Henry Cox, Full Transcript Part 1

Catalogue ID: 
WRW006_A

Year:

Summary: 

The interview covers the early life of Henry Cox, his entry into half-time work in the local cotton mill at the age of eleven, and then full-time work from the age of thirteen. The cotton mill was owned by Hector Christy. Working conditions, roles and personalities in the mill from 1894 until 1918 are discussed.

Also present, Belle Cox (BC).

Transcript: 

[Start of interview. Side A - 00:00:11]

WRM: It was when you were eleven years old, was it?

HC: Me mother... I were ready for work, an’ me mother would ‘ave me start at t’High Mill. She worked at High Mill as a cotton winder. And we ‘ad to pass an examination before we could go. Well, I was at Giggleswick National School an’ the Headmaster was Mr Stephen Parker and he belonged to Stainforth, he come from Stainforth. And there were no examinations at that time at Giggleswick and Settle, and there were an examination at Stainforth. So Stephen Parker took me and another boy to Stainforth, we set off at seven o’clock in t’morning, and we went to Stainforth an’ were there all day. We stopped wi’ his mother for our dinners - got them free, of course - and he came back to Giggleswick. And we stopped there all day, going through this examination, an’ then word come through that we’d passed so we could go to work half time.

WRM: What sort of an examination was it?

HC: Just an ordinary National School, Standard 3 sort of, an’ we had to pass a doctor then. Before we could go to work at eleven year old we ‘ad to pass a doctor. An’ we got word we had to go to Shed Mill one Saturday morning, an’ me mother said, ‘Now, I’m going to bath you and see you get clean, an’ put yer Sunday clothes on to meet t’doctor.’ I’ve told this to Dr Hislop an’ one or two more but they laughed, they wouldn’t believe it. But when we went to this place, Shed Mill on Saturday morning, there were about a dozen of us altogether from different schools who ‘ad to pass the doctor. And they called out, ‘Cox!’ An’ the nurse there brought me in out of another room and I had to walk in. And when I walked into this room there were old Dr Hislop there, the old doctor, the old Victorian doctor, an’ he just looked over his glasses like this : ‘What’s your name?’ ‘Henry Cox,’ I said. ‘What’s your name?’ I said, ‘Henry Cox.’ He said, ‘I’ll ask you a third time, what’s your name?’ I said, ‘Oh!’ I said. ‘Ooh, I forgot. Henry Cox, sir.’ I ‘adn’t said ‘sir’! [Laughs] And he looked at me again and he said, ‘You’ll do’. That were me examination. When I told Dr Hislop that he laughed; he wouldn’t believe it. Another lad went in after me, a pal o’ mine. He were goin’ out farmin’ half time, he were only eleven. He couldn’t make ‘im say ‘sir’, so he passed him out. That were the examination we got to go to work.

WRM: What year was that?

HC: At eleven year old.

WRM: What year was it? What time was it, just before the First World War?

HC: Ooh, 1894.

WRM: Was it?

HC: Ten years before the First World War. 1894. That’s when I started work.

WRM: And what size of family did you have? How many children did your mother and father have?

HC: Well, I’ll tell yer. Me mother were left with six of us. Me father died as a youngish fella, say about in t’forties. I can’t remember ‘im.

WRM: Let’s bring this forward a bit. Lovely.

HC: I can’t remember ‘im. Well, me Uncle Joss, that were me father’s brother, was an overlooker at Christies and he said if she’d come to Settle an’ bring the family he could get her work at Christies. So they decided on ‘em to come. I ‘ad two elder brothers, they were ready for work, ready for leaving school, and a sister ready for half time. So that were alright for me mother, and she brought us to Settle in about 1888. I’d be about four years old. And she got work at Christies and took her two eldest sons and this sister o’ mine, and that’s how we come to live at Settle. Then we went over to Giggleswick an’ we lived in Giggleswick from that time, about 1888, up until 1914. And I went out of Giggleswick in 1914 to re-join the Territorial Regiment to go out to France and I never went back to live there, yer see?

