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Member’s Meeting – 10th April 2024

Flora Smithies, a society member, gave a talk titled Destination Elland – A Journey of Discovery.

This started with her own story of her early live at Dean Head when a visit to Elland was an adventure. Catching the trolley bus from West Vale to Elland when they visited the dentist twice a year. They would also play a visit to the Market Warehouse. A place where you could get almost anything you required.

Flora then went on to present to members a copy of a document she had been given for the sale of land on the Langdale Estate by Joseph Langdale in 1877.  It was the contents of this document that started Flora’s research into how the Langdales of East Yorkshire arrived in Elland.  She traced the history of the Langdale family from their routes in East Yorkshire in the 1500’s to their eventual presence as significant landowners in Elland.

The family had businesses and property in London, Elland, East Yorkshire and France.

After intensive investigations through the family generations Flora was able to find the connection to Elland.  Marmaduke Langdale married Frances Brooksbank of Warley.  Included in the dowry was property and land in Elland.  The presence of the Langdale Family can be seen in the names of some of the streets in Elland: Langdale Street, James Street, Catherine Street and Frances Street named after members of the family.

Members Meeting 14th February 2024

AG introduced the speaker for the night, Alan Dean, who guided us through a slide show on The History of Joe Dean and Sons, Haulage Contractors.

Alan’s Great Grandfather, Joe Dean was a tenant farmer at Far Syke House, located at the junction of Branch Road and Saddleworth Road, Greetland.

The property at that time was rented from the Dyson family. Later, the Dysons sold the property at auction to a butcher from Hull. However, very shortly afterwards, he sold it on to Joe Dean. He, later, built the terrace of four houses at the end of Branch Road for members of his family for the princely sum of £600.

As well as the usual farming activities, they ran a haulage business using wagons and horses and would often travel to Appleby Horse Market to buy horses which they would then walk back to Greetland over a period of several days. Some of the horses would be sold on to other local farmers.

Joe and Edna Dean had four children, including Alan’s Grandfather and the driving force behind the haulage business, Joe Willy Dean.

Joe Willy persuaded his father to buy their first petrol powered wagon, which he himself drove. In June 1915 he volunteered for the Army, he was called up in 1918, but did not see active service and was demobbed in October 1919. He then persuaded his father to buy a fleet of petrol wagons. At that time a lot of haulage firms started up, buying up and using Army surplus vehicles.

The business was diverse, transporting a lot of products and materials for the textiles industries which were thriving locally, partnering with companies such as Binns and Sons, pulling rags to make shoddy for export, Elland Dying Company, when every Friday they would take a full load to Dundee, they worked on roads for WRCC, and they were also coal merchants, but this ended when the cost of maintaining coal tipper wagons became too much.

The day to day farming business continued, cattle being bought and sold at market (and then bought back as meat from the butchers a few weeks later), and hay making during the summer months – happy days.

As the business prospered, a new garage was built in 1947. Although the structure was sound, the roof was constructed on the cheap and leaked until Alan had it repaired many years later.

Eventually, they started using articulated wagons to attract more lucrative work. There was never a shortage of work for haulage companies and they often had to use subcontractors to meet the demand.

They carried a lot of cotton yarns to knitters in the Midlands, transported quarried rock for Marshalls at Southowram, plastics for Synlon Plastics, heavy engineered products and fabrications for the likes of James Lumb, Hopkinson Valves and Portland Engineering.

They developed a very good relationship with their neighbouring business, Bondina/Freudenberg and on many occasions provided them with wagons for them to dress up as floats for local events. And because of their Auntie’s connection with the Girl Guides, they also provided this same service whenever the Halifax and Elland Carnivals were on.

Alan’s many slides and narrative proved to be a joy to all who attended, bringing back very happy memories of days gone by in our small corner of the world.

