My Grandfather and Great Uncle Fowler made these machines in Keighley. My mother and numerous aunties worked on these machines in Bradford. My Uncle Wilf sorted wool to be spun by them; my father shifted bobbins between them. My entire family history is constrained by their cast-iron frames.
Category Archives: News From Nowhere
This post is, perhaps, better late than never. There is a story behind these two brothers – a story that, sadly, illustrates that it is not always better to be late than never. But the post is so late going up that I don’t have time to tell the story today. I will, however, come back to it one day, so just keep the face of the boy sitting on the left in your mind, until his extraordinary story can be told.
We were walking up the tops of Northowram the other day, up past were all the old stone quarries used to be, and I suddenly spotted an abandoned pile of stone slates. Somebody had kindly chiselled numbers on each of them so they turned into a traditional stone equivalent of my daily calendar I was thrilled with this authentic historical discovery, and as someone had equally carved the name of the quarry on each stone, I headed home to see if I could pin down their origin to perhaps Northowram or the Shibden Valley. Oh, Burnett, Burnett, Burnett …. you gullible fool. A quick quarry of the internet revealed their origin. They are “reconstructed stone” made from glue and stone dust. They have been “authentically recreated” to even incorporate tool marks. You can even buy a version with fake green lichen clinging to them. They come from a factory somewhere down south. They are the stone equivalent of MDF. They are as genuine as a politicians promise to support NHS workers.
My calendar today features a photograph I took forty or so year ago of Elland Power Station. When I took the photograph, the power station was relatively new – the Official Opening took place seventy years ago this year – but it was already reaching the end of its life. Within ten years it had been decommissioned, within twenty it had been demolished. In checking the various facts about its life history, I came across the press report of the official opening ceremony, which was performed by a certain Mr A R Cooper (M.Eng, M.I.E.E., M.Inst.F), accompanied by the new station superintendent Mr W Poppleton (Assoc.I.E.E. A.M.Inst.F). How on earth they managed to fit all those letters within even the cavernous turbo house is a mystery, and it has to be said that the praise being heaped upon the new power station was less than fulsome. Mr Poppleton said “that the Elland station was not an unusual one, but reliable. It was built there not because the site was ideal, but because generation was needed in this part of Yorkshire”. When he went on to describe the generating power of the new station, however, his language became far more energised. The new station, he declared, would generate enough power of a town of 200,000 people or enough to power a fleet of half a dozen Queen Mary’s! The vision of half a dozen Queen Mary’s sailing in formation along the River Calder is an analogy that would put even Prof Jonathan Van-Tam to shame.
Where have all the days gone? It is a question people of a certain age – such as myself – ask with increasing frequency, as we realise that what we call yesterday, younger folk call history. It is a recurring question to those of us who watch things like The History Channel and say, “that’s not history, it’s current affairs“. It is a question on the lips of people who meet together for a cup of tea and talk about wartime rationing, 425 lines on television sets, and ask “do you remember the farthing?”
I have an answer to this fundamentally philosophical question, because in my case, they go on the back of the door. When they no longer fit in my Daily Calendar plastic holder, I take the daily images and stick them on the back of my office door. They will soon be spreading to what little wall space there is left in my room, but after that they can spread no further (says my wife). Time passes – and the longer this calendar project goes on, the greater the problem becomes: has anyone got a mill wall they are not using?
A photograph of mine from the mid 1960s of the demolition of Parliament Street in Halifax. I’ve added a touch of colour because I am bored with Lockdown and I have nothing better to do. I find it a pleasing image, but I am well aware that others’ might not. It’s my calendar, however, and it’s me who has to look at it all day.
I scanned this old postcard of Bradford Wool Exchange yesterday and became curious about when it was built. I eventually found an account of the opening in the Bradford Observer of 14 February 1867 which I was intending to write about at great length and in considerable depth. And then the broadband service started playing up and I got involved in talking with a variety of real and virtual support workers. What I need now is not the beautiful building or the wise words of the important guests at the opening ceremony, but the pint of sherry that came free with the entry ticket!
The day is full of roadmaps to freedom and counting the days to normality. This could give rise to a philosophical speculation about the nature of freedom, but I will leave that for another day and go with a working definition, which is being able to take my grandson to the seaside, buy him some candy floss and build a sandcastle. Here’s hoping they will be castles in the sand rather than castles in the sky. Until that day comes, I will content myself with this reminder of the scene in Bridlington almost forty years ago.
Now here’s a thing! Just three days after discovering a pointing statue of Hope in Elland cemetery, I find a very similar pointing statue in Rastrick cemetery. My initial conclusions about the Elland Pointer was that she was pointing towards Ainley Top and the slip road onto the M62, but I have now reviewed my calculations, and I believe she is pointing towards Rastrick Cemetery – and consequently, the Rastrick Pointer! This is a discovery of major significance, because it reveals a series of nineteenth and early twentieth century veiled stone figures pointing out a clear route to …. where? I still need to carry out detailed geographical calculations on the Rastrick Pointer, but as soon as I know where the trail leads to, I will let you know.