History of Lindal & Marton

A village community at the heart of Furness

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Stories by Doris Edge

Doris Edge was born on 21.9.1906 at Stockbridge Lane, Ulverston. Daughter of John and Janet Dickinson (nee Hoggarth) latterly at 23, Ulverston Road, Lindal. Elder sister to Thomas Raymund and Frederick Wilmer Dickinson. Married Fred Edge of Barrow in Furness at Lindal Chapel in 1932 and mother to Brian.  Doris Died 5.2.1999 aged 93.  Doris Edge was the author of Jottings of a Lindal Girl published in 1993. The picture on the right shows Doris in 1993 with her book.

The following stories have been compiled by Doris's son Brian Edge from some of her previously unpublished notes.

Alice Gilchrist

One dear old lady who for a few years was the oldest resident in the village must have been eighty seven years of age when she died. She was Mrs Alice Gilchrist and was known to all as ‘Old Alice.’ I was always rather timid of her as she was rough in manner. She never swore, but was very curt and had a broad country accent. Notwithstanding her manner she was kindness itself.

Every Sunday she was on time in her usual seat in the chapel in her black bonnet, dress and cape. During the week she always wore a large grey shawl; in winter it was over her head, and drawn tight around her. She always seemed cosy and warm. She would go for her milk to the farm and she carried her shopping basket or milk can under her shawl. Alice was a friend of my Grandmother, Sarah Hoggarth, and she would come up to visit us at Mount Pleasant sometime during the week when she stayed about an hour chatting about the latest news. It made a nice change for both of them as they were getting older. Sometimes she would bake potatoes in their jackets and bring one or two up for my Grandmother as a surprise for her tea. Alice’s name for jacket potatoes was “scoordy gobs.”

Alice lived in Fell Street (later to be called Sunny Bank) near the Baptist Chapel so we lived only two or three minutes walk from each other. On the day of my grandmother's funeral Alice did not go to the service or the cemetery but she came to the house just before the cortege left. She was in her best dress and shawl and carried a bag under it. She took off her shawl and wrapped it up and took from the bag a lovely white lace cap. She did not have much hair and she always wore a cap in the house and today it was a little beauty, all frills of white crisp lace and a small spray of mauve violets, just lovely. My mother, Janet Dickinson, said to Alice “I hope that you will stay and have some tea with us when we get back?” “That’s just what I’ve come for” replied Alice. Our living room was quite big and we had a large table when opened to the full would seat twelve people.  At tea Alice sat next to Grandma’s elder brother James Lewis and the two of them enjoyed reminiscing happier times.

I was quite a big girl and always wanted some long stockings for the winter, but it was no good as my mother was adamant; no long stockings. Eventually she gave way and agreed that I could have some up to the knee and that was better than the short ones that just peeped over my boot tops and often got lost slipping down inside. One bitterly cold day my mother and I were going down the road, when we met Alice. Mother and Alice exchanged a few words and then Alice looked at me and she went hastily off muttering to herself about some folks not having much sense. My Mother wondered what had gone wrong. About a week later Alice came on her usual visit and she handed me a parcel. When I opened lit to my great delight I found a pair of long black woollen stockings and said to mother “if you get me some wool I will knit her another pair to go with them and ended by muttering to herself “I have never heard anything like it, bare legs in weather like this.” A week later true to her word she came with another pair. She was a wonderful knitter and the maker of large padded quilts, all hand made on a large frame and quilted in different designs; also the old fashioned sun bonnets, with the quilted fronts that we used to call ‘hay time bonnets’. They were all starched and crisp with the frill at the back to protect the neck from the sun. When I was about 16 we had to entertain ourselves and also try to entertain others. I was chosen to act an old lady’s part in a short play that we were giving to finish off a concert.  After a few rehearsals and near the date of the performance I said to my mother “wouldn’t it be grand if I could have one of Alice’s lace caps?” Mother agreed. “Yes, go and ask her if she would loan you one.” I was not too sure how she would feel about it, but at last I took courage and went to her house and asked her. I got the surprise of my life when she said “Oh come in!” Off she went up stairs and she brought down a large cardboard hat box that contained her lace caps all neatly wrapped in tissue paper. She took them out and spread a few on the table and said “Now my lass just take your pick!” I was almost afraid to touch them. All the lace was so fresh and snow white. In the end I took one of the second bests. I thought it was beautiful. I do believe that she was delighted to be asked as I doubt if she ever got any young visitors calling on her. I felt really special wearing it in the little play.

