52 residents in 52 weeks #9 James Driver

Private, 28981, 2 Bn East Lancashire Regiment, d 15/03/1917 aged 28 (Cemserch has 37). Commemorated Pier and Face 6C, Thiepval.
He left 'all of my property and effects to my mother'.
He was awarded the British and Victory medals so presumably didn’t serve overseas in 1915, although his battalion did.

In 1911 he is enumerated at Meadow Head Farm, Stone Mason, single, 4 sisters and 3 brothers at home. The CWGC records his being the 'son of James and Margaret Driver of Cross Farm, Cloughfold’.These two farms are virtually at opposite ends of the same field so the family may have moved down the hill. As a stone mason he may have worked in the stone dressing works on the hill above Cloughfold.

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2 Btn East Lancashire was a regular battalion. They were in South Africa at the outbreak of WW1 but were stationed for pretty much the duration of the war on the Western Front. the returned from South Africa to Flanders in Nov 1914 and overwintered in the trenches.
Initially part of the 8th Division they transferred to 23rd Division on 18 Oct 1915 and returned to 8th Division 15 Jul 1916. They left the theatre in 1918, James Driver was dead by that time, presumably injured in the events surrounding Ancre in early 1917.

Outline timeline of 2 Bn East Lancs activity (not comprehensive!)
Neuve Chapelle 10-13 March 1915.
Aubers Bridge 9 May 1915. An assault which ‘failed bloodily’.
Bois Grenier Oct 1915. Held the front as part of the 23rd Division ‘for a considerable time’ until relieved early in 1916.
Carency 3 March 1916 to hold the Boyau de l’Ersatz and Souchez River fronts.
Vimy Ridge, 21 May 1916 supporting the 47th Division. Relieved 11 June.
Contalmaison 7 July 1916
Guedecourt 23 October 1916
Ancre/German retreat to Hindenburg March/April 1917
Westhoek Ridge July 1917
Bethen court 23 March 1918 (also Rosieres 26 March and Thiennes 31 March)
Villers-Bretonneux 24 April 1918
River Aisne 27 May 1918. They had been allocated to a ‘quiet area’ for a ‘rest’
Gavrelle 8 Oct 1918. By the Armistice they were 9 miles outside Mons

The Lancashire Infantry Museum website summaries the involvement of the Lancashire regiments in WW1.

The famous ‘Accrington Pals’ was the 11th Btn of the East Lancs. They saw 235 killed and 350 wounded in about half an hour on 1 July 1816.


Every now and then we come across wayside shrines. Sadly these are often on pavements at the site of traffic accidents or where someone died violently. Sometimes they commemorate a place which was precious to the person being commemorated.

One such has recently appeared at the top of Edge Lane. There is a memorial card, a small wreath and a poem to ‘Mum’.

Shrine Edge Lane Feb 2015 200 shrine edge lane text 200

There are no clues to the identity of the person commemorated. The poem is rather sad (click on the image for a bigger picture).

52 residents in 52 weeks #8 George Hargreaves

Well this is going well.

The will of Bathsheba Davenport still hasn’t arrived so she will have to wait another week.
Next up should have been Charlotte Anne Hargreaves but her marriage settlement hasn’t arrived yet (ok. I’ve only just ordered it)
So, rapidly rising up the pecking order is George Hargreaves

The key question here is, which George Hargreaves? Rossendale is stuffed full of them.

I do know that he was chairman of the committee which organised the building of the Sunday School at Sion in 1901. He got to lay the foundation stone to the right of the door, whilst his wife laid the second from the left on the south wall. As there are 14 foundation stones in that building, there were plenty left for others.

finance committee Sion new school 1902 thumbnail
(apologies to T Wallwork, who has ended up a bit blurred there on the back row left)

foundation stone 9 Hargreaves thumbnail foundation stone 12 hargreaves thumbnail

Ok, so who was he then?

A note in the local paper (Rossendale Free Press Sept 5 2014) suggested that George Hargreaves ran a locally based building company.

He certainly wasn’t the George Hargreaves who ran Rossendale Colleries with John Ashworth, because that George Hargreaves was dead by then.

