What was it like in 1904 Goldenhill

Goldenhill has finally arrived in the 20th century.

Queen Victoria is no longer with us, instead of being Victorians we are now Edwardians with Edward VII as king and the prime minister is Arthur Balfour, Conservative.

The population is 4378, that is an increase of 1200 in the 8 years since 1896.

The main sources of employment are still coal mines, ironstone mines, potteries and the extensive chemical and colour works which is still owned by the Williamson family.

The Reverend Granville Rowe Bailey is still the vicar of St. John’s church. The other prominent villagers are, Mrs Clare, George Duckworth, George Hartshorne, Herbert Pointon, Thomas H. Seddon,  Hugh Henshall Williamson and Edward Green is the Station Master.

There are now 4 schools in the village and Henry Gilbert, Miss Jane Derbyshire and Miss Sherwin are still teaching and they are joined by William C. Jones and Miss Martha Wooliscroft.

Moving ahead to 1905 for a moment, Henry Gilbert was also the organist and choirmaster at St John’s church, he apparently drowned in the sea at Blackpool, a stained glass window is in the church dedicated to his memory, I will have to look for that next time I am in there.

James Gargreaves is the sergeant instructor to the Volunteer Battalion. The Volunteer Battalion (1st) The Prince of Wales, North Staffordshire Regiment is commanded by Captain G. W. Laybourn assisted by Lieutenants Harry and Laurence Clive, brothers do you think?

The Chaplain is still Reverend T. Nunn, James Lewis is still the Post Master and stationer, there are still 2 collections and 2 deliveries per day. Whereas Mr Lewis used to be the only stationer in the village, Mrs Jane Jones and David Lindop also sell stationery, perhaps with the increase in literacy it has created a market for these items.

Let’s see what difference there is in beer retailers, there were 11 and now there are only 9. We don’t know who keeps the Nelson Arms at this time, but Cornelius Cooper has the Duke of Wellington, John Colclough the Red Lion and Henry Arding Dale the Wheatsheaf.

William Collinson still owns the colliery. Mrs Hannah Loveland is a smallware dealer, I don’t know what smallware is, if you know, tell us. William Jeffreys is still selling toys and William Stonier is a butcher, I wonder, when buses are invented, will these two will strike out in that direction, but form separate companies.

Three pawn brokers trade in the village, they are, Harry Parr, Frederick Frith and the partnership of Cope & Frith. I wonder if Frederick was related to the other Frith, a family dispute and split perhaps.

The steam trams have been running for about 20 years and now the electric trams have taken over. The end of the line was the depot at the top of the village at the fork in the road at Kidsgrove Road and Rodgers Street. To my young eyes that place seemed cavernous, the thought of going in there chilled my blood.

I think some of the old tram lines may still be buried under the road surface, I remember seeing them during road works in the sixties.

A rundown of the various businesses is as follows, 18 shops, 3 pubs, 4 butchers, 3 drapers, 7 farms, 3 pawnbrokers, 1 builder, 1 boiler maker, 3 shoe or clog makers, 3 stationers, 1 fishmonger, 1 furniture dealer, 1 doctor, 1 hairdresser, 1 fried fish shop, 1 crate maker,  1 earthenware dealer, 1 plumber, the blacksmith is no more and the wheelwright has disappeared too.

My great, great aunt and uncle still have their little shop in Temperance Place. My great, great grandfather, William Nixon, born 1836, was a beer retailer at 14 High Street, he died in 1905.

A few of the old names survived until at least my childhood, Clare, Birchenough, Buckley, Colclough, Dale, Davies, Dudley, Ebrill, Ford, Frith, Hall, Hancock, Jeffreys, Jones, Lewis, Longshaw, Nixon, Plant, Reeves, Rhead, Silltto, Stonier, Whittaker and Wolliscroft.

From an old map of  1879, the colour works was quite large, it went from the Red Lion along Rodgers street to Shannon Drive and then all the way down Heathside Lane to the football pitch. It was still owned by John Henshall Williamson and produced cobalt nickel, borax and potters colour. All of these chemicals were used in the pottery industry and were hazardous to health.

The village physician is still William Partington, M.A. One of the drapers was named Arthur Bickley, I am sure that there was a Bickley still in business in the village when I was a boy.

There are quite a few cars on the road now, but Henry Ford didn’t make his Model T until 1908, all cars have to be registered and have a number plate, their speed is limited to 20mph.

Electricity was starting to be installed in homes around this time, alas it was only for the very well off, I remember from my childhood that people were very wary of electricity and treated anything electrical with great respect.

That’s all for 1904 the next instalment of this “thrilling” series will be focused upon 1912.

David Wood

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