SOCIAL CONDITION AND HABITS
It is not possible for us to faithfully portray the conditions of
actual living in Pudsey in the earlier periods of its history, when
there existed a vastly different state of things to that which we find
at the present time. The want of roads, the primitive conditions of
the dwellings, and the domestic economy, the struggles with nature to
obtain a living from the ground, and the restricted privileges of schools,
churches, and literature, with the unpolished manners of the people-all
these drawbacks, as we reckon them-made the conditions of life very
hard to our ancestors in the bygone centuries, and we might be led to
infer that "life was not worth living" under such hardships,
did we not remember how readily human nature can adapt itself to circumstances.
That the conditions of life were hard, may be gathered from the following
illustration of the domestic slavery existing in this district in the
fourteenth century: --
Thomas de Tiresall made fine with the lord of 6d. chiefage, for licence
of having John, son of Roger Childeyoenge, a bondsman in his service
up to the feast of St. Michael next ensuinge, so that he shall give
back the aforesaide John to the bailiff at the time. *
*- From Bradford Master Court Rolls. Temp. Edw. III
In the reign of Edw. III., 1352, the wages paid to haymakers was 1d.
per day; a mower of meadows 5d. per acre, or 5d. per day; reapers of
corn, without meat or drink, finding their own tools, 2d. to 3d. per
day; for thrashing a quarter wheat rye, 2 1 d. In 1361, of same reign,
a chief master carpenter or mason received 4d. per day, and others 2d.
or 3d., as they acquitted themselves. In the reign of Richard II., 1389,
the wages of a bailiff of husbandry was 13s.4d. per year, and clothing
once a year; the master hind was paid 10s a year; the carter, 10s.;
and the shepherd, 10s. From this time up to the year 1445, in Henry
VI reign, the price of labour was fixed by the justices by proclamation,
viz., freemasons and carpenters, 4d. per day-without meat or drink,
5 1 d. per day; reapers and carters, 5d. per day, without meat or drink.
In 1758 labourers received 10d. per day.
The homes of the poor were scarcely more than hovels, and it was not
until the eighteenth century that any great improvement took place.
For many generations there could be seen, around these dwellings of
our ancestors, the moorland, unreclaimed by the plough or the spade,
and fine woods where the towering trees grew thick as a forest. We can
well understand that the labourers of those days were poor and ignorant,
but it is certain that out of this apparently crude and unproductive
period, and from these unlettered ancestors of ours, the present prosperous
condition of Pudsey had its rise. Our forefathers laid the foundation
of the manufacture, which is now the staple trade of the place, and
from which the wealth, which has its evidences on every side, has been
In 1736, the wages of a weaver were only 8d. a day, and for this sum
he had to work fifteen hours. The price of provisions was much less
than at the present time, but through nearly the whole of the eighteenth
century, beef and mutton were from 3d. to 3 1 d. per lb.; cheese and
butter from 3d. to 4d., and sugar, 6d.; while tea and coffee were luxuries
unknown to Pudsey folks of the poorer class. Clothing of all sorts was
very dear, and boots and shoes were equally expensive. The fashions
in dress, and the quality of the food of our forefathers, were of the
plainest description. In the beginning of the present century their
food consisted of very poor fare-such as porridge, bacon, salt beef,
and havercake (haver, Scandanavian for oats), now called oatcake; in
fact, so largely was this wholesome article of food used, that a regiment
of soldiers (the 33rd), raised principally in Yorkshire, was called
the "Havercake Lads." Wheat bread was but seldom seen in many
households; it was considered a rare treat to be favoured with it once
a week, viz., on Sundays. When a pig was killed it was usual for a goodly
portion of it to be distributed amongst the friends or kinfolk. The
villagers, having but few sweets or luxuries, such as is common in this
age of refinement, grew up hale, hearty, and strong; they thought little
of walking forty or fifty miles a day.
The dress of the men of Pudsey, at the time of which we are writing,
very often consisted of coarse grey hose, leather breeches, drab vest
and coat, gay-coloured neckerchief, beaver had, and often a striped
Woolsey apron, and once "rigged out" it would do almost for
a generation. The dress of the fairer sex rarely rose above a gay-coloured
print, the plainest of a cottage or coal-scuttle bonnet, and a plain
or fancy shawl.
