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My memories of Briercliffe by Michael
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Author:  Mel [ Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:53 pm ]
Post subject:  My memories of Briercliffe by Michael

This was sent to me by Michael, our new forum member, with a request to post it for all to see. Thanks Michael for sharing your memories with us.

My memories of Briercliffe

I was born at Pighole Farm, Walverden road in 1936, where my father was
the farm manager. The farm then belonged to the Nelson Co-operative
Society, along with Lane House farm, and Higher House farm by the side
of Nelson road.

Pighole Farm at that time was on, or about 25 acres. Lane house was 54
acres and Higher House farm was about 20 acres. I would assume they
are all one today. In those days all the outdoor work was done by
horse and cart. When I was three my father was offered a move to Lane
House Farm, being a bigger farm which he accepted the post. I think
this was one of my first memories, sitting on the front of the cart
with all the furniture behind, trekking across the fields. My next
memory would be going to Haggate infant’s school in 1941. When I was
five the teacher at that time was a Miss Hutton, then into junior
school with Mrs Starkey until 1947, when I then went to Mansfield
secondary modern school until 1951. My childhood memories are more
with time spent on the farm, where I was expected to work from a very
young age, mainly milking the cows, by hand no milking machines in
those days, and to help out feeding hens, pigs and calves.

In the summer my father’s days would start 4.30am when it was cool
the horses to work. They would then rest until evening, and would work
again through to 10.00pm cutting grass and turning it into hay. They
were long days for my father, who still had to milk the cows and then
take the milk into Nelson by horse and cart. No bottles in those days,
customers would come out with their jugs, ½ pint, and 1 pint and 2 pint
measures, hung inside the milk churns. Saturday was the worst day,
collecting the money, where every one had Co-operative cheque no’s
which had to be written out, in duplicate on the door step, even when
it was raining. I can remember my mum’s cheque no to this day 5510.
They were hard times every one had to help out. No electricity only
oil lamps for light, one coal fire for heating the whole house. A hot
brick in a flannel to take to bed to keep warm. Copper boiler to heat
the water, and tin bath in front of the fire, and the wooden dolly to
do the washing, and wood rollers in the mangle. Hard work but
wonderful memories. I am sure there are other memories that would come
to mind if I thought long enough, like the cotton/woollen mill in Lane
Bottom, where my sister worked, as a weaver. Sunday school in the
chapel at Lane Bottom, and church in Harle Syke. Fish Chips and peas
for 6 old pence etc. I could go on for ever.

Author:  portia [ Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My memories of Briercliffe by Michael

An interesting read.

Author:  Gloria [ Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: My memories of Briercliffe by Michael

My O.H. was born in 1945 in Lane Bottom and used to "run away" to Pig Hole Farm from being 3-5yo when he left the village to live in Haggate. The memories were wonderful, even to being chased by the mad cock, and riding on the hay cart at haytime. He think Joe Errington had the farm when he went down there. He also went to Haggate, was taught by Miss Hutton, and then went to Mansfield.
I am pretty sure there is another topic about Pig Hole somewhere else on this site.

Author:  Mel [ Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: My memories of Briercliffe by Michael

From Michael

Joe Errington was appointed Manager of Pig Hole Farm after my father moved to Lane House Farm, and became a very good friend of my family. The winter of 1947 which was the worst I can remember. The snow was so deep, it was impossible to use the roads out of the farm to deliver the milk, so my father used two horses, one as a chain horse in front of the other to trek across the fields with the milk float (cart) and he had to take down dry stone walls to pass from one field to another, and eventually out into Nelson road/Halifax road, (very hard times). A further memory I had of that winter was the snow was frozen solid and I asked my father in the presence of Joe Errington (I would be eleven at the time) if he would make me a sledge. Joe immediately said he would. The only problem was no one showed me how to steer it. I took off on the steepest slope I could find, careering towards a stone wall. The snow had blown up to the top of the wall on one side, and over the top I went with a four foot belly drop on the other side. Fortunately, I was not hurt but too frightened to try again. Joe came to the rescue afterwards with steering and stopping instructions. Memories of a very kind man. I don't remember him having children of his own. I have lots of other memories of the farmers in that area. William (Bill) Utley, David Utley, Jim Caygill, Alek Caygill, Fred Caygill, George Proctor, Billy Simpson, and Edwin Bates who lived in the stone cottages below Hill End.


