Denholme, brief history

Denholme: A Brief History (Anne Jay)

The modern name Denholme is derived from two sources, the Old English ‘Denu’ meaning valley and the Old Norse ‘holmr’ which means water meadow.  Therefore Denholme means ‘the water meadow in the valley’ which seems very apt today, given the reservoirs surrounding the village.

The Roman road behind the old vicarage and old Sunday School (next to Denholme Business Centre), and the encampment near Cullingworth, offer evidence of Roman activity in the area, but the first recorded reference to Denholme comes early in the 12th century.  These first records describe Denholme as a tiny hamlet belonging to Hugh de Thornton, who gave half his estate to Byland Abbey in North Yorkshire. The exact date is unclear,  some records saying 1150, others 1239.  However the half of the estate retained in the de Thornton estate was the ‘derepeker’ deer park in Denholme.

The deer park was not walled, as we understand a wall in the modern age, it was more palisaded – a mound of earth, with a wooden fence on the top.  All evidence points to the land within the park never being enclosed.  On the outside of the park land was enclosed up to the walls, but never within.  The deer park land was divided up by the later owners into manageable working sizes, once deer hunting went out of fashion.  We still live with some of the heritage of the park today.  Denholme Gate, Cullingworth Gate and Thorn Gate were all sited on the actual gate entrances into the park.

In 1337, the last of the Thorntons, Elizabeth, married Robert Bolling of Bolling Hall. The monarch at the time, Edward III,  agreed that when all interests in the estate had been satisfied, the manors of Thornton and Denholme were to go to Elizabeth and Robert Bolling.  Following this the estates moved into the Tempest Family, also on marriage.  The Tempests held the land for many years until it was gambled away, lost by Sir Richard Tempest in a game of cards to the Savilles of Halifax.

A land survey completed in 1800 describes all the fields and their acreage in great detail. From these records it can be seen that the layout of the streets and roads emerging during the development of the village in the late 19th and early 20th century followed many of these early field boundaries.

In 1822 the main occupations in the village were mining, farming and hand loom weaving.  Coal, fireclay, iron pyrates and York stone could be found in reasonably plentiful supply and there were good sources of water. These natural resources attracted industrial interest, and the Fosters arrived on the scene. Recognising the economic potential of the village they started building their mill on the only level plateau of land available in the valley, with easy access to water.

The first mill, started in 1838, was never completed.  It was blown down in January 1839.  The second was larger than the original, and was a profitable concern until it burnt down in 1857, a common fate for these industrial buildings

The third mill, larger still, also thrived, but on September 6th 1873 there was a strike which lasted 14 days. An agreement, to employ only weavers in the new shed, which held 1,000 looms, had been broken, leading to industrial action.  The management had brought spinners, drawers and twisters into the new shed because there were not enough weavers to work the looms. The original architect’s drawings for this mill and some old photographs are now in the possession of the Town Council. 

In 2005 any employment on the site of the old mill ended with the closure of Pennine Fibres.The mill building has subsequently been demolished and a housing estate is being built on the site.

There is a record that in 1858 there was a strong committee of men dedicated to the Chartist cause, which surprised a Mr G Robinson, who came up to the village from Bradford to preach Chartism, only to find the men in Denholme were more organised and advanced in their outlook than some of the men in Bradford.

In 1800, the largest landowner was William Buck, a barrister, from Stradmore in South Wales.  His grandfather, Joseph, was a wool stapler from Allerton who began the Buck estate.  His father, John Buck, married his first wife Jane (Jenny) who was from the big Dawson wool family in Bradford.  On the occasion of their marriage, they were leased a comfortable home, Godmansend, and all the land in Denholme for a yearly rent of one red rose, which had to be taken to the father every year.  This was to be paid until the father died and John Buck inherited the entire estate.

His son, John William, from his second marriage, living in London, and practising in Temple Inns, had no real interest in Denholme.  When his wife had to move away from London for her health, the Buck family moved back to her family home in Wales.  When a close friend of the family died and there was no longer anyone able to collect the rents, John William Buck soon began to sell off his estates in Denholme, although he did give the land for St Paul’s Church.

St Paul’s Church was erected in 1846, midway between the two communities of Denholme and Denholme Clough.  The building was paid for by Messrs Eli and Benjamin Foster and Mr Jonathan Knowles.  Up until 1846 the Anglican churchgoers had to travel to Thornton every Sunday.  St Paul’s, the ‘Minster on the hill’ was used for worship until June 1997, when extensive dry rot was discovered in the structure and for safety reasons it had to be closed.  The final ‘Farewell’ service was held on 5th September 1999 in the new graveyard, which is still open for interments.

The congregation of St Paul’s now hold their services in the Worship Centre on Longhouse Lane.  This was converted from the old doctor’s surgery.  The service of dedication and licensing by the then Lord Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Revd. David Smith was held on 2nd September 2001.

A Wesleyan Methodist community existed in the village in 1760 and the first chapel was built in 1793.  It was a small upper room with two cottages below, which itself was extended in 1823.  This building, now known as the old ‘little mill’ on Lodge Gate, is being converted into a dwelling.

Education has always been important in the village because there was a Dame School, but the school building by St Paul’s, referred to as the Old Sunday School, was taken over by the Thornton School Board in 1874.  The first purpose built school was erected in 1870 at Lodge Gate.  It could provide for 470 scholars.  This building was used until the mid-1970s when the new school was built on a site at the top of Minorca Mount.

The foundation stone for the Mechanics Institute was laid on the 29th May 1880 by William Foster of Whiteshaw.  It was built by public subscription and is a smaller copy of the Institute at Bingley. It has been a public community building ever since.

