Village Web Site Forum

Linda Harrison
Sunday, March 16, 2008 14:09
Greenroyd Mill
I am working on a project centred on Greenroyd Mill and would be interested to hear from anyone who has memories of working there.Thanks
Sunday, March 16, 2008 15:55
Hi Linda - have you seen Doris Riley's book "A Home Spun Yarn"? If not, there's a link to details about it on the home page.
Monday, March 24, 2008 15:28
I have got a copy of Doris's book and have had a chat with her.I imagine there are quite a number of people living in Sutton who might be able to spare a moment to write a comment-hope so!
David Laycock
Tuesday, March 25, 2008 11:31
Anne Wigglesworth once emailed me a list of employees Hartley's Mill 1876?
Natalie T
Tuesday, March 25, 2008 12:24
Relatives of mine used to work at Hartleys Mill - do you still have the list of employees? I'd be really interested to see it if you do.
Duncan McHenry
Tuesday, March 25, 2008 19:24
Hi, Linda,
I served my apprenticeship as a Spinning Overlooker) at William Hartley's, starting in 1951 and completing it in 1957.
I served under Brian Holdsworth, Lawson Taylor and Bill Palfreman.
Bill Palfreman lived across from us when we lived on Eastfield Place - I know his children were Donald, Neil and Jean.
Frank Whiteoak was the spinning manager and Frank Thornton was the general manager.
Many of the ladies took us young boys under their wings - I remember in particular Mary Walker who worked in the Drawing Section and was always very friendly - her daughter, Jane, married Alan Chatterton, who was a near neighbour of ours when we lived on Hall Way.
There were hostel girls at the mill, I remember two sisters, Anne and ***** Robinson.
I am sure I will remember other details.
The memories have started to flow like yoghurt !!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 17:24
Hi Duncan,thanks for responding-what are your memories of the daily routine ,the noise,smells,the closure ,your views on what is happening to the place now.How long is it since you went inside the building?I am interested in memories of atmosphere etc.Any thoughts?
Wednesday, March 26, 2008 17:28
David,the list sounds interesting-have you still got it and did you acquire it as a result of a personal interest in the mill?Linda
geoff happs
Thursday, March 27, 2008 19:21
Saturday, March 29, 2008 11:10
Linda & Natalie,
Check with Paul he will have Anne's e mail, she is Anne Newman and I'm sure she will be able to send a copy. The list was sent as it had a Laycock on it. You could try Rootsweb archives "Random Act" 1999 regardiing Kidd entries.
Duncan would you have worked with Donald laycock?
I will be away for a couple of weeks in China so will see what's going on when I return.
Duncan McHenry
Sunday, April 6, 2008 16:05
Hi, David,
Re your question (29.3.08).
I was an apprentice in the drawing, spinning and twisting section.
My dad was a woolsorter and I think Donald Laycock was the "boss" woolsorter.
David in Oz
Monday, April 14, 2008 13:18
Duncan, Back from China,
Spot on, I'm 66 now and remember your dad, and a few others (in their check tops?) on the top floor, I remember they caught a young kestrel which had flown in thru the crane doors. I got to take it home and kept it in the old pidgeon hut in the allotment across from Crag View.Funny how these memories come back.
Friday, June 27, 2008 20:00
I hope people in Sutton will be interested in the photos of the inside of Greenroyd Mill before it started undergoing its conversion into apartments.Please let me know any memories you might have about the place if you worked there-I would like to hear what you have to say.Thanks,Linda
Andrew Monkhouse
Sunday, June 29, 2008 05:29
Well Linda - on seeing the first picture of the interior of Greenroyd Mill, the first thing I spotted was the name C Simons 1978 chalked on one of the beams and wondered why I hadn’t chalked my name up there also !

Colin Simons and I worked together on that top floor of the mill from around 1978 until the mill finally closed in 1980; we were both in our late teens. Our job was to crane up bails of wool (raw material) from delivery lorries in the yard below and store them in that warehouse, which I think was on the 5th floor. Then we would use sack-carts to deliver these bails of wool, via the lift, to the ‘spinners’ on the floors below, as and when they needed them (I’ll talk about the lift operator in a moment)

The crane used to hoist up the bails of wool was a rope-pulley with a pair of teethed grappling irons on the end. One of us would operate the crane using the rope system while the other would be waiting with a sack cart to transport and store the bails somewhere in the warehouse. It was heavy work and after a few months working there we were strong as Oxon and fit as lops (whatever a lop is !)

