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Memories of Old Scholes

Barwicker No 117
March 2015

The society was given a duplicated copy of an account written in his latter years by Henry Shippen of Scholes. Henry was born in Scholes in 1906 and lived there all his life. He died in 1987. His father, William, was also a lifelong Scholes man. As the article explains, there were Shippens living in the parish for at least 300 years; the earliest mention in the parish registers is the baptism of Marie, daughter of Richard Shippen of "Barmebowe" on 23rd April 1633. Taking this birth to be in Barnbow, it should be noted that in that location is a farm called Shippen House.
Henry wrote this account towards the end of his life. It covers a period in which Scholes changed considerably. As in all accounts written from memory, there may be some material which may be disputed and memories do fade. However, the article sums up the spirit of this period of change in a way which could not be recaptured by posthumous academic work.

Scholes, a small village situated 7 miles from the centre of the City of Leeds, and in the Parish of Barwick-in-Elmet which is two miles to the east, is where I was born and brought up and indeed have lived all my life. The name Scholes comes from an old Norse name, Skali, meaning a hut. The name also appears in old records as Scales or Skales and its history can be traced back to the 1200's. My own family goes back to the 1300's. There is a district near Barnbow called Shippen and there is also a field along Rakehill Road which is called 'Shippen Field', but whether these two place names have any connection with my family I wouldn't really know and as I am not writing my autobiography these are not very relevant. I am, however, recalling memories of 'old Scholes' in the early 1900's and endeavouring to give some idea of what life was like in those early days.

At that time Scholes was very small indeed, with only 47 houses, 42 of which are still standing - five having been pulled down since. In 1912 two more were built opposite Milton Drive and then in 1914 three more were built and named 'Hardy Terrace' (alongside the Methodist Chapel) and then another five more were built opposite the Anglican Church and named 'Badger Terrace'. These were named after the Gray and Hardy families, the badger being the family Crest of the Gray family of Morwick Hall. No more were built then until after the first world war, in the late 1920's when quite a number were built between the two wars. After the second world war there was a big rush of houses built, until there are now approximately 1,000 in the Scholes Ward. In the early 1900's, there were about 10 houses built in the Arthursdale area by Mr Arthur Chippindale. These were named 'Arthursdale after himself. The Chippindale family owned the Brickworks in Scholes and it was a very busy works at that time. Houses all around the district and indeed most of Cross Gates houses were built with Chippindale bricks, so that it was a very thriving business until the outbreak of the 1914 war when it was closed down and never reopened.

The Coronation Tree at the crossroads of Scholes Main Street and Leeds Road was planted about 1911 to commemorate the Coronation of King Edward VII.

Iron fencing and a seat was erected around the tree so that quite a number of people could sit round it, but during the 1939-45 war a large army truck ran into it during the black-out and it was smashed beyond repair. The seats were subsequently replaced by wooden ones, but these are not nearly so nice as the old 'round' one was.

As we come up the village main street, a very old house and buildings stood where the garage now is and these were owned by a threshing machine owner who had two machines and an old- fashioned steam engine for working them. A little further along is the old Granary, now part of Cullen's farm, but in the 1800's when it was owned by Weatheralls this granary was used by the group of Methodist people for their meetings before the present Chapel was built in 1879 by the generosity of Mr Edward Thomas Gray of Morwick Hall. Centenary celebrations were held in the village during June 1979, to commemorate the 100 years of worship and witness by the Methodist Church in Scholes, all of which had started in the old Granary.

The village shop which sold groceries, sweets, etc., used to be situated in an old cottage on the same side as the Church. This cottage has since been modernised and extended, but a little further along there was another old house which has now been pulled down. This was the only house in the district which had a dirt floor. Two other nearby houses have also since been demolished. But opposite these, there still stands a terrace of three and "Snowdrop Cottage" which is also there. On the other side of the road are the Council Offices which when built were for Barwick, Scholes and Cross Gates. About 1912 Cross Gates was taken into Leeds. This meant that Leeds now had a say in the running of the Council Offices in Scholes, this being because the Cross Gates folk had been paying rates which helped towards the building of the offices here originally.

Over the road, where Russells shop now is there used to be an old cottage and garden with an adjoining Blacksmith's shop - a very popular place in those days when horses were used so much.

Returning to the early 1900's, at the side of the Methodist Chapel a very old cottage stood occupied by a Mr. Thackray who was a basket maker and down the old lane near the Coronation Tree, he had a willow-garth where he grew the willows which he used for his basket-making. I can just remember seeing him going down there in his pony and trap to fetch the willows. This house and buildings were pulled down about 1912.

Just opposite the Chapel in a cottage was the village Post Office and eventually it moved across the road to a larger house, immediately opposite the Barley Corn Public House. The Postmaster at that time was Mr Fenwick, who also acted as the village Postman. When he died his daughter took over and later the Post Office was moved to its present site. This shop was previously owned by a lady who sold woods, etc. Miss Fenwick ran the Post Office until she retired.

