Recollections: by Mrs Eliza Lockwood
Written in about 1895 by Mrs Eliza Lockwood of Sheffield. She was the daughter of Thomas Porter & Anne nee Girdler born In 1822 & married in 1852 to Charles Lockwood of Greno House, Grenoside.
She had nine children, including twins of whom one died at birth. She died on 19 June 1896 aged 74.
© Prue Stokes 2002
NOTES ON THE FAMILY OF ELIZA LOCKWOOD
Eliza’s son In law, Dr William Smith Porter was also her first cousin’s son: Dr Porter married his second cousin, Eliza’s daughter Jessie; he was a keen family historian. He tried to trace the Porter line as far back as he had managed to go with other lines of ancestry but could only with certainty get .as far as his great great grand-father John Porter (died 1758) of Balne in the parish of Snalth, Yorkshire. This John probably came from Hock, a neighbouring hamlet to Balne but Dr Porter was unable to carry the search any further.John Porter’s son, another John, (John 2) born in 1736, came to Sheffield in about,1759 and opened a grocer & flax dressing business in King Street. He married twice but no record exists of his first wife. In 1784 he married, as a widower, Nary Bright. Her family had a distinguished past in Sheffield’s history and was the subject of much more successful research by Dr Porter.
John & Mary Porter had two sons: John (John 3) who married Hannah Willott Taylor (of whom there is a portrait in the possession of Prue Stokes) and was Dr Porter’s grandfather, and Thomas who married Ann Girdler (another portrait). They were Eliza Lockwood’s parents about whom she writes. John Porter senior contributed to various aspects of public life in Sheffield and his portrait was painted by the young artist Francis Chantrey before he went to London to become a famous sculptor. This portrait is now in the Mappin Art gallery in Sheffield. John Porter2 died in 1812. A John 3 was left the house his father had built in Howard Street and also managed a wine merchants In the High Street; Thomas inherited the shop & premises, purchased from the Duke of Norfolk in 1800. Eliza’s brother Charles Girdler Potter was the last proprietor of the business.
One of Eliza’s brothers, Richard Thomas Porter, was able to invest and share in the success of the steam roller company, Aveling & Porter of Rochester, Kent.
Eliza’s mother’s family was traced back to the marriage of a Richard Girdler of Nottinghamshire In 1597. A distant cousin of Eliza’s mother wee the historian of Hallamshire & South Yorkshire, the Reverend Joseph Hunter FSA. As she describes, her Immediate family were farmers In Nottinghamshire.
Dr Porter was no more successful In tracing the Lockwood family than he had been with the Porters. There wore many entries for the name in the records of the parish of Ecclesfield, north of Sheffield, but connections wore unreliable before John Lockwood of Butterthwaite came to Sheffield in about 1767 and set up business as an edge tool & file manufacturer. The firm prospered for over 100 years making cutlery of all kinds until the 1920s. Eliza does not say how she met her husband to be but Sheffield business society was a fairly small social group and much intermarried.We are fortunate to be able to read-her description of the town before industrial prosperity and expanding population engulfed the woods and fields of her childhood.
The first two or three years of my life were passed mostly at Ollerton at my Aunt Wright’s Sheffield did not suit my Mother’s children; she lost five babies before 1 was ten years old. and no wonder, the sitting room and nursery looked on to a small yard; the drawing room and all the bedrooms (except the servants’ attic) faced King Street, but my Mother preferred the parlour, an It was called, because, being close to the shop, my Father could frequently go and sit and chat with her, bringing many an amusing bit of gossip; that and our next neighbour’s, Mr G Ridge. were the greet meeting places for the clergy and gentry in those days.
The earliest things 1 seem to remember were our walks – daily mostly towards Leavy Greave – there were some small gardens above Porto Bello of which my Father owned or rented one; we had a garden House up a few steps In which there wore table, chairs, carpet, fireplace & cupboard in which ware kept everything wanted for tea, & It was a great treat when Edward* and I could go with our, Parents and have tea there.
I remember the lilac and laburnam trees & one or two fruit trees wallflowers, daisies etc. grass-plot, etc. & our own little gardens.