WRM: What size of a house was it?

HC: Well, the first ‘ouse we lived in at Giggleswick was a three-bedroomed ‘ouse down in Tems Street. And then we flit from there into t’middle of Belle Hill, one of them in the middle of Belle Hill. And then I never went back again, as I told yer. I got married during the war an’ went to live at Settle, and I’ve lived at Settle ever since. 1918.

WRM: Do you remember Hector Christie?

HC: I remember Hector Christie. He was one of the old, original Victorians. One o’ them as would look down on the working man. An’ ‘e ‘ad a son called Willie. I never remember his wife. An’ a daughter called Annie. Willie Christie would never follow his father as a cotton man, he was more for racehorses. He lived up at Jervaulx Abbey, up about Middleham where t’training stables are, an’ he were in that training horses an’ all that all his life. And he lived to be over 100 years old, and it’s only five, six or seven years sin’ he died. An’ he died through havin’ a fall, yer know? Broke his ‘ip or something, I’ve ‘eard it said.

WRM: What did Hector Christie look like? Was he a little chap?

HC: Ooh, no, he was one of these ‘ere walkin’ all round... he lived t’main of his life up at Jervaulx Abbey, and this were only a summer residence. An’ he had a coachman, a groom, a ‘ousekeeper, two or three servants, wi’ all horses and carriages in them days, yer know? There were no motor cars. An’ he used to come round; when he came ‘ere, everybody knew: Mr Christie’s at home. Everybody had to be on the alert. He’d come round the mill with the manager and one or two of the salesmen, Mr Ingham an’ Mr Marsden, and walk round the rooms and look daggers at yer. ‘Boy, what’s this waste doing on the floor? Pick it up!’ [Laughs] We was tremblin’ like we was frightened to death of ‘im, aye. His looks were enough, never mind anything else, that was Hector Christie. We were known as Hector Christie’s slaves in them days.

WRM: Where did he live when he was in the Settle area?

HC: In Settle? At the first of the Craven Cottages, what is Brick Row. The first night I can remember as well as if it was today, when me mother brought us. Me Uncle Joss had a family of about eight, and in a three-bedroom house, an’ she brought another five of us and she was the sixth and we all packed together in that ‘ouse. I can remember it as if it were yesterday. Sleepin’ on’t floor, what we’d call shakin’ down’ til we got a house in t’same row. An’ we were there for... I don’t know how long we’d be there, but anyway when we finally flit we went to Giggleswick an’ we lived in Giggleswick up to 1914.

WRM: Where did Hector Christie live when he was in Settle?

HC: At the big house, yer know the big house up against t’mill? His father had that built. Langcliffe Place, don’t they call it?

WRM: That was a posh place, was it?

HC: Ooh, a great big ‘ouse that yer could walk right around. A great, big ‘ouse; ooh, terrible. Big, high winders at either side o’ t’door, billiard room, everything of the latest up there in them days, an’ big gardens. He ‘ad a gardener and under gardener, a groom and footman, coachman: the coachman used to live in t’little white house at the end of ... that were the drive up to the house. It wasn’t a drive to t’mill, although we went up that way t’mill. It were a private drive and it were a private road were that up to ‘is ‘ouse from the white gates there, you know where I mean? And t’coachman lived in that ‘ouse and there used to be gates up. They used to lock them gates at night and then open them next mornin’ for t’mill people to walk through, then lock ‘em at night.

WRM: How many people worked at the mill when you started?

HC: Pardon?

WRM: How many people worked at the mill?

HC: Well, I think... how many would there be at Christies in your time, when you were there, two hundred?

BC: No, I don’t think so.

HC: Well, he had Shed Mill and High Mill...

BC: Oh well, could be.

HC: Could be between two hundred and three hundred.

WRM: And it was a cotton place was it?

BC: Yes, all cotton.

HC: I started at eleven year old about so big. Roller-liftin’ as they called it. An’ you used to get clouted no end wi’ doublers. [Laughs] Doublers used to be spinning cotton, you know, doubling cotton? An’ we used to go round liftin’ rollers. I can’t make anybody understand what it were like, only them as were...

