Eastburn Our Village
Drawing of Eastburn House by Harry HeyTHE STORY OF OUR VILLAGE

This book has been put together largely from material collected for three exhibitions which have been held in Eastburn: War and Victory (1995); School Centenary (1996); History of Eastburn (1997).

It is not a fully researched history of Eastburn, more a layman’s attempt to record some memories of the village before it is overwhelmed by development.

We hope that these recollections and photographs of everyday life will be of great interest to all with an Eastburn connection.

The small group who have compiled this book wish to thank those who have contributed their memories of Eastburn, the individual owners of old photographs who allowed them to be included, and Harry Hey, Douglas Firth & Donald Smith for the cover illustrations and lettering.



by Christine Smith

Fringe Fin FishThe geology consists of layered sandstones and shales from the Millstone Grit series of rocks. They were sands and mud laid down in a tropical river delta 300 million years ago. Fossils preserved in the rocks are evidence of the plants and animals that lived at that time. The fossilised scales of a ‘fringe-fin’ fish found in Eastburn quarry are displayed in the Airedale gallery at Cliffe Castle Museum, Keighley.

The Aire Valley Fault runs just north of Eastburn village and has displaced the rocks so that those on the hill at Kildwick are older than those at Eastburn. The Fault was formed in the great earth movements 290 million years ago, when the Pennines were thrust up into a line of hills. The Aire Valley probably began to form as water drained off the new hills, excavating its path along the line of weak rocks of the Fault. Hundreds of feet of rock were weathered away in the following million years until the last ice age, two million years ago.

The ice which gave the valley its present form melted away 10,000 years ago leaving behind a covering of boulder clay and a thick terrace of gravels at the river bridging point at Kildwick.

The Romans

The Romans may have used a route on the hillside south of the present main road through Eastburn. In the 1920s Dr. Villey, a Keighley archaeologist, wrote about indications of a routeway he had seen in the fields between Steeton Methodist Church and Eastburn which he thought could have been a minor route between Roman forts at Ilkley & Elslack.

The Anglo-Saxons

The Anglo-Saxons settled in the area before the 11th century. Eastburn, which means ‘east of the stream’ originates from the Anglo-Saxon words ‘est’ (east) and ‘burn’ (stream). Gamelbar was a Saxon Thane (lord) and held several pieces of land in Northern England, including the Manors of Eastburn and Steeton. The term ‘manor’ was used to describe a unit of land which did not always include a manor house. There is no evidence of a manor house in Eastburn.

The Normans

After the Norman Conquest of 1066 land was held by the new king, William I, who divided most of it amongst his former companions in arms, leaving the Anglo-Saxons with smaller holdings.

The Domesday Book of 1086 details the King’s Lands for taxation purposes and includes the earliest written records of the place Eastburn.

Giselbert de Tyson, reputedly a Standard Bearer at the Battle of Hastings with the conquering Duke William of Normandy, was given most of the lands in Steeton and Eastburn which had previously been held by Gamelbar.


by Christine Smith

In the medieval period Eastburn was within Kildwick Parish and under the Lordship of the deRomille family of Skipton Castle. In 1152 the Parish of Kildwick was given to Bolton Priory in return for the monks’ prayers for the deRomille family and their ancestors.

Records indicate that there was a tithe barn in Eastburn (site unknown) belonging to the Priory which was substantially repaired in the 1318-19 after damage by Scottish raiders.

In order to transport tithes to Bolton Priory the river Aire had to be crossed. A route from Eastburn crossed a shallow part of the river via a ford – stones were still visible earlier this century when the river was low. The track then ran up the opposite hill to Kildwick Grange, which was the main centre for the Priory in Kildwick.

In 1539 the Dissolution of the Monasteries led to Kildwick Manor being sold to two clothiers from Bradford and Halifax who later sold at a profit.

On the 1822 Tithe Map for Steeton and Eastburn some strip fields are shown near the river at Steeton Ings which could date from the medieval period. Also in that area some boundary stones were found, each with a single initial carved on them representing the owner of a strip field and evidence of early farming. There are also stones buried along the beck side which some say are part of Eastburn’s medieval stocks but others that they are the sluice gates used to control the flow of water into the Ings.

Inside one of the allotments in Nanny Gardens early 20th century

Inside one of the allotments in Nanny Gardens early 20th century

The legend of Nan Pemberton survives in the name of ‘Nanny Grave Hill’ and ‘Nanny Gardens’ given to land alongside Devil’s Lane where it meets Lyon Lane and Pot Lane. This was the old four lane crossroads but any trace of the fourth lane, known as Wood Street, has long since disappeared. The legend sprang from an unfortunate incident which probably occurred in the 16th or 17th century and concerned the death (possibly by suicide) of one Nan Pemberton and her burial at the old crossroards. Nan was apparently accused of witchcraft but the exact cause of her death is not known.

In 1881, the Parish of Steeton-with-Eastburn was established with St. Stephen’s Parish Church being built in Steeton.


by Christine Smith

The following paragraphs give details of some people bearing the name Eastburn (in its various spellings) who have been recorded over the centuries in the Eastburn area. Because Eastburn was so small in those days, it was aligned with the larger village of Steeton for many official records, i.e. Court Rolls, Muster Rolls, Poll Tax.

In 1300 Alexander de Estburne was a witness to a charter regarding land in Glusburn and in 1314 Lord de Estburn and the first Lord Clifford of Skipton Castle were both slain in the Battle of Bannockburn, Stirling, Scotland. Between 1326 and 1328 Robert, son of Alex de Estburne was Deacon at Kildwick Church.

In the Steeton with Eastburn Poll Tax records of 1379 it is recorded that 4d. each was paid by Laurencius de Estburn and wife, Johannes de Estburn and wife, and Johannes, servant of Laurencius de Estburn. Also, in the Glusburn Poll Tax records of the same year Johannes de Estburn and wife are shown to pay 4d.

In 1513 William de Estburn from Steeton appears in the Muster Roll for the Battle of Flodden, Northumberland. The weapon he took with him was a bille.

The following details follow one family from the Eastburn area to America. In 1651 John Eastburne married Ann at Kildwick Parish Church. They had several children and joined the Society of Friends (Quakers) in Keighley.

In 1683 John Eastburn and several other men were taken by a Capius Warrant to the Sessions at Wakefield for refusing to swear allegiance to the Crown and were all committed as prisoners to York Castle. They were held there for three years, and released by a warrant given at White Hall by King James II in 1686. Ann died in 1683, the year of John’s imprisonment and he died four years after his release. Both were buried by the Society of Friends.

In 1684 John Eastburn Jnr. (Son of John and Ann) went to America from the parish of Bingley. Later, in 1693, his brother Robert Eastburn, married Sarah Preston of Raistrick parish, Yorkshire, in a Quaker ceremony. They had eight children and in 1713 the family took a Certificate from Brighouse Monthly Meeting of Friends to America and were accepted by Philadelphia Monthly Meeting of Friends. Sarah died in 1752 and Robert in 1755.

From the two brothers, John and Robert, came along a line of Eastburn descendants in the United States of America, extending to the end of the 20th century.


by Maurice Bell

Before the opening of the new turnpike road through Eastburn in 1789 travel would have been very difficult. Roads were little more than deeply-rutted muddy tracks, impassable for many wheeled vehicles. The main road to Keighley ran through Eastburn and Steeton along Lyon Road, Pot Lane, Chapel Lane up to Steeton Tower and down Hollins Lane.

The villagers of Eastburn would have travelled very little, living, working and marrying locally. Employment would have been in agriculture and any goods or services they needed which were not available in the village would have been supplied by travelling salesmen or the local carter.

The Opening of the Canal

The section of the canal between Kildwick and Riddlesden was opened in 1772 primarily to allow the transport of coal up the valley from the Riddlesden mines and limestone down from the Skipton quarries. Although not directly touching Eastburn the canal must have had considerable effect on the village, bringing cheaper goods much closer.

Coal and lime would be very important for agriculture and industrial development and would help to provide alternative employment for local people.

As the canal system developed it would bring in cheaper grain from the more favourable arable areas, and imported goods from the ports of Liverpool and Hull, in addition to providing wider markets for local produce such as wool, linen etc.

The Turnpike

Even though the new turnpike road (1789) brought easier transport of goods and access to wider markets for local tradesmen and

Lyon Road early 20th century - the house on the right of the photograph is thought to have been the old Red Lyon Inn before its move on to the Keighley to Kendal turnpike

Lyon Road early 20th century – the house on the right of the photograph is thought to have been the old Red Lyon Inn before its move on to the Keighley to Kendal turnpike

farmers, the poorer villagers did not have the means or opportunity for social travel, a journey to Keighley or Skipton being a great occasion which in most cases would be made on foot. Even a ride on a carter’s wagon would be mare than they could afford.

