Friday 4 August 1916
The paper published a photo of a group of ‘old timers’ outside the Oddfellows Hall, Idle and devoted considerable space to interviews with them. Although the attempt at dialect can make it tricky to read in places, we reproduce it in full because, as well as being amusing, it contains some insights into ordinary life in the years up to and including 1916 Jim Grimshaw James Grimshaw, or Jim as he is best known, was born at Idle on January 26th 1838, consequently is in his 79th year. Asked whereabouts in Idle he was born, Jim alertly replied “Where Dick Allsop lives, thru t’ginnell, i’ t’same haase wheer Dick lives nah.” “You father’s name?” “James, same as mine. He com thru Cawvla (Calverley). There wor nowt nobbut Grimsha’s an Grays at that day, they awned all Cawvla once. My owd gran’mother shoo lived to 96. Shoo’s wor born, lived an’ dee’d i’ t’same haase at Cawvla, darn t’hill wheer them walls wor.”  Jim was a lad when his grandmother died, so it may be assumed that the period covered down to the present by the lives of Jim, his father and his grandmother (three generations) numbers no less than 160 years. America Twenty-eight or twenty-nine years of Jim’s life were spent in America, it being some ten years since he returned to the old country. Though in his 79th year, Jim works at the mill being employed by Messrs Pearson and Foster, at Ashfield Works, Idle, sorting waste and collecting it from the weavers twice a week. Asked if he found his work hard, Jim’s reply was “Nohan hard! Aw bug it i’ begs an aw fill em as full as aw can bug em.” How do you account for your good health, Jim? “Wi getting a drop o’ beer, I fink! Nowt else.” And you like a pipe of tobacco? “Yes! Nooab’dy better!” Can you walk a good distance? “Well, I walk froo t’mill to t’White Hoss ivvery dinner time to get mi dinner an I get a pint o’ ale an’ a pint o’teeah tul it – “ A funny mixture, Jim. “Well, I sup hawf o’ t’ale afooar mi dinner and hawf on’t at after, to hod t’teeah darn. As for walkin I walked to Guisela last Chris’mas Tewsda an browt hawf a gooise back wi me.” Stocks You remember the old stock in the Idle Town Gate? “Yes I dew! Aw once see’d two in – Jockey Bell an’ Tommy Werrill. T’pubs were oppened at six o’clock at Sunda mornin then, till ten o’clock i’ t’fornooin. When Jockey Bell and Tommy Werril wor locked in, Long Jim Murgey, Wirey Hardy and Chewy Murgey they towk a quairt o’ale aht o’ t’New Inn when Ben Esla an’ owd Tom Dinnison went darn to t’church an they drunk it.” The incident happened when Jim Grimshaw was a boy of 13 or 14, say 45 years ago. Jim is a widower and has two sons and two daughters living. The elder son lives at Brownroyd, Girlington, Bradford and is 55. The younger son
is a Salvation Army captain in America. One of the “girls” resides at Manningham, the other at Sheffield. Asked if he had any pleasant reminiscences, Jim’s face lights up. “I ewsed to go to Guisela (Guiseley) ov a Sunda morning,” he said, “an get theer abart six o’clock i’ t’mornin and get a bowl o’ soup an a toafry pinta o’ale. That wor at t’Long Sign. One Sunda mornin it wor nearly up to t’knees i’ snaw an aw’d a minute or two to wait afooar they oppened at six o’clock. When aw gate in aw ordered a quairt o’ ale, warrmed an’ sweetened, an a noggin o’ rum in it. Aw’d just supped once when a clogger froo Idle com in an aw let him sup an we ordered another jugful, just same as t’first un.” And after that, Jim? “Then aw went up to Blacksmith Tom’s an’ stopped till afternooin, then to t’Peacock, takin a quairt o’ ale i’ mi pocket to sup on t’road. Then back agaaen to Guisela an’ then hooam.” You were having a great day, Jim “Haw! Aw’d a sovverin i’ mi pocket that mornin! Aw wor happy.” Abraham Grimshaw Abraham Grimshaw will be 74 on the 29th of December next. In his earlier days – even as late as in his early married days – it was, he told us, quite common to be called “Grimesher” and some people pronounce it “Grimesher” yet. He’s the brother of James Grimshaw. Asked where he was born he answered, “well, somewhere abarts wheer Olferd hes his bek-us.” It may be interesting just to state that Abe has a widowed sister living at 23 Woodbine Terrace, Idle, much older than himself, indeed she was 84 on July 17th, a date locally remembered as the time when new potatoes become a penny a pound. These Grimshaws are a long-lived race. Abe’s father, he told us, died in t’Haigh Flegs, Idle, 24 years ago at the ripe old age of 88. Returning to the subject under notice, Abe told us that he once worked as a “hand-lewm weyver for owd Willyum Grimesher in a garret-height-haase at Cawvla, bud afooar that aw wake for Will Watson i’ them theer low hasses anent t’Methody chappil at Idle,