BC: They were round rollers.

HC: Aye, they were round rollers, yer see, and yer had to lift these little rollers up so as the doublers could come round and cut that cotton off an’ set ‘em goin’ again. An’ if we let a lot of laps go through, doubler used to come and gi’ us such a damn good rattle.

WRM: So you started off as a roller-lifter, did you?

HC: Yeah, an’ then I got... two years after I had to pass another examination to leave altogether. I left school at thirteen. There were no examinations again. I ‘ad to go to Langcliffe, an’ I passed my examination at Langcliffe to go full time an’ I started full time. I was a regular man then. An’ I might tell yer that when I started work at eleven year old I got nothin’ for t’first fortnight because I ‘ad to learn. We were paid every fortnight. An’ then it started off until I was full time at 1s.9d a week. [Laughs] Then when I got full time we ‘ad 3s.6d a week. I started off at 3s.6d. [Laughs] When yer come to think! An’ gettin’ up at five o’clock in the mornin’. I used to walk wi me mother. Me brothers ‘ad gone yer know, they wouldn’t be bothered wi’ walkin’ wi me mother, they were men. An’ I used to go wi me mother an’ get under the shawl. At that time, female women and girls as worked to Christies they were to go in shawls and clogs. You’ve ‘eard tell of shawls and clogs? Big shawls, didn’t they mother?

BC: Yes.

HC: You used to do. An’ I used to get under ‘er shawl and walk with ‘er. Set off at five o’clock in the mornin’ to be there at six, right away from t’bottom end of Giggleswick down Tems Street, again’ Giggleswick workhouse, d’you know where that is? Five o’clock in the mornin’. An’ to tek yer breakfast an’ dinner wi’ yer, and a can wi’ some tea and sugar in. An’ they used to supply us wi’ hot water so we’d breakfast an’ dinner but we took our own grub, of course. An’ then at Saturdays we ‘ad to start at six o’clock i’ the mornin’s just same an’ work while one: ‘alf a day that was. An’ then Goodman knocked an hour off, it ‘ad to be twelve o’clock.

WRM: How much did your mother get?

HC: Me mother was on piece work. She was a cop winder. Me brothers were on piece work: one were a gasser an’ the other was an oiler and bander.

WRM: What was a gasser?

HC: A gasser? Well, I got to be overlooker o’ t’gassin’ room before I finished at Christies. Where they burn all the hair off the yarn, big frames, what we call t’gassin’ frame, and there’s lights. How many ends would there be in a gassin’ frame? A couple o’ hundred gas jets all burnin’, little blue lights, an’ bobbin put on there an’ yer got ‘old of what we called the end, the thread, an’ cross it over some rollers with little ‘v’s in, so that they wouldn’t slip off. An’ they’d be crossed about five times over these ‘ere, an’ then under a bobbin down ‘ere an’ then you dropped this bobbin onto t’spinnin’ wheel an’ as it dropped this ‘ere light flipped under t’yarn as it were runnin’ through an’ it hadn’t time to burn down it were spinnin’ that fast, an’ the gasser, the person who we called the gasser ‘ad to walk round an’ any that broke down or burnt down ‘e ‘ad to turn ‘em up again and set it off again. And I got to be overlooker o’ that room before I finished.

WRM: What was the other job you mentioned, apart from the gasser?

HC: Oh, I finished up as a warper.

WRM: No, what was your brother doing?

HC: Me brother was an oiler an’ bander.

WRM: What was that job?

HC: He used to ‘ave to keep all t’spindles oiled an’ that an’ put mill bands on to drive ‘em. Of course yer can’t see it though, there isn’t a mill about to see it. You want to go through a cotton mill to see it workin’. Christies was the beginning of mekin your clothes, if you will. Every thread, say in your trousers or mine, had gone through this process but it’s the beginning of it, an’ the finish of it at Christies was in warps. When t’warps used to go away they’d be dyed and put onto beams, an’ we used to send beams away an’ all. And during this Second World War I made many a score o’ warps of that blue, in light blue an’ dark blue, for shirts for t’Air Force. I must ‘ave made thousands. All we made was going for mekin thousands of shirts for the Air Force.

