History of Lindal & Marton

A village community at the heart of Furness

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Brian Edge's Memories

Brian Edge lived in Lindal in the 1940s, and now lives in Crewe, Cheshire.  In 1993, Brian Edge published "Jottings of a Lindal Girl", a book written by his mother, Doris Edge (nee Doris Dickinson), about her childhood in Lindal around the time of the First World War. Brian has now written for this website about his own memories of growing-up in Lindal.

A Tale of a Goat

When I was 9 years old, in 1941, I was evacuated from Barrow-in-Furness to Lindal-in-Furness; not far, but a sufficient distance to be safe from the bombing. I went to Lindal School where I joined up with a number of other evacuees from the city of Salford. I had a school pal called Bobby Wicks who lived on the Green. He had a plan that was to earn us some pocket money. Bobby had heard that Mrs. Birch (the builder’s wife) who lived in a house which at the time was next to the West Cumberland Farmers had a goat for sale. We paid 2/6d for the animal (1/3d each) and as my friend did not have anywhere to keep it we agreed that I could keep it in the back garden of my grandparents (Mr. and Mrs. Dickinson of 23, Ulverston Road): next to the Anchor Hotel.

My grandfather was very proud of his garden especially in wartime when the “Dig for Victory” slogan was on everybody’s lips. We brought the animal on a length of rope tied around its neck and we tethered it in the back garden of number 23. I then went indoors to tell of the surprise that we had for them and the great deal that we had done for a mere 1/3d each. My grandfather was always interested in anything that I did and was generally encouraging, but when he saw what we had….... goodness I thought the Germans had landed!  "Get that xxxxx thing out of here right away he yelled!" I have to say that up to that time I had no idea that my granddad knew any swear words!  My grandmother then appeared on the scene to see what was going on and she went white with rage. "Take that flea ridden thing back to where you got it from right away" she yelled. My pal Bobby tried his best to justify the purchase by explaining that neither of them had taken into account the milk that would be forthcoming. I can remember the sting in my Grandmother's words when she pronounced “You’ll get no milk from that – it’s a Billy goat!”  We took the animal back and we got our money back.

Brian Edge. parauke@supanet.com

Wilmer Dickinson

Wilmer Dickinson was the youngest brother of Doris Dickinson. He was born at Mount Pleasant, Lindal. At the age of 23 he was a traffic clerk in the Ribble Bus Company's Dalton office. It was a quiet job, regular hours, safe routine, no excitement. Then he was plunged into a role as a stretcher-bearer on the Dutch front close to the German frontier.

The following article was published in the North-Western Evening Mail on Wednesday 18th October 1944. Many thanks to Bill Myers of the North-West Evening Mail Memories column for providing the cutting.

A Nature Study

A recent visit to familiar places on Google satellite made me quite depressed, for in every case the places that I knew so intimately had changed so significantly that they were no longer as I had remembered them. As a young man I was a Station Master at a rural station in Leicestershire. The country station eventually closed in the 1960’s along with thousands of others. Thirty years later I eagerly visited the same place but sadly not only had the station completely disappeared and there was not even the slightest clue that a station had ever been there. I came away quite sad and disillusioned.

However, it is not only industrial and residential development that changes our environment; nature itself also does its best to blur our dearest childhood visions. As a 9 year old I virtually knew all aspects of Lindal and what we then called the broken grounds. Of course I was forbidden to go there, but then, I was a boy!  I was a loner from choice. I knew the dangers and could take special care on my own. When other boys were around there was always going to be trouble. I knew the whereabouts of all the shafts and dangers that lurked beneath the brambles. When I wanted to go down the Daylight Hole I knew just the easiest way to get there, bushes were markers and I knew which side to pass them on for the most comfortable journey down. To fall or slip was a disaster for me, as the consequences when I got home could well be a good hiding, as the tell tale red ore on my clothes would be a sure give-away as to the whereabouts of my wanderings. I was aware as a nine year old of the mining bogies that had been left down the daylight hole when mining was abandoned. It was a very exciting and memorable time for me.

Fifty years later I took a visiting friend to see my remarkable cavern. Confidently I guided my friend through the field gate and when we reached the raised area where the miners changing rooms were once situated I realised that things were no longer the same. Nature was playing its game on me; everything was so different. Bushes had become trees. No longer did I know the easy way any more, in fact I wondered if we were going to get there at all. When we eventually reached a point where we could look down on the cavern it could hardly be seen for greenery. I couldn’t believe it. Nature had again got the better of me.

