This last week I was the guest speaker to a ladies’ group at the Hove Edge Bowling Club where I presented one of my new powerpoint talks ‘Crow Nest and Beyond’.
Many of the ladies, like myself, could remember the old Crow Nest mansion when it was in ruins during the 1960s.
Visiting the club on what was probably one of the wettest nights for quite some time I did notice that some of the diehard bowlers were out on the green defying the rain.
This 1907 photograph was taken outside the Hove Edge Bowling Club pavilion with barely a handful of men in sight. This was obviously a day for the ladies.
They are all dressed in their best and what a fine display of hats.
Looking closely at the photograph there are some very small children sitting with parents, or could they be grandparents? I am sure many of these people posing on a summer’s day will no doubt have relatives in Hove Edge and could posssibly make up some of the club’s present day membership.
What kind of place was Hove Edge in those days? Looking through the 1901 census shows that most of the male population were employed in the stone industry, with just a few still working the land.
This was of course due to the Joseph Brooke’s Nonslip Stone Works and the many quarries in and around Hove Edge at that time.
There were quarry workers, flag facers and many other jobs involved directly in extracting stone from the ground but there was also the ancillary workers, as well, just to keep these workers going.
There would be an engineering section, the office - that looked after all the orders, the trains and the track work. In its hey-day this was a massive company. Boys from the village, would know exactly where they would be going to work when it was time to leave school.
This was a community that grew up around this company and the village had to provide housing, schooling, people’s spiritual needs, shopping facilities and inevitably a place where the men could get a drink after work.
Of course leisure – hmm, was there such a word as leisure in 1907? – came in the form of Sunny Vale down in the Walterclough Valley.
Returning to my visit to the club, I was made very welcome by the ladies’ group and from the feedback I received after the presentation I certainly look forward to visiting again in the future.