WRM: Going back to the time when you were a half-timer, how would the cotton come into Settle in those days?

HC: Oh, it used to come by rail, and old Bob Smith used to drive a lorry an’ horses, there were no car, he used to come to Settle station. They used to bring it in from Settle station: it were all in cops, wasn’t it?

BC: Yeah, rollers an’ that.

WRM: It came from Liverpool, did it?

HC: It came from Bolton. All our cotton was done at Bolton, and when it left us as far as we were concerned it was ready, the beams was ready for goin’ onto the looms, where they mek these spin, er... in Lancashire. That’s a big place for mekin cotton, looms an’ that. An’ we used to send ‘em up to Bradford, an’ all. And we used to ‘ave to put them in what we called a creel, and in this creel we’d have 240 full bobbins and then every thread was threaded through what we call two sheds, like that, an’ you pull one shed out and they were every alternate, see? Like that, an’ then that was so as that when the shuttle was goin’ through in... what do they call them, what they spin on?

BC: I’ve forgot.

HC: In Lancashire, what do they call them?

BC: Is it spindles?

HC: Looms?

BC: Looms, oh, there’s looms.

HC: Every alternate so that the thread goes like that, and we used to ‘ave to mek ‘em so that they went like that by pullin’ one shed out an’ shovin’ a long thing like this through, an’ then droppin’ that an’ pullin’ the other one up. So that the shuttle, when it run through t’loom, were tekin every one an’ that’s how you come to bind cotton like they stuck together.

[Interruption in tape 00:23:53 –00:24:06]

HC: ...naked lights, it’s a wonder that at Christies there ‘ad never been a fire, ooh, when yer come to think about it. All naked lights: three down every alley and fourteen, what, there would ‘ave been sixty or seventy lights burnin’ in one room. And we used to throw bobbins at these lights an’ all sorts, as lads, yer know?

WRM: Why did you do that?

HC: Well, for devilment, yer know; when the overlooker wasn’t about there’d be all sorts of carry-on in a mill yer know where there are a lot of lads and lasses. [Laughs] Aye, come to think about it. An’ then they did away with that when electric started comin’ an’ Christies were electrified, and they made their own gas at Christies. They ‘ad a gas works down at t’bottom and they used to... that gas works not only supplied Christies with gas, but they supplied Giggleswick Grammar School. They ‘ad a line running to Giggleswick Grammar School underground, at that time.

WRM: Did you use water power at all from the dam?

HC: Yes, we had the water power as well, as well as the steam. That was always ‘in go’. We ‘ad a water wheel, and they took the water wheel out when I was there as a lad and put turbines in to get more power. Oh, golly...

WRM: So when you were young, what time was it when you left home?

HC: Five o’clock in the morning.

WRM: And what time did you start?

HC: Six.

BC: Six.

HC: And I’ll tell you summat else. Yonder at Christies there was a big door, and they used to wind a handle inside of what we called ‘the penny ‘ole’ and it goes to open this door: an underground arrangement. You used to wind it over. The bell used to start: it was a bell at five minutes to six and it used to just ring ‘ding, dong, ding, dong, ding, dong’, and when it got to t’last minute, ‘dingdongdingdong’ and you’d see ‘em come rushin’ down t’road as hard as ever they could, because the instant that bell stopped then the penny old man used to wind this door through to shut it, and you had to go through the side door. And as you went through this side door if it was after six o’clock there’d be a man there tekin your name: ‘H. Cox, three minutes late, put it down’.

BC: And you got fined.

HC: You were allowed about fifteen minutes in a week to be late. After that you were fined a penny. A penny for every minute! [Laughs]

WRM: A penny for every minute?

