Born During the Plug Drawers' Riot

The Calder Valley Poets were a renowned group of people, largely self-educated and all working class, whose love of the local countryside often inspired them to write poetry. So acclaimed were they that they often gave readings to large audiences and in the early years of the last century they published an anthology of their work, which also included biographies of the Poets.

Miss Anne Fielding, of Hebden Bridge, had the distinction of being the only female member. Here, in her own very modest words, is her story:

"When I was quite a little girl, as punishment for some childish fault, I had to commit to memory a few verses from the Bible, and I said to mother that they were the very hardest verses that could be found in the book.

And now, when in the 74th year of my age, I am asked to write a short sketch of my life, I feel that I am up against a similar experience and would fain cry off with asking for something else - essay, story or poem.

The story of my life is very ordinary and common-place. I was born on the 5th of November, 1842, in a little cottage at Foster Mill, Hebden Bridge, on the very day that the Plug-drawing Rioters arrived there and marched the mill-hands away. My mother, very much alarmed, came out of the mill and quietly stole into the cottage close by, and very soon myself and a twin brother made our appearance in the world.

Of course, I do not remember the circumstances. The little brother made a short stay of days or weeks and I, being the weaker, was left behind.

Read the full story in Milltown Memories. If this or other stories stirs a memory, we'd be happy to know - send us your memories and comments.