Shops and Stores in Netherthong and the Mills

An excellent pamphlet ” 150 years of the History of All Saints’ Parish Church ” makes reference to a number of shops that existed at one time or another in the village. These included a Whitesmith, a Blacksmith, a bakery in Outlane, a tailor in St.Annes’s Square, a Brushmaker on the West End and a coalman near Polly Dam. In addition there was a cobbler, a man who sold lamp oil and a treacle – making enterprise in the little square off Outlane,  not forgetting a fish and chip shop ( there might have even been two of them.) Unfortunately very little additional information is available. The two old photographs of Towngate show a shop on the junction with Outlane, which I believe was very popular because it sold sweets. Data taken from the various Directories, that were issued during the 1800s, gave the following names listed as shopkeepers, some of whom, as can be seen, appeared in numerous editions.

1848- David Hobson & Dutton & Mary Hobson – shopkeepers & dealers in groceries and sundries. Also Susannah Roberts – shopkeeper.

1853. John Dyson ; Chas. Hobson & Dutton and Mary Hobson ; Susannah Roberts : Geo. Woodhead ; Grace and Ann Woodhead.

1857. Chas Hobson & Dutton Hobson. Geo. Woodhead

1870. Miss Broadhead ; John Dyson ; Dutton Hobson and Mrs. E. Hobson. Chas. Woodhead and Geo. Woodhead.

1888 Miss Ellen Mitchell ; Whitfield Preston. Joseph Woodhead , grocer and Post Office. There was a report in the Huddersfield Examiner for February 25 1886 that a new post office opened in the village  at which stamps etc would be supplied and parcels and registered letters accepted. There was one despatch to Huddersfield at 6pm ( except Sundays ).  Mr.J.Woodhead was appointed sub-postmaster.

  The Co-op or to give it its full title, the Netherthong Industrial & Equitable Co-operative Society, was set up on February 11th. 1881 in the premises which up to then had been the Rose & Crown public house. It remained there until January 27th. 1968 and at present is now a Londis. The Co-op played such an important role in the village that it has a chapter of its own.

There is a rumour that there was a small shop just behind the Co-op in Outlane. It should  not  be confused with the ” sweet “shop that was on the opposite corner to the Co-op and which can be seen in the early photographs of Townsgate.

 The other store and shop, which had been in existence from at least the early 1800s, was located in Giles Street  and boasted an impressive frontage – see photograph. I was able to find some details of  the various owners from Nancy Millican. She said her father was Raymond Hill and he had been born in Deanhouse  in 1908 and was educated at school in Netherthong and Holmfirth Technical College. After school he had worked for H.Wilson who owned the grocers, Post Office and corn merchants in Giles Street.  In 1881 it was owned by Geo.Whitehead and Sons  and as far as I know this shop was probably one of the first in the Holmfirth area  to have a telephone fitted and it was given number 58 . It was sold  by Joseph Whitehead to H.Wilson, who had been his assistant, in 1912 and he obtained a PO franchise. Nancy Millican thought that her father had bought it in about 1945 from H.Wilson’s widow and apparently he stopped selling corn some time after.  When her father retired  it was taken over by John Armitage who in turn sold it on before it became a Spar sometime in 1960.  Margaret Teremetz wrote to say that the shop in the 1950s was known as Woodheads and this would make good sense as the Woodheads had a history of being shop keepers in the village and did own it in the 1880s.The next reference I have is that it was then taken over by Geoffrey Scholfield in 1982 who in turn sold it in 1996 to its present owner, Brenda. It would now appear( 2013 ) that it could lose its PO franchise due to the cut-backs. This did in fact occur.


A superb early photograph of the shop in Giles Street with customers and carts.


Rosanne, daughter of Nancy Millican, wrote in April 2020, to say  that the man holding the corn sack, was John Rhodes from Oldfield. On his right was Martin Kenworthy and on his right was Rosanne’s Grandad, Raymond Hall, who was the village postmaster, corn merchant and grocer.


From L to R , John Rhodes, Martin Kenworthy and Raymond Hall.

I include below some photos and ephemera from the shop – apologies for the quality and poor trimming.


Coloured view of the interior of the Spar shop.


Colour photo of the interior of the Spar shop showing the staff behind the counter. From L to R – Raymond Hall, Marjory Truman, Nancy Hall and John Armitage, who was the apprentice at the time.


Memorandum to Woodhead for barrels – August 1884


Memorandum to Woodhead June 1884 for wire nails


Memorandum to Whitehead for the costs of carriage of grain. August 1881


Memorandum from G. Woodhead dated February 1884

The August edition of the Express for 1928 had the following advertisement.

For Good & Reliable Furniture


John Batley & Sons


Also stock of second-hand chairs, dressers, tables, beds etc. The previous month  they had celebrated their 50th jubilee since the early beginnings in 1878. They also carried out many important under-takings ( as the Express put it ).

The two photographs show the inside of Batley’s workshop. The first one is dated 1911. The second shows Harry Roebuck, 1st. on the right, serving his apprenticeship and the 2nd. on the right is Arthur Charlesworth.

J. Batley Workshops


J.Batley Workshop with B.Roebuck & A. Charlesworth


The following front page advertisement appeared in the Express in October 1938.

For Boot Repairs


West End, Netherthong

& 64, Huddersfield Road, Holmfirth

The same month the employees of Ben Lockwood, builder and contractor in the village, enjoyed  an outing to Blackpool provided for by Lockwood. 23 set forth in a luxurious coach supplied  by Baddeley Bros.

Tom Booth, a well known resident of Deanhouse, where he had a grocery business, died in December 1940.

Miss Ellen Elizabeth Mitchell died in 1940 aged 74. For 25 years she was in business, running the very popular sweetshop in Townsgate. It was taken over by the Mallinson family.

In 1983 the Friday Examiner issued a Feature Extra titled a ‘Cheerful Village full of character and friendliness’ and it included two photographs of village shops. The first one showed Geoffrey and Julia Schofield with assistant Beth Coxhead and customer Mrs.R.Rostron in the grocer’s shop in Giles Street. The Schofields had been running the shop since 1975

Grocer's shop, Giles Street 1983
Grocer’s shop, Giles Street 1983


The second photograph showed Kenneth and Marion Hird in their newsagent’s shop which was the original Co-op. It had been a newsagents and general store for several years before the Hirds moved in.

Kenneth & Marion Hird in their newsagents 1983.
Kenneth & Marion Hird in their newsagents 1983.


In the same report, the Examiner said that the former Co-op butcher’s shop was also in private hands and for the last 12 years it had been managed by Mr.Robert Crosland for the owner Mr. Thomas Jackson of Hepworth.

The village fish and chip shop was the only other remaining shop and was run by two “new ” villagers, Mr.Russell Fulton and Mrs.Jacqueline Jones. 

Sharon Clifton wrote ( 2014 ) to say that her mother had lived in Outlane and her parents had run a bakery called Rose Cottage Bakery in the 1920s to 1930s. Her mother’s name is Marian and she is a sprightly 94. Her brother Frank worked in the bakery alongside three other employees. Sharon thinks the former bakery is now two stone cottages called Rose Cottage. Her grandfather was Ernest Oldham and her grandmother Ada nee Shaw.

Nancy Nagle  wrote to say she was born in Holmfirth 85 years ago but had many friends in the village. She remembers Thomas Dyson who married Mary Challenger. Mary kept a shop in the village and was a talented confectioner.  

John  Boothroyd started off as  a master baker at the Deanhouse Workhouse in the 1920s, and his grandson, Haydn, sent me the following memories of his grandfather’s bakery in Outlane. 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. At this time in the 50s, Pontefracts in Holmfirth was a somewhat larger bakery and Baker Boothroyd retired and sold his concern to them.”

   Margaret Tremetz ( nee Lax ) wrote to me  on her memories of shops and shopping in the 1950s. She lived at 41, New Road which was built just before the war and was in a small private development surrounded by fields about a quarter of a mile from the village. ‘ In the village there were a newsagents, a sweet shop and the Co-op grocers, drapers and butchers as well as another butcher further down the road. There was a Co-op greengrocer who travelled in a van selling fruit and vegetables door to door including cucumber sold by the inch. Holmfirth was a mile away and there were many more shops including a shoe-shop and a saddler, a chemist or two, two clothes shops including Dainty Dots, a stationery, at least three butchers, a baker, an ironmonger ( Kayes ), several sweet shops, a cobbler or two, a printing work for the Holmfirth Express, a couple of banks, an electrical dealer and a garage. We had a weekly order delivered by Gledhill and Brook. In their shop you could see butter in the form of the barrel it came from : many things were not branded but you knew that granulated sugar came in a mid-blue bag, currants in a dark-blue bag and raisins in a dark-pink bags. The biscuits were in  large tins. The grocer only sold one type of cheese, Cheshire. There was a huge bacon-slicer ( I can remember seeing those ). Bread was delivered by the baker and there were fish sellers who came round in  vans and sometimes butchers delivered as well. In those days everyone had a milkman and ours had a herd of Jersey cows above Holmbridge. The farmer himself, who wore leather gaiters, came with the milk which was very creamy and not pasteurised just ‘tuberculin tested’ and had a more natural flavour than now.  It came in bottles and was so rich one never needed to buy cream. Some villagers also had a laundry and dry-cleaning deliveries.’

After 49 years service at Netherthong P.O., Mr.Raymond Hall of 17 Giles Street retired in October 1971. He had started work in the P.O. at the age of 15 and after 27 years service was promoted to the position of postmaster and was also put in charge of the grocery department. He had been a member of the Hepworth Silver Prize Band, treasure of the Netherthong Gardeners’ Society before it was disbanded when the National Health scheme came into operation, and was the vice-president of Holmfirth C.C. Mr. John Armitage, who had worked with Mr.Hall since he left school, succeeded him.

A large number of the inhabitants worked in the local mills and Dyson & Son who owned the Deanhouse Mill organised a party for 200 of their employees in February 1912 in the Church School. In September 1913 their holiday club paid out over £400 and the firm donated £25 to that total. The mill closed down for one week for the employers to take their holidays.

The workpeople were given a party in January 1920 on the occasion of the recent marriage of Mr.C.S.Floyd. 160 employees plus 70 friends and retired workers  sat down for a knife and fork tea and. after the tables had been cleared, a whist drive was held with 30 tables. Prizes were given to the winners and Mrs.Floyd , on behalf of the firm, presented £5 each to Charles Hudson and Albert Alsop as a memento of them distinguishing themselves in the war by winning a Military Medal and Meritorious Service Medal respectively. In September 1938 Long Service Awards for 50 years were presented to Mr.Tom Wilkinson of the twisting and warping departments and Miss Mary Scholfield, a burler. They both received a handsome timepiece with Westminster chimes.

Rich McGill of Holmfirth who supplied me with three superb photographs of the 1919 Peace Celebrations ( see Chapter on WW1) also sent me the following photographs. They are very old? and show Lodge’s Corn and Provisions store at 95 Norridge, now 86 Huddersfield Road, Holmfirth – where the Gift Shop is now. The gentleman in the picture could be Batley Lodge, with his wife Sarah, owner of the shop. Although Batley was not born in Netherthong, he lived with his parents in Giles Street and was married on July 25, 1861 in the Parish Church. Both he and his wife were buried in Upperthong. The first picture shows the original shop and the next pictures shows a “then and now” comparison.

Lodges Shop, Holmfirth


Lodges Shop/ Gift Horse

Working Mens Club

Netherthong Working Men’s Club

 The Rev. Henry Solly ( 1813 – 1903 ) was an English social reformer of the Victorian period and he set about establishing the Working Men’s Club and Institute Union in 1862 and became its first general secretary. The aim of the Union was to encourage the formation of clubs for working men “ where they can meet for conversation, business and mental improvement, with the means of recreation and refreshment , free from intoxicating drinks “.

 A Working Mens Club  was formed in Netherthong in September 1874 and was intended to be a social club open to all the male inhabitants in the village to meet and play games and it is more than likely that its formation was influenced by the Rev. Henry Solly’s ideas. Thomas Mellor, solicitor and clerk to the Burnley Board of Guardians was elected the 1st. president and Jonas Mallinson and William Dickinson were elected treasurer and secretary.  The following were elected to the committee. Wm. Wimpenny , Alfred Dearnley , John Dearnley , Edward Hallas , James Horncastle , James Dyson , Ben Hoyle , George Platt , Alfred Platt , Joe Platt , Joseph Woodhead and Joseph Armitage . The club had its premises in St.Anne’s Square and the furniture and fittings at the start of the club were hand- me – downs and some of the movable benches, which were used as free sittings formerly in the church, were called into requisition for use in the club  and several were kept in the club. A shut-up small bagatelle table was lent by the proprietor of the Rose and Crown public house, Noah Woodhead, and in 1876 the club were able to replace it with a new one. Bagatelle ( from the Chateau de Bagatelle ) is a billiards derived indoor table game, the object of which is to get a number of balls ( a set of nine in the 19th.C ) past wooden pins, which act as obstacles, into holes guarded by wooden pegs. The balls are struck with a cue and penalties are incurred if the pegs are knocked over. By the end of the 19th.C it had developed into bar billiards.

In November 1876 a friendly bagatelle match was played at the Club between eight members of the club and the same number from the Honley W.M.C. It was played on the new table and the visitors won by 20 points. The Netherthong team were T.Dearnley, W.Dickenson, G.Senior, M.Dearnley, A.Wimpenny, T.Woodhead, H.Buckley and J.Armitage. The following year in March, six of the members played at New Mill WMC against six of their members and were victorious. The team was Tom Woodhead, Herbert Buckley, Reuben Fisher, Robert Heap, Wm.Dickenson and John Heap. A return match against Honley WMC was played in January 1878 and this time Netherthong easily won the match by 223 points to 125. The team were R.Eastwood, J.Dearnley, R.Heap, J.Horncastle, G.Senior, J.Heap, T.Woodhead and W. Dickenson.  Friendly games of whist and bagatelle continued to be popular and in February 1879 , Netherthong once again played Honley WMC. There were eight members in each team and the village were easy winners in both games. The members of the bagatelle team were W.Dickinson, G.Senior, R.Fisher, J.W.Heap, D.Bease, T.Woodhead, R.Heap and J.Dearnley. The whist players were J.Eastwood, W.Dickenson, J.W.Heap, G.Platt, R.Heap, T.Woodhead, E.Hallas and J.Wimpenny.  In February 1880 they entertained members of Newmill W.M.C. to games of bagatelle and whist.The bagatelle team were J.Armitage, R.Fisher, W.Dickenson, J.Horncastle, J.Heaps, F Shore, R.Heaps and G.Senior and they were comfortable winners by 325-167. The whist match was  closer  with Netherthong the victors. The pairs were : J.Wimpenny/ F.Shore  :  E.Hallas/ J.Armitage  : R.Jagger/ T.Charlesworth  : W. Dickenson/ J.Eastwood  : G.Fitton / R.Eastwood  ; Jas Eastwood/B.Lindley.

In January 1876 the Club organised a concert in the National School featuring the New Mill Church Choir assisted by D.Eastwood, D. Coldwell and Mr. Sidney Learoyd, a comic from Huddersfield. There was a full programme and an excellent attendance. T.Mellor, president, proposed a vote of thanks which was seconded by Mr.Jackson.

In February 1878, 35 members of the Club sat down to an excellent supper in the clubhouse with the food served by Mrs.B.Hoyle and Miss Eastwood. After the removal of the cloth, Thomas Heller was called to the chair and songs and toasts were given by Messrs. Eastwood, Filton, Jackson and Dickenson.

A special general meeting was held in October 1886 with Mr. Dickinson in the chair. Alterations had been made at a cost of £12 adding much to the comfort of the members. The chairman announced that he and Mr.Jackson had obtained subscriptions to pay off the balance owing of £7.

In 1889 the club made extensive alterations to the premises with the upper rooms being re-floored so as to incorporate a large billiard room, a reading room and a snug. The members held a very interesting ceremony for the opening of the billiard table. A large attendance saw Mr. Henry Harold Wilson, the president, open the proceedings by calling for the singing of the National Anthem. He then called upon Mr.J.Jackson to uncover the table and join with him in the 1st. game. For several years they had a team in the local Billiards league without achieving any success.

 The most difficult period for the club took place when the County Franchise was confirmed and  this change caused a considerable falling off in membership owing to the establishment of both a Conservative Club and a Liberal Club in the village. However thanks to the president, Mr.Wilson, Harry Sykes and others the club survived and  prospered.

In addition to the bagatelle table, cards, draughts and chess were played. Among the older members of the club were several characters including George Fitton and John Haigh. John was known locally as “ Golcar “ and when he got seated comfortably before the fire with the newspaper spread out used to say “ Nah then , lads, ah can see, so ah’m suer yo all can “. John Jackson popularized chess and draughts.

In June 1915, the Club held a ceremony for the opening of a new billiard board which, although not new, was a useful accessory to the club. There was a large attendance and the president, Henry Harold Wilson,  opened the proceedings and with Mr. J.T.Jackson played the first game. he also gave particulars of the Club since its formation in September 1874.

At the 41st. AGM , ten letters, that had been sent by members of the Club who were serving at the front, were read out. They were from Corporals Hubert Hobson and Harry McQue , Privates Wm. Barrowclough, T.Newall, Chas.A.Hudson, Norman Smith, H.Dufton and Ronald Sykes, Drivers Norman Haigh and E.A.Ward. The letters always gave thanks for the gifts of penknives and periscopes.

The 42nd. annual meeting of the club was held in the billiard room in January 1918 with a large attendance and Mr. H.H.Wilson  presiding. Mr.Arthur Wimpenny presented the Annual report which showed an increase in the number of members with the club assets standing at £60. After the  report the elections were held and Mr. Wilson was re-elected as president with J.Jackson and A.Hobson as vice – presidents. A.Wimpenny- secretary. H.Hudson – treasurer. The committee were H.Long, J.Eastwood, J.Dyson , F.Bray, A.Denton, N.Ricketts, A. Buckley, I. Hobson, G. Marsden and G. Charlesworth. The following members , who were serving with the armed forces, were re-elected . H.Sykes, J.Russell, H.Kenyon, H.Horncastle and H.Roberts. A roll of honour of the 31 members of the club who had gone to serve was received and ordered to be hung in the club room.

They organised a whist drive and dance in the Church school in November , James Eastwood was the MC and the music was by C.Wood on piano  and Fenton Walker on violin.

The Netherthong Working Men’s Club sponsored a memorial to the fallen in the war which was unveiled and presented by Capt. C.S. Floyd of Rose Leigh in the Church School. The memorial embraced the photographs of the “ lads “ from the district who had laid down their lives.

The photographs were of : Privates Woodhead, David Wilkinson, Abel Scholfield, Walter Bray, John Hoyle, Leonard Buckley, Hubert Hobson, Ben Senior, Frank Swallow, Ben Roebuck ( Austr ), Brook Sanderson ( Austr ), Harold Brackenbury, Jack Webster, Stanley Gill, Willie Haigh, Norman P. Ricketts and Sergeant Edgar Taylor.

Captain Floyd said about 130 men had enlisted, 21 were killed, at least seven were wounded, four had been wounded and taken prisoner and three had won decorations, one DCM and two MM.

The memorial was presented to Mr.H.Wilson, the president of the WMC. Mr.Taylor read a report and said that the memorial had been subscribed for entirely by members of the club. The cabinet photographs were enlargements of photographs taken by and sent by the gallant lads while on active duty. They were enclosed in two large fumed oak and gilt frames executed by Messrs. Bamforth & Co.  14 of the lads were native born and received their education in the church school under Mr.Jackson and staff.

The 50th. AGM was held in January 1925 in the reading room with Mr.J.Jackson acting as president. He said that putting the billiard table into thorough repair at a cost of £30 was to the credit of the committee and he hoped that before long the installation of electric light would be carried out. The election of officers for 1925 took place and all were unanimously re-elected. Mr.Woodhead, JP, gave an account of his experiences and a description of the Empire Exhibition which took the form of a lantern slide lecture with over 60 slides. Two months later they held a Whist drive and dance in the Church School in aid of improvements to their building. The dance music was provided by H. Preston’s Band.

 The 1928 AGM took place in January  with Mr. H.Wilson in the chair. Once again he was re-elected as was Mr.C.Hart – treasurer and Mr.H.Roberts – secretary. Mr. Walter Dyson was elected as the new trustee in place of Mr.Jackson. The treasurer reported that the club was in a fair financial situation. The committee decided that , to honour the 50th. anniversary of the club, they would organise a social evening. ( There is some discepancy in the dates as the club was reputedly opened in 1874). The jubilee was celebrated in February in the club-room when 34 members sat down to a repast prepared by Messrs. Challenger and Hulme. Selections of music were rendered on the gramophone which had been kindly lent by Mr.W.Dyson after which the evening finished off with a mass singing of popular favourites.

Such was the popularity of playing music on the gramophone that in February,  the WMC held their first ever gramophone record contest in their club which attracted 39 entries  and provoked keen competition . First prize went to J.Lawton with “Black Knight” , second was H.Kenyon with “Wounded Friend” and the same music gave W.Kaye third place. The judge was Harold Preston.

They decided to hold another gramophone contest the following month  with H.Preston and A.Sanderson as judges. First price went to Tom Dollive with “Phillide” , L. Barnes was second with ” Old pal, why don’t you answer me? ” and G. Charlesworth was third with ” Minstrel Boy “.  There were no reports for 1929 but in February 1930, the club held their AGM with Mr.H.H.Wilson, the President, in the chair. There was a moderate attendance and the balance sheet showed £19 in hand. Mr.Wilson was re-elected President, with H.Kenyon and J.Taylor as vice-presidents. H.Wilkinson succeeded R.Hoyle as trustee, H.Preston remained as treasurer and H.Roberts, who had held office for over 20 years, was re-elected secretary.

I have doubled checked the editions of the Holmfirth Express from 1931 to1943 and February 1930 would appear to have been the last report that the paper printed. The Club must have closed sometime in the early thirties after more than 50 years as an important part of the village social life.  What hastened its closing ? As it was a properly constituted club, there would have had to have been a final meeting which  had to decide  what was to happen to their clubhouse, what to do with any surplus funds and what to do with the Roll of Honour hanging in the club of its members who had laid down their lives in WW1.  I can’t believe this was never reported. 

It raises the question in this centennial year of the end of WW1 as to what happened to the ROH of the fallen as well as the earlier ROH of the 31 names of members who were serving.These are important items and surely would not have ended up in the ” proverbial ” waste skip when the property was sold.



All Saints’ Church- from the beginning to 1918

All Saints’ Churh 

All Saints’ Church in Netherthong occupies a prominent position in the centre of the village where the three approach roads meet. In the 186 years since it was built it has played a key role in the life and development of the village.

  All Saints’  was referred to as a “ Million Act “ church. After the end of the Napoleonic Wars , there was a movement in England for the building of new churches to commemorate the War victories. There was particular concern of the shortage of places for worshippers in the growing towns of the West Riding of Yorkshire, so on 6th. February 1818 in the Freemason’s Hall in London, a meeting chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury formed the Church Building Society ( CBS ).

Parliament passed the Church Building Act in 1818 and voted £1,000,000 to the building of new churches and the Act became popularly known as the “ Million Act”.  In 1824 Austria repaid off a £2,000,000 war loan and the Government put another £500,000 into the coffers. Voluntary funds helped to give a total of over £3,000,000 and resulted in the building of 612 new churches, 106 of which were in Yorkshire, mostly in the West Riding. These churches became known as “Commissioner Churches“, “Waterloo Churches” or “Million Act Churches“.

The first foundation stone of the Church was laid on Wednesday,  January 1829 by Mr. Benjamin Wilson, cloth manufacturer, in the presence of most of the villagers.

 The second foundation stone was laid on the 13th. March 1829 , by the Rev. Lewis Jones, Vicar of Almondbury. The inscription on the plate is as follows.

“ This Foundation Stone of a Church to be called All Saints’ Netherthong, in the Parish of Almondbury, built under the direction of the Honorable, the Board of His Majesty’s Commissioners for building new Churches, has been laid by the Rev. Lewis Jones, Vicar, this 13th. day of March A.D. 1829, being the 10th. year of the reign of His Majesty King George the Fourth”.

R.D.Chantrell – Architect

John Woodhead – Churchwarden ( Donor of site )

Geo.& Wm. Heywood – Builders

It appears that this plaque was lost when the chancel was thrust out.

 The building was completed in 1830 and the total cost was £2,869 12s 2d.