In 1922, a book promoting the industrial advantages of Denholme, quotes that its population was 3,000 persons living on 2,360 acres and that the centre of the village was 940 feet above sea-level.  It was served by regular omnibus to Crossroads for Keighley, and Queensbury for Bradford.  Also, that it was on a branch line of the London and North Eastern Railway serving Bradford, Halifax and Keighley.

Denholme was administered by the Denholme Gate Local Board until 1885 when it became the Denholme Urban District Council.  However, in 1974 Denholme lost its independence and became part of the new Bradford Metropolitan District.  The Council changed its name to the Denholme Town Council with its own Town Mayor when applications to Westminster were open to all ex-urban districts following the move to more centralisation.  The Council Chamber is in the Mechanics Institute and remains in use today.

If people would also like to comment on the ‘New Living in Denholme’ Facebook page please ask to join it now.

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149 thoughts on “Denholme, brief history

  1. Hi!
    Very nice article, I have many happy memories of growing up in Denholme.
    Nice photo of Wheelrace below Doe Park and Fosters Mill. I remember Mr Garnett Foster
    arriving at the mill office at 10am sharp on a Thursday Morning in his big car. A very nice man.
    I left Denholme in 1963 I still drive through A lot has changed I see John Gaunt is still in His
    Shop. I went to school with John.

    Best regards.
    George Snowden.

    • can anyone throw light on the old chapel of valley heights at lode gate. description says they are building 2 dwellings but the picture is not of where those are being built. thanks

      • Hello Liz, Did you find out about the dwellings at Valley Heights at Lodge Gate, Denholme? If not, the buildings have been built there now on the site where the Reformers’ Chapel stood. The old churchyard of that chapel is just at the left-hand side and behind the new buildings. I went there yesterday to have a look in the churchyard but it’s not easy gaining access since it’s terribly overgrown with weeds, nettles and other debris.

        Hope that helps,
        Best wishes,
        Jean Hill

      • Valley Heights is where the Wesleyan Reform Chapel was near “Top of Lodge” and “the Old Mill” if that helps

      • Message for Norma and Jean Kilmister from Carol, who stayed at the Little Bull pub for a month in August 1947. I was brought there from my home in Hampshire by Lewis and Alice Longbottom for a holiday. It would be good to catch up on what has happened to us all since then. They gave me a wonderful time and I remember it, and the people, with much affection. Kind regards Carol

  2. I used to fish at Doe Park reservoir during the 1970’s. great memories, now not available for fishing.

    Lawrence

  3. Fosters paid mill workers low wages (I speak of my mother’s experiences in the 1920s/30s). When challenged that mills elsewhere paid better, Foster (Garnett, I think) reposted that there’d be bus/tram fares to pay to go work there.

    Denholme had a large number of chapels and churches of many denominations. There was a social heirarchy attached to them. The Fosters being pillars of St Paul’s, their senior employees were expected to attend that church.

    Foster encouraged his workers to break a textile strike in the 1920s to be able to fulfil an order for Russia. After the event, he reneged on his verbal undertaking.

    • I worked at foster 1950 ,no problems I was taught to be a Burler and Mender there for 2 years then moved on to Bradford for a couple of years Wished I’d stayed at Fosters ,I lived up Hill Crest ,till I married in 1960.worked for a time at Merrils Haworth ,my family lived in the area for years ,farther David’s family from Haworth ,I loved my childhood in Denholme. Family of 6 all went to Denholme primary parents worked in Denholme ,don’t know what it is like now haven’t been back since 1994 when I lived down Foster park road for 4 years ,one good thing about those years never out of work ,on that note I will end my story ,Thank you Mr H J Hill .(wonder if I know you ?)

    • Twas ever thus H J. William Garnet sent all his children to boarding schools, so he’ll have been a bit strapped for cash!
      Best wishes, Jean Hill (nee Tough)

    • Hi H.J. John Tough & Joan Kendall certainly were my parents. You sound to have known the family well. Who are you then? Despite my previous comment on Fosters’ Mill, I do believe that in many respects the Fosters did Denholme much good. I mean things such as giving a great sense of community in Denholme, building the Mechanics’ Institute with library and reading room to further education, providing us with Foster Park, helping fund parts of the religious community, William Garnet serving on the old Denholme Urban District Council, which my father did for a time, on a voluntary basis as the town councillors do today, but, in those days, they had real money to spend. They took part in providing housing in the village and many other duties to benefit the population such as road and path sweeping and snow clearing.

      I suppose it was a bit like the role of Titus Salt in Saltaire, who I think was a man who thought he knew best how to enliven the lives of his workers, to much effect in many ways I’m sure.

      Have you any more stories to tell H.J.

      Best wishes,
      Jean Hill (nee Tough)

      • Your maternal grandmother (Flory Earnshaw) was the sister of my mother (Mary Ann Earnshaw) who married and left Denholme in 1937 for Bradford. The Earnshaws were a BIG family of 15 children born between 1889 and 1911: Flory was the 6th (1897) and Mary (1909) was the 14th! It’s funny you mentioned Saltaire. The Earnshaws moved from Rotherham (~1912) mistakenly believing they were going to Saltaire. They were accommodated in 3 Ann Street which was next to the corner shop, so they also had the rooms above the shop (which was a barber’s when I knew it in the 1950s). Flory and Mary’s parents are (I believe) buried in the very derelict chapel yard between Minorca Mount and Valley Heights – someone has planning permission to build two houses on the footprint of the long-demolished chapel.

