I find it remarkable that within less than a week of my hike to Old Chamber, that place with the weird name, that I was so excited to find out more about when I got home, I discovered that one of my ancestors – yes, a distant one – lived there in 1851. John Lord was born 1819 in the oddly named village of Coniston Cold near Skipton. In 1841 he was a labourer living at Old Chamber. Later that year he married Catherine Stansfield at Halifax Minster and they continued to live at Old Chamber for at least 10 years where Catherine gave birth to five children. I just can’t imagine giving birth in such an isolated place. By now John was a butcher and farmer. By 1861 they had had 2 more children and moved into the centre of Hebden Bridge – Lee’s yard, which is now where the open air market is today where I purchased cheese and fruit and vegetables wearing my mask and practicing social distancing. in 1881 he was still a butcher, now living in St George’s Square – the social centre of town with the fustian knife sculpture.

I did some delving into the history of Old Chamber and found someone from Hebden Bridge history society, Nigel Smith, actually did a dissertation on Erringden Deer Park. it’s in the archives and that means I can’t access it. But when the deer park was ‘dispaled’ – the fencing enclosing it removed, it was split into 5 farms. Old Chamber was probably the steward’s home when it was a deer park:
Watson The History and Antiquities of the Parish of Halifax, in Yorkshire. 1775
p184 Old Chamber  the habitation of Pilkington, Seneschal and Rector of Sowerbyshire most likely as it was a chambered house. One set of rooms is placed over another. Ah, so that’s how it got its name. Palace Road by the railway station is a misnomer – it was pallisade road, the pallisade being the fence around the deer park.


The second coincidence was my visit to the ruins of Lower Lumb mill yesterday where I sat for half an hour, doing a little sketch of mill chimney and bridge. And this morning I rediscovered, quite by chance, my noters on Jabez Hart and his family. Jabez had been born, like me, in Bolton, Lancashire. He was born in 1826 and married at the parish church in Bolton in 1844. In 1851 he was a factory operative living on Blackhorse Street, Bolton. Then sometime between 1861 and 1863, judging from the birthplace of his children he moved to the Calder Valley, and was living at Lower Lumb mill as a cotton carder with his wife and five children. The oldest child, also Jabez, was working in the ‘cotton blowin room,’and the other children were worker as cotton doffers and carders – even the 11 year old.

Lumb Mill School was founded in 1845 by the owners of the mill. In 1851 there was one school room, 20’ by 16’, with 34 girls and 17 boys, who were taught reading writing and arithmetic.  The children would have worked half time, with one group at school in the morning and another in the afternoon.  Half timing ended only with the Fisher Act of 1917.

In 1851 Lower Lumb Mill was advertised to let with 4000-5000 throstle spindles – interested parties were to apply to Richard Sutcliffe at Lumb Bank. (This was the son of the Richard Sutcliffe mentioned above.)

Higher Lumb Mill closed in about 1876, but Lower Lumb Mill was sold to the Lower Lumb Cotton Spinning Company who ran the mill until about 1907.

In 1894 the outbuildings included a warehouse, cottages, blacksmiths shop and lumber rooms, also a bowling green and club house.