However as a boy, nature also provided me with much enjoyment. A favourite pastime in the summer was picking wild strawberries. These I collected in a pocket handkerchief or better still an old jam jar. Many could be found on the cliff to the right of the daylight hole but larger and more prolific supplies could be found on the railway embankment between the bottom of Railway Terrace and the station bridge. They took a lot of seeking out and picking but it was a great way to pass the time. Upon arriving back home I would tip my harvest into a bowl, (without washing them) and with a little milk and sugar added I mashed them with a fork they became my own very special delicacy.

My Grandmother had a gooseberry bush at the back of no. 23, Ulverston Road. In season it bore very large (about 2 inches) red gooseberries but the only trouble was that she knew exactly how many berries were on the bush, so that was a no go area. Fortunately I knew the whereabouts of a nice wild gooseberry bush. From the school I would run up the field to Office House, through the wicket gate and on the other side of the road at that time there was a very old metal wicket gate. Through that and about 20 yards up a small rise amongst the gorse was the gooseberry bush. You are the very first to be told this secret, as I considered it to be my bush. No doubt after nearly 65 years it may well have naturally succumbed. I sometimes wonder?

The BogAt the back of the old plantation behind Mount Pleasant were the White tarn and the Bog. White tarn at that time was a just a depression that only held water when there had been a heavy fall of rain but the Bog was a small pool which never dried up, shallow at one end and was habited by a few small fish and plenty of tadpoles and frogs. Quite close to the Bog in early summer one could find small white flowers growing on a thin stalk. These were very special as they were a signpost to a tasty snack, known to us kids as pig nuts. I used to sit there in the shade of the old plantation grubbing down with my pocket knife for the bulb or tuber of the plant. It was necessary to dig them out rather than trying to pull them out, as their stalks were very fragile and the stalk was needed to guide you to your target. Pig nuts were very pleasant to chew. All the kids did it but their sources of supply were closely guarded secrets as was mine. Two commodities that I never touched were mushrooms and water cress as my father had told me before he went away on war work that I must never eat any of those so I never had any interest in them. Readers will no doubt have noticed that nothing ever got washed. Well nothing tasted better than a mucky carrot obtained from one of the village farms; mind you I did scrape them on the school wall before eating them!

My wild cherry tree produced some nice fruit. To get to the tree I had to walk up School Hill* as far as the left buttress of the tramway bridge. I had to climb up this and get onto the course of the old tramway (the bridge across the road was removed long before I was in Lindal). Then I had to walk a short distance in the direction of Lindal Wood and on the right there was a limestone cave.  I had to almost lay down to get inside. Right outside the cave was my cherry tree. I think there may have been a small quarry there.

*(the renaming of which to Pit Lane was an outrage at the time)

Where would you find a good crab apple tree? Well the one I found was on the outskirts of my territory. It involved a walk down the A590 main road to Lowfield Bridge, under the bridge and immediately on the right there was a five barred gate. After passing through this gate there was an enormous hole probably as a result of mining at Lowfield. It was the local tip into which rubbish and old cars were disposed of. There were some classic old cars down there I can tell you. After bypassing the tip and walking parallel to the railway for a short distance one had then to shout aloud and in return you would hear a double echo. The echo appeared to come from a clump of trees few hundred yards away and my crab apple tree was one of them. Many a jar of crab apple jelly was made from the fruit from that tree.

I know that a lot of things have changed since those days sixty years ago for then one could wander in any field and nobody would say a word as long as you closed the gates. Twenty or so years ago I wanted to get a photograph of the old limestone Dynamite House. This was situated in the top wall of the big field behind Mount Pleasant about 150 yards from the Office House. The walls were about ten feet high and in the end facing Office House was a doorway (but no door). One wall was part of the wall itself. There was no roof and the place was only used as an animal pen. With my camera at the slope I was walking across the field just as I had done all those years earlier when a man approached. He said “What are you wanting?” I replied “who is asking?” and he said “well this is my field!”  I explained to him what I was doing and his attitude fortunately changed and he told me that the remains of the building had been demolished some years earlier. No doubt some good stone was wanted for a building job somewhere. We had a friendly parting but the incident was a clear indication to me that one could no longer wander about anywhere one pleased and that to me was another sad aspect resulting from the passage of time.

Finally one secret I am not giving away is the location of some magnificent holly trees laden with lovely large red berries every year. I am sorry but it a family secret and still the subject of an annual holly expedition every Christmas!

Brian Edge 2008.

Photo of Doris Dickinson at Mount Pleasant provided by Brian Edge.

The Rose Queen

The young lady in the picture is Marion Thompson taken on the Green when she was Rose Queen. My mother did not unfortulately mention the year but Marion was the daughter of Ben Thompson and his Wife Elsie Ormerod of Hemplands Cottages.