The Public House in those early days was situated where the now closed shop (Cardwells) is. This shop has only recently become a Doctor's Surgery. The Public House was owned by the Shippen family for three generations. My father was the last to be born there. In those days in the villages, the publican was also the village butcher and we had our Butcher's Shop up the yard at the side of the Pub. The Shippen menfolk have all been big, heavy men for generations. My Great-Grandfather was tall and weighed 26 stone. Although he was so heavy in weight he was very quick in his movements. I was told by some of the villagers that he once killed a pig for the Crosland family of Scholes Lodge Farm and they wanted it taken up to the attic to hang up. He carried it up the stairs on his back and said to Mrs Crosland, "This isn't a pig, Missis, its a donkey".

My Grandfather who took over the family business was also a very hefty man. At the time when the double railway lines were being laid through Scholes on the Leeds to Wetherby line, a number of Irishmen were working on it and they would often come into the pub for a drink at night. One particular chap came in and was throwing his weight about and bragging to a group of the locals and generally making a nuisance of himself and causing some disturbance.

One of the local fellows told him "You wouldn't go on like that if the Landlord was in", and the Irish chap jauntily replied, "I'm not bothered about any Landlord. No landlord bothers me".

Just at that moment, my Grandfather comes in through the door and asked him what he had said. The Irish fellow repeated what he had said - "no landlord bothers me", and with that my Grandfather just picked him up by the collar and the seat of his trousers and threw him out into the street and said to him - "Now, does the landlord bother you?"

The village shop which sold groceries, sweets, etc., used to be situated in an old cottage on the same side as the Church. This cottage has since been modernised and extended, but a little further along there was another old house which has now been pulled down. This was the only house in the district which had a dirt floor. Two other nearby houses have also since been demolished. But opposite these, there still stands a terrace of three and "Snowdrop Cottage" which is also there.

On the other side of the road is the Council Offices which when built were for Barwick, Scholes and Crossgates. About 1912 Crossgates was taken into Leeds. This meant that Leeds now had a say in the running of the Council Offices in Scholes, this being because the Crossgates folk had been paying rates which helped towards the building of the offices here originally. Over the road, where Russells shop now is there used to be an old cottage and garden with an adjoining Blacksmith's shop - a very popular place in those days when horses were used so much.

About 1911, the school was built at the corner of Elmete Avenue. Up until then scholars had to walk to Barwick in the summer or go by a covered waggonette in the winter. The school was built of wood and corrugated iron and consisted of two classrooms, with an iron stone in each room for heating purposes and it was very, very cold in winter. Many times when snow was on the ground, we would arrive at school and find a thick layer of snow on the top of our desks and seats and we had to scrape it off before we could sit down. The ink-wells too, would be thick with ice and we had to break it with the blunt end of our pens before we were able to use the ink to write with. We certainly must have been a very hardy lot of children for we rarely got colds. In those days we had a very good service of trains which ran from Leeds to Wetherby. One train was called the 'autocar'. This was a steam engine with carriages at each end, the engine being in the middle, so that when it got to its destination it just ran back again and you could choose whichever end you wished to sit in. The ordinary steam engines used to run as well, of course, but they ran a circular route from Leeds to Wetherby, Tadcaster, Church Fenton, Crossgates and back to Leeds. It was a very frequent and useful service throughout the day and was especially useful to us Scholes folk, our own little Station being a very busy one. The Goods Dept. was very busy too. There was a cattle landing stage at Scholes Station. The farmers used to buy their cattle from York and other places and they would come by Cattle Truck to Scholes the following day and then the farmers from the surrounding district would come to Scholes Station and take them back to their own farms.

Also in the holiday season, day trips to the coastal resorts ran from Scholes. The train used to go to Bridlington and then on to Scarborough. During the early days of the Blackpool Illuminations, trips were also run from here to Blackpool - all of which were very useful services.

At Scholes Park Farm, the Wilsons and the Dawsons were farmers there, and they used the railway a lot, going to Wetherby Market twice a week. Mr Dawson was noted for his mode of travel. He would wait until the train was coming up the line by the brickworks, his groomsman had his horse ready and then he would jump onto the horse and gallop for all he was worth to Scholes Station and would always get to the station as the train was pulling in. Then he would jump off his horse and shout "gee up" to it and the horse would turn away and go back home again, down the village street by itself, whilst Mr Dawson would continue his journey by train to the Wetherby Market.

There was no Doctor in the village at that time, the nearest being at Thorner or Crossgates. If anyone was ill they had to see one or the other or get someone to fetch him. My father was often called out during the night to fetch the Doctor from Thorner. He would go on horseback to Thorner and the Doctor would then ride back on his horse with him. I can remember this Doctor getting his first car in 1912, but it had occasional breakdowns and he had to get a horse to tow it in. Prescriptions would be put on the train at Thorner Station at night and then someone would meet the train and bring the prescription back.