We cannot forego the temptation to say one work to the workman of Pudsey
with reference to his present condition. If he has regular work at present,
he should be far better off than the working man of a century ago, with
his 8s. or 10s. a week, and bread occasionally at famine prices, as
in 1800, and again in 1820, when the best corn was from 20s. to 22s.
per bushel. There was, occasionally, an increase of wages in bad times,
but not in proportion to the cost of bread. At such seasons, the most
sober and industrious workman had much "planning" to be able
to pay for necessary food and house rent, but even in the hardest of
times, we have heard of instances where men have struggled on through
all difficulties, in order to be able to pride themselves upon never
having received a penny from the parish. The poor who had to receive
parish relief were but indifferently treated, as we are told by one
writer, who says:--"At the poor-house in Pudsey, not more than
fifty years ago, I have seen large black bowls filled with oatmeal porridge
and milk, and a big podgy person who figured as master, filling black
earthen mugs with a ladle, and the poor, miserably-clad old people,
hobbling away with their meal to their room, which was not very tidy
or over clean. But I suppose it was thought good enough for the aged
and inform poor."
Coming down to recent times, we find that Pudsey, in the early years
of the present century, had a somewhat unenviable reputation; its inhabitants
were considered rude, intractable, and scarcely amenable to the common
laws regulating order and courtesy. The very name of the place furnished
amusement for many a long year, and anything belonging to it was thought
fair game for sport. That both the place and its people had their peculiarities
it would be idle to deny. The place was not picturesque enough for those
who were partial to order and regularity in the architecture and environments
of the homes of the people. A writer, in 1829, thus expresses himself:--
Pudsey, one of the most populous villages in the West Riding, is finely
situated on an eminence, but the irregularity of its buildings detracts
greatly from its natural beauty. The inhabitants do not appear to pride
themselves in the beauty of their village, or to rival each other in
the exterior decorations of their several dwellings; but, on the contrary,
they try to excel each other in industry and frugality, and seem more
anxious to acquire riches than ostentatiously to display them. The manufacture
of woollen cloths is carried on here to a greater extent than any other
village in England. *
* - Pigott and Co.'s Directory of the West Riding, pub. 1829, p.1045
This neglect of the beautiful, in the homes of the people, might be
attributed to many causes. There were no schools in existence at that
time where the taste for the beautiful was cultivated, and the people
had hard work to encounter in order to provide things honest, and keep
the wolf from the door. True, the number of small freeholders in the
place was at that time, a noticeable feature, and these favourites of
fortune manifested a strong feeling of independence, which may have
had something to do with the indifference to external surroundings which
When the cloth manufacture began to develop itself, houses of a roomy,
if not of a very substantial character, were built, generally of stone.
In these houses the small manufacturers, who were also in many cases
farmers, lived, and carried on the domestic manufacture of cloth. The
farm buildings (outhouses) were inconvenient erections, sometimes covered
with thatch, but oftener with grey slates.
Of the better class of houses built in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and
eighteenth centuries, and occupied at that time by the yeomanry of the
village, we have several good examples left to us. One of these is
NESBIT HALL.-On the sunny side of the township, nestling under the hill,
and protected from the north and east winds by fair-sized sycamores
and beeches, stands a quaint old mansion, Nesbit Hall (or Nisbet Hall).
Standing near the old iron entrance-gates, the first sight of the place
gives one a feeling that there is something unusual about it. From papers
still in possession of Mrs. James Clayton, it appears that in 1712,
a John Holdsworth, of Pudsey, yeoman, and Dorothy, his wife, lived here,
in the "Bank-house," and then sold it, and sixteen closes
to John Darnbrough, of Tong, who died 1741, leaving his son John in
possession. Darnbrough, junior, parted with the property, in 1775, to
Richard Farrer, of Pudsey, who then resided here; and he in 1760 sold
it to Claud Nisbet, merchant, of the city of London, who built the present
hall on the site of the old "Bank-house," and had the graceful
monogram of "C. & J. N., 1761," cast in the conductors,
with his crest on each socket below. His will is dated this year, and
Claud Nisbet, the elder of two sons, enters into possession; but "soon
afterwards departed this life," where or how was never known, though
some old neighbours will have it, that if the lower cellars are inspected,
he will be found there. In 1811, it was sold to John Clayton, by auction,
on the condition that, if ever C. N. turned up, he should be reinstated.