 The Church was consecrated by the Archbishop of York , the Right Rev. Edward Harcourt, on Thursday, 2nd. September , 1830.  In 1847 plans were made for the heating of the church. A report  in October 1852 from the Huddersfield & Holmfirth Examiner makes for interesting reading.  22 years after the church was completed, the ‘ customary annual sermons for the repairs of the Church were preached in the morning by Rev.W.Tatlock of Huddersfield and in the evening by Rev.C.Wardroper, incumbent at Farnley Tyas. A full and efficient choir was in attendance and the collections amounted to £8.

The Huddersfield & Holmfirth Examiner for October 1854 ran the following article about the church bell and I repeat it verbatim.  “The villagers experienced a serious drawback on their rejoicing for the victory of the Alma. In common with other practices, the good people have manifested their joy by ringing their only bell which was unmercifully clattered about for hours together. Not content with the noise it made by pulling the rope, a number ascended the belfry and belaboured the bell with stones and hammers to such a degree that in ‘ stoning the bells’ they cracked it. The bell was taken down for repair by a neighbouring smith at a cost of £2 and was replaced in the belfry. However it made a most distressing sound, harsh and disagreeable to the ear that the inhabitants cannot bear to hear it and public feeling favoured the purchase of a new bell.” The same month  two sermons were preached in the church by the Rev. G. J. Mallinson of West Haughton of Lancashire, formerly of the village. Attendance was excellent and collections were made at the door at the close of each sermon.

 The addition to the church, grounds on the South East side were probably purchased on the sale of the Woodhead Estate in 1857. At the Parish Church Sunday School in the September of that year, two sermons were preached to large audiences by the Rev. James Mallinson of Manchester. A new harmonium , provided for the use of the church, was also inaugurated that day. Master  Albert Lister Price presided and members of the Holmfirth Church choir were present and sang several pieces of music. The collections amounted to £9 13s 2d.

On Whit Monday in May 1861  the scholars, teachers and friends of the Church and Wesleyan Sunday Schools met at All Saints and marched in procession, led by the parochial constables and the Holmfirth Rifle Corps Band, and visited Sands House, residence of Mrs.Floyd : Helm Wood – Thomas Dyson : Thongsbridge – Mr.George Greenwood and Hagg – G.Nelson. At the above places they were treated liberally with ‘the good things of this life’.  They returned to Town gate and sang several hymns. The scholars of the two schools separated to have tea in their own classrooms which the rest of the people assembled in a field and partook of a first rate tea. A meeting was held in the church with the Rev.james presiding and a variety of entertainment was presented by the scholars. Various addresses were made including by the churchwaedens, T.Dyson and G.Greenwood. After the usual votes of thanks the assembly dispersed.

The following month the Sunday School teachers and scholars visited the Model Farm of C.H.Jones, Harden Moss,  They were accompanied by the Holmfirth Rifle Corps Band and many farmers in the neighbourhood had lent them conveyances to carry everybody to the premises. They all enjoyed themselves in one of the large pasture fields by playing in a variety of games. They stopped for a picnic tea and continued with games until they were well – tired and, after thanking Mr.Jones for his kindness, they returned home.

By 1865 the Huddersfield & Holmfirth Examiner had changed its title to the Huddersfield Examiner &West Riding Reporter. In the January 14 issue it reported that the Annual tea meeting of the Church School had been held in the Old School. There was a large attendance and the Rev.J.James presided. Addresses were given by Rev. N.Lloyd of Miln – bridge, Rev. G.Lloyd, Messrs. R.Mellor, G.Nelson, G.Hinchliffe and G.Greenwood. A party of glee singers added greatly to the pleasure of the evening. In March an entertainment titled  ‘ Chairman in a Fix’ was put on at the school under the auspices of the Band of Hope. The attendance was large and the 17 performers did very well.

 The following is copied verbatim from an account written 142 years ago – “ The turret, having been  damaged by lightning on April 29th., 1867, was rebuilt in its present form “.

 Extensive alterations took place in 1877, when the galleries and three-decker pulpit were removed, the Chancel built and the Conacher organ installed. The church was re-opened on 3rd. December by the Bishop of Ripon.

The interior of All Saint’s dated 1910


Rear view of the church with the manor House visible through the trees on the right.


A closer view of the rear of the church showing a few gravestones.

The following Notice issued by the Rev. T.James of the Parish of Netherthong  dated September 1st. 1866 makes interesting reading. The key paragraph is ” To all whom it may concern, that henceforth no Marriage between parties resident in the aforsaid parish of Netherthong can be legally solemnized at the Parish Church of Almondbury, or at any other Church than that of All Saints, Netherthong. ” The final paragraph details the boundaries.

Parish of Netherthong notice dated 1886
Parish of Netherthong notice dated 1886

List of Church Dues - date not known.
List of Church Dues – date not known.

The following photograph shows the front cover of the Church monthly dated July 1895.

Cover of the Church Monthly for July 1895
Cover of the Church Monthly for July 1895

The next photograph is the front cover for the hymns to be sung at the Sunday School Festival in June 18 1899.

Cover dated June 18 1899 for the Sunday School Festival
Cover dated June 18 1899 for the Sunday School Festival

The first record I have been able to find about the Annual treat for the children associated with the school was in the June 1852 issue of the Huddersfield and Holmfirth Examiner. It reported that on Whit Monday about 250 children were involved. A procession was formed and, headed by Holmfirth Old Brass Band, they first went to Sands House, the residence of C.S.Floyd, where they received refreshments. They returned via Thongs Bridge, Hagg and Deanhouse to a field belonging to Mr.Wilson where a meal of tea and buns was provided. Afterwards they were presented with a large cake and dismissed. About 200 teachers and friends enjoyed repast in the school room.The Rev.James took the chair and gave an excellent speech and Mr.Wilson spoke about the prosperous state of the school. The meeting was also addressed by Mr.Heap, the superintendent of Oldfield school, Mr.G.Woodhead, Mr.Nelson, Mr.Allen and Mr.Robinson.

In June 1854 the teachers and children associated with the Church school assembled in the school room when the the reward books to the more diligent during the past year were distributed . A procession was then formed and headed by Beaumont’s celebrated sax-horn band it proceeded  to Holmfirth calling at the residencies of several gentlemen on the way. They were afterwards regaled with tea and buns and, after the children were dismissed, the teachers and friends took tea in the school room which was decorated for the occasion.

Two months later in August saw the re-opening of the church which had been closed for a few weeks during which it underwent a thorough renovation on the interior in painting, whitewashing, decorating etc. At the opening the sermons were preached by Rev. Joseph Hughes of Meltham in the morning, and in the evening by the Rev. D.James, incumbent of Marsden. A full cathedral service was performed  and the choir was conducted by Matthew Rollinson of Kirkburton. The collections totalled £8 15.

The Annual tea party for the benefit of the Sunday school was held in the new school in February 1871. The trays were supplied by Mrs.Chas. Mellor ( Newlands ), Miss Dyson ( Elmwood ), Judith Mellor ( Hagg ), Miss Dyson ( Hawroyd ) and Miss Dickenson and Miss Chappell and a concert was held after the meal. The previous month on Wednesday 11, a grand concert was held in the school room  with the proceeds in aid of the Sunday school. The programme consisted of a selection of songs, duets and glees performed by Miss Twig, Miss Renshaw, Messrs. J.Mellor, J.Dyson, J.B. Mellor,D.Caldwell,R.Hirst, B.eastwood and C.Hobson  with Mr.Sandford at the pianoforte. 

June 1872 was the occasion of the Sunday School anniversary feast. About noon, the scholars formed in procession and proceeded by their large banner marched to the strains of the Netherthong Brass Band to the residence of Mr.Josiah Mellor, where Miss Emmaline Mellor, assisted by the Rev. A.Jones, the curate, and the Rev.G.Hay, curate of Holmfirth, presented each of the young folk with a new penny for 1872. The scholars then called at the residences of Mrs.G.Mellor and Mr.Fenton Walker of the Royal Oak. They returned to the school where coffee and cakes were available to the children and a knife and fork tea was provided for the teachers and friends. A few hours were spent in an adjoining field and the day finished off in the school with singing and recitals. The Annual Festival for 1873 was celebrated in June and proved to be one of the most successful school feasts that had been held for years. 150 teachers and scholars formed a procession headed by the Netherthong Brass Band in their splendid uniforms, and walked through the village and proceeded to the residence of Mrs. G.Mellor when oranges were distributed to the scholars. They continued to Sands where Mr.C. Stephenson,J.P., presented them with a small bun and a one penny coin. On their return they were served with their usual fare and the teachers and friends partook of a knife & fork tea. The evening was spent in a field playing games with music provided by the Brass Band. The Annual festival for 1874 followed an almost identical patter and a highlight,  when everyone went to the field for fun and games, was the sending of balloons up at intervals. The paper reported it was one of the most successful festivals ever held in the village.

In August of that year Mrs.James, the wife of the Rev.T.James, the vicar, died suddenly in the vicarage. She had appeared to have been in perfect health up to an hour before her death. Mr.C.J.Trotter was called in and gave his opinion that the cause of death arose from an epileptic fit and no inquest was deemed necessary. August 1879 was the very sad occasion of the funeral of Rev. Thomas James, 31, who had died earlier in the month on August 3 .For 33 years he had been the incumbent and vicar of the church and new parish of Netherthong but, during the latter part, he had been laid aside from active duty  in the church and parish by paralytic affections and the shock received by the sudden death of his wife. They had only been married just over a year. The following month on September 6, the Rev.J.Prowde of St.Johns College, Cambridge ,who had been curate at the church, was publicly inducted to the vicarage of All Saints by the Rev. Canon Hulbert, vicar of Almondbury. The church was handed to the Canon by the churchwardens, Messrs. Cookson Stevenson and Turner and he , in turn, gave it to the Rev. Prowde.

The choir together with the teachers and scholars of the Sunday School, totalling about 200, were entertained to a substantial tea in the large room belonging to the day school provided by Miss Dyson. She was the only daughter of the late Thomas Dyson, Elmwood, and had organised it to commemorate her marriage with Lieutenant Buchanan of Gloucester. The tables for the scholars were presided over by Miss Dickinson and Mrs. John Williams. In November 1873 a concert was given in the Church school room on behalf of the school. Vocalists were Miss Rowbottom, Mr.D.Caldwell and Mr.R.Eastwood who were accompanied by Mr. William Sandford on the pianoforte. The Holmfirth Temperance Hand-Bell Ringers also provided entertainment and tendered several of their prime selections.

The anniversary services for the Sunday School were held later that year in June 1874 when the Rev.W.Flower, vicar of Upperthong, and the Rev.G.Madden, vicar of Armitage Bridge, both preached and the collections amounted to £7 7s. On the following day the annual school feast was held when the scholars and teachers met at the school and, after a service in the Church by the Rev.J.Prowse, a procession was formed  which paraded round the district headed by the Netherthong Brass Band. C.Stephenson presented each child with a new penny. On returning to the school, coffee and buns were served and afterwards all adjoined to a field where amusements were kept. The number of scholars on the books was about 130. There were no reports of the feast for 1875,1876,1877 and 1878 although there was no reason to suspect that they weren’t held as normal.

For the Annual Festival of  the Sunday Schools in late June1879, the children and teachers assembled at the school and walked to the church for a short children’s service held by Rev.J.Prowse. Afterwards, headed by the Netherthong Brass band, they proceeded to Deanhouse Workhouse and from there to Oldfield, Deanhouse, Hagg, Thongsbridge and Crodingly before returning to the village where they were regaled with milk, buns, nuts etc. The band played several selections of music. A public tea was held in the large room when over 200 persons sat down to an excellent knife and fork tea. Everyone adjourned to a field and spent the remainder  of the evening dancing and playing games. At intervals several balloons were sent up and fireworks set off. In late July special services were held morning, afternoon and evening to celebrate the completion of the reredos. The Reredos was from a design by Mr.Barber of Halifax and the work was carried out by Messrs. Con & Co, London. It was of richly-carved oak with croquets, terminals and illuminated panels with emblems representing the four Evangelists, the Agnus Dei and cross occupying the central position, the whole being further enriched by the frequent use of fleur de lys. The dade was richly illuminated on zinc. The cost was about £130 which was defrayed by subscriptions and collections.

On Sunday June 20 1880, sermons were preached on behalf of funds for the Sunday and day schools  and there were large congregations for both the morning and evening sermons and the collections totalled £8.  Monday was the annual school feast and the procedure  was similar to previous years but on this occasion the procession was led by the Honley Brass Band. 200 people partook of the public tea. The Superintendents were Rev.T.Prowse , C.Stephenson and the secretary, Mr.T.Woodhead. The schools had 86 male and 65 female scholars with 18 male teachers and 12 female teachers. The average attendance was 120 and the  report added that there were 140 books in the library. Later in the year in September was the annual picnic of the Church choir and 29 members, accompanied by the vicar and several friends, travelled in three wagonettes to Wortley and Wharncliffe Rocks.  The same month members of the choir took part in a choir festival at New Mill with other choirs from the district.  The annual service on Whit Sunday, June 1881, for the Church Sunday school in aid of funds was held with large congregations attending both the morning and evening sermons. The annual school feast was held on the Monday and the procession,  headed by Holmfirth Voluntary Band ( was this the Netherthong Brass band in disguise ? ), were pursued by heavy bouts of rain forcing everyone to keep seeking shelter.  Fortunately the weather improved so that fun and games could be held in the evening. The number of scholars were 93 male and 62 female. There were 13 male teachers and 12 female and the number of books were 205.The superintendents were C.Stephenson, Rev.J.Prowde and Mr.A.Mellor, Thos. Woodhead was the secretary and B.Eastwood and E.Dyson the librarians.

Members of the congregation met in August 1881 to present Mr. & Mrs. Wm. Dickenson with a black marble timepiece and ornaments, a dozen silver teaspoons and a dozen ivory handled and electro-plated forks as a token of the esteem they were held in. The Rev.J.Prowde made the presentation referring to the service provided by both of them to the church and schools. C.Stephenson , the vicar’s warden, also spoke about them in high terms. The annual services were held on Sunday June 18 1882 in the morning and evening in aid of the church schools. Special hymns were sung by the choir and the Sunday scholars and £8 was raised. The annual school feast took place the following Monday and the procession was headed by the Netherthong  Brass Band. The format was as in previous years with a public tea followed by an evening of Yorkshire Games. There was no report for 1883 but in 1884 there was a detailed report of the Feast in its standard format. Before breaking up in the evening after games each scholar was presented with a large bun, a new penny and an orange. Total money raised for the school fund was £33. There were 80 boys and 70 girls on the books with 14 female teachers and 14 male teachers. The number of books in the library were 220. On Sunday 20 June, special services were held in the morning and afternoon in aid of the Sunday and day schools. The scholars sang a special selection of hymns and the choir, under the leadership of Mr. Jonathan Hirst, also contributed. On the Monday all the teachers, scholars and friends, formed a procession and headed by the Netherthong Brass Band proceeded round the village. When they returned the children sat down to a tea and a public tea was also held at which 200 partook. As was the custom everyone spent the evening playing games and listening to the Band. The proceeds amounted to £30 which was divided between the two schools. The Harvest Festival was held in October and the morning session was conducted by yje vicar and in the evening by the vicar of Newsome. The offerteries of £4 17s 11d were in aid of the Ripon Diocesan Church Building Society. The flowers and fruit were distributed to the poor and sick and the tomatoes were donated to the hospital at Deanhouse Workhouse.

 In 1924, electric lights replaced the gas mantles on the standards and extensive alterations were made to the organ. In 1967 the church was designated as a building of special architectural and historic interest.


 The Vicars of All Saints

     The first incumbent was the Rev.J.M.Evans. He resigned in 1834 and was followed by the Rev.J.N.Green- Armytage who left in December 1835. The Rev. G.D.Grundy, M.A., who built the Vicarage , was there from 1836 to 1839 until he moved to Hey, near Oldham and remained there for 63 years. When he died he was the oldest clergyman in England.The vicarage was located up a drive in Miry Lane and faced the Deanhouse Workshop and  remained in use until Wakefield Diocese sold it in December 1996. Below is a recent ( 2010 ) photo that I took during my wanderings.


Modern photo , 2010, of the old vicarage.

 The Rev.D.Meridith was in charge for only a few months before being succeeded by the Rev. D.Hughes who stayed from 1839 to 1842. The Rev. J.Tidemore remained until 1846 and the Rev.P.J.Manning and Rev. J.Rogers were only there for  very short periods before the Rev.Thomas James, M.A.,L.L.D., F.S.A. took up the post. He served from 1846 to 1879 and was a noted Welsh scholar and one of the founders of theYorkshire Archeological Society.  He was assisted by the Rev.E.A.Jones, B.F.Crouch and John Prowde, M.A. The Rev.James’s grave , which has celtic lettering, is by the church door. ( for more details about him and his wife see the report at the end of this paragraph).

I have included below a notice that was issued and signed by the Rev. James


All Saints’ Church notice. January 20 1876.

John Prowde succeeded him as vicar and  on his death in 1907 he was interred adjacent to Rev. James.  The accompanying photograph must have been taken at the turn of the 19th. century and by looking at him you wouldn’t realise he was the vicar because his long white beard obscured his collar.


The Rev. Prowde dated 1900s.

The Rev. Hind , M.A., was appointed vicar in 1907 and had a long ministry of 29 years, leaving the village in 1936.

He was succeeded by the Rev. S.S.Black who served for 21 years from 1937 to 1958. After being widowed he married Helen  who was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs.J.Floyd. He is also buried in the church grounds. He was succeeded by the Rev.E.Asquith, who stayed until 1966. The Rev. F.Lord’s ministry was tragically short from 1968 to 1970.

Rev.J.N.Capstick was the final sole incumbent of All Saints Vicarage from 1970. He had been vicar of St.James Church, Codnor, from 1961-1963. At the formation of the Upper Holme Valley Team in 1992, he also took on responsibility for St. Andrew’s Thongsbridge until his retirement in 1997. He issued a superb booklet on the history of All Saint’s and I have included much of that information in this History.

 Rev. G.A.Banks M.A. joined the Upper ValleyTeam in 1998 and was  the vicar for a period. At the time of writing this article ( 2013 )  the Rev. Nick Heaton is the current vicar.

The following article gives a very detailed history of the  life of the Rev. Thomas James. It was titled The Druid Curate of Netherthong and was written by the Huddersfield historian, Alan Brook, for publication in the Huddersfield Examiner.

The Yorkshire Archaeological Society, originally the Huddersfield Archaeological and Topographical Association (HATA), began life at a meeting held in the parsonage at Netherthong on 1 April 1863. The host of the meeting, the Rev Thomas James, was well qualified to promote such a venture. He was steeped in the history and folklore of his native Wales, prominent in the Cambrian Archaeological Association and an editor of the Cambrian Journal, a pioneering archaeological periodical.

The Rev. James, born in 1817 at Manordeifi in Pembrokeshire, became ‘perpetual curate’ of All Saints Church at Netherthong in 1846. He was one of a group of Welsh clergymen in the area, which included his brother David, the curate of Marsden, the Rev. Lewis Jones, vicar of Almondbury, and Joseph Hughes, curate of Meltham.  In 1852 they began meeting as the ‘Association of Welsh Clergy in the West Riding of the County of York’ to discuss matters relating to the church in Wales.

But the Rev James’ interests were not limited to the Welsh church. He was also an enthusiastic supporter of the Bardic movement which sought to encourage a revival of Welsh language and culture by holding Eisteddfodau, competitive festivals, where prizes were offered for music, song, poetry and historical essays. The highpoint of the festivals was the Gorsedd of the Bards, a procession supposed to be founded on ancient Druidic ritual.  The Rev James adopted the Bardic name Llallawg, an alias of the Bardic-Druidic figure Myrddin, (better known as Merlin of Arthurian legend), and served as an adjudicator at Eisteddfodau as well as donating prize money.

In 1858 he became embroiled in a dispute which scandalised the Eisteddfod and set him at odds with fellow bard and  cleric, the Rev Joseph Hughes, curate and historian of Meltham. The Rev Hughes, from Newport in Pembrokeshire, used the bardic name Carn Ingli, after the hill fort outside his native town. In 1858 he was one of the organisers of the Llangollen Eisteddfod at which Llallawg was asked to judge the history prize. Although the topic was the discovery of America by the twelfth century Welsh price Madoc, the best essay by far argued that this was merely a legend and had never happened. Carn Ingli disqualified it as irrelevant to the theme,  Llallawg resigned as judge in protest – and there was uproar at the Eisteddfod.

As his role in establishing HATA shows, the Rev James also loved the heritage of his adopted home. He wrote a paper on ‘The early Antiquities of the District’ and was for a time editor of the ‘Transactions of the Yorkshire Archaeological and Topographical Journal’, which became the still surviving ‘Yorkshire Archaeological Journal’. He also helped the publication of the Rev Hughes ‘History of Meltham’ left unfinished by the author’s death in 1862.

In 1870 Thomas married Jane Hammet of Plymouth but she died two years later of a seizure said to have been brought on by a thunderstorm. Thomas himself became increasingly infirm and was described by the Rev Hulbert in his Annals of Almondbury as ‘a recluse’. However he was still involved in the Eisteddfod movement.

In 1873, as the ‘archdruid of Gwynedd’, the Rev James offered the prize for the best ‘peithynfaen’,  wooden books with verse written in bardic characters known as ‘Coelbren y Beirdd’. It was not then known that this alphabet, which was supposed to have been devised by the druids over 2,000 years ago, was less than a century old. It was fabricated in the 1790s by poet and folklorist Edward Williams, known as Iolo Morganwg, who was one of the driving forces behind the revival of the Eisteddfodau.

A ‘peithynfaen’

The Rev James died in 1879 and his enthusiasm for the Bardic past, imaginary or not, is celebrated on his grave cover. The cross shaped grave lies just by the church door at Netherthong. The inscription is in the Bardic Alphabet.  This has been kindly deciphered and translated by Mr Owain Rhys of the Museum of Wales. One side records the birth and death of Thomas himself and the fact he had been curate for 33 years, the other the death of Jane. The carved symbolism also speaks volumes about the man. There is a leek representing Wales, a harp reflecting his Bardic personality and, perhaps strangest of all in a Christian graveyard, the druidic symbols of oak leaves and mistletoe. Equally strange is the fact that the Yorkshire Archaeological Society may owe its origins to the druid curate of Netherthong.

Rev Thomas James grave #2

  The history of the church, its role in the village its parishioners and their activities is detailed below.

 The clock in the church was given by public subscription in 1887 to commemorate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The Jubilee celebration was fully consummated by the starting of the turret clock which had been placed in the spire by Mr.Pitts of Leeds. The clock cost £75 and was described as a “ pin-wheel striking clock 2’9” in diameter. It  struck  the hours on the bell and was reputed to be heard in BerryBanks, Wooldale and Oldfield. It was a boon for the villagers as up to then the only way they had of getting an idea of the correct time was to stand at the top of New Road and watch for the starting of the train from Holmfirth Station.

 The church choir was an important part of the church’s activities and one of its highlights was its annual outing. A number of these were reported in the local paper and, considering the condition of the roads in the early years, the journeys in themselves must have been exciting events. 

1891 – trip to Baslow and Chatsworth houses.

1894 – outing to Castleton in the Peak District

1908 – excursion to West Kirby via Liverpool and Birkenhead. Whilst they were crossing the river they saw the Lusitania.

1909-  they visited Worksop. They met outside the church and walked to Brockholes station to catch the train. Among the party was Mr. C.Wood , the choir master, with 24 years voluntary service, Miss Dickenson, the organist, with 30 years and Tom Wood with 21 years.

1910 – outing to Chester via Liverpool and Birkenhead,

1912 – the annual outing in May took them to London. They left Huddersfield at 11.30 pm on the Sunday night and arrived at 5.20 am in London. The report detailed what they did and what they saw. It is not unreasonable to assume that for many of them it was their first trip to the ” Big Smoke “.

1913 – the excursion in July was their 34th and they went to Llandudno and Liverpool. They left Huddersfield in a splendidly appointed L & NW saloon carriage at 6.30am

1915 – 25 members were conveyed by Mr. Beaumont’s motor char-a-banc to Harrogate and Ripon.

1916 – trip to Knutsford. They travelled in 3 motor charabancs supplied by Messrs. Kilney & Brook ( Honley ).

1918 –  the choir left Thongsbridge station for Dewsbury and took the train to Wakefield. After dinner they went by car to Leeds and returned home by train at 8pm.

The 39th. annual excursion for the choir was taken  in August 1919 when they travelled to Selby and York in the commodious and comfortable motor char-a-banc from Kilner & Brooks of Honley. Their Annual Outing in 1920 took them to Congleton.

1921 – in July 60 members and friends  took part in the 41st. annual outing and the 6th. by charabanc. They visited Doncaster and Worksop and made a visit to the renowned ” Magic Oak “. They met a choir party from Halifax who were also on an outing and, as people tend to do, they had a competition to see who could get the most individuals inside the mammoth trunk. Netherthong ladies managed to squeeze in 18 which was 4 more than Halifax.