When the weather was fine, the servants took a basket of fine clothes (washed at home) to dry or bleach there; (what would servants say to that now!) I have been told that once when rain threatened they hastened to fetch them home,& when just opposite the Old church (going or coming back 1 do not know) cam a fearful flash of lightening, sending them home an fast as they could run, the church spire was struck and much damage done so the bolt was very near. Our Sunday walk took us often up Spital Hill, past a toll bar house which was quite In the country, and on the Occupation Road an far an a scat under come oak tree* opposite “Quaker” Smiths and just about the turn to Osgathorpe, where we found acorn& In the autumn, the road went on to Grimsthorpe, but branched off on the left to Osgathorpe, & on the right by a narrow lane to Attercliffe.
My Uncle Wright, (Aunt was my Mother’s sister) was a term r on a small scale & maltster. 1 used to love the sweet small of the roasting & drying malt, and to watch the malt come down the hopper Into the seeks. My Aunt’s wash-house bed a brick floor,- which was washed by a mop which the maid did not wring with her hands but by twirling the handle round & round & so shaking the wet out. There was a large old-fashioned garden – fruit vegetables flowers in luxuriance. I never saw such fine lavender. The bow window* of the “parlour” & room above (my bedroom) wore always full of plants, geraniums, fushlas, pelagoniums, hydrangeas etc.
I think I must have been an unobservant child, for I do not seem to remember any of my early journeys either to Ollerton or elsewhere, the only thing I recollect of my next vIsit to Ollerton when I was I suppose six years old, was my Father taking me from Worksop where my Uncle Wright must have met us. & our drive across the forest, my Father getting down to gather me some flowers, & my uncle leaving him to run after us for a joke. My Cousin Matilda took charge of me, & I think was very kind to me though no doubt she kept me In order & made me learn some sort of lessons.
*Aunt Wright: Elizabeth, d/o Richard Girdler of Worksop Lodge & Anne d/o Jarvis Ridley of Bariborough, Derbys; Eliz. b.1791 m.John Wright of Ranby Notts. & of Ollerton, Notts. d. Feb 1873.
*Edward: Eliza’s brother 1826-1886; a Carrie Hickson of Lincolnsh; no issue.
The next village on one side of Ollerton was Wellow, where 1 once saw an adult baptism in the pond on the village green; I think the baptized was dressed in white I was much disgusted with the dirty water Into which she went.*The forest lay on the other side of Ollerton where I loved to walk. Rufford Manor was not far off; we once went there with a party of yound people professedly ladies & gentlemen, one man made me very indignant by jumping over the chancel rails & on to the altar on his head; I think he was the same man who pushed me into a bed of nettles. My Cousin Matilda was a great deal at our house in King Street. She went for some time to school at Miss Fawcetts, Belview, Upperthorpe. I went with her for a short time for the sake of the country air; probably I was about five years old, there was a “large” garden with an arbour at the end, & into this I was sent with a slate & pencil, & told to amuse myself, which meant crying mostly. The girls had each a piece of bread for lunch, the two top pieces were buttered, & my Cousin always raced to get one piece for me; I suppose I said some sort of lessons, for once when 1 was being scolded, she jumped up & snatched me away, saying I should not be forced to do or say what I did not know.
I suppose I went to Miss Brady’s when about six or seven, & Ed. when about tour, we wore weekly boarders, some said she (Miss Brady or Governess Mary as we were told to call her) made favourites of us in those days; she was very fond of my Father. We went up High Street, Church Street, Trippet Lane, Portobello & so to Leavy Greave. I have heard Mrs John Porter* saying she remembers us passing her Father’s (Mr Smith’s) house, our nurse and theirs were friends – afterwards she, her sister & some of her Brothers went to Miss B’s school, Indeed half the better class children in Sheffield went I think – Wakes, Sorbys, Heppenstalls, Wilsons etc. etc.