On another occasion we were both at the farm fetching the milk at the same time and as we were walking back up the hill we were met by another farmer bringing in his cows for milking. Alice stood and watched them all pass and then she turned to the farmer who was their owner and said “you ought to be ashamed of yourself owning such a lot of miserable looking cattle why I can count the bones!” Then she strutted off without another word leaving the farmer muttering “Nay now they’re not as bad as that.” But that was Alice, like it or lump it, please yourself! Alice’s home was lovely and she had an old gentleman who lodged with her. I suppose it would help her to keep her independence as the pension was next to nothing in those days. Mr Thomas Hodgson was a widower. He regularly attended Lindal Chapel, always sitting in the same seat. The choir sat at one side and there were two pews facing at the other. He always sat in the front pew of the two. It was known to all of us as Tommy Hodgson’s seat. A young man came to preach one Sunday. He had just passed his exam and had been made a local preacher. Tommy introduced himself to the young man and wished him every success in his teaching career. Tommy concluded by saying that he hoped that he wouldn’t preach too long a sermon, “In fact” said Tommy “When you hear me shuffling my feet you will know that you have gone on long enough!” The preacher related this story many years later and said it was an incident he would never forget and would cherish the memory. There was another story concerning Tommy. Country people seldom had the opportunity to go to a theatre. Tommy went just once. There was a trapeze turn on and in small theatres the performers swung out into the auditorium. Tommy must have got worked up watching, probably thinking that there could be an accident and he called out at the top of his voice “you can come down now lads you’ve done enough! After Tommy had died there was another man, a Mr Maitland, who wanted somewhere to lodge; so Alice took him in. He had been a watch repairer and I often took a watch to him to mend. He had a room at the top of the house, like our house on Mount Pleasant Alice’s had three storeys. Every evening he would walk to Martin (sic) one and a half miles away. He always carried a small enamel can and as he passed our house and a neighbour would say Mr. Maitland is going for his milk. The same person also had a chat with him and suggested that he ought to look for himself a wife and suggested “Mrs Agnes Gilchrist is looking for another husband.” “Well she will have to look” he retorted and walked off.  Agnes Gilchrist lived next door to Alice in Fell Street.

I was much older before I realised that Mr Maitland was not going for milk every evening but to the New Inn for his half pint of supper beer.

Harry the Hawker

For a number of years we had a greengrocer who came around on a flat cart. His wife had a little shop selling groceries and vegetables and her husband Harry came around with his goods on the cart. When ever he stopped he would ring a hand-bell. My grandmother would say “listen out for Harry” and she would tell me what she wanted. What was different about Harry was that he had no legs and he sat in the centre of the cart with the scales by his side and his goods all around him all within easy reach. His pony was old and well trained and seemed to know when it was time to stop or move on.

Harry and his family attended the Church of Christ and he used to walk to church. He had two straight wooden legs (sticks) with a rubber ferrule on the end (no feet) and he could cover the ground quite quickly with the aid of two sticks. He also had a little governess trap, and in the summer he would convey two or three grown ups and two or three children the four or five miles to the seaside at Bardsea. The charge was a Pound; which does not seem much today but it was a lot of money in those times. He would come back for us after tea and we had some marvellous days out with him.

I think it was after Harry had died that we were speaking of him and my Dad said “poor Harry lost his legs for a halfpenny. He was on the railway station platform and he accidentally dropped a halfpenny onto the line and as he prepared to jump down to retrieve it the Station Master pulled him back as the train was approaching. However, when the Station Master turned his back Harry jumped down on the track but sadly he did not manage to get back up in time.”  It was the general opinion that Harry was very fortunate to survive the incident. It also proved that even a halfpenny was valuable in those days.