The Claytons were of some standing in the district, were lords of the
manor of Yeadon, and earlier on, were stewards of the Calverley estate
of the Thornhills, living in the house next the church there. Two generations
lived here, finally leaving in 1866, since which date the place has
had several short occupiers, until 1885, when it was bought by Mr. John
Cliff, late of Wortley, and Lambeth, London, who now lives there, takes
a great interest in keeping up the old place, and in learning anything
of its history and architecture. *
* Mr. Cliff gives the accompanying photograph of the Hall to this book.
The house gradually ceased to be styled "Bank House: after Nisbet's
purchasing, and now, Nisbet is changed to Nesbit. It was designed by
the same architect as Fulneck (some ten years later) and the house on
Scotthill; and the similarity in the windows, mouldings, etc., fully
bears out the tradition. The old malt-kiln shown in the ordnance map
was built for Christopher Scott (his son-in-law), of Wortley, maltster,
by John Darnbrough, senior, and was finally sold by the late Mr. James
Clayton as old material. In the grounds is an old doorway, of very much
older date than the present house, and it is believed to be the front
doorway of the old "Bank" house. The views over the Tong estate
fro this "bank" are very beautiful.
Mr. W. Wheater, in writing of the old houses in Pudsey, tells us that
In the Heights stands one of those fine old yeoman-mansions that tell
us that when King James the Sapient conquered England and ascended its
throne, the yeomen of Pudsey were a sold and thriving race. In the low
broad windows of those houses, with their heavy stone mullions and light
surmounting labels, their peaked roofs and deep splayed doorways, their
cosy rooms, and wide expanding fire-places, we have the best types of
English past-baronial grandeur. In Pudsey there are some six or seven
such houses-the foremost perhaps being that on Greentop, which Mr. Rayner
told me was dedicated to liberty of conscience in the troublous days
of "the man Charles Stuart," when these Pudsey men ranged
themselves bodily on the side of manhood, and afterwards told their
"We trampled on the throng of the haughty and the strong
Who sat in the high places and slew the saints of God."
Notwithstanding the awful fact that
" The man of blood was there, with his long emerced hair,
And Astley, and Sir Marmaduke, and Rupert of the Rhine."
They are sacred, these old houses, to the political liberties and moral
grandeur of England. They are the abiding testimony of what manner of
men they were who smote with the sword of the Lord and of Gideon. Burghers
and freemen they, as the domestic character of their houses still indicates-no
time-servers, no menial sycophants, no aspirants for baronial distinction,
no dwellers in castles, or sham things having the similitude thereof;
but plain men, substantial, capable of endurance, self-willed and self-respecting,
much endowed mentally, and resolute in the good. To them the apostle's
exhortation, "Fight the good fight," was not a meaningless
waste of words; it was a soul-wracking command. Under the roof of his
friend Sales, in this very mansion at Greentop, that fiery Puritan,
Elkanah Wales, was wont to preach to his brother parishioners; and he
preached in no courtly tones; he advocated no maudlin theology; he had
taken up his cross and started to follow the God-man, whom our Saxon
forefathers called the Healer, He who justified His own life upon Calvary.
Such men are born to win; ye may destroy them in the flesh but in the
spirit they are immortal. They it was who prepared the men who rode
through Charles's ranks at Marston Moor, and shattered his duplicity
at Worcester; it was their children in the wilds of the New World who
taught England that prayerfulness was stronger than kingcraft, and that
freedom was more powerful than bayonets. Let Pudsey point with undying
pride to these burgher-mansions, and may the spirit of the wild Vikings,
whose children founded them, never depart therefrom.
WEST HOUSE, the property and residence of Mr. James Banks, is a fair
specimen of the class of residences which spring up as a result of commercial
prosperity. It is of modern date, and has all the appearances of substantiality,
comfort, and adaptability to the domestic requirements of the successful
manufacturer. Mr. Banks has occupied a prominent position in Pudsey
for many years, having served in the offices of churchwarden and guardian
of the poor with great ability, and to the entire satisfaction of his
fellow-townsmen. He has also held other public offices, and in many
ways has rendered praiseworthy services to his native town. Mr. Banks
is a Conservative in politics, and a member of the Established Church.
