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Oral Taping

The Ramsbottom Heritage Society has always been interested in recording memories of residents, and there are now over 80 recordings on cassette tape, which have been converted to digital format and made available on the website, where the interviewee has given permission.

This page will be the index of the recordings and as each recording is converted, a link will be given to a description of the recording and the recording can be downloaded for personal use. If a recording is required for business or commercial purposes, please contact the Society. We are looking for volunteers to listen to the tape and produce a synopsis, so if there is no description, get in touch and we’ll let you know if anyone else has been allocated to the recording.

Table of recordings

Recording IDSubject MatterName of the IntervieweeDate of the interviewRecording
T01Mills from Summerseat to Stubbins

Click for Summary of Side 1

Click for Summary of Side 2

Mrs Florence Scholes1987/ 1988Yes - Side 1

Yes - Side 2
T02Life in RamsbottomMr Charles HallOct-87Yes - Side 1

T03Life in RamsbottomMrs Ellen Mills1987-88
T04Life in Ramsbottom

Click for Summary

Mr Joe BarlowSep-87
T05MemoriesMr Harry ArcherlyYes -
T06Life in RamsbottomClara Booth1987
T07Memories of RamsbottomElsie Baker13/01/1988Yes -
T08Memories of RamsbottomAmy Greenhalgh17/01/1988Yes -
T09Frank Galpin
T10Memories of Shuttleworth & DistrictWildred Beswick JP23/08/1988
T11Grant Family AncestryMrs Constance Whittam17/10/1990
T12Eric QuinnYes -
T13Housing WW2 EvacueesMrs P Rodwell21/08/1989
T14J Crabtree
T15Mrs Edith Duckworth26/08/1997
T16aMr Thomas Wightman08/09/1997Yes- ]

Duration 90 minutes 19 seconds recorded on the 8th September 1997

Thomas talks about  ( approximates times when the topic starts)

               Moving from Kent to Lancashire
3 minutes Rowland Methodist School, Summerseat - 1919/20
9 minutes  Ocean Chemical Co. Ltd. First Job paying 17/6 a week
19             Joined the Army for 6 years
25             Back to work in Ramsbottom - describes the houses he lived in
28             Ocean Chemical Co. Ltd.  - Names of Directors and description of                 various processes
43             Driving wagons
44             3 brothers, 1 sister
45 minutes Eldest Brother, Harold - from a ‘Two Bob a day Private’ to a Major
48             Cottage in Sumerseat - Children’s games
51             Christmas
53             Pace Egging before Easter including song
56             Holcombe Hill - Good Friday, Whit Walks with Primitive Methodists
61             Social Live at the Primitive Methodists
66            Mr Pearson Headmaster - Motor Cars
68                Review of places of employment
                1929 - 1952 Ocean Chemical Co Ltd
                 6 months Kirklees, Tottington
                 3 and an half years - Ramsbottom Paper Mill
                  22 years Porritts
76            Courtship and Marriage
78            Driving and Travelling
80            A good night out - Cinemas in Bury, Bolton Grand Theatre
84            Setting up home near Hark to Towler on Walmersley Road
86            Knocking up neighbours

T16bMr Thomas Wightman01/06/2001Yes-

Duration 26 minutes 06 seconds recorded on the 1st June 2001

1955 Started working at Porritt's. Early retirement 1977.

About 700 employees

Cotton side

Woollen side:

Different departments; warehouse, blending, felting, maintenance, main office, devilling hole, card rooms, weaving, spinning, washing & stretching,
drying, finishing, winding

Mules & old carding engines in 1955, line shafts

1957-5 New machines - independent motor drives

woollen bales - sorting

Synthetic fibres - staple

Change from wool to synthetic

Carding & scribbling

New carding engines & ring frames

Harold Robinson - manager

William Goodwin - supervisor


weaving looms' widths, Lancashire loom

Felts - paper making trade

Filter cloths - printing trade

Processing felts: joining (endless), drying, stretching

Cotton felts, & later, wires(synthetic) for paper trade

150 year Anniversary formation of company.. -.presentation blankets to workers

Employees - maintenance 24hr
lots of job changing
female workers} skill


Coach transport

Decline of trade

Carpet yarns

c 1975 Factory unsafe for heavy new machines

Carding engines & ring frames moved to Bury

Transportation of goods

Carriers - I .C.I.