A terrible period in Lindal's history

I have just been reading an article in our local newspaper regarding the opening of the new Furness Hospital. There was mention that this would mean the closure of High Carley. High Carley was a small isolation hospital, known to us all as the Fever hospital before the days of the motor car. The ambulance was in those days drawn by horses. When Lindal had a visit of an ambulance it usually meant that someone in our community was in trouble, and knowing everyone in the village we always felt a depth of grief when illness struck.

When I was about 14 years of age there was a severe outbreak of diphtheria in Lindal. One of my close friends at school, just the same age as myself was Annie Rigg, she had six brothers. Annie being the middle child, the youngest being a little boy Josie who was just a few months old. Annie used to say “I love Josie so much that if anything happened to him I would die. “ We had just finished school when the epidemic started, first one child went down with it and then another and everyone in the village wondered where it would strike next. The first one in Annie’s family to be struck down was Ernie he was taken to High Carley. The next was Tom an older boy, then Ernie died. The next to be taken away to hospital was baby Josie and although Tom was improving alas little Josie was the next to die. Then my friend Annie felt ill and I was so unhappy as we were such good friends and I prayed for her recovery but that was not to be.  Annie was the third child in that family to die in one month. I have always had a dread of that dreadful illness and I am very grateful for modern medicine which helps so much to deal with these awful diseases.

It was the custom in those days to have bookmarks printed ‘In memorium.’  Mrs. Rigg gave me one it was a satin ribbon with fringed ends with the names and dates and a verse printed.

Milk, butter & the Lindal Tommy shop

We always had a quart of milk (two pints) delivered each day at 4.30pm. There were three daughters at Low Farm. The family attended the Wesleyan chapel, where our family worshipped. One sister used to take the morning’s milk to Barrow and the other two used to take it in turns to deliver the evenings milk around the village. If one wanted extra milk they had to go to High Farm for that and I also went once a week for two pounds of butter. Tuesday was churning day so I would go on Wednesday or Thursday. Sometimes I would be met by Miss Withers or it could be her sister Mrs. Leece. They often used to say your legs are younger than mine go down and get it. On the first occasion I wondered what is was like down in that cellar, and I soon was to see what was down in that Aladdin’s Cave. It was quite light down there which came from a large grill which was glazed over. It seemed to me a larger place than I had ever imagined and it was very cold down there even in the summer. Around the side was all slate slabs with the large bowls of milk which had the cream skimmed off each day. In the centre of the room was a very large table slab with all the butter laid out in rows, all patted round with the rose, thistle and shamrock design on the top. Now all that is almost forgotten, very little butter is made that way now.

One morning Grandma said I think we will want some milk this morning, so bring a quart. It cost three old pence a quart in the country and four old pence in the town in those days. After collecting the milk I came out of the farm onto the road and opposite the farm gate is a disused quarry. There was a five barred gate at the entrance to the quarry and at the end was a building where the workers kept their tools and Mr. Dixon the Lamplighter kept his equipment. Each spring the general public could go there for a bucket of lime as a lot of people used to lime-wash the outside or the back of their houses and yard wall. One could also obtain a large bottle of disinfectant to keep the drains clean and free from germs. Well on that morning as I came out of the farm there was a rather tall man with a tail coat and wearing a top hat which was unusual, for although all men wore caps, on Sundays they wore bowlers but never top hats. I think I must have been staring at him for he looked down at me and said “Good Morning” and I returned the greeting. He went on to say “it is a long time since I was here but that building used to be the Lindal Moor Tommy Shop where the local people bought their goods.” He walked along with me up the hill and I told him that I didn’t remember it being a shop. When we approached Mount Pleasant I said “I live here” and he said “Oh! Good morning then” and walked off on in the direction of Marton. I remember going into the house and asking my grandma what the Lindal Moor Tommy Shop was and she explained to me that when she and granddad came from Ambleside so that he could work in the mines it was a shop owned by the mining company and that they told their workers that they should all support the shop. Grandma said “well I did not! Your granddad earned his money and it was very hard earned. He handed it to me and I spent it where I thought I would get the best value.” When I asked her where she got her shopping from she replied “I walked to Dalton for it, carrying a baby and also my shopping. You young ones don’t know you are born today.” It seems that when the Lindal Co-operative Society opened the Mines Tommy Shop closed.