What she did teach she did thoroughly & in some ways was In advance of her age. She was a clever but passionate woman, very strict & stern & some of her punishments were very queer: standing in a corner holding one or both hands above our heads with often a book or slate in them. a most dangerous punishment 1 think. We had long desks in the school room with forms fixed to them & foot boards underneath; once a girl was punished by being made to lie on these boards & the girls’ feet on her. Often the hands were caned, and occasionally the birch rod was applied to the little ones. If a child could not or would not cat the food, he or she had to drink some camomile tea, rather a good punishment for it the child was not well, It was an excellent medicine.
Her sister Miss Rebecca was a worriting person, with no natural ability.
*comment by Charles Porter: “the hop pole is still there and the pond you allude to – children paddle in it same as they do at the sea coast – tis a pretty village.” * Mrs John Porter: Sarah, d/o William Smith of Dam House, Sheffield 1821-1894, married John Taylor Porter, first cousin to Eliza Lockwood nee Porter. *punishments: Mrs Elizabeth Lockwood nee Smith added her own notes about this school: “my mother (Loulsa Smith nee Pickslay) remembered that she or some other child had made her boots muddy on, her way to school & had to stand holding them over her head. In writing, the hand must not be flat on the paper or the pen would not slope in the correct way towards the right shoulder, so Miss Rebecca put an open penknife on edge under the hand. Corporal punishment was not confined to the “Quality Street” variety. (A play which concerned two school mlstresses). I remember my Uncle Porter telling of the awe-striking doom doom: ‘John Taylor Porter go & prepare…
Every Thursday morning one of them went to meeting, and school was suspended in a way; no regular classes wore hold but all the pupils stated, repeated in unison various psalms or chapters In the Bible previously learned; when it was *lea Brady’s turn to stay at home, we girls had our sewing, & she read &loud to us, from recent books, Bruce’s or Mungo Parks travels, White’s Selbourne etc.etc. She would have been musical & artistic had the Friends tenets allowed at that time, & had some taste In arranging fancy work etc., She liked to take her pupils to entertainments, once she took a few of us to Thlrodor’s M diorama, & sleight of hand tricks, – I did not like the shipwreck scene, the thunder frightened me. Another time It was to see an Orrery which 1 never forgot, and again to ace some ditch water magnIfied & also a flea to the size of an elephant.A few of the pupils went once a fortnight to a dancing class at the SS (Surrey Street) Music Hall; we had the long narrow room at the end of the Concert Hall. & In the cloakroom we had our dinner*, 1 think our hours would be from twelve to three – a servant went with us, & afterwards Kiss Brady or a teacher came for the remainder of the lesson. Occasionally the Concert Hall was opened for an evening entertainment when we had a good game, & perhaps an Inspection of some of the preparations. I remember some of the boy pupils once coming to school with terrifying tales of the Medical School was next door, & It seems the mob what would happen to us had got the Idea that the students got dead bodies for dissection, & they smashed all the windows & tried to break Into the place.*
Sheffield was in a poor way in those days, people said It had seen Its best days; graze grew between the stones In King Street, and no doubt In other streets also; we once had come Indian Jugglers spread their carpet In ‘ the street opposite our house, & go through their performance with balls, knives etc. The cattle fair was held twice a year in the Wicker, of course there wore also bazaars, shows etc.
We were at Burlington* when I was probably five or six years old, but do not remember much about it, or how we went. I think my Aunt Porter & one or two of her children were also there, and I have a dim Idea that either her or our rooms overlooked the harbour. I very well remember a shrimp woman on the sands giving me a live shrimp & putting it In a pool until I was ready to take It home, of course I never found it, We had a book of pictures of the sands etc. with some doggrel rhymes, of which 1 only remember one:
In a row on the sand All the bath houses stand, Some red &*some covered with green, Now Wellington here & Blucher appear And near them the famed British Queen.
The next time we went to Burlington I was sixteen years & my *later Annie sixteen months old. We had to get up at five o’clock & go by coach to Thorns from there to Goole by canal boat (towed), from Goole by small steamer to Hull where we dined and thence to Burlington by landau, we had tea at Bran(d)aburton and reached our destination about 9pm. a long & tedious journey.