Water supply - moors, reservoir

Col. Porritt, Lieut. Porritt - Territorials

Harold ? (stayed with Lieut. Porritt after he was shot in France)

Workers' profitable sidelines at factory - washing overalls, hairdressing, thieving

Dispatch department

Line shafts, ring frame & carding engine motors
Moving machinery

T17aMargaret Nolan01/10/1997
T17bMargaret Nolan01/10/1997Yes-
T18Mrs Edith Robinson15/04/1996Yes -
T19aGeorge and Margaret Kay27/11/1997Yes -
T19bGeorge and Margaret Kay27/11/1997Yes -
T19cGeorge Kay27/11/1997Yes -
T20Jim WeldingYes -
T21Mrs Doris Hillary01/03/1998Yes -
T22aMr Keith Bradbury28/05/1998Yes -
T22bMr Keith Bradbury28/05/1998Yes -
T23Jennie Johns16/12/1997Yes -
T24Aliice O'Donnell16/12/1998Yes -
T25aHarry Beech16/02/1999Yes -
T25bMrs Marion Beech16/02/1999Yes -
T25cMrs Marion Beech16/02/1999Yes -
T26Mrs Irene Green and Dorothy Farnell05/07/1999Yes -
T27aFrank Warwick Hall08/11/1999Yes -
T27bFrank Warwick Hall - continued08/11/1999Yes -
T28aHarry Hoyle05/07/1999Yes -
T28bHarry Hoyle - continued05/07/1999Yes -
T29Margaret Hammersley18/01/2001Yes -
T30Miss Joan Barcroft24/01/2001
T31aJack Holden07/03/2001Yes -
T31bJack Holden07/03/2001Yes -
T32John Lomax02/05/2001Yes -
T33aBrian Lamb26/04/2001Yes -
T33bBrian Lamb26/04/2001Yes -
T34Cyril DavenportYes -

0’15”      Started working in the weaving shed
2’30”      Territorial Army
3’00”      Worked in the warehouse (15 yrs old, only 4ft 6ins, weighed 72lbs)
5’00”      products made by the firm
6’45”      Roland Spencer - visit to the factory
7’50”      The Christmas Spree
11’00”     parcelling (plaiting) the cloth
12’10”     Number of employees
13’15”     The war / the landmine at Stubbins
15’00”     Shifts
15’30”     Characters who worked for the firm including a bookmaker
16’45”     Wages
17’45”      Called up to the war
18’15”     Return to the firm after the war / Half-crown foreman /
19’00”     Wages for the big loom weavers
19’45”     Big loom weavers
21’30”     After the war - worked on the doubling machine for 20 years
23’45”     Shift work, staffing and wages (1951)
26’00”     Characters - boilerman who played the flute
              labourer who used to have a sleep in the toilets
29’45”     Management turns a blind eye
30’30”     Clocking in & out
31’15”     Promoted to assistant foreman/manager over 3 departments
32’45”     He was asked to become supervisor/foreman in the warehouse
33’15”     Changed from cotton to synthetics
34’00”     "Wet end wires" (conveyor belt) for the paper mills
35’00”     Changing the name of the firm and products moved to different factories
36’45”     In charge of 3 departments, Finishing manager- from when it left the loom to when it left the factory
37’45”     Contact with the factory in Livingston, Scotland
38’45”     troubleshooting - Assistant to the Production Director
39’30”     "The wires" - conveyor belt for paper machine. Cost up to £60,000
43’15”     Paper mills - most of them shut now
44’45”     Export of wires all over the world (inc1 Japan & Poland)

46’15”     Work study & automation - the biggest changes which have come in ; Reduction in workforce
49’00”     Waste from the process
51’30”     Changes in processes, with the coming of synthetics
52’00”     Types of synthetics, staples and filaments
53’45”     5 -A -Side football
55’00”     Safety procedures
56’00”     Accidents at work
58’15”     Family members who also worked for Porritts
            His father was a gardner for Porritts during the 1914-18 war.
            Several of his brothers & sisters worked there for over 40 years
60’00”     The Porritt family and their homes
61’45”     Strongstry houses available for workers
64’00”     Various mills owned by the Porritts
65’00”     The Porritts & Spencers who were directors
67’00”      characters, - a man with a glass eye.     someone who set fire to some waste

68’35”      end

T35Mrs Marion Beech
T36Edith WoodYes -
T37aCoronation and Childhood MemoriesMrs Doris Hibbert09/12/2002Yes -
Mrs Doris Hibbert05/03/2006Yes -
T38Edwin Longworth
T39WW2 and General Memories (NWSA)Lorna McTintosh01/06/2001
T40aFred Entwistle1990 and 1994
T40bMrs E. Moore26/08/1990
T40cMr Chapman02/06/1990
T41General Memories
Also on the recordings are James's wife Gladys, their daughter Gladys Hamer and Roger Hamer
James Davenport01/03/2005Yes - Side 1

Yes - Side 2

Yes - Side 3
T42Recorded by the North West Sound Archive and posted with their permission

Evacuation from Guernsey, and Ramsbottom Memories
Elizabeth Haworth30/06/2001Yes -
T43Recorded by the North West Sound Archive and posted with their permission

