Three generations of Boothroyds – John Edward, William and Haydn

In September 2020, Haydn Boothroyd ” discovered ” this website and contacted me. As a Netherthongian , who had left the village in 1956 to go to University, the site enabled him to travel back in time to his youth. Reading the various chapters acted as a catalyst and he started to pass on many of his memories of the village as well as supplying great photographs. Initially the information was about his grandfather, John Edward, who had been a master baker at the Deanhouse Institution and later on had his own bakery in Outlane.

All the memories and photos he sent I put into the appropriate chapters, but I then decided , as Haydn continued to supply more information, that a separate chapter of the three generations comprising his grandad, his father and himself, would be more appropriate. There will be some duplication as I will include information from other chapters.

The following photograph, taken in 1947-48, shows the three generations at Blackpool ( see the tram in the background). Haydn, aged 11-12, is on the left with Grandad, John Edward, in the centre, and father William on the right. Haydn told me that he still has his grandad’s walking stick .

Three generations of Boothroyds 1947-48

I will start with Grandad John Edward Boothroyd. He was born in 1883, probably in Almondbury, and died in 1955 aged 72. He worked at Deanhouse Institution as a master baker, see photograph below ( 1910s-1920s). He is the gentleman in the middle, sitting on a box with arms crossed, surrounded by other workers. Next to him is a young apprentice and the man on the far left with his cap and watch was probably the foreman. I have included an enlargement of John below the main photograph.

John Edward at Deanhouse Institution.

In October 1915, John made an application requesting permission to join HM Forces and the request was referred to the Workhouse Guardians Committee. I could not find any report on what  decision was reached but, in my chapter on soldiers who fought and survived WW1, his name does not appear, which indicates the Committee managed to make a case for his exemption.

His grandson, Haydn, said that at some date after the war, his grandfather was the owner of a bakehouse in Outlane and Haydn sent me his memories of the bakery.

 I can’t vouch for the previous owners of the bakery in the 30s, nor do I know when “Baker Boothroyd” took over. Growing up through the 40s, it seemed always to have been in the family. And in those days we never asked questions and the “old ones” didn’t talk a lot. I remember loaves, brown and white, baking in the oven – coke fired. Also teacakes – plain and currant and hot cross buns at Easter. With a weighed portion of dough, grandad  could mould a teacake, with a rotary motion, in each hand. The doughs were allowed to leaven before being baked. I can still feel the heat as the oven doors were opened to see how a batch was getting on. Perhaps they were put back for a bit or moved to a higher oven to finish off. Currant pasty, jam pasty and biscuit cake were the sweets of the day. Cream was not readily available. Bread rationing was still on in those days and I can remember going round the village and Deanhouse selling bread from a large flat basket and cutting the coupons from the ration books. The bakery also made meat and potato pies, with a crust, in white basins which we took down to “the mill” ( Deanhouse) for workers’ lunches. My Auntie Kathleen ( nee Boothroyd ) worked in the bakery until its closure. Later she served in the Co-op, mainly in the drapery section and she was a member of the WI. At this time in the 50s, Pontefracts in Holmfirth was a somewhat larger bakery and when Baker Boothroyd retired he sold his concern to them.”

The following photograph, probably dating from the 1930s, shows John holding the reins of a horse. The location is unknown but Haydn has vague memories that his grandad owned ” a leg in a racehorse ” but was never sure whether it was true or simply ‘family badinage’.

John and ‘ racehorse’

The above photograph is of John Edward Boothroyd, in the early 1950s, just outside the front door of Fox Farm where he lived. The little lad is Edward Roebuck, who was four to five years at the time. The contraption on the right was a hand pump which raised water from a well. Haydn said he used to be fascinated at the time, because after heavy rain water would appear in the cellar and climb 18″or so up the cellar steps and it was lovely and clear.

The young boy with John unfortunately drowned in New Dam. The report is in my chapter titled ” The family history of the Roebucks ” but I have reproduced it here because of the Boothroyd connection.

A family death  occurred in September 1952 that shocked the whole village. A six year old boy, James Edward Roebuck, son of Mr. & Mrs. John Roebuck of Ox Lane Farm was drowned in New Dam. An unsuccessful attempt to save him was made by Norman Hobson of Holmroyd Nook Farm who dived into the water several times without being able to locate him.

Along with his brother, John Keith, they had been playing near the dam and, when he fell into the water, John ran home across the fields to tell his mother. Mrs.Roebuck and a neighbour, Mrs.Eveline Kaye, of Moor Lane who ran to the dam but could not see the boy. Mr. Gerard Hobson and Mr. Norman Hobson had also run to the dam and with Mr. Albert Briggs of Sands Farm tried to find the boy using a hay rake and a farm drag. Mr. Norman Hobson stripped off and dived into the water several times but as the water was very dirty he could not find the boy. In the meantime Mrs. Kaye had run to the village to ring for the police. When they arrived they eventually recovered the boy after dragging for two hours. Haydn remembers it was a Saturday afternoon and he had been to ‘Town’ and got off the bus at the top of the hill where the road narrows. In those days there was a lane which led behind the farm , across two fields, to the dam. It was obvious from all the vehicles that something had happened and of course it transpired that Edward had died.

At the inquest the District Coroner, Mr.B.Little, recorded a verdict of ” Death by misadventure “.  Sergeant I. Williamson said that he was present when the body was recovered and that the New Dam was on the property of Messrs. Thomas Dyson and Sons, Deanhouse Mills, and was private property with no public right of way. He estimated that the depth of water where James fell in was about 20ft. The Coroner concluded that Mr. Hobson had made a very commendable effort to rescue the child and that it would be quite improper for him ( the Coroner ) to make any suggestion for added safety precautions as the dam was on private property.

Haydn came across a family tree which must have come from the effects of his Auntie Kathleen and it shows Grandad had two younger brothers: The eldest was Crowther (b.1884)who lived in Berry Brow and had a son, George, who was married but had no children. In his day, George was an accomplished cricketer (bowler) playing for a number of clubs in the Huddersfield League and at that time a club was allowed one paid,” professional”, player and George was one such. I knew about him by reputation and can recall looking for his performances in the Huddersfield Examiner. The second brother was Charles Alfred ( 1890-1959) who lived in a lane in Deanhouse and had a son and five daughters.

William Boothroyd was born in 1904 and registered in Almondbury. On his birth certificate, his father wrote as his profession – ‘Bread baker, Journeyman’. In the photograph below, which dates from early 1910s, young William is on the left of the top row next to the girl with long black hair. Looks like there are seven teachers in the photo and the five children in the middle dressed in army uniform are intriguing.

William in school photograph 1910s

Haydn’s mother, Nellie Wilkinson, was born in 1903 , and in the school photograph she is in the second row, 4th. from the left. The boy in the middle of the bottom row is holding a board saying ‘Netherthong Nat. School. Group A. The first photograph is an enlargement.

Nellie at school.

T. Dyson was a well-known and respected inhabitant of Netherthong and he gave lantern slides on a wide range of topics and used various local friends to operate the lanterns. In 1928 he gave a show at the Methodist Church titled “All about Yorkshire ” and William was one of his lanternists.

The Home Guard was operational from 1940 to 1944 and was set up by the British Army. It’s nickname Dad’s Army was due to the average age of local volunteers who signed up and were ineligible for military service usually because of age. They were originally called Local Defence Volunteers or LDV, and their role was to provide a local defence in case of an invasion. There was a Holmfirth Home Guard. Haydn Boothroyd told me his father, William, was a member from its beginning until it was disbanded – he did not pass his service medical exam because of severe varicose veins. The ‘battery’ was in a field alongside the lane behind the Ford Inn. His father told him he could throw a hand grenade the furthest in the squad. The photograph shows the volunteers with William on the far left in the top row. Others named in the photo are  Hildred Dyson ; Frank Dickinson ( officer) -( he was born in 1882 and died in 1958. He served in WW1 and achieved fame for singing to the troops in France. His name is on the WW1 Roll of Honour in the Parish Church).; Stanley Hepworth ; Clarence Daniel ; Stanley Turton : Harold Hinchliffe 😕 Ellis. Mr. Roberts ( he could be Herbert Roberts born in 1884 who was a private in WW1 and his name appears on the Roll of Honour in the Parish Church ). The second photo is an enlargement of William.

