The history of the various floods that occurred in the Holme Valley and Holmfirth are well documented and it is not the purpose of this chapter to re-visit that information. However those floods must have impacted in numerous ways on the inhabitants of Netherthong. Some may have had friends or relatives in the stricken areas, many helped to raise funds for flood relief , others would have traveled down New Road to see if they could be of any assistance and others would have gone simply just to ‘look’.
The involvement would have more likely on the days following the Great Flood of 29 May 1944 which was at its worst between 6.30pm and 7.00pm. It occurred just over 73 years ago, so if there are any eye witnesses living today they would have been children or teenagers at the time. However many years ago, when I first started researching and writing the history of the village, I interviewed a lovely lady who lived in one of the cottages in Outlane. Her name was Nancy Millican and, among the items of local history she shared with me, she said that she remembered having gone to the theatre in Holmfirth on that Whit-Monday with her mother and returning home along the Huddersfield Road and seeing the waters flooding down the roads . They were near enough to New Road not to be in any real danger.
It would have made great copy if she had said that the floodwaters chased them, lapping at their heels all the way and that they just managed to get to New Road and scramble up the hill to safety with the waters trying to suck them back down…..
A recent visitor to the website, Margaret H, supplied me with some great photographs of the village and the school and also eight photographs of Holmfirth, two taken before the flood and six afterwards. I make no apologies for including them in this chapter as they may stir the memories of any remaining Netherthongians in the 80-year bracket. The villagers set a target of raising £200 for the Flood Relief Fund by organising various events.
Michael Day has written and published a book titled Wool & Worsit which is a History of Textiles in the Holme Valley. It took him many years of diligent research to create a fantastic historical and essential book of what was the life- blood for all the inhabitants in the Valley. It includes maps and photographs and is full of interesting anecdotes about some of the people who worked in the mills. The titles of the chapters give you an idea of the scope of his book.
They are in numerical order. 1. From Home Production to Mills. 2. The Coming ofMachinery. 3. Revolutions, Riots and Reform. 4. Employment of Children. 5. TradeUnions. 6. Clothiers to Manufacturers. 7. Floods. 8. Holme to Hinchliffe Mill. 9. Bottoms Mill to Holmfirth. 10. Holme Styes to Holmfirth. 11. Holmfirth toMytholmbridge. 12. Upper House to New Mill. 13. Wooldale to Mytholmbridge. 14. Mytholmbridge to Honley. 15. Honley and Mag Valley.
It was published by Laverock Publishing , Huddersfield and its ISBN number is 978-0-9576806-0-4
Michael has very kindly allowed me to use information from his book and, although I have numerous references to Deanhouse Mills throughout my history, I’ve decided to create this new chapter for his information. The sketch below indicates the location of some of the mills.
Deanhouse Mill was the major employer for the villagers but some of them would also have been employed at Albert Mill, Bridge Mills and the various mills at Thongs Bridge.
Deanhouse Mill stood alongside Dean Brook mainly on the Honley side of the stream and was already in existence in 1791 when it was owned and occupied by Nathaniel and Godfrey Berry. In 1800 the premises were conveyed to John Waterhouse and offered for sale again in 1803 by which time a steam engine had been fitted. In 1837 ownership passed to Joseph Firth of Shepley and Walter Walker of Thurstonland.
The mill was visited by the Plug Rioters in August 1842 when they withdrew the boiler plug to stop the mill from working and it is also probable that they drained the dam. Hiram and Abraham Littlewood were using the mill in 1848 but adverse financial circumstances forced them to assign the estate to Abraham Hirst, wool merchant, Edmund Eastwood, dyer, and John Armitage, wool merchant, all from Huddersfield.
In 1852 the mill was occupied by William Haigh and by 1859 he only occupied a part with Thomas Dyson occupying another part. William Haigh was the trustee for the creditors of James and Benjamin Estwood who were also using part of the mill. Haigh went to the mill on 19 May 1859 to find out why the mill was stopped and , on entering the yard, he was met by James Eastwood who abused him and followed him wherever he went. When Haigh entered the mill both Eastwood brothers followed him in and further abused him , swearing that they would knock his soul out and , when they all went back into the yard, they attempted to push him into a pig sty. Haigh reported that he believed his life to be in danger and that he dare not go back to the mill to look after the creditors’ interests. The Eastwoods were bound over in the amount of £20 each to keep the peace for 6 months.
