Friday, 2 October 2015

Sowerby Bridge Lady Knits Socks For Three Wars

From the Halifax Courier, October 2nd 1915 




It is doubtful if there are many ladies in this district who can boast of a finer record than that set up by Mrs. J. Moore, Gate Head, Hollins-lane, Hill Top, Sowerby Bridge, who, on Monday, celebrated her 86th birthday.  She is now knitting her 33rd pair of socks for the soldiers; for the men who took part in the South African war she knit 12 pairs and during the Crimean war she knit over 20 pairs and 6 scarves.  Day by day she industriously plies her needles with the sole object of providing some warm footwear for the lads in the trenches, and, as she says, “doing her little bit.”  Mrs. Moore is a beautiful knitter.  Some soldiers who have received her gifts have sent the old lady kind notes of appreciation and extended good wishes for her welfare.  These simple messages from the front are highly prized by the recipient.
In many respects; Mrs. Moore is a remarkable lady, her years hanging lightly upon her shoulders.  Bright, alert and vigorous she is
She possesses a wonderful memory, being able to recall dates and events of long ago without any trouble, is quite clever at repartee, and is troubled with few physical infirmities.  “I go to bed early,” she told the writer, “and if I cannot sleep in the morning I get up and knit for a while and then lie down again.”  Several times per week, when the weather is favourable, Mrs. Moore goes out to visit friends and thinks nothing about travelling alone a few miles by car or train.  It is interesting to hear her tell of her youthful days, “the good old days” as they are sometimes named.  Fully appreciating the difficult times through which the nation is now passing, Mrs. Moore is hard on the pessimists and croakers about the excessive high price of food stuffs, and reminds them that during the Crimean war sugar, “like sand,” was 8d. per lb., tea “like chopped hay,” was 11d. per ¼lb., and
In those days, she emphasised, the people were content with very plain fare and they were no worse for it.  She remembers the making of the railway from Sowerby Bridge to Luddenden Foot and walked through the tunnel on the west side of Sowerby Bridge before any rolling stock passed through; she is also proud of the fact that she went through on the first train, which was composed of ordinary goods trucks.  Of the rowdy scenes which followed the introduction of power-driven machinery into northern factories, known as the Luddite riots, she has vivid recollections.  She was working in New Bank, Halifax, at the time, and walked daily to her work from Sowerby Bridge.  When the plug drawers from Lancashire arrived in Halifax they found the mills guarded by the soldiers.  There was a hot skirmish between the parties in New Bank and Mrs. Moore tells of one native being shot dead in his own doorway.
The old lady still remembers, by name, the local residents who went out to the Crimean war.  A batch of nine, all old school companions, lost their lives and a memorial stone for these was erected in St. Peter's Churchyard, Sowerby.  The cost, she says, was borne by a penny subscription.  Other local incidents, such as the celebration of the coronation of Queen Victoria, the visit to Halifax of the Prince of Wales (Edward VII), the old Sunday School Jubilees, etc., she chats about quite freely.
Born at
her childhood days were spent on a farm, hence she did not go to a factory until she was 13.  For a few hours per day she used to attend an old dame school, in Back-lane, Sowerby, but before going she had to help to milk the cows and prepare the dinner.  The old school dame could not write but she taught her pupils how to knit, sew and read. Since then Mrs. Moore has had several vocations, including a period of 26 years, along with the late Mr. Moore as caretaker and servant at White Windows.  Questioned as to the alleged ghost story which is associated with that old Sowerby mansion, Mrs. Moore laughed at the idea, declaring that she did not believe in such phantasms.  “I have slept there many a time alone and never seen anything. I say them that gets to t’ better shop likes too well to come back and them that gets to t’ war shop they sticks to ’em.”
In her old age she is a keen reader, and seldom misses the “Courier.”  Since she was 70 she has read the Bible from cover to cover and can accurately quote large passages from the “old book” and give chapter and verse for numerous texts.  The youngest of a family of seven, Mrs. Moore has been married twice, had seven children. 4 grand-children and 2 great grand-children.  She is in receipt of the old age pension and is highly proud of the fact. Many will wish her hearty greetings upon her birthday.

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