Cheaper road transport did not appear until the early 1900s when horse-drawn wagonettes and later motor buses were introduced from Keighley to Eastburn bridge, followed by the tracklesses passing through Eastburn to Sutton.

Even then most working people would walk long distances to save the fare, I know of one man living in Bradley who walked to and from work at Eastburn quarries every day.

My mother as a young woman worked in Bairstow’s mill in Sutton. She was allowed to ride on the bus to Eastburn bridge in the morning, but had to walk home to Utley after work.

Traffic through the village even as late the 1920s to 1930s was so light and slow, and much of it still horse-drawn, that children played hopscotch and football in the road with little disturbance and ample time to move their goalposts.

One of the favourite children’s games was to catch hold of a slow-moving horse-drawn wagon and be dragged along the road, their clogs acting as sledges with the clog irons sparking.

I was told of a carter journeying into Keighley who after a few drinks would fall asleep on his way home. His horse would make its own way back home until it stopped to drink at the trough in Utley. They could often be seen, the horse and cart stood and the carter fast asleep. A far cry from today.

Main Road Eastburn circa 1910. This is the new turnpike road 1789. At the top of the road the old barn belonging to the White Bear can still be seen

Main Road Eastburn circa 1910. This is the new turnpike road 1789. At the top of the road the old barn belonging to the White Bear can still be seen

Main Road Eastburn circa 1910. On the right behind No.1 Main Road, Bland's Buildings can be seen. This three storey building was demolished in the 1950s

Main Road Eastburn circa 1910. On the right behind No.1 Main Road, Bland’s Buildings can be seen. This three storey building was demolished in the 1950s

The Railway

The opening of the railway up the valley in 1847 with its speedier transport of goods and people accelerated the development of industry with opportunities for work and travel.

The new industries brought an influx of people to man them, and a rapid expansion in building. Much of the older part of Eastburn dates from this time. The railway continued to play a very important part in the lives and economy of the areas, making it possible for the first ‘commuters’, and it continued to be the main means of travel of any distance and bulk transport until the 1940s and 1950s.


by Raymond Hutchinson and Jean Ainsworth

The importance of both the textile mill and the foundry (now Landis Lund’s) for the growth and development of Eastburn cannot be over-emphasised. It was the employment that they and the other nearby factories provided that brought workers to the village, creating a demand for housing and other services and thus diversifying the local economy. The 1891 census return suggests that with the exception of housewives and children under 11, almost every able-bodied person in the village was gainfully employed.

We know that in 1822 Eastburn was a small farming community. Four major farms are shown on the tithe map (Lyon, Eastburn House, Greenfield and Knott) together with a scattering of cottages along the Lyon and along the trunk road, mainly near the top of Green Lane. The only other buildings of note in 1822 were the inn (now the White bear) and its large barn on the south side of the trunk road, and the tithe barn behind Eastburn House.

By the time the Tithe Award map was drawn up in 1846, some 24 years later, a large factory complex had appeared on the site of a field which had been owned by Peter Barrett in 1822.

The Barrett family are known to have originated in Sutton where they owned a corn mill. Peter Barrett is listed on the 1841 Eastburn census as a millwright and we know that he lived at Greenfield House and owned a good deal of land. It seems likely that he and Stephen Barrett began a foundry-type business in Eastburn prior to there being an actual foundry building. Certainly an indenture dated 1832 between Peter Barrett and Thomas and Noah Jones suggests that he was already employing an apprentice by this date.

The Barrett family were also builders and installers of water wheels, one being installed at Airton Mills near Skipton in 1840, and another at Lothersdale Mill which is still there today and was said to be one of the biggest in the Brtish Isls at 48ft. in diameter. They also made cast iron manhole covers and coal shoot lids and to this day there are many gas lamp posts still in the area with the name of John Barrett, Eastburn Foundry, Cross Hills on them.

It may be that the factory complex shown in 1846 housed both the Barretts’ foundry business and a separate textile business. The earliest record of the mill found so far is on the electoral roll for Eastburn of November 1844 – December 1845 where a Solomon Arnold is listed as occupying a mill in Eastburn at a rent of £50 per annum. The Arnold family appears in the 1851 census return as living at Eastburn where Mrs. Arnold appears as a manufacturer’s wife. The 1851 census lists Peter Barrett (51) millwright and foundryman, and Stephen Barrett (46) millwright, employing 24 men.

On a property list dated 1865 a Samuel Tetley (of Shoebridge) and William Barrett (Peter’s son) are leasing a certain building from Peter Barrett including a weaving shed, engine etc., and then in 1871 John Barrett (Stephen’s son) is listed on the census as a millwright living at Eastburn bridge. This would seem to be the point at which a separate foundry was constructed behind John Barrett’s house on the site presently occupied by part of Landis Lund’s.

On the 1892 ordnance survey map there is still a factory complex at the top of the Croft shown as Eastburn Mill (worsted) and another large building alongside Eastburn Bridge called Eastburn Foundry.

E.A. Matthews' Eastburn Mill mid 20th century - an artist's impression

E.A. Matthews’ Eastburn Mill mid 20th century – an artist’s impression

The Foundry

John Lund bought the foundry in 1904. He was a machine toolmaker by trade who started producing lathes, planers, milling machines, etc. During the First World War he manufactured machines for making shells. He started making surface grinders in about 1923 and introduced hydraulics on to his machines in 1928. The firm was taken over by Clapham Bros. in 1932 and concentrated on the manufacture of surface grinders under the name Precimax.

During the Second World War many local women were employed to operate the machines in the factory while the men were away fighting. In 1950 the business was taken over again, this time by Landis Lund Company, Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, USA. Major extensions to the buildings were made between 1935 and 1937. Thos. Atkinson & Sons, (Builders) of Eastburn did some of this work. The dressed stone front of the present building is reclaimed stone from Sutton Hall (demolished 1940). Wimpeys carried out further major rebuilding work between 1959 and 1960.

Inside John Lund's foundry early 20th century

Inside John Lund’s foundry early 20th century

Women working at Landis Lund's during the Second World War

Women working at Landis Lund’s during the Second World War

 The Textile Mill

The story of the textile mill in its early stages is quite difficult to unravel. It is possible that more than one manufacturer operated within the building at any one time. Certainly in the early 20th century we know that there were separate weaving and spinning mills, the weaving mill belonging to Matthews’ and the spinning mill belonging to Wilson’s.

After the first electoral roll mention of Solomon Arnold in 1844-5 we know nothing more until 1965 when a Samuel Tetley was leasing part of the building. He was to become an important local magnate, responsible among other things for the opening of the school in Eastburn in 1871. On the census of 1871 he is listed as Worsted Spinner (Mfr) employing 260 people. We know from the school log book that he died in 1887 and we also know from the 1886 Craven Household Directory that Matthews and Rayner and J. and W,C. Wilson’s were by that time the principal industrialists in Eastburn.

Inside the weaving shed at E.A. Matthews, early 20th century

Inside the weaving shed at E.A. Matthews, early 20th century

There may have been another manufacturer in between Tetley and Matthews as James Green (Worsted Manufacturer) appears on the 1871 census return living at Greenfield House. In 1881 a Peter Green is living at Croft House and is listed as a worsted manufacturer with 80 workers, and the 1884 Craven Directory lists Peter Green & Co., Mfrs., Eastburn Mills. It may well ne this firm which is referred to in the school log book entry for April 1885 ‘the removal of business from Eastburn Mill to Bradley has greatly interfered with the working of the school since the end of February’.

Fortunately for the village, E.A. Matthews, manufacturers of fine worsteds, went from strength to strength. During the Second World War their warehouse was apparently used for the manufacture of aeroplane parts. The firm celebrated 80 years of existence with a trip to Filey for their workers in 1965. However, in 1983, just two years short of their centenary, the firm merged with John Foster & Son PLC of Black Dyke Mills, Queensbury and the Eastburn factory closed.


by Raymond Hutchinson

Eastburn Quarry looking North West - steam cranes clearly visible - building centre top is the blacksmith's shop

Eastburn Quarry looking North West – steam cranes clearly visible – building centre top is the blacksmith’s shop

Mid 1930s - Sunday morning at the quarry

Mid 1930s – Sunday morning at the quarry

Eastburn Quarry was originally owned by the Barrett family, who were local landowners. It was sold to Thos. Atkinson and Son who were local builders, and then in 1914 was bought by Richard Dixon who had returned from a gold mining expedition in Africa to live at Harewood House in Eastburn. Harewood House was watered from the square stone tank (now split) in Eastburn Quarry.