Lindal Cricket Field

You may not know, but at the time of the WW1 Lindal cricket field extended right down to the backs of the houses on Bank Terrace. This meant that the fielder on that boundary was well out of sight of the main body of players, and they could not see him either. This necessitated a code being in use by the home side to indicate to their fielder in which area the ball was heading. Nobody ever knew if the ball crossed the boundary or not. Just imagine the chagrin of the visiting team batsman when the boundary fielder's arm appeared over the crest holding the ball high and declaring "caught", and the umpire's finger pointing to the sky. They call that scenario "home ground advantage!"

The ground has been subject to subsidence a number of times over the years, but I remember well going down to the cricket field from Lindal School in the early war years, two of us carrying the bag containing the bats and pads. What a disappointment it was when we got there as we found the cricket field ploughed up as a result of the "Dig for Victory Campaign!"

Jimmy & Valentine Cumberbatch

There was a place of worship on Sunny Bank. This was originally the Baptist Chapel and there was a large bath in the building for the baptising of their flock. Facing the road was Chapel House, and one day my mother passed the gate and she saw four dark eyes looking over the gate. They were two little black boys. They were the first black persons that she had ever seen. She told me how fast the two little boys could run, and speed was eventually essential in making their living, as when they grew up they both became famous Rugby League Stars, their names being James (Jimmy) and Valentine Cumberbatch. Valentine became an excellent three quarter back for Barrow in the 1930's and early 1940's, and Jimmy was the first black player to play Rugby League for England.

Lindal Cricket Team and Committee circa 1922

We had a picture in our family archives of the L.M.C.C. I remember it well as it had my Grandfather Jack Dickinson on it. He was I believe a stonewall batsman in his day and a somewhat notorious umpire as the story goes. Unfortunately the picture that I had somehow went to another member of the family and I don't know where it will be. The team photo was taken outside the old pavilion, and I should date it about 1922 from what I can gather from the information on the typescript. Well in the bundle of notes of mother's I found what is in fact the captions for the photo, but it is very interesting as it gives a potted history of all the team and officials. The typescript reads as follows:

Lindal Cricket Team and Committee after winning the North Lancashire Cricket League Division 11.

Back Row L to R  
Mr Joseph Burrows Committee. School Board truant chaser. Lived round the Green.
Mr Jack Dickinson Committee. Miner. Lived at Mount Pleasant. Father-in-Law of our present Post Mistress.
Mr William Baycliff Committee Chairman. Mine Manager under Mr Jacks. Ex Councillor, Lived at Lowfield House.
Mr Mark Helme Committee. Assistant Head of Grammar School. Umpire. Daughter is Mrs Dennis Noall.
Mr Harry Courtney Committee. Hard worker for the club. Lived at Sawmill Cottage then Usrwick.
Middle Row L to R  
Mr William Dixon (Billie) Committee. Farmer living at East View. Acted as Trainer & Coach of Cricket & Football.
Mr Tom S Left Hander. Could He Hit. It was Diamond Pit every time with Tom. Lived in the Green.
Mr John Simpson Deadly bowler on a suitable wicket but no fielder. Useful team mate. Lived in the Green.
Mr Jack Wilkinson Very good all rounder. Lived in Loppergarth. Later at Swarthmoor.
Mr Mo Postlethwaite Always called Sugar by his mates. Another good allrounder. He too came from Loppergarth.
Mr Joe Hurst Lovely Fielder and good bat. At present living at Ulverston. One time Dalton Asst Finance Offr.
Mr George Denney The "Father of cricket in Lindal". Secretary & dedicated to the game. Two sons & grandson all played for Lindal. Father of Mrs Dorothy Thompson.
Front Row L to R  
Mr William Lindow School Teacher. Excellent Bat and Fielder. Lived at Sunny Bank. Father of Jim, Dowdales Teacher & Head of Evening Classes.
Mr Issac Keen Good Bat and Wicket Keeper. Head Master Lindal School. Lived in Myrtle Terrace Dalton.
Mr Walter Helme Farmer. Captain of the Team for many years. Good Bat. Son Roy the most Loyal Member of the Team in later years.
Mr Jacks Honorary Captain. One of two brothers who owned Lindal Moor Mines. Good supporter, lived at Whinfield. Family Home at Lyme Regis.
Mr Jim Simpson One of the best all rounders at cricket or football. Fitter at the mines then Vickers.
Mr George Simpson Brother to Jim and John's cousin. Good man to have in any team. Lived in The Green & Ulverston.
Mr Jack Slater All round sportsman, got plenty of runs for Lindal. Married Lindal girl & went to Australia.
Scorer  
John Smith Showed promise as a youth and later joined the Team for many years. Became a master plumber and lived at Hempland cottage all his life.

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