      • Hello Hector, It’s good to place you. I’ve done quite a bit of family history on the Earnshaw and Kendall families and their children. I do actually have you down born Hector J Hill,1947, registered in Bradford with parents Mary Ann Earnshaw and Allen Hill who married in 1937, North Bierley. So we are similar ages since I was also born in 1947. Yes I remember the Earnshaws living at 3 Ann Street next door to my grandparents who lived at number 5. Below number 3, on the corner was Matkin’s barber’s shop and attached to that at the bottom corner of John Street was the butchers. Walter Earnshaw, father, more or less lived upstairs at number 3 and I don’t recall seeing much of him as a child. I didn’t know that Walter and wife Fanny (nee Hamilton) were buried in what was the Reformers Chapel grave yard. I’ll have to see if I can find them and let you know. Houses have already been built on the site now so I’ll go and have a look around. Do you have any siblings Hector. I have details of a Sylvia M Hill who married Randolph Overend and an Eileen P who married Rodney Dimbleby plus a number of other possibilities. Earnshaw is too common a name to ensure accuracy always, unlike Tough which is relatively easy to trace in England since it is a Scottish name, mostly Aberdeen. Best wishes, Jean

  4. can anybody please tell me in what year were the row of terraced houses Fairfield built and whether
    they were council houses or private when first erected.

      • Dear Denholmer thank you for the telephone numbers given of the history group members.
        I shall contact them this week. Joanne Haley

    • These houses were built by Foster’s mill And as far as I know they were built for £60 each ready to move into for workers,not sure of the date

      • Sorry ! Nothing to do with the Fairfield houses ,but curiouse ,are you David Beadle who lived at the farm top of Ognen lane back in 1940/50 ,

      • David is my brother in law and yes he is the David that lived above Ogden lane has brother Lynton sister Jenifer and his late sister Sherley you will be the same age as David Norma.

  5. I am a teacher at Deholme Primary and am currently working on a topic called ‘Denholme Detectives’ with years 3 and 4. Any memories of residents in Denholme from Foster’s Mill or going to school in Denholme, both of the old school and the present building on Minorca Mount would be gratefully accepted! Thank You

    • You need to read “Denholme – A History in Words and Pictures” by Vera G Taylor (Countryside Publications 1988). The school records etc should be archived somewhere: Keighley or Bradford or Wakefield (if West Riding County Council was the pre-1974 education authority).

      Vera Taylor touches on a number of things my mother recalled when growing up in Denholme (pre-1937). From about the age of 12, children did part-time schooling and part-time work in the mill (etc). Where the mill was the first half of the day, children would have been up extremely early in the morning (the mill had a breakfast break as well as a lunch break!) and working hard, so by the afternoon at school they were hardly fresh and alert. Some of the school teachers recalled by my mother are in photos in Taylor’s book. The men teachers could be singularly brutal with boys who incurred their wrath. Around WW1, 1920’s and 1930’s (the Great Depression), life at home, school and work could be very hard for families.

    • I was born and bred in Denholme ,lived at no 6 St Helen,,then age 11 (1946) moved up to 15 hill Crest Road,went to Denholme primary school (many happy memories ) then on to Bingley modern ,spent my youth in and around foster park and Wheelrace cottages and the beck ,My name was Norma Kilmister then,parents Irene and David Kilmister,I worked at Fosters when I left school as a burler and mender receiving a wage of £2.10s a week ,those were the days ,

  6. I am the granddaughter of the Rev Sidney Hailes who was the Vicar of Denholme in the fifties and sixties. Joe Foster was a great family friend as were the Squires. My father was Chaplain to the Armed Forces and so we visited my grandparents on rare occasions but I can always remember, as a child, taking the dogs for walks over the moors, visiting the pig farm, the sound of the wood being sawed next door to the Vicarage and being in total wonderment at the huge factory mechanical wheel that was half way down the hill.

    I am currently writing a book so if anyone remembers my granddad please get in touch.

    Avril (nee Fortune) now Peyton

    • Hi Avril,I was married in Denholme church back in 1961 ,26th March ,by you’re grandfather Rev.Hailles.I went to Sunday school and church in my younger years ,remember Rev Hailles well .

    • Your father married us at Denholme church in 1663 and he also christened our daughter Adele a year later.I remember how dedicated he was to the parish and its parishioners and Mrs Hailes. It is very sad that the church has closed due to not enough funds to keep it safe .
      My Husband Peter worked at fosters mill when it became Pennine Fibres he worked there 34 years until 2oo2 so we decided to go and live at Hornsea east Yorkshire we love to walk on the sea front and think how lucky we are to live there. Larrain and Peter Almond.

    • Hello Avril, Yes I remember your grandfather very well. I was only a small child in the fifties (which continued into my adulthood!), but I recall your grandfather often visiting my mother, Joan Tough, who had leukaemia from about 1955 until 1958 when she died at age 36 years. I often think, even now, about how kind he must have been to visit my mother so often, since I don’t recall her ever setting foot inside a church. I thought you might like to know that.
      Best wishes,
      Jean Hill (nee Tough)

      • Hello Jean yes i must have had a senior moment 1963 was the correct date but i had to smile when you pointed it out as i had not noticed. Merry Christmas.

    • Hi Avril, Still have my bible, signed by your grandfather. My father had the butchers shop, on John Street, still remember Denholme with fondness, live in Sydney, Australia, now. Still keep in touch with the girls I went to Denholme primary with, Rita Whalley is visiting us early next year.

      • Hi Pauline. Did your parents run the butchers shop in John Street in the 1950s? I used to go there often for my grandmother Florrie Kendall. If your mum was the one I’m thinking of, one thing I always remember was that she wore a golden ring cut in a v shape. Do you have any recollections of that ring? Funny the very small things which stick in your mind for ever eh?