HC: That was in ol’ Christies days, aye. Bye, you’d see such a rush at about two minutes to six down that road of people comin’ late, by Jove. An’ then they did away with t’old bell and they ‘ad a hooter, they used to blow a hooter an’ pull a chain. I’ve done it many a time for ‘em. An’ at five minutes before time, at six o’clock, breakfast time and dinner time, people could set their clocks an’ watches in Langcliffe and Settle and Giggleswick if wind were that way when I pulled this buzzer and it used to buzz for about three minutes and then all of a sudden you’d pull sharper and it’d go, ‘Bububububububu’ and you’d see them comin’ in from dinner, yer see, runnin’ down t’road again. Aye, if they were late again they took their names. It all added up.

WRM: How long did that go on for, taking names?

HC: Well, it were goin’ on when I left. I don’t know if it went on after I left, I don’t remember when it were knocked off. I think it got stopped through a Government, this finin’ for bein’ late.

WRM: What were working conditions like? Was it pretty noisy?

HC: Oh, you got used to it.

BC: Yes.

HC: They used to be able to talk to one another did these girls. Didn’t they?

BC: Aye.

HC: And they could tell what they were saying, talk without mekin a noise: they got that used to it.

WRM: Was it dirty?

HC: Oily; really oily.

BC: Oily.

HC: The spindles had to be kept well oiled, you know. Oil’d be flyin’ all over t’shop. The girls used to have hardened aprons on, didn’t they?

BC: Yeah.

HC: And then pin a big sheet of brown paper on this knee, because whenever they were piecing an end up they allus used to have t’stop spindle an’ they used to ‘ave to stop it with a knee, and then put over this ‘ere and oh well, it was all...

BC: Yeah, an’ fasten to t’bobbin then.

HC: Eh?

BC: You’d fasten to t’bobbin then.

HC: Oh, aye. An’ overlookers used to wear paper caps, didn’t they?

BC: Yes.

WRM: What was that for?

HC: To show they were overlookers. We used to mek these paper caps. Aye, square caps. ‘’ello, there’s Elsie comin’, look out.’ [Laughs] When you come to think about it! Aye.

WRM: It would be pretty grim in winter, wouldn’t it? It wouldn’t be too warm.

HC: It’s allus warm in a mill, with all the steam comin’ through. It was kept allus warm, wasn’t it?

BC: Yes.

HC: In that warping room where I worked, there were only about five of us worked there altogether, there was steam pipes used to run round half way up t’wall right round t’room. We used to mek sure that it were warm to go into in a mornin’: we used to turn t’steam on, turn t’tap an’ it would be gettin’ warm all night comin’ from t’boiler and goin’ from our room to some other room, yer see? Oh, it’s allus warm in a mill.

WRM: Did it get a bit too warm in summer?

BC: Yes.

HC: We never used to have steam on in summer, and we worked under a glass roof in yon mill at Christies where I worked in that warping room: it were a glass roof.

WRM: What did the women wear going right back to the beginning when you first remember it?

HC: Shawls and clogs, clogs and shawls, and clothes down to the ankles. [Laughs]

WRM: Did they make their own shawls?

BC: No.

HC: No, they used to buy ‘em.

WRM: What colour were the shawls?

HC: Oh, they used to get beautiful shawls, ‘adn’t they? They were warm and they used to pur’em o’er their ‘ead and throw ‘em over their shoulder. You’d ‘ear the clogs rattlin’ down t’road.

BC: Aye.

WRM: What colour dresses did they have, were they dark?

BC: Dark, yes, well, and colours. If you’d a dress you didn’t want for Sunday you’d wear it for work, yer see, anythin’ like that.

HC: Ee, there were some great characters in that place, yer know? There was old Adrian Jackson, he was t’overlooker at packin’ room. Jack Warnes was overlooker at t’black room, as they called it, an’ t’cellar; an’ ol’ Joss Cox was overlooker no. 3 in the doublin’ room, an’ ol’ John Hilton was overlooker at tiering room, ol’ Gilly Binns was overlooker at reelin’ room, ol’ Tom Lund was overlooker at gassin’ room, Tom Harrison was overlooker at no. 5, Jack Lund was overlooker at no. 10, and ol’ Robert Peel was overlooker at no. 6.

