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People who roar by on the new Huddersfield Road at Wyke look on Storr Hill as some insignificant side street - but there was a day long ago when the hill was the main highway to Bradford.

A highway where teamsters stopped at the old Fleece Inn as they started the climb and for more refreshment at the top again after urging their horses up this mountain - like road. For many horses and wool wagons passed up and down Storr Hill in days gone by carrying the rolls of cloth between Bradford and Huddersfield. I am told that it took 10 horses to drag carts up steep Storr Hill and although no one seems to recollect being told, a further claim that it took 90 of the sweating animals to haul castings from the old Low Moor Iron Company, doing a transport feat that would be approached with trepidation today.

There have been some quaint characters living in Storr Hill and some industrious ones too, and long before the day of the public Launderette there was the old "manglin hasse" a neat bit of private enterprise run by old Hannah Chadwick who made a small charge for allowing her neighbours' washing to be put through her big machine that flattened out every crease.

Half way down Storr Hill a smell of malt and hops permeated the air from the old brewery. At the bottom of the hill, as I have already mentioned , there was the Fleece Inn, the building which serves as a canteen for the Carr Lane branch of English Electric.

But for happier days one must refer to "Carr Loine Tide" which was held in the fields which stretch for half a mile at the bottom of Storr Hill, every week before the Bradford Bowling Tide.

Those were great days. Traders' stalls stretched along both side of Carr Lane. Rolls of linolium rugs and carpets were sold with Petticoat Lane speed and there were scores and scores of side shows with performing bears, the fattest woman on earth, a circus and wrestling booths.

For a vivid description of "Carr Loine Tide" a talk with Mrs. Elsie Priestley of New Road Side, Wyke, will take you back some years.

"Carr Loine Tide" was the biggest for miles, she recalls. There was Ashington's Marionette Show and Kester Brothers Show. But the best of all was "Pie Tom" and his delicious pies with free gravy. My mother always told me to ask for plenty of gravy, says Mrs Priestley.

The girls of Storr Hill in their straw boaters and flared dresses looked as pretty as any generation of Wyke girls could have ever looked. Many a youth fell to Cupid's arrow to the accompaniment of a hurdy - gurdy.

One of the most memorable characters of Storr Hill was a woman who set herself up as a sort of financier by buying old Co - op checks at a price below the negotiable with the issuing society. When people were hard up they went to the buyer of checks and obtained money for the rent or necessary goods not obtained at the Co-op.

A native of Storr Hill is Mrs. Fred Mitton, wife of the licensee of the New Inn, Wyke, whose birthplace was the Rockside Cottages . They were like flats, she said and to get some coal we had to go through one of the bedrooms. Below, there was another cottage. She remembers the Corporation Baths when it was a theatre and more than ever when she sat in the gallery with an aunt. She was the proud wearer of one of those squirell furs. But during the show the spring - loaded mouth of the dead animal struck back at humanity and from Mrs. Mitton there came a scream that stopped the show.

Mrs Mitton has been a hard worker all her life . As a young woman, with a friend she cleaned the Fleece Inn on Sunday morning after the night before and for three hours labour they received 1 shilling and threepence. (7 1/2 p) each And if they finished 10 minutes before their time they were found another job to do.

Mrs Mitton recalled three shops on Storr Hill - a grocery, greengrocers and Jenny Deacon's famous stone ginger beer shop. Now there is only one shop, that of Mrs . Florence Thomis at the bottom who has been in business for years and years. She is ready for retiring from the little old world shop where counters are still scrubbed and not covered in plastic, where the scales are the best part of a century old and the doorbell jangles with every customer.

Storr Hill is old and its oldest resident as far as is known is Mrs. Maria Wilkinson, who is 82. Unfortunately she is now bedridden but she can remember much about Storr Hill. Visitors to her little home have always time to ask her about her glass domes with their variety of contents from flowers to figurines.
This article was published in The Spenborough Guardian in 1958.

STORR HILL , WYKE ,
ONCE MAIN HIGHWAY ECHOED TO A DIFFERENT TYPE OF HORSE-POWER.

BY DONALD BROOKE
Carr Lane
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