Richard Dixon developed the pulp stone trade. The first pulp stone left Eastburn Quarry for Canada in 1915. It had taken two men five weeks to hand dress it. The stone was towed from the quarry on a horse-drawn block cart to Kildwick railway station where it was loaded on to a train to be transported to Liverpool Docks and then by boat up the St. Lawrence river in Canada. A visitor to the exhibition told us that his great grandfather, James Day, had been goods yard foreman at Kildwick station and had talked about difficulty experienced in loading the pulp stones from Eastburn Quarry onto the trains. In about 1916 Moor Lane was laid with the stone setts which are still visible today. This made the transporting of stone from the quarry easier than before when it had been more like a beck bottom. The last quarry foreman was Tim Bancroft, and Brian Fort’s grandfather, Harry Richmond was the carter.

About 1934 Mr. Dixon sold the quarry to an American company called Lombard & Co. of Boston and Montreal. This firm sent two managers over to run the quarry – Mr. Schroder and Mr. Davidson. Whilst over here the managers lived for a time in Harewood House and also at 7 Aire Street, Junction. The quarry ceased operation in 1938 or 1939. During the exhibition we learnt that stone from Eastburn Quarry had been used in the building of Heysham Harbour, Ashlyn on Lyon Road, Greenbank at Stirton, Skipton and the new end of Bairstow’s Mill at Sutton (recently demolished). Steeton’s First World War Memorial was built from quarry stone but had to be rebuilt at a lower height after being blown down in high winds.

Harry Richmond with horse-drawn quarry cart ready for loading

Harry Richmond with horse-drawn quarry cart ready for loading


by Mary Royston

We moved to Eastburn from Cross Hills in 1917 when I was five years old. There was only my mother and myself as my grandfather had remarried and gone to live in Steeton and my father was in France (First World War) as was an uncle and his sister. My other aunt had gone to work in the NAAFI. In Cross Hills we had all lived together but mother and I now needed a much smaller house.

No. 35 Main Road. This view also shows the Post Office (first on left) and the Reading Room/Billiard Room

No. 35 Main Road. This view also shows the Post Office (first on left) and the Reading Room/Billiard Room

Our first home in Eastburn was No. 37 Main Road. It looked across the road to the well where we would often see horses drinking. It was also next door to an alley which contained our coal place and was where men used to shelter during the day on the way to and from the workhouse in Keighley or Skipton. The lady who lived across from us, Miss Roe, used to make teacakes for these men which they ate whilst resting in the alleyway, and they used to leave an X on her door when they moved on as a sign to others that here was someone who would help the homeless. Above the alley was a room reached by an outside stone staircase and I remember there used to be a billiard table there and later the first library in Eastburn.

We rented our house from a Mr. Laycock who lived in Junction. When we arrived I remember thinking it was a very funny house. There was one room at the front and one at the back and each had a staircase leading from it. It was lovely for me as it gave me two places to play in under the stairs instead of only one like other children. The reason was simply that two back-to-back houses had been knocked into one. On the first night it was quite exciting going to bed because in the middle of the bedroom was a ladder leading up to a sort of platform where, I was told, handloom weaving used to be carried out. The first night we had to sleep on a mattress on the floor because my mother had no one to help her put up the bed. Next morning I was wakened early by the sound of a load clattering noise outside. This was quite frightening until mother looked out of the window and lifted me up to see all the men and women in their clogs running to the mill. I remember the older women were mostly wearing grey or plaid shawls, black pinafores and black stockings which they had knitted themselves.

There were two mills in Eastburn right next to each other, a spinning mill and a weaving shed and we we soon got used to the noise. The spinning mill was owned by Mr. Wilson who also had a farm down Lyons Lane. The weaving shed was owned by Mr. Matthews, who lived at Croft House. Nearly all the women of working age who lived in Eastburn worked at the mill. Only if they were menders they might be able to work at home mending the unfinished cloth on very large tables in their living rooms.

Eastburn School early 20th century showing divided playground

Eastburn School early 20th century showing divided playground

In 1917 Eastburn had a joiner’s shop-cum-undertakers and a tailor, Mr. Ellison, who had the business two doors down from us. But there was plenty of work in the neighbouring villages too. Bairstow’s at Sutton and Dixon’s Bobbin Mill in Steeton employed quite a lot of Eastburners.

On the Monday following our arrival in Eastburn I was taken down the Croft to school. The playground was divided in two by iron railings to keep the boys and girls separate at playtime. We had three teachers. Mr. Powlson took standards 4, 5 and 6. Miss Birkbeck taught the younger children and looked very old because she had grey hair and dressed in a long black skirt and black blouse with a high boned collar. She had a large bell which she rang at 9.30 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. She lived in Skipton and walked to school each day from Kildwick railway station. The third teacher was unusually a grammar school pupil waiting to go to training college in Bingley. One of these teachers came from Addingham and had to get an early morning train to Skipton and then another to Kildwick and walk to Eastburn School from there – all for a wage of £1 per week.

Miss Birkbeck used to take us for walks down Devil’s Lane, although she insisted that we called it Sunny Lane! When we got to the end of the lane near the railway line it was usually about 3.30 p.m. and we were always thrilled by the two express trains that used to cross, one flying to Scotland and the other on the way back to London.

Eastburn School circa 1917. Headmaster Mr Powlson on the left. Miss Birkbeck on the right

Eastburn School circa 1917. Headmaster Mr Powlson on the left. Miss Birkbeck on the right

Miss Birkbeck was quite a disciplinarian and I recall having my face slapped for trying to put another girl off when she was reciting in class. I was mad at the girl because Miss Birkbeck had stopped me doing the recitation for talking in class!

One of the highlights of the school year was the oranges presented to us by Mr. and Mrs. Matthews, the local mill owner and his wife. We used to have to sing to them and usually it was ‘O Who Will O’er the Downs with Me’ but I remember once Nelly Birch rebelled and sang ‘Give Me a Cosy Little Corner and an Armchair for Two’, which was considered very daring.

You could buy nearly everything you wanted in the village in those days. There was a large Co-op which sold most things, a small bakers in the Main Road and a drapers which sold stockings, cotton reels, etc. Mr and Mrs. Dawson ran a greengrocers and Mr. and Mrs. Todd had a shop where you could buy dolls or have them mended, and also buy books and children’s clothes. Mrs. Todd looked after the shop because Mr. Todd was the fireman at Matthews’ Mill.

Mr and Mrs Todd's shop at 31 Main Road, second on left

Mr and Mrs Todd’s shop at 31 Main Road, second on left

What spare time people had from working was spent by the women doing housework and the men gardening in their allotments – except on Sunday afternoons when cricket was played. Also on Sundays there was Chapel, though Eastburn Primitive Methodist Chapel was much more than just a place of worship. I think most families managed a joint of meat on Sundays and fresh vegetables came from the allotments down a the Nanny gardens.

Sunday School at the Primitive Methodists was very important for us children. At Whitsuntide we used to do a Whit Walk all in our best clothes. We had to be at the Sunday School for 2 p.m. and then we walked round the village, stopping at certain places to sing hymns. Our first stops were in Sun Street top and bottom, where we sang especially for Mr. Atkinson. Our next was outside the White Bear, then at the Foundry and finally we went down the Lyon where at the Lane Bottom we sang for Pauline Shuttleworth who was an invalid. Then we would all race up to the Sunday School room for ‘school buns’, which were like oval-shaped teacakes with spicy stuff in. They tasted like Christmas cake. After this we would gather in the Whitsun field which faced on to Moor Lane for the races – running, skipping etc. The field was normally full of cows until we needed it and I remember Celia Dawson in her new suit slipping on one of the many cow pats. Our Sunday School teacher, Freddy Hargreaves, said he would put up a notice ‘No cows to —- in this field by request’. We used to get small prizes for winning; penknives for the boys and purses for the girls. We were also given an orange apiece and then the teachers would scatter a bagful of sweets in the field so that we ended up in a scrum fighting for them. As we got older (twelve or so) we moved on to more sophisticated entertainments with visits to the cinema at Cross Hills!

We also used to give concerts at the Sunday School prizegiving and I can still remember one we did called ‘Fairies of the Golden Dawn’ for which Mrs. Baines cut out dresses from crinkly paper for all us fairies. It must have taken her hours.


by Jean Ainsworth

In 1824 there is a note in the Primitive Methodist Silsden Circuit records that Eastburn contributed 3s. 6d. to circuit funds. Thirty-three years later we know that Eastburn had at least 13 Primitive Methodists who were meeting regularly at No. 11 Main Road. In March 1857 Eastburn was included in ‘the plan’ which meant that a circuit preacher would come at 2.30 p.m. each Sunday to take a service.

Eastburn Primitive Methodist Chapel. Facing down the drive is the 1872 building which was demolished in the 1960s. On the left is the original Chapel erected 1860/61 which was used as the day school in Eastburn from 1871 to 1896.

Eastburn Primitive Methodist Chapel. Facing down the drive is the 1872 building which was demolished in the 1960s. On the left is the original Chapel erected 1860/61 which was used as the day school in Eastburn from 1871 to 1896.