Holmfirth Home Guard
Co-op outing

Once a year the Netherthong Co-Operative Society had a day outing for staff, committee members and their wives. Invariably they went to Blackpool or Bridlington. The photograph above was taken in the late 40s/early 50s and include both William and his wife Nellie. William is second in from the right on the back row wearing a dark suit. The fellow in the front with his hands crossed was Phillip Dixon, who with his wife lived in the house that was the Methodist Chapel at the bottom of Outlane. Nellie, with glasses, is just behind Phillip and on her side in the white cardigan, peeping round is Aunt Kathleen, who until her death lived in the big house at the top of New Road with the gable facing onto the War Memorial. I have also included two enlargements of the photograph showing William and Nellie in more detail.

The following photograph was probably taken at a Co-operative outing to Skegness. William and Nellie are in the front. Aunt Kathleen, William’s sister is walking behind him with her friend, Sheila Sykes. The gentleman on the right is Arthur Wild, who was the manager of the Co-op. The second photograph shows William and Nellie on holiday when the temperature was obviously much warmer( no coats ).

William and Nellie
William and Nellie on holiday

The next photograph shows father William and young Haydn on holiday c.1949. It is very interesting to note the formal ‘holiday ‘ attire with Haydn wearing a school-cap and tie.

In the 1949 Co-op Society report , it recorded that William was one of the three retiring committee members who were re-elected, which explains why he and Nellie went on the outings, There was no other reference to him. Haydn had a memory of “stock taking” at the Co – op which he thought took place in the spring – probably in time for the end of the financial year. The Co – op closed over the week – end. His father seemed to “draw” the drapery every year, and each item , with a price, got listed in a little book – thimbles, reels of cotton, vests, pillow cases, tea cloths, you name it, it was there. Then came the calculations ; 20 x 3/6, etc. etc.; half pennies and there may even have been some items priced in farthings. Then the adding up! Quite a carry on. One tried to be accurate but it was tricky adding up the pence.

Haydn Boothroyd was educated in the village school and has shared some of his memories of his time there. “I’ve been reading  the School chapter, and Margaret Lax’s account of her years there tallies absolutely with what I recall, with one exception. In my day the school garden was a “going  concern”, all neat and tidy producing lots of vegetables. One lunch time, perhaps in my last year, a group of we lads had been sent to collect pea sticks ( on Miry Lane) and were walking back along Giles Street waving them in the air. Later in the afternoon, we were summoned by the Headteacher, Mr. Hinchcliffe, and caned for unseemly conduct and bringing the school into disrepute.

In 1941, and through all my time, Miss Wilson was the reception/infants teacher and Miss Johnson took Standards 1 & 2.

I had forgotten the Headteacher was a cricketer, but I now recall playing rounders in the yard and him “slogging” the ball into the rough ground alongside The Cricketers. In the winter we used to make slides down the playground from the high wall towards the school. Health and Safety eat your heart out! I don’t remember any broken bones or anyone stopping us from doing it.” ( Further to Haydn’s comment that no-one was damaged by sliding down the school yard in the frost, Margaret Lax wrote that she got a scar on her chin from one of the slides. Someone took me to Dr Meyer’s in Holmfirth, and he stitched me up – no anaesthetic in those days!)

I have had the photograph below for over seven year and Haydn was able to identify three of the fellows in it. On the far left was Morley Mallinson, who lived in Deanhouse. Third from the right was his uncle, Hubert Wilkinson, who later in life lived at 3, St.Anne’s Square, Outlane. Harold Wimpenny was on the far right.

1920s/30s. Far Left Morley Mallinson of Deanhouse. 3rd. from Right was Hubert Wilkinson, who later in life lived at 3 St.Anne’s Square. Far Right was Haroldd Wimpenny.

Haydn supplied the following photograph, dated 1934, which showed four generations. The lady with the V-neck top is Haydn’s paternal grandmother, Jane Boothroyd, the wife of John the baker. The elderly lady in the centre is his great grandmother, Mrs. Woodcock, who lived in Holmebridge. The lady on the right in the flowered dress is my grandmother’s daughter ,Renee, my father’s elder sister and my aunt. She’s the mother of Derek, the baby, in the photo who is my eldest cousin.

The Deanhouse Mill was the major employer for the villagers , and the history of all the Mills in the area has its own chapter. Haydn has many memories about his family and relatives involvement with the mill. His father was a “tenterer”, which involved drying the pieces after they had been scoured. When the Mill closed, he ended up doing night work at a mill in Meltham. His mother had been a warper, readying the long threads to go onto the loom. My (half) brother was an ordinary weaver at this time and later became a skilled pattern weaver and my uncle (mother’s brother), Hubert Wilkinson, was  in charge of the department where the warp and weft were brought together to be woven on a loom . So at one stage there were four family members working in the mill.

Haydn mentions David Wilkinson as great uncle David ( brother of his grandfather Tom), who had been a hero of WW1, laying down his life for his country. He is remembered on the Roll of Honour in the village War memorial.

The photograph below is of a group of Deanhouse Mill ‘menders’. These were usually highly skilled ladies who mended any flaws, which they could detect from the weaving process when either the weft or warp threads broke. The photograph was taken outside the scouring department – it and the tenter room were either side of the boiler house to make maximum use of the hot water in the scouring process and the heat for drying the cloth. Haydn’s father is on the right with Mrs. Morley Mallinson sitting on his knee. The man in the centre with a cloth cap was Edgar Beardsell, who worked in the scouring department. The lady kneeling in the front wearing black overalls was Cissie Wild, sister of John Arthur Wild who managed the Co-Op.

Deanhouse Mill Menders

The following account of Haydn’s holiday memories may ring a bell with people of a certain age who lived in Netherthong and the surrounding villages and remembered the Holiday Week.

As I recall holidays for us were a “must”. We always went away in the summer, perhaps it had to do with “recharging the batteries”. The week in August was governed by the Deanhouse mill closure which, in turn, was linked to the Huddersfield holiday week. Invariably we went to Morecambe one year or Bridlington the next. (My mother didn’t like Scarborough – “it was too hilly”). Day trips tended to be to Blackpool. In those days Baddeleys and Castles were the two coach companies in Holmfirth – we mostly used Baddeleys. Having found or been recommended a good boarding house, we went back year after year. With full board, you got a midday meal but were not expected to use your room on a rainy day. We always seemed “to get lucky” – good summers. Having settled in on Saturday lunchtime, the thing to do in the afternoon was to book for the various shows, which were on that summer, so you could be sure to get in – Arthur Askey, George Formby, Norman Evans, Albert Modley, Sandy Powell, Vic Oliver, whoever was on that season. My memory may be playing me false, but one year I think we saw Laurel & Hardy in Morecambe. Those were the days when a comedian could last a whole season with one routine. There was also a huge lido where the “Miss Morecambe “ competition was held.

Bridlington did not have the same range of venues but they did have the “Bridlington Belle”, a boat which did trips across the bay to Flamborough Head and the sea birds on Bempton Cliffs. The crossing could be quite choppy at times.

In the late 40s Walls ice cream was just becoming available again and I can remember buying blocks wrapped in paper and wafers to put the ice cream in.