At Troydale there is an old farmhouse, upon which is a double cross
or stone, denoting that the site on which it stands formerly belonged
to the Knights of Jerusalem, afterwards called Knights of Malta. This
Order had considerable possessions granted to them by pious admirers
in the thirteenth century, and the lessees of their lands had many curious
privileges granted to them. Proof of wills, was one of the prerogatives
enjoyed by the Order, and this right was exercised within their manors
of Crosley, Bingley, and Pudsey, so late as 1795. The wills are kept
by Mr. Ferrand at St. Ives, Bingley, whose family were impropriate rectors.
* Cudsworth's Round about Bradford, p. 499.
GROVE HOUSE, in Chapeltown, with its tastefully laid out grounds, and
many excellent conveniences, is a good specimen of the domestic architecture
of last century. This was at one time the residence of John Farrer,
Esq., a justice of the peace, who was of some importance in his day,
as appears by the part he took in town's affairs, and what is of still
greater importance, the lively and unceasing interest he took in the
training of young men. Mr. Farrer is the first magistrate we hear of
as connected with Pudsey, but at that time justice was not dispensed
in the village itself, for there was no court house; the police station
had not shown itself, and the blue-coated police officer had not then
begun his patrol of the streets and highways. There was a poor house,
at the back of which was the prison where the refractories were locked
up until the constables could escort them to the New Inn at Bradford,
or the then noted "Catherine Slack: where justices used to sit
and hear cases belonging to the township.
On the death of Mr. Farrer, the Rev. W.L. Howarth succeeded to the possession
of Grove House, at which place he resided alternately with his Leeds
residence. In 1868, Mr. Howarth qualified as a West Riding magistrate,
and sat in Petty Sessions at Bradford. He was a distant relative of
the Rev. W. Howarth, who was for fifty years incumbent of All Saints'
Chapel. He was educated at Fulneck, Doncaster, and Leeds Grammar Schools,
and graduated at Magdalene College, Cambridge. He was ordained to the
curacy of St. Lawrence's Church, Pudsey, which office he held for seven
years. In 1865 he married Mary, daughter of the late Mr. Thomas Banks,
and sister to Mr. James Banks, of Pudsey. As a reader and elocutionist,
Mr. Howarth, it is said, "was not surpassed by anyone in the district,
and his sermons were generally sound and eloquent." Mr. Howarth
died at his Leeds residence, Elmwood House, on the 14th day of December,
1877, aged 58 years.
In 1878 Grove House came into the possession of Mr. William Dibb Scales,
a gentleman whose life, though it contains no adventures or events of
an exciting nature, serves to show how high and worthy a position may
be attained by steady perseverance, plodding industry, and honourable
dealings. During the last forty years, Mr. Scales has been one of the
most prominent public men in Pudsey, and has taken a large share in
furthering its growth and development. He has during that long period
taken a deep interest in all public matters tending to the welfare and
well-being of his fellow-townsmen. He was elected first chairman of
the Local Board, having previously served in many public offices connected
with the township. He has been identified with every benevolent and
Christian movement, and a large-hearted well-wisher and contributor
to every good cause. His life has been marked by great thoroughness,
transparency, and firmness of character, and having now retired from
business, he has ample opportunity for usefulness, and also the willingness
to avail himself of it. In religion Mr. Scales is connected with the
Wesleyan body, and in politics is an advanced Liberal.
As to the people who lived in Pudsey in bygone days, they were a strong-minded
race, and not to be "put on." Adopting their own expression,
they would "fight like tigers" for an opinion, and it is said
of them, that "politics, friendship, and kinship go for nothing
in a question of doubtful policy." Refinement of manners was not
then a characteristic of the people, but other sterling qualities made
amends for the roughness and uncouthness of their speech and actions.
An amusing description of an encounter with a Pudsey youth is given
by the late Dr. Winter Hamilton, of Leeds. *
* From Sugar Literaria, pub. 1841. Pg. 292
A week had scarcely elapsed since my arrival (in Leeds), before I determined
on an excursion to the Moravian settlement at Fulneck. Ignorant of the
way, I accosted a lad who was breaking stones by the side of the road,
in a very common but unmeaning manner-"Where does this road go
to?" With a proud contempt on his face, at what he perceived to
be a southern tone and an equally foolish question, he, half with the
air of the churl, and half that of the rogue, exclaimed: "Go! no
where; I have knawn it for more than ten years, and it never sturred
yet." A little out of countenance, if none out of temper, I still
urged my desire for information. "Whither shall I get if I drive
along this road?" "To Pudsey, sure; follow thy nose, and aw's
plain as a pikestaff." Thinks I to myself,--if such be the cub,
what must they be who have whelped him? If such be the eaglet, little
more than callow and new ejected from the eyrie, what is the region
of his sires? A precipitate retreat seemed alike prudent and inevitable
from scenes with which I had so small an affinity; and those sharp spirits
which peopled it, for which I was so poor a match.