Author:  suzycue44 [ Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: My memories of Briercliffe by Michael

Oh...keep on thinking...and remembering, Michael !! Lovely stuff!!

Author:  Quinny [ Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My memories of Briercliffe by Michael

Dear Michael

I was born on Walverden Road - one of the terraced houses just down from Lane Bottom mill, in 1951. I remember Pig Hole Farm being occupied for a few years by a large family called Bentley. After them, it went downhill and left to rot until it was bought in recent years and rebuilt. Sadly, no way through across the path where the cattle trough is (or was) now, as they have tried to block off the stile on both sides. In fact, I can't see any way to walk across the valley now (but I don't live anywhere near so feel a bit frustrated that no-one in the immediate area has reported this to local council rights of way).
The Borrowdales were in Lane House farm up the hill, 50s and 60s. I remember Mr. B's shire horse and cart. Once he got a bailer, he didn't mind us building 'Fort Bail' every year as all the hay was drying in the meadow.
The mill was slowly dismantled and we kids had wonderful times adopting the whole (dangerous!) wilderness as a play-ground - making roads in it for scooters and roller-skates and bikes. In 1965 the chimney was felled and we all had to stay indoors till the going was clear!
I have lots of cousins still living in that area of Lancs., but I now live in York.

My ancestors from that area were Nuttall, Whittaker (or Whitaker), Sutcliffe, Barker, Rawson, and further back, Kippax.

Like you, I went to Hill Lane Baptist Sunday School, but I was less keen on chapel! YPF was held at Tennyson Street church (Tin Tab') in Harle Syke - YES - pie and mushy peas!
The Nuttalls had had a large say in the running of the chapel around a 100 years back.

Author:  Michael [ Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My memories of Briercliffe by Michael

More Memories from Michael

I remember the terraced houses in Walverden Road very well, as very close friends of my mother and father lived in the end one closest to Pig hole Farm by the name of Mr & Mrs Edmonson. The son was a very tall young man by the name of Hubert. Mr Edmonson used to keep hens and chickens behind his garage in the garden. I also, remember a sweet shop on the corner of Walverden road and Halifax road, which I now see from pictures posted on the society’s web site, has been converted into a house. I think their name at the shop was Freers, (not sure of the spelling). ½ penneth of sweets in a three corned bag!! Have not been back in years, and now live in Cheshire. Sorry to hear about the footpath closure. I remember all the footpaths were full of walkers, in the summer with their young families, who would walk from Clover Hill past Walverden reservoir up to Scars House, past Lane House Farm, then down past Pig Hole farm across the wooden bridge, over the stream at Fennymore Foot, up the field to the Shooters Pub and back down to Clover Hill. They would stop on en route, sit on their coats in the fields and have a picnic. The children just loved playing in the stream and Fennymoor. I have a scar to this day on my heel through paddling in the stream, when I stood on broken glass. I remember just standing outside Lane House, looking across the valley towards the Shooters Pub on a sunny day, not only one family but lots of them all sitting in the sun on the hillside. The farm at Fennymoor Foot at that time was farmed by Mr & Mrs Bill Utley, they retired just before I left the area in 1952 to live in Todmoreden Road, Haggate. His brother, David farmed at Coldweather Farm.

More wonderful memories, until the next time.


Author:  sylviac [ Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My memories of Briercliffe by Michael

I have enjoyed this topic on lane Bottom of which I too have great memories. I lived on Halifax Road and Walverden Road until 1961. My uncle was George Proctor who farmed Hill Farm where I spent my childhood days.

Haymaking time in July was a magical time on the farm when we were out in the fields all day: I recall riding atop the last load of hay as the horses pulled the cart from the bottom of the Chapel Meadow back up Halifax Road to the barn at midnight. Looking across Nelson, to Pendle Hill, even at that time of night the sky would still be red enough to light our way home.

I went to Haggate School during war time - we started at 8am and were put to bed in the school during the afternoons but I always took this opportunity to run as fast as my little clogs would carry me to the farm as I couldn't see the point of sleeping when the animals were 'playing out' in the fields! I was taught at the time by Miss Hutton, Mrs. Wren, Miss Pickup and eventually, Mr. Proudfoot.

