This is the second of a series of stories and reminiscences of Sam Nettleton of Ossett. He was 92 when the recordings were made in 1989.
We would like to thank Margaret Nettleton for allowing us to use the recording of her father’s interviews.
These are the stories and reminiscences from the second part of Sam’s recordings. They are introduced by Arthur Shaw, who with his wife Kathleen, chatted to him and recorded the conversations. The conversations have been slightly edited to take out a few interruptions, etc. including what sounds like a delivery of fish and chips!
Just before this part was recorded, Sam had been talking about Mary Townend who lived on Wesley Street and who was famous locally for her “spetches” (poultices for treating boils, etc.). I think it is her that Sam refers to early in the story who bought umbrellas from him.
Kathleen then asks about the “White House” at the back of the Town Hall which she thought was possibly a farm. Sam says that it belonged to Jane Lodge who was related to the Cudworths. I have researched a little about Jane and indeed in 1911 Jane was living in a house described on the census as “White House”, Town End. She was then 74 and single, living with a domestic servant named Harriett Ann Pearson aged 43 who was also single.
In 1851 she was aged 14 and living at Little Town End. Her father, George, is described as a “Weaver of woollen cloth.”
By 1861 she has got no recorded employment but her father is now “A rates collector.”
By 1871 she has moved to upmarket London and is a cook for William Cooke, a Metropolitan Magistrate and his family in Portland Place. They also had a Butler and two maids.
In 1881 she was still a cook but had moved to work for a Mary A Christie and her sister Elizabeth. They lived in Kempton and had nine servants to look after them.
In 1891 she was back at Town End living with her brother, Peter 56 a weaver and sister Betty Stevenson 60. Both ladies were living on own means.
Sam goes on to say that after Miss Lodge died someone lived in White House who kept poultry but no details are given. He then mentions David Dewhirst Nettleton, who on the 1911 census is described as “a corn merchant” living in a four roomed house at 30, Town End. He also mentions a Mr Chapman who sounds as though he may have been a scrap dealer as I think I hear the word “iron” twice when he is mentioned. I cannot find anything on a census about him. It is difficult to know just what time period they are talking about. They then mention Eli Townend selling hot peas from a shop opposite Wilson Row. This is mentioned in the attached “Item” about Eli. “Potato” Kershaw is mentioned next. In 1911 George H. Kershaw aged 60, a greengrocer, was living at 23 Town End. He also sold from his waggon.
This article tells you of the life of Eli Townend. It mentions his “take away” cooked pea business where he used to sell peas in the Market Place to pub goers. I have not been able to establish whether he sold from the shop he had on Town End, opposite Wilson Row. (See photo from Ossett Observer).
Another person selling hot peas was a Mrs. Hetherington who Arthur Shaw says lived in a cottage on Back Lane. By the description it sounds as though this was where Ventnor Way now is and opposite the Methodist Church. Could this have been Caroline Hetherington who in 1911 lived with her butcher husband in Bank Street?
Sam says “Mrs Hetherington had a little cottage there and she used to sell brown peas and one lot of lads used to be inside with another lot outside waiting. She always had a lovely fire. When we were inside we used to play the devil until she cleared us out and another lot went in.”
Later in the piece Arthur asks Sam whether he could remember a drink called “Manchester” being sold there but Sam knew nothing of it. I assume that this was a “pop” made in Manchester and after some Google searches have come up with a number of companies making mineral waters there at the turn of the century. Anyone having any information about this is invited to add a note.
Sam next recalls soldiers coming back from South Africa at the end of the Boar War in 1902. They had bonfire celebrations at Gedham field (at the back of the present Co-op) and in the Market Place. At the bonfire in the Market Place,which Sam thinks was held to celebrate the Relief of Mafeking in 1900. Sam says someone threw a box with rabbits in it onto the fire and one jumped out and ran off down Dale Street. He does not say whether this had been done deliberately or accidentally.
Arthur then says that his mother had said that tar barrels from the Corporation yard had been burnt on the bonfire.
Sam is asked by Kathleen what “Gedham” was. He says “It was a field that was bought by the Co-op. Yarwoods? bought that field but would not sign up for it and then the Co-op got it. My father was upset about it because he wanted it.”
Gedham field stood behind the present co-op and was used by fairs, etc.