opposed to the projected road to Bridge Mill, wrote to the Chief Constable for him to call a Public Meeting. In compliance with the Requisition he called a Meeting to be held in the School on Wednesday , 21st. February at 7.30pm. A copy of the notice for the meeting is given below. I still have to find what the outcome was. But the eventual outcome was that the road was built and called New Road.


Copy of Public Notice for Meeting on 21st. Feb. 1866
Copy of Public Notice for Meeting on 21st. Feb. 1866


The Huddersfield Chronicle reported in February 1871 that a vestry meeting of the ratepayers had been held in the Parish Church for the purpose of making out a list of persons qualified to serve the office of parochial constables for the ensuing 12 months. The following persons were selected and put on the list for approval by the Magistrates – Jonas Mallinson, farmer and butcher of Netherthong. Edward Eastwood – whiskmaker of Hagg. James Turner – clothier of Greave and John Hinchliffe – farmer and cow jobber of Netherthong.

The Netherthong  Ratepayers Association held a meeting in November 1913 in the Methodist schoolroom. Mr. Harry Mellor was in the chair and local councilors, County councilors and many women householders attended. The meeting was about the education rate and the wish of Wooldale, Scholes and Cartworth that there should be a uniform rate for the whole of the Holmfirth education area. Cllr. Hinchliffe moved that the meeting protest against any extra education rate on Netherthong and this was carried. After further discussions the meeting decided to ask for repairs to Moor Lane and that the houses in Netherthong to be numbered. It was also approved that women ratepayers be admitted to free membership of the Association.

Liberal Party.

  I found a reference that a Liberal Club was started in the village in 1880 but the first report in the local paper was of a Liberal meeting held in October 1887 in the Methodist Free Church school to elect members to the Holmfirth Division and to the local District Council. Ramsden Mallinson, George Dearnley and Ben Eastwood were elected for the Division and Joe Lancaster, Jonas Hobson and John Hobson for the local Council. The next report was of a campaign meeting in January 1888. However I have since come across an earlier report in the Huddersfield Examiner for 1885 which  carried a report  that the Liberals had had a very successful field day in January. It had consisted of a substantial knife and fork tea with an attendance of just over 200 which was followed by a  ball when  both young and old enjoyed themselves singing and dancing until 11pm. The sum of £8 9s was handed to the treasurer in aid of furnishing for the new room.

In February 1890, a lecture entitled “ The land questions from the standpoint of Lloyd George “ was given to the Netherthong Liberal Club by Edmund Crosland. Another reference I found was of a Liberal Association in 1891 which was located at No. 11 Outlane which was  named Whig Cottage. There was also a report of them buying property in Giles Street.

In March 1908 there was a Liberal meeting at the United Methodist Church with Mr.B.Dyson presiding. He said that the Conservatives and Labour had held a number of meetings in the village and this was the first Liberal meeting since the General Election.

Conservative Association

 The first reference was in the Huddersfield Examiner for April 1887 when it reported that J.H.Turner and John Wilson  of the Netherthong Conservative Association were elected to be the representatives on the Central Council of the Division for the Holmfirth Conservative Association. The next report  was in December 1888 when a  lecture, under the auspices of the Association, was given at the Clothier’s Arms by F.Turner of New Mill. It was entitled “ The political career of Mr.Gladstone “

 In November 1907 about 20 members of the Conservative & Unionist Association had an outing to Clayton West at the invitation of their Conservative Association. They had a great tea, followed by a tour round the village and finished off with songs and talks. In March 1908 it was the turn of Clayton West Conservatives to visit Netherthong and the meeting was held in the Clothier’s Arms. There was a lecture on “ Land Agriculture and the Land Laws” which provoked lots of discussion.

The Netherthong Conservative & Unionist Association held a meeting in the National School in September 1908 and Dr.Eastham, the party’s prospective candidate for Holmfirth, was the principal speaker. In December they held their 2nd. annual tea, concert and meeting at the National School and about 120 partook of a sandwich lunch. Captain Boyd-Carpenter, the prospective candidate for Colne Valley, was present and  the president of the association, E.G.Floyd, was in the chair. It was reported to have been a very long meeting with lots of discussion.

The Conservative Association organised a very successful smoking concert in February 1909 in the National School and  December of the same year was the occasion of their annual tea and concert when 200 supporters attended. The superb concert was rated as one of the best in the school for a long time. Mr.T.Wood introduced Mr.G.Ellis ,their prospective candidate. The next reference was not until December 1927 when they held a very successful whist-drive and dance with music by Harold Preston’s band. 