1922 –  they filled two 28- seater charabancs and travelled via Leeds, Headingly, Harewood and Harrogate to their first stop at Ripley. Their objective was Grassington.

1951 saw them travelling to Redcar and Saltburn-by-the-sea.

1953 – they visited Skegness stopping off first at Lincoln Cathedral.


 In the January 1st 1887 issue of the Holmfirth Express, it carried a large advert :

Public Notice

Holmfirth Parish Church

New Year’s Tea Party

Concert & Meeting at 7p.m.

Members of the Netherthong Tea Party will entertain.

 The report said the party had been held in the large classroom and 150 sat down to an excellent tea. The chair was taken by the vicar and the choir , under the leadership of Mr. Jonathan Hirst, rendered a choice selection of music.

 In June of the same year the Parish Church Sunday and day Schools held special services in the church in aid of the schools. A procession was formed and headed by the school banner and the Netherthong brass band marched to Deanhouse and the Workhouse continuing onto Oldfield where they had refreshments. They went to Hagg ( Capt. Beardsell’s residence ) and then back to the village.

  The Lord Bishop of Wakefield, Dr.Eden, paid his first official visit to the church in February 1904. He preached to a large congregation in the morning and , in the afternoon, conducted a confirmation service which was believed to be the first of its kind in the Netherthong parish. During his visit he was the guest of the vicar’s warden, Mr.J.Watkinson of Sands. Later in the month there was a Parochial Tea and Entertainment with the tea provided by the married ladies of the congregation. The newspaper reported that it was a very good tea consisting of ham sandwiches and various “ tantatlins “. Over 200 people enjoyed the varied concert which had 39 items. The evening finished off with a social and a feature was the rendering by the children of some of the local singing games eg. “ What is Mary weeping for? “ and “ On yonder fair mountain “

 In April the Sunday School gave their operetta “ The wreck of the Argosy “ to a large audience in theNationalSchool

 Each year in April, All Saints held its annual vestry meeting at which elections were held for various church positions. In 1904, James Dyson was re-elected as the people’s warden.  J.Watkinson was re-appointed as the vicar’s warden and T.Turner was re-elected as his sidesman. C.Floyd was appointed sidesman to the vicar’s warden and J.Mallinson and H.Wilson were elected sidesmen for the people’s warden.

 In March 1905, the Church resuscitated the annual tea party and entertainment which had not taken place for several years and it was held in the large room of the National school. There was a good gathering and after the tea, the 1st. part of the performance was by the choir and the 2nd. part was a dialogue titled “ Wanted a wife “.

 In May the churchwardens wrote to the District Council saying they would be glad if the Council would defray the cost of winding and the upkeep of the clock. They said it was of benefit to the district and they considered it be kept up by the rates for the advantage of the district. They wanted 20/- pa and Mr. H.Gill would have charge of it. The Council said that as it was a public clock and had been bought by public subscription they would approve it.

In 1907 there was no change in the positions at the annual vestry meeting. In the same month Wm.Sykes & Son held a sale of furnishings in the Vicarage and got some excellent prices. A Sheraton armchair sold for £34 10s.

 The annual vestry meeting for  1908 was held in April with the Rev. Hind presiding. Mr.Turner was nominated as vicar’s warden, Mr.W.Batley as vicar’s sidesman and Mr.Dyson as people’s warden. C.Floyd, J.Mallinson , J.Russell and H.Wilson were elected as sidemen.

 The Sunday school held a social evening in February 1911 . It was combined with the junior sewing class to raise funds to buy teaspoons for use at public teas etc.

 In 1912 the report  for 1911 was issued on the Annual return of subscriptions to the Wakefield Diocesan Fund for maintenance and work of the Church Restoration Society, Spiritual Aid Society and Diocesan Education Society. All Saints contributed £7 11s 3d.

 The 1913 Annual Parochial tea was held in February. There was a splendid tea and entertainment by the choir. The following month saw the Annual vestry meeting. Mr. Turner was once again re-appointed as the vicar’s warden. Mr. J. Woodhead was re-elected as the people’s warden with C.Floyd, W.Batley, J. Mallinson, J.Russell, B.Butterworth, H.Wilson and J.Harper as sidesmen.

The Church had formed a Mother’s Union. In August 1913 about 45 ladies had a meeting which started with a service in the church ( Rev.N.Hind ) , followed by a tea in the school at the invitation of Mrs. Floyd, their president.. In the evening they adjoined to Fairfield. The following week a party of 86 went to  Langsett by waggonette. 

In February 1916, the Church Sunday school organized a public tea and entertainment. The room was packed to witness the performance of an operetta “ Zurika the Gypsy Maid “ which was of a very high order. Miss Battley gave a short account of how the money raised was to purchase a valuable piano for use by the school.

 Special services in connection with the National Mission of Repentance and Hope were held in the church in October. Rev. Hind said the matins and evensong and the choir, under the leadership of Mr. C. Wood with Mrs. Jackson on organ, performed the musical part.

Also in October Mr.& Mrs. Buchanan celebrated their golden wedding day. They were married in All Saints on October 24 1866 by the Rev.J.James.

Miss Judith Ellen Mellor of Hagg Cottage died in November 1916 at the age of 80 years and was laid to rest in the family vault at All Saints. She was one of the oldest native born citizens and was heavily involved in fund raising for the Church school in the 1860s and in 1888 to enlarge it. She was a loyal churchwoman.


Netherthong Local Board & District Council

Netherthong Local Boards and Councils.

   The first time that the inhabitants of Netherthong were able to have a significant role in the running and development of  their village began on July 3 1862, with the formation of  a Local Board, which had nine members. The Board remained in place until February 16 1895, when it was replaced by the Netherthong District Council, made up of elected representatives. In 1912 the County Council made an order adding Netherthong and Deanhouse to the district of Holmfirth. This order provided that they would constitute the Netherthong ward of Holmfirth District Council with three members and came into effect on March 31 1912.

Local Boards were local authorities in urban areas from 1848 – 1894. They were formed in response to cholera epidemics and were given powers to control sewers, clean the streets, regulate slaughterhouses and ensure the proper supply of water. The first ones were created under the Public Health Act 1848 and could be formed in one of two ways :

  1. By petition of 1/10 of the inhabitants rated to “ relief of the poor”.
  2. By the General Board if the death rate exceeded 23 per 1000 head of population.

The 1848 Act was replaced by the Local Government Act 1858.

Unfortunately to date, I have been unable to find any records of what controls and authorities were in place in Netherthong  up to the formation of the Local Board. However I have now (2015) come across the following report in the Huddersfield and Holmfirth Examiner for January 1855. ” The surveyor of Netherthong was summoned before the bench in Huddersfield for neglecting to repair certain portions of the roads belonging to the township of Netherthong. The complainant, Mr.Joseph Hirst, said that no one was more regular in collecting his rates than the surveyor of Netherthong, and no one neglected the roads more. The surveyor was fined £5. I  need to find out who appointed the surveyors, who paid for them, and what controls there were on how they spent the rates. In a case of deja-vu the Huddersfield Examiner & West Riding Reporter reported in October 1870, that a complaint had been made that one of the local highways within the district of the Netherthong Local Board was so thoroughly out of repair that it was almost unfit to travel on, and Mr.John Sykes, a solicitor of Huddersfield, brought the matter to the magistrates at Huddersfield County Police Court. Mr. Abbey, surveyor of the borough of Huddersfield, had been to look and had prepared a report which said that due to the fine dry weather it did not appear to be in a very bad state, but he could see that a few days rain could render the road impassable. He said he was assured by the defendants ( the Local Board ) that all attempts were being made to make the road passable for winter. The length of the road was 2,200 yards and in conclusion he suggested that another inspection should be done after the first few days of rain. The hearing was adjourned to November but in typical manner there was no follow up report.

 On March 27 1862, a petition was presented by the Rev. J.James, incumbent to the Church, stating “ We, the undersigned ratepayers of the township of Netherthong in the West Riding of the County of York, beg most respectfully to request you to call a Public Meeting of the ratepayers thereof for the purpose of considering a resolution for the adoption of the local Government Act 1858 in the said township of Netherthong.

There were 22 signatories : G.Mellor; U.Hobson ; J.Wilson ; J.Mellor ; J. Jagger ; T.Mellor; J.Woodhead ; J.Rodgers ; J.Beaumont ; H.Mellor ; D.Dyson ; J.James ; R.Wilson ; B. Woodhead ; B.Gill; J.Woodhead ; B.Dyson : J.Mallinson ; B.Wilson ; G.Woodhead ; E.Hirst ; G. Wimpenny.

 A notice was placed in the Huddersfield Chronicle and on the principal door of the Parish Church informing the townspeople of a public meeting. The meeting was held on Thursday, April 3 1862, at 10am in the Town school and 24 ratepayers voted for adoption with two opposing.

A notice was forwarded to the Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Rt, Hon Sir George Grey, on Apr 22 1862. Further notices were placed in the paper and the church doors for three consecutive weeks. On April 26 1862, the notice that the Government Act 1858 had been duly adopted within the  township of Netherthong was signed by Sir G. Grey.

 The first meeting of the Local Board was held on July 3 1862, at the Gas Works. T.Dyson was appointed chairman for the current year, T.Mellor as treasurer, J.Mallinson as collector and surveyor. J.Mellor was the clerk on a salary of £5/year.

This Local Board remained in place from 1862 until 1895 when it was replaced by the District Council. Minutes of all meeting were recorded in two Minute Books ( 1862 to 1882 and 1882 until closure ) which are kept  in the archive section at Huddersfield library.

Various items and events of interest during that period are given below.

 In the sixties  there was an ongoing effort to improving and maintaining the roads  and the subject was featured at most meetings. The stone was taken from various local quarries and Wolfstone quarry in particular. In March 1865 the paper reported that  the long pending question as to the desirability of having a public road from the village to Bridge Mill had finally been settled. “Mr.Littlewood had surveyed the ground previous to preparing the plans. The route is remarkably good and it will be a great boon to the inhabitants of Netherthong but, if the Local Boards of Lesserthong and Netherthong could have been amalgamated and arranged for it to have passed out on the road on the back of Holmfirth’s Town Hall , the incline would have been less and advantage far greater than coming out at Bridge Mill. We trust the suggestion will be attended to as it is well worthy of consideration.” Interest in the road continued and a report in the Huddersfield Examiner & West Riding Reporter for February 1866 gave the following information – ‘the new road from Bridge Mill has been in agitation for a considerable time but like every new project it has its opponents. A public meeting of the inhabitants was held in the Town’s School with the chair being accepted by Mr. Rodgers, the chief-constable. After a long discussion with Mr.Godfrey and Mr.Mellor on one side and Mr.Foxton, Mr.Jagger and Mr.Dyson on the other, the opponents of the road were greatly outnumbered with a large majority being in favour. The Government enquiry into the subject would be made later.’  At the annual meeting of the  Local Board in July of the same year, three elections of gentlemen to the Board took place. The contest was between those in favour of the new road and those opposed to it. The ‘road’ party were elected and consisted of Mr. Alfred Beaumont, Mr.Richard Wilson and Mr.John Mallinson. The defeated candidates were Mr.Thomas James, Mr. J.Mellor and Mr.John Taylor. The first meeting of the new Board was held and Mr.Jagger was elected chairman and Messrs. T.Mellor, A. Beaumont and James Jagger were appointed to the nuisance committee. 

The Huddersfield Chronicle , in its issue of 3 March 1866, reported on the Government Enquiry into the proposed New Road. Mr.Robert Morgan, the Government Inspector, held a court of inquiry at the house of Mr.Jonas Woodhead, the Queen’s Arms Inn, as to the necessity of  a new road from Netherthong to Bridge Mills in lieu of the present steep and almost inaccessible road known as Thongs-Lane. The Court was crowded by inhabitants of the village , among whom were many of the largest ratepayers of the township. The great majority were working men, all of whom appeared anxious that the road, as proposed by the Local Board, should be made. The newspaper report contained lots of legal arguments for and against along with technical details and costs. I have condensed it just to include key points and personalities.

Mr.Fenton, on behalf of the Local Board, said the proposed road was about 1,000 yards in length, was of a much easier gradient than the present Thongs-Lane  and would reduce the distance between the village and Holmfirth by more than 1,000 yards. Thomas Dyson, manufacturer and ratepayer said the existing road was very bad for carriages and it would have to be a good horse to bring 15 cwt up the present route, whilst by the proposed route 30 cwt could be brought up by one horse. The present footpath was very dangerous there being eight styles on it. He continued that he was at the meeting called by the constable of the inhabitants, the majority of whom decided in favour of the proposed road. He added that there were four grocery establishments in the village, some of them fetch their goods from Huddersfield and Thongsbridge but would not have to do so if the new road was made as goods could be delivered to their own door. He believed the poor people would get groceries and coal cheaper by the new route. 

James Jagger said he was a ratepayer and the present Thongs-Lane was a very bad one.  His horses and carts often brought goods from Holmfirth and usually went by way of Upperthong. Mr.Tom Turner, manufacturer, spoke of the wretched state of Thongs-Lane . His rating was about £150 and the proposed road would be a great improvement to the village. John Hinchliffe, manufacturer and ratepayer, gave similar testimony. Mr. Chas. John Trotter, surgeon of Holmfirth, spoke of the inconvenience he frequently experienced when called to attend patients in the village or at Deanhouse Workhouse. Mr. Joseph Platt, tailor and draper, said inhabitants would have coal and other articles cheaper if the new road was made. Jonas Woodhead, farmer and inn-keeper, said he often lent horses to help bring carts up the road.

George Woodhead, grocer, farmer and resident ratepayer, got heavy goods from Holmfirth and took them round to Deanhouse. He was a contractor for supplying coals to the Workhouse where they burnt a ton a – day. Mr. Berry, surgeon of Holmfirth, had frequently felt the inconvenience of getting to Netherthong by the present route especially in the night time. Considerable time was taken up by Mr. Joshua Littlewood, land surveyor and valuer. Mr.Wilson, clerk to the Local Board, said the rateable value of the township to be £2,921  11s 9d. There were 362 separate ratings and 1,007 inhabitants.  The enquiry continued for two days  and ,after criticisms of the details of the report from the surveyor, was concluded.

The Board had occasion to write the following letter to one of the inhabitants :

          Sir. Complaints having been made by two resident householders that you are in the habit of throwing the refuse from your house and shops onto the highway adjoining situated in Giles Street. The said refuse filling up the drains and causing injurious to the public health. The nuisance committee do hereby give you notice to discontinue the practice or further proceedings will be taken to enforce the same.

 In 1873 there was a meeting of representatives of several Local Boards to discuss the question of appointments and action of Medical Officers of Health for a united district. The Netherthong Board on September 4 1873 agreed to pay a contribution to a Medical Officer of Health and Inspector of Nuisances.

In 1874 Netherthong adopted the following bye-laws.

  1. construction of streets
  2. erection and drainage of buildings
  3. regulations of slaughter houses
  4. prevention of nuisances
  5. cleaning of footpaths
  6. common lodging houses 

The Health officer reported in 1875 “ a case of pigeons being kept in a local room used by the inmates of a house occupied by Daniel Woodhead “. Also in 1875, Thomas Miller was appointed clerk at a wage of £10 pa. Joseph Rusby , the rates collector, received a commission of 10d in the £ but  four years later, irregularities were found in his accounts and a new collector, Ramsden Mallinson, was appointed. The May monthly meeting was held in the Boardroom. Present were the chairman, Mr.C.Stephenson, J.Taylor, W.G.Dyson, John Hinchliffe, Walter Middleton, James Jagger, T.Turner plus the nuisance inspector, Mr.Cuttell, J.Rusby the Clerk and J.Mallinson the surveyor and collector. The collector had received £6 2s from the Highway rate and £7 11s 5d from the general district rate. The following payments were made : Day labour £2 16s 3d, Contract work 19s 6d, Materials £1 19s, tradesman bill 1s 4d and interest on the loan £9 8s 5d. Among Mr.Cuttell’s report was that Mr.R.Wilson had been ordered to remove manure heaps in the village.  Mr.Joseph Moorhouse, South Lane Holmfirth, had two cottages at Dock Hill without privy accommodation and the Board had viewed them and ordered the owner to provide suitable conveniences. Mr.Preston had an old drain in Dock Hill which was in a foul state and was ordered for it to be remedied at once. Mr.Turner proposed and Mr.Dyson seconded that the Board repair the fence in Brook Road at once. The Clerk produced a new Highway rate of 10d in the £.  At the next meeting in June, Mr. Stephenson and Mr. Thomas Mellor were appointed to represent the Board at the meeting of representatives from various local Boards to discuss the appointment of a medical officer for the Holme Valley Sanitary Authority. The AGM was held on July 17  and the Chairman reported at the start of the meeting that the Local Boards had agreed to appoint Mr. Jonas Wimpenny a surgeon from Huddersfield to be the medical officer of health for the whole district. He would be on a salary of £100 pa for two years and Netherthong’s share would be £7.  C.Stephenson Esq. J.P. was appointed chairman for the ensuing year and J.Jagger as treasurer. J.Jagger, J.Hinchliffe and W.G.Dyson would form the Highways Committee and J.Jagger and Hinchliffe the Finance Committee. Joseph Mallinson remained as collector and Joseph Busby as surveyor. The surveyor was empowered to arrange the getting and breaking of several stacks of stone at the Child o’ th’ Edge and Wolfstone quarries.

The Medical Officer’s report for 1876 stated that deaths were 25.6 per 1000 of population with scarlet fever responsible for 50%, zymotic disease and consumption accounted for the remainder. At the Annual meeting of the Board in April 1876, C.Stephenson was re-elected chairman and James Jagger was re-elected treasurer. Mr. Thomas Arkwright was appointed as sanitary inspector at a salary of £12pa., Joseph Busby was re-elected to two positions- clerk at £8pa and surveyor at £12pa. Joseph Mallinson was re-appointed as the collector of rates for which his remuneration would be 10d in the £. At the July meeting a letter was read from the clerk to the Trustees of the Huddersfield & Woodhead Turnpike Road declaring the intention of the Trustees to sell the toll house, shop and adjoining land at Thongsbidge. Also at the same meeting the members were informed that a number of poor persons had applied for exemption from paying the rates and the Board agreed on the exemptions.

The elections to the Board took place in March 1878 . There were three retiring members, Thomas Mellor – manufacturer ; John Hinchliffe – farmer and Alfred Turner – gentleman of Wolfstones. They were nominated for re-election along with Fenton Walker – innkeeper, Thongsbridge and Walter Middleton – railway company agent. C.Stephenson , the chairman of the Board, was the returning officer.The results with the number of votes cast for each candidate were : A.Turner 116, J.Hinchliffe 104, T.Mellor 90, F.Walker 55 and W.Middleton 54. The first three were declared elected. At the annual meeting of the Board  that followed  Mr.Stephenson was re-elected chairman,  Mr.Turner was elected as treasurer. Thomas Mellor was the Clerk on a salary of £10pa. and Joseph Rusby was appointed Collector on a commission of 10d in the £.

In 1879 the surveyor, John Redfearn, was paid a weekly wage of 21/-. Also in the same year the Nuisance Inspector made a complaint that horses and conveyances were allowed by the Church gates which caused dirt to be made.  The February 1879 meeting of the Local Board  was presided over by C.Stephenson,JP, the chairman. Also present were John Hinchliffe, T.Beardsell, J.P.Floyd, A.Turner and W.Middleton. Ramsden Mallinson was appointed collector, and a district rate of 1s in the pound for buildings and 3d for land was made and approved. In March the Sanitary report for the year ending December 31 1878 was presented by J.Wimpenny, the Medical Officer of Health. There had been 68 births, 42 males and 26 females , and 17 deaths. He expressed concern that sewage from some cottages near the public wells was getting into the channel which conveyed the water to the wells. There had been 13 cases of measles, none fatal. One scarlet fever, five cases of enteric fever and whooping cough had prevailed  in the latter part of the year. The Annual meeting was held in May and C.Stephenson was re-elected chairman as was Mr.T.Meller, clerk, R.Mallinson, collector, and A.Turner, treasurer. J.Redfern, the surveyor was given a salary of 24s/week for the eight months left for  1879  and 21s/week for the remainder of his 12 – month contract. Messrs. Dyson, Hinchliffe, Beardsell, Floyd and Middleton were elected to the Highways Committee and Floyd, Dyson, Woodhead and Turner to the Finance Committee.

In June 1879 the committee appointed to look out for a new Board- room reported that the most suitable place was a cottage at Bastille belonging to John Hinchliffe, a member of the Board. It was agreed to take the cottage at a rent of £4 10s per annum starting July 1. Mr.Hinchliffe would provide coals, light and attendance. Messrs. Floyd and Beardsell were appointed to procure the necessary furniture for the room. At the meeting in January 1880, a resolution was passed continuing the employment of Mr.Wimpenny  for a further three months from March. The surveyor was directed to obtain 100t of broken stone from the Deanhouse Workhouse for putting down on the main road and the new road. There were seven applicants for the office of the clerk made vacant by the resignation of Mr.T.Mellor – Mr. H.Lomax was appointed. In the report read by the Medical Officer for the quarter ending December 31st. 1879 had only one adverse comment which concerned a very serious outbreak of enteric fever at Robin Royd. There were five cases in the house – mother, three children and father. The mother died, the children were seriously ill and the father was removed to Crosland Moor. The house was in a very bad sanitary condition with an impure water supply.

The rate for 1880 was 1/- in the £ for buildings and 3d for land. At the monthly meeting in January a resolution was passed continuing the employment of Mr.Wimpenny as medical officer for a further three years from March 1880.The surveyor was directed to obtain 100t of broken stone from Deanhouse Workhouse for the purpose of laying it on the main road and new road. There were seven applicants for the office of clerk vacated by the resignation of Mr.T.Mellor –  Mr.H.Lomax was appointed. In the report read by the Medical Officer for the quarter ending December 31,1879, his only adverse comment concerned a very serious outbreak of enteric fever at Robin Royd. There had been five cases in the house – mother, three children and father. The mother died, the children had the disease very severely and the father was removed to Crosland Moor. The house was in a very bad sanitary condition and the water supply was impure. Later that year an application, received from the United Telephone Co.  to fix poles for the telegraph wires, was finally approved at a cost of 1s per pole for five years.

The Board were concerned about the suspected water quality and instructed the surveyor to make an opening from the village wells to the source whence they are supplied to check for fouling. He found that the water was pure before entering the well. A sample of the water was fully tested by analysts and the report stated “ I am of the opinion that this water is wholesome to drink. It is soft and suitable for all domestic purposes “.

In 1882 the Board received a notice from Jersey & Co. London and Gulcher Electric Light & Power Co. that they had applied to the Board of Trade to supply electricity to Netherthong. At their annual and monthly meeting in May, C.Stephenson was re-elected as chairman , George Woodhead was to continue as treasurer and the committees for the new year would consist of the same members. The clerk was instructed to write to the Board of Guardians asking them to repair the road between the old town school and the Workhouse gates due to the damage done by the carriage of materials used for the building operations to the Workhouse. Later that year in July the Board agreed to accept a quantity of stone from the Workhouse as compensation for the road damage.

The report from the Inspector in 1884 on the water supply said there were 3 public wells about 200 yards from the centre, a further well in the wall below Rawcliffe Spout and several smaller wells. The Board resolved that a reservoir be constructed at Well’s Green to retain the supply of water found there and convey the water in 2” iron pipes to Towngate. They also resolved that the road roller be lent to Deanhouse cricket club for the year for 5/-. At their November meeting  the Board resolved that notices against loitering in the pumphouse be affixed there at once and that any persons found loitering there and causing annoyance or obstruction after the publication of the notice be summoned by the police constable. The Board had that year written strongly to Abel Hobson, farmer, to request him to prevent the flow of manure from his farm into parts of the village. Hobson had said he would not comply with the request. The Board were left with no option but to bring  the case to the County Court.  They summoned him under 96th. section of the Public Health Act 1875 and the Town Clerk informed the Court of the details. The defendant owned a farm in the village and, from his mistal,  liquid manure flowed and went through  a garden and into an underground tank which was connected to a pump. It also went near a house occupied by Wm. Hinchliffe and entered a drain causing smells in the house. The Local Board wanted pipes to be laid so the manure would empty into a public sewer but the defendant had said that he would not carry out any order made to him. The Bench made an order for the defendant within one week to lay down pipes sufficient to prevent a re-occurrence of the nuisance.