        Best wishes,
        Jean Hill (nee Tough)

      • Hi Pauline, I was born in denholme in 1955, we lived at 2 parkinson road, my father and grandfather had the shop on the corner, Eddie Hoe, I’m Meryl Hoe as was, I remember going to the Old school, walking up the side of the park every morning and I remember one teacher in particular, Mrs Stead, I seem to remember her being a right old Battle axe,

  7. I was born and brought up in Denholme ,member of the Kilmister family,lived up Hill Crest ,till married in 1960, my mum Irene Kilmister lived up Hill Crest till she went in nursing home in 1998 ,
    I have very fond memories of Denholme ,went to primary school,Bingley modern(as it was then ) and worked in Fosters mill apprentice Burler and Mender for just £2.50 per hour ,Doe park ,Beck cottages Foster park Denholme edge all my old haunts ,anyone in their seventies lived in Denholme back then , may recognize my name Norma Kilmiister ,now Millward ,,

    • Hi. Jean, Yes my dad had the butchers shop in the 50’s and I still have the wishbone ring that was my mother’s. I remember a little blonde curly haired girl with rosy cheeks, was that you? Pauline

      • Hello Pauline, Lovely to hear from you. No, I was the very small girl (still am, but not so much a girl!) with extremely curly brown hair when young. I have a cousin Margaret with blonde hair so maybe it’s Margaret you remember. Great to hear you still have the ring I mentioned. I was fascinated by it. Jean

      • Hi Jean, Although we only lived in Denholme for 11 years, it has always held a big part of my heart. I remember it with great fondness although we now live 12,000 miles away! If you can send me your email I will take a photo of the ring for you. Pauline

        Sent from my iPad

        >

  8. I grew up in Denholme during the 1950s. Lived first on Stradmore Road, moving to Beech Drive on the outskirts in the early 1960s. I attended the old primary school from 1955 to 1962 then moved on to Keighley Secondary Technical School.
    I remember the old library in the Mechanics Institute and playing with friends in Foster Park, which had tennis courts then. Also have memories of the annual council bonfire held on the putting green in the park.
    I remember clearly two of my teachers; Mr Fox who took the boys for football in the park and Mrs Stead who first taught me the alphabet and my times tables! she was a nice lady.
    I left Denholme when I went to University, moving on to a career in teaching in the Midlands. I still get a lump in my throat when I recall my happy childhood in Denholme, playing with my friends. such happy innocent days!!
    Alan.

    • I also lived on Stradmore Road, no 3, and went to Keighley Secondary Tech in the late 50’s early 60’s. I now live in East Yorkshire but often visit an old friend of the family who is now 90 and am amazed at how the village has changed (Stradmore Road is still there). A group of old school friends and I recently made our way round a rather overgrown Doe Park reservoir. Such happy memories.

      • Hello Susan, I remember you well as a young girl in Denholme. I lived for a time in Knowles Street and would often pass through your back yard on my way to Fred’s Fish & Chip shop. Yes I too have happy memories of my very early days in Denholme, always far too busy to come in at nights to go to bed! Hope all is well with you. Best wishes, Jean Hill (nee Tough) – still living in Denholme.

      • I suspect you are Susan Smith and friend of Susan Brown who went to KSTS from Denholme, also Pamela Mist from Shelf who I believe now lives in OZ or NZ. I am Pat Kay, now Reynard, still living in Keighley. Still in touch with Janet Chadwick who lives locally and she is in touch with Kathleen Hargreaves who is also in Australia.
        Happy memories of secondary school days.

    • Hello Alan, I think I remember you and your family. Do you have a sister Joyce? We lived in Knowles Street and I recall the Feather family living at the bottom house on the other side of the street, which would also border Stradmore Road. I also recall Mrs Stead from Denholme Primary.. A few years ago I came across her in M & S in Keighley, over 54 years from leaving Denholme school and last seeing her, and I recognised her instantly, so she can’t have changed too much in all that time.
      We had a lovely chat about the old days and Denholme School. And, since I must feel the same about Denholme as you say you do, I’m still here! Please remember me to your sister when you speak with her.
      Best wishes, Jean Hill (nee Tough)

    • Hi Alan I used to live in beech drive , growing up in the late 60s till early 80s.
      Which house did you live at I was at number 10.
      Fantastic memories growing up there seeing Alan Dennison who lived there and big daddy
      Regards Paul Jackson

  9. I remember that at the mill auction sale there were 40 gallon drums full of large goldfish out of the dam. The boiler man had a fishing net near the boilers.

    • My mum grew up in Denholme, and She told me about her and her friend taking the fish out of the mills dam, and putting them in her and her friend sinks, bowls anything really they could use. I don’t think their mothers were to best pleased.

  10. I remember the name Anne Jay I was brought up in Denholme 1940/50s,sir name Kilmister ,left school to work in Burling and mending at Fosters mill ,

  11. I’m would like to hear from anyone brought up in Denholme ,1940/50s ,Susan Cheshire née Smith ,are you any relative to Jim Smith ,who had the builders yard at bottom of St Helena ,I lived at No. 6 ,they were pulled down years ago,opposite the Little Bull public house .

    • No I’m not a relative of Jim Smith but I recognise the name. The only relative I had in Denholme was George Smith who lived at the top of Chapel Street.
      I remember St.Helena well as I knew folks well who lived there

    • I am am Tim Smith, Jim Smith was my Dad. My Mum Brenda still lives in Denholme.
      My Grandad and his brothers had the yard before my Dad, they built the war memorial, park walls e.t.c.