In November 1930 the Church School was well filled for a Conservative meeting followed by a whist-drive which was the opening event of the local branch of the Colne Valley Association for the winter season. Much discussion was given to the “failings ” as a result of the 18 months of Socialist Government. Mr. Harry Horncastle was the MC for the whist and the secretarial duties were performed by Mrs.T.Wilson. The following year they organised another well attended whist drive. A speech was given by Mr. R.Steele who was introduced by the chairman, Mr.C.S.Floyd. Music was by the aptly named Imperial Dance Orchestra.

The next recorded meeting of the Association was in October 1933 with Mr.R.Ricketts presiding and members listened to a talk on the History of Conservatism.  The following week they organised a whist- drive, supper and dance in the Church school with music by the Imperial Dance Band.

Labour Party

 An Independent Labour Party ( ILP ) meeting was held in Netherthong in June 1907. John Penny was the speaker and Comrade George Castle presided over a very large meeting. The only other report was in May 1955 when Mr.Glenville Hall, the Labour candidate for the Colne Valley Division, spoke at Netherthong and among the items he discussed were guaranteed prices to farmers, exporting difficulties, education and the standard of living.

Women’s Unionist Association.

The Netherthong branch of the Holmfirth & District Womens’ Unionist Association held their first meeting after inauguration in November 1912 in the Church School – it consisted of a whist- drive, supper and dance. There was a large attendance and Miss M.Buchanan was the secretary. The following year they held their second annual social in the Church schoolroom when 166 sat down to eat and the entertainment was a whist-drive and dance.

 In May 1914 they held an open-air meeting in Netherthong to discuss Home Rule and housing and the following month, 25 members had their first social outing and  went to Harrogate and Knaresborough, conveyed in a luxurious char-a-banc.

A whist- drive and dance was promoted in October 1926 and held in the National School. After the whist, agents of the Colne Valley Unionist Association addressed the gathering and hoped that members would continue their efforts to send a Conservative to represent the Colne Valley Division at Parliament. Dancing to the music of Harold Preston’s Band followed supper.

They held a gypsy ball in January 1931 which took the form of a whist-drive,supper and dance promoted by Mrs.T.Wilson and held in the National School. The music was played by the Philharmonic Five Dance Orchestra. 

The first sentence of this section refers to the Netherthong branch of the Holmfirth  District Womens’ Unionist Association but in the Express report for February 1931 ,they were referred to as the Netherthong branch of the Colne Valley Womens’ Unionist Association. ? It reported that the Association had held another of their monthly whist- drives as well as their AGM. Mrs. Thomas Turner of South View, Mrs. Thomas Wilson of West End and Miss H.Floyd of Roseleigh were re-elected. The new committee members were Mrs.Wimpenny, Miss Saunderson ,Mrs.Chambers, Mrs.Jim Mallinson, Mrs.Goddard, Mrs. Richardson, Miss E.Brook, Miss M.Eastwood, Miss Davies and Mrs.E.Dyson. Mrs.Davies of Manor House and Mrs.Hampshire of Deanhouse were elected as delegates. To add further confusion, the Express reported in April that the Women Unionists and Empire League had held a whist- drive, supper and dance  with music by the Imperial Dance Band.



 Mr. P.N.Ricketts of Netherthong was one of the speakers at a public meeting held on February 1938  at Victoria Street, Huddersfield under the auspices of the British Union of Fascists.

Men’s Fellowship.

At an inaugural meeting in September 1954, it was agreed to form a Men’s Fellowship in the village. It would be non-political and non- denominational and membership would be available to any man living in the township. The meeting was well attended and the Rev.S.Black was in the chair. The following officials were elected . Chairman – Mr.W.Wood ( a solicitor in Holmfirth ). Vice – chairman – Mr. Stangroom ( administrator of Deanhouse Hospital ) . Treasure – Mr.W.Lax ( worked at Midland Bank). General Secretary – H.Webb ( Headmaster of the local school ). Programme Secretary – Rev. S.Black. A committee was also formed. The intention was to hold monthly meetings during the winter season.

Women’s Institute.

In August 1962 ,at a meeting in the Day School, a Women’s Institute for the village was formally inaugurated by two voluntary County Organisers for the Yorkshire Federation of Women’s Institutes. It was in fact the 624th. Institute to be formed in Yorkshire. Miss J.Grainger of Wilshaw was in the chair and 83 members were enrolled and the following officers were elected by ballot. Mrs. A.Stangroom – President. Vice-presidents – Mrs.R.Stephenson and Mrs.E.Mosley. The secretary was Mrs.W.Wood with Mrs.W.Lax as treasurer. Committee members were Mrs.D.Binstead,Miss S.Brook, Miss E.Dickenson, Mrs.A.Fallas, Mrs.A.Swallow and Mrs.R.Whittaker. The WI played an important role in the village and I have given it its own chapter.