*Medical School riots: Dr Wm S Porter recalls this occasion; he was born In the house at the end of Surrey St. in 1855 & was taken to his grandfather’s house (Wm Smith of Dam House) for safety one night when riots like those of 1835 that Eliza mentions threatened to re-occur. *Burlington: old name for Bridlington on the cast coast of Yorkshire.
We generally went into the country to a farmhouse for a few weeks in the summer. I very well remember being once at “The Edge” when we had a tremendous thunderstorm.My Mother’s grandfather* farmed the Stand House Farm, Sheffield Park; he had three sons, Richard, Edward and Joseph & one or perhaps two daughters. Richard was my Grandfather and he had three children: my Aunt Wright (Elizabeth) my uncle Richard & my Mother (Anne). He rented the Manor Lodge Farm, Worksop. I never saw the house, there is an engraving of it in the plan of the estate sold a few years since. I have heard my Mother say that it had been one story higher than in her day, the top story having been taken down; the top story left was one large room, used by her Father as a granary, they had a dance in it when my uncle Richard came of age*. My Grandfather left it for him & came to live in Worksop when my Mother was about seventeen or eighteen. He saved on the whole nearly thirty thousand pounds, I am afraid he was almost mean in his housekeeping but my Mother more than once persuaded him to give large sums (for him) to free my Uncle Richard from debt & set him up In a business again as a tanner at Mansfield.
At Stand House where my Mother’s uncle Joseph lived I was frequent visitor in the summer. One of my Mother’s greatest friends Rebecca White lived with her brother John, at Sheffield, manor & there also Edward & 1 spent some of our summer holidays. The oldest part of the house had been one of poor Mary Queen of Scots’ prisons, a largish room on the ground floor when we stayed there was used as a sort of store room for seeds etc. A corkscrew staircase led from it to the flats above & thence on to the leads & turretted roof; it was a fearful delight to us children to be taken up the re and allowed to look down; each flat had only one room (I think), the door of which opened directly on to the stairs. The whole tower has been thoroughly repaired since those days, & I believe is shown to visitors, at least I once took Miss Chapman there.
Miss Rebecca White was well educated for those days & quite a lady, but very poor. John was one of my Mother’s lovers & as long as she lived he did not marry, & he was much cut up when he heard of her death (1852). His eldest brother James who lived at Morthen (?) was land surveyor or steward to some nobleman, he was an executor & co-trustee with my Father under my Grandfather’s will so we saw him frequently. He was a clever upright man, quite a gentleman in mind & manners. Another brother Joshua, a dapper little man, married a Miss Aldam a quakeress with money. I think he had a farm called I believe, Park Farm. This house has probably been pulled down. I know parts of it sank considerably being undermined by coal workings. His Mother & Grandmother or Great Aunt I do not know which lived with him, the latter was to my childish eyes a very old lady – her name was Wright & in some way related to the Shirecliffe Watsons who were always very kind to all the Whites, Rebecca being a special favourite. Mrs Wright’s husband was the first to run a stage waggon up to London; on her marriage she went to London on a pillion behind him.
‘my Mother’s grandfather*: John Girdler, of Low House Sheffield 17191769. His sons: Richard of Worksop Lodge c.1759-1838, Edward of Thorpe Salvin, Notts, 1766-?, Joseph Hutton Girdler c.1772-1840 *Uncle Richard: Richard Girdler 1792-1871.