From the Coronation Tree to Stanks a new road was constructed and was always called "the new road", which is often referred to as such to this day! Where the houses on this road are now, there was a moat in the shape of a figure '7' and in the wintertime when it froze over, people from all over the district used to come and skate on it.

In the early days there were two horse buses from Barwick. Two horses pulled it and it ran from Barwick to Coronation Tree and then straight on to Leeds and only ran on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The stables for the horses were in the yard of the Black Swan Inn in Vicar Lane. A man called Mr Hall from Aberford used to have a covered waggon and he travelled from Aberford to Leeds via Coronation Tree to the Black Swan Inn, He was known as a "Carrier" and anyone buying anything heavy in Leeds or anyone in Scholes who perhaps had a parcel to be sent to Leeds would get Mr Hall to collect it. Parcels etc. would be picked up from the Black Swan Yard and then he would drop them off at the Coronation Tree for Scholes or pick them up there if they were to be taken to Leeds. It proved to be a very good service indeed.

Another very useful man who came from Bramham was called by everyone "Yeasty" because he sold yeast, which of course in those days was very useful in the making of bread. He had an old-type of van with a seat high up from which he drove his horse. People had to pay "on the dot" for their yeast - there was no credit given, and he had a sign written on each side of his van which read - "Since man to man is so unjust, man does not know what man to trust. Many I have trusted to my sorrow, so pay today and trust tomorrow." One can gather that he had been "done" at some time or other!

There was another instance of a big, hefty man from Scholes, who always wore a gold watch and chain across his waistcoat. He was walking home one night from the "White Horse" Inn and just past Foundry Lane, it was all fields along the York Hoad. By the side of the road was a little low wall with a 6 ft. drop into the field. This particular night the man was stopped by a "footpad" who wanted his gold watch and chain. The big man just picked the other up and dropped him over the wall into the field and said, "Nay lad, tha's gotten the wrong 'un this time."

Coming along the York Road at Scholes Lane end, there is a little old house still standing in what is now Malcolm Silversides yard. This was known as "Saturday Cottage" and belonged to my family. How it got this name was because my Grandfather bought the land there and wanted to build a house and start a market garden. This was about the year 1870. My Great-uncle, who was a builder in Leeds, got some of his pals to come to Scholes on Saturdays to help build this house in their spare time. They used to walk up from the "White Horse" each Saturday and all the work was done then - hence the name "Saturday Cottage".

We had no gas, electricity or water laid on in those days but we had pumps and various wells in the village to draw water for drinking purposes and we also had tubs outside our houses to catch the rain water for washing purposes. In the summer-time with dryer weather and all houses having coal fires, the roofs were covered in soot and when it rained all the soot was washed down into the water tubs and then we still had to use it for washing purposes. But even so, we all had "schoolgirl" complexions so it obviously did us some good!

The 12 houses built in 'Arthursdale' had water laid on, as there was a windmill down there to pump the water to feed the houses. The only other two houses in the village which had water laid on were built in 1912 opposite Milton Drive - these are still standing. They had a well at the back, but instead of having a hand-pump, they had a donkey which was tied to the pump handle and it would walk round and round and this movement pumped the water.

As mentioned previously, Morwick Hall was owned by the Gray family, who was a sort of Squire for the village. An amusing story connected with the Hall was told of a ghost which haunted the grounds. At certain times after dark, a white figure was seen amongst the trees in the Morwick grounds. All the maids at the Hall were scared to death and this 'ghost' rumour got to the ears of Mr. Gray and he decided to do something about it. So one evening he covered himself in a white sheet and went out into the grounds and amongst the trees where the ghost was said to be seen. After a while he made his way into the servants' quarters and walked into the kitchen or servants' hall where they were all assembled. In the corner sat one of his farm men with a face as white as the 'ghost' which he had been playing to scare the women. Obviously Mr Gray had a good "sense of humour", and needless to say the Morwick ghost was seen no more!

Street lighting was very poor in those early days. There was one lamp situated near the Council Offices and another at the corner of Rakehill Road and they were lit by paraffin. A man was paid a very small sum to come every day to light and to trim them and at times if they failed someone would put a candle in until the man came to see to it again. In due course, two more paraffin lamps were erected near the bridge in the "Arthursdale" area.

The Village Hall was built when I was a boy and I can remember soon after the roof was on that its weight made it collapse and it was found that it needed more strengthening pillars to support it.