The cause must have developed quite rapidly. By 1859 the members had outgrown their cottage and had bought a plot of land in Parsley Green from Peter Barrett, millwright, on which to erect a chapel or meeting house. The purchase of this piece of land cost then £25. The original Chapel was built on the site which now holds the Church Hall.

In 1871 the Primitive Methodist Chapel trustees were ‘persuaded’ to let their building during the week as a British Day School. This probably helped them to decide on the necessity of putting up a new chapel alongside the original building. Apparently up to this time special events such as anniversaries had to be held in the open air because of the large numbers. In good weather these were successful but after a run of bad weather on anniversary days, another piece of land was purchased from William Barrett, gentleman, (P. Barrett’s son) and an imposing new building was erected in 1872. This faced the main road and was reached by a broad drive from large iron gates. The old building continued as a Sunday School and Day School until 1896.

Towards the end of the 19th century the social life on many of the villagers revolved around the Primitive Methodist chapel. Many special events were organised – such as bazaars – to raise money to pay off debts (for purchase of land and buildings) and to allow a new organ to be installed. One particular marathon in 1899 lasted three days – Saturday 23rd December, Monday 25th December and Tuesday 26th December!

Various entertainments took place including concerts by the Chapel Choir; performances by the Board School pupils; a lantern slide exhibition and an exhibition with a phonograph. In 1907 a Jubilee Celebration was held when 500 people sat down to a tea that lasted three hours!

Away from the social side of the ministry of the Primitives included work to eradicate the evils of alcohol, and the Temperance Pledge Book begun in 1861 shows how successful they were in their drive to win local mill and factory workers to the cause of temperance.

By 1910 Eastburn Primitive Methodist Church was well established. It had an active Sunday School with 130 scholars and 25 teachers meeting twice each Sunday at 9.30 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. The Band of Hope met on alternate Thursday evenings at 7 p.m., the Christian Endeavour Society (Juniors and Seniors) each Tuesday at 6 p.m. and 7.30 p.m., and marriages could now be carried out locally (Baptisms had begun in 1860). At this point the Society began raising money to replace the old school building. The ‘new school’ opened in March 1912.

Eastburn Primitive Methodist Sunday School circa 1912

Eastburn Primitive Methodist Sunday School circa 1912

Throughout the 20th century the work has continued. Records abound of Choir Trips, Sunday School Outings, Anniversaries and entertainments as well as regular worship and Sunday School. Certainly into the 1950s many young people’s life outside of school was strongly caught up in the Chapel.

Missions have always been a feature at Eastburn since the great revival of 1887 when a certain Joe Mosley was ‘saved’. Early in the 1950s a young deaconess arrived from the college in Ilkley for ‘work experience’ and such was her influence that an active mission team was formed by young people from the area and at least one of these young people followed her into the deaconess order and from there to the Methodist Ministry. In the 1960s and 1970s a number of crusades were held in the village. One led by Arthur Dean took the message into the local pub, and a Children’s Christian Crusade helped many young people not connected with the Church to hear the gospel message.

Opening of the present Chapel 18th January 1969

Opening of the present Chapel 18th January 1969

By 1968 the upkeep of the 1872 Chapel was causing concern for a smaller congregation and after much heart searching the building was finally demolished. A new Chapel was created within the Sunday School building. Two rooms and part of a corridor were knocked into one large room and provided with purpose-built light oak pews, altar table, pulpit and a pipe organ built by Laycock and Bannister of Cross Hills. On 18th January 1969 the new Chapel was opened by Methodist Deaconess Sister Jennifer Lunn, a former scholar and teacher of Eastburn Sunday School.

Eastburn Methodist continues to be the only Church in Eastburn. With only a small membership it nevertheless continues to present the gospel of Jesus at the heart of the village and to offer Christian teaching for village children. The Church Hall also provides a useful venue for a variety of village organisations, whose help to keep the 1912 building in good repair is much appreciated.


by Wilfred Ellis

It was shortly after the First World War that I was born, in 49 Sun Street, and to prove it I have a snap of me standing in front of the house. I was probably standing there because there were five to eight people residing in the property.

Our childhood horizons were somewhat limited in those days and we rarely left the village. The was little transport to other places and we had therefore to rely upon our own resources. In our own little world we would conform to the season for whips and tops, for conkers, for hoops or in our case motor tyres, skipping, sledging, and when all else failed Cowboys and Indians on the moor.

If these seem rather tame sports it must be remembered that a six foot skipping rope with four children on it could be vicious, and the six man sledge pushed from the top of the sledging field could hit the wall at the bottom. The tyres too when the game was being played had to be driven along a route where they could be knocked down, particularly by a giant tyre from a tractor, whose proud owner, Albert Foster, would do his party trick of sitting inside the tyre, whilst being bowled along the road. In order to produce a little variety he obtained an old motor cycle which he took up to the very top seat on the moor from he launched himself on to the track. Unfortunately he forgot that the brakes were missing, causing him to gather speed until at the turn he was catapulted into a thorn bush.

The plot night bonfire was not without its hazards for we would borrow a large cart and after filling it with a huge pile of springy wood would hurtle down Green Lane on the way to the Nanny with two boys on top to hold down the load.

It was possible of course to join the Scouts, but to do this you had to walk to Steeton. It provided a little variety for some time and we were able now and then to adjourn to our own territory of Currer Wood where we would cremate quantities of bacon over open fires, which we had to light with three matches, a task quite often doomed to failure.

Cross Hills Picture House or "Charlie's" as it was better known

Cross Hills Picture House or “Charlie’s” as it was better known

A few years on and we would spend our pocket money on walking to Cross Hills Picture House and spending twopence to see whatever was being screened. Our small contribution allowed us only seats on the front row, where people on the screen would appear to be very long and thin, and if the row was full and you were sitting on the end, were long, thin, and rather lopsided. It was a relief when after much flickering the film broke, the lights came on and to divert our attention from the calamity an usherette (if indeed that term had been invented) would bring round a tray from which we were invited to buy liquorice bootlaces or similar delicacies. Of course this was before they invented certificates and we would watch ‘Frankenstein’ secure in our seats but then walk back in the gloom by the railway sidings, looking over our shoulders for whatever was lurking there.

But back to Eastburn. One of the focal points of the village was the Primitive Methodist Chapel and Sunday School. As the year went by the functions changed and one event we looked forward to was the Harvest Festival. We were not so much interested in the eye-catching and bountiful display of fruit as in the Fruit Banquet which followed, where between turns on the stage of the Sunday School the chairman for the night would announce ‘We will now have a round of fruit’ and apples, oranges and bananas would appear for us to eat. Another turn and he would announce ‘We will now have a round of pastry’ and slices of cake, jam tarts and pasties would be handed round. We would encourage the chairman to announce more rounds of pastry and fruit to the consternation of the helpers in the kitchen who would hiss ‘We must save some for the auction later’. To no avail for he would announce yet another round of fruit and they would have to bustle back into the kitchen much to their annoyance and our glee.

Eastburn Players in a Marjorie Riley musical "I'll Dream Again"

Eastburn Players in a Marjorie Riley musical “I’ll Dream Again”

There would also be the concerts. If the Eastburn players were not in the state of producing ‘Maid of the Mountains‘ or ‘The Quaker Girl‘ (with Donald Fletcher operating the spotlight, the sound effects and doubling up on the drums), we would find ourselves attending to watch a local concert party, a lantern lecture or of course the annual pantomime.

I do not remember any restrictions in our play other than being home by bedtime, and we would find ourselves endeavouring to swim in the Basins, jump across the settling tanks in the sewage farm with the occasional disastrous results, climb trees and play hide and seek, where if the trail was lost you would hear the cry of ‘Hawpenny, hawpenny holler; if you don’t shout, we wearn’t foller’.

The other focal point in the village was of course the mill, and it was quite often said that if something of note happened it would be round the village in 24 hours, the time taken to go to the mill, return and pass it on to the family. As children we were used to the mill for we would watch Bob Smith start the huge horizontal beam engine and Sam Barsby hurl shovelfuls of coal into the firebox of the boiler.

It was a natural progression for most of us to join mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles in the mill and to clatter down Main Road early in the mornings for the odd hour’s work before we returned home for breakfast. The older hands in the mill had a rhyme ‘Saturday night is my delight, and so is Sunday morning, but Sunday noon comes far too soon, and so does Monday morning’. This was a relic of the days when they worked up to Saturday teatime so we thought we were lucky going home at midday on Saturdays. We could not imagine a five day week. My mother would tell me of her time as a ‘half-timer’, working in the mornings with school in the afternoons, or vice versa. When it was mornings to work and they had to walk to Bairstow’s mill, they would walk a gas lamp and run a gas lamp so that they did not have to go through the penny ‘oil and pay for being late.