My Grandfather Porter (John Porter 1736-18121 built a country house 11 In Howard Street, to which he retired when my Father was 21 & took to the business. It really was, at any rate, a suburb & looked on to fields & gardens up to the Park hills opposite; I remember the house with its flagged court & raised garden; a second Cousin of my Father’s lived In It then; some of Walker& Hall’s premises are built on the site. My Father was at school at Nottingham, during some of the years of the war with Franc* & there wore many prisoners there, some in the Castle & some on parole: harvests were bad & wheat at famine prices an little could come in from abroad, very little good broad to be had, the school breed was often ropey. It was during that time that my Grandfather Girdler made hls money, he was a good farmer & much of his land was gravelly. He began farming with very little, & every penny he made by corn, cattle & horses (for he hunted and bred horses) had to go into the land again, It was so poor when he first had It. my Grandfather kept the house entirely on the produce of the dairy & poultry yard; he used to say to my Mother who 1 daresay would have liked wore money than her Mother could give her, “you have not known the want of a sixpence. I have.”We removed to Woodside. Pitsmoor when I was ten years old – It was a pretty neighbourhood In those days, after you got to the top of Pie (Pye) Bank there were very few houses, none on the right hand except a public house the Fox & Duck, and a market gardeners, until you got to the village of Pitsmoor, all else were fields & on the left Mr Marshal’s, Mr Heywood’s Mr Howard’s – then came the row of gentleman’s houses each in their own grounds called Woodside; the lowest one occupied by Mr Blake afterwards by Mr J H Barb(?k)er, Miss Wake & Mr —- this house on the low side &butted on a lane loading into Old Park Wood, lovely then with wild flowers we often went that way to St Philip’s church on summer evenings. Above Mr Blake’s came Mr Ed. Grooves, Mrs B’s brother, then Mr W Fisher’s, Mr Nose (?) a retired chemist (Mr Cooper’s house) Mr Bardwell (our house) Mr Middleton, Mr J H Dixon, two semidetached often changing hands & Mr Hodgeon (afterwards Miss Wever’s). Beyond Pitsmoor there wore only some half dozen country houses, Shirecliffe, Firshill, Osgathorpe Hall and cottage, The Hills, Cammon (?) Hall, The Vale, Pahe Hall, Raisin Hall, Goddard Hall, Bolsover & Brushhouse
Once in the woods at the back of Shirecliffe etc. there was a lovely view down the valley of the Don over to Walkley Wardsend, Wadsley etc. The Burngreave Road was not made until many years after, it was then all wood fields & with a little stream that came down from Shirecliffe running through. Pitsmoor Road was the Great North Road from York to London, so there wore many coaches carriages etc. on it. Mall coaches with their tour horses & cheery horns several times a day, the road looking from my Father’s bedroom window resembled a noble avenue, & showed the coaches off to advantage. The land on which *Woodside* was built had once been market gardens, & a few of the old fruit trees were still left; on* in my Father’s yard was a kind of winter peer, not worth eating; my Mother used to exchange them for apples, as they wore not bad stewed, and the tree was generally loaded. In front of us was Burngreave Wood, lovely In spring with wild flowers, nightingales sang there In summer.
One way to the church we attended for many years (St PhIlip’s) was down Woodslde Lane 1 past Mr Cooper’s tanyard over a field or two – over Hill toot bridge & so to Philadelphia. Another way took us round what was then called Green Lane & past the Globe Works’.
I went to Miss Brady’s school as a weekly boarder until I was ten years old & we removed to Woodside in 1832 the year when the cholera was so-bad, that a piece of waste ground had to be hastily arranged for a burial ground. Mr John Blake, Upperthorpe (W G Blake’s uncle) was nearly the first victim, 1 think. The disease was confined mostly to the lower parts of the town, especially by the river; Mill Sands was very bad.
That was also the year of the passing of the Reform Bill about which there was great excitement; all that I remember about the procession was a dray gaily docked out carrying a printing press at which worked an old man called Frederick Gordon, employed at the Independent Office. He was dressed to represent Caxton & he printed & distributed leaflets as the dray went slowly forward.
I was about twelve when I again began to go to Miss Brady’s School as a day boarder when I was by no means a favourite. She found me behind her pupils, especially in grammar & memory lessons, parsing. I had to write out both sides of a large slate of it until I had mastered the rules & spelling with meanIngs. I was returned in again & again with an added column each time until 1 had I think five on hand, at last I had that also to write down until It became no trouble to learn It. I had French lessons of a Monsieur Plisson* a refugee I think & had for a dictionary a large one of my Father’s: Mons. Plisson Immediately recognised it, he had taught my Father, whether at school at Nottingham or afterwards In Sheffield I do not remember.