Blackpool Tower Circus was in its pomp in those days. Two performances stick in my memory, on one occasion whilst the clowns were amusing us, attendants built a big cage around the ring before the lions came out with their “tamer”. Another year it was elephants – placing a foot on the head of the “trainer”. On another occasion the ring floor dropped, water poured in and we were treated to a water spectacular finale.

Haydn mentions his Aunt Kathleen, who was his father’s youngest sister and she appears in many of the photographs in this chapter.. She was married to Bill Woffenden, whose best man at his wedding was Jim Ellis, well known in the village for making walking sticks ( see article in the chapter ‘Portraits of people and events’). The photograph below , dated 1947, is of Kathleen’s wedding with her guests identified. From the back left : Emer Brook, groom’s brother in law, husband of Leila and father of Sheila : Jim Ellis, best man : Bill Woffenden, groom : Kathleen Boothroyd, bride : John Edward Boothroyd, bride’s father : William Boothroyd, bride’s brother. From the front left :Sheila Brook, groom’s niece : Jenny Hine, nine years old, bride’s niece : Leila Brook, groom’s sister, wife of Emer and mother of Sheila : Jane Boothroyd, wife of John and bride’s mother : Helen Bray, bride’s friend.

The next photograph shows Grandad and Dad with a studio portrait of them in their wedding suits with button holes.

Below are several more photographs of Aunt Kathleen. The first one, dated October 1942, was taken five years before she married. The second photo is dated October 1943.

She was obviously well-loved and close to Haydn’s mother as shown in the next two photographs. The first, from about 1937, is of Haydn’s mother holding him with Aunt Kathleen standing by her side. The second photo, taken in spring/summer shows the two friends sitting on a bench by the roadside, part way up Wolfstone Heights ( The bench is still there in 2020 ).

Kathleen had a deserved reputation for the quality of her cakes, probably learnt from her father when she worked in the bakery until its closure, and the photograph below from the Vicarage Party in July 1979, shows her on the left at her cake stall. She served in the Co-op and was a member of the WI.

1979 Autumn Fayre Cake stall ladies with Kathleen on the left.

Early Haydn

The photograph above is of a very young Haydn.. He is about 18 months old sitting in a wheelbarrow in a field at the rear of Fox Cottage. In the background is Sands Farm, which seems to have changed little in 80 years. Haydn has added a few more memories of his time when he left the village.

After leaving  junior school I attended  Holme Valley Grammar School, as it was  called in those days, I left Netherthong in 1956 to go to University in London – the London School of Economics from 1956 to 1959. It was a major cultural shock to   leap from Moor Lane to the Festival Hall, West End and all the other attractions in London.  I spent 1959-60 at Reading University studying for a Diploma in Education which is where I met Jill who was on her way back south having studied French at Leeds. We married in October 1961 (half term!) and lived in Morden. During the 60s I taught at three London boys’ schools. Inner London had only recently “gone comp.” and the traditions of former grammar schools still persisted and teaching was no problem. I was introduced to marking geography examination papers for both Cambridge University Overseas School Certificate and the Metropolitan Regional Examinations Board for C.S.E. In 1970, I was successful in filling a new post with the East Midlands Regional Examinations Board here in Nottingham where my family have been ever since, through the growth of C.S.E. and then the establishment of G.C.S.E. Our three children were educated here and went on to higher education.

I retired early at Christmas 1995 and have since been involved with setting up a local Probus Club and a branch of U3A. A daughter lives in the South Lakes and we occasionally, in summer, cross the Pennines via Holmfirth having lunch at The Bridge Inn. I cannot get over how small the villages now seem with all the cars about – they were not built for the age of traffic!

Netherthong Community Partnership (NCP) – 2019 onwards

Plans are moving ahead to convert All Saints Church, Netherthong into an all-purpose community centre. Space for church worship will be retained but the Netherthong Community Partnership hopes to transform the building into use for local events, meetings and more. Janet Chapman, NCP secretary, said the NCP was formed in the summer of 2019 and now has charitable status. Like many rural churches, All Saints has a small regular congregation but lots of people recently attended a meeting asking for community support, including many from local organisations.

It’s important to mention that during Netherthong’s history, various attempts were made to obtain a village hall/ community centre, ( If you type either word into the search bar, you will get four chapters with the details I was able to find.) The first was in October 1965, when a meeting was held to discuss a Village Hall. Representatives from nine Groups and Organisations attended but there was no follow up or report in the Holmfirth Express( unfortunately an all too common occurrence ). The second related to the Methodist Church in Outlane. In March 1986 , Parish Councillors were proposing that the church, which was no longer in use by the congregation, get a new lease of life as a Community Centre, However as it was a listed building and fell within the Netherthong conservation area, it was instead approved for a change of use to residential. A third attempt was in December 1986, when a Netherthong Community Association was formed and started raising money to provide a Community Centre They planned to build a centre next to the school, raised about £3,000 and needed £100,000 to build it. Once again I couldn’t find any more news about it or what happened to the money raised. The fourth one, in March 1983, was the conversion of No.2 Outlane into a church meeting room , with some restrictions on usage. It was purchased for £6,000. and in 1984, when the conversion was completed, the Bishop of Wakefield and the Rev.J.Capstick dedicated it as the Parish Centre, and it was used by local playgroups, mother and toddler group, Senior Citizens Club, Mothers Union and Sunday School. The usage continued until 2002 when the Parish Church sold the house, and used the money to carry out modifications and improvements to the church, which included an upstairs room for meetings and toilets. The intention was that this would be the forerunner of the NCP.

This latest attempt has captured the imagination and support of the villagers, and the NCP includes members of the church community, several of whom are trustees, including Nick Heaton, the chair of the NCP who is also the Vicar of All Saints, thus ensuring that the church community is happy with any proposed changes. It has a fundraising committee to organise events, and the first one in September was a village fete which raised £1,452. This was followed by a shopping evening in November, which raised £1,150 ( see photo below )

Graham Hoyle and Darren Kitson, owners of the Clothiers Arms, held an annual Harvest Festival. . Locals and villagers all brought donations to the event which raised £1,578. see photo. A treasure hunt from the Cricketers Pub raised £276.

The local Londis shop, directly opposite the church , is run by Warren and Adam Halstead and helps with the raffle prizes, displays the minutes of the NCP meetings and provides a collection point for prizes and donations. The minutes can also be viewed at the two pubs, the Cider Press, as well as on social media. The NCP has been awarded £1,000 from Yorkshire Building Society to help with the removal of pews and conversion work. A grant of £750 was received from Longley Farm Fund to help with a tree survey report and work, and £1,000 has come from the National Lottery to purchase a projector and screen for community use.

Having been researching and writing this history for many,many years, the NCP is fantastic news for the village with many events being planned especially with the Tour of Yorkshire when it comes through the village. It is a beacon of hope. So much of this history is all about what was and is now no longer – Wesleyan and Methodist churches, two public houses, shops, societies, clubs, music events, sports clubs and more.

Unfortunately the arrival of Covid 19 and all the limitations and restrictions that have been imposed , has placed a temporary stop on activities. As I sit here in self-isolation in front of my computer , I know, that once it has been conquered, the NCP will be even more essential to the wellbeing and future of our village and its inhabitants. In the meantime the NCP is offering all sorts of support, see the Hello card below and the prayer on its reverse.

The excellent Free Copy Holme Valley Review in June 2020 published the following photo of the church and commented on the draft architect plans.

Norman Smith – WW1 survivor, hero and medallist

2018 was the centenary of the end of World War 1 and I carried out extensive research into trying to identify the names of soldiers with a Netherthong connection, who had fought in that war and survived. The chapter titled “Netherthong- details of soldiers who fought and survived WW1” was the result. I managed to find 163 survivors, one of whom was Norman Smith and I was fortunate to find a few details about him and the fact that he was awarded a medal for bravery. Then, in January 2020, I was contacted by his grandson who sent me some photographs and ephemera. He also mentioned that his grandfather had written his memoirs about his experiences during the war. This was sufficient justification for me to give Norman his own chapter.