The mines offices & cottage

The office buildings for the mines were just across the field from the back of our house on Mount Pleasant. An Irish Lady Minnie came to live in the cottage there and we became friends and I spent many hours with them. Her Husband Bill Templeton had been at sea for a good many years; a big man and his arms were well tattooed. They had come to Lindal from Harrington in West Cumberland. Minnie had been a maid there and she met Bill who was working in the coal mines and they were married.

Bill got a good job in the Lindal Moor Mines and they got the cottage providing they took on the work as caretakers of the Mines Offices. My mother often gave them a hand for there was lots to do. They had a son so I had a friend. They were very clean people but the house and grounds were just like a menagerie. They had goats, turkeys and a big cock bird that used to go for everyone who went near: hens and ducks, seven whippets which they used to race, pigeons and pigs. They also had ferrets as Bill was allowed to catch rabbits as the broken grounds were teaming with them at the time. Bill would buy horse meat and it would be boiled for hours on end in their washing boiler. It was then minced up and made into dog biscuits, which Minnie would be roll out and baked. It was good store for a few weeks as they were unable to afford to buy small amounts of biscuits for their dogs.

After the 1914 war there were peace celebrations going on all over the country but our village was divided down the middle by the boundary line: one half in the Parish of  Dalton-in-Furness and the other half in the Parish of Pennington.  As all the Children went to the same school it was rather hard luck on the smaller half of the village. We lived in the Dalton area but Bill and Minnie who lived just up the field from us were in the Parish of Pennington. It was later announced that the Dalton-in-Furness Parish would not cater for the children that lived in the Pennington area even though they were by far smallest in number. Later on in time the boundary line was changed to include the whole of the village which was a sensible arrangement in many ways. Minnie from Office House came down to talk to my mother and said “You are good at arranging children’s parties and entertainments, do you think you can you help to give our children a Peace Celebrations Party. My mother did not want twice asking, so one or two other ladies got their heads together. They would need to raise a few pounds and then hire a field. The Cricket Field was in Pennington Parish and they did their good deed in loaning the field for the afternoon. The committee ladies went round collecting a little money to make a start. Quite a number helped by putting on a special baking day and asked all adults to join in the celebrations as it was a day for everyone adults and children. Some children dressed up to represent the allies and paraded the three streets and sang patriotic songs (it was a lovely day of warm sunshine). Then the tea followed with games and later dancing on the field for the adults accompanied by a gramophone. There were a few shilling surplus when all expenses were accounted for so that was spent on a few fireworks. Quite big rockets in those days could be bought for about two shillings so as dusk fell on the evening of a very happy day off went the rockets and the day ended with a real bang. For a small community in those days that was really. I was the lucky one as I attended both celebrations.

As for Bill and Minnie they eventually went back to Cumberland but my mother visited them and kept in touch until the family was all dead, even the son died quite young. The old mining offices were of course converted into dwellings many years ago.

Transport in and around Lindal

As I look back, different forms of transport come to mind. In my early days, shanks pony (walking) was the main way for ordinary folk to get around. Everyone who could walk did walk; although for as long as my memory will take me my Dad always had a push bike and he equipped it with a small seat which he fitted on the crossbar and two little velvet patches on the handlebars for me to hold on to. Nothing was too good for his “little cough drop” as he always called me. He took me many rides through surrounding countryside, through pretty little villages like Great and Little Urswick (Ossick) and Bardsea; Aldingham was my favourite. Of course this all sounds very uninteresting to anyone who may eventually read this but before W.W.1 such trips were really wonderful experiences; they were just magic to a little girl!

