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Image: The Illustrated London News
Mill Workers who lived in Saltaire
Researched by Colin Coates

Surnames beginning with:

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Fawkes, Harriet (nee Lancaster)
8 March 1895 – 18 August 1979

 Harriet Lancaster was born, 8 March 1895, in Saltaire. She was the eighth surviving child of Louisa Matilda Hessey & Thomas Lancaster.

In 1895 they were living at 22 Ada Street, Saltaire. By 1903 they had moved to 3 Jane Street, Saltaire. In 1908 they moved to 12 George Street, Saltaire. In 1911 Harriet was working as a yarn twister. In 1921 she was a weaver working at Saltaire Mills.

Harriet married Samuel Fawkes, 24 December 1923, at St. Peter’s, Shipley. Samuel was born, 22 June 1895, in Pocklington, East Yorkshire. They had a son, Harry, born in 1925 in Keightley and two sons and a daughter born in Pocklington – Ronald in 1927, Stanley in 1928, and Norma in 1929. In the 1939 Register they were living at 7 Silverdale Avenue, Riddlesden, Keighley, with Samuel working as a machine moulder.

Living at 7 Silverdale Avenue, Harriet died, 18 August 1979, at Airedale Hospital, Keighley.


Feather, James
19 May 1831 – 2 November 1915

James Feather was the son of James Feather. James snr. was born c1802 in Haworth. He married Amy Preston 29 November 1830 at Bradford Cathedral.

James was born 19 May 1831 in Haworth. He was baptised 21 August 1831 at St Michael’s Haworth. In 1851 they were living in Haworth with James snr. working as an engine tenter.

James married Sarah Ann Shackleton 26 February 1859 in Keighley. They had 10 children, three of whom died in infancy. In 1861 they were living at 5 Mary Street in Saltaire with James working as a roller coverer. In 1871 they were living at 42 Mary Street where James was a leather cutter. In 1881 they were living at 22 Gordon Terrace (re-numbered 93 Bingley Road). In 1891 they were living at 10 Victoria Road. By 1901 James had retired and he was living with his family at 13Ashley Road in Shipley.

Report from Shipley Times 5 March 1909 as follows:

Mr. and Mrs. James Feather of 13 Ashley Road, celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of their, wedding day on Friday last, they having been married at the Keighley Parish Church on the 26th of February 1859. Both are natives of Haworth, but they have spent all their married life in and Shipley. At the time of the marriage Mrs Feather, whoso maiden name was Miss Sarah Ann Shackleton, resided at Saltaire. and Mr. Feather, who was employed at Saltaire Mills resided at Keighley.
Mr. Feather will be 78 years of age on the 19th May. whilst Mrs. Feather will celebrate her 75th birthday the 3rd October, and both of them are hale and hearty. They have had ten children, seven of whom survive They are Mrs. Broadbent (wife of Mr. P. Broadbent. sculptor. Saltaire); K Feather, confectioner, Gordon Terrace; Mr. W. Feather who is now in South Africa; Mr. Horace Feather, butcher Victoria Road; Mr. Isaac Feather, Hall Lane. Shipley; Mrs Joseph Dunn, of Birmingham; and Miss Alice Feather, who resides with her parents.

James’s wife, Sarah Ann died 24 August 1913 and was buried in Nab Wood Cemetery, James joined her when he died 2 November 1915.


Fell, Isabella (nee Thompson)
1860 – 1936

Isabella Thompson was the daughter of Joseph Thompson. Joseph was born 25 December 1823 in Cleckheaton. He married Mary Ann Reynolds 15 February 1847 at Bradford Cathedral.

Isabella, the youngest of four children, was born 1860 in Saltaire. In 1861 the family were living at 14 Whitlam Street in Saltaire with Joseph working as a warp dresser. In 1871 Isabella was a servant living with her grandmother at 9 Diamond Street in Bradford.

Report from Shipley Times Saturday 7 July 1877 as follows:

On Monday afternoon, a little after three o'clock, an accident occurred to Isabella Thompson, a girl about seventeen years of age, residing at 14 Whitlam Street. The girl was employed in the combing department, and while picking wool off the rod the fingers of her right hand were drawn between it and the roller. The machinery was at once stopped, and the girl taken to the Infirmary, where it was found that the second and third fingers were so crushed as to render amputation necessary. The other fingers were not much injured. The amputation performed by Mr. Ellie, and the patient is doing well.