  He was born in Scholes on 17 July 1895 . He moved to Upper Oldfield ( in the Parish of Netherthong ) sometime in 1901 which must have been after the date of the 1901 Census ( 31 March 1901 ), because that Census shows him still a resident in Scholes. He stayed at Oldfield and, until he was 15, his schooling years, ( as evidenced by his 1908 attendance certificate), were at Netherthong National School. When he was 15 years old in 1910, he must have moved away because in the 1911 Census his family is shown as residing at Golcar. This explains why his gold watch, citing his valour/MM, is inscribed as from the residents of Golcar. Because of those years in Netherthong, his name was included on the Parish Church ROH and listed as a Corporal in the 1/5 Battalion of the Duke of Wellington 49th. West Riding Regiment. He enlisted as a private on 19th.December 1914 and went to France in June 1915. During his service he was promoted to Corporal. When he was 21, he was awarded the Military Medal and ribbon for gallantly rescuing a comrade on the battlefield under fire. After the war he lived in Longwood, Linthwaite and Cowlersley/ Milnsbridge. The Golcar District Heroes’ Fund recognized his meritorious conduct by presenting him with a solid gold ten- guinea English- made watch ( see photo below ). In circa 1978 at the age of 83 he wrote  about his experiences as a Corporal in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment and these memoirs are held as Catalogue No. KX212 in Kirklees West Yorkshire Archive Service. The photographs and ephemera were supplied by his grandson ( January 2020).

Norman Smith in uniform
Norman Smith with his medals

Greetings card sent by Norman to his mother
Norman Smith School Attendance 1908

Reverse of the watch presented by Golcar District Heroes Fund.Reverse of the watch presented by Golcar District Heroes Fund. The photograph below gives a much clearer image.
A soldier pal of Norman called Sid James.
A group of Norman’s pals – Wilson and Maurice marked. The x is Norman.

Photo of four of Norman’s pals – one marked Joe Taylor.

In June 1986 the Huddersfield Daily Examiner carried an article about Norman’s memoirs of his experiences during the war. As they filled about 50 pages, the reporter, obviously limited by how many column inches he was allowed , used a combination of what he considered key points as well as quoting sections of Norman’s own words. There are a number of anomalies in the report particularly over dates.

I’ve included the article below.

The horrendous conditions endured by soldiers in the trenches of the battlegrounds of France during WW1 are graphically portrayed in the memoirs of a Huddersfield man. The writings of Mr. Norman Smith have only just come to light four years after his death at the age of 84. They were discovered by his daughter, Mary, at their family home for the last 58 years in Cowlersley. For four years before his death Norman had chronicled his memories of WW1. He was born in Scholes in 1895 and was the son of a weaver. He enlisted in December 1914 and during the next four years he was to witness death and destruction on a terrible scale and survived the battle of the Somme.

After only a few weeks basic training Norman left Southampton aboard a paddle steamer bound for France as a member of 2/5 Duke of Wellington Regiment .His pay was 1/- per day. After further training including guidance in the use of gas masks, he was sent to the front line trenches. He described his first night on sentry duty in a trench only 25 yards from the German lines. ” The trenches were dug about two feet into the ground with the rest of the depth being made by building sandbags up to about five feet high. Sentry duty, during the hours of darkness, was two hours on and two hours off during which time the infantrymen were expected to grab some sleep. Any show of smoke from the trenches would have brought shelling from the Germans and the men fried bacon and boiled water using “smokeless fuel.” Norman described the trenches being strewn with bodies and parts of bodies and yet men were expected to drink water that had collected in shell holes.

One of the communication trenches was named Colne Valley and it was whilst travelling down this trench that Norman experienced a mortar attack. ” You could hear the thud and then see them coming over, two of three in the air at the same time. They made a very large report. Going down the trench, pieces of timber could be seen marked ‘ unknown soldier buried here’. At one place a pair of leather jackboots were showing in the side of a trench-the feet of a German soldier. In the aftermath of such an attack, stretcher bearers attempted to reach the wounded – they had to crawl full length through the smashed trenches under file from German snipers. Another threat was that posed by the whizz-bangs, small artillery shells, fired at the trenches. They travelled at a very fast rate, the shells arriving over our trenches before we heard the report from the German guns.”

Norman spent this period of the war near Ypres with four day stints on the front line. When the rains arrived and conditions worsened, some trenches were two foot under water and others were just streams and the men were issued with thigh boots. ” We had a very tough time during October, November and December 1915 although casualties were light but sickness was very heavy and, at the end of December, when we were relieved, the platoons were less than 20 men strong. To ward off trench foot, soldiers would rub whale oil on their feet.” After surviving the ordeals of Ypres, Norman and his colleagues began to join what was described to them as ‘a new army’. Their destination was the Somme. He described the preparations made for the Battle of the Somme. Two months before the attack it was quite obvious what was coming and was openly talked about by the officers, NCOs and men. Late on the night of January 30 1916, Norman, whose job was company runner, set out with his battalion in full marching order and carrying two days rations. Their first stop was in a trench near Aveloy Wood which was about one mile from the front lines.

About midnight on July 1 with the battle now raging, Norman got orders to move to near Thriepval. “The roads were choked with artillery and streams of captured German soldiers , many of them wounded. One German , laying on a stretcher, asked me very politely if I would give him a drink of water, which I did. He told me he had lived in London and looked old enough to be my father”. On July 2, stories began circulating of heavy Allied losses. One of the messages he had to relay said the 147 Brigade will not attack. Attack cancelled. For the next seven weeks, without a break, Norman was among those who held the front line. Nights were spent repairing the trenches and burying the dead. As fighting continued, B Company was reduced from 150 to 28. Relief came when Norman, now a corporal, was instructed to return to England and resume work at David Browns.

He was a civilian once again until April 19 1919, when he received orders to return to his unit in France. He was sent to join the 10th. Duke of Wellington Regiment, not in France but in Padua. He describes heavy fighting and loss of life and it was whilst he was in Italy that the Armistice was signed. His demobilisation came in early March and he returned to Huddersfield. Most of the rest of his life he worked at John Crowthers in Milnsbridge. He was awarded the Military Medal. Norman did not want his son to fight in WW2 and he went to work in the pits as a Bevin Boy.

His memoirs are titled :

Memoirs of Norman Smith MM, 1895-1980.

5th. Duke of Wellington West Riding Regiment and

18th. Duke of Wellington 23rd. Division.

They are far too long for me to include them in their entirety in this chapter so instead I have selected paragraphs in Norman’s own words that are especially interesting. At the end of his writings, he added what was effectively an addendum titled -Notes on different topics. They are so poignant that I have copied them and listed them after his memoirs.

During October, I was sent on a few days instructions on the Mills bomb. This was at a farm near Poperinghe. Before the Mills bomb, we had a bomb made out of empty jam tins, very poor. These were ignited by striking the fuse on a piece of sandpaper tied on the back of ones hand. During October and November our Colonel left us, it was said the trouble was nerves. Col. Headlam ( later on Major General ) was very strict, he started to smarten us up ( we needed it ). He noted a large number of hat badges were missing and gave the order that they had to be replaced. After this, anyone losing his cap-badge must go in front of him to explain the reason ( see photo of cap badge ). We were now doing more training, but also plenty of working parties. During October 1915 the rains came. Trenches were flooded , communication trenches became streams. The front line, in some places, was 2 feet deep in mud and water. The dug-outs were out of use. I think we went into the front line twice in those conditions. Afterwards we received thigh boots and the frontline period was reduced to 48 hours. There were saps of ours which went up to 25 yards from the German trenches. These were now withdrawn and the front line was manned by posts of platoon strength about 30 yards apart. The first time we went in with the thigh boots, we drew them at a place behind the Canal Bank, changed into these waders ( in the rain ) and then made our way over the top, as communication trenches were not usable. We carried over our own boots with us , and afterwards found the platoon we were relieving, who were in a short stretch of trench, perhaps one foot deep in mud and water.

