Arthur Sanderson achieved fame in the village as the founder of the Male Voice Choir, and was its conductor throughout its existence as well as being the conductor of the choir at All Saint’s Church. He also composed music and deserves the title of Mr. Music.
He was born on April 28 1904 at Lower Hagg Farm ( now a private residence ), and was the youngest of 12 children. His father was also called Arthur and he was born on March 13 1856. After moving from Hagg ( date uncertain ), the family lived in a house opposite the Zion Chapel and they were definitely there in 1907. Arthur went to school in Netherthong but there is no record of when he left. He was employed , like so many others in the village, at Deanhouse Mills and, at one period, worked in the dyeing department. He married Rachel Porter on September 6 1939 at Netherthong, either at the Chapel or the Parish Church. He died on July 7 1987 and was buried at the Parish Church.
I have been very fortunate to have been given a lot of information and many photographs from his son John Sanderson.
As I mentioned above, he was the youngest of 12 children – his father was Arthur and his mother was called Jane. His brothers and sisters were, in order of birth, Herbert born September 14 1878 : Sarah Eliza born December 10 1879 : Brook born September 1881 : Harriet Hannah born June 19 1884 : Clara Jane born April 6 1886 : Harold born October 21 1887 : Emily Ann born September 29 1889 : Herman born October 2 1892 : Edith Annie born November 30 1894 : Ethel Marion born February 15 1896 : Florence Gertrude born December 23 1897. Apparently it was the custom in those days that daughters were given two christian names at birth, whereas the sons were only given one. Arthur Sanderson is seen standing in his garden in the early 1900s.
The photograph below shows a number of the Sanderson family outside their house which was opposite the Zion Church. They are from l to r – Herbert, Florence Gertrude, Edith Annie, Arthur ( father ), Emily Ann, Ethel Manon and ? .In the front is a very young ( 3years old ) Arthur.
Like many of his friends, he joined the local scout group and the photograph below was taken in 1916 aged 12.
He was also a keen sportsman and played football for the Netherthong A.F.C. He started with the Argyles, a youth team, but later progressed to the senior village team. In the first photograph he is seated first left on the bottom row.
In the next photograph, note the change of shirt colour, he is seated in the front row , second from the left.
The following photograph of four young men on a mission makes one wander exactly what they are up to. The one on the left has the shears but unfortunately the bottom of the photograph was cropped, so one can only guess that the other three had rakes. They are from l to r : Harold Wimpenny, Arthur Sanderson, George Charlesworth and Arthur Buckley.
He formed the Netherthong Male Voice Choir in 1926 when he was still only 21, and I have given the history of the Choir a separate chapter.
In 1927 he appeared in the Netherthong production of H.M.S. Pinafore. The photograph is titled Nether Thong P.C.S.S. H.M.S.Pinafore Easter 1927, and Arthur is the sailor sitting right in the middle of the front row between two ladies.
He was appointed choirmaster of All Saints Parish Church and took up his duties on Sunday, March 3 1929. At that time he was also a member of the Holmfirth Parish Church Choir, conductor of Netherthong Male Voice Choir, a member of Holme Valley Male Voice Choir and a principal in the Church Operatic Society.
The next photograph is of ten very smart men all in a row for whatever reason. Difficult to date, but could fall between late 1920s/early 1930s. Seven of them have been identified : so from the left : Morley Mallinson, George Charlesworth, Bill Buckley, Arthur Sanderson, Gilbert Bailey, ? , Leonard Hilson, ? , ?, Harold Wimpenny.
His wife to be , Rachel Porter, was a member of the Holmfirth & District Amateur Operatic Society and she starred in their presentation of Our Miss Gibbs which ran from Nov 29 to Dec 3 1927. In the first photograph she is in the front row 3rd. from the left. In the second photograph she is seen in full costume and is the 2nd. from the left of the five girls.
The photograph of Arthur shows him sitting on the steps of the War Memorial in Townsgate with one of the many cups he won with the Male Voice Choir.
I mentioned in the very first paragraph of this chapter that Arthur wrote music and the hymn below, composed by him , is titled ” May “.