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Happy Memories of Village and Glen

Mrs. Betty Harmsworth, nee Hawley, who now lives in Hampshire, was inspired by a recent visit to the area in which she grew up – and her discovery of its Community Newspaper – to share some thoughts which may prompt the memories of other readers.

I was born on May 15th 1920 at 21 Victoria Park, Shipley. Other members of my family were my two brothers, Frederick Bowden and Horace Routledge, and my four sisters, Marjorie Annie, Nellie Irene, Dorothy May and Joan. (Another child, Edward, died soon afterwards). We moved to Scotton, near Knaresborough, for two years before returning to Shipley, where I started at the Salt Girls’ High School at the age of six. During my years there I was to learn a lot about Sir Titus Salt and the many buildings of which he was the benefactor – not least, Salts Hospital where, at the age of seven or eight, I was admitted after spraining my ankle.
I have vivid memories of Shipley Glen and the nature walks we had at school, and the ride back on the Tramway afterwards, always enjoyable.

My school days were good.  The netball and hockey team games we played against other local schools and the success I had on sports day, winning the silver badge, was something rather special for me. That badge, together with my Bronze medal for life saving, is still amongst my trinkets today.

My father was always interested in Brass Band music – and about this time he became involved in forming the Salts Brass Band which he conducted for several years.  I remember the concerts the band performed in the Victoria Hall. However, Salts Band disbanded after a little while and many of the members joined by father’s band which he formed for Hammond’s Sauce Works. The band went from strength to strength, becoming very well known locally. My father remained the conductor for many years – winning many competitions in the Albert Hall in London, and in the early part of the Second World War was voted BBC Band of the Year.

When I was fifteen we moved once more to Victoria Park.  This time it was number 23, next door to the house where I was born…. very strange. At the age of seventeen, after six months at secretarial school, I started work for Salts (Saltaire) Ltd. In the manufacturing department. Whilst working there I got to know many different departments. Most interesting was the weaving shed, where the noise of the looms in operations was something to experience. So much so that I learned to lip read a little in order to understand the workers who would chat to me as I made my way through the shed on my way to the designing dept. I worked for Salts for two years under the watchful eye of Mr. Griffiths, my boss.  My association with Salts came to an end in the War when I joined the WAAFs.

Betty Harmsworth

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