On the day of the gas attack, which was on December 19, 1915, we were taken up to the Canal Bank. Our gas mask had now been improved, being a kind of bag made out of flannel, with the eye piece made of mica, and with a mouthpiece of rubber, to enable one to breathe out. The open end of the bag was tucked into the neck of the tunic. They were very uncomfortable although better than the other two types which we had. We passed through the hamlet of Brelin, although about two miles from the Canal Bank, it had still ladies who sold coffee, tea and biscuits. In this hamlet there was a smell of gas ( musty hay ) and we fixed gas masks, took them off after getting through the place. Only on this particular day did we go to the Canal in daylight. We had to crawl a certain distance before we reached the Canal safely. A number of gas casualties were laid out behind the Canal Bank, perhaps waiting for darkness to remove them. The only people I saw attending to them were two padres, some of them appeared to be very sick. We had to move on and man the reserve line on the top of the Canal Bank. I think we stayed there two days and then went up to the front line. Was in the line on Christmas day 1915, very quiet, bread and cheese for dinner. 49th. Division was relieved after Christmas and marched to Naours for a rest and refit. I visited the new Talbot House at Poperinghe, must have been one of the very first to do so, would be in the early part of December 1915 and I remember signing the Visitors’ book. One amusing thing was when we asked for a book to read, we had to hand over our caps. These were returned when we took the book back”.

It was very tiring marching to Naours, not very fit after all those weeks in the mud and water. While on the Canal Bank sometime during November, a rather amusing incident happened to me and my friend Claude. We were in the Canal Bank in reserve, and we two were detailed to take a dixie of rice pudding to the men holding the fron line. This would be about 10pm. There was no communication trench we could use, so had to go over the top and find the platoon. We were on the extreme left of the BEF where the front crossed the Canal, the French troops being on our left. We had to cross the canal by the bridge on our extreme left and this could only be used in darkness, as it was under observation by the Germans during daylight. At night they frequently turned their machine guns on the bridge. The procedure was to wait ( undercover ) until the Germans traversed the bridge with the gun, and when the gun stopped to get across as quick as possible. This we did but the Germans broke their sequence this time and turned the gun on the bridge when we were very near the centre. It was a very low bridge , no tow rails. We dropped down at once, the dixie fell into the canal. I had my head over the offside of the bridge and my cap fell into the canal ( steel helmets had not yet come ). As soon as the machine gun stopped, we ran back to the end of the bridge, where we had come from and where there was protection. Then we had a discussion on what to do, decided to go back to our dug-out and say no more about it. Never heard any more about the rice pudding, but I had lost my cap and worse still, my cap badge. I received a new cap without any problem but had to go in front of our CO about the badge, told them the truth. He never asked any word about the pudding, gave me four days C.B. and paid for a new cap badge. “

” One officer, whom I went out with acted rather strangely, playing with a Mills bomb and suggesting he would like to blow himself up. A few days later he was taken away ( mind ). It was during one of these patrols, that we came across two German soldiers and took letters we found on them, which I still possess. ( See photograph at the end of this report ). These bodies must have been lying there for several months, according to the dates on these letters. When relieved from this area we went back several miles to a village called Reincheval, reinforcements arrived and we soon found out what our next job was to be.”

” During the last of the four days, we were completely exhausted. Food had been short, raining all the time, and the Platoon Sergeant, one of the old brigade seemed to have drunk what little there was of the rum ration. On that 4th. day, I did something I regretted. After telling the Sergeant that I was going down a dug-out to have a few hours sleep before darkness, the dug-out was very deep and was joined at the bottom by the steps to another dug-out. The other one was for officers. The one I was in was for signallers. The dug-out was full of soldiers, did not see any from our platoon. I very quickly crawled under a wire bed to have a nap before the Sergeant came to waken me, but at that moment the new company officer came in with a revolver in his hand, turning everyone out except the signallers. He did not see me but I was out and up the steps as soon as he had gone back. I never saw anything like this before, but the officers spent a lot of their time in that dug-out. What a difference this might have made as I was given the Military Medal and received promotion.”

This last paragraph deals with Norman finally going on the leave he was due and avoiding the continuing carnage on the Somme, spending a year in civvy-street before being mobilised again and going to fight in Italy.

In November 1916, I was expecting my 1st. leave home since coming out in the Spring of 1915. I was certainly overdue, I had not complained but our local press in Huddersfield took up the case and probably this came to the notice of our Adjutant. Order soon came I was to go on the next leave. Finally in March 1917, had to report to base and catch the ration train on its return journey and report to 49 Div. Base orderly room. I had to wait two days and then had to report to HQ, Huddersfield. After a few daysI received my transfer to Class W Army Reserves and was back working as a civilian at the firm ( David Browns ) which I had left when I joined the army. Carried on working there until April 1918 when I received telegram ‘ Mobilisation of Class W Army Reserves ‘. I had to report at once and proceed to unit in France. I reported to the Reserves Battalion at Ripon, and I was sent out to our 10th. Battalion Duke of Wellington Regiment, 23rd. Division. The train journey through France took five days , arrived at Padua ( Italy ). The front seemed very quiet compared with France. I left at the end of February 1919 for demobilisation. The band played us off with ‘Auld Lang Syne’. Tears came into my eyes, but they were tears of joy, and I did not want to see the army again. I was demobbed early in March. Work was waiting for me.”

” I have had a good life, plenty of work and good health, happy family and am now nearly 80 years.


LIVING CONDITIONS. Very bad winter for infantry, particularly in the trenches, when out on rest during the winter, I remember sleeping on a concrete floor, just one blanket between you and the concrete. In February 16, we were sleeping in huts near Bousingcourt. The huts were boarded and covered with roofing felt. The sides were a wooden framework with green canvas with dirt floors. These were new huts.

FOOD. As regards myself, always on the short side- I suppose I had a good appetite, not easy to satisfy mostly bacon and bread for breakfast. Dinner nearly always stew, sometimes we might have a joint chiefly mutton. Sometimes rice pudding( not much sugar or milk ), sometimes we might have hard biscuits softened up and mixed with raisins.

TEA. Chiefly bread and margarine with jam or cheese. About once a month we would have a piece of cake with currants and raisins in. Bully beef was quite often used in the stews, a good stand-by, always seemed to be plenty of cheese, if we wanted supper, mostly bought by ourselves. Often tea would be about 4.30. Nothing else until 8 next day, even in the trenches. This was so , even though the weather might have been bad.

SHELL SHOCK. Very bad. They had my sympathy, morale got very low sometimes in our battalion, and there were a few self-inflicted wounds. Also there were some who ate the cordite from the bullet casing to bring on a high temperature. There were a number of accidents through carelessness.

NARROW ESCAPES. Was practising throwing of Mills Bombs, September 1916. The new man dropped the bomb when starting to throw and, foolishly, we were standing on a wooden foot board raised little higher than the bottom of the trench. The bomb fell underneath the board…. out of the trench and fell flat. Neither of us was wounded, but others who were standing quite a good distance away were wounded. Was ready to mark off in columns, perhaps on the second day of the battle of Italy, the Lewis gun section was just in front. On the command quick march, No.1 Lewis gunner ( they had not yet got their handcarts over the river ) threw his gun upon his shoulders and the gun let off a single round, just appearing to pass over my head.