Civic Action Group

At a meeting of a group of villagers in March 1975 it was unanimously decided to set up a Netherthong Civic Action group and various officers and members of the executive committee were elected. At the meeting held in Westfield House, it was stated that one of the main reasons for creating such a group was because of the concern felt by most of the residents of the village about the amount of development. It appeared that there was a plan approved for 70 bungalow type dwellings and it was understood that a further 80 houses were being contemplated and 24 acres of land was earmarked for residentiall developement  bringing the total to over 400 houses. The Group felt that the influx of such a large proportion of residential property would completely wipe out the existing village. The action proposed by the Action Group was to send a letter to the Department of the Environment with a copy to Kirkless Council, Kirklees Civic Society and the Civic Trust for the North West.

At a meeting of the committee held in October the main topic was the tidying up of the village. Targets included the surrounds to the well at Wells Green and the footpath from Deanbrook Road to Deanhouse Chapel. They were also being active in seeking information about a possible weight restriction being imposed on vehicles passing through the village. They pledged their full support to the efforts of the steering committee set up to investigate the possibility of having a village hall.

Junior Imperial League

The National Junior Imperial League was formed in 1906 with the objectives to encourage practical political work and organisation among young people. They were set up in each Parliamentary Division.

The first social and dance of the newly formed Netherthong branch of the Colne Valley Junior Imperial League was held in January 1931. Miss Thelma Sykes the divisional vice – chairman referred to the great growth of the League throughout the Colne Valley. The music was provided by Oswald Collins. 

At their monthly meeting in May, Mr.Gooch was the speaker. He said the Socialist Party had no Empire policy and they were a heartless fraud on the people of the country. He finished his talk by saying that the whole country was languishing for Conservatism. The first 1/2 yearly meeting was held in the National School when Mr.R.Garside gave an address titled ” Present day politics. Why we need a Conservative Government”.

At the meeting in November with Norman Hampshire in the chair, Mr.Ricketts, the secretary, announced that Col. Lascelles had consented to open their forthcoming Christmas Fayre. No report of the fayre appeared in the paper.

The annual meeting was held in January 1932 and Captain Apperley , president of the Colne Valley Junior Imperial League, gave an address and traced the history of the JIL throughout the country and the Colne Valley and the great strides it had made during the past 5 years. The following officers were elected for the ensuing year. Chairman – Mr.C.S.Floyd, Treasurer – F.Butterworth, Secretary – R.Ricketts, magazine editor – Miss Ricketts. A further six members were voted onto the committee. A few months later they held a successful dance in the National school to celebrate the winning of the Baldwin Cup. Music was by the Roses Band. They held a Recruiting Ball combined with a fancy-dress competition in October with music by The Majestic Dance Orchestra. Earlier that month many of their members attended a meeting of the Netherthong Unionist Party.

The  monthly meeting in December 1932 was addressed by Mr.D.Graham on the subject of ” The Crisis, the Election and Afterthoughts”. Mr.N.Hampshire presided and F.Butterworth reported a handsome profit on the recent Christmas Fayre. They organised a ‘cinema’ entertainment in the Wesleyan school in December 1936 and the films were shown by Mr.Preston of Honley to a packed room. They were ‘ The White Hell of Pitz Palu’ and ‘Across Alaska’ and were followed by a Mickey Mouse cartoon ‘ The Haunted Hours ‘ with the ‘Pathes Gazette’ finishing off the evening.

Economic League.

This is  the first and only reference that I have found about this League.

In December 1930 there was a large attendance at a whist- drive and rally that the League organised in the Church School. Mr.Walter Brookbank was the main speaker and Mr.Butterworth presided.

Listed Buildings in Netherthong

Listed Buildings of Special Architectural or Historical Interest.


Issued by Kirklees Culural Services


Classifications :

Grade 1 – these are buildings of exceptional interest

Grade 11* – these are buildings of particular importance and of more than special interest.

Grade 11 – these are buildings of special interest which warrant every effort being made to preserve them.

There are no Grade 1 or Grade 11* buildings listed in Netherthong. 

The following is a list of the Grade 11 buildings with dates.

Cricketers Pub – early C18

Dean Brook Road – numbers 13,14,18,19,20,21 and 22 – all early C19

Deanhouse Lane – numbers 26,27,28,29 and 31 – all early C19.

Dock Hill – numbers 1,2 and 3 – all early C19

Giles Street– number 8 – early C19

Haigh lane – Wesleyan Chapel – 1769

Holmroyd Nook ( dwellings to east & west ) – mid or late C18

Knoll Bridge Farmhouse – late C18/early C19

Moor Lane –  the following properties are counted as being on the lane.

Brownhill farmhouse – early C18  

 Cartref, Beyond the Sea and adjoining property – early to mid C19  : Fox House – mid to late C18. 