At the final meeting of   1884, the Board received a letter from Holmfirth stating that they intended to apply to the Local Government Board to extend their district to include Austonley, Holme, Scholes and Netherthong. The letter detailed all the benefits etc that Netherthong would get by the amalgamation. The Board replied in January 1885 stating that they were not in favour of being included. However in March  they did resolve to combine with Austonley, Fulstone, Hepworth, Holme, Holmfirth, Honley and Scholes to appoint a joint Medical Officer for Health for these Local Boards for three years at a salary of £100 pa. They further resolved to combine with Austonley, Holme and Holmfirth Local Boards for a joint appointment for an Inspector of Nuisances for three years at £ 90 pa. Four vacancies for the Board were filled by Charles Eyrs – a farmer from Wolfstones, John Taylor – also a farmer from Wolfstones, George Woodhead – gentleman and Thomas Woodhead – grocer Thongsbridge

As a further indication of the Board’s independence, the Honley Gas Co. had applied for a provisional order to supply gas within Netherthong and to increase their mains but the Board declined. A letter was received from the Board of Trade that they had decided not to include any portion of Netherthong within the limits of supply proposed by Honley Gas Co.

The Huddersfield Examiner had sporadically given details of some  of the monthly meetings and, in April 1886, it reported that the last day for nominations was April 1 and by April 2nd. 11 gentlemen had been nominated for the four vacant seats. C.Stephenson,JP.   John Batley, John Taylor ( retiring member ), Benjamin Dyson ( Moorgate farm ), Joe Lancaster, Wm. Hinchliffe, Henry Brooks, Fred Woodhead, Charles Mellor and Fenton Walker both from Thongsbridge and Harry Mellor of Hagg.  The four members elected were John Batley, John Taylor, Joe Lancaster and Wm.Hinchliffe and they were welcomed to their first meeting in May.

With the first  issue of the Holmfirth Express on December 11 1886, more space was given to events in the village and  the meetings of the Local Board were regularly reported.

At the December meeting a district rate of 1s 8d /£ was approved and the surveyor was directed to request Miss Mellor to have her trees lopped where they overhang Calf Hole Road.

Mar 1887. Births were 25.65/1000 and deaths 17.08/1000. The Board resolved to purchase 3 dozen pound tins of Calvert’s carbolic acid powder for use in the public drains and for free distribution to ratepayers.

In April of the same year  Batley Corporation waterworks were prepared to supply water to Thongs Bridge. Their surveyor produced a list of  about 20 owners, at or near Thongs Bridge, who were willing to take a supply of water from the mains of the Batley Corporation. The price would be 1/3 per 1000 gallons in bulk with a minimum quantity of 700 gallons a day for a 10 year agreement. The Board declined to accept the offer. In July the Board had a public notice put up in the pump house in the village cautioning consumers of the Board’s water that if they were not careful in the use of it, the supply would run short and persons guilty of wasting water were liable to be summoned.

Present at the meeting in January 1888 were J.P.Floyd ( chairman ), W.Hinchcliffe, Joe Lancaster, John Taylor, George Whitehead plus the clerk, H.Lomax, and the surveyor, collector and inspector. Isaac Sykes, Nuisance Inspector, congratulated the Board on the village pump which brought water to a more convenient distance for those dependant on it. There were 130 recorded instances of nuisances and 120 had been remedied. He said he had been on the look-out for hawkers of various foods and had caught two, one with plums and one with apples. He had let them off with a verbal warning after they had destroyed the fruit.

In February a meeting of ratepayers was held in the National School to consider the proposal of Holmfirth Local board to include Netherthong district in the forthcoming Local Government enquiry. It was carried unanimously to oppose amalgamation.

March 1888. In the Sanitary Conditions report for 1887, the population was 996 with 31 births ( 9m and 22f ) . There were 21 deaths with 2 from typhoid fever and 2 from diphtheria. The sanitary state was not satisfactory due to cases of scarletina. The zymotic death rate was much higher than in any other division of Holme Valley. The report added that 173 nuisances were reported and said that the large empty dam at Dockhill should be drained and people prohibited from throwing refuse etc in it.

At the Local board elections in April,  three were elected – George Woodhead, Henry Hirst and James Lancaster.

In June the clerk wrote to H.Swallow, G.Buckley, C.Ricketts, A.Wimpenny and J.Wimpenny to attend the next meeting as to their trespassing and loitering in the Board’s pump house and annoying people who fetch water from the pump by their rough and noisy behaviour. They attended the next meeting and apologized. They were reprimanded by the chairman. In September of the same year the Board charged the National Telephone Co. 1s p.a. rental per pole in the district.  Plans were also approved for a new wooden barbers shop for J.Booth. William Roebuck the landlord of the Queen’s Arms was allowed to alter a trap-door in the pavement in front of his pub for barrels. He was charged 6d p.a. for the privilege.

At the November meeting in  1899, the clerk read out the duties to be performed by lamplighters for the public street lights in the course of erection. Several applications had been received and it was resolved that the following persons be engaged to clean, light and extinguish from the time they are to be lighted until next March 31 – William Higginson ( Dean Brook ) for eight lamps in or near the village for 3s/week and William Bower ( Croddington ) for 13 lamps on main road and one on Thongsbridge road at 6s/week.

At the February meeting in  1890, WM.Berry was re-appointed Medical Officer for Health at £5 pa and Isaac Sykes as Inspector of Nuisances. 40t of unbroken dross for the repair of New Road was approved. In March, the Nuisance Inspector gave a weeks notice to three people to stop throwing sewage into the highway at Dock Hill.The Board resolved that the Surveyor remove into the tipping ground at Dock Hill all solid house refuse thrown on the highway at Well’s Green and publish placards ordering all ratepayers to deposit solid house refuse in the Board’s tipping place.

Work continued on a new reservoir and in June a contract was drawn up between the vicar of Woodhead and the Board for the sale of land at Crabtree and Thong Moor. It was resolved to continue the drift in the top end of the old close at Brownhill and search for a spring of water. They would also obtain 70 yards of best earthenware pipes and 15 junctions. It was resolved that 30 yards of 6” drain pipes be purchased for extending the sewer at Dock Hill.

The population in August was given as 936.

A letter from the County Surveyor in September directed the Board to join in placing stones of certain dimensions and patterns at the junction of townships on the main road along with adjoining local authorities. A circular was received on the  Public Health Rating of Orchards Act 1890 that stated that after October 1 1890, owners of orchards must be assessed to district rate at ¼ value.

The Board resolved in November  “ that plans and estimates now submitted by Mr. Barrowclough for a covered service reservoir at Crab Tree to hold 294,280 gallons of water and for mains to be laid at a total cost of £3500 be approved and that application be made at once to the Local Government Board for their sanction to this Board to borrowing the £3500 for this purpose to be repaid in 30 years.”

The Board members in July 1891 carried out the annual inspection of roads under their jurisdiction by waggonette drive. The route was New road, Huddersfield main road, Hagg, Dean Brook,  the village centre, Moor Lane, Wilshaw, Wickens Bridge, Wolfstones and Crabtree. They also went to see the reservoir under construction and had a taste of the water. The following month they received a certificate from Mr. Jarman of Huddersfield giving the results of the analysis of water from the spring in the land at Brownhill … “ This is a pure, wholesome and soft water. It is very suitable for a domestic water supply. “

In July a Local Government enquiry was held at Netherthong to look into the subject matter of an application by the Local Board for sanction to borrow £3500 for the purposes of water supply and construct a reservoir to hold 800,000 gallons. Colonel Charles Luard RE opened the enquiry. There were lots of witnesses and discussion and the Inspector closed the enquiry by saying that it seemed to be the general opinion that Netherthong ought to have a better supply.

The existing supplies were :

  1. The Towns’s well at Wells Green
  2. Messrs. Hinchliffes’s well at the same place
  3. Rawcliffe Spout
  4. Pump supplied from Wells Green
  5. Holebottom
  6. Well opposite the Royal Oak
  7. DanRow

Nos. 3,5,7 were outside the township and 2 and 5 were private.

At a special meeting of the Board in February 1892, a letter was read out from the Local Government Board enclosing a formal sanction for borrowing £3500 for the water supply. The meeting resolved that the engineer proceed with quotes and tenders. In April , Joe Lancaster, chairman of the Board, cut the first sod at the site of the reservoir at Brownhill. The spade was supplied by D.Bilson and inscribed “ Presented to Mr. Joe Lancaster, chairman of Netherthong Local Board, on the occasion of cutting the first sod of the reservoir at Brownhill, April 29 1892.

The Board held its annual meeting in May and Joe Lancaster was re-appointed as chairman. A motion to lay a 9” sewer through the village at a cost of £200 was passed. The tender was awarded to George Naylor of Denby Dale for £135 17s.

In January 1893, the water was formally turned on by Joe Lancaster. The key was presented by Mr. Barrowclough and Joe Lancaster went to the culvert and turned on the water to service the mains. Harry Mellor photographed the members of the Board and their guests. ( where is a copy of this photo ? ) 50 adjourned to the Royal Oak as guests of Joe Lancaster and there were lots of toasts  and motions of thanks on what was a very important day in the development of Netherthong.

In February Joe Lancaster presented Mr. Lomax the clerk with a very handsome and real solid gold albert , a hall marked gold watch chain and an enamelled jubilee coin pendant in appreciation of his extra duties during the previous year in connection with the waterworks and sewage and winding up the rate collection accounts.

A public meeting of ratepayers was held  in May to discuss what should be done about the proposed new burial ground in Netherthong road for the Wesleyans. There were many  speakers and a large number of the ratepayers were against it saying they had worked hard for the water supply and if they were to have  a burial ground planted in their “ flower garden “ not many people would want to build there. The motion to oppose was passed with only one vote against and a committee was appointed to act in the matter.

     The Health report for the year ending 31 December 1892 was read out at  the Board’s AGM. The population was 965 with 20 births and 22 deaths. 275 nuisances were recorded. 7 new privies erected and  3 houses specially cleaned and disinfected. Nearly all the houses were limewashed or stoved. 534 inspections were made. 103 houses were supplied with water. 5 wells were cleaned, 1253 yards of new drains laid, 93 yards of old drains repaired and 4690 yards of water mains laid. The report concluded by expressing concern over the level of smallpox in the area.

     At the same meeting Joe Lancaster was re-appointed chairman. It was resolved to fit padlocks to the two valve boxes at the reservoir and build walls round to keep out trespassers. Placards would be posted in the district cautioning consumers about wasting the water. A new rate of 1/8 in the £ was approved.

The Board resolved in September that T.Dyson & Sons be allowed to take a supply of water from the mains into their mill yard at Deanhouse on payment of £1 pa for workpeople to drink.

In March 1894 the Board advertised for a new surveyor to replace Henry Roberts who was taking up an appointment as surveyor to Drighlington Local Board. John Cookson Woodhead, who had previously worked for the Board under Roberts ,was appointed surveyor for a period of two months.

The most important event  in the year was the impending change from a Local Board to a District Council. In December the ratepayers held a meeting to consider the position of the District and the changes that would arise through the Parish and District Bill. The Local Board was formed in 1862 and always had nine members. 16 nominations were received for the election to the new Council. They were :

John Batley – joiner

William Dickenson – commercial traveler

James Dyson – farmer

Ben Eastwood – woolen manufacturer

Arthur Hirst – gentleman

John Floyd – woolen manufacturer

Joe Lancaster – cloth finisher

Robert Landrum – woolen manufacturer

Harry Mellor – gentleman

Wright Mellor – mill manager

John Silverwood – insurance agent

Walter Middleton – farmer

John Taylor – gardener

James Hinchliff – mill foreman

Elihu Hobson – farmer

Fred Woodhead – tailor

The total on the register eligible to vote was 207 and 117 voted ( seven of whom were illiterate ).

The first meeting of the Netherthong District Council was held in February 1895 and J.P.Floyd was elected Chairman. The AGM was in May and a new rate of 2/6 in the £ was approved. A letter was received from the West Riding Sanitary Commission for the Council to put into force the Sale of Food and Drugs Act and the Margarine Act. A request from Meltham to add a portion of Netherthong district to its own area was opposed. In July a County Council Enquiry Committee sat at Meltham to discuss Meltham DC’s application to annex portions of Netherthong , namely Wilshaw, St.Mary’s Court and Lower Greave.

The District Council elections  in April 1896 generated little interest. There were nine candidates for five vacancies. Frank Greenwood 41 votes ; John Batley 35 votes ; Fred Woodhead 32 votes ; Harry Mellor 26 votes and Elihu Hobson 25 votes were elected.

At the AGM in May , John Floyd was elected chairman and H.Mellor as vice – chairman. Total receipts were £817 9s 6d with expenditure of £530 4s 2d. The clerk produced copies of an order, dated April 15 1896, made by the West Riding County Council, for the extension of Meltham Urban District by transfer of portions of the  urban district and townships of Honley and Netherthong. Honley had resolved to petition against the decision but Netherthong decided to take no action.

A letter from Holmfirth UDC requested Netherthong to have joint outfall works for sewage with Honley, New Mill, Thurstonland and Holmfirth. At the Council meeting in June it was agreed to join in the scheme for the disposal and treatment of sewage.

In 1897 the Local Government Board sent a letter referring to the order for the transfer of parts of Netherthong to Meltham. The clerk in April had written to the solicitor for Meltham Council informing that the Local Government Board had not inserted into the confirming order a clause providing for payment of a proportion of the Netherthong mortgage and debt. In May the Council received a certified copy of a map showing the boundary alterations. At the same time Meltham had still not resolved the waterworks debt of Wilshaw but finally agreed to settle the problem in August.

In August the Huddersfield Corporation and Waterworks were planning to extend their mains from Deerhill to Shepley and the clerk wrote requesting a meeting to discuss a supply to Thongs Bridge and District. Later that month Huddersfield authorized a branch to be fitted to the new main and laid through the Netherthong district.

At the end of the year a letter was sent from Lord Dartmouth’s agent saying that he wished the Council to stop tipping in Hagg Wood and have the fence made good. In December Isaac Sykes, who had been the inspector of nuisances for more than 20 years, died suddenly.

   At the February 1902 meeting of the District Council , the Council wanted to put clean water into all houses but the Medical Officer, Dr.R.H.Trotter, said that if a property had good water from a suitable source the Council could not force them to accept. Later in that month the Annual Medical Report was given to the Council.

  13 births registered ( birthrate 18.38 ) and 11 deaths ( rate 15.53 ) with consumption being the main cause. No new houses had been built and the whole village, except for a few houses, was drained to the public sewer system.  There had been a big improvement in the removal of night soil and the system is that anyone requiring a closet to be emptied sends a notice to the surveyor who has a list of farmers willing to supply a horse and cart for the work. The Council’s men clear the closet and the farmer takes the night soil onto his land. House refuse had also improved – covered dustbins have been provided in convenient locations and they are cleared by the sanitary staff and the refuse carted to a tip. The water supply to the 153 houses in the district is drawn from the Council’s reservoir and is good quality. During the long drought of the summer the supply failed totally for one month and recourse was had to the wells at Well’s Green. 49 other houses are supplied by wells or private sources. There was one slaughter house, two workshops and 14 cow keepers registered under the Milk shops order.

There was a Public meeting in May to discuss how the village would celebrate the Coronation. After lots of discussion they arrived at the standard solution by electing a general committee to come up with a programme. I have a note that Netherthong had its own brass band at the 1887 Golden  Jubilee Celebrations  but not at the 1897 Diamond Jubilee.

In June, in response to public demand, the Council reached an agreement with W. Hinchliffe in which he let to the Council a portion of land for the purpose of public use or recreation grounds for the inhabitants of the District Council. The tenancy would be year to year at a rate of £5 pa. Complaints had been received that householders had been depositing objectional  and offensive items in the bins. It was agreed that the clerk should draw up a short and forcible form of placard to be placed on bins and in the village.

The following month the Clerk read a letter from Mr.J.Heastie, the Master at Deanhouse Workhouse, asking the Council for a temporary supply of water as  they were completely without water. The surveyor said that as  water was flowing into its own reservoir they could afford to supply some. The Workhouse was supplied with 80,000 gallons at a price of 1/3 per 1000 gallons.

   Other items from the year were that the Council passed a plan for a pigsty at West End for Mr. Hinchliffe,  and the provision of an urinal at the recreation ground generated lots of discussion but was not approved.

   In 1904 the Council received a letter from the West Riding Solicitor enclosing copies of bye-laws made by the County Council with reference to spitting in certain public places which came into effect on November 27 1903.

The population was estimated at 620. There had been 13 births and 15 deaths but the heavy death rate was due to the number of aged people who had died during the year.

In February the Council received the Medical Report for the year 1903. eight infectious diseases had been notified, three were Scarlet Fever and the other Brysipelas. Whooping cough was epidemic in June, July and August but no deaths resulted. Influenza prevailed at the beginning and end of the year. Sanitary conditions were good and all the houses, except for a few in unusual positions were connected to the public sewers. There are pot pipes, ventilated by open gratings over manholes. Nightsoil removal is satisfactorily carried out on notice to the surveyor and closets are cleaned by the Council’s men. House refuse and street cleaning is also done by the Council. There is an excellent public water supply. There is also one slaughterhouse and five workshops in the register – two tailors, a joiner, a brush maker and a cobbler.

At the County Police Court in Huddersfield in early April, the Magistrates clerk said that Netherthong was the only township in the Huddersfield Union which had not obtained an order from the Local Government Board for the purposes of appointing overseers. The list of fit and proper persons had now been sent in , a duty that was neglected last week. Arthur Sykes and Wm. Hinchliffe were appointed.

At the Annual meeting in April , Cllr. J.Peel Floyd J.P. was re-appointed as chairman – he had been a member since 1876 and chairman from 1886. The Council passed a new district rate of 2/1 in £ for the next 6 months.

At the September meeting the Council discussed lighting times. The lamps were turned off at 10pm in the village and Thong Lane. Cllr. Alsop had had complaints about them going off early and request that the times should be extended to 11pm on Saturdays, 10.30 pm during the week and 10pm on Sundays. He said he had heard of females waiting for company at the bottom of Thong Lane because they were too frightened to go up in the dark. Cllr. Eastwood said the same remarks applied to New Road. The new times were approved.

  By mid- October there was concern that the water level in the reservoir was down to 2’ 9” due to possible leaks although the flows to the reservoir were very slow. A notice had been put in the Express asking people to use less and it was passed that the supply would be cut off between 9pm and 6am.

A special Council meeting was convened in November. The Clerk had written to the Huddersfield Corporation waterworks urging them to grant an immediate supply of water as the Council’s own reservoir was nearly empty. The Corporation had replied by saying that it would furnish a temporary supply of water at a price of 1/3 per 1000 gallons under the proviso that all works and materials needed to make connections would be paid for by the Council. The meeting resolved that these terms be accepted. The following month the meeting was informed that that the water level in the reservoir was 4.5 feet and that they had purchased 375,850 gallons at a higher rate of 1/8 per 1000 gallons.

In February 1905, the Medical Officer produced his health report for the previous year.  The estimated population in the middle of that year had been 669. There had been 14 births ( 5 boys and 9 girls ) but two of the children had died before reaching the age of one year. There had been 10 deaths ( 9 female and 1 male ) with one from respiratory disease, two from consumption, two heart disease, one cancer and one accident. There were only two cases of infectious diseases and the only other infections were from the flu epidemic in the December. All houses were connected to the public sewer and during the year a new branch sewer had been laid at Dockhill to connect the four new houses being built to the main sewer. There was one slaughter house, five workshops on the register – two tailors, a joiner, a brush maker and a cobbler.

With the water level in the reservoir down to 2 foot 9 inches, the Council agreed in March  that the Chairman should approach the Huddersfield Corporation Waterworks for a further supply. At the same meeting the Council passed plans for four new houses at Fearnought.

By April all the taps and service pipes in the village had been checked for leaks and 10 new taps had been fitted and many repaired. The Council decided to give notice to all owners that they must replace defective taps or else have their supply cut off.  The Cyclists Touring Club wrote to the Council offering to replace the two warning notices ( Beware Cyclists ) with two of a more modern type.

At the Annual meeting of the Council in April, Cllr. Floyd was re-elected and a new rate of 2/1 was approved. The height of the water level in the reservoir was 8 feet , down almost 6 feet, and the flow into it was 10,080 gallons every 24 hours. It was resolved to discontinue public supply for one month between 9pm and 6 am.

The Churchwardens of the Parish Church wrote to the District Council to say they would be glad if the Council would defray the cost of the winding and up-keep of the clock. It was of great benefit to the district and they considered it right for it to be kept up by the rates for the benefit of the district. It would cost 20/- per annum and Mr. H.Gill had charge of it. The Council approved the amount  as it was a public clock paid for by public subscription.

The Council received a letter informing them, that at the statutory meeting of the West Riding Rate Committee on 14 June, it had been decided to alter the proposed County rate basis for the Netherthong township from £3.380 to £3,061 which was the annual value of the buildings. The minutes noted that ” the Council were pleased.”

 At the December meeting the Council were informed that the reservoir was full to the top – a depth of 18ft 9 inches.

The Medical officer, Dr.Trotter, gave his report for 1905 to the Council at their meeting in February 1906. There had been 10 deaths, five of each sex, which gave a rate of 15.19 on the population of the village of 658. There were no deaths from zymotic diseases or respiratory diseases but there had been  four cases of infectious diseases, three of them being scarlet fever. There had been a widespread epidemic of chicken pox in November. six boys and two girls had been born.The rest of the report was similar to the 1904 report. At the same meeting the Council approved the purchase of 110t of granite for repairs to the main road, 40t of hard blue rock for Towngate and 10t of hard blue rock for New Road.

In March, as a result of the recent epidemic of scarlet fever in the village, the Council arranged for the school to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. At the Annual Meeting the following month, Cllr.J.Peel Floyd was re-appointed as Chairman with Cllr. Woodhead voted as vice- chairman. A new rate of 2/6 in the £ was agreed. The Council received a request from Alma Mills, Thongs Bridge, for a supply of water for their gas engine and for drinking. It was approved at a rate of 16/- pa

The Holmfirth Police Court in April 1907 approved a new rate for the village of 3s 4d in the £ for buildings and 1s 8d on land. The rate was estimated to bring in £539 0s 9d.

 Later that  tear in June , the Council approved plans for a proposed slaughter – house at Dock Hill for the Netherthong Co-operative Society. In September four boys attended the Council meeting on behalf of a team of juvenile Association football players to ask the Council to place goal posts and bars at the recreation ground. The Council agreed.

  In November they approved  a new rate of 2/1 in the £ to produce £317 1s 2d. Of the last rates £18 2s 3d was irrecoverable due to empty property and 12/6 through poverty.

The Council received the Medical Officer’s report for 1907 at their Council meeting in February 1908. There had been nine deaths, five male and four female, and two had been from heart disease, two from consumption and one from respiratory disease. There were 12 births, six male and six female but two had been premature deaths. seven cases of scarlet fever were notified. The house accomodation was adequate but two or three were borderline. There was still an effluent problem which the Council were trying hard to resolve. Nearly all the closets were midden privies but two houses were entirely without any closet of any kind, in another case  one closet was used by twelve persons living in three houses and in a further case a closet was used by 90 people, 18 of whom were adults, living in five houses. There were two slaughter houses and seven workshops, one of which was a bakery.

The nominations for the District Council – nine positions to be filled – were as follows.

John Floyd – woolen manufacturer – Roseleigh Thongs Bridge

Benjamin Gill – builder and contractor – Dock Hill

William Hinchliffe – farmer – Wells Green.

Fred Moss – general store manager – Town gate

Joseph Settle – engineer – Miry Green.

Joseph Woodhead – yarn manufacturer

Arthur Alsop – fulling miller

William Batley – joiner – Myra House.

James Dyson – farmer

Abraham Eastwood – publican Royal Oak Hotel.

Ben Eastwood – brush manufacturer – West End.

The election was held in April and  Joseph Settle and William Batley were not elected.

 Cllr.J.Floyd was re-elected as Chairman at the annual Council meeting in May. The new general rate was set at 2/1. The West Riding County Rate Committee had fixed the county rate basis for Netherthong at £670 on agricultural land and £3,317 on buildings.

At the end of the year the Council reduced the new rate from 2/1 to 1/8. 1/3 was to be allocated to general purposes and 5d for repayment of their loan. The Clerk reported on two new County Council bye – laws. The first was that vehicles must show a red light at the rear and the second was that it was now prohibited to throw orange peel and banana skins on footpaths.

The Council were very concerned about the dust nuisance on the main road caused by cars when the road was dry and they agreed at their July meeting that the road section from Thongs Bridge to New Road be swept. There was also a discussion on the speed of the cars and the Council suggested that a speed restriction of 10mph be imposed on the same section.