THE TRENCHES. In the early days in the trenches we often had to cook our own meals. Nights appeared to be long and cold. If you did get a place to sleep, you would wake up cold and move about for a little to get warm. We were often troubled by louse.

SMELLS. Very bad in the trenches, particularly in warm weather or when you were digging and you struck a dead body.

THE TRENCH SYSTEM. Very bad in some places. During October, November and December we went into the front line for two day periods. No communication trenches, we had to go over the top and drop into what was the front line, up to the knees in water and mud. The Officer and Sergeant had a piece of corrugated iron to give a little protection. We remained in water and mud all the time.

CHURCH PARADES. Always appeared to me to be a mockery.

LATRINES. Sometimes very crude. In August 1915 in Warboy our latrines were on the side of the road on spare land. Just a trench about 18 inches deep with a canvas about four feet around the trench.

COURSES. Had courses on Mills Bomb 1915. Lewis Gun 1916. Sniping 1916, several NCO courses all these, courses taking place chiefly when the battalion was on rest. Watched Sir John French go by in car – December 1915. Watched Sir. D.Haig go by in car – September 1916. Marched past Lord Cavan in Italy – November 1918.

ARMY COMMANDERS. 2nd. Army was visited by General Plummer and given a speech after leaving his command – January 1916. 4th. Army – never saw Rollinson – 1916. 5th. Army – never saw Gough – 1916. 3rd.Army – never saw Allenby – 1916-17. 1st. Army – did not know who the commander was at that time.

CORPS. COMMANDERS. Lt. Allenby – never saw him in 1915. LT. General Moorland – never saw him 1916. Lt. General Snow presented me with colours, Military Medal – 1916. Lt. General Babbington – passed by in car – 1918. Never knew who Corps. Commander was in the 1st. Army.

LEAVE. Was out for 16 months before I got my first leave, was going on leave before the Somme offensive , but leave was cancelled in May 1916 for several, months.

ENTERTAINMENT. Our Division had its own concert party which visited occasionally. First going into the trenches, looked forward to going in but soon changed my mind.

OVER THE TOP. Knew we had to do it, forgot about oneself when in action, but while waiting a little worrying, looked forward later to receiving a slight wound to take us back to Britain.

GAS. Very uncomfortable wearing respirators of whatever type, the ones we used at Ypres in 1915 were smothering. I was company runner during early part of the Somme battle taking ………..

Norman made some ( small ) contributions to ” The First Day of the Somme ” by Martin Middlebrook, ISBN 0 7139 0194 2, published 1971. They were credited to Pt. N.Smith, Cowlersley Yorkshire.

His grandson informed me that Norman went back to Italy many years after the war. He also took his grandson, when he was 14, to the Somme battlefields and Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. This Memorial is dedicated to the 72,337 missing British and South African servicemen, who died at the battles of the Somme between 1915-1918, with no known graves. It may be pertinent that five soldiers from Netherthong are included in that list- they were Irvin Barrowclough, George Richard Gledhill, John Henry Hoyle, Edward Smith and John Roberts.

The photograph below is of the letter Norman found on the body of a dead German soldier plus a one Mark note.

The following set of four photographs show Norman’s uniform stripes and badges with a close-up of his cap badge ( which he refers to in his memoirs ). There is also his Disembodiment Certificate, which was the term used when a whole unit is stood down at the end of the war, lastly is a Certificate associated with the Medaille Commemorative des Batailles de la Somme awarded 1956.

Norman in common, I guess, with most if not all his fellow soldiers brought back ‘souvenirs’ from the battlefield. Below are four photographs of his items. The first is a shell nose, picked up at the battle of Ypres, which he mounted on a wooden base. It is a German Graze Action Percussion Fuse KZ14 which first entered service in 1914. It was fired from a 77mm FK96 or FK 16 field gun. The shell would have contained TNT or High Explosive + shrapnel or a chemical agent such as chlorine or phosgene. These gas shells were used at Ypres for the first time on 31 May 1915 and, as this one came from Ypres , it may well have been associated with the chemical attack. The second is an example of trench art of a ring, made from a brass ammunition casing and inscribed Ypres – no provenance. The third item , also with no provenance, is a corkscrew which was made from a bullet and dated 1916. The last item is a collection of Italian banknotes dated 1918 from his time in Italy.

In c.1968, Norman took his grandson on a visit to the Somme battlefields and they brought back a fragment of shrapnel – see photograph.

Charles Arthur Hudson – WW1 survivor

Charles Arthur Hudson was a Netherthong lad, who enlisted in 1914 to serve his country and was fortunate to survive the horrors. He is listed in my “Chapter, Details of soldiers who fought and survived WW1”, with what few details I was able to find.
He was born on 10/11/1894 and was baptised  on 06/01/1895 in All Saints Parish Church and his parents were John Henry and Ann,  who lived in the village. His father was a cloth finisher. He attended the village school and, like many of his friends ,he became a scout in the Netherthong troop.  His name appears in a list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express Roll of Honour (ROH), issued January 9 1915, as serving in the Army. In the framed Roll of Honour in the Parish Church, he is listed as a Private in the 9th. Battalion of the Duke of Wellington regiment with his enlistment date given as October 17,1914.

, In the baptismal records for all Saints’ Church, his Christian names are given as Charles Albert and not Charles Arthur. His birth date appears correct as it tallies with him giving his age as 20 years when he enlisted. He did have an older brother, Harry, who was born on 17/05/88 and in the 1891 Census Harry is listed as being two years old. The baptismal records give another brother, Willie, who was born on 12/12/84, but who was not included in that Census.The same baptismal records show that his father, John Henry was born on 02/07/1860 but was not baptised until much later on 25/07/1869. His parents were John and Mary, who lived in Thongsbridge, and they would have been Charles grandparents.

photograph of Charles Hudson courtesy of Tim Parsons – August 2019
Full size render from Holmfirth Express – supplied by Paul Sims

I received the first photograph of Charles from Tim Parsons in August 2019 and he also sent a number of certificates and forms relating to Charles enlistment , service and discharge from the army. Unfortunately they were very badly damaged and, as can be seen in the images below, large portions are illegible. However they are important documents, as they would have applied not just to Charles and all his friends in village but to all the soldiers who enlisted in WW1. I have augmented the details by extracting additional information from Google.

Image 1. The form above is the Short Service Attestation and it was introduced by Lord Kitchener in 1914 under which a man could serve for three years or the duration of the war, whichever was the longer. This was instead of the 12 years of service normally demanded when joining the army.

You can make out the list of questions –
1. What is your name ? – Charles Albert Hudson
2. What is your address ? – ?? Netherthong
3. Are you a British Subject ?, -Yes
4. What is your age – 20 years 7 months,,
5. What is your Trade or Calling, – ??
6. Are you married, – No
7.Have you ever served in the Forces, – No
8. Are you willing to be vaccinated or re-vaccinated? Yes
9. Are you willing to be enlisted for General Service.? Yes
10.Did you receive a notice …?
11. Are you prepared to serve upon the following conditions…

signed by Charles Albert Hudson.
Image 2.
Image 4. Record of promotions, reductions,transfers etc. during active service. Awarded Military Medal 1916. Transferred to Class “Z” Army Reserve on Demobilisation, Date 3-4-1919.
Image 5. Form – With reference to your application stating you have lost your discharge certificate. I am to request that you state overleaf the circumstances as under which the Certificate….. On receipt of your declaration , the question of replacing the Certificate or book will be considered. The declaration must be made before one of His Majesty’s Justice of the Peace ….. and returned to me when it is completed. It was signed by Officer I/c Records.
Image 6. The reverse side of the form in Image 5. and is his declaration. I sincerely declare that I have lost my Discharge Certificate. It got destroyed among some more old papers on October 17, 1937. Signed by Charles Hudson, present age 44, place of birth Netherthong, present address Upper George St. Huddersfield. Signed in the presence of Commissioner of Oaths on August 1939 in Huddersfield.
Image 7.
Image 8. Army Form B5112, Forwarding of accompanying medals and a request to complete receipt and return card. Signed by Hudson on March 11th. 1921.
Image 9. Dispersal Certificate ( Soldier ).
Image 10. Military History Sheet. Listing his Campaign Medals. Awarded Military Medal on 21/10/16. 1914/15 Star.
Image 11. Certificate of Medical Examination.