      • I am Norma Millward née Kilmister lived up Hill crest road when you’re mum Brenda lived on main road ,Lodge Gate ,I remember them well .give Brenda my regards ,

    • Yes Norma I am sure you know me Gerald Ley I am still in Denholme worked under your dad David at the Grippon also knew your late sister Jean and Billy also your first husband Donald if you would like to mail me gerrmoll@yahoo.co.uk You also knew my late wife Mollie Ley nee Drake Donald’s cousin

  12. Harry and Elsie Driver ,lived next door,and Mrs Myerscough at the bottom house ,I lived down St Helena till 1946 ,through the Second World War ,I often wonder about all my friends in Denholme ,used to play in Foster park and watch the lads playing football moved up Hill Crest road no, 15 when I was 11 and went to Bingley modern ,went to pictures in the mechanics Thurs,Fri.And Sat, ..
    I now live in Barnoldswick ,lived in Spain on and off over the years while married but my husband ,Gordon didn’t just over a year ago June 7 so now have to give up the traveling ,anyway thanks for you’re letter enjoy reading about Dennholme ,

  13. Does anyone have any old pictures of the houses that were at the bottom of Pit Lane, now known as Hill Crest Road? I understand the pit from where the road took its name was behind the cottages at St Helena.

    • Don’t know how far back you are going Anthony Sugden ,but I lived down St Helena 1937/46 ,chapel and grave yard at the back ,Jim Smiths builders yard at bottom of back lane ,leading down to allotments and Castlecarr Cottage,moved up 15 Hill Crest Rosg 1946 didn’t know of a Pitt Lane ! Norma ,Millward ,née Kilmister .

      • Thanks for replying. Before the Hill Crest estate was built I understand the road was called Pit Lane, all the way from the junction of the main road, all the way past the rear of Whiteshaw House. It’s still called Pit lane but only from where the farm track starts. It must’ve changed from Pit Lane to Hill Crest Road in the 1920’s I’m assuming.

      • Ok Anthony ,in that case you are right ,now I know where you are ,I used to play on Denholme edge near Whiteshaw ,my uncle George Wademan was gardener there for many years ,we used to go to the old home guard hut on the more ,

  14. Although I’m not originally from Denholme, the local history fascinates me. I was wondering if there was any connection from the family shown living in my house in 1880 census as Matthew Whalley, and he had any link to Whalley Lane. I might have to join a local history group to find out more.

    • There is a Denholme Local History group. Contact Judith Drake for more details. Her details are on the Groups page on this website and you’ll find her by the Shared Church.

  15. Bit far back for me ,but did have a friend when I lived up Hill Crest name Christine Whalley ,actually there was a lot of Whalleys about then 1945 onwards ,

    • Hi Norma your mum and mine were friends when they lived in Hill Crest road, mum lived in a little bungalow at the back of your mum she was Lilly Day and I was one of her daughters Larrain, I knew your Billy and Pat very well when they were In Cullingworth , Billy was a right rock and role fan. Peter my husband is an old Denholmer he was cousin to Alan Smith and Nora, Margery they must be around your age and Christine Whalley I remember very well.
      Larrain Almond was Day.

      • Yes remember you all very well! Mum died in 2002 Pat in 2003 ,I remarried in 1976 while working at Whitaker Joiners where my dad David worked ,Chritine Whalley worked there too ,Billy still lives at Cullingworth ,gather they are building loads of houses around him at Gripon!I ended up at Barnoldswick after moving here and there ,lived in Spain lot of years ,my daughter and grandchildren live here ,traveling days over husband died 18 months ago ,anyway thanks for getting back to me ,Mable smith ( older sister of Margery and Nora ) was my friend for childhood years ,I lived opposite Allan down Foster Park ,he was married to hairdresser ,(forget her name) 1990/94 ,bye for now ,

      • Yes Larrain ,Mabel Smith ,elder sister,and I were school friends 1940/50s they lived up Ogden Lane ,

      • Yes sure was George used to wrestle and later a referee Jack worked as a delivery driver for a bakery at Brown Cow Ethel lived with her son in a granny flat down Foster Park passed on now

  16. Thank you. Hopefully if any people with the surname Whalley that had Denholme connections see this, they might be able to provide some details.

  17. Hello, I am researching family histories and occupations of Fielding and Balm families. Lots of links relate back to origins at Foreside. Census and other records mention Foreside Farm and land particularly at Foreside Bottom in 1860’s 1870’s. A worsted mill at Foreside Bottom and a Foreside Villa. Can anyone help with further information, exact whereabouts or photos please?

      • Hi Norma Frank Fielding was my step grandad as he married my nan Maggie Mays before I was born in 1950 so l don’t remember your brother working for him then. After my nan died he moved to Hull where he lived till he died in 2004.

  18. My mum had an uncle george wademan, my granddad was jack wademan married to marjorie horton. Would love to learn more about them if anyone can remember either family

    • Your grandmother Marjorie and my late mum Martha were sisters, as were Mary, Nellie, and Lucy, originally from Castleford, So your granddad Jack was my uncle. We were a large family if you would like to know more, please contact me, your mum has my phone details, Norris Crossland.

    • Hi there George and his wife Hilda were my grandparents, they lived at Foster Park Rd next door to Frank Fielding. Me and my Grandad were very close. . If there’s anything I can I help with I’ll be happy to assist.

  19. George and Jack Wademans were uncles to my mum ,Irene Kilmister née Barrand ,my gran Elizabeth Barrand lived up Anne street when I was born in 1935 ,the Wademans (Ethel and family had a cafe down by foster mill bottom of clock lane was also a haberdashery too think it was owned by the Hogan family .going back a lot of years ,older people in Denholme will know of the Kilmister family from Hill Crest road ,Norms ,Jean, David and Billy ,speak to me again if you need ,regards Norma Millward née Kilmister ,

  20. By the way !there was another cousin lived with my great grandma ,at lodge gate name of Peobie Wademann ,relatives Candleing also of Denholme ,a lot for you to look into .George Wademans used to Wrestle with Alan Denison , he was a well known wrestler used to be on TV ,

  21. I remember a Mr Wilman very well I went to Thornton every week for piano lessons, he was very strict ,teachers all seemed strict in those days , 😂 Norma Millward née Kilmister .