If, however, the people were unpolished, a considerable number of them
were frugal and industrious, and although they might never forget their
mother tongue when addressing a stranger, yet they were hospitable and
generous to those who had any claim upon their kindness. They were earnest
and conscientious, independent and strictly honest, and though they
might appear, on a first acquaintance, rough and hard to a stranger,
under this apparent coarseness there was no lack of kindly feeling.
A recent writer, in a notice of Ossett, says:--
It has long taken rank in popular estimation with Pudsey, and similar
places, where artificial refinement of manners has not been deemed a
characteristic, but where, at the same time, sterling good qualities
have been combined with a hard and plodding industry. *
* Bank's Walks in Yorkshire, published 1871, p. 485.
Judging from what we can learn of our ancestors and their ways, we are
led to the conclusion that what they lacked was education and more refined
conversation, for they had mother wit enough to be able to hold their
own with strangers.
That the simple diet, frugal living, and naturally healthy surroundings
were conducive to long life, is abundantly testified by the many instances
of longevity, of which we give the following list, extracted from registers:--
1672 Old Dame Lobley, aged 99 years, buried September 19th.
1696 James Thornton, aged 102 years.
1778 Richard Anderson, sen., aged 93, buried in the Old Chapel, Dec.
1779 Mrs. Margaret Marshall, widow, of Black Hey, aged 96, buried March
1779 Elisabeth, widow of Dan Farrer, Owlcoats, bur. at Calverley, March
18th, aged 105.
1780 John Hinchcliffe, buried March 12th, aged 92.
1780 Frances, widow of Samuel Hinchcliffe, sen., buried Nov. 19trh,
1782 Mary Rough, of Pudsey, bur. at Calverley, aged 93.
1784 Sarah, widow of James Fenton, buried Oct. 2nd, aged 99 years.
1785 Elizabeth, widow of John Grave, buried March 19th, aged 90.
1790 Sarah, widow of Rich. Anderson, buried January 10th, aged 93.
1790 Mary, widow of William Kershaw, buried Dec. 28th, aged 96.
1793 Elizabeth, widow of Joseph Binns, buried Jany. 7th, aged 90.
1794 Joseph Wilson, buried January 6th, aged 90.
1794 Martha Fenton, alias Pearson, buried Dec. 26th, aged 99.
1799 Joseph Turner, late of Jumble's Well, buried Jany. 8th, aged 99.
1802 George Hainsworth, a Chelsea pensioner, buried Jany. 27th, aged
1805 Joseph Holliday, buried Sept. 27th, aged 91.
1810 Mary, widow of Boocock, of Lowtown, buried Sept. 7th, aged 98.
1810 Jane, widow of Richard Farrer, buried Dec. 22nd, aged 99.
1810 Aaron Ackroyd, buried Nov. 18th, aged 92.
1812 Mr. Joseph Drake, late Chapel Clerk (Old Chapel), and Schoolmaster,
buried Sept. 29th, aged 87.
1814 Edward Hinchcliffe, aged 91.
1816 Mrs. Susannah Holdsworth, aged 95. She was mother, grandmother,
grandmother to upwards of 100 persons.