A search on Google shows that there were over 1100 Army Forms.

A short history of the Wharam family

I have recently ( February 2019 ) been contacted by Glenn , who has supplied me with the following interesting information about the Wharam family ( frequently misspelled as Wareham). From his research efforts he has proven that his family lived in and around Netherthong at least by 1782, and knows that they departed Netherthong in 1849, bound for America. His line of Wharam appears to have been the only family with that surname in Netherthong and , like most of those living in and around the village, they were engaged in weaving woolen cloth. The majority of persons with the surname Wharam seem to be in Clayton West and High Hoyland, with smaller numbers around Cumberworth and New Mill. Distant cousins live today in Skelmanthorpe. Glenn’s theory is that his great-great-great grandfather, Charles Wharam, must have migrated to Netherthong from the east. He married Ann Hudson in Netherthong, but she was baptized in Holmfirth.

Based on census and baptism records, the family moved around a bit, residing in Moor Lane Farm, Moor Gate Farm, and the Burnlee section of Upperthong. Cousins lived at Holmroyd Nook. One of the residents of Holmroyd Nook showed Glenn a leasehold document signed by Jonas Hinchliffe, the brother of his great-great-great grandmother, Lydia Hinchliffe Oldham. His great-great grandfather was baptised in All Saints Parish Church in 1837( the baptismal index records show a James Oldham Wareham, born 07/08/1837 and baptised on 27/09/1837 : father John and mother Sally Hinchliffe, both of Moor Lane), although this seemed to have been an exception as almost all the other baptisms and marriages were conducted at the Wesleyan Chapel.

The following addition was supplied to me by Jacki Smith in July 2020 on this chapter .  “There’s a mention of John (Wharam) and Sally Hinchliffe in the 2nd paragraph, and I don’t know if it’s clear that she was Sallie Hinchliffe Oldham, the daughter of Hinchliff Oldham and Lydia Hinchliffe.  Sallie’s sister Elizabeth Hinchliffe Oldham was my great-great-grandmother, and she married John Hobson.  Because so many distant cousin matches have shown up on my Ancestry account, I’ve been following the Wharam clan quite a bit in the U.S.   I was fascinated to read here that the Hinchliffes had also migrated to the U.S.   John Hobson and Elizabeth Hinchliffe Oldham migrated to Hawick, Scotland, and their daughter Emma Hobson married David Scott there, and they migrated to the U.S., in 1879.

The history continues when the Wharam family of Moor Lane (father John, mother Sally, great-great grandfather James Oldham Wharam, and his two sisters Lydia and Elizabeth) left Netherthong. They sailed via the Port of Liverpool to Canada and then on to join a family member who had already established a farm at Gaines Township in Genesee County, Michigan. The Hinchliffe cousins, who once lived at Holmroyd Nook, left a bit later and came to New Jersey. Incredibly, the Hinchliffes then traveled from New Jersey to Michigan and lived for a while with their Wharam cousins. So, two families who had lived on adjacent farms west of Netherthong were reunited and lived together in Michigan.

But Michigan did not appeal to the Hinchliffes because it was too cold . They left, and great-great grandfather, James Oldham Wharam, went with them (his mother had died, and his father had remarried). This group of cousins eventually made their way to Buckingham County, Virginia. It is helpful that the Hinchliffes had a child born in New Jersey, Michigan, and Virginia, as confirmed by the 1860 US census, which helped trace their movements. The Hinchliffes bought land in Buckingham and started farming.

In 1861 war broke out. James Oldham Wharam volunteered and became a soldier in Company C of the Virginia 44th Regiment of Infantry of the Confederate States of America. The Hinchliffe farm had no slaves, and James fought because his adopted homeland of Virginia was being invaded by the North.

James Oldham Wharam was a participant in the American Civil War for the duration, 1861 to 1865. He marched hundreds of miles and was shot twice, the second time through both lungs. He was left for dead on the battlefield but survived. He was captured by Union troops and taken to hospitals and then to a prisoner of war camp at Fort McHenry, Maryland . When the war ended, he was released and walked back to Buckingham County, which was devastated. There were no cows to milk, no pigs to slaughter, no stores of grain, and no seed to plant. The Hinchliffes had lost everything and, after military actions had ceased, they moved to Philadelphia. James married a local girl and started farming, after surviving the winter of 1865-1866, living mostly on the game he killed – mainly squirrels. He fathered 14 children. Almost all of the persons today with the Wharam surname, stretching from Georgia to Maryland, are descendants of James Oldham Wharam of Netherthong. Today, there are more Wharams in the US than in the UK. Glenn is obviously very proud of his family roots and ended his information with the following question.

What do you call a fellow whose family of clothiers were put out of business by the Industrial Revolution, who survived the cramped conditions of a ship sailing to America, who survived the Michigan winters in a log cabin, who trekked from Michigan to Virginia, who marched hundreds of miles as a soldier in the Confederate Army, who was wounded twice and left for dead, who survived the horrible conditions of a prisoner of war camp, who walked back home, barefoot and with no food after the war, only to find his home place totally devastated, who started a farm from scratch while avoiding starvation, and who fathered 14 children? Answer: a Yorkshireman – one from Netherthong.

Details of local places from 1892 map – then and now

Dave Pattern is involved in an ongoing project to index historical maps of the Huddersfield area. One relevant to Netherthong and District ( Thongsbridge, Deanhouse and Oldfield ) is titled Hudds. Exposed 1892 Honley, and is centered  on grid ref. SE 4145 4105. The accompanying chart features places from that map and details ( 2018) their current situation after 126 years.

Dave has very kindly agreed that I can use this information in  my website.