We were also a bit blasé back then in that we never wore the provided safety harness as we stood on the edge looking down, operating the crane from the doorway 5 floors up. The lorry driver below would wrap the grappling irons around the bail of wool and then move away as it was hoisted above him. On one occasion I had hoisted a heavy bail all the way to the top and on releasing the rope to halt the crane, the serrated grips tore through the sacking and the bail fell back to earth, landing on the back of the lorry. Amazingly the only damage done was to knock a tail light out on the lorry and luckily the driver wasn't stood underneath !

The lift operator was called Percy, a Keighley bloke originally from London who was approaching retirement age. Inside the lift there was some sort of devise on the wall that would drop an indicator to signify from which floor the bell had been rung. Poor Percy used to get a bit stressed out when it got busy and he would curse & swear on a daily basis, especially if another bell rang before he'd finished his current job. I guess we all have our ups and downs but Percy did it for a living !

Of course as teenagers, seeing Percy lose his rag was a huge source of entertainment for us. So every now and then Colin, myself and a few other lads would position ourselves on every floor from the basement up to the 5th floor next to the lift. When the time was right we’d all press the bell simultaneously tripping every indicator inside the lift. Percy used to go OFF HIS TROLLEY and scream down the lift-shaft “Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, F Off” !

After we had delivered the bails of raw wool to the floors below, the folks operating the spinning machines would refine the wool into bobbins of usable yarn. These bobbins would then be dyed into different colours and eventually be packed and stored in another area of the mill waiting for a buyer. Once sold they would be dispatched onto lorries using another rope-pulley crane and taken away to weaving sheds where they would be woven into actual suit material, or whatever. (a very quick and simplistic explanation, someone else may have more detail on the actual spinning process)

At one point I also worked at Matthews weaving sheds at Eastburn as a weaver, so I saw first hand how these bobbins of refined wool were transformed into big rolls of worsted suit material (the finished product) using the old Hattersley looms. Huge cumbersome NOISY machines, oily, dusty and dirty, where a big belt would whip a wooden shuttle across the face of the loom, taking with it a strand of wool – that was the weaving process. Again a very simplistic explanation to a very complicated system of procedures, whereby wool sheared from a sheep would eventually be transformed into a pin-striped business suit !
Thursday, July 3, 2008 19:33
Hi Andrew-thanks for such an interesting and lively account of life at Greenroyd Mill.If you are interested in graffiti,the old lift,I discovered,is full of it and I have some photos-some of the subject matter a bit dubious!!
I lived in Sutton up to 2 years ago-now in Laycock.I am planning on coming to take some pictures of the village to put the mill in context ready for a book I am producing for my final exams.Would you be happy for me to include your account.I am going to put some souvenir post cards and bookmarks in local outlets soon for people to take.Watch this space! Thanks,Linda
Andrew Monkhouse
Friday, July 4, 2008 08:14
Hi Linda, I’m pretty sure there was no graffiti in the lift when Greenroyd Mill was still operating, Percy would NEVER have allowed that !

Yes by all means you can include my scrawl in your project. I could have blathered on with a few more memorable anecdotes, but restricted my ramblings in keeping with the forum. Actually I thought you may have received a few more responses to your request for information / memories from past employees. Anyway, good luck with your book, I’m sure it will make excellent reading :-)

p.s. there's a picture of me working at the mill in Doris Riley's book 'A Home Spun Yarn' on page 76 - my name is misspelt I Monkhouse !
Paul Wilkinson
Friday, July 4, 2008 09:23
Hi Andrew - please feel free to ramble! Paul
Wednesday, August 27, 2008 18:37
Paul, I have given your email address to the secretary at Leeds Met. Univ. Fine Art and Graphics Dept so that she can send details of the exhibition for our MA show to you. I would like you to put the details on the forum so that if any one is from Sutton is in Leeds the week of the 12th of September until the 19th and would like to see how I have presented Greenroyd Mill just call in.You should be receiving details.There is an opening on the 12th from 5.30-7pm.
Thanks Linda
Paul Wilkinson
Thursday, August 28, 2008 10:10
Hi Linda - the content of the email is below... Paul

The Leeds School of Contemporary Art & Graphic Design
MA Contemporary Fine Art Practice Exhibition
4th floor H Building

Friday 12th September Open Evening 5.30pm – 7pm

Saturday 13th September 11am – 3pm
Sunday 14th September Closed
Monday 15th September 11am – 3pm
Tuesday 16th September 11am – 3pm
Wednesday 17th September 11am – 3pm
Thursday 18th September 11am – 3pm
Friday 19th September 11am – 3pm

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