t’same haase whear Mary Long lives nah, her at kept a lodgin haase i’ Chappil Street at Blackpool.” After a period of “pahr lewm weyvin” at Clover Greaves Mill and a further period of “labouring” at various jobs, Abe is now engaged in the strenuous duties of a “coil nobbler” which implies the unloading of coal from railway trucks into coal carts. “Is it hard work, Abe?” was asked. “It’s hard mucky wark.” “Do you like it?” “Nowh! I dooan’t like it! But ah’m fooarced to hev it!” Better ner nowt Here Abe’s good better-half interposed. “A bit’s better ner nowt,” she said. “Bud he’s hard to work for it. Six o’clock at morning till six at neet. Goin i’seventy-fower an’ all!” “You were a runner once on a day, Abe?” Mrs Grimshaw answered the question “Yes,” she said, “he wan a copper kettle an raffled it for ale!” “Where was that race run?” “T’Shoulder o’ Mutton at Fackla. (Thackley)” “But you once ran Jim Padgett for ten bob, didn’t you, Abe?” “Hi! Aw ran Jim for ten bob. We ran froo t’Braan Cah at Idle to t’Roebuck (Greengates) an’ back. At least I did, bud Jim nivver gat any farver ner t’Albion.” Mr and Mrs Grimshaw, who have a family of five, three married and two single, celebrated their gold wedding two years ago, having been married at Calverley Parish Church on March 26th, 1864. James Jowett James Jowett was according to information supplied, born in Hampton Place but, to use his own words, “at that time it wor called Chewkin. Theer wor nawther numbers ner names i’ them days,” he imparted to the Express man. The house in which Jim was born is now “ruvven darn” (this is his own term) and it stood “at back o’ Abe Gledson stable.” This our man was further given to understand is the present “Joss Parki’son ware’se.”
Jowett rejoices in the assurance that he is “t’owdest pigeon flyer i’ Idle, one on a Flung mooar winners up ner onny man in t’Yorkshire, bar nooan.” He has, he credibly said, “walked more miles ner some fowk’s walked inches, wi pigeons.” Wasp Nest He has a family of twelve, nine living, of whom two are married. By trade Jim is a blacksmith, having been apprenticed to Seth Booth at “Wasp Nest,” otherwise the neighbourhood in High Street, Idle, known as Town Well. Ill health appears to have dogged his footsteps and for some time he has been unable to follow his occupation. Nevertheless, Jim is a firm believer in the old adage “Somewhere the sun is shining.” Brass Hammer Sam Asked his name, his reply came pat, “Sam Firth,” the articulation of the “th” being faulty as is common with many old Idlers, sounding dreadfully like “ff” – Firff. “Your age then Sam? You don’t mind giving it me?” “Well nah, ah’ll tell yo reight fair. Ah knaws but what mi favver and muvver telled me. Ah war sixty-five last first o’ Jenniwerry. If ah live till well t’next first o’ Jenniwerry, ah’l be sixty-six. Put darn sixty-six!” Locally, I hesitatingly suggested, he was known as “Brass Hammer Sam” How did he come to be so called? “How? It wor nobbud a bit o’nonsense from owd Seff Mann! He wor killed at Appa  Brig at Jimmy Clarkson’s! It wor poor owd Seff at chris’ened me Brass Hammer, him an Michael Brod.” “You’ve worked on the road a long time, Sam?” “Aye. Peter an me’s two o’ t’owdest! Ass Peter. Ah can’t tell yer to a year. T’man ‘at set me on wor Dick Hodgson. Can yo remember Dick?” Mooar sense Skimming Sam’s painful suggestion, I got my tongue in my cheek and asked “Ever been married, Sam?” Talk about a big laugh. Sam laughed till his face was all shapes. “Me wed!” he howled, “Aw’ve mooar sense ner to get wed, ah’s fink!” Then waxing reminiscent, under the influence of the New Inn’s best Old Brewery, he closed one eye and saw with the other all his “owd bosses” - Dick Hodgson, Sam Trow, Willyum Henery Baxter, Joss Oddy, Fred Naylor and his present “boss”, Peter Gavin. Before taking to road-surveying what your occupation, Sam? “Farmer man to Steem Wood.” Ned Harrison Edward Harrison, or Ned as he is better known, is long past 70 years of age and both he and Mrs Harrison are beneficiaries under the provision of the Old Age Pension Act. They reside at Woodbine Terrace, Idle. It is interesting to recall that their son was one of the first to be wounded on the outbreak of war. Reginald Bulman Mr Reginald Bulman is the courteous and obliging landlord of the Oddfellows Hall Hotel.
Back row, L-R: Sam Firth, Reginald Bulman, Abraham Grimshaw Front row: Edward Harrison, James Grimshaw, James Jowett.
A glimpse of life as seen by Idle ‘Old Timers’
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