name & location area type exists
Albert Hotel, Miry Lane. Now a private residence known as "Old Albert" Thongsbridge public house yes but new use
Inn, School Street Netherthong inn yes but new use
Star of the Day, Oldfield Road Oldfield public house yes but new use
Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, St. Mary's Road Netherthong chapel yes but new use
All Saints Church, Town Gate Netherthong church yes
All Saints' Church Graveyard Netherthong burial ground yes
Bastile, Moor Lane Netherthong property yes
Brown Hill, off Moor Lane Netherthong property yes
Calf Hill Wood Netherthong wood yes
Crodingley, off Thong Lane Thongsbridge property yes
Cross Lane End, corner of Oldfield Road & Cross Lane Oldfield property yes
Deanhouse Workhouse, off St. Mary's Road Deanhouse hospital, etc yes
Dock Hill Netherthong area yes
Forest Cottage, Spinner Gate (now Bradshaw Road). Also known Wood Cottage Oldfield property yes
Free United Methodist Chapel, Giles Street. Now Church House Netherthong chapel yes
Green Cottage, Holt Lane (now Broomy Lee Lane) Netherthong property yes
Har Royd, off Dean Brook Road Netherthong property yes
Holmroyd Nook, off Knoll Lane Oldfield farm yes
Manor House, Church Street Netherthong property yes
Mission Church, Miry Lane. Also known as the Parish Church of St. Andrew Thongsbridge church yes
Moor Croft, Spinner Gate (now Bradshaw Road) Oldfield property yes
Moor Lane Farm, Moor Lane Netherthong farm yes
Moorfield House, off Springwood Road Thongsbridge private house yes
Mountain Cottage, corner of Spinner Gate (now Bradshaw Road) & Wood Nook Lane Oldfield property yes
New Hagg, off Oldfield Road Oldfield property yes
Newland Wood Thongsbridge wood yes
Newlands, Huddersfield Road Thongsbridge property yes
Oldfield House, Oldfield Road Oldfield property yes
Railway Cottages, Springwood Road Thongsbridge property yes
Sands, off Moor Lane Netherthong property yes
School, off School Street. Now Netherthong Primary School Netherthong school yes
Spring Grove, Huddersfield Road. Also known as Spring Bottom (1854 map) Netherthong property yes
Spring Lodge, Calf Hill Road. Previously known as Spring Cottage (1854 map) Thongsbridge property yes
Spring Wood Netherthong wood yes
The Hey, off Heys Road Thongsbridge terraced row yes
Thongsbridge, Miry Lane. Road bridge over the River Holme Thongsbridge misc feature yes
Upper Fear Nought, off Huddersfield Road Netherthong property yes
Vicarage, Miry Lane Netherthong vicarage yes
View Terrace, Miry Lane. Row of 4 back-to-back properties Thongsbridge terraced row yes
Well Green, Holt Lane Netherthong property yes
Well House, off Huddersfield Road Netherthong private house yes
Woodlands. Property originally set in Longlands Wood and approached via a footpath Thongsbridge private house yes
Woodville, off Calf Hill Road Thongsbridge private house yes
Albion Mill, off Miry Lane. Woollen mill Thongsbridge mill partially
Quarry Netherthong quarry partially
Alma Mills, off Thong Lane. Woollen mill Thongsbridge mill no
Deanhouse Mills, off Dean Brook Road. Woollen mill Deanhouse mill no
Elmwood, off Huddersfield Road Netherthong private house no
Gas Works Deanhouse works no
Inn, Huddersfield Road Thongsbridge inn no
Lower Fear Nought, off Huddersfield Road Netherthong terraced row no
Mill dam for Thongsbridge Mills Thongsbridge mill pond no
Moorfield House, off Spinner Gate (now Bradshaw Road) Oldfield property no
Oaklands, off Huddersfield Road Netherthong private house no
Prospect House, off Heys Road Thongsbridge property no
Quarry, off Calf Hill Road Netherthong quarry no
Robin Royd, off Huddersfield Road Netherthong property no
Thongs Birdge Station. Railway station on the Holmfirth Branch Thongsbridge railway feature no
Thongsbridge Mills, off Miry Lane. Woollen mill Thongsbridge mill no
Folly Dam. Mill pond for Deanhouse Mills Deanhouse mill pond maybe
Size and Bone Works, off Miry Lane Thongsbridge works maybe

Netherthong and the Holmfirth Floods

The history of the various floods that occurred in the Holme Valley and Holmfirth is 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 to have been 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 super 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 she 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 between 250 – 350 . As I said in the first paragraph, 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 over 16,000 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 250,000 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 more than 80 chapters  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 ). 




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 in 1769. 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 Mill which 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 were 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. Smailes 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 installation. It consisted of a Crossley 23 brake horsepower engine 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 2 February 1921  by ‘The Middles’ a male voice concert party from Meltham.T he 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 reporter 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 ten officials and six members of the Board had an enjoyable outing. They were conveyed in five 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.  At that time there was a total in residence of 180 people and staff and, after the presence of the disease was discovered, an investigation showed that eight inmates, seven men and one 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 seven 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 accommodation for the nurses. Some of the nurses were sleeping six 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 accommodation 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 two 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 Seddon 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 accommodation 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.

The following photo supplied by Haydn Boothroyd could very well have been one of a number of photographs  taken to celebrate the event. It is marked on the back ‘ Nurses and Staff of the old Deanhouse Workhouse  about the year 1924/5.’ The man on the far right in a white uniform and a baker’s cap was John Boothroyd – Haydn’s grandfather.

Nurses and Staff

 The next photograph also supplied by Haydn Boothroyd shows a number of the workers/tradesmen . Grandad John, the baker, is in the middle sitting with his arms crossed. Next to him is a young lad, probably an apprentice.  The man on the left with his suit, cap and watch chain could be management. Photo probably dates from 1910s/1920s.

Deanhouse workers

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 their regular visits in October and gave a lantern slide lecture entitled ” The message of the flowers “.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 distribution 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 accommodation of the Institution, the nursing and accommodation 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 two and a half 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 achieve 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 six motor vehicles, three for the men and three 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 Hospital 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 Holmfirth 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 every 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 lantern 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.

 In 1939  the Master and Matron were Mr. & Mrs. D.S. Pugh ( Ivy Guest and David Stanley Pugh ). They  were in charge of two other local hospitals  until they retired between 1951 -52, and moved to Sheffield where they took over a public house called the Beehive ( which is still there today ). The Pughs had two daughters, Barbara and Dilys,  and  recently, February 2019,  I talked to  Barbara about her memories of her time in the village and the Workhouse.  She was born in Todmorden and moved to the Workhouse when she was two years old and then moved, when her parents retired   to Sheffield when she was about 14 years old. She said that her parents were always on duty and she and her sister seldom had very  much quality time with them and instead  were looked after by a very kind lady called Mary Brown.  She attended the Wesleyan Chapel and went to the National School and remembered many of the names of her classmates who are listed in the chapter on Schools and  was pleased that I had a reference in it to her being crowned School Queen in 1949 ( see photos below ). One very intriguing memory was of the teachers  asking children to collect elderberries and bring them into school.   Barbara  said that when she first saw equipment bubbling and boiling , she wondered that, maybe  the staff were making illicit ” moonshine “, but then realised that they were more likely to have been  making jam, ( I like the moonshine story best). A good day out was to go to the Lido in Holmfirth, have fish and chips for lunch, and then go to watch a cricket match, but Barbara said she and her friends were less interested in the cricket but more in eyeing up any young men there. She had little recollection of what went on in the Workhouse and the gardens,  but clearly remembers the baker in the bakehouse making her chocolate eggs. One very strong memory of her father was  that he had a Jaguar car and also liked a pint, so he would drive his car to the Cricketer’s Inn. Barbara sent me photocopies of some of the photos from her family album.The first set of three  shows her father and his beloved Jaguar car, which was very well known in the area. The second is another view of the car with her father holding their dog , Susie. The lower picture is a family group with Dad, Janet, Barbara, Dilys and Alan.  

Family photographs
Barbara Pugh

The second set of photographs shows on the top left – Dad, Barbara, Mum and Dilys. Next is Susie, Dilys, Barbara & Joan Settle ( the Engineer’s daughter ). The two photos underneath are not notated.

Workhouse family

In  the third set of photographs taken at Whitsun 1949, the one on the left is of Dilys and Auntie Jean( her father’s sister  ), Sister Clayton is  in the RH photo and the lower photo is of dad, Barbara, Jean and Yvonne Hinchliffe plus the car.

Workhouse photos


The next set of photographs has Mrs. Ross, Master & Matron , Matron with a group of the nursing staff and underneath Barbara with her mother and susie on the front step of the hospital.


Workhouse picture 

The photo below, which also appears in the chapter on schooling,  shows on the left Barbara with her crown and dress after she was crowned the School Queen in 1949, she is with her older sister, Dilys. In the lower picture she is leading a procession with her maids of honour- in Miry Lane? The third picture , probably dated 1940 shows a young Barbara and her sister with their father and mother.

Crowning of School Queen

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 completed 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 eight 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 and 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 internet.

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, tried 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 six summonses totalling £12 5s and, after the Chairman ( Major Brian Tinker ) had announced that the Magistrates had found the case proved, Mrs.Robertson asked for a further eight 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 three columns to 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 from 15 % to 20% and 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, two 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.