The mill was advertised for sale in December 1859 when the only tenant was Thomas Dyson with parts untenanted. The building was described as having two mills, engine and boiler houses, dyehouse and dam, willey room and buildings, various cottages, gardens and outbuildings, three dwellings, a joiners’ shop, a steam engine and two boilers. The mills contained machinery for processing raw wool into yarn. A Gasworks was being built in Deanhouse in 1861 which would supply all the premises in Netherthong and Deanhouse including the mill and the new Workhouse. In September 1866 a new chimney was being built at the mill. Four years later on 23 July 1870 a fire was discovered in the stove. Neighbours tried to extinguish the blaze with buckets of water and were eventually joined by the fire engine from Josh Mellor & Sons, Thongs Bridge. The damage was estimated at £50. In December 1881 , Dysons were charged with three accounts of using unjust weight. Some of the weights used in the mill to weigh quantities of wool or yarm were found by the Inspectors to be incorrect. The 7lb. weights were between 1/4 oz. and 1/2 oz. light and the 14lb. weight was 2 1/2 oz. light. The defence counsel pointed out that the weavers were paid by yardage of pieces and not by weight. The Bench gave a nominal fine of 1s for each offence. In February 1883 about 170 members of Deanhouse Mills were treated at the house of Mr.Fenton Walker, Royal Oak Inn Thongsbridge. After tea the remainder of the evening was spent in games, dancing and singing.
A large number of alterations and extensions took place at the mills over a period of years and the number of workers also increased from 170 in 1883 to 200 in 1898. In April 1905, George Henry Senior, the foreman scourer at the mill, gave one week’s notice and was asked to leave the key to the Milling Room and the Boiler House when he went home that evening. He failed to do so and when he arrived at work the following day he was told he would not be paid as he had broken his contract. He sued Dyson’s for £1 16s unpaid wages but the Bench dismissed the case. The Yorkshire Textile Directory of 1910 listed Dyson’s as manufacturers of fancy cloths with 5,500 spindles and 50 looms.
Mr. Edward Dyson, a scribbling engineer, retired in October 1932 after 57 years. Apart from six months absence due to illness, the whole of the time had been in the service of Messrs. Thomas Dyson & Sons and, as a token of respect, he was awarded a long service award and presented with a gold watch and chain. He was the third employee in the last three years to retire with over 50 years service, the others being Alfred Battye ( 55 years ) and Edwin Broadbent ( 51 years ).
A fire broke out in a 2-storey building at the mill, containing the wool warehouse and the finishing department, on 19 July 1946, which was enveloped in a mass of flames and the building was reduced to a shell. Fortunately the fire did not effect the main part of the mill on the opposite side of the road but did cause damages estimated at £ 20,000. Both the Holmfirth & Huddersfield units of the NFC were called. The fire had started in the warehouse on the ground floor probably by spontaneous combustion in a bale of wool. Mr.John Bentoft, who was employed at the mill, raced to a telephone about 1/4 of a mile away. The call was received at 6.24 and the local brigade turned out in three minutes. Mr.C.S.Floyd, the managing director, said that in consequence of the fire six or seven men in the finishing department would be thrown out of work.
Two years later thieves stole 14 pieces of cloth valued at £700 during the Whitsuntide weekend. Near to the end of the 1940s Dyson’s were taken over by Edwin Walker & Co of Field Mills, Huddersfield and production at Deanhouse appeared to have ceased in 1953/54. Yorkshire Textile Directory records that W.Fien & Sons , who were processors, blenders and carders of Rabbit Hair, Angora, Hares Fur, Cashmere and Camel fibres, were using parts of the mill in 1955. Heywod Yarns Ltd. also moved into part of the mill in 1955 and continued to use it into the 1970s. Fein’s moved production to Lower Mill around 1970 but continued to use Deanhouse mill as a warehouse. A company named Century Steel were using part of the premises in June 1983. A fire broke out which was subsequently attributed to arson and the damage was estimated at £70,000. Much of the mill was demolished in 1855 with only one building left in use. The final building was demolished in 1988 and houses were built on the site.