Edward at the same time went to school to Mr Wright’s at Steel Bank – there was one boy there remarkably kind to him as a youngster – William Smith now W Smith Esq., Westwood House. The boarders sat In front of us at St Philip’s Church and always looked so nice. Dr Earnest the first physician at the Infirmary also sat there; he wore powder which I thought very dirty, not knowing what it was.
I walked to school & back in all weathers (nearly) when very wet rain or snow In pattens & camlet* cloak. After going over the Iron Bridge I had a choice of two ways, to the left along Bridge Street, the attraction that way being an open shop where a man forged large nails, 1 have stood many a five minutes watching the sparks fly out. I then turned along Love Lane into Gibralter Street where was a second hand book-sellers Into whose window I loved to gaze, I bought two or three books there, Bloomfields & Crabbe’s poems, Mrs Ratcliffe, Italian etc.
*M. Plisson:(from Charles Porter):Gabriel Plisson was born 12 May 1785 &.died 29 March 1875 aged 90; he was an old soldier under Napoleon & at Waterloo in Grouchy’s corps so missed the battle; in 1815 came to this country rather than serve a King of Prance. Could not have been a teacher when Father was at Nottingham; there would only be 3 years difference In their ages.’ (from Mrs E M Lockwood): I remember old M Plisson well, he was a veteran from Napoleon’s Grande Armee; he never spoke English well; he taught my Father (W Smith) French & must have taught it well for he gave him a wonderfully good accent.* *camlet: cloth made from wool & goat’s hair, formerly camelhair
My other way to the right led past the ‘goit’ in front of Kelham Wheel – a stream of hot water from the engine flowed into It & I several times saw a man washing top hats In It. My way than led past the Workhouse up Allen St. etc. I cannot remember that we had many books as children, Old Mother Hubbard, Goody Twoshoes and a few of that kind, no goody books – our beet Sunday books wore two vols of Scripture, Natural History which I think survived to recent days they had coloured plates. Playthings Wore put away on Sundays. My Aunt Porter had some goody books, Fairchild Family, The Robins, Sophia & Emma de Lissons, which was to a certain extent true.After we went to Pitsmoor I revelled In some delightful books of my Father’s. The Arabian Nights 4 vols, The Excentric Mirror 4 vols, The Mirror, several vols, a Magazine with illustrated papers of passing events; the Duke of York’s funeral & the shooting of a huge elephant In the Zoo, I think being the two things of that kind that 1 remember beet; there wore also tales, some of Sir W Scott’s abridged, & others – poetry, riddles etc. One book that we loved to look at, it in existence now, would I think be valuable, it was called Pantalogia, nearly as large as the Graphic, with pictures of costumes of many countries many dates & wonders of nature & art – (the earthquake at Lisbon, the colossal statue at Rhodes, the Pyramids etc.)
There ware only tour churches In Sheffield when I was a child, The Old Church, St James’s, a most dismal little place, St Paul’s, St George’s just built & later St Philip’s & St Nary’s – I went to the consecration of the last. There were also Ecclesall & Attercliffe, called Chapels of Ease.
My Mother visited Sheffield two or three times (perhaps more) before she was married; besides her Uncle Joseph Girdler & Mine Rebecca White she had another kind friend, Mrs Green,. to whom her winter visits were paid & with whom she went to the Assemblies; which I think were very enjoyable In those days, Including all the ‘Elite’ of the town, officers from the barracks etc. I fancy It was at those that she got two at any rate of her beaux, a Mr Ed. Webster (brother to Mrs J H Dixon) and to whom she was engaged for a short time at her Mother’s persuasion, for 1 do not think she really cared for him; and Mr William Stacey; I think my Father may have seen her there, at any rate he had seen & noticed her In the streets for she was striking, I am told, and beautiful In spite of rather prominent teeth. She was clever with her needle and knew how to dress well on very little.
A friend of my father’s, Capt Bradling (?) (only a militia captain) Introduced him to her, telling him she was just the wife for him, though others told him she would be a very extravagant one (which she was not). I never heard much about the courtship except that she was very angry the first time he went to Worksop with the Captain on some excuse or other & that her Father liked him from the first.
