Childhood

Haymakers, © WR MitchellHaymakers, © WR Mitchell

The interviews in the W.R. Mitchell Archive are a wealth of information about childhood in the Dales from late Victorian times to the interwar years.

Childhood ended very early for many Dales folk. Henry Cox started work at the age of eleven in 1894, unpaid for the first few weeks as he was learning the job. Alice Maunders had a similarly curtailed childhood, starting work at the age of 15 as an Inbetween Maid in a large house near Giggleswick.

Those who were from farming families helped around the farm from an early age. Anne Margaret Mason describes how she and her family all pitched in during haymaking. She also describes driving her father on a horse and cart to Garsdale station early in the morning to catch a train to Lanark or Stirling in Scotland in search of livestock.

There are many tales of schools and apprenticeships. John Geldard describes how one dry stone waller taught his apprentices to build a wall—by pulling their walls down each time they were built until the apprentices had got it right.

Theme: Childhood.