Isabella’s father died in 1878. In 1881 Isabella was a weaver living her widowed mother at 108 Baird Street in Bowling, Bradford.

Isabella married Thomas Fell in 1883 in Bradford. They had a daughter, Martha Ellen born c1885. In 1891 & 1901 they were living in Horton, Bradford with Thomas working as a stuff warehouseman. In 1901 both Isabella and Martha were weavers. Thomas died in 1905. In 1911 widowed Isabella was a confectioner living at 108 Baird Street in Bradford. Isabella died in 1936 in Liverpool.


Fell, John
25 January 1819 – 5 January 1873

John Fell was the son of William Fell. William was born c1795 in Bradford. He married Jane Wheater 16 Mar 1817 in Bradford Cathedral.

John was born 25 January 1819 in Horton. He was baptised 26 September 1819 at Horton Independent Chapel.

John, a woolcomber, married Ann Taylor 25 September 1839 at Christ Church Bradford. They had at least eight children. In 1851 they were living in Manningham with John working as a woolcomber. By 1861 they had moved to 19 Mary Street in Saltaire; John was a warehouseman. In 1871 they were living at 27 Victoria Road (renumbered 70).

John died 5 January 1873. Report from the Bradford Observer 8 January 1873 as follows:

A Fatal Accident at Saltaire
An inquest was held yesterday at the Rosse Hotel, Shipley, before Mr. Barstow, deputy coroner, on view of the body of John Fell, warehouseman, who died on Sunday from injuries which be received on Saturday morning in the works of Sir Titus Salt, Bart., Sons & Co.
It appeared that the deceased, who was fifty years of age, was on Saturday morning found lying on his face in one of the sorting rooms of the mill, having apparently fallen down the hoist from the room above, a distance of fifteen feet. He was discovered to have received very severe injuries on the head, and was removed to his residence in Victoria Road, where he died on the following day, as above stated. A verdict of " Accidentally killed" was returned.

John was buried 8 January 1873 in St Paul’s Upper Churchyard Shipley alongside his daughter Hannah who died 4 December 1858 aged just 18. His wife Ann joined them when she died 17 April 1884.


Fieldhouse, Ada
5 May 1885 – 1965

Ada Fieldhouse was the daughter of James Fieldhouse.
James was born c1848 in Wilsden. He married Mary Ann Shepherd 10 April 1871 at Bradford Cathedral. They had seven children, three of whom died in infancy. In 1881 7 1891 they were living at 22 Constance Street in Saltaire with James working as a combing overlooker. They had two sons, Ernest & Fred, who served in WW1 and survived.
Ada was born in Saltaire 5 May 1885. By 1901 the family had moved to 24 Constance Street.
Ada had a serious accident at her place of work, Saltaire Mills on Friday 9 August 1907.

Report from Shipley Times 16 August as follows: -
Last Friday afternoon at a quarter to three a serious accident happened at Saltaire Mills to Ada Fieldhouse, aged 22, daughter of Mr. James Fieldhouse, of 24 Constance Street, Saltaire. She was employed as a spinner, and just before the time stated her frame had been standing in order that it could be doffed. Whilst the machine was stopped the young woman commenced cleaning the wheels at the driving end, which work, according to the rules of the mill, should be done during the half hour allotted for that purpose a Saturday noon. After the boys had doffed the frame one of them, named Jackson, gave the usual signal that was about to restart it, but unfortunately Miss Fieldhouse did not hear the signal, although a spinner on either side of her did so.
At the time the frame was started Miss Fieldhouse had her right arm through one of the cog wheels, and the result was that the limb was torn out the shoulder joint.
Mr. John Ince, foreman of the spinning department. Mr. Sam Hainsworth, and Mr. C. Godfrey, all of whom have had ambulance training, rendered “first aid,” their efforts, of course, being directed at stopping the haemorrhage.
 As quickly as possible the sufferer was conveyed on a stretcher to the Hospital, where she was attended to by Dr. Thornton. The accident naturally caused a very painful sensation in the mill, where the injured woman was regarded as an efficient and painstaking worker.
Inquiry at the Hospital yesterday elicited the welcome information that Miss Fieldhouse is progressing as satisfactorily as can be expected.