A trip on Frank Hutchinson's Coach

A trip on Frank Hutchinson’s Coach

Even mill life was not all work and sleep, and occasionally George Nicholas would organise a trip, sometimes to the sea in summer or to a Leeds or Bradford pantomime in winter. It was like being transported into another world when we boarded Frank Hutchinson’s coach and heard music. The car radio had arrived! It was strange to see the same faces we had left a short time ago, and if anyone was late the coach would draw up outside their house, where someone would lean out and shout ‘What’s up, have you brokken your picking strap?’

We could not leave those days between the wars without mentioning the Feast Week. Paid holidays were very rare but that did not prevent us from ‘setting off’. It was with a sigh of relief that we would hear the beam engine slow down, and as it stopped the silence would hang heavy for a few seconds and then we would all rush home, free for a whole week. The next morning would see a great exodus and soon the platforms at Steeton and Kildwick stations would be crowded and sundry children would be looking further and further out from the edge of the platform to catch the first glimpse of the train puffing along to whisk them off to a paradise of sand, sea, and hopefully sunshine. Eastburn meanwhile would become a veritable ghost village. The fire under the mill boiler would be damped down and maintenance work would begin. Mr. Fletcher, the head teacher, would lock up the school and watch his tomatoes growing. Even the shops would close as there would be no customers. It is fitting to leave childhood behind as the summer sun beats down on this somnolent village which now exists only in our memory.


by Jean Ainsworth

In 1996 Eastburn’s village school celebrated its centenary but education and schooling in Eastburn goes much further back than the opening of the first purpose-built school down the Croft in 1896.

The earliest mention I have been able to find is in the records of Sutton Baptist Church. An attendance register dated 1845/1846 shows a number of children from Eastburn and Lyon registered for classes in reading and arithmetic.

The next mention of education in Eastburn is in a book on the history of Primitive Methodism. When a group of Primitive Methodists arrived in Eastburn in the early 1850s looking for suitable premises to set up a place of worship they took over a cottage at No. 11 Main Road (in a block known locally as the Coffin Row because of its shape) where a small group of boys had a meeting in an attempt to educate themselves. The Primitive Methodists quickly established a Sunday School with the support of most of the village.

After the 1870 Education Act was passed there was more pressure for a ‘proper school’. A local businessman, Mr. Samuel Tetley, was instrumental in persuading the Primitive Methodists that their church building should be used during the week for a British Day School. So the first official school began in 1871 under Mr. Joseph Parnell with 68 pupils divided into 4 classes because of the wide age range of the children.

Unfortunately the chapel premises were never satisfactory. The first recorded inspection in 1873 reports: ‘Managers intend to remove the pews and refit the building in a manner suitable to a school’.

Eastburn School's centenary celebrations

Eastburn School’s centenary celebrations

In 1876 it was decided to build a classroom so that the older children could be segregated from the much younger ones as it was clearly difficult to teach both in the same room.

By 1894 a recommendation was made for ‘The building of a new school building as the present premises are inconvenient and inadequate’.

In 1895 land was obtained from the estate of the late Sam Tetley on which to build a new school: ‘1800 sq. yards of land at 2s. 9d. per yard together with right of road from Lyon Lane to proposed site, twelve foot wide and mended by vendors’.

A new headmaster, Mr. Isaac Priestley, had been appointed in 1894 at £90 per annum. Under his leadership there was a definite improvement in standards reported by the H.M.I.

The 1894 report said: ‘The changes in the staff and the management of this school have interfered with the work during the past year, in consequence of which the elementary subjects are barely satisfactory. Handwriting is of a moderate character and intelligence both in reading and arithmetic is in need of much attention’.

By 1900: ‘…the order is good, the teaching painstaking and effective. Needlework has been well taught…the infants continue to be nicely managed and thoroughly well taught’.

In 1909 there were 87 pupils at the school, 68 from Eastburn, 17 from Junction, 1 from Sutton Mill and the other from Cross Hills.

In 1906 Mr. L. K. Powlson was appointed headmaster. The entry in the log book when he left in 1925 identifies one of the problems of the school – between 1921 and 1925 there had been 15 different teachers taking the 2nd class.

The earliest know photograph of an Eastburn School class. Taken on the steps of the Chapel, it predates the move to the Lyon in 1896

The earliest know photograph of an Eastburn School class. Taken on the steps of the Chapel, it predates the move to the Lyon in 1896

1925 was the year Miss Birkbeck left the school aged 69 (she had started in 1893) and the year Miss Abson, who many people still remember, started as infants teacher.

The early log book gives a fascinating insight into village life in the late 19th century.

When the school began in 1871 education was not free – each pupil paid 1d. By 1883 this had been raised to 3d. per week, the same as other schools in the district.

Children from age 11 attended school half time, the other half day being spent at work in the local mill.

Summer holidays lasted only 3 weeks in August though odd days off weer allowed for such things as Skipton Agricultural Show. However, pupils regularly failed to turn up when alternative attractions such as Sangsters’ Circus, the local cattle fair, haymaking or just gathering bilberries on the moor were available.

There is mention of illness quite often. In 1880 a scholar died from bronchitis, which was very prevalent among younger children. In 1887 ‘…the measles appears to have left some of the absentees with runnings from the head, ears and eyes’. In 1895 ‘many children away – sore heads and ringworm prevail’. In 1896 a pupil died ‘suffering from inflammation of the lungs’. In 1898 the school was actually closed during an epidemic of measles. In 1901 a pupil died from diphtheria and as late as 1904 ‘four children absent, the eldest brother having typhoid’.

Discipline seems to have been a problem at times as do the parents of scholars.

1873: ‘Detected a truant, punished him and warned the whole school against following his example’.
October 1873: ‘Had a parent at school warning me not to be so eager in getting her 2 children to learn, as she said she didn’t think it good for children to learn too fast’.
December 1874: ‘Someone fired a gun through window – no one hurt’.
June 1875: ‘Some trouble with Sarah Jane Feather, a half timer, regarding her time’.
October 1875: ‘Expelled Sarah J. Feather and John Wm. Feather due to trouble with sewing material’.
December 1875: ‘Had trouble with children from Junction, avoiding home-work’.
June 1876: ‘Cautioned the boys about playing “duck” against the chapel wall also about going into field’.
December 1876: ‘Chapel committee requests that the children keep off the chapel steps’.
February 1881: ‘Mr. Feather came to school this morning and ordered his younger boy to go home because I insisted upon his other son John Wm. making his time up’.
January 1882: ‘I had to punish Charles Horsfall for impertinence. The first case of anything like impertinence since I took charge of school’.
November 1887: ‘Sent after Sarah Ellen, Mary and Minnie Thompson who have been absent several times lately from school.Father came, cursed and subsequently assaulted me. On my way home from school I was again interfered with by Thompson who demanded a return of school fees which I refused to make’.

I would seem that the master of Eastburn school was a somewhat thankless task!

The School Board members regularly visited during school time and some actually took a class occasionally. The status of such people is perhaps illustrated by the entry in December 1887: ‘Scholars marched in procession to attend funeral of Mr. Tetley. Funeral at 11.15 a.m. Wreath sent by Managers, Teachers and Scholars. School closed p.m.’.

Today Eastburn school has a much better reputation. After a recent OFSTED report it continues to attract favourable comment, eager pupils and dedicated staff. The old school building has been extended but cannot hold all pupils. many are housed in temporary classrooms but there are plans to replace these with permanent structures.


Year Head Teacher
Year Head Teacher
1871-1872 Joseph Parnell 1925-1948 A. Fletcher
1872-1888 J. Morton 1949 N. Frankland / J.S. Bell (Temp.)
1890 Frank Walton 1949-1961 Miss O. Holdsworth
1892 Lister Greenwood 1962-1969 Miss J. Bloomfield
1893 L. M. Skyron 1970-1974 A. Dickinson
1894-1900 Isaac Priestley 1974-1989 D. A. Keighley
1900-1906 Fred Broadbent 1990-1994 R. Woolacott
1906-1925 L. K. Powlson 1995-to date Mrs. E Pratt


