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Thornton-le-Dale Through Time...
Clog soles are piled in what looked like “gargantuan honeycombs” to dry before heading across the Pennines to be worn in the cotton mills
ELLERBURN, apparently, means “stream of the alders” and the land around the North Yorkshire village of that name was once renowned for them, according to local historian Alan Whitworth. That was, until the clogging trade swept them away.
Cloggers, in case you are wondering, were craftsmen who deftly fashioned the soles of clogs – wooden shoes – from the trees.
The last of the North Yorkshire cloggers, explains Alan in his book, Thornton-le-Dale Through Time, was one John Raw, who operated before the First World War.
“He swiftly and deftly fashioned the sole of the clog from logs of alder,” Mr Whitworth writes in the caption to accompany our wonderful main picture today. “These embryo soles were carted down to Thornton, and piled in what looked like gargantuan honeycombs to dry.”
They were then transported to Lancashire for the feet of cotton mill workers, “who spent hours standing in damp conditions that would rot leather soles”.
By 1922, the number of car registrations in Britain had passed one million. But motorists back then were just as prone to accidents as they are today. Another photo – like the other images today, all from Mr Whitworth’s book – shows what happened when a driver failed to negotiate the sharp bend in the road near Thornton-le-Dale. The van was a write-off, Mr Whitworth writes. The photograph was taken shortly before the first Highway Code was published in 1931.
If you didn’t have your own car, there was always, then as now, the local bus. Another photograph today shows Charley Mackley, of Glebe Farm, Saltersgate, with his bus, which was garaged near the Saltersgate Inn. “The ladder on the side of the vehicle was to enable him to load luggage on to the roof of the bus,” Mr Whitworth writes.
And finally, if you think the weather these days is bad, just take a look at the remaining two photographs. One shows the road to Kingthorpe, near Pickering, after a blizzard in February 1933. “Unemployed men were hired by the day to cut snow from the main road to hamlets such as Kingthorpe in Thornton-le-Dale parish,” Mr Whitworth writes. The other shows Pickering market place following the floods of July 1914.
The floods submerged the Rye Valley, Mr Whitworth writes. “The people at the bottom of Pickering Market Place used benches to keep out of the water, which is a trick I have only ever seen in Venice before.”
July 1914 and Pickering Market Place is flooded.
• Thornton-le-Dale Through Time by Alan Whitworth is published by Amberley priced £14.99.