1801 Joshua Gaunt, of Pudsey, bur. at Calverley, January 21st, aged
1807 Mary Hodgson, of Owlcoats, bur. at Calverley, May 31st, aged 91.
1810 Betty Armitage, bur. at Independent Chapel, Sep. 15th, aged 91.
1829 George Poole, Esq., of the Height, Pudsey, aged 99.
1831 Ellen, widow of Joseph Northrop, of Lowtown, bur. June 18th, aged
1839 Mrs. Susannah Holmes, aged 92 years, died July 9th.
1840 Robert Bywater, of Chapeltown, Pudsey, died Nov. 8th, aged 91.
1841 Mrs. Farrer, mother of the late John Farrer, Esq., J.P., died March
17th, aged 90
1841 Mrs. Elizabeth Haste, died August 17th, aged 90
1842 Jeremiah Watson, sexton, Independent Chapel, aged 92.
1844 Mary, widow of Mr. Thomas Walker, aged 89.
1845 Samuel Ingham, in his 90th year, died Feby. 19th.
1847 Nancy, widow of Samuel Farrer, died Oct. 13th, aged 89.
1855 Benjamin Farrer, in his 92nd year, died August 29th.
1857 Hannah, relict of Jeremiah Watson, died Jan. 15th, aged 93.
1857 Hannah, wife of John Barraclough, died March 12th, aged 93.
1859 Tobias Farrer, of Lowtown, died Dec. 31st, aged 92.
1861 Mrs. Ann Schofield, died July 20th, aged 92, leaving behind her
5 children, 35 grand-children, 61 great grand-children, and seven great
1863 Matthew Ingham, farmer, died May 9th, aged 91.
1874 Mrs. Sarah Banks, Chapeltown, died Oct. 26th, aged 93.
1874 Joseph Roberts, died 8th of December, aged 90 years.
1876 Mary, relict of old Jim Berry, died Oct. 18th, aged 94.
1876 Joseph Webster, in his 95th year, born at Morley, died June 22nd.
1879 Mrs. McCollah, died June 5th, aged 90 years.
1880 Hannah, widow of James Waterhouse, died Dec. 28th, aged 93.
1882 Sarah, widow of late Joseph Varley, Lowtown, died May 18th, aged
1884 Eleanor, widow of Joseph Roberts, died Dec. 27, aged 93.
1885 Joseph Appleby Bateson, died March 18th, aged 94.
1885 Elizabeth, widow of William Lupton, died May 27th, aged 93.
1885 Martha Smith, buried May 29th, aged 92.
1885 Thomas Johnson, died October 8th, aged 89.
1886 Hannah, widow of John Walton, died January 16th, aged 90.
Pudsey like many of its neighbours, had a somewhat unenviable reputation
in bygone days, in the matter of drunkenness. Fighting too, was not
uncommon, a century ago, more especially at holiday and feast times.
The former vice led to the latter, and it was not at all a rare sight,
to see men stripped to the waist, fighting for a great length of time,
until one of the combatants was completely beaten. Dog battles were
a favourite form of amusement, as also, cock-fighting, game cocks being
trained to fight with steel heels put on. That much allowance needs
to be made for the indulgence in these coarse amusements, we do not
deny. The drinking habits of the people were the outcome of the customs
of centuries and especially of the old-time modes of "treating,"
and giving drink as part of wages. From the middle of the last century
until a comparatively recent period, the drinking customs of society
have kept their sway over each successive generation of our people;
but efforts have been made, from time to time, to check the evil, and
in 1833 the first "Temperance Society" in Pudsey was formed,
and for a time did much for the moral and intellectual advancement of
the village, but, having relaxed its efforts, the society was re-modelled
in 1853, when the crusade against intemperance was carried on with much
vigour and persistency, and with a considerable amount of success.
In 1880, the "Pudsey and District Band of Hope Union" was
formed, with Mr. Matthew Walker as president, and in 1883, the membership
numbered 1,000, whilst in 1886, there were sixteen Bands of Hope connected
with the Union, having a membership of 2,801, 716 of whom were over
twenty-one years of age.
Other agencies for the improvement of the condition of the inhabitants,
and for the more rational enjoyment of their leisure, were started from
time to time. In 1857, the "Early Closing Association" was
formed, with the Rev. H.J. Graham as president. The scheme came into
operation on Sep. 14th, and the hours of closing were, for the first
four days of the week, at 8 o'clock; Friday, 9 o'clock; and Saturday
at 11 o'clock. The number of members was 60. A half-holiday on Wednesday
afternoon in each week, has now been in operation for some years.
In 1857, the "Pudsey Floral and Horticultural Society: was instituted,
and held its first exhibition on the 28th day of September, when a large
and respectable collection of plants, etc., was shown, and the undertaking
was a pecuniary success. Mr. H.C. Smith was the first president. For
many years the society enjoyed a career of great usefulness, having
induced amongst the resident cottagers a spirit of emulation and pride,
and their little garden plots began to occupy the leisure time, which
was previously used unprofitably, if not perniciously. Much of the success
of the society was due to the exertions of Mr. Smith, Mr. George Hinings,
and Mr. E. Sewell, the secretary.