Report from the Shipley Times 27 September 1907 as follows: -
On Saturday evening, at the Saltaire Congregational Schoolroom, a concert was held for the benefit of Miss Ada Fieldhouse, aged 22, daughter of Mr. James Fieldhouse, 24 Constance Street, Saltaire, who lost her right arm whilst following her employment as a spinner at Saltaire Mills on Friday, August 9th.
Miss Fieldhouse is a member the Congregational Young People’s meeting, and last Saturday’s gathering had been arranged by the members the society. There was a good attendance.
The programme included selections by Rosse Street Baptist Girls' Own Band, and individual items by Miss Hodgson, Miss Irwin, Mrs. Boothroyd, Miss Rennard, and Mr. J. Collinson. Much amusement was caused a bun and jelly eating competition. As a result of the effort the promoters hope to able to hand over to Miss Fieldhouse about £8.
(£8 in 1907 is worth c£1,000 in 2019).

In 1911 Ada was working from home as a stocking knitter. Around 1921 she moved to 23 Shirley Street; in 1939 she was living there with her elder spinster sister, Annie. Ada was working as a draper & small ware dealer.  Ada moved to Morecambe around 1947 where she died in 1965.

Two of Ada’s brothers Ernest & Fred served in WW1.
(Compiled with help of Nigel Holmes)


Firth, Ernest

Firth, Ernest - Mill Worker / WW1 Roll of Honour


Firth, James William
6 October 1879 – 1906

James William Firth was the son of Samuel Firth. Samuel was born c1830 in Windhill. He married Jane Bulmer 9 October 1876 at Bradford Cathedral.

James, the middle child of three, was born 6 October 1879 in Saltaire. He was baptised 8 February 1880 at Saltaire Congregational Church. In 1881 they were living at 34 Caroline Street in Saltaire with Samuel working as a general labourer. Samuel died in 1884. By 1891 James was living with his widowed mother at 42 Helen Street; he would spend the rest of his life here. James worked as a spinner then as a wool sorter.

Report from Shipley Times Saturday 13 July 1901 as follows:

Accident at Saltaire Mill. —  On Monday morning, a man named J. W. Firth, aged 21 years, who resides at 42 Helen Street, was admitted to Sir Titus Salt’s Hospital having been the unfortunate victim of a peculiar accident
It appears that he was loading a sack cart with bales of material, and while doing so he was stood under a trap door, when a boy who was in the room above pushed a large bale down the trapdoor on the top of him.
On examination he was found to be suffering from a compound comminuted fracture of the left leg and general bruising. He is now making progress towards recovery.

James died in 1906. He was buried 8 March 1906 in Hirst Wood Cemetery Shipley.


Firth, Mary Jane (nee Leonard)
9 January 1876 – 1946

Mary Jane Leonard was the daughter of Martin Leonard. Martin was born c1854 in Leeds. He married Bridget Westman 1873 in Bradford.

Mary, the second oldest of 9 children, was born 9 January 1876 in Bradford. In 1881 the family were living in the Bolton Hall Estate with Martin employed as a labourer.

Report from the Shipley Times 9 February 1890 as follow: -

On Monday, a girl named Mary Jane Leonard, fourteen years of age, of 27 Hall Lane, Windhill, employed at Saltaire Mill, was taken to Sir Titus Salt’s Hospital suffering from a lacerated wound on the right eye.

At noon on that day, she, with others, was larking, when she jumped against a gas-bracket, with the result stated. The injury was attended to, and probably she will not be many days in the hospital.

Mary married Joseph Firth, a railway employee, in 1897. They lived in Bradford and had four children.

Mary died 1946 in Bradford.


Fox, Parker
4 June 1834 –????

Parker Fox was the son of Robert Fox. Robert was born c1801 in Bradford. He married Sarah (date of marriage and maiden name unknown.)

Parker was born 4 June 1834 in Bradford. He was baptised 19 July at Horton. In 1841 & 1851 they were living in Horton with Robert working as a weaver and in 1851 Parker was a millhand.