  22. I am trying to find out any information relating to Evelyn Procter, her parents Tom and Jane
    Procter who lived at 12 Fairfield Denholme some time between 1930 – 1940. Evelyn was my birth mother who died when I was very young. Tom died in 1940, his occupation was as a lorry driver for a worsted mill. Would like to know which school Evelyn attended in Denholme and anything else about the family. Thank you

    • Her name was Janet not Jane she worked in the twisting department of Fosters Mill and Tom drove the lorry for Fosters Mill I would assume Evelyn went to Denholme Council School. Hope that helps Damien

  23. Just been looking through some old photo’s ,came across this one , taken onAug 12 1953 ,Burling and Mending at Garnet Foster Mill ,Denholme ,just wondered if anyone had relatives who worked there at that ,time ,I’m on the back row 5th from the left , between Nora Wharton and Joan Hanson ,maybe some of you older Denholmers will recognize ,someone ,regards Norma Kilmister ,

    • Just seen your comment dated 31:10:2015 was Joan Hanson the daughter of Fred Hanson if so she was related to me via my mum.

  24. Hello
    I wondered if anyone might have any old photos of Denholne Gate please? I find history fascinating and would love to see some old photos of Denholme and Denholme Gate in particular.

  25. Hi, my parents are Mavis and Brian Wickenden and I was brought up in the sixties on Minorca Mount. I do remember a Billy Kilminster that my father knew very well. My father worked at Pioneer Concrete for many years. Did Billy live very near the plant, thin chappy, had two greyhound/lurcher dogs?

  26. I remember the old streets that were pulled down in denholme they were good starter homes for the young married couples in the sixties and you were able to get rental perchase for a few bob a week ,it is a shame that this is no more. Some of the streets are still there and they are part of the heritage of Denholme now.I have fond memories of Anne street where i lived in the sixties .

    • I was born in Anne street Larrain ,then we moved to St Helena also pulled down ,but that was in 1935 ,I’m now 80 ,oct 8th ,I tried to put a photo on but couldn’t find how to go about it here ,

      • Hi Norma we Lived at 8 Anne street in1963 we bought the house from Dick Mathews for £200 rental purchase we paid him back at one pound ten shillings a week and never missed a payment once although it was hard I think Dick was an undertaker in the village but not sure.

    • Hello Larrain, I remember you and your husband Peter, living at the bottom of Ann Street in the sixties. I think you may have lived opposite my grandparents Cecil and Florrie Kendall. Jean Hill (nee Tough)

      • Yes Jean we did live opposit your grandparents and we lived next to Alan and Stella Smith Peters cousen sad memories there. I remember Fanny and all your relatives top ann street Connie and Annie P eter worked with Annie and i worked with Connie ,those were the days. Lattain.

  27. According to Newcastle University who did a project on the Deer Park in the seventies the wall was 8 and two thirds of a mile long with two gates. Part of the stone wall is still visible above Stubden Reservoir Shortly after the civil war there is a record of request to parliament of thirty two silver coins for the upkeep of the deer park wall at Denholme

  28. I’m James Lyon, my parents were Jim and Sandra Lyon, Sandra being the Daughter of George and Hilda Wademan of Foster Park. My Grandad was a real character within the village and could often be seen rambling over the hills of Doe Park, the old Railways, Denholme Edge or Pumping iron up at the Band Hoile, as he called it, with his late son Roy Wademan my Uncle. He had two Sons Mark and Ian Wademan, now residing Allerton and Harrogate.
    I grew up on Carperley Crescent before leaving Denholme for good in 1993.

    • My mum Irene Kilmister née Barrand was George Wademans cousin ,I called him Uncle George ,I remembered the all best when his mum Ethel had the cafe down by fosters mill .a life time ago ,remember Roy and Sandra also ,,we lived just above the Band room where George along with Alan Dennison used to train ,

  29. Hi Larrain

    So my grandad Rev Sidney Hailes married you. So lovely to hear that. And my nana who was such a beautiful seamstress. Maybe you also knew my mother Maisie? I have wonderful childhood memories of denholme and often wish I could turn the clock back! God bless and thanks for sharing. Avril

  30. Hi Avril your grandmother was a very lovely lady .If your grandfather was alive today he would be sad to see the church closed and in ruins.We all wish we could turn back the clock but alas we can not.xx

    • I was going to make a trip but not sure now. Is the Vicarage still there? I have such lovely memories of the house and gardens with The Squires living next door.

      • The Vicerage is still there but i dont know who owns it now, the church hall was owned by one of the barmforths at one point but that was years ago, i only visit Denholme once a year to look after my daughters House and cats when her and husband Keith go skiing ,we live in Hornsea East yorkshire but still have fond memories of Denholme and Cullingworth.

