Saturday, 18 July 2015

George Smith

It is quite common for residents of Furness Vale to live well into their nineties and George Smith was no exception.  The following tribute is from Miss Hobson's notebook:

Mr. George Smith

died February 15th 1913 aged 94 years

For 40 years Mr Smith had been employed as a block printer at the Birch Vale Printworks. He walked there daily from Furness Vale.
He was a well known  musician and at the time of his death was the eldest surviving member of the New Mills Old Prize Band. He played the ophicleide, a large instrument now seldom seen. Before the coming of the railway, on many occasions he had walked with the band to play at Ashton or Stalybridge. For many years before St. John’s Church was built Mr Smith attended the services in the old mission room and accompanied the singing on his instrument.
Mr Smith had lived through the reigns of Georges III, IV and V and those of three other monarchs. At the Coronation of George V in 1911 he, as the oldest resident lit the bonfire at Furness Vale.
As a last tribute the New Mills Old Prize Band marched to the funeral at Taxal, playing the Dead March and other sacred music.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Dr Allen's Casebook

The name of Whaley Bridge's famed  DR ALLEN  appeared quite frequently in press reports of the 1880's and 1890's.  

As will be seen DR ALLEN himself was sometimes the victim

April 1881  An inquest was held at the Joddrell Arms into the death of a child whose decomposed body was found in Toddbrook Reservoir. Dr Allen had made the postmortem examination and found that the baby had lived a day or two.  He was unable to say whether the child had suffocated or died from neglect.  There was a bruise to the
head but  this had not caused death. The body 20 inches in length had been placed in a biscuit tin

The Eccentric Mr Thornhill of Ollerenshaw Hall

Mr Thornhill had made his fortune as a carrier in Stockport. This was a family business which he carried on in partnership with his brother James. In 1822, Thornhill purchased Ollerenshaw Hall for £8000 together with 170 acres and retired from the business.  He and James continued their association with the business for nearly a year in order to help their nephews, the Messrs Hall,  take over the affairs. In retirement he resided on the estate.

Thornhill was described as a man of penurious and parsimonious habits whilst also rather ostentatious. This was a man with a kind disposition who employed large numbers of local people at Ollerenshaw, who would otherwise have been out of work. Parsimony however, was exhibited in the smallness of the wages he paid.

Over The Hills

In January 1883 The Derby Mercury described one of the last journeys taken by a passenger on the Cromford and High Peak Railway.

It was in August 1877 and thinking I should like to see the country through which it passed, I went to Stonehouse, generally called "Stonnis", just by the Black Rocks where the railway crosses the Wirksworth Road and enquired of a man in the office for the train.  "Do you mean the Fly" was the reply, "Yes", but the official, not knowing whether the "Fly" had passed or not, went out to enquire and brought back word that it had gone, but that if I followed it up the line, I might catch it at the siding; and if not, I should be sure to overtake it at "Middleton Run".  I accordingly gave chase, and at length caught site of it being drawn up the incline by a rope and a stationary engine.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Kettleshulme Candle Wick Mill

Tucked away in a valley at the back of Kettleshulme in Cheshire is the derelict Lumb Hole (or Grove) Mill better known as the Candlewick Mill.

This dates from  1797 although it was extensively re-built in 1823 with further extensions later in that century. The three storey building is of sandstone with a Kerridge slate roof. The buildings opposite included the manager's house and offices. The upper part of the boilerhouse chimney has been removed and the lantern above the stairwell has been lost. This had originally been a cotton mill and was purchased by Mr Sheldon following a fire in the 1820's. The mill was re-equipped to manufacture candle wick, especially for miner's lamps, a trade which continued until closure in 1937.  The company was originally styled "John Sheldon and Son", a partnership between John and John Thomas Sheldon which was dissolved in 1875. The company was later known as Sheldon Brothers.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

The Jodrell Estate.

The Jodrell Estate which included Yeardsley Hall, Shalcross Hall and Taxal Lodge was sold by auction in 1923.

Shirley Bowker has kindly sent a copy of the auction catalogue.  This has been reproduced in its entirety and can be viewed by clicking the tab above, marked "Sale Of The Jodrell Estate"

Saturday, 4 July 2015


Hidden away behind the high hills of North Derbyshire and served only along a by-road, Chinley feels remote.  The fact that one can be in Manchester in 30 minutes by a fast train has turned Chinley into something of a commuter village. It is the presence of the railway that caused this community to grow from a small hamlet, for this was once a major railway junction with a station of six platforms. London trains regularly called here as did services to Sheffield, Derby, Buxton, Manchester and beyond. The station once boasted a refreshment room and bookstall as well as the usual waiting rooms and booking offices. There was a large goods yard, a turntable and two signal boxes. The station now has a train every two hours and passengers wait in a glazed shelter on the single island platform.

On the train  from Manchester Central to Chinley

Sleep descended upon the ruddy gentleman who had been with friends and when the train stopped at Withington a "good samaritan" joggled him and shouted "Withington, D'y' want to ger out 'ere?. The dreamy one shook his head in sleepy denial and snored again until awakened at Didsbury by the same kind hand and voice. . At Heaton Mersey the voluntary knocker-up repeated his dose of questions, accompanied by the usual shaking, and finally, at Stockport, really aroused his patient and harangued him thus: "I'm gerrin' out 'ere myself. This is Stockport!  See Stockport!.  D'y want to ger out 'ere?