There is a short reference in Michael’s book about Deanhouse Dyehouse. The date of construction and its precise location are not known. The only reference is in a file in Kirklees Archives , dated 5 November 1819, which records the transfer of prpoerty from James Kenworthy, dyer of Netherthong, to Joshua Eastwood, clothier of Meltham, for £250. The dyehouse was equipped with four vats with lids and grates, three pans with grates, one cradle for grinding indigo, one cistern for washing wool, three troughs to carry the water to the utensils, various barrows and scrays for wool, woad rakes, one indigo tub, two barrels, three kits and one pigin dish.
Albion Mill, Thongs Bridge – precise date not known but was in existence before 1848.
Another mill in Thongs Bridge was owned by Godfrey Mellor and Sons in the 1850s and Mr. Tom Mellor was a member of the Netherthong Local Board. In June 1852, John Bates ,the Factory Inspector, summoned D.Sykes ,a mule spinner of Netherthong ,working at Mellor’s for working his own 12 year old son, John Sykes, after 1pm. when he had also worked in the morning and for not allowing his son to attend school. He pleaded guilty to both charges and the Bench imposed a fine of 5s plus costs on each charge.
Alma Mill was a woolen mill alongside the Huddersfield to Woodhead Turnpike road between the road and what is now the bowling club. The buildings known as Alma mill were erected in 1854 built and in 1855, J.Mellor submitted a plan to the Netherthong Local Board to enlarge the weaving shed and it was passed. It employed 300 workers. The Huddersfield and Holmfirth Examiner for November 1851 reported that the inauguration of the opening of the Mill, property of Messrs. Joseph Mellor & Sons, took place on November 3rd. The whole of the workforce, male and female totalling 300, were treated by their employers to a supper of roast beef and plum pudding, There were lots of toasts and speeches and a party of glee singers were in attendance to entertain.
Bridge Mills formerly stood either side of the Huddersfield to Woodhead Turnpike road at the junction with New Road. There was a small dam on the corner of the two that was no longer required in the 1980s so it was decided that it should be dismantled, filled in and made into a car park. Whilst workmen were excavating the dam they found two bones that were probably human, shoes, a thimble, buttons from a Lancashire & Yorkshire railway uniform and a ring inscribed ” Annie ” on the inside. A report in 1985 said the artefacts came from a woman, one bone was from an arm and the other from a leg. They were probably betwen 50-200 years old and might have come from the 1852 flood. The remains of this unknown woman were buried in the Garden of Remembrance in Cemetary Road, Holmfirth.
The two photographs below are of Deanhouse Mills. The top photograph is thought to be possibly the original weaving shed. The lower photo is of the mill and chimney.
There was an article headed ‘Serious Riot at the Mill’ in the issue of the Huddersfield and Holmfirth Examiner for July 3 1852 and it continued by saying ‘ a scene was enacted at the Deanhouse Mill such as is not of every day occurrence and one which will not soon be forgotten by those who witnessed it.’ Messrs.John Heap & Sons occupied the top floor of the Mill in which they had some spinning mules which they wanted to re-site at Smithy-place Mill. They wanted to take them out the same way they were brought in but Messrs. Haigh Brothers refused to agree and ordered their mill hands to resist any attempt to move them. Mr.Haigh remained inflexible to Mr.Heap’s repeated requests and ordered his men to strike down the first man who attempted to get to the top floor. He armed them with sticks and pieces of iron. Mr.Heap led his men to the charge but was wounded in the head. The mill party seemed to have victory in their grasp and Mr.Tom Dyson tippled Mark Heap into the dam. However on getting out Mark Heap noticed a quantity of broken bricks and he called out ” Brick ’em lads – Brick ’em ” The mill party were now in a perilous position and they had to come down from the roof and several got a good ducking, in addition to being severly wounded by the missiles.The Heaps achieved a complete victory and took their machinery away without further annoyance. Doctors were speedily in requisition. Thus ended this awkward affair.