Date Name of Pupil Residence Age Denomination Father’s Occupation
10.2.45 James Green Knott 13 Church Farmer
Samuel Raw Lion 7 Baptist Shopkeeper
John Raw 5
Leah Thompson Eastburn 9 Labourer
Adam Ellison 11
Abel Ellison 6
17.2.45 Dorothy Hindle Lyon 6
Cain Ellsion Eastburn 9
Elizabeth Rathal 9 Church Publican
Ann Smith 7 Methodist Mason
John Smith 12 Baptist Weaver
Robert Smith 8
Shuttleworth Smith 4
24.2.45 Mary Ann Town Lion 10 Comber
3.3.45 Jn Shuttleworth Eastburn 8 Methodist Labourer
Will Smith 9 Weaver
Joseph Greenwood 8 Blacksmith
31.3.45 William Shuttleworth 5 Labourer
Jane Riley Eastburn 6 Baptist Plasterer
Elizabeth Asquith Lion 12 Methodist Sorter
George Smith Eastburn 6 Weaver
14.4.45 Levi Hindle Lion 5 Baptist Comber
Jane Asquith 16 Methodist Sorter
21.4.45 William Barker Eastburn 10 Baptist Weaver
Elizabeth Arnold 9 Manufacturer
Will Arnold 5
Margaret Raw Lion 12 Comber
9.6.45 Mary Hindle Eastburn 6 Weaver
30.6.45 Christiana Cockshott Lion 5 (Methodist*) Groom
Hannah Cockshott 9
1.9.45 Grace Hindle 5 Baptist Weaver
Sarah Pickles Eastburn 9 Labourer
17.11.45 Adam Ellison 12
29.12.45 Robert Smith 9 Weaver
9.2.46 David Greenwood Eastburn 7 Methodist Blacksmith
Joseph Greenwood 10
Robert Smith Wilkins Lyon 12 Baptist Comber
16.2.46 Mary Hindle Eastburn 6 Weaver
23.2.46 Hannah Barker 10 Methodist
23.3.46 Timothy Mosley 11 (Methodist*) Comber

Note: *Associated with Methodism


by Wilfred Ellis

I well remember my first day in Eastburn School. It was then labelled as ‘Mixed and Infants’ and ages ranged from five to fourteen. I was not sure whether I was a mixed or an infant but of one thing I was sure and that was that the endeavours of my parents to teach me the alphabet were doomed from the start as they did not appreciate the phonic system and taught me ‘Ay-Bee-Cee’, with the result that Miss Dixon, our teacher, completely baffled me by writing ‘CAT’ on the blackboard, causing me to spend some time on how I could deal with this strange word.

Pot Lane where nature rambles often lead. Standing at this vantage point in 1998 would bring the hospital into view over the wall though it is still possible to see Steeton Tower

Pot Lane where nature rambles often lead. Standing at this vantage point in 1998 would bring the hospital into view over the wall though it is still possible to see Steeton Tower

As it was September when I started it was not too long before we were making the inevitable paper chains and lanterns for Christmas, organised by Arthur Fletcher our Head Teacher, assisted by his Second-in-Command Miss Abson. Actually it was not long before Miss Abson left and we had just two teachers. Quite a task for a nine year spread of pupils.

I would imagine that we had around thirty to forty pupils at that time and we used two of the classrooms. The lighting was by gas and the heating by a coke boiler which was lit by the caretaker and tended during the day by one of the more senior boys, who would take the opportunity to warm himself during his spell of coke shovelling and to bake the odd potato on the fire. We also had the luxury of an open fire in one of the classrooms. It was one of our delights, when the room was warm with the effect of the fire and the gaslight in the late afternoon and work was completed for the day, when Mr. Fletcher would read to us. None of your Dickens or Shakespeare. I think he realised that we would read these later if we wished, but it may have put us off if he had tried to force them on us, so we had the various books of ‘Bindle‘, the story of a removal man who ‘suffered something cruel from me various veins’. It may not be required reading but it was fun, and then we embarked on the ‘Destroyer Doings‘, the antics of the crew of a warship.

The school had a very early wireless. I do not know whether it was owned by the Department of Education or Mr. Fletcher but it was rarely used, possibly because there were few educational programmes. It was a four valve set housed in a long box with a large separate speaker, large black dials and was powered by accummulators which had a very short life. Then we had to struggle up the Croft to the mill to see Sam Barsby who would charge them for us along with the batteries for those in the village who were lucky enough to own a wireless set. There was despair not only in the school but also in many households when the normal voice from the loudspeaker became a whisper and then – silence. We rarely heard the end of a play. Current affairs however were very much to the fore. Well at any rate the current affairs in which we were interested for we always listened to the Grand National and the Derby without any ill effects.

There was also a trap door which when opened allowed you to reach down into the bowels of the earth and produce a large brass and metal magic lantern. To my knowledge it was never used, probably as we did not have electricity in the school and it would therefore have been powered by gas or acetyline and we would probably have burned down the school trying to ignite it. It was a pity as the text books left much to be desired. There was not much of a thrill in viewing in a book a muddy half tone print with little definition of a log raft floating down a river in British Columbia. In the history books too it was evident that King Alfred burning the cakes had resulted in such an impenetrable fog that the illustration could have doubled for Oliver Twist in a London pea-souper.

However, we considered ourselves rather lucky, as our parents and grandparents would regale us with stories of how they would have been ‘half-timers’ at our age, working half the day in the mill and going to school for the other half, where they would be writing on slates with slate pencils. The accuracy of this was borne out when we had a stoppage in one of the wash basins and discovered that it was caused by a dozen slate pencils in the waste pipe.

The Atora suet cart visits Eastburn at some time in the 1930s

The Atora suet cart visits Eastburn at some time in the 1930s

Natural rambles would take the place of much loved reading during the light summer afternoons. Not being keen naturalists or gardeners most of us occupied the time by shuffling along wearing out our shoes and trying to elbow each other into the hedgerows and ditches, and arriving home covered in mud.

If under-achieving was an art form then we were well practised in it, for relatively few of us would be destined to make our mark in the world, most of us would be content to work in Matthew’s mill in the village or obtaining an apprenticeship locally. In the field of sport and the arts we did not have many pupils of the right age from which to select. We would find ourselves dragooned into entering competitions where the opposition from bigger schools with a larger pool of talent would run rings round us on the football field or laugh at our efforts to sing ‘Nymphs and Shepherds‘ on the concert platform. Fortune smiled on us rarely, but we strove with morose determination and fierce individualism to make our mark. I well remember an inspector who drifted in to see what we were doing and after reading in my exercise book one of my more bizarre statements could say merely ‘Well he probably read it in a book somewhere’.

In these days of television and computers it is amazing what a restricted world we lived in. The Atora suet firm would bring an ox cart into the village and we would go to stare at it, or we would be visited by a lady who would talk about alcohol and would show us worms preserved in it. We would have to write an essay on the subject and would be rewarded with a certificate headed ‘For excellence in writing an essay on the Hygiene of Food and Drink’. I never discovered whether she represented the local Band of Hope or some early form of the Health Education Authority. The however was more in evidence when we were occasionally weighed, measured and examined; not too arduous a procedure but leading now and then to a request to have our tonsils removed, a popular procedure at that time, or to visit a travelling school dentist who would bring his equipment to Sutton school and lacking more sophisticated tools would use a treadle operating drill with one foot whilst trying to balance on the other.

Girls from Eastburn School at Sutton Swimming Baths circa 1920

Girls from Eastburn School at Sutton Swimming Baths circa 1920

Sutton had further attractions for occasionally we were allowed to visit the swimming baths there. My cousin Ronnie won a prize in the competitions but my achievements consisted mainly in keeping afloat with arms and legs flailing wildly in vain effort to overcome my negative buoyancy.

And so it came to pass that my daughter Bridget being five years of age had to pay a visit to school to enroll. Mr. Fletcher had departed but there as always was Miss Abson who greeted us with ‘So here is another Wilfred’ (her sight must have been failing!). I thought that I was a vague haunted look come into her eyes.


1895 to 1963

by Jean Ainsworth

An early 20th century photograph of Eastburn Cricket Club

An early 20th century photograph of Eastburn Cricket Club

Eastburn Cricket Club was formed in 1895 and appeared in the Junior (Skipton) Section of the Craven League in 1896 (History of Craven and District League 1888-1988). Mary Royston, who came to Eastburn in 1917 when she was five years old has always said that the Club was started by Eastburn Methodist Chapel. The earliest photograph of the Club supports this idea. The back row of gentlemen in suits include all the great and good of the Primitive Methodists in Eastburn at the beginning of the 20th century if not before. Unfortunately no one has been able to identify any of the cricketers on this early photo.

The first cricket field was opposite the Lyon farm worker’s cottage and can be seen clearly on the 1919 map. A pavilion was built there and at some point in the 1930s was apparently moved lock, stock and barrel to the new field behind the day school.

In his foreword to the History of Craven and District League Cricket, Donald Mosey gives a fascinating glimpse of Eastburn Cricket Club when he describes his memories as a young lad, standing at Eastburn bus stop every other Saturday looking round for help to hump the team cricket bag.

Eastburn youngsters in the cricket field, late 1950s. These must have been nearly the last lads ho learned their cricket here.

Eastburn youngsters in the cricket field, late 1950s.
These must have been nearly the last lads ho learned their cricket here.

League records show that the Club had some success over the years with both team and individuals winning awards. For example: In 1935 Eastburn won the Wynn Cup by beating Braithwaite St. Matthews (48 for 8 and 41). ‘In presenting the cup, Mr. Girling mentioned that the fielding had been the best he had ever seen on the Skipton ground.’ In 1950 and 1953 Eastburn CC were presented with the Cowling Cup as 2nd Division winners.

