'I was born at Thornhill Edge, a mining village about 3 miles from Dewsbury, on May 10th 1846. My father died soon afterwards, and my mother and I continued to live with my grandfather, in whose house I was born, till she married a miner named *Henry left this detail out deliberately as you will see . For a time I continued to live with my grandfather, occasionally visiting my mother and stepfather. Of our own father, I know little, being too young to understand at first, and later my mothers troubles with her brute of a husband occupied all her time and energies. My chief recollection of what I was told of my father was that he was a man of some educations, but I know little else. My grandfather, who was a hand loom weaver of fancy waistcoats was kind to me as far as circumstances would allow, but times were hard then, as I came to find for myself later.
The first work I ever remember was to wind bobbins. Once I remember I interfered with his loom and caused such havoc with my childish efforts that it took him two days to repair the damage. That was when I got my first thrashing, with a green switch cut from a blackcurrant bush. For my grandfather had a garden for which I was set to work at an early age to gather from the roads cattle and horse droppings in my little barrow made by my grandfather. I once went 3 miles there and back in my 5th year with this barrow).'
As a family, we were brought up around the family business. From a young age, we went with Dad 'Howard' to shows and markets, learnt the trade, met new people. It's what we do, know and love (most of the time bar when we missed out on nights out and days kicking a football around the street with mates like Jamie Kilner). Luckily this was all without thrashings - but I was close the day I kicked the football through the window...
Nowt compared to winding bobbins but it certainly gave us all an appreciation of hard work ready for adulthood.