The number of Friendly Societies in Pudsey is very large, there being
between thirty and forty lodges or clubs, having an aggregate membership
of nearly 3,000 persons. In addition to these, the amounts paid into
the building societies of Leeds and Bradford represent a large sum.
The various orders of Odd-fellows, Foresters, Rechabites, and similar
societies, cannot in Pudsey date their origin earlier than the year
1823, but since that year they have increased rapidly, and have become
so popular that there are few working men who do not belong to some
one or other of them. Judging from the number of members, one would
be led to conclude that a very large portion of the working classes
in Pudsey are men of provident habits, who make provision in case of
sickness or casualties, so as to place themselves independent of the
workhouse or parish relief.
During the last twenty-five years, Pudsey has borne a conspicuous part
in furthering the co-operative movement. The Leeds Industrial Co-operative
Society first commenced business here in 1860, the first year's turnover
amounting to L2,923, and the profit to L53. In 1871, the foundation
stone of a large new store was laid at Pudsey, an eligible site having
been secured at the junction of Manor Street with the main road at the
top of Lowtown. The building comprises spacious shops, in which are
carried on the grocery and drapery trades. There are also two dwelling
houses, and, over the whole, a large room for the use of the committee
and shareholders at their meetings. The erection is in the Italian style
of architecture, from designs by Messrs. Wilson and Bailey, architects,
of Leeds. The foundation stone was laid by Mr. William Bell, president
of the Leeds Society. The number of members connected with the branch
of the Leeds Society is about 300, and the amount of their purchases
in connection with the store at Lowtown for year ending December, 1886,
was L10,111 16s. 5d. and the profit realised thereon, L930. The total
amount of business done at the store from its commencement in 1860,
to December, 1886, is L184,857, and the total profit, L12,725.
In addition to this store, the Society has a branch at Greenside, Pudsey,
which was commenced in 1874, and another at Littlemoor, commenced in
The whole Society, the operations of which cover a large area, numbered
at the end of 1886, 23,985 members, with an annual turnover amounting
to L481,220, with a net profit of L54,737, having a share capital of
In 1871, the first Co-operative Mill in Pudsey was started, under the
title of the "Pudsey Worsted Mill Company, Limited." The first
stone of the mill was laid by one of the directors, Mr. James Newell,
on the 14th day of July, in the presence of a large assembly, when an
address on the advantages of co-operation was delivered by Mr. Bell,
of Leeds. The cost of the erection was upwards of L6,000, and it was
built from designs by Mr. John Haton, of Pudsey. Nearly 2,000 shares
at L2 each were taken up, principally by working men. The site of the
mill is near to the Greenside Station of the branch railway from Stanningley.
The means of communication, in Pudsey itself, as well as with other
towns was, until a comparatively recent period, of a very unsatisfactory
kind. The roads were of the most primitive character, chiefly footpaths,
leading from one part of the village to another, and to the markets
at Leeds and Bradford. No macadamising, no paving, no draining, no side
walks worthy of the name, and the roads generally both dangerous and
difficult to travel. On dark nights, lanterns, pattens, and sticks,
were indispensable to avoid accidents, and ensure a measure of safety
in plodding along the knife-edged footpaths, and almost impassable streets.
Since the formation of the Local Board, a great improvement has been
effected in the management of the highways, and Pudsey, in this respect,
will compare favourably with neighbouring towns.
For a quarter of a century Pudsey was dependent upon Stanningley for
its railway accommodation, and it was not until 1870, that steps were
taken to remedy this great inconvenience, arising from Stanningley Station
being too distant to meet the growing requirements of a populous manufacturing
town like Pudsey. A local committee was formed to wait upon the directors
of the London and North-Western Railway Company, with the view of inducing
them to continue their line from Lower Wortley and Farnley to Bradford,
via Pudsey. The deputation went to Euston Station, met the directors,
and stated their case. After due consideration, the Company came to
the conclusion that on account of the difficulties of crossing the Tong
Valley, and obtaining a station in Bradford, they could not accede to
the application. The Committee subsequently went, on the same errand,
to the head-quarters of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company,
at Manchester. Their application was favourably received, and instructions
were given that the district should be surveyed. This was being done,
when in 1871, the Great Northern Railway Company obtained powers in
Parliament to construct a railway to Pudsey, branching from their Leeds
and Bradford line. Negotiations were commenced with some thirty-two
owners of property, and the line was marked out.