At the first Council meeting in 1909, the Clerk reported that the lighting had been improved in New Road by changing the oil lamps and burners. The Council  would loan Messrs. Dyson & Sons watering cart when it was needed to dampen down the dust on the highways. They approved the issue of the following Public Notice  ….” take note that the Urban District Council of Netherthong intend on or after the 10th. day of May 1909 to commence the construction of outfall works for dealing with the sewage of the district of Netherthong at Hagg Wood,in the Parish and Urban District of Honley and the construction of a line of main sewers from such outfall works along the side of Hagg Dike and under Calf Hill Road and Dean Brook Road to the southern corner of Deanhouse Mill.

The Health Report for 1908 was given by Robert Trotter the Medical Officer. There had been 20 births, eight boys and 12 females, and 11 deaths, seven female and four male, which included three former natives of the district who had died in Deanhouse Workhouse. Four of the deaths had been from heart disease, one respiratory disease and two from Phthisis. nine cases of infectious diseases had been reported. The population was 640. Nearly all the closets are midden privies but there are about 12 water-closets. There were two slaughterhouses and eight workshops including bakehouses. A new surveyor, Fred Boothroyd, replaced Fred Hobson who had moved to Kirkburton.

At the Annual meeting in April, Cllr.Floyd J.P. was re-elected as Chairman. A circular had been received from the West Riding County Council on the subject of milk contamination and it was agreed to print 1,000 copies, at a cost of 4/- , to inform the townspeople. The dust problem had returned to the Huddersfield Road and the Chairman said that there was scarcely 10 minutes without a motor vehicle passing on the main road. It was agreed to apply for permission from the County Council to apply the carbide calcium.

The Council had applied to the Local Government board for sanction to borrow £2,500 for the purposes of sewage and sewage disposal. A Board Inspector held an enquiry in May at the National School and after the meeting the Inspector visited the proposed outfall site, There was continuing discussion on the sewage scheme and in November the Inspector was keen for Netherthong to join with either Honley or Holmfirth. The Council were equally very keen to remain independent.

The Council approved the erection of four new houses at Fearnought for Mr. R.Turner.

The Medical Report for 1909 was presented to the Council at their February meeting in 1910. There had been 16 births, three boys and 13 girls, but three had died before reaching 12 months. 10 deaths were registered, six male and four female, Two of the deaths had been of former residents who resided outside the district. There were no deaths from consumption and only one case of an infectious disease, Scarlet Fever, was notified. There had been a few cases of measles early in the year. There were enough houses but quite a few needed repairs. Nearly all the closets were midden privies but there were still about 15 water closets. The great majority of the houses were supplied with water from the Council’s reservoir – it was of good quality and its slight plumbo-solvent action seems to have no deleterious effect. There were two slaughterhouses, one elementary school and eight workshops. A letter was read out at the meeting from the Census Department giving particulars of the Census to be held in 1911 and in it they suggested that streets should be numbered and named.

In March the Council decided that public notices be given to all milk sellers in the district to register their names on the Council’s list in accordance with the Cowsheds and Milkshops order.

At the Annual meeting in April Cllr.P.Floyd was re-elected Chairman once again. In June at the Holmfirth Police Court, the Magistrates signed a new poor law for Netherthong of 3/4 in the £. There were discussions about converting to electric lighting as a substitute for gas – other local Councils were also involved.

The meeting in October set the new rate for the 2nd. half of the Council year at 1/8 in the £. The Clerk read a circular from the County Council asking what had been done regarding allotments. It was explained that there had been no demand for allotments in the village. The Council resolved to send a notice to the  house owner to lop trees from his property overhanging the Child o th’Edge road.

The first meeting of the Council in 1911 was held in February. The Medical Officer, Dr.R.H.Trotter, presented his report for 1910. He had estimated the population at 700 and that conditions had been satisfactory ( no further details were given).The West Riding treasurer wrote saying that  the County Council would pay 2/3 of the cost of spraying tar on the main road. Along with the Councils of Holmfirth and Holme, a deputation from Netherthong Council held a meeting with the Huddersfield’s Corporation Tramways Committee to discuss extending the tramways to Holmfirth and eventually Holmebridge.

Elections to the Council were held in March and 11 nominations were received for eight positions.

Arthur Alsop – Fulling miller – Newlands View

William Batley – joiner – Miry House

James Dyson – farmer – Giles Street

Ben Eastwood – brush manufacturer – West End

Benjamin Gill – contractor and builder – Dock Hill

William Hinchliffe – farmer

James Jackson – gentleman

Fred Moss – store manager – Glen Holme

Joseph Settle – engineer – Miry Green

Joseph Woodhead – gentleman – Green Cottage

Joseph Edward Woodhead – yarn spinner – Newlands, Thongs Bridge.

Ben Eastwood received the highest number of votes with 78. William Batley, James Dyson and Joseph Settle were not elected.

The Council received a quotation from Taroads Syndicate Ltd. for 1 and one eight penny per super yard for tar spraying the main road with standardised refined tar but, as the firm had not taken any action, the Council cancelled the order. Mr. William Taylor, the Council’s lamplighter, had died and his son Harry had stepped in to do  the work and was keen to continue and the Council confirmed his appointment.

The Coronation festivities  for King George V on June 22 were a great success. The village was decorated with banners and bunting and, on the eve of the Coronation, 500 Coronation Mugs were presented by Mrs. Floyd of Rose Leigh. After a service in the Parish Church a procession was formed in the following order : District Councillors,Boy Scouts,Gardener’s Friendly Society,the Sunday and day scholars of the Parish and then the general public. They were  accompanied by the Netherthong Philharmonic Band and hymns were sung at various stages on the route. At 4pm there was a public tea in the Church school for children and adults up to 60 years whilst the over-60s were entertained in the United Methodist Free Church. During the evening there was a programme of sports and the  entertainment concluded with a bonfire on Wolfstone Heights thanks to H.Mellor and the Boy Scouts.

The possible amalgamation of the Council with Holmfirth was a major discussion point among the villagers, and in July a hastily convened meeting of residents was held at the top of New Road to consider the proposed amalgamation. There was a large attendance and the meeting went on for such a long time that the Chairman had to strike a light to read the resolution. The Co-Op wagon served as a platform and Mr. J.Dixon, a well-known socialist, climbed the wagon and occupied the chair. The final outcome was that the people of Netherthong did not want amalgamation and it should be opposed at the enquiry.

The relative merits of gas and  electricity created a great deal of discussion in the whole district over the plans to extend the use of electricity. A vote taken in Holmfirth showed that 1283 people were in favour of electricity with 582 opposed against.

The Amalgamation Enquiry was held in the National School and a committee of officers from the County Council of West Riding opened an enquiry respecting a proposal for extending Holmfirth Urban District by adding Netherthong and a portion of the township and urban district of Honley, which included Deanhouse, Dean Brook, Lower Hagg and Holmroyd Nook. It was a very long meeting and had to be carried over. A further meeting was held at which sewerage formed an important part of the discussions with Honley and Holmfirth. The next meeting was held in the offices of the Holmfirth UDC and lots of witnesses were called to give evidence. Yet another meeting was required  to hear the evidence and Mr.C.Marshall appeared for the Netherthong ratepayers who opposed the amalgamation. At the final meeting, Alderman Clay declared the enquiry close and said his committee would report to the General Purposes Committee of the County Council in September. 

In October, at a meeting of the West Riding County Council an order was issued to extend Holmfirth UDC by adding the township and urban district of Netherthong and a portion of the township and urban district of Honley. The Committee said that they had carefully considered all the evidence and arguments at the enquiry but concluded it was desirable to extend the Holmfirth UDC.

It was not altogether suprising that at the November meeting of the Council the amalgamation question involved lots of discussions.

At the first and last Council meeting in February 1912, the Clerk read the draft of the order made by the County Council adding Netherthong and Deanhouse to the Urban District of Holmfirth. The order provided that Netherthong and Deanhouse would constitute the Netherthong ward of the District with three elected members. The order would  come into effect on March 31 1912 and the first elections should be completed within 10 days of that date. The Council agreed to have gas lamps installed at Dock Hill and Giles Street.

Due to the amalgamation of the Councils, the Annual Report of the Medical District of Holmfirth no longer gave detailed specifics for Netherthong. 

At the Council meeting the clerk read out a letter from the Local Government Board transferring Deanhouse voters from the Honley electorate to Holmfirth electoral division.

 A meeting of the Netherthong Ward ratepayers was held at the Methodist school when Cllr. W.Hinchliffe presided,  supported by Cllr. Rogers, who had called the meeting. There was a moderate attendance. Cllr. Rogers discussed his ideas at length and said he would be standing for no creed of party. The meeting approved support for him. At the same meeting a resolution was passed opposing the introduction of electricity.

The results of the local elections held in April were :

James Rodgers = 80 votes   Fred Moss = 70 votes    Harold Wilson = 54 votes     James Jackson = 40 votes. Rodgers was elected for three years and Moss for one year.

A public meeting of the ratepayers of Netherthong was held in June in the United Methodist school to protest against Holmfirth Council’s Electricity scheme. Cllr. Hinchliffe was in the chair. There were long speeches by Cllrs. Rodgers and Moss. The resolution that the meeting opposed the electric light as a lighting agency was passed with one dissenting vote.

It was then resolved to form a ratepayers association to oppose electricity.

At the September meeting of the Holmfirth UDC, the Netherthong councillors requested that, for the convenience of the Netherthong and Deanhouse ratepayers, the collector should attend at Netherthong twice a year. This was agreed and he would be at the United Methodist Church who would receive 2/- per night. It was also decided that for the safety of the collector he would be provided with a cab for his return journey. The HUDC also dicussed the question of a telephone system in the village. The Postmaster General had written that he had proposed a telephone call office in the village but the matter was still under consideration and no arrangements had yet been made to install a call office.

In April 1914, the Magistrates had signed the new Poor Rates for Netherthong at 8/9 in the £. The gross rateable value was £6,898 6s 10d with buildings £2,718 9s 6d and land £870 6s. It was estimated this would produce an income of £813 5s 1d.

The opening ceremony of the Electricity Works for the Holmfirth District Council was performed in July 1916. At that time there were 81 consumers connected to the mains and the street wiring was fully connected for use in the autumn.

At the Holmfirth UDC meeting in February 1935, Cllr. Lockwood expressed the view that something should be done by the Council towards building development in Netherthong. Some of the best families had left the District and the village was becoming more or less derelict. He mentioned a site near Moor Lane and others that could be available for building purposes. No decision was made.


Music, Entertainment and All That Jazz


Music, Entertainment .. and all that jazz.


Music is the healing force of the universe – Albert Ayler.

 Singing, dancing , concerts,  fetes, whist drives, often organised to raise funds, were among the wide range of activities that  played an important  part in the social and cultural life and times  of the  village in the 18th. 19th. and early 20th.centuries. The inhabitants would also have travelled by foot or horse to the larger villages such as Holmfirth, Meltham and Honley for special occasions.

However a combination of the railway  at Thongbridge station, the tram terminus at Honley  and  the motor car,  bus and the famous char-a- bancs meant that the villagers were then able to venture further and further afield for their entertainment. This had the knock-on effect that  support for many of the local organisations slowly waned but this was the picture in villages and rural communities across England as people, mainly the young, left for new horizons. Remember the old song – ” How you going to keep them down on the farm after they’ve see Paree ?”

  Let me first amaze and astound you with a not-necessary complete list of the organizations that provided music and entertainment to the villagers. Remember that in those days the word “gay” had a completely different meaning to what it does now and the ” blacking-up ” of entertainers never had any racial undertones.

Netherthong Glee Party  : Netherthong Philharmonic Band ( Mk 1 & Mk2 ) : Netherthong Brass Band : Netherthong Male Voice Choir : Gilbert and Sullivan Operatic Society : The Netherthongsters :The Pennine Glee Men : Honley Hand Bell Ringers : Magic Lantern shows : Mr. Horsfall and Bailey Band : Professor Waldo and his Inimitable Carbonized Minstrels. : Holme Brass Band : Thongsbridge Glee Party : Huddersfield Orpheus Quartette : B.Flitton’s Band : Church organ recitals from all three churches: Church Choirs.

  I also came across a few references for a Netherthong Evening Institute. In April 1947 the Express reported that the 1st. exhibition of work by this Institute had attracted a large attendance. It had 76 students in this first year and there were three teachers. Miss S.Brook taught Instrumental music, Mrs.A.Halstead dressmaking and Miss M.Townsend soft furnishings and leatherwork. In the same month the Netherthong Evening Institute Orchestra under the leadership of Miss Brook gave a concert in the Council School. Solo items were given by Mr.Robert Haig, Mr.A.Charlesworth and Mrs. E.Horncastle and pianoforte duets by Mrs.W.Wood and Miss N.Hale. A collection for Flood Relief Funds raised £4 10s. The next report was in March 1948 and concerned an exhibition, held in the Day School,  of the work  by students. Cllr. G.Holroyd opened the exhibition and complimented the head- master, Mr.W.Hinchliffe, and the teachers and students. It was three years before the following short and sharp  report appeared in the local paper – in March 1951, the Orchestral class under the leadership of Miss Brook  ended their winter session.

   Much of the information for this Chapter was obtained from the local newspaper and a key feature of its reports,  in the early days, was to give very detailed information of events. As an example, if they reported on a concert they would list all the artistes, the full repertoire and who gave thanks etc etc.

One attraction, near Netherthong, which also brought in visitors from the surrounding areas was Wolfstone Gardens, sometimes called Wolfstones Pleasure Ground.  It was shown in the earliest map of 1775 and maps up until 1955 when  the word Gardens was dropped and it reverted to Wolfstones only. Originally Wolfstones and Wolfstones Heights comprised a small community situated between Upperthong and Netherthong. The gardens were established as a place of resort for Holme Valley people who would travel there by wagonette to enjoy picnics and open air dancing and to purchase produce such as grapes from the gardens. Apparently these  gardens boasted of a vine, the roots of which were reputed to be the longest in the UK. I recently came across the following  reference in the September 1865 edition of the Huddersfield Examiner & West Riding Reporter – ” the Celebrated Young Hampton  vine at Wolfstones  contains upwards of 1,400 bunches of fine grapes.”  In the Parish Council minutes of March 12th. 1887 it reported ” John Taylor was given permission to have painted, at his expense, on the Four Lanes End guide post under the directions to Upperthong the words ” and Wolfstone Gardens.” Several months later in July  at Holmfirth Police Court, John Hobson, a farmer at Wolfstones, was summoned by J.Taylor, also of Wolfstones, for 2 offences – assault and damage to a sign-post to the value of 2/6. The complainant was the proprietor of the Pleasure Gardens and the defendant a small farmer adjacent to the Gardens. The case was dismissed.The market gardener in 1901 was Thomas Hardy and later on it was owned by Bamforths who ran it until moving to a chicken factory in Moor Gate. A person called Philip Andrews was the owner from the 1960s and the house was lived in until 2004 until it was reputedly sold for £1.4m.

An even bigger attraction was Hope Bank Pleasure Gardens which covered 30 acres between New Mill Road and Woodhead Road at Honley. It was built by John William Mellor and opened in 1893 or 1895 according to different reports but they all agreed it  closed in 1955. Its normal season was from Good Friday through to the end of the Honley Feast. It had two lakes, the boating lake covered 3 acres and was 3′ deep, the smaller lake was about 1 acre and was very shallow. In addition to tea rooms, a museum, a hall of distorting mirrors, flower beds, ornamental gardens, swing boats, slides, roller skating and the Nil Desperandum pleasure cruiser, it had some exciting activities which included the ” Aerial Flight ” and the Hotchkiss Bicycle railway which had first been tried in Great Yarmouth in 1895 before being transferred to Hope Bank.  There was dancing in the evenings and many artistes, especially comedians, gave performances. Honley Civic Society  produced a superb booklet full of photos and details of the Gardens. Below are four photographs of the various attractions.

Hope Bank 1

Hope Bank 2

Hope Bank 3

Hope Bank 4

 Prior to Saturday, December 11th.. 1886 , the date of the first edition of a dedicated local newspaper, the Holmfirth Express, the Huddersfield Chronicle reported on a variety of events in the village from 1860 to 1886. This report from January 1871 is interesting  in the style and wording of the report. ‘A grand miscellaneous concert was held in the new school under the distinguished patronage of the elite of the district. The large room was well nigh filled with a highly respectable community. The vocalists included Miss Renshaw- contralto, Messrs. J.R.Mellor, Josiah Mellor and D. Coldwell – tenors. Ben Hirst and B.Eastwood – basses. Mr.W.Sandford was the pianist. ‘ 

 In March 1873 The Mississippi Minstrels of Netherthong made their first appearance of the year in the National School before a crowded and appreciative audience. The programme was replete with all the customary novelties any critical hearer might wish comprising songs, dances, instrumental solos and comic sketches. Among the artistes were D.Coldwell, A.Sykes, R.Eastwood, C.Hobson, J.Eastwood, Carter and Woodcock.  It is very frustrating that this was the first and only reference to the Minstrels.

The  choirs from the three churches, Parish, Wesleyan and Free Methodist,  played  prominent roles in the village along with soloists and accompanists augmenting their music.

 From the minutes of the Netherthong Co-operative Society , which had its first meeting on January 14 1881, there is a note that in Easter  1882 they held a tea party and the entertainers included the Netherthong Glee Party and the Netherthong Philharmonic Band.

 There was obviously a wealth of talent in the  village as, over the years,  it  boasted  of a Brass Band, a Philharmonic Band ( as mentioned above ), a prize winning Male Voice Choir, Church choirs and a Gilbert & Sullivan Operatic Society. I have devoted a separate chapter to the Brass  and Philharmonic Bands.

The Netherthong Male Voice Choir was formed by Arthur Sanderson in 1926 when he was only 21. A dozen or so of his friends used to sit on  fences and sing when they went on walks. They decided to hold a meeting with a view to forming a male voice choir. News spread and more men joined. The first rehearsals were held in the Zion Sunday school and by the end of the year their numbers had reached 30. This choir and its conductor, Arthur Sanderson, played such an important role in  village life that I have devoted a separate chapter on the family history of Arthur Sanderson and also on the choir  with lots of superb photographs ( thanks to his son John ). When war broke out in September 1939, the choir disbanded pro-tempore and about 12 of them went round singing in a group called “The Pennine Glee Men “. Note however that it is recorded that there was a Netherthong Glee Party who were at a Co-op party in 1882.

The National School was filled to capacity for the final performance of ” Billie Taylor” by the Operatic Society which received many encores. It was the general opinion that the opera was the best that had been ever given in the school. The following week the members had a social evening with refreshments,games and dancing to celebrate.

Three performances of ” The Black Swan ” a comic opera were performed in April 1923 in the Parish Church and all attracted large audiences. The Express enthused on the performances and listed the whole cast, headed by Mr.T.Wood as the Black Squire. They  were Mr.C.R.Wood, Mr.H.Horncastle, Mr.W.Horncastle, Mr.Evelyn Barron, Mr.G.A.Wood, Mr.D.Hughes, Mr.B.Lockwood, Mr.E.Rusby, Mr.G.H.Charlesworth, Miss A.Mallinson, Miss E.Beaumont, Miss Edith Beaumont, Miss M.Wimpenny, Miss E.Dickinson and Miss M.Woodhead. The members of the orchestra were P.Dixon, L.Ramsden, J.Hebblethwaite, T.Carter, F.Walker, Miss Beatrice Buckley and Miss S.A.Brook.  Mr.Smith was responsible for the scenery.

The Gilbert and Sullivan Operatic Society of the Parish Church Sunday School had their first public performance in 1927 when they performed HMS Pinafore. The Gondoliers, a two act comedy opera, followed in 1928 and the members were augmented by a number of friends. Four performances were held in the National school and the Express gave a detailed report with a list of all the performers which I have given below. W.Horncastle, E.Booth, G.A.Wood, A.Sanderson, J.P.Dixon, B.Lockwood, W.Leake, R.Dixon, Miss A. Mallinson, Miss W.Brook, Miss Edith Beaumont, Miss Emma Beaumont, Miss Mildred Wimpenny, Miss E. Dickinson, Miss Alice Charlesworth and Miss W.Woodhead. The members of the Ladies’ chorus were – Misses E.Brook, H.M.Buckley, E.Chambers, Annie Charlesworth, C.Charlesworth, E.Charlesworth, W.Gee, A.Ricketts, H.Ricketts,M. Ricketts, A.Wilde, M.Wimpenny and D.Woodhead. The Gents. chorus were C.Bray, A.Dyson, R.Fox, R.Hirstle, R.Hudson, H.Lee and P.Wood. The heralds were L.Mallinson, G.Woodhead, A.P. Cartwright and J.Hobson and the two pages were M.Batley and E.Preston. The members of the orchestra were Mr.A.Buckley ( bass ), J.W.England ( cello ), Miss S.Brook , Mr.S.Whitehead and H.Broadbent, all violins. H.Wimpenny ( clarionette ), F.Chantry and L.Hellawell cornets. R.Whiteley ( drums ) and C.Kaye ( trombone ). T.Wood was the musical director and Miss E.Hallas was the pianoforte accompanist.

 There was a very good attendance at the general meeting of the Society in September with Mr.H.Mellor in the chair. It was decided to continue with G and S and the choice for 1929 would be between The Mikado or The Yeoman of the Guard. The following  officers were elected. Hon.Sec. – G.A.Wood, Hon. acting manager – H.Wimpenny. Hon. musical director – T.Wood. Accompanist – Miss E.Hallas. Stage manager – J.Wilde. A musical committee and a general committee were also appointed. Later that month The Yeoman of the Guard won the vote and by then many of the positions had already been filled. It was produced in 1929 and the principals were Harry Walker, A.Sanderson, B.Lockwood, E.Booth, J.Dixon, C.Bray, A.Cartwright, J.Hobson, G.A.Wood, F.Wood, R.Dixon,  Miss Edith Beaumont, Mrs.H.Senior, Miss A.Mallinson and Miss W.Brook. The Ladies chorus were E.Chambers, Alice Charlesworth, Annie Charlesworth, C.Charlesworth, E.Charlesworth, E.Denton, E.Dickinson, E.Ricketts, H.Ricketts, M.Ricketts, A.Wilde, Marion Wimpenny, Mildred Wimpenny and D.Woodhead. The Gents. were F.Dufton, R.Fox, R.Hirstle, R.Hodson, W.Leake, R.Ricketts, H.Shaw and G.Woodhead. J.E.Goddard was the musical director and the members of the orchestra were- Miss A.Brook and Messrs.S.Whitehead, H.Knutton and M.Milnes – violins. J.W.England – cello. A.Buckley – bass. F.Chantry and L.Hellawell cornerts. H.Downes – clarionette. S.Brook – oboe. R.Whiteley – drums. C.Kaye – trombone. The accompanist was Miss E.Hallas.

Earlier in that year the Society had held a Carnival Dance with hats, caps, balloons and streamers in great demand. The programme of dance music was by the Arcadian Dance Orchestra with Mr.C.Bray as MC.  A gramophone recital for the benefit of the Operatic Society was given by Mr. J. Wilde to a large assembly.

The Mikado in 1930 featured the appearance of Frank Dickinson who was well know nationally and the Society were very fortunate to acquire his services. There  were extremely good reports and good attendances at all four concerts. They continued to perform C&G operas and ,from time to time, repeated certain favourites. They did not reform after the war.

Cast members of HMS Pinafore
Cast members of HMS Pinafore

The Netherthong Philharmonic Band was formed in 1908.  There were  earlier reports of a Philharmonic Band at the Co-op party in 1882  which also played  at the Christmas party for the inmates of Deanhouse Workhouse in 1886.  I have called this earlier version Mk1 and the new Band in 1908 Mk. 2 and information on both are now detailed in a separate chapter devoted to the Brass & Philharmonic Bands. The conductor was Mr.C.A.Wood and the leader, S.W.Bray.

The Netherthongsters were formed in 1950 and ,with one exception they presented an annual entertainment which delighted the audiences. In their 9th. and last show in October 1959, they gave their normal first-class entertainment and their signature tune ” Here we are again ” was sung by the whole company and opened the programme. The performers were Mrs. Fallas, Frank Mellor, Miss Dickinson, W.R.Wood, Mrs.Wood, Mr.Kemp, Mr.Gledhill, Mrs.Horncastle and Miss Parkman. At the end of this final performance, Mr. Horncastle, one of the original members, told the audience that age had finally caught up with them.

One  way to report the variety and divergence is to  meander the way through the issues of the Express and highlight any items that have an entertainment theme. Some of the reports will also appear in other chapters.