BC: Jack Peel, he was overlooker...

HC: Oh, Jack Peel was at t’Shed then. I’m talkin’ about when Jack Peel was an oiler an’ bander. Jack Peel was a bander at that time an’ he got to be overlooker at t’Shed. And he got to be manager. He finished up as manager of t’mill did Jack Peel. An’ when I come to think, and think about it now, all these overlookers were as jealous as ol’ boots of one another, thinkin’ that they wasn’t gettin’ properly recognised. If they saw t’manager talkin’ a long time wi’ another overlooker they got reet jealous, ‘What’s he doin’ wi’ ‘im? Tellin’ ‘im summat about me?’ Owt like that, when I come to thinkin’ about it after; we never used to think about it then. Some of them were reckoned to be religious an’ were local preachers, and t’other fellas were jealous o’ them because t’manager was a big local preacher an’ he was doin’ something for them as he shouldn’t do. We found all that out. And at that time, when I finished at Christies the first time, I was gettin’ ten bob a week. I’d an offer then to go to t’snuff mill, Barnes’ snuff mill. They were cotton people but they was spinners. They used to mek these cops what we used at Christies, but we never used to get ‘em off them. An’ we used to mek spin cops at this snuff mill an’ they used to go away to somewhere into Lancashire, an’ I’d offered to go there for another tanner a week on my wage an’ I chucked up at Christies an’ I finished up at them. An’ when I left there I did a few weeks in the quarry at Giggleswick, an’ I worked at Giggleswick Grammar School for a few, and then from there I went on to t’railway.

WRM: What did they take to the mill to drink in the old days?

HC: They used to tek cans; we used to tek cans, pint cans.

BC: Wi’ a bottle o’ milk.

HC: Wi’ tea an’ sugar in, an’ if yer wanted milk yer took milk in a bottle.

BC: Aye.

HC: An’ then when yer got to t’mill yer put yer cans down at ‘t’penny ‘ole’ an’ went into work an t’old penny ‘ole man would collect all them cans up and tek ‘em into t’back place, and ‘e ‘ad a big boiler there an’ he used to see that boiler were boiled ready for when yer finished breakfast time at quarter past eight.

BC: Aye.

HC: An’ they were all filled, an’ then yer used to go an’ pick your can out. There were about a hundred cans, you’d to pick your own out, aye, an’ go an’ sit down in t’dining room. We ‘ad a dining room, yer know?

WRM: What did you eat for breakfast?

HC: Well, we used to tek sandwiches or anything and then if you wanted a warm dinner you used to tek a dinner with yer cold, and you could warm it on t’manhole o’ t’boiler. Then after that they started cookin’ on their own. They cooked t’dinners at mill, they finished up cookin’ dinners. Aye, yer took everythin’ cold.

WRM: And what time did you knock off for dinner?

BC: About twelve, wasn’t it?

HC: A quarter past twelve ‘til a quarter past one, and the Shed Mill was half past twelve ‘til half past one, a quarter of an hour after us.

WRM: And did you used to go home for dinner?

BC: Sometimes, yes.

HC: Well, all Langcliffe people went ‘ome.

BC: We used to go ‘ome from t’Shed.

HC: And they used to go home from t’Shed, but we couldn’t go home from t’High Mill, yer know, to Giggleswick or to Settle.

WRM: So what did you do?

HC: We ‘ad our dinner there.

WRM: What did you have for dinner in the old days?

HC: What have I been tellin’ yer? We used to tek it with us and get it warmed up.

BC: Generally pies, tater pies.

HC: Tater pies, owt like that.

BC: And then they would put ‘em on t’boilers to keep ‘em ‘ot for yer.

HC: Aye, t’boiler man would see you got ‘em warm, aye, we got through.

WRM: And then did you have a break in the afternoon?

HC: No.

BC: No.

HC: But eventually by some method or other, when I came back to Christies after t’war they used to go round with a... what do you call it?

WRM: A trolley?