A shopping outing at night with my Grandmother was a real treat. It meant that we would go by train. We walked down London Road and as Lindal Station came into view the excitement for me was breathtaking. We entered the General Waiting Room which included the Booking Office. It had a bench seat all around and a red tiled floor and a stove which always seemed to be red hot. Then there would be a loud crash as the ticket office window was flung upwards and the person selling the tickets would show his face at the window. I think he must have enjoyed making people jump. He always seemed efficient but he carried out his duties making as much noise as possible. Upon hearing the passenger’s destination he would turn, draw the appropriate tickets from the rack, crash them into the ticket dating machine before slapping them with force together with any change onto the brass plate at the booking window. My ticket always had a piece cut out of the bottom to signify that I was a child. Once the tickets had been booked Grandmother would take me into the Ladies Room next door, a much smaller room but with an equally welcoming fire with a large cob of coal blazing away. There was a small table in the centre and padded leather seats all around. On our return from Dalton it was just as exciting waiting on the platform for the train, and when the bell rang we knew the train was approaching.

One day my Irish friend, Minnie Templeton, who lived at the cottage by the Mines Offices, was all very excited. She had just come from Ulverston on a Motor Bus. There was a bus company in Barrow and they had started an hourly service between Barrow and Ulverston leaving both termini on the hour and crossing at Dalton, Tudor Square. I think that, although it would be some years before Lindal Station closed, the coming of the buses were the beginning of the end of a rail passenger service in Lindal. The main road ran right through the centre of the village; it was therefore very much more convenient for the majority to travel by road. I cannot remember for sure but the bus service was called the British Traction Company, but I may be wrong as it was a very long time ago.  Travelling by road had its ups and downs as most of the roads at the time were little more than lanes.

A man on a steam roller would regularly come through the village rolling the road to keep it as smooth as possible: tar macadam had still to come. The roads had few passing points and when a bus met a car – the car driver had to reverse. If a bus got behind a flock of sheep or a herd of cattle the job stopped completely. Very often, when a bus was fully loaded it had difficulty in getting up some of the hills. The main problems were getting up Melton Brow travelling in the direction of Barrow and Crookland’s Brow on the outskirts of Dalton travelling in the direction of Lindal. It was not unusual for a bus to stop halfway up either of these hills. Everyone was then ordered off and instructed to walk to the top of the hill. The able bodied men often had to give the bus a push to get it started again and to help it up the hill.

One type of bus had a luggage rack on the roof and a ladder on the back to enable the bus crews to put excess luggage of the roof. One day I was told a bus left Dalton for Ulverston Fair. The driver complained that he had had a bit of difficulty leaving Tudor Square and when he got to the foot of Crooklands the bus gave up. The bus driver and conductor were amazed when they found that the roof of the bus was full of men sitting all around with their backs to the rail and their feet in the middle. The men were ordered to get down and help push the bus up Crooklands Brow. They were then allowed to resume their positions so they could get to Ulverston Fair. There were no Health and Safety restrictions in those days.

There were a number of attempts over the years to run local bus services but most of them failed. I cannot remember any of the details but eventually the Ribble Bus Company took over and they served the area very well for many years.

Still on the subject of local transport there was a Mr. Major and his daughter who lived just outside the village at a place called Tytup Hall. It was rather a large place with two lodges, and Mr Mayor and his daughter needed to travel to the nearby towns and villages on business. They had a carriage which held just the two of them. I used to think that it was a great outfit and I can’t ever remember seeing another like it. They were completely covered in, the front was all glass and the reins just passed through a slit opening. The carriage was driven by a lovely black horse. Now Tytup Hall was supposed to be haunted and what was supposed to have happened there I don’t know, but myth had it that at certain times a coach with a headless driver is supposed to be driven through the nearby villages. My mother told me that she was severely reprimanded by her mother for going out very late one night hoping to see it pass the end of the road. A school friend of mine went to work as a maid at the Hall and of course when I saw her I wanted to know if she had seen the ghost. She said that she had asked Miss Major about the ghost and she told her that there was a room where a murder had been committed and that there was a stain on the floor which could not be washed out. Miss Major explained that the room in question was only used as a lumber room and that there was nothing to worry about ……… but the door was always kept locked.

Since then the hall has been let and at the present time it is a private nursing home and it is now years since I heard any mention of the headless driver!

