Marsden Voices

Marsden Voices is an ongoing project, undertaken by members of the Marsden Local History Group. Older people in Marsden are being interviewed.

If you are interested in helping us with this work, please contact us.




Transcript of oral history recording by Rhoda Lowery.

November 2004

I was born on June 9th, 1935, premature at Huddersfield Royal Infmnary weighing 21bs. The late Dorothy Wood, Nurse, visited me at home. My parents, Mary and Harry Roebuck lived at Woods Farm, Dean Head, Scammonden. Woods Farm was where the dam is now. I was the 5th child, having 4 sisters and 1 brother, Lena, Margaret, Hilda, William and Ivy. Only 3 of us remaining, all living in Marsden.

I started school aged 3 at Deanhead. There was only two classrooms and 2 teachers, Mrs. Milnes and Miss Normington. The pupils remained at Deanhead School till leaving at aged 14. Mrs. Milnes had 2 daughters, both became teachers. When I attended Marsden Secondary Modem School, Nora taught history there. Her sister, Mrs. Battye, later taught at Marsden Infants School.

As war broke out my family moved to Marsden living at Wards End Farm under Buckstones, next farm to the Youth Hostel. The man who kept it had a wooden leg, known as Peg Leg. It later got burnt down.

We had to walk to school along Reddisher Road, meeting up with others along the way, all carrying our gas masks in cardboard boxes along with our sandwiches for lunch. On arriving at school each child was given cod liver oil (no school dinners then). In dark weather we were allowed home early. We had few toys and made our own enjoyment playing in the fields with our pets. At hay time we got home-made pop and scones for picnics. My mum and sisters knitted Ivy and I dolls with cardboard boxes for dolls' prams.

Saturday nights was great. Mum made fresh bread and home made butter in a big wooden chum which Ivy and I turned by hand. A roast of meat in side oven. At supper time we got a sop supper with a glass of fresh milk then off to bed with a candle. In winter Mum wrapped a oven shelf in a blanket for warmth in bed.

In the war Ivy and I used to watch search lights in the sky over Manchester.

We also saw Doodlebugs come over to bomb Manchester. Mum and Dad took us under the stone stairs when the sirens went for safety. The soldiers used to practice on the moor at back of our house, then come and rest in fields, having a drink from the well. We saw a plane crash on the moor at back of Great Western Hotel. The pilot was killed. My brother later got us some perspex.

After the war we got bus passes for the Oldham bus at Private Road End, 8.30am but had to walk home. In 1947 a very bad winter, all roads blocked for weeks. No school for 7 weeks. Snow was up to the tree tops down Private Road. Many sheep died under the snow. Us kids had a great time. All groceries etc. had to be brought by sledges from Marsden village until the roads got opened.

I first went to Marsden Infants School. Miss Elsie Pearson was my teacher.

We went to bed in an afternoon with little fawn blankets with coloured edges. At 8 years old I moved to Marsden Church School, top of Towngate. Harry Whitehead was Head Master. In lunch break a few of us girls went up to Dirker Fields (no houses), watching trains and picking daisies, then run back down Switchback, up Church Lane when bell was ringing.

On Saturday afternoons we went to pictures, matinee, 3d to go in, 3d to spend. A little shop next door sometimes had sweets or we saved our money for ice cream at Meakins during the week. Russells paper shop sold black spanish or liquorice sticks.

At 11 years old I moved to Marsden Secondary Modem on Manchester Road (now Junior School). Buses used to bring children from Meltham and surrounding areas to this school, many of who now live in Marsden with their families.

I left school at 15, started work at J.and E. Crowthers, winding, later learned to weave. My mum and sisters were weavers there too. I met my husband, George Lowery at work. After getting married we lived with his grandma on Plains until getting our own home in Grange Cottages. We had 1 daughter who lives in Marsden.

I later left textiles and joined Holset Engineering in post room, a very interesting job, made many friends. Got made redundant in 1981, then worked at Bailey Ancions, Clough Lee (new houses). Lost my husband in 1986 and retired from work in 1992.

I joined various groups and committees, raising funds for Marsden Mechanics and Community Association. I am now almost housebound after a fall in 1992 and live in Wessen Court.

I have always enjoyed living in Marsden. It's a pleasant village but now little employment, less amenities, more houses. Things have changed in many ways (I suppose I'm getting old). Looking back I have had a good life and many memories to recall. A lot of the village characters and traditions now gone so maybe I had the best years to enjoy.