In April 1973 the Holmfirth Express printed two articles titled ‘A brief history of Deanhouse – a hamlet that shows the changes of time.’ It was written by Eileen Williams, who was the secretary of Holmfirth Civic Society. It is superbly researched and, as Deanhouse features throughout the history of Netherthong, it is a valuable addition to this web site. With acknowledgements to Eileen.
” Few hamlets in the West Riding can show the changes of time as clearly as Deanhouse. It now comprises two separate entities, on the one hand are the neat rows of modern dwellings, while barely a stone’s throw away, via a ginnel passing the 18th.C. Wesleyan Chapel, a cluster of 17th. and 18th. cottages still survive – one bearing a date-stone marked 1698 above the door. Deanhouse Mills standing just below give their evidence of the Industrial Revolution.
Earliest traced record of Deanhouse is given in the Poll-Tax of 1379 in the Haneley ( Honley ) section which included a Johanne Dean whose homestead sited in the modernised section was to become Deanhouse. Little is known about him but he grew his own corn, taking it to Honley Mill to grind. 200 years later in 1569, John Beaumont, a husbandman of Deynhouse, bought land from the Stapletons of Honley and appeared to be thriving. Beaumonts remained at Deanhouse until 1675 when Abraham Beaumont sold to Joseph Armitage. From Armitage the property passed to a Woodhead, a Wilkinson and then Sir John Lister Kaye spanning the years to 1763 when Godfrey Berry bought ‘ Deanhouse and other lands at Honley for £400.
In the latter half of the 18th.C , Deanhouse was a very small community of farmers, clothiers and handloom weavers. They were among the first of the followers of John Wesley and Methodism and they built their own chapel in1769. In 1772, John Wesley visited the chapel but had to walk from Hagg. A Mrs. Dinah Bates accompanied him back to Hagg and she was a noted Leech-woman, held in deep respect for the curing of ailments. The panorama of the Deanhouse Valley was then unbroken by the Deanhouse Millwhich was built some years later. The brook into which three streams converged flowed unsullied through woods and pasture land. Above it the bridle path, now known as Haigh Lane, led directly to the Chapel skirting a two-storied double fronted dwelling with a substantial barn, presumably a farmhouse, now the Cricketer’s Arms.The four weavers’ cottages stood at the brow of the bridle path while below them was a drinking trough for the horses. Behind these weavers’ cottages was a fold with smaller cottages, one of which still carries the date stone of 1698 above the door.
It is recorded that in 1798, Nathaniel Berry of Deanhouse was a Constable and a church warden of Honley. In 1838 the Deanhouse passed to Joseph, Ben and John Eastwood the family then connected with the mill. Joseph Eastwood and Sons being recorded as fulling millers. By 1838 a John Jordan had taken over the scribbling and fulling while Joseph Eastwood and his brothers were then known as woolen merchants.
At that time there was no record of an inn in Deanhouse but an unnamed beerhouse was listed in 1853. As farmhouses in those days often brewed and sold beer as a sideline, the conversion of farmhouse to inn, first known as ‘The Blazing Rag’ seems to have been a gradual one. While officially the Cricketers today, it is still known locally as ‘The Rag’. May 1860 brought about the most significant change to the old Deanhouse community when the house and grounds carrying the name of the hamlet was conveyed from the Eastwood family to the Guardians of the Huddersfield Union as a site for a new Workhouse.’
The second article dealt with the rise and decline of the dreaded workhouse of Deanhouse. I have a chapter covering the the Workhouse in detail so I have just pulled a few interesting items from her report.
‘ The first inmates were admitted at the beginning of September 1862. Before the end of the month a boy named Thomas Clough absconded and was found drowned near Huddersfield the same day. No regrets or mention of an inquiry was made in the minutes. The following year, in September 1863, the list of absconders over the boundary wall was proving a worry and included a Sarah Jane Hobson who had escaped taking her three children with her to Honley, one man took his workhouse clothing with him and a young female got over the wall for an immoral purpose. As a result a higher boundary wall was built at a cost of £150.’
The Express occasionally gave reports of the results of sales/auctions of property and land in the village. Invariably these were conducted by William Sykes, who still have a major presence in Holmfirth, and were normally held in public houses .
