Broadbottom Community Association

History Project


The end of an era


Eleanor Lyne: born Back Temperance St 1907


Farming too seems to have been in a decline. When the Cheetham family came to Hill End Farm in the 1930s, they had to be persuaded to take on the tenancy. The farm had been untenanted for a few years. The old house was an empty shell, though it isn’t clear when it was abandoned. The farm was run from one of the estate cottages next to it. Nonetheless, the land was in good heart, well drained, perhaps a legacy of good husbandry dating back to John Chapman’s time.


At the same time, key members of the Sidebottom and Chapman families died . In the 1930s both Hill End House and Harewood Lodge fell empty and were sold off and only partly lived in or used for other purposes. In the 1930s Hill End seems to have been used for the school meals service. At Harewood, where the Goddard family now lived and farmed, the Hobson family came from Simmondly in about 1935,  lived in part of the house and took over the derelict greenhouses as a market garden.


Mr and Mrs Goddard of Glossop were the owners of Harewood and offered my dad, Samuel Hobson, a part of Harewood to live in. My Dad was a very keen gardener and there were 7 big greenhouses, so he jumped at the chance. Dad and my 2 brothers Sam & Jack who were also keen gardeners set to work clearing all the paths and the greenhouses which were barely visible because the place had been empty for a number of years. The greenhouses were fantastic and in good condition. As the years went by Dad, Sam and Jack brought Harewood back to life; they grew hundreds of tomatoes, mushrooms, grapes, plums and chrysanthemums and other flowers. We also made 250 holly wreaths at Christmas.               Albert Hobson



There was still a strong sense of community.
Nellie Lyne, born on Back Temperance St in 1908 and then living in New St, remembers Broadbottom as ‘ a nice little country village’  where people were friendly: ‘you would help each other without being in one another’s houses.’ 
I used to be able to tell you everybody’s name in every house all through the village from the top to the bottom.       When we were kids you had to go to bed at a certain time whether you were tired or not and we used to pass the time until we went to sleep reciting folks’ names.’
This sense of a tight community is born out by other memories.  Ida’s George’s father was given the chance of a modern house on Broadbottom Road in the 1930s, but her mother couldn’t bear to leave the village and so they stayed on New Street. Although the family later moved to Gorton, they had close family links with the village and Ida was sent back during the war to escape the bombing.
 When Ida George’s mother returned to work in the mill in 1930, Ida went to a childminder, Mrs Smith on Market St. Ida remembers being carried up there in a crocheted shawl at 6 in the morning and the kindness of the Smiths who looked after her till she started school.

Ida George


Social life continued around the churches, including the Whitsuntide  sermons.

A new Methodist church had been built in 1920 on Ogden Street, replacing the Etherow Brow chapel, when the railway needed to expand. Some beams in the new chapel show marks to indicate that they were taken from the old building to be incorporated in the new.

In 1937, the Catholic Church was redecorated with murals.

Anglican sermon, late 1920s - (Joyce Powell)

Redecorated Catholic Church - (Clare Hussell)

May procession 1933 at the Catholic Church  - (Clare Hussell)

 Mrs Smith of Market Street


Waldo's ice cream van: Harryfields 1920s - (Gould family)


'a pretty spot' postcard of  cottages on Pingot Lane:-  (Gould family)

 Haymaking 1940s   -  (Gould family)

Outside cottages on Pingot Lane - (Gould family)

 Walkers at the pump: Pingot Lane -  (Gould family)


Mining coal on the Mudd 1920s  -  (Gould family)

  The end of an era

In this period the remaining cotton mills came to the end of their life.

Nellie Lyne worked in the tape mill at Best Hill until the business was moved to Bolton in the 1920s and then as a ring spinner at Broad Mills until it closed in 1937. Then, like many other workers she had to move out of the village to work and retrained as a glove maker in Hyde.

She describes the cotton coming into the mill in dirty bales, being cleaned in the blowing room and then passing through a series of spinning machines growing finer and finer.

Ruth Lomas (b1907) also worked at Broad Mills and Lymefield Mills as a weaver but never liked working in the mills.

The closing of Broad Mills was the end of an era in Broadbottom. Though the village was still well equipped with shops, it was no longer largely self-sufficient. As nationally, this was another time of uncertainty in work, where unemployed workers queued outside mills for a day’s work. Some people struggled to earn a living selling goods door to door. Ida George remembers an aunt taking a heavy

suitcase selling books door to door. People had to scavenge to get by, including digging what coal and slack remained in the old drift mines on the Mudd.

Best Hill Mill in ruins - (Gould family)







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