Members Meeting 10th January 2024

The guest speaker, Shirley Asquith, delivered a factual talk on Dorothy Wordsworth, an English poet, author and diarist and, the sister of the much more well known poet, William Wordsworth. Some believe that Dorothy, living in the shadow of her brother, never received the recognition she deserved. But she had no ambition to become well known and was happy for her brother to be in the spotlight. Indeed, it is thought that William’s well known poem, “Daffodils”, was somewhat plagiarised and adapted from a journal entry written by Dorothy some two years earlier.

Dorothy was born on Christmas Day 1771 and raised as a young child in Cockermouth in Cumbria. Sadly, her parents died while she was young, so, in 1783, she came to live in Halifax with her auntie, Elizabeth Threlkeld. In later life she documented, “Halifax, a place I have come to call home”.

She attended Mellins, a boarding school, where she was taught, not only the usual “Three R’s”, but also about good morals, literature and nature. This was the same school later attended by Anne Lister, and though 20 years later and in the similar era, neither lady made reference in their journals about the other, and although they were associated with the same people, they did not know each other.

The Halifax Piece Hall was opened on New Years Day 1779. Dorothy often stayed with a very good friend, Mary Pollard, who lived nearby and, from her bedroom window, she could see the comings and goings of the traders

Elizabeth Threlkeld married William Rawson, a partner in Rawson’s Bank, and this opened the door for Dorothy to improve her social connections. She was always very poor and could never afford to buy her own home and William Rawson was very good to her and often gave her books.

After she died in 1855, her journals were published posthumously in 1897. (AB)

Shirley Asquith
Speaker and GEHS Member

Members Meeting 13th December 2023

Members Meeting 13th December 2023

Our speaker at our last meeting before Christmas was our Chairman, Mr Andrew Gilmour. Andrew gave an entertaining, and memory provoking talk on Christmas Traditions.  Andrew’s talk was followed by the annual Brian Hargreaves Raffle. Prizes were donated by the committee and GEHS members.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL FRIENDS AND MEMBERS OF THE SOCIETY

Members Meeting -8th November 2023

We welcomed Mr Patrick Robertshaw to our November meeting. Mr Robertshaw gave us a talk on the Kirkheaton Police Murders in 1951.

The story revolved around a man named Alfred Moore (or was it Albert Moore?), who was hanged on the date of the Queen’s accession to the throne. He was a prolific serial burglar specialising in mills and offices. Mr Robertshaw showed us a number of photographs, some of which showed the extent of Moore’s extensive collection of skeleton keys.

He and his family lived at Whinney Close Farm. It was in a remote location which served as an ideal base for his surreptitious activities.

His daughter attended a private school which showed just how lucrative his “business” was (far more so than a farming business could be).

In July 1951 the police decided that it was time to put a stop to his criminal activity. On the fateful night in question, they staked out his property. As he was a mere burglar, no violence was expected. However, gunfire was heard at one of the locations where the police had been waiting to intercept him upon his return home from another night “at the office”. Two policemen had been shot; an inspector, Duncan Fraser, died at the scene of the crime; the constable, Arthur Jagger, died in hospital a few days later, but not before identifying Moore in an identity parade and providing a deposition on his death bed.

On the strength of PC Jagger’s evidence, Moore was charged with murder, tried by jury, convicted and sentenced to be hanged, despite the fact that his property was searched with a fine-tooth comb and no weapon was ever found.

Alfred Moore was hanged on the 6th February 1952, the same date as the Queen’s accession to the throne.

Mr Keith Gill, Vice Chair of the Society, thanked Mr Robertshaw for his fascinating insight into the demise of one of the area’s most notorious criminals.                                                        (AB)

UPCOMING EVENTS

Summer Trip – Wednesday 19th June 2024

Please refer to the Excursion page for further information.

History Room – Elland Library

The History Room will be closed on 28th May, 2024.

Member’s Meeting

There will be no meetings over the summer period. Our next members meeting will take place on 11th September 2024. Membership of the Society for the year commencing September 2024 will be £15.00.

*Also check the News Updates page*

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