Cononley

Sunday Snap – Cononley Gala

This is a photograph taken probably sometime in the 1950’s or 1960’s I think. The woman in the long “short’ pants is my great aunt Jessie Brown (nee Hurtley).

I can’t be sure but I believe the picture was probably taken at the time of the Cononley Gala. They are carrying collecting tins and are no doubt intent on fleecing gala visitors of their hard earned cash!!!

Cononley is a small village in Airedale, Yorkshire about three miles south of Skipton. The village is an important place in my family history. During his childhood my dad spent many happy times here staying with his aunts and uncles.

Here is a link to the Cononley Village Website. The 2012 village gala was held yesterday and you can see photographs from last year on the website.

Military Monday – Jim Hurtley (1887-1947)

Jim Hurtley is my great uncle – he is my grandmother’s brother.  He was born about January 1887 to parents James Hurtley and Ellen Paley.

In the 1901 census his occupation is given as ‘bobbin turner’ and in 1911 he is described as ‘manager at hay and straw merchant’.  At the time he was living in the village of Cononley near Skipton in Yorkshire.

Jim married Jessie Leeming on 28 March 1910 and their daughter Alice was born on 20 September the same year.

When the war came he enlisted in the army at Keighley, West Yorkshire on 9 December 1915 at the age of 28 years 11 months.  His occupation at the time is given as ‘warehouseman’.  His service number is 185500.  I’m not sure what happened over the next ten months because the next piece of information shows that he had a medical examination in Halifax, West Yorkshire on 14 October 1916 and was appointed to the Royal Regiment of Artillery on 18 October 1916.

Details of Jim’s area of action are not recorded in any great detail.  I do know that he embarked from Southampton on 17 May 1917.   He then embarked from another port (record unclear) on 27 June 1917 and landed in Alexandria, Egypt on 6 July 1917.

Jim was wounded in action on 9 March 1918 but he ‘remained at duty’.

There is no more information about his service until he embarked from Port Said on 30 January 1919 to return to England.  He was discharged from the army and issued with a ‘protection certificate’ and certificate of identity on 10 February 1919.  However, like many of his comrades Jim was retained in the Class Z Reserve.

Class Z Reserve was authorised by an Army Order of 3 December 1918.  There were fears that Germany would not accept the terms of any peace treaty, and therefore the British Government decided it would be wise to be able to quickly recall trained men in the eventuality of the resumption of hostilities.  Soldiers who were being demobilised, particularly those who had agreed to serve “for the duration”, were at first posted to Class Z.  They returned to civilian life but with an obligation to return if called upon.  The Z Reserve was abolished on 31 March 1920.

In 1921 Jiim received his British War and Victory Medals.

Jim and Jessie had two further children – Jim (born about September 1920) and Phyllis (born about September 1924).

Jim died at the age of 60 in 1947.

Married 88 years ago today

On 14 November 1922 my paternal grandparents were married at the Parish Church of Cononley in Yorkshire.

St John's Church, Cononley, North Yorkshire

Joseph Dawson was 19 and Alice Hurtley was 22.

Joseph’s occupation is listed as “engine cleaner”. His father James Dawson (see photograph in my gallery) was a “warp dresser”. There is no occupation shown for Alice and her father, James Hurtley is shown as a “farmer”.

The witnesses were James Dawson (Joseph’s brother) and Maggie Hurtley (Alice’s sister).

Joseph and Alice had two sons – Harry and Graham (my dad).

Grandad Joe and his work mates

As far as I know Joseph (or Joe as he was known) spent all his working life on the railway. As the marriage certificate shows he was an “engine cleaner” which is probably how he started. He worked on the railway during the golden age of steam and I know he was a fireman and a driver.

In the photograph Joe is standing up with his arms folded.  I don’t know when, where or why this photograph was taken – but I like it.

At some point Joe and Alice moved away from the Keighley area of West Yorkshire to Rotherham in South Yorkshire. That’s where my dad was born. They moved there because of Joe’s work on the railway. He worked for the London Midland & Scottish Railway company and then for British Rail after the railway was nationalised at the end of 1947.

Eventually Joe and Alice moved back to West Yorkshire and lived in Leeds.

Joe retired from the railway in the late 1960’s. I haven’t been able to track down his employment records yet – that’s on my “to do list”.

I’m not too sure about Alice’s working life. I do remember that she worked in the local newsagents / post office for many years on the estate where they lived in Leeds.

After retirement from the railway Joe had a part time job working sweeping up in the cloth room of the John Collier factory in Leeds. At that time in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s John Collier was still a big name in the clothing industry of West Yorkshire and was famous for made to measure men’s suits.

My first job after leaving school in 1969 was working in that same cloth room with my grandad. My job at the tender age of sixteen was hauling the rolls of cloth from the shelves and taking them to the “cutters” to cut out the suit lengths and taking the roll of cloth back to the storage shelves.

Joe passed away in July 1978 and Alice in May 1987.

Happy anniversary Joe and Alice.