The first report I have was in the Huddersfield Examiner and West Riding Reporter for August 1879, when it detailed the sale of the late Sarah Woodhouse’s Estate at Netherthong. It took place in the Victoria Hotel in Holmfirth and was conducted by Mr.Henry Tinker of Huddersfield. There was a large attendance of adjoining landowners and the competition for the lots was very good and they were quickly disposed of. The main property consisting of a mansion – house and grounds, farm buildings and land, messuages, dwelling houses, outbuildings, cottages and woodlands with the timber thereon said to comprise 41 square acres, was divided into seven lots every one of which was sold realising a total of £4,723. After this sale was concluded a freehold farm called Moor Lane Farm was put up for sale in two lots and was quickly sold for £1,245. The property consisted of 13 acres of land with houses and farm buildings.
The next report I have is of a public auction held at the Victoria Hotel, Holmfirth in July 1897 for a number of lots of freehold cottage property in Netherthong. Lot 1 was a cottage at Outlane , formerly occupied by the Liberal Club . Lot 2 was 2 cottages situated behind Lot 1 andoccupied by Mrs. Sykes. Both were sold together for £175.Lot 3 of 2 cottages at Dockhill sold for £60. Lot 4 of a cottage and outbuildings plus a plot of land at Dockhill sold for £32 10s.
In November 1901 a property sale, held at the Queen’s Arms Inn, saw a freehold dwelling house situated at the top of New Road and owned by Ben Shore sell for £137.
An auction conducted by Wm.Sykes was held in the Queen’s Arms in November 1917. Four lots of property in Moor Lane were offered. Two pieces of land fetched £110, another sold for £60 and an untenanted cottage went for £38.
At the Rose & Crown Inn in Holmfirth in May 1924, two cottages situated in Dockhill and tenanted by Miss Mallinson and Miss Shore were sold at auction for £256. Carr farm and several pieces of adjoining land of 10 acres were sold for £440 subject to tenant right.
In June 1927, Messrs. Sykes & Son held a property sale at the Waggon and Horses Inn in Holmfirth and auctioned 4 lots of property at Deanhouse. A freehold farm comprising a farmhouse and other farm buildings and land of area of 11 acres and 32 perches, in occupation of Netherthong Co-operative Society sold for £850. An adjoining dwelling house, in the occupation of Mrs. Kenyon, with an annual rental of £14 changed ownership at £350. Another dwelling house, No.28 Deanhouse, in occupation of Mr.J.Wilkinson, with annual rental of £8 8s, sold for £200. A further lot was withdrawn.
The Waggon and Horses was again the venue for another sale by public auction in August 1929. Homeleigh, lately in occupation by Harry Mellor, sold for £830. A barn, stable,mistal and three acres of land adjoining Holmleigh fetched £375. Two cottages nearly opposite the Clothier’s Arms, one in occupation of Miss Gill and the other, now vacant but previously occupied by Mrs. Mallinson, realised £105. Two dwelling houses with barn, mistal, large open shed and out-convenience together with the two closes of land at Croddingley, Thongs bridge, went for £750. One undivided third share in a dwelling house at Outlane in occupation of Oswald Sykes reached the pricely sum of £12 10s. A half share of 8 dwelling houses in Outlane in respective occupation of A.Preston, B.Scholfield, J.Walker, T.Hart and others sold for £200.The last item was a half share of a close of land called Dam Field at Deanbrook consisting of an area of 2 acres, 1 rood and 36 perches in the occupation of Fred Shore and it achieved £25.
Carr Farm, containing 10 acres, 31 perches and in occupation of Mr.H.Firth was offered for sale in April 1931. ( note that it had previously been sold in 1924 for £440 ). It changed hands at £445.
In 1949, the freehold farm, Wells Green, with dwelling house adjoining and a close of land at Wolfstones Height was sold at auction for £4,000. Later in the same year the farm known as Lydgett or Bastille realised £1740. In addition to the buildings the farm had about 16 acres of land.
At a property sale held by Wm. Sykes in January 1950 at the Clothiers, two dwelling houses 54 & 55 Haigh Lane , Deanhouse, were sold for £1,225.