 Moorgate ( centre cottage ) – early to mid C18 

 Ox Lane Farmhouse – late C18 to early C19   

Sands Farmhouse and barn – early to mid C19 but barn dated 1826.

 Outlane : numbers 5 & 7 – early C19. numbers 11,15,27 and the building at the rear of number 33 – all late C18.

Ox Lane ( off Moor Lane ) – The Cottage – mid C19.

St.Anne’s Square – number 1 ( formerly listed as Netherthong Manor House ) late C18 but could be earlier.

Thong Lane – numbers 115,117,119,121,123,125,131,133,135 – all C19. number 141A – early to mid C18.

Town Gate : numbers 126 & 128 – early to mid C18. Number 147 – late C18 to early C19 ; number 149 ( Croft House ) – early or mid C18.

number 155 ( Westfield House ) – early or mid C18.

All Saints Church – 1830

 Wolfstones Road – Carr Farmhouse – early C19

Wolfstones Heights – house and barn – 1758



  Maps are essential tools to help plot changes over the years  and the earliest one for the area is Thomas Jefferys ( The County of York Survey’d ) 1775 . Nether Thong, Wolfstones and Brown Hill are shown with just the one track  coming from the main road and  appearing to stop at Wolfstones.

There are  three types of maps  in  the Archives Library.

 Enclosure Awards and Maps.

Enclosure awards and maps relate to the enclosing of common land. They date mainly to the late eighteenth century and the earlier nineteenth century. Separate Acts of Parliament were passed for each township which wished to enclose its common land,  Commissioners then drew up an enclosure award detailing the lands enclosed and listing which local people received them. Most awards have maps to accompany them. Enclosure maps vary in the amount of information they provide: some show the whole of the township they refer to, while others only show the lands actually being enclosed. The enclosure map for Netherthong is dated 1826.

 Tithe Awards and Maps.

Tithes were payments made by parishioners to their clergyman for his support. Originally these payments were made in kind but from the seventeenth century onwards they were increasingly commuted to money payments. Tithe awards ( also called tithe apportionments ) date from the 1830s and 1840s. They were drawn up in the years after the Tithe Commutation Act of 1836 which allowed the commutation of tithes to be made more easily by commissioners working in negotiation with the inhabitants of each parish on the basis of a professional land valuation. Tithe maps show the land in the township divided up into numbered plots. The accompanying awards give details of the owner, occupier, field name, state of cultivation, acreage and tithe – the  amount of rent charge apportioned and payable to the Vicar of Almondbury. The Tithe award for Netherthong is dated 1847.

The listed landowners were : Richard Battye    :   Richard Boothroyd   :  The Trustees of Joseph Bray   :   Brook Jones & Brothers   ;   Trustees of Joshua Brook  ;   William Brook   ;  James Dyson  ;   Thomas Dyson   ;  Thomas Frith   ;  John Haigh  : Joseph Haigh   ;  Richard Hinchcliffe   :  Richard Hirst   ;  Elihu Hobson   ;  Reverend Howe   ;  William Kinder   : Marshall & Leigh    ;  Thomas Mellor   ;  John Moorhouse   :  The Trusteed of Penistone School   ;  William Roebuck    ; The Executors of Joshua Robinson   : Henry Shaw   ;  William Stephenson   ;   Benjamin Wilson   ;  John Wimpenny  ; The Executors of Abraham Woodhead   ;   Sarah Woodhead.

Ordnance Survey Maps .

 The very first Ordnance Survey map issued that included details of  Netherthong township  is dated 1854 ( it was categorised under their County series ) , subsequent updates were issued in 1888,1906,1917 and 1932. The maps for 1854 and 1888 are very  informative and I have included hand –drawn copies.  Many of the changes that occurred are mentioned in various chapters but I make two observations here.

The first is the appearance on the 1854 map of the Gardener’s Arms P.H. situated not far from the Wesley Chapel in the Deanhouse area. It did not appear on the next OS map ( 1888 ) and  it was many years before I was able  to find another reference to it  – see my Chapter on Public Houses.

The second is that on the 1854 map both Lower & Upper Greave were part of Netherthong, and Wilshaw was a moor-fringed sweep of pasture land.  By the time the 1888 map came out, Joseph Hirst had put Wilshaw firmly on the map, building the church in 1863. He bought the hamlet  of Upper Greave and renamed it St.Marys.  Lower Greave exists to this day and consists of half a dozen houses.

 The maps are very large and I have had to break them up into sections. There are two for the 1854 map and 5, A,B,C,D and E , for the 1888 map. I have checked that I am not infringing any copyright  by my trace copies but it is appropriate to say how important these comprehensive maps of England have been and still are. 

1854 Map page 1



1854 Map page 2




1888 Map – section B


1888 map section C


1888 map section D


1888 map section E