 1886.  At the Parish church annual parochial tea party (150 present ), the choir under the leadership of Mr.Jonathan Hirst rendered “ a choice selection of music”

… and over at the Free Church Sunday School, the chapel choir , accompanied by Mr.B.Fitton, sung Christmas anthems to 120 people…

 ….at 7a.m. on Christmas day at Deanhouse Workhouse, the Netherthong Brass Band  and the Philharmonic Band played in front of the house to about 215 people. After an action- packed day they sat down at 6 p.m. to sing hymns, accompanied on harmonium and violin by Allan Roesbottom.


At the Deanhouse New Year party, 170 were entertained by the Honley Hand Bell Ringers   …. Later in the month Mr. Pigott, a chemist from Huddersfield, entertained inmates with an exhibition of his magic lantern by lime light…..

…in February there was a Grand Concert under the auspices of the Working Mens Club and artists included : Miss Stephenson, soprano ; Miss Cooke, contralto ; Mr.Haigh, tenor ; Mr.Bartin, bass ; Miss Thomas, solo violinist..

…on June 4, scholars and teachers of the Wesleyan school had a procession ,along with scholars of the Free Church, and, headed by the Netherthong Brass Band, marched to the Workhouse, Oldfield, Deanhouse, Hagg, Thongsbridge and back to Netherthong….

….June 25 was the Jubilee Procession and Netherthong and its Brass Band joined in with Holmfirth…

In September, George Henry Wood died. He was a well known musician and had been leader of the Netherthong Brass Band. He was buried in All Saint’s church/


The Netherthong football team had supper at the Queens Arms and Joe Sykes brought the house down with his rendition of the Netherthong Football song which was his own composition…

… a Grand Bazaar was held to raise funds for two new classrooms for the school. Entertainment was by Mr. Horsfall & Baileys Band. There was also a conjuror – Professor Waldo and his Inimitable Carbonized Minstrels.

 … in January a Juvenile concert was held in the Town Hall, Holmfirth. It was given by the Netherthong National school with over 200 performers whose ages ranged from 3 to 19.  Rev. J.Prowde was in the chair. There was a large appreciative audience and the programme finished with a performance by the Carbonised Minstrels. All proceeds went to the fund for new class rooms.


On March 30 , the first of a series of services for men took place in the Wesleyan chapel – there was a large audience and the address was given by Mr.Harris with B.Fitton on organ….

…. On November 9 a procession, headed by Holme Brass Band in their new uniforms, marched round the village to the United Methodist Free School for a public meeting. In the evening there was a concert in the church, which was filled to excess, with the Holme Brass band, the Thongsbridge Glee party and recitations by Fred Hobson.


In February the cricket club held a concert in the National School . It was filled to capacity – 600 and the artists included Miss Marshall, Miss Helena Sykes, Huddersfield Orpheus Quartette, Miss G.Craven ( solo violin ) and Harold Sykes ( solo cornet ).

… also in February Thomas Dyson & Sons, Deanhouse Mill, treated 150 of their employees to the annual treat and B.Fitton’s band played for dancing….

…. The Cricket Club ran a very successful concert in the Church schoolroom which included a mirth- provoking and grotesque ventriloquial entertainment by J.Whelen of Halifax. He caused quite a furore with his two dolls, Joseph and Sarah, who sang songs, duets and comical dialogue.

1891  The Cricket Club held a tea party and concert for 340 at the National School 

1892  In January a children’s concert was given at the Workhouse by members of the various Bands of Hope.

1893  In July the inmates of the Deanhouse Workhouse were allowed to honour the royal marriage of the Duke of York with a dinner and concert.

1895. There was a Grand Concert in the National School in aid of the church restoration fund – attendance was only moderate due to the bad weather. 

1896 . In February at the Wesleyan Sunday School, an American organ ( given by Mrs. Jagger ) was opened….

… in November there was a dramatic performance . A large audience at the National School saw a one act farce entitled “ Wanted a thousand milliners “ followed by a melodrama , in two acts entitled “The dumb man of Manchester “

1897. The Diamond Jubilee of the Queen was honoured and all three church schools and the day school marched to Town Gate and joined in patriotic songs with accompaniment by Mr.J.Hoyle on an iron-framed piano.

1898 In February , Deanhouse Workhouse patients were entertained by St.George’s Troupe of Minstrels with plantation songs and sketches.

1902. The Netherthong String Band promoted a social evening in the National schoolroom. The band, under the direction of Mr.C.Wood, played a choice and varied selection of music. Refreshments were tea, coffee and confectionery – the caterer was Miss Mitchell.

…. In May, the Co-op had its coming of age celebrations – 21 years. There was a public tea and grand concert in the National school and 470 attended. Cllr.A.Alsop presided and he read out the history of the society. The Huddersfield Co-op Prize Choir were the artistes and the audience was afforded a rare musical treat.

March 1909 was a red letter month in the musical annals of the village when a vocal and instrumental concert was given by members of the Netherthong Philharmonic Band plus guest vocalists. Although there was a blizzard raging, the school was crowded with the largest audience for many years.The Band under the direction of S.W.Bray and conducted by Charles A.Wood consisted of 36 members. All the vocal artistes, as well as the accompanist Herbert Cousen ,were natives of Netherthong and Holmfirth. The newspaper report concluded …. ” the demeanour of the members of the orchestra, particularly during the rendition of the vocal items, from the leader down to the tympanists was most commendable  and yes,and especially yes, the gay drum major.”

And now for something completely different  .. The Express carried an advert in October 1909 for the Holmfirth Skating Rink in Ribbleden Road. It had three sessions, morning, afternoon and evening and admission was 6d which included the hire of skates.

1910. The Netherthong Philharmonic Band held its 2nd. annual concert in January in the National School. The Band had arranged an admirable programme which included the engagement of a Netherthong celebrity, Mr. Frank Dickensen, who had acquired a national reputation. Other artistes were Miss Elsie Stringer, soprano : Mr.Tom Johnson, solo violoncello and the accompanist was Mr. H.Cousen.

The band members were :

1st. violins : Mr.W.Bray ( leader ), H.Hinchliffe, Miss F.Hirst, J.Hobson,F.Walker and B.Batley.

2nd. violins : G.Sheard, B.Dyson , R.Thorpe, H.Shore, H.Thorpe and A.Mellor.

Violas : L.Ramsde and A.Hobson.

Violoncello : J.Johnson ( principal ), J.Charlesworth, H. Hobson and H.Mallinson.

Bass : L.Braithwaite and W.Buckley.

Clarionets : D.Wood and C.Woodhead.

Oboe : C.Garner and C.Hanson.

Bassoon : W.Lodge

Horn : H.Clough

Cornets : V.Kay and A.Green.

Trombones : H.Hellawell, M.Bailey and W.Coldwell.

Drums : G.Swindon

1911. In January the Netherthong Philharmonic Band held its 3rd. annual concert in the National School. Mr.C.A.Wood was the conductor, Mr.D.Wood clarinet soloist and Mr.L.Green cornet

   In January 1912 the Netherthong Philharmonic band  held its 4th. annual concert in the National School with Mr.C.A.Wood conducting and Mr. Couzen, accompanist. In spite of atrocious weather conditions there was a large attendance.

1913 saw the 5th. Annual Concert by the Netherthong Philharmonic Band. Once again Mr.C.A.Wood was the conductor with J.Goddard as accompanist. In addition to their own share of the programme they also had the following artistes. Soprano – Miss Florence Sanderson.   Bass – Mr.George Oxley.  Solo violin – Joseph Butterworth who was also the leader.

The Holmfirth Electric Picturedrome in Dunford Road had on its programme for November 1913 the following entertainers. Buckingham’s Performing Dogs, Happy Harry Hollis a comedian and Alice Vernon, Queen of the Brass Instruments, who played solos on cornet and saxophone horn.

 1914.  The Express carried a large advertisement for the 6th. Annual Concert of Netherthong  Philharmonic Band at the National School. The following details were given.

Soprano – Miss Florence Sykes . Tenor – David Oxley . Bass – Arthur Roberts . Conductor – C.A.Wood. Leader – S.W.Bray. Accompanist – J.Goddard. There was also a full orchestra of 30 performers.

Front seats were 1/6; second seats 1/- and the backs 6d.

A report  several weeks later said the concert was good and well attended.

 In April, the Netherthong Church Sunday school  held a public tea for 200. After the tea, the room was cleared for the entertainment and it was filled by one of the largest, if not the largest, audience that had gathered for many years. The amateur operatic society gave a fine performance of Edmond’s and West’s historical comic opera “ Columbus “. The roles were played by : H.McQue ; William Horncastle;Florence Hirst ; Harry Horncastle; Albert Denton; Stanley Gill ;Tom Wood; George Marsden ; Alice Wood ; Charles Hudson ; Edith Beaumont ; Alice Mallinson ; Emma Beaumomt ; Laura Boothroyd and Beatrice Hobson.

In December there was public tea and concert in the National School to raise funds for the lads serving their King. Over 800 sat down to tea. The first part of the concert was given by the infant children. The second part was full of songs, many patriotic and the concert lasted three hours. Proceeds were £18.

 1917  .January. If the residents wanted a night out they could go to the Picturedrome in Dunford road – the film was Just Kitty and The Passing of Pete. They were shown continuously from 7 to 10.30am. Prices with tax were 2 ½ d, 4d, 5d and 7d. The Valley Theatre also showed films.

Mr. Frank Dickenson, the well-known Yorkshire basso profundo, who has been mentioned several times in this chapter, visited his birthplace, Netherthong, after being demobilised from the Durham Light Infantry. He was in the army for three and a half years, seven months of which was spent in the Ypres section before being drafted into a concert party and visiting  camps in France and Belgium. Pre-war he had scored many successes in competitions and in 1908 he had made a very successful first appearance at Queen’s Hall Promenade Concert and was well received by the newspaper critics who described his voice as a full, round,rich basso.

The very first Netherthong Music Festival was held in June 1921 but surprisingly I could find no report in the Express. The  report for  1922 simply said it had been held in aid of funds for the Holme Valley Memorial Hospital. The 3rd.  one on June 24 1923 had been  held in a field and had  been very popular. C.A.Wood was the conductor and the Orchestral Band was under the leadership of Jack Butterworth.  £15 was given to the local hospital. The 4th. Annual Music festival was held on June 29  in a field near the National school but the weather was not the best. A collection was taken at the gate with the proceeds being shared between the Holme Valley Memorial Hospital and the Netherthong Memorial for the fallen and a donation was also given to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. Mr. Lancaster, a well known figure in the Holme Valley who occupied the position as chairman of the Festival, said he would clear the debt still outstanding on the village War memorial.

There was considerable individual talent in the village and, in March 1924, Miss Olive Smith, soprano, passed the advanced grade of rudiments of music with 94 points out of 99 at the recent local examinations of the Royal College and Royal Academy of Music.

 1925. In a change of editorial policy, the front pages of the Express were full of details of the entertainments available. Huddersfield had more than 25 cinemas and theatres among them being the Picture House, Victoria Hall, Theatre Royal, Palace Theatre, Empire Picture House, Hippodrome etc….

…the Fifth Annual Netherthong Musical Festival was held on Sunday, June 21 in a field near the National School. Special Hymns and Choruses from Messiah and other works. The Conductor was Mr.Tom Wood and the Leader of the Band was Mr. Jack Butterworth. The following  is a copy of the programme ( sorry about the quality ).

Programme for the 5th. annual Musical Festival . June 22 1925
Programme for the 5th. annual Musical Festival . June 22 1925

The 6th. Annual Music Festival in 1926 was held in a field near the National School and the conductor was Mr.Herbert Fisher. As usual it was in aid of the Holme Valley Memorial Festival but for the first time some of the proceeds were given  to the Huddersfield Deaf and Dumb Institute.

The Express carried a large advert at the beginning of April 1927 for the forthcoming production of H.M.S.Pinafore which would be held in the National School on Easter Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, April 19,21,23. Doors would be open at 7pm and the concert would start at 7.30pm. Admission for numbered and reserved seats would be 2/-, second seats 1/6 and back seats 1/-. The whole production would be under the personal direction of Mr.L.Fuller, Mr.T.Wood as Hon. Musical Director and Mr.J.Goddard as Hon. Accompanist. The Express carried a full report on the performances and gave a  list of all the people taking part.  The principal characters were played by : W.Horncastle, H.Horncastle, A.Sanderson, G.A.Wood, B.Lockwood, J.Dixon, Miss E.Denton, Miss Edith Beaumont, Miss A. Mallinson and Miss Emma Beaumont. They were supported by a well balanced chorus consisting of : G.Bailey, J.Brook, G.Charlesworth, R.Dixon, R.Hirstle, J.Illingworth, R.Knutton, R.Mayho, F.Rusby, V.Sykes, T.Wood and misses A.Bailey, Alice Charlesworth, Annie Charlesworth, C.Charlesworth, F.Charlesworth, E.Dickenson, A.Hay, L.Hay, Emma Knutton, Ellen Knutton, D.Mallinson, K.Mallinson, L.Scholfield, M.Smith, A.Ricketts, H.Ricketts, A.Wilde, Marion Wimpenny, Mildred Wimpenny, D.Woodhead and M.Woodhead.

The members of the orchestra were : Violins – Miss S.Brook and Mr.S.Whitehead. Cello- Mr.J.England. Bass- Mr.A.Buckley. Clarionette- Mr.H.Wimpenny. Cornet – Mr.P.Chantry. Drums – Mr.R.Whitley. Credit was also given to : Mr.F.Smith from Manchester who supplied the costumes. H.Smith from Holmfirth for the scenery and F.Porter from Deanhouse who was in charge of the lighting.

 1927. The 7th. Annual Sing ( name changed in the news report? ) was held in the National School in July instead of the open air due to the weather. President – J.Woodhead JP : Treasurer – Arthur Dixon : Secretary – Thomas Dyson : Conductor – J.W.Charlesworth.

The 9th. Annual Musical Festival in 1929 had a large and varied programme and the proceeds were in aid of the Holme Valley Memorial Hospital, the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and the Huddersfield Deaf and Dumb Institution. The Tenth Annual Netherthong Musical Festival was held on Sunday, June 22. The music was the same selection as for the 5th. festival. The conductor was Mr.J.W.Charlesworth and Miss S.A.Brook the leader of the band. See photo below.

Programme for the 10th.Annual Musical Festival . June 22 1930
Programme for the 10th.Annual Musical Festival . June 22 1930

 The Express didn’t always report on the Annual Music festivals but the number sequence confirmed that they had been  held and all that was mentioned about the 13th. festival in July 1933 was that the attendance was down due to the threatening weather.The 17th. Music festival (1937 ) was also affected by bad weather and was held in the parish Church.  The 18th. Annual Music Festival for May 1938 was originally intended to be held in a public field but due to the weather had to be held in the Parish Church. The 19th. Annual Festival was also affected by bad weather and moved to the Church and was enjoyed by a large attendance and the collection amounted to £8 19s 1d. The report on the 20th. Annual Festival said simply that it had been held in the Church.

…. In July, the Netherthong Male Voice Choir won 1st. prize at the South Yorkshire Music Festival at Stocksbridge.

1931. For four days in April the Netherthong Church Amateur Operatic Society presented The Mikado.

Musical success. Brenda Joyce Billington of the County Institution , Deanhouse, passed the First Steps Division in pianoforte playing at the exams at Trinity College of Music, London in January 1938. She was a pupil of Winifred Sanderson, LTCL, Chapel House. Two further successes occured the following month at examinations held at Bradford when both Ellen Winifred Hobson and Audrey Doreen Billington passed at pianoforte.

The Express reported on an Early Morning Sing in June 1934 which apparently was an annual event held at Oldfield Ridge. The Netherthong Male Voice Choir led the singing and the proceeds for the Holme Valley Memorial Hospital amounted to 22s.

 1939. The General meeting of the Male Voice Choir was held in March at the Zion Methodist school.There was a strong balance sheet and Walter Wagstaff was re-elected as President, Arthur Sanderson as conductor, Edison Taylor, treasurer and George Earnshaw secretary. The annual tea and social had taken place the previous week in the national school.

 In June, at the Cleethorpes Music Festival, the Netherthong Choir won the Choir Trophy Class. At the same Festival the Honley Male Voice Choir also won a 1st. prize in the male voice class ( alto lead ).

 The names of the choir were : E.Taylor ; J.Topping : J.Smith : F.Kensworthy ; M.Daniel ; G. Charlesworth : W. Leaks : W.Shaw : D. Birch : A.Shaw : J.Dixon : J.Hobson : A.Sykes : G.Shaw : L.Brook : J.Beaumont : C.Daniel : W.Mallinson : O.Hirst : H.Sanderson : W.Jones : A.Buckley : J.Mettrick :C.Smith : F.Wood : V.Shaw : W.Heale ; H.Hollingworth: E.Mortimer : C.Hobson : R.Dixon : B.Mellor : W.Rye . A. Sanderson was the conductor.

   Formed 15 years ago, about 40 members from Holmfirth, Honley and Meltham Districts formed a choir. It broadcast in 1937 when it was the first to perform in the series “ Music for the People “. It had competed at musical festivals at Lytham, Harrogate , Huddersfield , Bingley, Keighley , Stocksbridge , Leicester, Barnsley and Cleethorpes.

 In October Mr.Arthur Sanderson, formerly of Netherthong, and Miss Rachel Porter of Deanhouse were married in the Parish Church. Besides being the conductor of the Male Voice Choir, Arthur was also the choirmaster at the church. Mr. Frank Wood of Netherthong was the best man.

Winifred Sanderson, Chapel House, made the news three times in 1937. The first one was in January when she  successfully obtained the Licentiate Diploma, LTCL,  for Pianoforte Teachers in examinations held in  Trinity College of Music, London.  The next occasion was in July at the Trinity College of Music  examinations held in Bradford when  two of her pupils, Ellen Hobson  ( Outlane ) honour and Peter Davis ( ( Home Leigh ) pass were successful  in the Initial Division. The final report was in December when once again , one of her pupils, Ellen Hobson was awarded the prize for excellence in Pianoforte by gaining honour in the Initial Division with 90 marks.

1940. In January to aid the War Service Comfort’s Fund, a Supper and dance was held at the Church School. Tickets were 1/6 and dancing was to Ken Bailey’s Band…

…. A Smoking Concert  in aid of the Red Cross and Comforts Fund was arranged by Arthur Fieldhouse and held at the Clothier’s Arms.  The special artists were not named in the advertisement. 21/- was raised .

 The Express carried a report headed “ Britain’s Oldest Woman Organist “. It said that Mrs. Sarah W. Jackson of St.Annes Square who was 89 years old was perhaps the oldest woman organist in Britain and possibly in the world. Since the age of 17 she has been the “ voluntary “ organist at Netherthong Parish Church. She refuses to admit she is old, eats what she likes, dresses carefully and enjoys company. Up until a few years ago she was a regular on the Choir’s annual trips.

 In October 1942 the Netherthong Light Orchestra , which had been in existence since before the war, suspended its activities and forwarded the balance of £1 15s to the Dunstan’s Institute for Blind People. The Annual Music festival had been a feature in the village for many years,  but a report in the paper for May 1947 said that a meeting had been held in the day school with the object of making arrangements for the annual festival. Unfortunately the only people who attended were the secretary and treasurer who decided that owing to the lack of interest the festival would not be held.

 1951. In March the Netherthong Male Voice Choir held its Annual Party in the National School with a whist drive and concert. The Hon. Conductor was A.Sanderson…

…. Also in March the Netherthong evening school orchestral class, under the leadership of Miss.S.Brook, held a musical evening. To illustrate the variety of entertainment available in the village, the Nether Thongsters Concert Party  presented a new show in the Day School in November with two performances both with large audiences. The cast were Mrs.R.Fallas, Mr. & Mrs. W. Horncastle, Miss E. Dickenson, Miss M.Parkman, Mr. & Mrs. W.Wood, Mr.W.Gledhill, Mr.David Birch and Mr.W.Jones.  Mrs. Fallas compered the show, Mrs. Wood was the accompanist and the make-up was by Mr.Wylbert Kemp. £20 was raised for funds.

The 1950s and 1960s were one of the most exciting periods of popular music with the explosion of of Rock’n’ Roll  in all shapes and sizes . Anyone reading this who was born in the 40s and 50s would have grown up with this musical adventure and would have heard of and listened to legends such as Elvis, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Haley, Little Richard and many more. This era gave rise to many local groups and I’ve listed below some of them who appeared at  venues in Holmfirth and would have entertained  teenagers from the village. Denny and the Witchdoctors. Shane Fenton and the Fentones. Ray Hunter and the Downbeats who later became Ray Hunter and the Phantoms. Sam Brown and the Escorts. The Tuxedos. Rod Steven and the Phantoms. Mick and the Tornados. Sammy King and the Voltaires and last but not least Garry Stevens and the Overlanders. If you are in your 60s/70s some of these local names names may ring a bell. Long live Rock ‘n’ Roll.

 Some of you may remember the popularity of Wrestling in the 1960s. It had its own TV programme at peak viewing times  and many of the wrestlers became household names. Holmfirth Civic Hall ran professional Wrestling Tournaments once a month on a Saturday night. The contestants on March 2nd. 1968 were;

The world’s heaviest boxer – Klondyke James ( from Alaska ) v Tom Hansen ( Huddersfield newcomer ). Chinese Chang ( from the Orient ) v The Zulu ( from Africa ).  3rd. bout was Buddy Ward ( Liverpool ) v the Undertaker ( who sleeps in his coffin and carries it into the ring ). And finally a ladies bout between Naughty Nancy Barton ( London ) against Virginia Keyhole ( USA).

And now to the other entertainments and attractions available to the inhabitants  

In the late 1600s, foot –racing was extremely popular and normally took place on the highways. Its growth continued and in 1859 Honley converted its cricket field into one of the finest tracks for foot-racing. Athletes came from all parts of the country to compete and champions were objects of hero-worship. It attracted great crowds  and large sums were wagered. In 1864 the race-track was closed and another one was opened in Oldfield but it didn’t stay in existence very long. 

  In the 1700s and 1800s  the inhabitants of Netherthong, although fairly self contained,  would have travelled to the  surrounding villages, Holmfirth, Honley and Meltham to attend their festive activities. The yearly Honley Feast would have been high on their list as it included  attractions such as  Pablo’s Circus, Wombell’s menagerie, Wild’s Theatre and Taylor’s Bazaar plus Waxworks, Swings, Roundabouts, Flying- boxes, Shooting-tents, Pea Saloons and more. There were many stalls with brandy snaps, nuts, fruits and casks of home-made beer.

 Bull- baiting was a popular sport and was patronized by Royalty ( Queen Elizabeth , King James 1 and Queen Ann ) . It featured at the Honley Feasts and attracted large crowds. In 1802 a Bill was introduced to suppress it but it was not made illegal by law until 1835. Cock-fighting was  a national sport until it too was declared illegal by law.

 The Meltham Shows would have had a similar format and walking the 4 miles from Netherthong along Moor Road would not have been a deterrent.  

 Although  further to walk the Sheep Dog Trials at Harden would have been visited by hardy enthusiasts from the village.

 The motor car was still a curiosity in the village in 1905 and one of the frustrations of writing this history was my inability to find who, in the village, owned the first car. In that same year the Huddersfield Branch of the Yorkshire Automobile Club organized a hill-climbing contest which started from Honley Station and proceeded to the top of Shale Hill

 In the early 20th. Century with the birth of “ moving pictures” the short walk down New Road into Holmfirth gave the inhabitants the choice of two theatres. The Holmfirth Electric Picturedrome in Dunford Road and the  one in Victoria Street, had live entertainment as well as the latest movies.

In 1910, the Holmfirth Skating rink in Dunford Road was regularly advertised in the local paper.

The turn of the century saw many new activities and clubs start up and it is not unreasonable to assume that  inhabitants of Netherthong would have become members. One such club could have been the Victoria Homing Bird Society.

In May 1973 the Huddersfield School of Music Chamber Choir gave a recital in the Parish Church. Although it was scheduled to start ay 7.30 pm it was delayed for the late arrival of the Holmfirth bus.

The Holmfirth Folk Club which used to hold its sessions at the Victoria Inn moved to the Royal Oak at Upperthong in May 1976 and one of the singers at that first evening was Sherry Earnshaw from Netherthong.

At the 33rd. Holmfirth Musical Festival there were special prizes for a boy and girl living in the Holmfirth parish who gained the most marks in piano solo classes. The one for the boy was called the Netherthong Zion Trophy and it was won by Paul Hollingworth of Holmfirth.

The village also boasted its own rock ‘n’ roll group called Midnight and the express of November 23 , 1984 printed the photograph below. Unfortunately it did not list the members of the band but, if any of you read this, let me know.

Midnight rock group 1984



Interesting odds and bods, memories etc. Part 1

The purpose of this chapter is to use it for all the odd bits and pieces of information that I keep coming across that don’t really fit into the other chapters but are interesting, entertaining or relevant to the times that Netherthong went through and is going through.