  31. I have an old book ‘Bible Readings for the home circle-illustrated’ and on the second page in there is a dedication, ‘Fred Wate a birthday present from his loving wife Margaret Wate, Norman, Lake of the Woods, Ontario Canada July 12th 1890.’ I am unsure as to how this book came into my possession and I don’t believe it is from anyone in my family. I thought I would try and find any descendants of this couple who might like the book. After some enquiries I have found that Fred went to Canada for work but did not stay there. The 1891 census form shows Fred and his wife Margaret with daughter Emily and father-in-law Roger Tennant living at 55 New Brighton, nr Skipton. He is 29 yr old a Stationary Engineer Driver (sawmill) born in Denholm, Yorkshire, wife Margaret 31 born Clapham. I have then found a Fred Wate
    Age 49 working as an Engineman at a Warsted Yarn Mill. Further information shows a Fred Wate included in the Whitham Family tree. I wondered if anything here rang any bells with anyone so i can pass this book on?
    David Hemsley

  32. A lot of the names mentioned were old milk customer of my Husband David Beadle a Denholme lad Born n Bred 1935,houses at top of Fairfield were built for mill workers at a cost of £60 each but not sure of the date David said. Foreside Bottom was on the Clough next to Denholme silkWeavers {Velvets}} the farm was also on that road .

    • Hallo Julia,
      When I was 10 in 1947 I was allowed to ride on a horse drawn cart with Robert Drake as he delivered milk poured from a churn directly into jugs on people’s door steps. Is there any connection there with you please? Kind regards Carol

    • Norma Kilmister. Remember David and family very well they had a farm top of Ogden lane . Remember the pigs up there Edge Bottom leading on to Denholme Edge I was born same year as David October lived down St Helena.thanks for you’re comments . Lovely memories of growing up in Denholme .

  33. I’m Norma , sorry to say sister Jean died in 1986, still miss her have two younger brothers Billy and David , I’m 80 now Carol my married name is Millward if you wold like you can mail me on the address below look forward to hearing from you !.

    • Hallo Norma, I am 78, hardly seems possible does it? So sorry to hear about Jean, I remember us all with plaits. I have one, possibly two photographs of us if you would like to have them. I can send them to the Denholme address if you prefer, I’m sure they would not mind, I already have had one helpful e-mail from Alison . Are you still in Denholme? I am in the South West now.

      King regards Carol

      • Nice to here from you Carol ,so surprised ! Are you on FB , it would be lovely to chat ,then we could share photos etc., regards to you too x

      • Hallo Norma, As I do not use Facebook I am enclosing my e-mail address so we can communicate directly if you are willing, this seems to be more straightforward. I’ve been thinking about Jean, she must have been so young when she died. My memories of you both remind me of how much fun we had, going off on our own with picnics all day to the beck and reservoir. Or “rezzivoy” as you told me how to pronounce it! Alice took me to Blackpool, Bradford, Halifax and Haworth, it was an unimaginable time for a ten-year old to experience. They showed me round the pub which I certainly would not have been allowed to do at home! I hope you are well and I good health. Glad to hear from you soon. Carol

        Sent from my iPad

        >

  34. Hi,
    My Great Uncles, Lewis and Arthur Driver, used to own the garage and taxi business in Denholme and their sister Florence also lived nearby. Lewis was also a council leader a number of times years ago. I think the family home was in Mount Pleasant. As I delve into the families past I came across this site and wondered if anyone has any memories of them?

    • I was brought up at no,6 St.Helena 1935 till 1946 when we moved up Hill Crest road our nieghbours were a Harry and Elsie Driver ,

      • Hi,
        I saw the reference to Harry & Elsie before I sent in my first query. Unfortunately I don’t have any knowledge of them. It seems that my family started in Denholme and later moved to Thornton and I grew up in Hull.

    • Hello C, Yes I recall the name of Lewis Driver from my dad, John Tough, who also served on Denholme Urban District Council, probably in the 1950s. I’m afraid I don’t know much else about him, sorry. Jean Hill (nee Tough)

    • Don’t know if you had any replies Lewis lived in the first house in Mount Pleasant his brother lived in the house next door, Both were very nice gentlemen, Lewis I remember married I think in the 50s maybe early 60s not sure exactly. Along with the taxis they also provided for ” the last transport” eg Hearse, for a lot of people in Denholme.

    • Yes I remember them they had the garage which is still there on the Mill Bend on entering the village from the Bradford end it was locally known as Drivers I remember they had a small office with a window into the garage where you paid for your petrol. There was a shelf on this window and stuck to it was a silver coin and whoever tried to pick it up got an electric shock it was wired to batteries in the office through the window yes I got shocked I would only be about ten

  35. Elaine Ward (nee Hanson ) I remember your great uncles Lewis and Arthur Driver quite well My grandma (Annie Cook) lived near to the garage at New Road and knew them well. I remember often walking to the garage with her in order to buy a bar of chocolate which they sold there. I believe Lewis had a daughter Mary who married Donald Jay and they had two sons. I lived in Denholme until I married in 1969. Happy Memories.

    • Thank you so much Elaine! Joan and I were best friends till we married and left Denholme , she had two lovely boys ,Robert and Andrew was it ,.dont like to ask how they all are ,at our age ,will you let me know ,I am on FB ,thank you ,she was married to Donald Hodgson ,

    • Violet Hanson lived at Castle Carr cottage ,down the lane past Jim Smiths yard ,I lived down St Helena till I was 11 then moved up Hill Cres Joan lived up there too ,Violet was a friend of my mums 60 years or more a go ,actually think it was 70 years ,I’m now 80 ,regards Norma Killmister ,

  36. Hi Norma Unfortunately I am not on FB.I think it was Keith Hodgson Joan married and as far as I know they are still living in Bradford 5 although it is quite a time since I have been in touch

    • Thanks Elaine you are correct it is Keith ,I get a bit forgetful nowadays ,I had a friend back in the day called Stella Fryer,Joan would know her ,her husband was a Donald ,anyway thanks ,if you happen to hear anything ,give my regards x

  37. In 1947 aged 9, I stayed with Lewis and Alice Longbottom for a month at the Little Bull in Denholme. Does anyone know where they went when they retired or of any family or friends please?
    I made friends with other children as well, and happily we are exchanging news of the intervening years. I would be glad to hear of them as I had no further contact after that period.
    Thank you Carol

  38. Hello,
    I’m working on a family history project. I have family, great great grandmother and great grandfather, who worked in Foster’s mill in 1890’s. What is the name of the mill exactly? Is it Foster’s, Fosters, Fosters’ Mill? Just trying to get the name properly.