The ceremony of cutting the first sod took place on March 24, 1875,
in a field near to Priestley Mills. Mr. John Butler turned the first
sod; Joseph Elsworth and Joseph Emsley, two old inhabitants of Pudsey,
also taking part.
The railway is two and a quarter miles long. Commencing behind the station
at Stanningley, a line of rails is laid alongside the main line for
a distance of some 600 yards in the direction of Bramley. The line then
breaks off to the right, and is joined by a fork from Bramley, near
Dyeholes Well, in a field opposite the Priestley Mills, which stand
a little to the left of the line. This fork is 850 yards long. It leaves
the main line about 150 yards on the down side of Bramley Station, and
joins the Stanningley fork at a point 1,000 yards from Stanningley Station.
The line from the Bramley end to some distance above the junction, runs
on a heavy embankment. The Stanningley fork leaves the main line in
a cutting 100 yards long, and then the level is raised until the junction
is reached. The railway from this junction follows the direction of
the Bramley fork, sweeping gradually to the left until it reaches Pudsey
main street, a little above the Allanbrig Mill. In order to bring the
line underneath the road, a cutting had to be made 730 yards long, and
32ft. in its deepest part, extending from a short distance above the
fork to about 100 yards on the other side of the road, where Lowtown
Station is erected. The site of the station is on the lower side of
the line. The land purchased by the Company at this place for station
purposes-some four or five acres in extent-comprises a portion of the
field in which for many years the Pudsey feasts were held, and where,
in times gone by, the lovers of bull-baiting used to witness their favourite
sport. The cutting is through shale and a hard "bastard" rock,
and the work was mainly carried on by means of blasting. After leaving
the station, the line curves considerably to the right, and passing
to the left of Crawshaw Mill is carried underneath Robin Lane, opposite
Crawshaw House. Radcliffe Lane is crossed in a similar manner, near
its junction with Robin Lane. The line then passes through a number
of fields between Chapeltown and the top of Fartown, until its terminus
is reached in a piece of vacant ground near Cliffe Mill, Greenside.
There are several substantial bridges on the railway, among which may
be mentioned that carrying the line over Swinnow Lane, another (a three-arch
bridge) over Boggard Lane, near the Allanbrig Mill reservoir; a third
supporting the main street; an arched way under the line at Hammerton
Fields; and two iron-girder bridges which carry Robin and Radcliffe
Lanes. The Main Street bridge is 68ft. long and 43ft. wide, and consists
of an iron-girder span, 26ft. across, supported by two massive stone
abutments. The height is 15ft. from the level of the rails. There is
only one line of rails, but the bridges have been constructed so as
to carry a double line, and the Company have also purchased the land
necessary for that purpose.
The total rise from the Bramley Junction to Greenside is nearly 149ft.,
so that somewhat heavy gradients predominate. The steepest ascents are
1 in 50, and the easiest 1 in 108. Messrs. N.B. Fogg and Co., railway
contractors, Liverpool, constructed the line. Mr. John Fraser, C.E.,
Leeds was the chief engineer. Mr. John Butler, of the Stanningley Iron-works,
supplied the ironwork for the bridges, and the stone was procured from
the Park Spring Quarries, near Bramley. The cost of the line was L103,000.
It was opened for passenger traffic on the 1st of April 1878, amidst
much enthusiasm on the part of the townspeople. From early morn to late
at night the famous Pudsey bells rang out merry peals, while the Pudsey
band paraded the streets during a great portion of the day. There was
no recognised holiday, except so far as Saint Monday is recognised,
but the aggregate result of the day's working would probably show that
machinery might as well have been allowed a rest. As might be expected,
the inclination to take a ride on the first day of opening was irresistible,
if only that so extraordinary an event might be handed down to posterity;
but apart from that, the delights of a railway ride might, to not a
few natives, have been a real pleasure, for it is affirmed that scores
spent most of their time in riding backwards and forwards throughout
the day. However that may be, it was found at the close of the day that
450 single tickets, and over 400 returns, had been issued between Pudsey
and Stanningley Stations, and nearly 500 tickets giving transmission
from Stanningley to Pudsey.