What I have done  to list them in the order that I found them rather than chronologically.

Joseph Woodhead, who was a Holmfirth woolen manufacturer, founded the Huddersfield and Holmfirth Examiner with the help of a group of like-minded local liberals and became its editor. Its first edition was on Saturday , September 6th. 1851 and it remained a weekly for 20 years when it was re-branded as the Huddersfield Examiner and became a daily paper.  Phonography in the 1850s started to become very popular and the dictionary definition is : a writing system that represents sounds by individual symbols and the Examiner called’ it a new and popular method of writing.’ A meeting was held at the Mechanics Institute, Netherthong, in October 1851 with Mr.John Woodhead, the schoolmaster, in the chair. The meeting was well attended and Mr.Hornsby, the lecturer, showed it as an art system of shorthand. At the end of the lecture it was announced that a class would be formed and about 20 gentlemen gave in their names. Lectures  were also given in many of the local villages and at the Holmfirth meeting two of the pupils from Netherthong, Charles Boothroyd and Joshua Littlewood were said to have achieved great proficiency in the art after having had six lessons.

In May 1852, the paper reported that Mr.George Woodhead, a small farmer , residing at Netherthong lost a fine cow. On entering the mistral he found the cow lying down in the stall and on examination it appeared that it had been strangled by the chain with which she was fastened to the mistral. He was very distraught as it was a prize specimen.

During February 1854 much excitement had been caused among the inhabitants on account of a dirty act of a farmer in befouling a well of water but ‘ we shall withhold his name as it is well known in the  village .’ There was a well on a farmer’s field which supplied the inhabitants at the lower end of the village and which he wanted to prevent them going to. He filled the well with stones and the contents of a privy and also besmeared the approaches with same. However this did not avail him for the women rose en masse and cleaned the well. They then approached the trustees of the estate who ordered that they should have free access to the water.  

In July of that year a procession of the members, connected to the Honourable Order of the Golden Fleece, took place from the Rose and Crown Inn at Thongbridge to all Saints’ Church and about 130 were present at the occasion. The sermon was preached by the Rev.T.James and at the conclusion he announced that the treasurer of the Order had handed over the very handsome sum of £6 10s towards the erection of the intended Sunday school about to be built in the village. In April 1857 a new prison was erected in Holmfirth not far from the Railway Station – it is more than likely that the occasional miscreant from Netherthong became acquainted with it.

At the moment ( June 2015 ) I am reading through the weekly issues of the Huddersfield Examiner and West Riding reporter for 1865 onwards. It’s rather hard going as, in a typical year, I generally only manage to find 10-12 items relating to Netherthong but sometimes they are gems and worth the searching. One such gem was in January 1868 when the paper had a report on the Dean Brook Literary Society. Members of this useful society celebrated their third annual festival by dining together at the home of Mr. G.Hobson and the chair was occupied by Mr.G.Castle and readings were given by Messrs. R. Mallinson, W.Eastwood and J.Sykes. Several songs and recitations were given at intervals by members. No further reports were ever written.

 The paper often seemed keen on reporting items of trivia and the following one appeared in the edition for August 16 1873 –  ‘ an extraordinary mushroom was gathered at Wolfstones in a field belonging to the Rev.T. Bensted, rector of Lockwood, by John Bottomley of Wilshaw Alms Houses and a tenant of the field. It weighed 23.5 ounces and measured 26.5 inches in circumference with a diameter of 9.5 inches. The stem was 6.5 inches long.’  Temperance Societies were very strong across the Holme Valley and in October 1866 a meeting was held in the School which was well attended with  Mr.F.Haigh presiding. Addresses recommending the adoption of teetotal principles were delivered by Messrs. Thorp, Longbottom, Ferguson, Bentley and Lawson. At the end a cordial vote of thanks was accorded to the speakers.

The following report was published in November 1869 and I have included as it was written – ” There is living in Netherthong a weaver, named Joseph Mallinson, who is in his 92nd. year. He was a witness at the County Court in Holmfirth last Monday. He is in full possession of his faculties and has a remarkably good memory. On the Morning afternoon he sang several hunting and other songs and recited several amusing anecdote of earlier days.”

There were a number of Fire Brigades in the Holmfirth District  which were normally set up and organised by local mills. Among these were Messrs. Barbers, Holmbridge — Holmfirths ‘Unity’  —Messrs. Turner, Bridge Mill —- Mellor’s , Thongbridge — Robinsons, Smithy Place plus one connected to Shaw’s factory, Honley. In June 1879 the brigades met at the Elephant & Castle Inn, Holmfirth and the paper reported ‘all the men were dressed in uniform and presented a gay appearance.’ The procession went round the district before returning to the Inn when a capital dinner was provided by Mr.Hobson, the host.

The First Edition of the Holmfirth Express was on Saturday, December 11th.1888  as a weekly and priced 1d.  Its style was to balance news, both local, national and international, along with sport and detailed reports of social activities. In those early days it was the custom that  the reports of concerts, fetes, fund raising etc went into great detail listing  the names of the performers, the providers of food as well as what food had been supplied etc etc. This was  done to maintain the newspaper’s circulation as presumably most people  bought the paper for local news and also to see their names in print and what other names were in the same issue.

Local advertising was obviously a key factor to the paper’s profitability and there was always a number of adverts extolling what we now would call quack medicines and miracle cures. They were very cleverly inserted between local reports so that you  couldn’t  avoid them as you read down the page and many referred to  “ real  people” who had been “miraculously cured “ by their potions/unguents/medicines. There was one such advert in the issue of July 26 1913 that specifically mentioned a Netherthong resident and I quote it verbatim –

“Over 2 years ago, Mrs.E.Brook of 22 Dean Brook said “ although I have enjoyed good health practically all my life, I began to suffer from backache. I was almost doubled up with acute pains near my kidneys and I could hardly straighten myself. My water was out of order and I knew my kidneys were the source of the trouble. But DOAN’s backache kidney pills have made a wonderful difference. Before long my backache was gone, my water was right and I was back to good health. I can well recommend Doan’s pills because they made such a splendid cure. Signed ( Mrs ) E.Brooke “.

Priced 2/9 a box from dealers or from Foster-McClellan Co.,Oxford Street,London. Doan’s were still advertising in the paper in the 1940s so perhaps they were effective.

A two – liner advert from 1905 stated – “ To cure a cold in 1 day. Take Laxative Bromo-Quinine Tablets. All outlets refund the money if it fails. E.W.Grove’s name on each box. 1/1 ½ d.”  The name of the tablets might  lead one to assume they might have been more effective for something other than a cold..

Netherthong  featured several times in episodes of The Last of the Summer Wine but the most well known instance occurred in the fore- runner series called the First of the Summer Wine. The filming took place in the grocers shop / post office in Giles Street which had been converted  into  a Co-op as  filming at the real Co-op in Towngate would have caused serious traffic problems. To maximize the authenticity they needed to cobble the road in front of the shop and the cobbles, which were made of rubber and  had been cast from real cobbles , were unrolled on the street for the shooting. They were dressed with dirt and horse manure but when the actors walked on them they squeaked ( the cobbles not the actors ) and the sound of footsteps had to be added later. All went well but they neglected to inform the milkman who turned up with his cart to make deliveries and couldn’t believe his eyes. I was lent 4 super photographs of this particular episode and have included them below. What I hadn’t realised was that they had also set up a ” rubber brick wall ” with water trough to cover – up the building to the left of the large arch. – see last photograph.


Actors passing by shop



Showing rubber wall,water trough and rubber cobblesCrew setting up rubber wall


Shop front modified for the filming








Crew setting up rubber wall



The above photograph  of the shop is very early and probably dates from around the 1910s

In WW2 a bomb was dropped at Oldfield. The explosion was heard and felt in the village and in the house that Nancy Millican lived. She told me  “ it blew the door open and knocked my mother onto her back “. Her father, who was the air raid warden , picked up shrapnel in the school yard the following day. The explosion was confirmed by other  residents.

 On the right hand side of Moor Gate as you travel towards Meltham there is a house referred to in the old maps as Knoll Cottage. It is better known as the three half – penny cottage as the sign on the gate shows. There are several theories as to how it got its name. The favourite is that a choir from Meltham walked out to the cottage at Christmas time to sing carols for the owner and all they received was three half-penny pieces. The current owner says that there are two further options – that three half-pence was the price of the bus fare from the house either to Meltham or Holmfirth  or that the house was originally a toll house and the road came down past it and the toll was, surprisingly, three half-pence.

Cobbler James , a giant of a man with a flowing beard, lived in Upperthong and used to stride over Wolfstone Heights of an evening with a kitbag on his shoulder booming greetings to all he met. He repaired boots and would have called in at the various houses on Moor Lane, Moor Gate and Wilshaw.

Wolfstone’s Heights is a well know landmark ( over 1000 ft. ) and features in the earliest map of the area. The white pillar at the peak was reputedly erected where the last wolf in the area was killed. Unfortunately there are no details of who killed it and when.

No self respecting village/ hamlet could be without its ghost and Netherthong is no exception. A white ghostly horse is supposed to make an appearance at full moon  and travel from Hagg Wood up to Netherthong and back to the wood. Unfortunately I was unable to find any witness who had seen it and lived to tell the tale.

On April 29th. 1905 an earthquake was felt in the area. It was called the Doncaster earthquake and the epicenter was a little to the SE of Doncaster. The felt area extended from Scarborough in the N to Spilsby in the E, Bolton in the W and Kettering in the S but there was very little damage other than to the roof of Doncaster station.

The Express reported that the population on June 30 1887 was 936 and the area of the district was 795 acres.

A branch line from Huddersfield brought the railway to Thongs Bridge and Holmfirth in 1850 but the collapse of the wooden bridge at Mytholmbridge in 1865  halted trains for several years. When the new stone viaduct was completed in1867 the services were resumed. The last passenger train was in 1959 and goods and services finished in 1965. The Express in February 1894 published correspondence from many of its readers with reference to a proposed railway line through Hepworth, New Mill and Netherthong but obviously nothing ever materialised. Another means of transport was the tramways run by the Huddersfield Corporation – unfortunately they only ever ran as far as Honley although extending the line to Holmfirth would have been discussed. The first steam tram was on June 5th. 1902 followed by  the first electric tram on June 17th and the electric trams ran for almost 37 years until February 19th. 1939.

Very few of the inhabitants could afford a timepiece and the only way that they could get an idea of the correct time was to stand on the top of New Road and watch and listen for the trains starting from Holmfirth Station. In January 1888 a turret clock was placed in the spire of the church by a Mr.Pitts of Leeds – it cost £75 and was described as a ” pin-wheel striking clock” 2′ 9″ in diameter. The clock struck the hours on the bell and could be heard in Berry Banks, Wooldale and Oldfield.

The disposal of all sorts of household rubbish was a major problem and fly-tipping was prevalent. One popular place was the large  dam at Dockhill and the Local Board debated that it should be fully drained and prohibition signs erected. However it wasn’t until March 1890 that this was done and notices erected ordering all ratepayers to deposit their solid house refuse in the Board’s tipping place and no other place.

In January 1892 Thomas Dyson & Sons, owners of Deanhouse Mills, gave 200 of their employees their annual treat. This mill employed a large number of the villagers many having started there as apprentices.

There were two local customs that were recorded in the History of the Honley Feasts and would have been known to the inhabitants of Netherthong and possibly practised  in the village .

Collop Monday.   Sides of home-cured bacon and hams were hung from house beams and Collop Monday was set apart to test their quality. It was accepted practice for boys and girls to go round the village calling at houses where hams were hung with a smiling request of “ Pray dame a collop “. A large slice of ham was generally given to each caller.

The other custom was “ wiggin trees “. It involved cutting sticks from mountain ash-trees, locally known as wiggin trees and these sticks were then stripped, coloured and carried during the Honley feasts. As  Mountain ash was formerly carried as  a protection against witchcraft, this custom was a remnant of the old superstition.

June 1911 was the occasion of the Coronation of King George V and one local event was known as the Holmfirth Coronation Ox . The Holmfirth Bowling Club purchased an ox to treat the aged people of Holmfirth, Holme and Netherthong on Coronation Day, the 22nd. It was an Angus Shorthorn, weighed 60 stones, and was trimmed with red, white and blue ribbons. It was not roasted whole but instead cut into joints and cooked at various places in the town. A small army of carvers and guests arrived from all parts of the District to help issue the food to those who had received a special invitation card from the Bowling Club .

I have often found inconsistencies over the years in the numbers given by various authorities as to the population of Netherthong. In February 1912, the Town Clerk reported  that the population of Deanhouse ( including the Workhouse ) was 276 and the combined population of Netherthong and Deanhouse was 1,138 – this compared to 9,248 for Holmfirth. I have devoted a chapter to the details of the population taken from numerous sources.

In 1917 if the villagers wanted a night out they could walk down into Holmfirth and go to the Picturedrome in Dunford Road and, for example, in January the programme was Just Kitty and The Passing of Pete which ran continuously from 7 to 10.30. The prices with tax were  2 1/2d , 4d, 5d and 7d. The Valley Theatre also showed films.

 In April 1917, the Express reported that “ .. Messr. Mallinson Bros., butchers of Netherthong have bred a heifer, which at the age of 18 months turned the scales at 42 stones. “ It added that this was a good record. Could also be a lot of ….

Also in September of the same year, the Express reported that some boys were bathing in the New Dam ( source of Netherthong’s water ) when one of them became exhausted and was in danger of drowning. A Mr. H.Mellor, who was in the vicinity, became aware of the boy’s problem and hurried to the dam. He threw his coat off and jumped into the water to affect a timely rescue.

In this day and age, with the opprobrium attached to all matters tobacco, it is interesting to look back and remind ourselves of just how important a role tobacco, cigarettes and snuff played in those early days.. Every year at the Deanhouse Workhouse Christmas party, the inmates would receive a gift of tobacco or snuff. In an edition of the Holmfirth Express there was a report on the Mayor of Huddersfield’s Cigarette Fund. It stated that the fund had sent out over 10 million cigarettes to “ keep our boys happy “. All the parcels sent during the wars to the Netherthong lads serving in the forces always contained cigarettes and tobacco.

During the First World War the local paper, mindful of the very strong anti-German feelings throughout the country, was always ready to print any propaganda matter. This exhortation from  1918 is a good example.


Millions of mice and rats throughout the country are

Robbing us of food. Every mouse and every rat must

be regarded as a menace to the nation’s larder.

A mouse in your cupboard nibbling your bread and cheese

and a rat in the stack stealing your corn

are both of them helping the Germans.

 The local paper in a Christmas edition in 1923  had an article on ” Wesselling “. This old term had gone  out of use in the village some years previously. The young girls who went from door to door have since learned to sing our beautiful carols.

On January 31st. 1919 the Express printed its very first Cross Word Puzzle along with a detailed explanation.

Throughout the  history of Netherthong, music and entertainment played  a major role in the village and has warranted a separate  chapter. One unusual event was the first recorded  “gramophone march” contest  held in the Queen’s Arms in November 1925. It attracted much attention and there were 64 entries. 1st. and 3rd. prizes went to S.Ward with 2nd. place going to J.Taylor. Such was its popularity that many clubs and organisations started to run their own contests.

 The arrival of the motor combustion engine gave rise to the beautifully named char-a-banc and as the 1920s advanced the Express ran advertisements for holiday trips and tours.


Ribbleden Garage Holmfirth

Holiday Week Tours

It then gave a list of all the destinations and prices e.g. Blackpool 10/-. To reassure everyone it finished with the following line.


 In April 1926, the paper reported on a runaway Motor Waggon and the miraculous escape by a Deanhouse woman. There was great alarm in Goodwin Street, Bradford when a motor wagon ran backwards down the incline and crashed into the window of a large store  injuring a woman. She was Mrs. Hugh Swallow (50) of the Cricketers Arms, Deanhouse who suffered concussion and was detained. Witnesses said she was very lucky as she could have been crushed to death.

 I have been trying , without much success, to discover when the first buses started to run through  Netherthong and then, whilst  reading through the  1926  issues of the Express, I came to  April 24 and saw that it had printed a copy of the Bus Service Time Table from Holmfirth to Meltham. The buses were run by Haigh’s Garage, Holmfirth and the service started at the bottom of Victoria Street and finished at the Swan Inn , Meltham before turning round and returning. There was a morning service only on Tuesdays at 9.00am and and for the rest of the week the service was only in the afternoon/evening with start times at 1.00, 3.00, 5.00, 6.00, 7.00, 8.00 with the last bus leaving Holmfirth at 10.00. There were 5 stages –Holmfirth,Netherthong, Wilshaw, Meltham Golf Links and Meltham and the fares were 2d per stage or 6d for a through trip. It took 7 minutes for the bus to get to Netherthong and a further 18 minutes to arrive at Meltham.

 There was a bus service from Holmfirth that went to Slaithwate and on to Marsden which would have gone through Netherthong but I have no other details. However on October 13th. 1948, a Huddersfield Corporation bus, en route to Holmfirth from Meltham, skidded in New Road after leaving Netherthong Towngate. The vehicle swung round and became wedged with both the front and rear ends crashing into the walls at opposite sides of the road but fortunately only one passenger was slightly injured.

Also in 1926 the Holmfirth District Council ( which included Netherthong) discussed the question of adopting measures to make Holmfirth safer and lessen accidents due to the crowded streets.

In June 1927 the area had an unexpected visitant. Much interest was taken in the flight of an aeroplane over the Wolfstone’s area. The ‘plane flew over Knowle and landed in a field in Honley Moor and, after staying a while, took off and disappeared into the elements. A large number of locals went to view the aeroplane but it was reported that the cattle and poultry did not appear to take kindly to the visitor.

 In 1927, the will of Mr.James Tunstall Jackson, the former headmaster of Netherthong. National School , who died on May 5th. left an estate of £2,514 16s 7d.

The big event of 1927 was the Royal Visit by HRH Princess Mary and Viscount Lascelles on Friday August 5th. The Right Hon. Viscount Lascelles K.G. D.S.O. opened the British Legion Fete and Forget-Me- Not Bazaar which was held in fields off Netherthong New Road. The grounds and woodlands comprising an area of 55 acres had been placed at the disposal of the committee by Mr.F.Brown of Somerfield. The bazaar was also held on the Saturday and  admission was 1/- on the Friday and 6d on the Saturday.

In November of the same year , a change was made in the day for the issue of books from the circulating library at Netherthong. Mr. Butterworth, the hon. librarian, said the library would open from 6-7 pm on Mondays.

Electricity was still viewed in apprehension by many householders in the Holmfirth area. The electricity department of the Holmfirth District Council  held an exhibition to show examples of electrical equipment and the benefits of electricity in the home. Among the appliances shown was the Thor electric washer and wringer, an electric iron, cookers and radiant fires. The Cadillac electric vacuum cleaner attracted lots of interest.

In July 1934, Hospital Day in Holmfirth was celebrated on a gigantic scale. A mammoth procession, the biggest the town had ever seen, had over a 1000 participants and Netherthong National School had a float. The procession was followed by a student rag and a huge carnival. June 20/21 was one of the most eventful weekends in Netherthong’s history as the village held at least five separate functions – a United Sunday Schools festival, an ‘early morning sing ‘, a Sunday School anniversary, a Music Festival and a Sacred Concert.

June 1939 was a joyous occasion. Mr. & Mrs. Alfred Mallinson, who celebrated their Golden Wedding, were both born 74 years earlier at Netherthong. They attended the village school together and were in the same class. Both worked at Deanhouse Mills and were married at the Parish church. Alfred retired at 71 years after completing 57 years at the mill. They had a son and two daughters.

In October that year  the blackout restrictions came into force.  A man  was summoned for being drunk and disorderly in Holmfirth. It was stated that when he was spoken to , he replied “ Where am I ? Who has turned the lights out ? “ He was fined £1.

The Express carried a report headed “Britain’s Oldest Woman Organist “. It said that Mrs. Sarah W. Jackson of St.Annes Square, who was 89 years old ,was perhaps the oldest woman organist in Britain and possibly in the world. Since the age of 17 she has been the “ voluntary “ organist at Netherthong Parish Church. She refuses to admit she is old, eats what she likes, dresses carefully and enjoys company and up until a few years ago she was a regular on the Choir’s annual trips.

Following the beagles was a very popular pastime and the Holme Valley Beagles were well supported by the inhabitants of all the surrounding villages and hamlets. One Sunday in March 1939 the Beagles started from Deanhouse. The hounds found the “ puss “ near the Institution, ran towards Holmroyd and on to Lower Oldfield. “ Puss “ doubled back to Howards Miry Lane and Holmroyd Wood then onto Larch Wood, Banks Wood, Holmroyd, the Institution, Lower Oldfield and down to Gift wood before finally ending at Honley Cricket field. The Huntsman made a sporting move and called the hounds off. I have included more details in the chapter on Sport.

 Mr.John Donkersley of School Street, who had been a very keen follower of the Beagles for 60 years ,died at the age of 83 years.  A cortege was led from the house to the Parish Church by Mr.Barnes ( Beagles’ current huntsman ) in his red coat and Thomas Dutton , a whipper – in, who wore his green hunting dress. They each had charge of a pair of beagles.

 Whilst there is no record of her ever coming up to Netherthong, the big talking point in September 1941 was Fenella the tigress who could often be seen “ going walkabout “ in Holmfirth. A number of books about her have been published.

One of the popular attractions at The Hope Bank Amusement Park was a Zoo and in July 1949 a baboon escaped from its enclosure in the morning and remained at large almost all day before being captured in the evening. There was another incident  in February 1951 when a 2 year old Russian Bear called Tasha escaped from its cage. She had made a hole at the back of the cage which allowed her to squeeze through but was fortunately too small to let the larger 4 year old male bear  Bruno escape. An appeal for aid was answered by the local police and the RSPCA but attempts to get Tasha back into her cage were unsuccessful and she wandered round the zoo causing the other bears in captivity to become very agitated. As the afternoon drew on , it was decided that she must be destroyed before it got too dark. Seemingly aware that her fate was drawing near she scaled a tree and went right to the top. Two RSPCA inspectors took aim with their rifles and she fell to the ground. With further rifle shots and humane killers her death was made sure.  Bruno  also had to be destroyed for it was feared that without his mate he could get out of control.

As an example of what earnings were in 1942  the Express published the Cost of Living Wages for bleaching, dying, printing, finishing etc for the ensuing next 3 months.

Age   Rates per week of 48hrs for males     females

14                         20/-                                     16/-

16                        26/-                                     21/-

18                       44/-                                      40/-

21                       64/

In August 1942 about 60 women, mainly from Netherthong, attended a demonstration of outdoor cooking held in a field in the village under the auspices of the Housewives scheme of the WVS. The demonstration was by Mrs. Burth with Mrs. Veronica Gledhill as her chief assistant. In January 1943 the Netherthong WVS held their 3rd. series of lectures and classes – a government “ blitz cooker “ was erected and  Mrs. Brook of Honley demonstrated blitz cookery and the Netherthong Girl Guides collected herbs for use.

In September there were 150 entries , including 3 from Netherthong, at the first ever members only show for the Holmfirth Rabbit Club.

At the end of the year there was a Christmas wedding at the Wesleyan Methodist Church on Boxing Day between Bombardier Albert Cartwright of Denegarth, Deanhouse and Miss Phyllis Wagstaff of Rob Roy, Netherthong. The bride was a Sunday school teacher, a member of the choir at the Chapel and a lieutenant in the Netherthong Girl Guide Company.

The whole area was agog with excitement in January 1943 when the famous Yorkshire and England cricketer, Len Hutton visited Holmfirth. He played with a Honley X1 against a Holmfirth team and scored 63 not out.The game attracted large crowds and the proceeds went to the Holme Valley Red Cross Comforts Fund.

The Ministry of Food had been encouraging people to rear rabbits to augment their meat supplies. This in turn had prompted townsfolk to breed rabbits as pets and also to exhibit them.  In October 1943 Holmfirth  Rabbit Club held their second open exhibition. A Netherthong youth, Clifford Leake, was the most successful exhibitor and, with an ermine rex , he won 3 first prizes and his exhibit also won the “ Fur and Feather “ special prize for the best rabbit in the show..

 On May 29 1944 a cloudburst in the Holme Valley caused havoc and widespread damage which resulted in 3 deaths. At 6pm a little to the west of Bilberry reservoir a cloudburst caused mighty torrents to swell the River Holme which rose to 18 feet. It poured through Holmfirth and Mrs. Milligan, a resident of Netherthong, says she can remember as a young girl returning home with her mother from the theatre in Holmfirth and seeing the waters flooding down the roads but was fortunate to be near New Road  and could escape up the hill.  At a public meeting held in the Council School a target of £200 was fixed for the village’s effort for the Holmfirth Flood relief Fund. It was agreed that the Annual Field day, planned for August , which normally gave its proceeds to the Comforts Fund would instead be given to the relief fund.