In January 1963 the Keighley News reported on the Club’s Annual General Meeting ‘With two exceptions everyone in the village had signed a petition against the cricket field being taken as a building site. There was discussion in regard to alternative temporary arrangements to keep the Club together.’

The difficulty arose because the Club had no security of tenure of the cricket field which was owned by Mr. Hattersley Smith of Shoebridge House. They were charged only a peppercorn rent each year and on the death of Mr. Hattersley Smith any assurances they had beeb given earlier were no longer valid.

Clearly no other suitable ground could be found and no help was forthcoming to enable the Club to purchase its field. In August 1964 the Keighley News reported the demise of the Club thus: “As the former cricket field at Eastburn becomes part of the village as building of bungalows and houses goes on, former Eastburn players of the disbanded Club continue their weekly sport by playing with different teams in the district. Some play for one village, others for another. The former players are now split up in at least five different teams and of course play against each other week by week.’

A sad ending and one which has left a gap in the community life of the village and the activity of its young people which has never been filled.

Eastburn Cricket Team 1935. Winners of the Craven League Wynn cup

Eastburn Cricket Team 1935. Winners of the Craven League Wynn cup

Eastburn Cricket Team 1950. second Division winners of the Cowling cup

Eastburn Cricket Team 1950. second Division winners of the Cowling cup

Eastburn Cricket Team 1953. Second Divisoin winners of the Cowling cup.  (Photograph taken at Glusburn cricket field).

Eastburn Cricket Team 1953. Second Division winners of the Cowling cup.
(Photograph taken at Glusburn cricket field).


by Maurice Bell

White Bear InnEastburn’s first known inn was the Red Lion, mentioned in Oliver Heywood’s diary of May 1682 (Heywood was an eminent nonconformist minister). The proprietor at the time was one Richard Mitchell. The Red Lion was situated on Lyon Lane which at that time was the main road through the village. The exact location cannot be confirmed. Some old maps note the block Nos. 23-21 as Lion Buildings and Mary Royston who lived in No. 21 as a child early this century recalls that their front room had been ‘the snug’. John Clough in his History of Steeton (1886) says the inn was near where Mrs. Wilson’s house stood – Mrs. Wilson was the owner of Lyon Farm at that time.

In 1789 a stretch of the Keighley/Kendal turnpike road was opened through Eastburn, cutting off the inn from its passing trade. The Red Lion transferred to the new main road, probably into an existing farm building – part of which still stands at the back of the present White Bear. In 1823 James Lund was the victualler at the Red Lion, Eastburn (E. Baines’ Directory).

In 1825 the new section of the road from Junction to Kildwick Bridge was opened, cutting out Cross Hills. The owner of the White Bear at Cross Hills, James Slack, finding his trade affected moved to Eastburn and renamed the Red Lion the White Bear. It must have been about this time that the present building was erected by the executors of Thomas Charles Garforth, who owned the land.

The inn became an important staging and livery post, providing accommodation and refreshment to both horse and carter. The inn was also used for ‘doubling up’, that is hitching extra horses for the pull up into Lacashire or up Harewood Hill to Keighley. After all, you could not change gear with a horse!

With the coming of the railway and motor transport the livery trade declined and around 1930 the barn and stables were demolished to form the present day car park. The barn and other buildings can be remembered by several old Eastburners.


by Wilfred Ellis

Between the wars you could buy nearly anything you needed in Eastburn. If we take a snapshot of the shops around the 1930s and walk up the road from Matthews’ Mill we would find Alan Ellison busily at work in his tailor’s workroom on the first floor of the first house on the left, (41 Main Road), which also doubled as the village Post Office. His family would help out for the odd stamp or parcel, but when faced with anything more complicated would hurry to the foot of the stairs and call ‘Alan! Alan!’ and Alan would have to down tools and clatter down the stairs.

On the opposite side and next to George Nicholas at 48a Main Road was Mrs. Ritchie’s sweet shop, one which I can only dimly remember, but surely George must have been one of the original travel agents with his trips, and on occasion seven-day holidays.

Just above the horse trough at 36a Main Road Helen Dixon had her ladies’ hairdressers, the premises having been a butcher’s shop previously, and at some time there was a small sweet shop in the form of a portable building at the lower end of the White Bear garden.

Cross over again, keeping a wary eye open for the horse and cart of Cooper the carrier who would open a shop door and shout ‘Owt for Cooper?’, and immediately before the gates to Croft House is a barred window which was the sweet shop owned by Wetherheads (23 Main Road), although due to the cramped conditions the displays must have been severely limited, and it may therefore have been rather unprofitable, resulting in it becoming a shop selling electrical goods, then tropical fish, prior to closing down completely.

Freddie Hargreaves sweet shop, 1 North View

Freddie Hargreaves sweet shop, 1 North View

On the other side of the Croft House gates was Freddy Hargreaves at whose sweets and confectionery shop (1 North View) we would call as children to buy our sweets on the way to school if we were blessed with the necessary cash. The normal rate of exchange was two ounces for a penny, although particularly extravagant varieties could be bought for a penny an ounce. It was better to stick to the cheaper sweets if you had only a ha’penny or the contents of the paper bag would look rather forlorn. Freddy must have been made of stern stuff for eventually he installed a soft drinks dispensing machine so that when we were in receipt of our pocket money we could call in for a drink. He also made the most exquisite jam pasties, very thin, and the size of a gramophone record. Eventually Freddy retired to Morecambe, or maybe he went there to run a guest house for he certainly did not retire on what we children spent on sweets. His shop then became a cycle shop, a hairdressers, and then a shop selling garments and other items for tall people and run by “Mrs Tall Orders” who also ran a mail order business for tall people.

Clifford Hodgson outside his grocer's shop in Coffin Row

Clifford Hodgson outside his grocer’s shop in Coffin Row

On to Coffin Row and we find Clifford Hodgson (17 Main Road) purveyor of sweets and groceries and, from a small outhouse, paraffin. He would delight us as children by dropping a match into the container of paraffin in order to illustrate how it would not cause the whole can to catch fire and was therefore quite safe to use at home. Maybe we watched in the hope that one day it would ignite!

On the other side of the road and a little further on we would find Jenny Walton’s millinery shop (10 Main Road) where you could buy thread, buttons, stockings, elastic and such sundry items. Her son Peter would later become a Co-op manager which brings us neatly to the village Co-op at the Main Road end of Sun Street (now 8a Main Road). Cecil Slater, and before him Archie Ogden, would be behind the counter dispensing all manner of grocery items plus household requisites in profusion which you would find hanging from the ceiling, a danger to those who were taller than 5ft 10ins.

Cecil Slater behind his Co-op counter

Cecil Slater behind his Co-op counter

Both Archie and Cecil were real village characters who were not averse to sending home some small child to ask whether mother required lean or fatty suet, or whether she wanted plain brown teacakes with or without currants. With our purchases they would hand out checks, which we would stick on our gum sheets, and when they were full they would be totalled up in a fashion that would put a calculator to shame, and the total would be transferred to a new gum sheet. Then at some future date the dividend, the bountiful ‘divi’, would be announced and we would form a queue upstairs to collect what was a quite considerable sum which would probably form the basis of the Christmas shopping.

The Co-op was also represented by a travelling horse and cart, presumably to reach those people who could not get to the shop, and the milk would arrive from the Co-op farm in Steeton by a two-wheeled cart, from which it would ladled out by a long handled measure into elaborate jugs decorated with the Monarch of the Glen or some subject and which were provided by each householder.

Isaac Dawson's greengrocer's cart parked in front of 'the small sweet shop in a portable building at the lower end of the White Bear garden"

Isaac Dawson’s greengrocer’s cart parked in front of ‘the small sweet shop in a portable building at the lower end of the White Bear garden”

Another three houses and the village came to an end. That is until ‘Jimmy’ James descended upon us, when we found ourselves possessed of what was more or less a general store, including a library. For a few coppers a week you could borrow a novel, as an alternative to visiting the school where resided the two boxes of ‘proper’ library books which were laid out each week by Mr. Fletcher, the head teacher.

Mr James' new shop and fish shop at what was then the end of the village

Mr James’ new shop and fish shop at what was then the end of the village

Jimmy, assisted by Gill Dixon, started a village paper round which rapidly flourished and which we thought would complete his empire. Not so, for we soon had a fish shop, in which we would queue as boys for a fish and a penn’orth of chips. It was wonderful to have them practically on the doorstep and most evenings would find a thin trail of villagers or villagers’ children wending their way to the fish shop. It also had the added attraction of having the current playbill for the Keighley Hippodrome nailed to the wall. We may not have been able to visit the theatre but at least we could see who was appearing.

In due course the shop was acquired by the Lunns, then the Sylvesters, then the Whitlocks and at the moment by the Mitchells.