HC: It fastened on the back, and you could have a cup of tea in the afternoon. You were only allowed so many minutes to drink it, and in the mornin’ there were t’same again.

WRM: Did you have the hooter going in the evening to tell you when to knock off?

BC: No.

HC: No, we used to watch t’clock, I’ll tell yer. We were allus ready an’ we’d suddenly see everythin’ slowin’ up. The engine driver stopped t’engine. The wheels stopped an’ all, an’ all buzzin’ were finished with.

BC: Yer put yer shawl on.

HC: They’d all come out wi’ a rush, a bigger rush than what they went in. [Laughs]

BC: They were knocked down many-a-time.

HC: An’ then when I came back I went on to t’railway then in 1914 an’ then went off t’railway to Duke of Wellington’s an’ finished war, and when I came back I went up to see - I were married then - Bill Ingham, he were t’boss. Jack Ingham followed ‘im but Bill Ingham were t’boss, an’ when I worked there as a lad Bill Ingham was a clerk. Me and ‘im were big pals at that time. I went up to see ‘im. He says, ‘Oh, you’ve come back after t’war, Harry?’ I said, ‘Yes’. I said, ‘I’ve come to see if you can give me a job.’ He said, ‘Why, do you want to come back?’ ‘Well,’ I says, ‘our people will like me if I’m back again ‘ere.’ ‘Yes, I think we can,’ he says. ‘Are you ready for starting?’ I said, ‘Yes. I’ve ‘ad a fortnight’s holiday since I come out of being demobbed an’ that.’ So he says, ‘You can start here on such a day and report to Tommy Bowen in t’warping room, learning to be a warper.’ And that’s how I come to be a warper. I stopped there while I finished up altogether, warping. I’d be there a few years wasn’t I, as a warper?

BC: Yes.

WRM: How old were girls when they started work?

HC: Same.

WRM: Going way back?

HC: Same.

WRM: Were they?

HC: Aye, half-timers.

BC: I never went half time.

HC: No, but they did do, didn’t they?

WRM: Were there girls who came to work that hadn’t got homes? I mean, did they provide them with a billet or anything?

BC: No.

HC: No, but I’ll tell yer, in the far away off days (this is before my time) Christie had an agent in I think Liverpool, and he had an agent somewhere down in Cornwall, an’ he had an agent somewhere in Norfolk. An’ he used to get families to come ‘ere, an’ there were people as ‘ad had never been educated...

BC: Ken Parry’s wife, she were one.

HC: ... nor nothin’ o’ that. There was no education, well, there wasn’t in them days. All they did was to work in t’fields, yer know, sowing an’ all that, an’ frightening birds off t’wheat an’ that. An’ these families were ready enough to come to Settle. They were promised it were the land of good ‘ope an’ all this, that an’ the other to get ‘em ‘ere, an’ they come. An’ there’s offspringers yet livin’ at Langcliffe an’ Settle from these families yet, there is that. There were families galore come in the old days, an’ at that time that I’m mentioning the railway was being built. The men could get work on the railways, on the Settle an’ Carlisle, an’ Craven Lime Works had opened an’ they could get work there could men, an’ womenfolk could go to t’mill an’ that’s how they come to be...

BC: Paper Mill.

HC: That’s how they come to be at Langcliffe. Christies owned nearly all Langcliffe village. They did really own it at one time, every ‘ouse in the village. An’ as soon as you left Christies to go anywhere else away from the mill they’d think nothin’ of givin’ you yer notice, you know? If you were livin’ in their ‘ouse you’d to come out, that’s in the old days.

WRM: People used to be sacked pretty regularly, did they?

HC: Pardon?

WRM: People used to be sacked pretty regularly, did they?

HC: Well...

BC: It just depends.

HC: No, because it were known that Hector Christie would ‘ave paid as low a wage as ever they could, they were known for that. But still they got through, they lived.

BC: I had only eighteen shilling a fortnight.

HC: Eh?

BC: Eighteen shilling a fortnight. We thought it were big money, yer know.

[End of Side A - 00:46:02]

Interviewee:

Asset: