A WOMAN who was one of Huddersfield’s oldest residents has died aged 106.
Phyllis Johnson, nee Earnshaw, was born in Crosland Moor on February 17, 1907, seven years before the outbreak of the First World War.
She grew up in an era of charabancs, trams and horses. The sight of a car when she was five years old led to people running out onto the street where she lived in Park Road West, Crosland Moor.
One of eight children, born to Charles Edward Crosland Earnshaw, a tram driver, and his wife, Emma, young Phyllis left school at 13 to work in C & J Hirst’s mill on Dale Street, Milnsbridge.
Her early release from the world of education was authorised by her father under The Factory and Workshop Act 1901. June McEvoy, her great niece, who lives in Longwood, still possesses a copy of the document Phyllis’s father signed releasing her.
She was to work as a woollen shader at Hirst’s for 47 years.
Although she was to live and work all her life within one mile of Milnsbridge’s borders she enjoyed a varied life.
As a happily single woman she enjoyed completing crosswords, skiing and was a keen sequence dancer who enjoyed holidays in Europe.
And following her marriage at Queen Street Mission in 1964 at the age of 57 to widower Ernest Johnson, a father of a grown up son, Brian and daughter Winifred, she grew even more adventurous journeying with him as far afield as Malta and Cyprus.
Phyllis had, in her 50s, bought a small house near Manchester Road, Milnsbridge, but following her marriage she went to live in Ernest’s home in nearby New Street.
Phyllis always loved dancing and would go ‘tea dancing’ three times a week, a habit she retained until the age of 93 when a fall resulted in her breaking a knee cap.
A fiercely independent woman, she lived on her own for many years before old age led her to living at Wellesley Court, a sheltered housing complex in Milnsbridge.
Even when she was 104, she would think nothing of taking a cab into town and doing her shopping before catching a bus home.
She was possessed of a keen sense of humour and once when asked the inevitable question about her longevity replied: “An aversion to smoking and drinking and ‘strange men’!”
Her final days were spent at Botham Hall Care Home, where she died on May 25.
The funeral service will be held on tomorrow at Huddersfield Crematorium, at 12.30pm, when Mrs McEvoy’s husband David will give the address.
Mrs Johnson leaves behind a number of relatives including three nephews and one niece. In addition she also leaves a number of great nieces and great nephews.
These include great niece Mrs McEvoy, who with her sister Ann Wilson of Lindley were close friends of the deceased as well as great nephew Dave Booth of Huddersfield.