The lost ‘hamlet’ in Dalton has sparked a deluge of memories.
Former Huddersfield man Matthew Singleton’s search for information and photos of an area called Hill Top he remembered with great affection has led to a massive response.
Colin Liversidge gave us his memories a couple of weeks ago and has now provided some photographs showing not only family members but how Kilner Bank looked back in the early 1960s.
Reader Brian Armitage, who now lives on Forest Road between Dalton and Almondbury, said: “I remember Hill Top well in the 1940s and 50s as a row of at least three cottages, inhabited by families named Lee, Peel and, I think, Dawson.
“The Lee family lived in the left hand dwelling and consisted of the father (who was blind), mother and son Brian, who suffered as a child from rickets and was always sickly and, I believe, died young.
“Next door lived the Peel family – father Walter and two sons. Walter was feared by the local children who, from a distance, would name-call and then run away. A friend says he had a wooden hut with a handwritten sign warning off trespassers.
“On Kilner Bank from the Wakefield Road end there was a continuous stretch of terraced houses, including back-to-backs and under dwellings, which were numbered up to 290 (which is still there), although there was a considerable gap at one point. Few houses had gardens and I think all had outdoor toilets which was common at the time.
On the western (River Colne) side there were far fewer house but again were in terraces, interspersed with fields and lightly wooded areas and two footpaths led down to Carr Pit.
There were two shops on this side – one an off-licence/grocery with a Tetley’s beer pump and known as Percy Taylor’s after a long-time owner and later owned by a Winnie Wood.
At the opposite end was a smaller grocery owned by Jimmy Fisher who sold fresh bread from Earnshaw’s Bakery.
“One terrace was known as Piano Row, not because the people all had pianos but because these houses were of a higher standard than the rest and were regarded as being ‘posh’ (and posh people had pianos, didn’t they?).
“A former resident of Kilner Bank remembers the names of some of the families living there in the 1950s, including Mitchell, Dawson, Armitage, Laherty, Cliffe, Goode, Donkin, Ledger, Miskell, Curran, McMahon, Simmonite and Smith.
“Perhaps the most famous resident was Alec Coxon, Yorkshire and England cricketer, who began his career just up the hill at Dalton Cricket Club.”
Brian said he spent many hours playing on the swings at Carr Pit.
He added: “In the process I lost a front tooth in an accident on the cast iron rocking horse and suffered a badly gashed knee when hanging from the spider which someone set in motion with my knee scraping on the gravel beneath.
“No such thing as health and safety in those days. Happy times though!
“There was a soccer pitch, a rugby pitch (used, I think, by St. Joseph’s) and a concrete cricket wicket as well as a pagoda style kiosk which sold sweets.”
Susan Graham (nee Lockwood) was born on Kilner Bank in 1956 and later moved to West Grove Avenue in Dalton where she lived for five or six years before relocating to the corner of Long Lane opposite the Jolly Sailor pub.
“I was born in that area, played there and my friends lived there,” said Susan. She thinks the hamlet Matthew remembers was just a couple of rows of terraced houses in cobbled streets – and also recalls two mills in that area.
She said the pub was owned by a Mr Dillon and there was an unadopted road up the left hand side of the pub as you looked at it.
Not far up was a small road called West Place which had small terraced homes on it.
“Behind these houses was an allotment and a chicken run that was rented,” Susan recalls.
“Above the allotment was a row of houses called Hill Top Place and behind this row was another cobbled street with steps going up to the houses that I think was called The Mount and I think this was the place that Matthew was thinking of.”
Susan had friends called the Woolers on Hill Top Road and the Gordons who lived at The Mount.
She also remembers a mill on Carr Green Lane which she thinks was called Robinsons with privately rented old mill houses on the road that were owned by a man called Drake.
“At the back of the mill were open fields and a large house that belonged to the mill,” said Susan.
“There was also a big dam there and it was open land down to Kilner Bank where you could look down to the town centre.
“Opposite Robinsons on the other side of the road there was another mill set back on the road which was rundown but it also had a big dam where two swans lived and a big orchard. That was demolished to make way for the Coniston Avenue housing estate.”
Huddersfield historian George Redmonds added: “I read the piece on Hill Top and shall be delighted if somebody has pictures of the hamlet.
“I included it in my Places of Kirkheaton and District (2005).
“I had little information on it but found it on the Jefferys map of Yorkshire for 1772-5 and subsequently notably on the Dalton enclosure map of 1811 where Lower and Upper Hill Top are ‘hamlets’. Since then I have come across references to a family called Womersley living there in 1723.”
Marjorie Lockwood Lawton lived at 16 Upper Hill Top from the age of five and when she married aged 20 moved into 14 Upper Hill Top.
Now 76, she recalls Robson’s Mill, Arthur Stott’s farm and Arthur Brown who had a horse and cart and sold fruit and vegetables.
Her family also lived at Hill Top, up to the houses being condemned.