I then went on to Mansfield where Mr. Morton was the head - many days here were spent rehearsing for Gilbert & Sullivan productions - happy days!

Joe Errington had a daughter called Joyce who went to Haggate with us but then she went on to Nelson Grammar.

The Brooks family, who lived in Walverden Road, from the 1947 emigrated to Australia and I am still in touch with them.

As a matter of interest I wonder if anyone remembers Roland Sutcliffe who was evacuated to live at 3 Walverden Road with Mr & Mrs Hannam? Roland came from the East End of London and was a real character - he took to wearing clogs like a duck takes to water and became very adept at using them as a weapon when anyone picked on him!

Sylvia C.

Author:  Mel [ Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: My memories of Briercliffe by Michael

Welcome to the forum Sylvia.

I really do enjoy reading these memories

Author:  Rockyrobin [ Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My memories of Briercliffe by Michael

I have just discovered this forum and thoroughly enjoyed reading about Michael's memories of Briercliffe.

I too have many happy memories of my childhood there and can remember Pig Hole farm well. When the Bentley's moved in I was friendly with one of their daughters and often played at the farm. (All their children's christian names began with the initial 'J'!)

I used to go to Freer's shop in Lane Bottom to buy sweets, and also Sunderland's shop up Holt Hill, which was later taken over by the Waddington's. The Sunderland's were the only house that had a television in those days, and lots of the neighbours crammed in their living room to watch the Queen's coronation - how exciting that was. We had no flushing toilets, only the chemical ones, some in houses, some in back gardens, and some in a block across the road. A man used to come along every night and light the gas lamps on the road, although I can never remember him coming to put them out the following morning!!!

We had some bad winter's, and often the school bus was unable to get through the snow, so the local farmer used to bring his tractor and trailer down for us to all climb on to take us to school. Unfortunately we had to walk home after school!! If their was a funeral and the hearse couldn't get through, the same tractor was used to take coffins down to the church on an attached sledge. The winter of 1947 was very bad, and although I didn't live there then, I have a photo taken near the road up to Bank's Farm showing really high snow drifts.

I went to Haggate school, and that time the headmaster was Mr Proudfoot, and other teachers I can remember were Miss Knapton and Sylvia Sunderland. We often used the river down at Cockden for 'swimming lessons' until it was stopped due to a polio scare in the 50's.

I attended Hill Lane Sunday School, and remember the annual Field Day with egg and spoon races etc. The list goes on, but they were such happy days and they will stay with me forever.


Author:  Mel [ Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My memories of Briercliffe by Michael

Welcome to the forum Rockyrobin.
Thanks for sharing your memories, they make interesting reading. Let me know if you have any pictures you might want to share....

Look forward to reading more :)

Author:  Rockyrobin [ Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: My memories of Briercliffe by Michael

Attached photo of snow in Lane Bottom near the old mill pond. I believe it was in February 1947.


Author:  Rockyrobin [ Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: My memories of Briercliffe by Michael

Sorry - new to this . . . . . will try again!

Photo of snow in Lane Bottom February 1947

Lane Bottom Feb 1947.jpg
Lane Bottom Feb 1947.jpg [ 46.55 KiB | Viewed 6785 times ]

Author:  N9DOH [ Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My memories of Briercliffe by Michael

We have recently moved to Higher Fennymoor Cottage on Walverden Rd into what was one house but has now been divided into two. I would love to know more about the house, area and inhabitants with any information given greatly appreciated


N Doherty

Author:  rexwatson [ Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My memories of Briercliffe by Michael

My 4 gt-grandparents Richard and Betty WATSON lived at Fennymoor Foot 1809 to 1814. [Other spellings, e.g. Finnemoore]. I guess it means at the foot of the 'fenny' moor, 'fenny' in the sense of boggy.

Richard and Betty were at one stage in this period employed (as handloom weavers) by a manufacturer over near Heptonstall, as were others in the Fennymoor Foot area I think. (Details in a Briercliffe Society newsletter a few years ago, from Roger Frost)

This would be before the Walverden reservoir was built. In fact Richard was born at Southfield, not far off.


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