Childhood Memories of the Bakery at Old Gate

Excerpts from Audrey Mills' evocative article
which features in the latest issue:

Bakery at Old Gate

Audrey's exquisite drawing of her former family home,
demolished along with Buttress Brink in 1967

My father, uncle and paternal grandparents moved to 25 Old Gate, Hebden Bridge, from Charlestown in the 1920s. On her marriage to my father in 1931, my mother joined them. I was born there in September 1933, and lived there until my marriage in 1955.

From this address my mother, father and grandparents ran Lord's bakers and confectioners business, along with a general grocery; before the war my father also delivered bread all over the district.

Bakery at Old Gate

Lord's Bakery, Old Gate, Hebden Bridge, was typical of dozens of long-gone little shops which served the community so well. Audrey's mum stands in the doorway, together with the family dog.

The bakery was situated on the left hand side of the house and had a large, coke-fired oven directly underneath my bedroom. Consequently it was always warmer than the rest of the house. The shop was directly opposite the Hole in the Wall.

There was a stone set into the wall nearest the shop doorway with a date of 1600 something, but we never found out if the house was built then or if it was just a stone that had been used. The deeds were lost in an air raid on Manchester.

I had a very happy childhood, much of which was spent playing around Old Gate and The Buttress. During the war, especially when it was double summer time, children played out until late in the evening and even when it was darker weather there was no worry about where you were - you were safe.

We used to run along the narrow passage between my house and those at the bottom part of The Buttress - one elderly resident in particular used to come out and shake her fist at us! It was a warren of passages, with houses at different levels. I always found the long entrance, a fairly narrow ginnel, quite scary.

I know many local people say there was a permanent dark cloud over Hebden Bridge from all the mill chimneys but my recollection is of a happy place to live and grow up in, where I knew most of the people and they knew me.

Read the full story in Milltown Memories, issue 6. If this or other stories stirs a memory, we'd be happy to know - send us your memories and comments.