They were married in March 1821*, one bridesmaid and a Cousin from London & my Father’s great friend Mr John Stanitorth. After the ceremony all four drove in a carriage to Doncaster I think coming home to King Street at night.
*Charles Porter writes: “Father & Mother were married by Revd Mr Strange, whose son became the chaplain of the Shrewsbury Hospital (almshouses) & whose grandson was one of Dr Gatty’s curates. (At Ecclasfield church where Lockwoods come from)
I have heard her say she could not think where my Father was taking her. Of course the front door did not open direct into the street, they had to go down a passage across a yard & up a flight of steps; the small sitting room was on the left hand and a narrow passage led on to the stairs up which of course she had to go. The door into the shop was half glass, a small window from the sitting room looked direct into the shop, so that my Father could spend any time he liked with his wife, peeping frequently through this little window & the glass door to see it he were wanted. Those who remember Miss Smith’s shop & the small warehouse room at the back, will know how small the original shop & sitting room were. At dinner time the shop door was shut and a bell hung on It, all the men came up to dinner at once, except perhaps Tuesday or Saturday; when the bell rang, one jumped up, served the customer & came back.Business was conducted very differently in my young days, my father had as a rule two journey men & two apprentices; there was no counting house, and he was, when in the shop. behind the counter with his white apron on, ready to chat with any lady or gentleman who came in. As tar as I remember his hands were employed mostly in turning paper cones and closing them when filled I never saw him fill them – sugar, rice, currants & raisins were put into them in lbs (pounds); bags were made for other things & for large quantities. The men had a geat beg making day now & then, when fine these were arranged on shutters outside the shop to dry. Fruit was cleaned from the stalks etc. in the shop by putting it into a long beg or bolster of sacking & tossed by two men from end to end, the stalks being afterwards separated In sieves. There were no railroads then. no tradesmen’s carts, no penny postage, but any number of country carriers, who brought In the orders, and took back the goods; ladies who had carriages would bring their own orders and frequently take the goods back. For short journeys such as Pitsmoor, a wheelbarrow sufficed, wheeled generally by a porter, though 1 have seen an apprentice have to bring it.
After we went to Pitsmoor our groceries were so brought every Saturday evening, together with fresh vegetables and sometimes chickens or ducks (alive maybe) that some country woman had not cold early enough & persuaded ray Father to buy. Our butter, eggs, pigeons sometimes (5 pence each), fruit had to be fetched by our cook on Tuesday morning; she also had to fetch brewery barm (yeast) for the week, she tok a large queer-shaped blue octagonal jug & left it at Nanson’s brewery In Bridge Street on her way to town, calling for it on her return. In the winter when all our fruit and vegetables were stored she sometimes carried the baby & from the age of ten to twelve I sometimes went with her, and carried the jug; there was a large vat of barm (or yeast) in the yard for sale, but ours was always fetched from some reserve & was much better.
We had no greengrocers at Pitsmoor, but sometimes could buy new potatoes, peas or cabbage from a garden on the hill; we had also a fair-sized garden (vegetable as well as flowers) with gooseberry & currant bushes, & some splendid pear trees. notably a grand wall jargonella. My Father’s was mostly a family trade to my Mother’s regret as she said counter trade paid the best but 1 do not think he cared to push that. He always said the clergy were the worst payers. His bedroom when he lived in King Street was over part of the shop, there was a trap door looking down Into it, which he slightly raised at night; this was the means of frightening off some burglars once, they hoped, it being Saturday night, to have found money, but no silver or gold was left down.