William Sykes held a property sale in the Clothiers in July 1953. Lydgate Farm, which had previously been sold in 1949, was sold for £1,500 with vacant possession. Four dwelling houses, 13 – 19, with vacant possession on no.15, an old bakehouse and blacksmiths shop sold for £150. Two closes of land on Moor Lane reached £150 and a close of land at New Road also went for £150. Allotments and a poultry run at New Road fetched £107. A close at Moor Lane went for £125. A small parcel of land next to the Clothier’s Arms only realised £18. A dwelling house and 2 cottages numbers 62,63 and 64 Miry Lane went for what one would consider a bargain price of £350. A fish and chip shop in Giles Street and a garage at Outlane were withdrawn having been sold privately. At another property sale held in the Clothiers in November, a freehold dwelling house sold for £352 10s.
The next property sale was in June 1954 for Hillcrest Poultry Farm , a freehold smallholding of 10 acres, which fetched £2,000.
In March 1973, 7 acres of freehold residential building land fronting onto Moor Lane were sold for £95,000 at an auction in Holmfirth Civic Hall. The land was big enough for 70 properties. Two years later in September the Express reported that the tiles on the roof of a brand new house on the estate had to be stripped off and replaced with tiles of another type and colour at an additional estimated cost of £1200. In total 5,000 had to be removed. The Chief Planning Officer of Kirklees said that the wrong colour tiles contravened their planning permission and did not match the two other houses on the site. He said the wrong tiles would stand out in a rural area. A detached bungalow at 16, New Road sold for £12,200 in September.
One of the houses that was a prominent feature of the Deanhouse Workhouse and was , I think, the only property not to be demolished when the new St.Mary’s Estate was built, was up for sale early in 2014.
The former Oaklands Home for the Blind which is mentioned several times in the History was purchased in May 1975 by Kirklees Council for just over £10,000.
If you are interested in the sale of properties in the village since 1995, you should type ‘Rightmove – House Prices in Netherthong,Holmfirth,West Yorkshire’ into Google and be prepared to be amazed. It lists 291 properties that have been sold right up to the date you click on. It gives the address, the type of property, the date of sale, the final price and, in the majority of cases, a photograph. What makes it even more interesting is that if a particular property had been sold more than once during the period covered, it allows you to see how the price has changed over the years.
Among the addresses , in no particular order, are :Moor Lane, Dean Brook Road, Deanhouse, Netherlea Drive, Church Street, The Oval, Outlane, New Road, St.Mary’s Crescent, Thong Lane, Wesley Avenue, Giles Street, West End, Miry Green, Croft House ( Dock Hill), Hebble Drive,Holmdale Crescent, Leas Avenue, Denham Drive, Dean Avenue, Nether Cottage ( West End ), St.Mary’s Rise, Moor Lane, School Street, Broomy Lea Lane, Arley Close, Wells Green Gardens.
The information is provided by the Land Registry and the site quotes that, as of June 2 2014, the average price was £176,073, which made Netherthong more expensive than Huddersfield but cheaper than Holmfirth and Honley.
Some of the older properties on the list are mentioned in this history and I have included some of them below.
St. Anne’s Square is on the left hand side at the top of Outlane leading from Towngate. The Working Men’s Club was located in this Square. The photographs are of No.4 and No. 6.
114 Church Street is adjacent to the war memorial and the rear of the old Queen’s Arms pub would have backed into it.
West End is on the right as you leave Towngate for Meltham. Number 152 was better known as Nether Cottage.
The first half of 2014, saw a number of houses, that have also been mentioned in this history, up for sale.
The first was the Manor House in Towngate. It is a grade 11 listed 4 bedroom property with a total area of approximately 2337 sq. feet.
The next house is Knowl Bridge Farm on the corner of Knoll Lane. The photograph shows the ‘pond ‘ which was added about 10 years ago.
Outlane is probably the most well known street in the village and it stretches from Towngate, with Londis on the right hand side, down to what was the original Zion Methodist Church which is now a private residence. There are many cottages on either side and the following photo is of No. 6 .
History of Netherthong, village in West Yorkshire UK