One small shop could quite easily have been missed. Down Green Lane to the end of East View (No. 2) you would see Arnold Dawson the cobbler busily at work making or repairing boots, shoes or clogs. He would always be available for putting new studs on the bottom of our tops when top whipping was in season and we would cluster round him to watch how he shaped the leather for the shoes.

Up Sun Street a leaded fanlight would inform us that one Frank Stirk would be available for making garments for ladies and gentlemen, and both he and Alan Ellison would no doubt be called upon to fashion suits from the lengths of superb cloth obtained from the mill.

There were some things that could be obtained only from other sources. To have a tooth extracted, to consult the doctor or to visit the cinema you had to go to Cross Hills. Alternatively an old pram could be used to bring a sack of coke from Kildwick gasworks or a sack of firewood from the woodturneries.

Almost imperceptibly our horizons were broadened. The tracklesses and the buses would take us not only to Keighley, but also to Bradford, and the village shops began to dwindle, but nothing could equal those days when Cecil in the Co-op would genially preside over the huge treacle vat and bacon slicer and would fascinate us with accounts of his latest holiday. Time, so important nowadays when we chafe at the slowness of the person in front of us at the supemarket, did not seem to matter then as we waited, and chatted, and played, and gossiped.



Preparing for War

‘Before war was declared some evacuees arrived from Bradford. Two teachers came with them. They came to the Chapel to be matched up with their hosts. Some of the children came prepared for winter, actually sewn into their vests. When it all died down and nothing happened they mostly went back to Bradford. One or two stayed. Mr. and Mrs. Wright in Sun Street had two girls right through the war. One of them came to their Golden Wedding celebrations years afterwards. I remember we had blood taken to see what blood group we were. Very early on the siren went off but I slept through it – we were always tired. The nearest bomb dropped near Cononley.’ -Mary Royston

ARP volunteers at their Croft House HQ

ARP volunteers at their Croft House HQ

‘I remember being called in from playing in the street when the siren went off. We’d no shelter or anything.’ -Brian Barrett

‘There were four wardens – Ashton Hindle, Joe Lamb, old Mr. Fletcher and George Nicholas. Harold Murgatroyd used to patrol the streets at night to make sure the blackout was complete. The firewatching centre was in Wilson’s Mill which was closed during the war. Mr. Bottomley, who worked at Bairstow’s, gave lectures at Skipton on firewatching. He was always immaculate – even in his pyjamas. We used to practise escaping from a fire by putting a wet hankie over our faces and crawling on our hands and knees. To put fires out we had stirrup pumps in buckets.’ -Mary Royston.

‘We used to have fire practice at the beck. One day I remember a bloke who should have had hold of the nozzle of the hose let go and it ripped back and broke his ankle.’ -Brian Barrett

Eastburn's Home Guard

Eastburn’s Home Guard

‘Mr. James from the paper shop started the Home Guard. We were paid 1s. 6d. per week and sometimes were out two nights a week guarding Steeton Station and Steeton Tower with broomsticks. I used to go in my clogs and they let me finish early so I could get back to milk the cows at 3.30 a.m. Later we got rifles and we had to go to Oxenhops for shooting practice. We had five rounds of ammunition each. Sir Donald Horsfall was in charge. It’s a good job the Germans didn’t get here.’ -Dick Davey.

‘At seven o’clock every Tuesday night the WVS use to meet in the Sunday School room. We had rolls of striped stuff which we cut out for pyjamas for hospitals. Some went round the village to be made up in people’s homes. Some were done in the Sunday School room – one or two people brought their sewing machines in and Mrs. Cross used to make us all a cup of tea. On Friday nights Mrs. Smith from Shoebridge House would cut a lot of flowers from her garden and we took them to work on Saturday morning and sold them at 1s. 6d. per bunch for the soldiers. Next to Matthews’ gate (Croft House) was an empty shop and at Christmas we took it over for a week. Joe Lamb made Christmas toys, others sewed aprons and knitted things. One year we took £300 for the soldiers. We also did savoury suppers in a little cafe over the top of the shop. Mrs. Matthews and Mrs. Townson organised things. All through the war there were garden parties at Shoebridge House and Croft House to raise money.’ -Mary Royston.

‘I remember Bland’s Buildings at the top of Green Lane (demolished in the 1950s) being used for first aid practice. We younf ones were bandaged up and then carried across to the Chapel on a stretcher. My brother was a messenger. He was paid to carry messages on his bicycle.’ -Nora Shuttleworth

Village Life in Wartime

‘We had to work so hard. I was put in the piece room doing a job that a man had done before the war. We worked 7.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. each day plus two nights a week until 8 p.m. and Saturday mornings. It was hard because we couldn’t queue at the shops. Bairstow’s took workers from Matthews’ (which was closed during the war) to get uniforms out. I remember they allowed music to be played in the mending room and they started a canteen where we could get a dinner for 10d.’ -Mary Royston.

‘I worked at the dump making shells for Air Force gunners. We had to do shifts – five days on, one day off – including nights. I know some people on nights managed to go to the cinema in the afternoon but I needed my sleep. It was only when I got married in 1943 that I got transferred to regular days. I was given a job on the inspection which meant using gauges. It needed a lot of care to make sure that all the shells wouldn’t jam in the gun barrels. Each time we left work we were searched to make sure we didn’t bring and shells home to show to our family and friends.’ -Edie Hey.

Haymaking in Stannifield (stone field), Lyon Lane circa 1930s

Haymaking in Stannifield (stone field), Lyon Lane circa 1930s

‘I took the shop on in 1939 as a bakers and confectioners with some groceries, including cigarettes and sweets. With rationing everything including ingredients for baking, had to be accounted for. We had a lot of registered customers. A non-registered customer came in having “heard” that we had some salmon. We’d just said no we hadn’t when our young son lifted a tin on the counter, which was a bit embarrassing. We had a contract to make up tea for the Home Guard. We used to leave the door open at night so that Mr. Matthews could come and collect it. Mrs. Matthews had a petrol allowance for emergencies and used it to bring my mother to see me in Victoria Hospital when I was having my second child. In fact Graham was the first baby from Eastburn to be born in the new maternity wing at Keighley Victoria Hospital. I remember February 1940 when we had about foot of snow. We were without bread in the village – nothing could get through to us.’ -Janet Hodgson.

‘Mr. Fletcher, the headmaster, got some of us pupils to write to Eastburners who were away in the forces. I wrote to Kenneth Butterfield and had a card and a letter from him.’ -Nora Shuttleworth.

‘We were really a paper shop selling newspapers, magazines, sweets and tobacco. The most difficult thing was to share out the cigarettes as there were never enough. I remember when sweets came off ration we had to shut the shop. There was a queue round the bottom of Moor Lane.’ -Marjorie Lunn.

‘A quarter of our land had to be ploughed and used for crops, corn, roots. We didn’t have tractors but used two horses for ploughing and shared in an old threshing machine at harvest time. This machine travelled around a number of farms. The clocks had been altered by two hours – double summer time – so we could haymake until midnight. But we still had to be up at 3.30 a.m. to milk the cows so they were very long days. We had been used to having Irish labourers before the war but none came in the war so we relied on local help evenings and weekends. We had 34 cows and milked by hand. Martha had to do the milk round with a hand cart to begin with. We got a van later. Milk was rationed of course. People used to try to make a bit of butter by taking the cream off and shaking it. They even tried to make a bit of cheese by adding rennet but they weren’t really allowed to do this.’ -Dick Davey.

‘Each week we used to get:

  • ¼ lb. Tea
  • 2 Powdered Eggs
  • 4 oz. Sugar
  • ½ lb. Margarine
  • ¾ lb. Sweets (or Sugar.

We were allowed 10d. worth of meat. Sometime liver or sausage was available not on ration if you could queue.’ -Mary Royston.

‘I remember my mother running out of soap powder once and being able to do a swop with a neighbour who wanted some sugar. The food I really remember though was Spam and once some really lovely tinned jam from Australia.’ -Brian Barrett.

‘I remember they provided meals at work but the menu was very limited. Beetroot and chips sticks in mind – chips cooked in dripping. My aunt made a huge shepherd’s pie once for her family but the filling was baked beans where the mince would have been.’ -Edie Hey.

‘After Dunkirk, St. Thomas’s Hall at Sutton was used to billet soldiers. Some of them married local girls. We still had holidays. I remember going to Banbury and Cambridge to stay with relatives, and to Blackpool though the trains were sometimes difficult. Someone had to go to the station a few days before we wanted to travel to queue for tickets – and the same coming back. We had to be at Colne station by 6 a.m. which meant staying with a friend in Trawden overnight. The trains were always crowded and I remember once in our compartment there was this awful smell because someone had put a parcel with pickled onions in it on the rack and it had leaked and dripped over someone’s fur coat.’ -Mary Royston.

‘Mostly we played in the streets – whip and top, rounders, “kick can” (a kind of hide and seek), bowl and hoop (an iron hoop pushed along with a stick).’ – Brian Barrett.