Around The Green

Every year local farmers brought their flocks to The Green for the annual sheep shearing. Mr. Burch had the largest flock of sheep at that time. Local children used to peep through the railings to watch the shearers at work clipping off the fleeces which would then be folded and rolled up. The work was completed in a day or two and was of course all done with hand shears. Nowadays they have power shears that can achieve the same results in a fraction of the time. Prior to shearing the sheep had to go through the sheep dip troughs which were in the Church Farm paddock. At that time the farm was tenanted by Mr. Anthony Sharp. In this case the children had to climb a wall and sit on the top to watch the sheep getting their bath. They were pushed in at one end and they had no choice but to swim to the other and come out and have a good shake.

Between Low Farm and the Buccleuch Hall there were three cottages built at right angles to the road with and their fronts looking into a yard where there stood a small slaughterhouse. A double gate on the roadside gave entry to a short drive which led to the front of the cottages. Mr. and Mrs. Exelby lived at the first, Mr. & Mrs. Walker lived in the middle one and a married son with his wife and young family in No.3. We as children used to call it ‘up Johnnie Walker’s back.’ Mr. Exelby used to kill pigs in the slaughterhouse for any locals who needed the service. When a pig was slaughtered there were always lads hanging about hoping they would be lucky enough to get the bladder which made them a good football for a couple of days! Johnnie Walker kept a few hens and he had a hen house under some trees at one end of The Green. Johnnie was crippled with rheumatism and could only walk with the aid of two sticks. He carried a little bucket which was suspended from of a piece of rope around his neck on the end of which was a butcher’s hook which held the bucket. Luckily the gate to the Green almost faced the gate to his house. He used to make the journey about three times a day, once with meal mash, once with water and once with corn. In the good weather he spent a lot of time with his poultry. Before we kept any poultry I used to go down every Monday after school for a dozen eggs. He was always very nice to me, making enquiries about my grandmother and parents and how I was getting on at school. In the spring and early summer, when the pullets started to lay, their eggs were much smaller than a twelve month old hen and Johnnie would say there are 16 eggs this week. I remember on one occasion there were 18. He used to weigh them using 12 large eggs as the weights. Of course in a few weeks they were back to 12 again.

The village had a small library, which was usually called the Reading Room. Unemployed men after the 1914-18 war used it regularly. They had to go to Dalton three or four times a week to sign on to be able to claim ‘the dole’ and my dad was one of those unfortunate men. When they returned it was the habit to call in and read up the morning papers and have their little debates on the subject of how the country was being run. In the evening the farm workers used the place a lot, some were genuine readers and for others it was somewhere to go where it was warm and there was an oil lamp burning when it was dark. There were two rooms one for ladies and the other for men. I only ever remember seeing one lady use the library. Whether she took any books home I don’t know, but she came on a Thursday afternoon as it was a quiet time so she sat and read any periodicals that were in. She was Miss Marr who lived at Brook Cottage near the village of Loppergarth. She always dressed the same, winter or summer alike all in black and she always carried an umbrella under her arm.

Mrs. Walker, known as Janey to all the local people, was the caretaker of the library. She saw to it that all the papers were delivered.  It was a wonderful place for a lot of unemployed men who just could not afford to buy newspapers. At that time my father received one pound two shillings a week for himself, my mother and two young brothers but nothing for me as I was too old. Out of that money parents had to find eight shillings and nine pence for their house rent.

A little further along still facing the green is a pair of semi-detached cottages, and a Mr. and Mrs. Hurst who had one son lived there.  Mr Hurst was an invalid and in the summer his wife used to push him out to the front in a long bed on four wheels. His head was propped up with big white starched pillows and he liked to have a chat with people as they went by and also he had a smile for all of us children as we passed. Mrs. Hurst was the first person that I knew who had a strawberry patch in her garden and for one or two years we had a pound or two off her. Jim Lindow, a boy who lived next door to her, always got the first pound or two that she could spare and after that, if there were any more, I got them. Of course we had to buy them but they were cheaper than those that could be bought from the shop.

It takes all kinds of people to make a world but it is the same with a village. My dad used to say he thought it was a happy place to live in spite of small upsets with individuals that happened from time to time. There was really never anything of severe consequence. The only thing that upset me most was one old farmer who regularly got dreadfully drunk and if I saw him near I would run as fast as I could. Apart from that I would not have wished to have lived the early and most impressionable years of my life amongst any other people, or in any other place.

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