Parker married Martha Smith 23 July 1855 at St Paul’s Shipley. They had six children. In 1861 they lived in Bradford with Parker working as a spinning overlooker. From before 1871 they were living at 38 George Street in Saltaire.

Report from the Shipley Times 1878 as follows:

Before Colonel POLLARD, Mr. Joshua POLLARD, Ald. LAW, Mr. A. POSTER, and Mr. Harold Braun.
Parker Fox, an overlooker at Saltaire Works, was ordered to pay 1s. per week towards the maintenance of an illegitimate child, the applicant being Annie Summersgill, of Shipley. Mr. Rennolls supported the application, and Mr. Terry defended Fox, who has a wife and six children.


Free, Andrew Charles Frederick

Free, Andrew Charles Frederick - Mill Worker / WW1 Roll of Honour


Free, Doris Ellen (nee Stone)
9 July 1902 – 13 December 1982

Doris Ellen Stone was born, 9 July 1902, in Millom, Cumberland to Lousia Mitchell & Arthur Stone. Both parents were born in St. Austell, Cornwall. In 1911 they were living in Millom, where Arthur worked as a miner. He died 23 October 1920.

In the 1921 Census, Doris was living with her mother and siblings at 2 Edward Street, Saltaire. She worked as a winder at Saltaire Mills. Her sister, Gladys Merrifield, and her brother, Ernest Arthur, also worked in the mill.

Doris lived with her sister Gladys at 17 Amelia Street, Saltaire, from 1933 to 1937 when she married widower, Andrew Charles Frederick Free. In the 1939 Register they were living at 13 Edward Street, Saltaire, with Andrew working as a yarn packer at Saltaire Mills and Doris as a worsted warper.

Andrew died, 3 October 1974, at 13 Edward Street. Doris died there, 13 December 1982.


Free Ernest

Free, Ernest - Mill Worker / WW2 Roll of Honour


Free, John Edward
1907 – 30 December 1961

 John Edward was the son of Robert Free. Robert was born in 1873 in Cambridgeshire. He married Jane Anne Backhouse 1896 in Tadcaster.

John, the second youngest of seven children, was born in 1907 in Portington near Goole. By 1911 they had moved to Tadcaster; Robert was a farm labourer. In 1914 the family were living at 1 Shirley Street in Saltaire and by 1918 they had moved to 38 George Street. In 1921 they were living at 15 Victoria Road, Saltaire, with John and the rest of his family working at Saltaire Mills. John was a spinning doffer.

John married Elsie Webster in 1930. She was born, 23 July 1911, in Bradford. They had a son, Ernest, born 1 September 1934.

In the 1939 Register they were living at 16 John Street, Baildon. They remained here until after 1958.

John died 30 December 1961. He was buried/cremated in Charlestown Cemetery, Baildon. Elsie joined him when she died, 11 October 1999.


Free, Norman

Free, Norman - Mill Worker / WW2 Roll of Honour


Free, Robert
1 December 1873 – 1944

Robert Free was born 1 December 1873 in Linton, Cambridgeshire, to Joseph Free and Charlotte Leonard.

In 1881 & 1891 they were living at Castle Camps, Cambridgeshire, where Joseph worked as a woodman.

Robert married Jane Anne Backhouse 1896 in Tadcaster. She was born 10 June 1876 at Biggin near Selby. She had a daughter, Esther Sarah Backhouse, born 1896. Robert & Jane had seven children: -

Andrew Charles Frederick born 1897; Minnie 1899; Ernest 1901; Annie 1903; Ivy 1905; John Edward 1907; Edith Mary 1915.

In 1901 the family were living in Biggin, by 1911 they had moved to Tadcaster; Robert was a farm labourer. In 1914 the family were living at 1 Shirley Street in Saltaire and by 1918 they had moved to 38 George Street. Their daughter, Minnie, died in 1916.

In 1921 they were living at 15 Victoria Road, Saltaire, with Robert and the rest of his family working at Saltaire Mills. Robert was a wool warehouseman. Jane died in 1925.

In the 1939 Register, widower Robert was a warehouseman living at 35 George Street, Saltaire. He died in 1944.


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