Memories of Edenfield
Frank Woods30/06/2001Yes -
T44Recorded by the North West Sound Archive and posted with their permission

Reminiscences of Ramsbottom
Dorothy Moss30/06/2001Yes -
T45Recorded by the North West Sound Archive and posted with their permission

Childhood in Bolton, and Ramsbottom
John Maude30/06/2001Yes -
T46Recorded by the North West Sound Archive and posted with their permission

Ramsbottom Library Service
Bill Bennion23/07/2001Yes -
T47Childhood play, teenage leisureBarbara Southern20/06/2006Yes -
T48Ships, Gas Mantles, Tippler's, Soundscape, 1950'sEddy Chatwood20/06/2006Yes -
T49General memories including World War 1 and World War 2Violet Gregg23/06/2006Yes -

Side/Time in minutes Content
A00 Born at 89, Bolton Street, Ramsbottom 1st June 1907
Moved to Acre Street, off Bolton Road West
Attended St Andrew’s School from aged 3 years
Aged 11 was unable to go to a Secondary Modern School because birthday was in June
and you had to be 11 years in August.
A:02 Aged 12 halftime school/ half time work at Peel Bridge Mill, Kenyon Street
aged 13 went full time
left when she got married aged 25 (1932)
A:03 Acre Street – 2-bed terrace with outside closet. Men came to empty toilet. Front of Nuttall
A:05 lived for a while with grandmother on Albert Street as she was the eldest
WW2 –Zeppelin raid. 7/8 o’clock at night.
Father worked in Gas Works/ mother did work at one time
Aged 3 -Incident of being pushed down steps to Callender Street and Doctor
CROMPTON putting stitches in her hand. Doctor came to door to collect payment.
She saw Zeppelin floating over towards Holcombe. Heard a noise and later told there was a bomb in a field. Visited Holcombe next day. Not much damage to buildings
A: 13 Incident of stepson’s taking too much sugar (WWll)
Memories around WWI time. Queuing in Bridge Street. Prices 'weren’t so dear’ .
After her husband died her wages were £4 a week – to keep 4 of them (date not given).
Ration books in WW2.
A: 17 WWI -shops –2 C&ops on Bolton Street for food and furniture. 1 Co-op on Bridge
Street for clothing. All had 'divies’ .
Lots of other shops.
She helped a friend out at a Creamery laddling milk (where Threshers’ is now)
Best ice-cream available from John [?]Mofler’s. Cashland Dairy also sold icecream.
He took it round on a horse and cart.
A:21 Trips - Aged 7 (/9/4) went to Ilfracombe and Loch Lomond by train
Char-a-bancs to Southport – not comfortable
Trams to Holcombe Brook
A:24 Social life. Only went out at weekends with a friend.
Her son remembers parents going to the cinema when he was very small. They saw
'Three smart girls grow up’ with Diana DURBAN (about1937)
Went to Bury by train
Mother’s Union trip to London – since WW2. She nearly missed train.
Sailing on Lock Lomond
A:28 First marriage to Mr HOWARD in 1932 at St Andrew’s Church.
Weddings not a big affair then. Dress made by sister-in-law.
Married for 7 years. 3 children plus one born dead. After husband’s death worked
occasionally. It was hard- used to walk to save tram fares
Worked at bakehouse after children went to school
A:3 1 o 2 (before marriage).
As everyone left RC priest called people together and prayed. When prayers finished all planes had gone her husband saw a figure coming down. He said it was Jesus.
Bombing incident.
Story of Richard PORRFTT being 'blown to bits’ in WWII.
Aged 10/1 1 She took knitted gloves up to the PORRIFT’s house and was given chocolates by Mrs PORRITT.
Parties at end of war – she did not go.
A:34 Met 2nd husband when he helped out in garden of her bungalow.
He was one of last off Dunkirk. Salvation Army serving food and drink.
The marriage lasted 4/5 years till his death
Story of first husband slipping on ice and dislocating thumb. He worked on the railway.
Time of a lot of snow - up to window. He got a chill clearing the snow.
She went weaving down by the Station.
A:38 They grew potatoes and tomatoes. Gave some to vicars of St Andrew’s.
Rev. WILLIAMSON, there before Rev CARMYLLIE.
Rev WILLIAMSON- very nice and talked a lot about Christian love. Lived on Callender
Rev CARMELLIE – very nice -good speaker- he wrote a book-lived on Albert Street
Trams cost tuppence
A:41 End of tape

T50Father Ramsbottom Police Sgt., 1931-39; Amateur Dramatics (Summerseat Players)Leslie Richard Norris05/03/2006Yes -
T51Recollections of Grant's TowerDorothy O'Reilly and Emily Bellenes05/03/2006Yes -
T52Miscellaneous recollectionsBrian FarlowMar-06Yes -
T53MD of Sims WireworksDenis Frearson03/02/2006Yes -
T54Frank Richardson
T55Grandmothers memories of NuttallNorma Mills22/11/2006Yes -