Motor vehicles in the early 1900's were very rare and I have been involved in arguments that there were no motor vehicles at that time. In 1907, when I was only about a year old, there was a terrible blizzard one wintry day with the snow piled high all around. The Royal Mail van used to run from Leeds to York and on this particular day it got stuck in the snow near to White Towers on the York Road. We lived nearby at that time and I possess a photograph of this event and I can be seen as a baby in the arms of the van driver sitting in his cab - proof that such a motor vehicle did in fact exist.

Motor vehicles were, of course, very scarce indeed in the first part of the century and it wasn't until the early 1920's that public transport went over to motorised vehicles. There was a charabanc which used to run from Barwick to Leeds for a while but did not do too well. Then two ex-servicemen from the 1914-18 war started a bus service with some little Ford buses. They used to start from Dringhouses, York tram terminus and ran to Killingbeck, Leeds, and thus linked up with the Leeds transport, so that passengers to and from York and on route had to transfer between the buses and the tram services. This was actually the first bus service to connect with Leeds. These charabancs seated about 12 passengers, six on each side of the bus. Two steps led up into the back of the bus and there was also a step ladder running up the outside to the roof with two lots of rails around the edge of the roof, and here any luggage was stored. During busy periods when the bus was full inside, men used to climb up on to the roof and sit there until the Police put a stop to it as being an unsafe way to travel. After this service had been running on this route for some time, a similar service was started from Barwick and Scholes, via the Coronation Tree.

A Mr Mounsey also started a bus service from Aberford to Leeds, his buses being painted red and white. The Aberford Motor Company also started a service as well and their buses were blue and white and there was quite a bit of rivalry between these two companies. One of these decided to come into Scholes and pick up any passengers going to Leeds, and when the other company got to know about it and the times their rivals ran they scheduled their buses to run 5 minutes before the times of the other so that they could pick up the passengers who were waiting for the other one. Eventually though, they agreed to differ and formed a combined service and called themselves the 'red, white and blue service'. The blue buses were on A.E.C. chassis and the red ones were Leyland Lions.

A Company called Warburtons at Harrogate ran a bus service from Harrogate to Leeds about that time and these were painted and grained and were really quite luxurious for those days as they had curtains at the windows and comfortable seats, but eventually the West Yorkshire bought them up and as they didn't want the A.E.G. type buses they sold them to the Red, White and Blue people. But it wasn't long before the West Yorkshire bought them up also and so they were back with the buses they had just disposed of. They did this quite a number of times with the difference bus services which they had bought up.

When the West Yorkshire Company first started a service to York they were called the Harrogate & District Road Car Company and their buses were painted a heather colour. Some of their buses were of the charabanc type on this York Road route, with solid tyres and acetylene lighting for head lamps with a big carbide generator on the running-board, and the side lamps were lit by oil. I worked on these first lot of buses and remember painting them the heather colour. They were on Tilling-Steven chassis. Certainly the West Yorkshire Road Car Company has made great strides since those days.

One very useful gadget on those old buses was two steel arms with a bend at the end just behind the two back wheels. A chain was attached to these arms which went through into the driver's cab and fitted on a hook there. In the event of the bus getting into difficulties on a steep hill, the driver could release this chain which allowed the arras to drop down under the bus and the bends would then dig into the road and stop the bus from running backwards, and this proved to be a very useful brake indeed.

But to get back to Scholes village itself, Rakehill Road was always known as 'Workhouse Lane' and is still referred to as such by some of us older residents. Yes, there used to be a Workhouse near to the bridge, which I suppose is nearer to Barwick. The old building still stands but since its Workhouse days was made into cottages and appears to be used now as a store place for the farm there.

In the early 1920's there was a very good Agricultural and Flower Show held each summer in a field between the Coronation Tree and the Garage. This was a real highlight for the village with prizes being awarded for the best flowers and vegetables from gardens and allotments. There was a fair with roundabouts and other attractions for the children and young people. Horses, cattle, pigs and other animals were shown and awarded prizes and there was also a Childrens′ Pets Competition. Horse jumping was another attraction. Throughout the afternoon a band would be playing - which was quite often the Kippax Prize Band and altogether was a most enjoyable time and a happy ‘get together’ for the folk of Scholes and the surrounding districts.

There was also a very good Harmonic Society connected with the village which gave concerts at various times. The Church and Chapel folk combined to give Messiah and other Cantatas at Christmas and Easter and were always much appreciated and well supported. Concerts at the Methodist Chapel were given regularly and these too were very well supported by the village folk. The married men would give one concert, then the women, and the younger members of the village also formed a concert party which they entitled “The Flannelette Concert Party”. These were for those up to the age of 20.

All of these events provided a real community spirit. Everyone seemed to put their heart and soul into these events and we really had some wonderfully happy times. Of course, in those days there were no cinemas and certainly no T.V., so that all entertainment had to be provided by ourselves. But I am sure we were much happier and a more friendly spirit prevailed in our community than it does in these days. Thus as you can realise I have many happy memories of the old days in this peaceful village of ours.


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