He certainly wasn’t the George Hargreaves of Underwood who is buried in Sion churchyard as he was dead by then as well. Incidentally this George Hargreaves is a direct ancestor of mine, my connection with Sion going back over the best part of 200 years. Makes finding ancestors tricky, their all being good Baptists and all. He certainly wasn’t a descendant of that George Hargreaves either; I know who they are…

He doesnt appear on the composite memorial to the family of Elijah Hargreaves, though he may have been related to them.

So much for the churchyard, lets try the trades directories.

McDonalds 1879 doesn’t have a George Hargreaves under builders. There is a confectioner, a reasonable match surely?! Knowing Sion, I doubt very much he was the wine merchant…
He could be the Hargreaves of Hargreaves and Melladen of Crawshawbooth possibly?

Mannex 1875 has George Hargreaves clothes dealer. Not a builder then. The confectioner was there then as well.

(other directories have only been transcribed for the immediate area around Springhill, so he cold be lurking in there.)

Ok the census.
The 1901 census, as indexed by a major database, has only one George Hargreaves, builder, and he lived in Fleetwood on the other side of Lancs so not him. Get rid of the builder bit and there are 204 to choose from.

Say he was 60-70 in that picture, that would put his dob at around 1830-1840 ish. Putting a dob of 1835 +/- 10 years gives me 24 of whom 3 were born in the area:
7 Worth Lane Rawtenstall b 1832 blacksmith
71 Newchurch Road, b 1834 Waste dealer (Cotton)
23 Newchurch Road b 1844 weaver cotton mill

mmm not much further on there then.

There were 15 George Hargreaves died 1910 +/- 10 years of whom 6 would be in the approximate age group. Of course he may have retired to St Annes as many in the area did.

doing well aren’t we?

Newspapers: the local squeak hasn’t been digitised (FMP tell me they are working on it!). There are 146 references to George Hargreaves in Lancashire in papers between 1900-1919, none of which refer to my chap.

google wasn’t my friend on this occasion either.

Can’t help feeling I’m missing something obvious here, but further details of George Hargreaves will have to wait.

RFP 'yesteryear' page

Now I know I’m getting older but when your school pictures appear on the ‘yesteryear’ page of the local paper (Rossendale Free Press 19/2/15 to be precise), that is not good…

hockey pic RFP thumbnail
BRGS Under XV XI hockey team 1977/8 (not 1974 as the paper says)

L-R back row: Deborah Hepburn, Hilary Hulme, Gillian Wright, Christine Tyler, Alison Barff, Tina Howarth
front row: Janet Watkins, Lorriane Taylor, Elaine Dearden, Janet Crook, Linda Flynn

coached by the one and only Miss H Pretty.

some things never change

Whilst Springhill itself has never flooded to the best of my knowledge, there are a number of factors which make the wider area liable to flooding:
  • underlying poorly draining clay soil combined with a heavy rainfall,
  • culverted Parrock brook which isn’t dredged
  • two downhill roads meeting in a slightly hollowed part of the village
  • some houses on Newchurch Road being set at slightly below road level
  • mid C19 plumbing system taking water from the underground reservoirs on Seat Naze to the Springhill properties
  • potentially exacerbated by proposed building on the field behind Johnny Barn Close.

There was an extensive flood in Rossendale in 1911 resulting in ‘tons of debris’ being deposited on Edge Lane adjacent to Sion chapel (amongst numerous other places).

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History repeated itself on 22 June 2012 when flash floods made their way down Edge Lane and onto Newchurch Road…

flood edge lane 1 thumbnail flood edge lane 4 thumbnail Edge Lane looking S and N
flood edge lane 7 thumbnail flood edge lane 9 thumbnailEdge Lane looking S, Newchurch Road

Yet the flood didn’t touch Springhill itself as this picture from the same spot as the first one above, looking W instead of S illustrates…

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The Environment Agency identifies Edge Lane, Johnny Barn Close, Johnny Barn Farm and Newchurch Road as High Risk areas and Johnny Barn Cottages as Medium Risk. Springhill is at no appreciable risk. Interesting as it is just round the corner.

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