Key Words Summary

Norma MILLS Tape no 55
Now of 28, The Old Vicarage, Bradshaw, Bolton Born 15th February, 1942
Interviewed by Kate Slingsby/ Brenda Richards on 23rd November, 2006

Side A: 43 minutes

Side/Time Content
Norma relates the stories of Nuttall Village told her by her paternal grandmother Charlotte MARKLAND (1878-1972) daughter of George and Alison MARKLAND. She also talks of her great grandmother MARKLAND who lived in the Round House, near Holme Mill, Ramsbottom

A: 00
George and Alison MARKLAND married at Holcombe Church.
Charlotte eldest of 11 children.
Her father was a weaver, photographer and magician. Performed magic tricks in pubs around Ramsbottom - Charlotte was his assistant but often left outside pubs when too young to go in.
Story of no food bar bread and treacle for 2 weeks.
Song about ‘God bless John GRANT’
Charlotte’s extensive knowledge and use of herbs. ‘Nipbone’ was taken orally and used on wounds. Iron tonics made from soaking rusty nails in water. Home made wines, rose perfume, Christmas decorations
A:10 Siblings baptised at St Andrew’s. She went to school at New Jerusalem, aged 13, part time at school/ part time at Mill as a weaver
A: 12
Two stories of incidents when walking in Nuttall – paranormal - girl seen on walk who was actually at home

A: 13 Members of family emigrate to America. Aunt becomes a nurse in Crimean War, married a surgeon, George RABY. Norma still in touch with descendants of this family. Seen photos of them with their black servants.
Charlotte sent to visit them – sea journey thought to improve her health.
Proposal from Australian sheep farmer whilst on ship.

A: 15 Ocean Chemicals ruined Nuttall by use of cyanide. All trees were turned white and then died. Workers had yellow faces.
Charlotte returns from America
A:20 1950s- Description of Charlotte showing Norma and family where used to live in Nuttall. Some confusion as she showed them round the house which still stands today but records show their address as Goit Street.
Black range in kitchen. Desk piled with papers as it was used as office for Ocean Chemical works. No other houses around – just ruins

Games children played. ‘top and whip’ ‘hopscotch’ in fields. Happy childhood.
Charlotte spoke local Lancashire dialect. Nuttall known at ‘Nutter’.
No electricity in Nuttall. Charlotte took candle to bed even after she lived in house with electricity with son and family in Walmersley as she did not trust electricity
A: 27 Charlotte taken by father for years to Manchester Eye Hospital. ? by train/tram/horse drawn tram
A.28 Story of Charlotte’s mother’s accidental but serious eye injury caused by father gleefully throwing his top hat across room when he got a job.
A:30 Charlotte’s brothers – she looked after them as children. They later worked in the mill.
A:33 Charlotte’s suitors. One drowned himself in the Irwell when she rejected him/ another (George ECCLES) was later killed in WW1.
Her marriage aged 28. All her sibs already married.

A:36 Brief history of MARKLAND family in Ramsbottom. Richard and second wife Betty MARKLAND had a cake shop around 1829 on Bridge Street.
A MARKLAND lived on Crow Lane
Family graves in Holcombe Church

A:43 End of tape

Side B: Blank

T56Turnbull & Stockdale, coal dealers in Ramsbootom, house at Bolton Road North, Rostron Plumbers, Smithy Brow, Turn school, Ramsbottom buses, linking Stubbins/Ramsbottom, churches, shops, politicsPhillip Dunne29/08/2007Yes -
T57Recorded by the North West Sound Archive and posted with their permissionGeraldine Mercer10/05/2003
T58Recorded by the North West Sound Archive and posted with their permissionRichard, Irene and Frank Hall10/05/2003
T59Recorded by the North West Sound Archive and posted with their permissionTony Ashworth10/05/2003
Yes -
T60Recorded by the North West Sound Archive and posted with their permissionJack Isherwood10/05/2003
Yes -
T61Recorded by the North West Sound Archive and posted with their permission

Memories of Crow Lane
Doreen and Fred Bardsley10/05/2003
Yes -
T62Recorded by the North West Sound Archive and posted with their permissionFlorence Nadin
Yes -
T63Recorded by the North West Sound Archive and posted with their permissionDerek and Zena Middleton15/07/2007
Yes -
T64Recorded by the North West Sound Archive and posted with their permissionMuriel Clark
Yes -
T65Recorded by the North West Sound Archive and posted with their permissionBarbara Jones/Alan Richardson
Yes -
T66Recorded by the North West Sound Archive and posted with their permissionRaymond Wilcox
Yes -
T67Recorded by the North West Sound Archive and posted with their permissionJames E Isherwood01/02/2011