My Father was daintily clean, tidy and methodical; he put on a clean, neckerchief every morning (they were 1 & 1/4 yards square) after tea he took It off – had a good wash, refolded It wrong side outward, put It on again, & then went oft to the news-room, a small affair in those days I should think. I suppose some London & Provincial papers came In every day, Sheffield papers were weekly only, our neighbour Mr G Ridge editing the “Tory” paper, the Sh(effield) Mercury & J Montgomery* at one time the Radical paper, “The Iris’. our back premises joined a chemist’s, Mr James, who took it into his head to make gas; 1 think there was none in the town, but he had t ‘ o give it up, as there was an explosion in our coal cellar, setting a servant’s cap on fire. Of course it could have been much worse. I do not know how soon we got Companies’ Water, but we had certainly a pump on the kitchen sink, and also a well somewhere in the cellar which was cut out of the rock, and of nearly equal temperature summer & winter. My Mother made gooseberry wine and also vinegar and my Father made raisin,,,_ wine, the former he drank in summer & the latter in winter. He had two barrels, one huge, in which he steeped the raisins for some months or a year, he then racked It off into the smaller barrel to stand for a year or two until It was wanted, when it was bottled; he never drank any other wine except we had company & a glass of gin & water on Saturday night.
The favourite kind of visiting among the “neighbours” at Woodside was tor whist – tea & coffee with cake etc. at six o’clock sharp – watches being shewn to prove that they were true to time, afterwards cards, two tables for whist, the remainder of the visitors forming a round game. Cake & wine at eight, & supper at nine to half past. This supper was a grand affair game etc & hot, & many & various sweets. The evening closed from 11 to 11.30.
They wore very cordial meetings and were kept up wore or less until my Mother’s Illness & death. We did all the cooking etc. within ourselves, and there was a certain rivalry between the lady cooks. Mr J H Dixon carrying off the palm. My business in the earlier years was to look after the baby* which I did not like.
The “neighbours” (par excellence) were Mr & Mrs J H Dixon and for a few years her mother Mrs Webster, a dear old lady – Mr & Mrs Howard, Mr & Mrs Blake, two batchelors Mr Heywood & Mr Horn, varied in most houses by a few outriders, & later by new residents – Mr & Mrs Peach, Mr & Mrs Middleton, & the growing up youngsters: J Blake (T?), Stirling Howard, Jane Middleton etc. etc. Ed. & I had not a large circle of acquaintances, still we had a few friends who gave dances, we generally walked to & from their houses pretty well bundled up, at least 1 was. Foremost came the Smiths of Dam House (Porto Bello first) Staceys, Laycocks, H J Mappin, Mrs J Dixon, N Creswicks, H Jubbs (?) & nearer home Middletons, Blakes, Walkers, of Osgathorpe & Yeomans. I think we met about seven, I liked to go to them, but not dancing waltzes etc. I did not care for the dancing part.
*James Montgomery: hymn writer; Montgomery Hall named after him * baby: Eliza seems to have had 11 siblings: she mentions that 5 babies died before she was ten so the baby when she was, say, ten or more could have been Charles born in 1832, Richard In 1834 or Annie In 1837. Eliza’s Mother died In 1852 shortly before Eliza’s marriage to Charles Lockwood.
When I was about fourteen I went to school at Rhyl; scarcely a school, for the lady Miss Barber had only two boarders besides myself, she had kept school with her sister at Broughton near Manchester but her health failing, came to Rhyl & took a furnished house. I was there about eighteen months altogether; from March to December one year 1836 & from March to Sepr 1837. There were a few pupils from the neighbourhood with whom we had nothing to do.
Rhyl at that time consisted of a few fishermen’s cottages – a church, two hotels, a few shops, & several detached houses in their own grounds, occupied mostly by retired naval officers, there were also baths & a library, so that there was really the nucleus of the present flourishing watering place. Our neighbour in King Street, a chemist, said the water was the saltiest he ever tasted.
My Father took me the first time we went by coach to Manchester, from there to Liverpool we went by train across the Chat Moss, at that time a wonderful feat of engineering skill; from Liverpool we went by coach to Chester, coach, horses & passengers crossing the ferry In the boat – thence to Holywell &.,from there by car* to Rhyl. The second time I went from L’pool by steamer sleeping the night at a friend’s of Mr Fisher’s (7) who took charge of me, and thence alone. Miss Barber did not find the school pay. & had to give it up. When I crossed the moors that time the road had only that day been cut through the snow, we could touch it with our hands out of each window; that must have been the end of March.
The account ends abruptly here, Eliza Lockwood possIbly intended to continue her recollectlons but never dId. *car: a large coach for many people
© Prue Stokes 2002