One of the worst snowstorms ever known in the district  led to Britains big” freeze- up “. Thomas Dyson & Sons Deanhouse Mills closed down with the exception of about 20-25 people on essential work. Mr.C.S.Floyd said that the company had sufficient fuel to keep the mill going but only 10t had been delivered in the last week and if there were no more deliveries the mill would have to shut down. German POWs and Polish soldiers were brought in to clear Greenfield Tunnel.

January 1945 saw the newspaper change its name to the Holmfirth Express & District Reporter and there  was a further change on September 9th. 1967 when the Holmfirth Express incorporated the Honley & Meltham Express.

An Estonian celebration was held in the Parish Church in July 1949. More than 300 Estonians took part in a festival to commemorate the founding of the Estonian Republic in 1919 with a special gathering in All Saints’ Church.The exiles came from many towns and cities in the North of England and the services were conducted by an Estonian minister, Pastor Reinaru, from Selby. After the service, tea was served in the day school and this was followed by a social evening and dance. National songs were rendered by a mixed choir, a male voice choir and soloists.

The same month saw drought conditions return.

In April 1950 a Holmfirth & District Fox Club had been formed with the objective of eliminating as many foxes as possible. The meeting in June reported the death of 20 foxes and cubs. Every person who had proved the killing of a fox by producing its body and having the brush removed by a club ” teller ” was paid the stipulated £1 reward. The Government made a contribution for each fox killed and various local farmers, especially poultry farmers, made donations.

For the quarter ending December 1953 the number of borrowers at the village library were 104 and between them they borrowed 429 books. The mathematics would indicate that they were not very fast readers. The next property sale was in June 1954 for Hillcrest Poultry Farm ,a freehold smallholding of 10 acres, which fetched £2,000.

9 different local organisations met in the School in October 1965 and there was unanimous agreement that there was a need for a Village Hall. A steering committee of Alan Dobson,Tim Beaumont and Peter Ball was elected. The organisations represented were : Netherthong Civic Action group, Scouts, School Feast Committee, Cubs, Netherthong Sports Club, Parish Church, Parochial Church Council, Senior Citizens and Young Wives group.

Later that month the Civic Action Group Committee met to discuss the general tidying up of the village. The main targets were the surrounds to the well at Wells green and the footpath from Deanbrook Road to Deanhouse Chapel. They also planned to find out  information about setting a weight limit restriction on vehicles going through the village.

The Meals on Wheels Service started up in the Holmfirth Area in 1958 but it wasn’t until 1981 that a 5th. rota was set up in Netherthong with Mrs. Liz Kerchar as leader. Some new drivers joined the rota and those from other ” rounds ” did extra duties until more volunteers were recruited.

In December 1954 some of the worst gales ever experienced in the village and the Holme Valley was battered for a whole week and considerable damage was reported. A tree in the plantation at Fairfields, New Road, crashed across the road blocking it and the Holmfirth – Marsden bus had to make a detour via Thongsbridge.

Damage estimated at about £100 was caused by a fire at the Fish & Chip Shop in Giles street in April 1955. The outbreak was caused by fat which boiled over and ignited. The Holmfirth Unit of the County Fire Services put out the fire with foam extinguishers.  A year later they were called out to another fire in the village , this time to St.Anne’s Square where a fire had broken out in a barn belonging to T.Wilson. Hay protruding under the door to the barn had become ignited and flames spread to about 3t of hay inside the barn causing damage estimated at £20.

Mrs. A.Littlewood of Netherfields was a very successful breeder of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and the Express regularly reported on her success at dog shows. The first report was in 1957 and, at the Bolton New Year’s Day Dog Show, ” April Folley of Ttiweh ” won the Novice Dog or Bitch class. Later that year in June at the Blackpool Championship Show, ” Vairire Isolde ” gained 2nd. prize in both puppy dog or bitch ( 6 to 18 months ) and novice dog or bitch classes. The same dog won 1st. prize in the Cocker Spaniel class and also an award for best of breed at the Lancashire Agricultural Show in August . Also in August  at the Halifax Dog Show it gained two reserves in any variety toy novice and any variety toy open classes.  Competitions were coming fast and furious  and at the Birmingham Championship Show in September it gained 3rd. prize. The same month they went to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club open show at Hampstead Baths in London. ” Vairire isolde ” gained 1st. prize and the Freedman Silver Trophy for best special beginner’s dog or bitch and 3rd. prize in the novice bitch class. The next report was in March 1958 at the Scottish Kennel Club Championships held in Glasgow and the bitch gained 1st. prize in both the limit and open bitch classes and was awarded the Kennel Club Challenge Certificate. Nearer home in the same month she won 1st. prize in any variety toy at Brighouse Canine Society’s Show. Continuing her winning way she won 1st. prize in the Cavalier King Charles open dog/bitch class at the Royal Lancashire Show.

In August 1961 Mr.Bruce Roebuck of Green Cottage won the Huddersfield Scooter Club Auto-cycle Union safety badge tests. His total score was 281 made up of 53/60 for the Highway Code, 60/60 for the practical test and 168/170 for the condition of his machine.

May 2013 saw the opening of the Cider Press Cafe and Shop – see the advertisement shown below. It was the brainchild of Alison Pollard and Robert North with Robert being the cider maker.



Netherthong Co-operative Society

The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers, founded in 1844, was an early consumer co-operative and the first to pay a patronage dividend forming the basis for the modern co-operative movement. Although other co-operatives preceded them, the Rochdale Pioneers became the prototype and are most famous for designing the Rochdale principles.

Some of the first co-operatives were set up in the Holmfirth area well before the Rochdale Pioneers. In 1827 spinners, twisters, weavers, bleachers and farmers at Meltham Mills sold goods at the same prices as other shops and shared the profits out proportionately. Others were set up at Underbank,1832, New Mill, 1833, Holmfirth, 1833, Honley,1839, and Hepworth, 1840.

On January 14th. 1881, the first public meeting to discuss setting up a Co-op for Netherthong and district was held in the Free Church school. Mr.Wimpenny was elected to the chair, and after lots of discussion and feedback from the Honley Co-op, Mr.Eastwood moved the following resolution ” that it is desirable that we establish a co-op store in Netherthong “. The motion was put to the meeting and approved. Over 30 people requested to join and, after the meeting of these members,  Benjamin Sykes was elected secretary pro-tem. It was  proposed that a Co-op store be established in Netherthong and that it should be called the Netherthong Industrial & Provident Co-operative Society Ltd. It was further proposed that they should lease the premises, formerly known as the Rose and Crown public house, from Reuben & James Senior, brewers of Shepley, at a rent of £10pa. Full handwritten minutes of each committee meeting from the start right through to the last meeting on January 27 1968 are kept in the Archives Section at Huddersfield library.

The initial meetings were involved with extending and modifying the premises. The minutes identify that John Batley and Harry Eastwood were the joiners and Henry and Hiram Gill did the stone mason jobs. The first general meeting was held on February 11. Mr. G. A. Senior from Berry Brow was accepted as shop manager at a wage of 26/- a week provided he entered into a bond of 40/-. Beryl Sykes would be secretary on a salary of £2 for the first half year. The treasurer was elected by ballot  and David Dutch, 10 votes, beat John Beaumont, 5 votes, and George Platt, 8 votes. His salary would be £1 for the first half year. The committee, under the chairman, G. Fitton, were Jonas Hobson, George Platt, John Beaumont, Joe Wimpenny, Joseph Ricketts, James Eastwood, George Fitton, Alfred Sykes and Ben Hoyle. A sign for the shop was made, painted and erected so that all entering the village could see it. Also in the Archives is a ledger which gives a list of all candidates with profession, residence,name of proposer and seconder, date of proposal, entrance fee, signature, date of signing declaration and witness of signature. ‘We the undersigned declare our willingness to be bound by rules and to take out at least 5 shares of £1 each to be paid by installments of not less than 3d. per week in the Netherthong Industrial & Equitable Co-operative Society.’ The first few names on the list were: Joe Hayle – publican: Joe Buckley – size boilers: Jonas Hobson – fitter up: Alfa Sykes – twister: Ben Sisson – dyer: James Eastwood – gentleman. On Easter Tuesday a public sandwich tea was provided in the United Methodist Church schoolroom to celebrate  the society which had commenced business on the Monday. After tea an entertainment took place, presided over by Mr.John Beaumont. Selections of music were performed by the Philharmonic Band under their conductor, Mr.G.H.Wood. A glee party composed of local vocalists sang glees and Miss Phoebe Beaumont and Jonathan Hirst sang songs in very good style.

The Express reported the results of the half yearly meetings with details of profits, membership and the dividend (divi) to be paid. Various items of interest during the life of the Co-op are given below. In March 1882 – they held an Easter tea party and the entertainers included the Netherthong Glee Party and the Philharmonic Band. At the 4th. half-yearly meeting in March 1883 the chair was occupied by Mr. G. Fitton, the President. Sales were £1,436 which had given a profit of £219 and the Directors approved a divi of 3s 6d on groceries and 1s 3d on corn.  It was reported at the 5th. meeting that the past half year had been the most successful since the formation, sales had climbed to £1,629 with a profit of £235. J.Newell and F.M.Sykes were elected to serve in place of J.Wimpenny and S.Ricketts who had retired.  At the September meeting in 1886, Ben Hoyle was in the chair. The three  retiring members of the committee, J.E. Eastwood, M.Sykes and W.Hobson were re-elected. At the next meeting in March 1887, George Senior and Arthur Sykes were re-elected. In 1889  Benjamin Sykes who had been the secretary since the formation of the Co-op in 1881 died. In March 1890 the committee made a very interesting decision,  considering how important a role tobacco and snuff played in members’ lives, by proposing  that the dividend would no longer  be paid on purchases of these two items. The following year,1892,  a resolution to purchase a horse and cart for delivering goods to members was defeated by 3 votes.

 In March 1893 plans were approved to alter and enlarge the shop premises. The manager applied for a reduction in the working hours of the employees and this was granted. The store would be closed at 7pm.instead of 8pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and at 8pm instead of 9pm on Sundays.

In September of the same year the Chairman reported on the alterations. A cottage next door had been annexed and fitted up as a drapery department, the  grocery department had been improved by widening it, raising the ceiling and putting in new fixtures. The partition walls dividing the rooms on the 1st. and 2nd. floors were pulled out. The cellars had been enlarged and improved and a hoist had been fitted at the back for winding up corn etc. Finally hot water apparatus had been laid down and the whole place painted and renovated.

As they continued to grow the business,  they started up a clothing club in September 1894 and  in September 1898 arrangements were made for the early formation of a penny savings bank.  The Initial membership was 190. 

Cllr. Alsop – President and Mr.Senior- manager explained in May 1900 to the members the details relating to the recent robberies at the stores and it was decided to replace the money from the reserve fund. The officials were exonerated from blame.

There was a demand for affordable footwear and it was decided to open the Holmfirth & District Co-op Boot and Shoe Society Ltd. which included the Co-op societies from Hinchcliffe Mill, Wooldale, Netherthong and Hepworth. The directors from Netherthong were J.Settle and W.Dufton and in the first year the total receipts were £796 17s 10d and the Netherthong  share was £116 14s 6d.

The Holmfirth & District Co-op Boot and Shoe Co. celebrated its 22nd. half year of existence in March 1906.  Total receipts were £898 and this was made up by Hepworth £94, Hinchliffe Mill £370, Netherthong £154 and Wooldale £266. The manager was David Oliver.

The 37th. half-yearly meeting of the Boot and Shoe Society was held in September 1913. The turnover was £1212 giving a profit of £82 – Netherthong’s share of the turnover was £194.

In July 1902 it was finally agreed, after many meetings, to set up a butchery in one of the outbuildings. 

The 53rd. half-yearly meeting was held in September 1907. Total income was £4,221 with the butchery department contributing £599. Membership was 203. Two months later a tea party and concert was held under the auspices of the Society to celebrate the opening of a new slaughter – house in connection with the butchery department and over 200 members had a sandwich tea. The chairman, Mr. B. Skinner, said the purpose of the event was two-fold, firstly to celebrate the slaughter-house and secondly to try to get more enlightenment and education on the subject of co-operation.

A general meeting of the Society was held in the United Methodist school in September 1909 and Mr.B.Senior reported on the continuing prosperity. The divi was 2s 11d on groceries etc and 1/- on corn and our members had spent £197 10s 9d in the Holmfirth & District Boot and Shoe shop. The Society had recently opened a branch at Thongsbridge.

In a “blue book” issued in mid-year 1911, the Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies gave abstracts  of the annual returns from the Co-Op Societies. There were 252 in Yorkshire and members of local Societies were : Netherthong 242  : Meltham Mills 189  : Wooldale 543  : Hinchliffe Mill 858  : Meltham 1158 and Shepley 411.

In August 1913, membership was 272. The profit  was £486 but the report showed a loss of £7 from the butchering section. Thongsbridge Co-op had a profit of £145.

The Holmfirth Express reported in its edition of January 20,1915 on the death of Fred Mallinson Sykes, the former secretary of the Society, who died at his residence , Bridge Mills, at the age of 66 years. he had held several semi-public positions, most notable being his long connection with the Co-op movement in Netherthong. He was a member of the committee from March 1882 to March 1889  when he was elected secretary and retained that position until he retired in July 1914 due to his state of health. He was also a prominent member of the Free Gardeners and was engaged in the manufacture of woolen goods. He left a widow and a grown -up family of two sons and three daughters.

1916. At the half yearly general meeting in February , Nathan Sandford, vice-president, reported that sales and profits had risen to the highest in the history of the society.

Selected items from the minutes Book.

1916 – a reference to a branch shop at Thongs Bridge ( a report in the Express would indicate that it had opened in 1909.)

The first photograph below is a Sugar Registration Card from the Ministry of Food circa December 1917  for Arthur Sanderson and 6 persons at the Co-operative Society. The second photograph shows both sides of the Retailer’s Sugar Ticket  stamped Netherthong L&E, Co-operative Society, Ltd. Towngate.

Ministry of Food Sugar Registration Card Dec 1917
Ministry of Food Sugar Registration Card Dec 1917


Retailer's Sugar Ticket
Retailer’s Sugar Ticket


1917. The Annual meeting agreed that the Committee members to be paid 6d. for each meeting they attended and the  Check Clerk’s wages would be increased from £3 to  £4 per half-year.

1919. It was agreed to further increase the Committee members’ attendance money to 1/- per meeting.  It was also agreed that the Union had the right to negotiate for members.

The half-yearly sales for 1923 were £9,889 15s 5d and the dividend was 2/- for goods and 1/- for corn & coal. The half-yearly meeting for 1924 was held in the Methodist School with Mr. G.Ricketts presiding. Total sales were £10,356 with dividends of 2s 2d and 1s. with membership at 411. N.Sandford and C.Gartery were re-elected as members of the committee and J.Heywood and H.Hobson were appointed as members. At the second half-yearly meeting in 1924  sales had increased to £10,478 and the standard dividend was increased to 2s 6d. In 1925 sales continued a steady growth to £10,511 and the dividend was unchanged. The second half-yearly meeting in 1925 showed a similar pattern with membership reaching 425. Sales were slightly down at the half-yearly report in 1926 but the dividend was increased to 2s 8d. Mr. Ricketts, the president, said that in addition to the divi each purchasing member would be given a free parcel containing CWS productions to the value of 3s 4d.

1927. A special meeting was held in May in the Methodist Church to consider whether to let, sell or carry on the farm owned by them in Deanhouse and also to consider selling all the Society’s cottages in the district. A moderate attendance was presided over by G. Ricketts and after discussion, it was decided to sell the properties. In the half-yearly report membership had increased to 455 and by 1928 membership had climbed further to 488 and although sales were little changed at £10,862 the normal divi was increased to 3/-. In 1929 sales broke through the £11,000 barrier for the first time and 4 more new members brought the total to 492.

1929. The new butcher’s shop was completed.


Co-op with manager and staff

Combined Sunday schools feast group outside Co-op 1920s


The half yearly report in January 1926 showed receipts of £10,668 giving £1.270 to share with a divi of 2s 8d and 1s on corn. Membership stood at 429. The 1928 half yearly meeting was held in the United Methodist Church with G. Ricketts presiding. The sales for the half year were £10,525  with the divi at 3/- and 1/- for corn & coal. It was agreed to place £50 in the Reserve Fund and £10 9s 3d to the 1931 Jubilee Fund. H. Pickering was elected as a member of the committee in succession to T.Wood. Sales in August 1930 for the half-year were £10,600 with the membership standing at 519.

February 1931 was the  occasion of the 100th. half-yearly report. Sales were £9,939 and membership 524. The following month, March, was an auspicious date when the Co-op celebrated its 50 year Jubilee with a tea and concert. The tea was held in both the National School  and  the United Methodist School and the concert took place in the Drill Hall in Holmfirth. Over 500 members sat down for the tea and conveyances were run from Woodlands, Thongs Bridge and Fearnought to the schools. The concert was presided over by Mr. G. Ricketts and there were lots of speeches and reminders of the history of those past 50 years. The Holme Valley Male Voice Choir gave a superb concert. In July, in honour of the recent Jubilee , the children of the members were entertained to an outing to Belle Vue, Manchester and a party of 230 travelled in seven motor omnibuses.

At the meeting in February 1932, Mr. Ricketts was re-elected as president and L .Haigh, W. Walker and H. Hobson were re-elected to the committee. Sales were £9,989 with membership at 527. At the September meeting sales had dropped by just over £1,000. At the election of officers, H. Pickering, H. Preston and A. Wimpenny were elected onto the committee and Mr. H.Denton was appointed the savings bank manager.

1933.  There was a large drop in Sales by just over £1,500 although membership had remained steady. Mr. Ricketts was re-elected president and J. Taylor, C. Gartery and L. Haywood were elected to the committee. There were frequent references made at the monthly meetings by the Chairman for members to be “loyal “.

In March 1934 at their half-yearly meeting, Mr. H.Hobson was elected as  President succeeding Mr.G.Ricketts who had been involved with the Society for upwards of 30 years. He  reported that total sales were down to £8,467  but  550 members enjoyed a dividend of 3/- on groceries etc and 1/- on corn.

1937. They purchased the Queen’s Arms public house ( see details in chapter on inns ) and after renovations and alterations rented it out as a private dwelling.

A party of about 60 members visited the C.W.S. Biscuit Works at Manchester in July 1938 and they travelled in ” special buses “.

The half-yearly meeting in February 1939 was held in the stores with H. Hobson presiding. Total sales for the period were £9480  and membership was 570. H. Hobson was re-elected as President and J. Taylor, H. Dawson and P. Dixon elected to the committee.

In 1940 sales were £9,970 with a profit of £1,239 and a membership of 575.  Once again H. Hobson was re-elected as president , H. Preston was re-elected to the committee and P. Dixon and W. Mallinson were appointed members. As a contrast in 1960 , membership was 709 and sales £26,999.

1941. The Express of April 5 reported that Mr. Jabez Hoyle, J.P., was retiring after 55 years as an official of Wooldale Ind.& Equitable Co-operative Society Ltd. He was born in Newsome in 1860 but moved soon afterwards to Netherthong where he grew up and lived until his marriage. He went to the National School and at the age of 14 he was employed as the only assistant to the manager at the Netherthong Co-op. After three years service he was appointed the shop manager at Wooldale at the age of 17. 

At the half-yearly meeting in August 1941, H. Hobson, the president, reported an increase in sales and dividend. Total sales were £10,403 with the standard divi at 2/10 in the £ and 1/- for coal & corn. The next half-yearly meeting in February 1942 showed a slight drop in sales but the dividends were maintained. membership stood at 583.  The 123rd. half-yearly meeting in August 1942 once again showed little change.

The first half yearly report for 1947 with Harold Preston, president, in the chair had sales of £12,902 and a surplus of £1,194 with a membership of 633. In May the members of the committee and staff enjoyed an outing to Morecambe.

The Directors and Staff  annual outing in June 1948 was to Skegness. The following month Miss Sylvia Jones won 3rd. prize in a talent-spotting competition held at the annual Co-operators’ day of the Slaithwaite & District Co-op Society. She sang ‘The second minuet’.

The following photograph, courtesy of Haydn Boothroyd, shows members of the co-op and committee members on a days outing. The date is late 40s/early 50s but the venue is uncertain – not sure whether it could have been the 1948 outing. The photo below it of the reverse and lists a number of those present.

co-op outing


Names of some of the people in the above photo


Haydn Boothroyd said that a Co-op delivery van was introduced in the 1950s. Courtney Marsh was signed on by the Co-op to drive the van round the district and stop at various houses.  Courtney is  the second from the left at the front with his wife, Joan Marsh, immediately behind him ( also see photograph below ). David Marsh, their son, wrote to me in February 2021 to say his father eventually became Manager of the Co-op after many years on the ” Green Fruit Van”. David commented that he had many happy memories  of Netherthong, living in the Co-op house attached to the drapery department.

Courtney Marsh and his wife, Joan..


The first half-yearly report for 1949 showed sales at £15,467, membership of 640 and dividends at 2/3 and 6d. respectively. H.Hobson was re-elected president and John Pell, William Leake and H. Pickering appointed to the committee. The second report for the year ( the 137th. half yearly ) had the sales little changed, but membership had crept up to 663. Three retiring members of the committee were re-elected – M. Mallinson, F. Germain and W. Boothroyd. By September sales had reached £16,826 with membership steady at 656. H. Pickering, J. Pell and W. Leake were re-elected to the committee.

After 54 years with the Co-op movement, Mr. Ernest Buckley (67) of Thongsbridge retired on March 4 1950. In 1916 he went to Netherthong Co-op Society as secretary- manager, a position he held for 34 years. Prior to going to Netherthong, he had been employed at Brockholes Co-op. When he joined in 1916 membership was 300 and this number had increased to 650 by 1950. Harold Wimpenny, who was the present manager of the Thongsbridge branch, would take over his position. Prior to moving to Thongsbridge, Harold had been with the Netherthong branch since he left school in 1916. Mr.Fred Hinchliffe, who had been manager of the butchery department for 25 years, also retired.

March 1955 was the 143rd. half- yearly report. Sales were £23,296 with the divis being 1/- and 6d.Membership stood at 671.  Mr. M.Mallinson was elected president for 12 months and J. Pell, J. Dixon, B Pickering and C. Hobson were re-elected to the committee.

Ernest Buckley who retired in March 1950 ( see details in above paragraph ) died on February 6 1957 . The half-yearly report for March 1957 gave sales of £25,026. a divi of 1/- and membership of 698. At the September meeting, sales and membership levels had not changed. W .Kaye resigned from the committee and H. Preston was re-elected.  The 154th. half- yearly report for March 1958 with sales of £25,102 and membership 696. September of that year showed sales at £26,731 and membership 691. The next report was in August 1959 which was the 157th. half-yearly meeting. Sales were £22,485 with the divis at 1/2 and 4d respectively. Membership had climbed to 711. Three retiring members, J. Pell, T. Dixon and C. Hobson were re-elected. The first report for March 1960 gave record sales of £26,999 with membership staying above 700 at 709. By September, the 159th. half-yearly report showed that membership had rocketed to 727 with sales static at £26,907. The 160th. half-yearly report in March 1961 had membership and sales unchanged which was repeated at the September meeting. However at the meeting in March 1962 membership had risen to a new record of 743 but with sales static at £23,766 it was clear each member was spending less. Mr. Mallinson was re-elected as President. By September membership had eased slightly to 736. The meeting in March 1963 was held in the General Stores and presided over by M. Mallinson. The total sales for the half year were £23,701 with divis of 8d and 3d. Membership was 744. It is interesting to note that the population of the village for 1961 was 1,567 so that almost half of that number were members. Not quite correct because non – residents could also have been members. The 165th. half-yearly report in September showed that the membership was 730 and that during the half year, 9 new members were admitted, 18 withdrew and 5 were written off. The 166th. half-yearly meeting in March1964 reported that M. Mallinson, J. Pell, J. Dixon and C. Hobson were all re-elected without opposition. Unfortunately the Express did not publish any reports on the two half yearly meetings and , for technical reasons none of the weekly issues for the whole of 1966 were transferred to film for the archives.

The last entry in the minutes was for September 19, 1967. Two Special General Meetings were held on the 3rd. and 18th. January 1968 and by a majority vote of 48-2  members accepted the recommendation  of a resolution adopted to transfer the engagements of the Society to the Co-op retail Services Ltd. The Committee held their last meeting on 27th. January 1968. Membership at that time was 700.