    • I believe it is Foster’s Mill. If you live locally the Denholme Local History Group are having an evening about the Mill this Wednesday 9 March from 7.30pm in the Mechanics. They’re inviting people with connections to the Mill to come and there will be photos and artefacts from the Mill and of course lots of information.

      • Thank you so much for answering my question. I unfortunately didn’t see your reply until just today, spam folders sometimes filter out the important while letting Facebook notifications through. I live in Utah, so as much as I’d like access to artifacts and photos from Foster’s Mill, the trip would be a bit long. Thanks again

      • Hi Shannon. We hope in the near future to put archive documents that the Denholme Local History Group have collected including Fosters Mill on the website.

        Alison

        Town Clerk Denholme Town Council

        On Mon, Apr 18, 2016 at 6:23 PM, Denholme Together wrote:

        >

    • I think it was W.H and H. Foster I think, Henry Foster can be seen in Haworth Parsonage Museum – a painting by the way by Branwell Bronte. It would appear they were drinking pals, and may have been painted while the boys were at the Black Bull Haworth. Branwells favourite watering hole.

  39. Many thanks Elaine for the information.
    Although Lewis was married twice he didn’t have any children, but he was always playful with my brothers and me.
    It was Arthur who had a daughter, my parents sometimes went on holiday with Mary and Don. I’m not sure what happened to the family.
    I remember the kiosk inside the garage, I think it had a half-crown glued to the shelf!

      • Hallo Gerrie,
        I did not grow up in Denholme but visited Lewis and Alice Longbottom at the Little Bull in 1947 for a month aged 9. If you lived opposite the pub it is entirely possible we played together. I met and played with Norma and Jean Kilmister, Norma has been kind in trying to help me trace any Longbottom family. Yours is the first mention of them I have seen, do you remember or know what became of them please?
        They gave me a wonderful holiday taking me to many places, including The Parsonage at Haworth. Thank you. Kind regards Carol Heslop

    • Its September 2017 and I have just found this web site. I am Richard Jay son of Mary and Donald Jay, my mother Mary Jay passed away in August 2016. I live in Oxenhope and my brother Martin has a wine bar and restaurant and spends most of his time in New Zealand, and I also remember the coins on the garage office shelf.

      • Sorry to hear about your mum. My parents have also passed. I hadn’t seen Mary for many years but she used to go on holiday with my mum, dad and youngest brother. Did you know that Florence and Horace farmed in New Zealand in the 1920’s.

  40. Hello
    I have been looking into the Balm family local history links. Does anyone have information on S Balm & Sons, Denholme Clough mills please?

  41. I have connections with Denholme and would be interested in any further information about them. My grandfather Cornelius William Colman (1879-1928) is buried in St Paul’s churchyard. He was a newsagent in Laisterdyke but also had a house in Denholme Clough. The funeral cortège walked all the way from Laisterdyke to St Paul’s. His widow continued to run the business and kept the house in Denholme Clough until after the War. My parents spent their honeymoon in that house in 1941 and took holidays there later. It is even possible that I was conceived there.
    A second odd connection relates to the death by drowning in Foreside Dam of Asa Ackroyd in 1931. He was a publican from Elland and a cousin of my grandmother. Why did he travel to Denholme? Did he drown himself? Was it a coincidence that he died close to his cousin’s house?
    If anyone knows more about any of this I should be very interested to here.

  42. F.A.O. Denholmers pre world War 2 era. Does anyone know about my grandmother Verdis Thornton, she was a young widow who brought up her 2 children Dan, (my Father) and Angela (Aunt) They attended Crossley & Porter School in Halifax. Verdis lived in Ogden Lane

  43. Hi
    My family worked down a pit in Denholme were my 4th great grandfather was killed Jonas Dobson he was pit manager in 1882 i think maybe others were killed in the same pit at the same time..I think the pit owners were called Isaac Wood & Son..I would like to Know the name and if possible the location of the mine….The Dobson name seems to crop up a lot in Denholme & Denholme gate ,Thornton,Keelham Hill…Any info would be great.
    Regards.

  44. The incident in which Jonas Dawson suffered fatal injury occurred at “the Old Pit, Thornton” on 13 April 1882. He was struck on the head by a wedge which had become detached from the pumping gear and which fell down the pit shaft while he was carrying out repair work below. He died at his house at Keelham Hill on 30 April. There was no other casualty. The event and his subsequent death were reported in the Leeds Times of 6 May 1882.

  45. Does anyone know if the history society has compiled photographs of the monuments in St Paul’s graveyard? I’m trying to find info on the Rev Aaron Brown (my grandmother’s uncle), who was vicar of St Paul’s from 1873 until his death in 1912.

  46. I have enjoyed reading the history and current news about Denholme. Reading the comments on here brought back good memories of childhood friends.
    In the early 50’s I lived in Morningside opposite the Black Bull in a terrace hose with an outside toilet and bath night was in a tin bath.
    During the summer I’d go to Lynton Beadle’s Dad’s farm to “help” at haymaking time.
    We moved to Fairfield when I was 9.
    During my teenage years Arthur Spink encouraged Brian Greenwood, Michael Farley , David (?) Moore and myself to represent the village in the Keighley and District Tennis League, where we rarely tasted victory!
    I left the village when I got married in 1970 and we have lived in Scotland for the last 40 years.

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