Seymour Hill

Seymour Hill

“16:  Seymour Hill.  A row of stately terraced houses climbing up North Road.  To the right can be seen the bay window and flagpole of the Wesleyan Manse on Robinson Terrace.  At the bottom of the hill is Wilkinson’s grocers.  Mr. Wilkinson kept a couple of cows in a field at the top of Seymour Hill to  provide milk to sell in the shop.  About 1906.”

From “Loftus in old picture postcards” by Jean Wiggins. Reproduced by permission.

The ‘Ebenezer’ Chapel

Ebenezer Chapel“15: Children outside the ‘Ebenezer’ Congregational Chapel, built in 1827, in North Road, then called Lamb’s Lane. It accommodated 180 people and over the doorway was an inscription: ‘si deus a nobis est qui contra nos?’ which in English means: ‘if God is with us who shall be against us?’ The church was rebuilt in 1906 on the site of a former monumental mason’s yard at the corner of West Road and Westfield Terrace to accommodate many more people and the ‘Ebenezer’, when disused, later became the Parish Hall.”

From “Loftus in old picture postcards” by Jean Wiggins. Reproduced by permission.

North Road, Loftus

North Road

“14: It is hard to believe now that North Road (earlier called Lamb’s Lane) was once the main thoroughfare of Loftus.  In years past there was a pawnbroker’s, a dress shop, greengrocer’s, butcher’s shop and slaughterhouse, the Catholic Social Club, a stable for the firemen’s horse and Wilkinson’s grocers.  This photograph was taken about 1910.  The shop sign up the street says:  ‘W. H. Hodgson , Horses Shoes and Saddlery.’”

From “Loftus in old picture postcards” by Jean Wiggins. Reproduced by permission.

Loftus Post Office

Loftus Post Office

“13: Loftus Post Office was situated in the High Street, next to Willis the butchers (now Reg Bells).  The window below the sign can still be seen.  The Post Office later moved to a shop next to The National Provincial Bank, expanded to take over the chemist next door and afterwards moved to its present position on the site of the 18th century Red Lion Inn.  In 1840 the Post Office was in The Golden Lion.  Letters arrived at 10.30 a.m. and were despatched at 1.45 p.m.”

From “Loftus in old picture postcards” by Jean Wiggins. Reproduced by permission.

Skinningrove Silver Band

Skinningrove Silver Band

“12: In Loftus a band contest was organised in conjunction with the Wool Fair.  Up until 1859 only small local bands were in  competition.  John Holinshead was sent to report on one assembly of five bands in The Golden Lion by Charles Dickens, who later wrote an article entitled ‘A Musical Prize-fight’.  From the mid-1860s and 1870s bands came from as far as the West Riding of Yorkshire, including the Black Dyke Mills Band, who became amateur veterans of a hundred victorious campaigns to compete at the contest which was held in a field near The Station Hotel.  Later the contest declined and as its popularity waned once again only small local bands competed.  Soon there were too many bands and not enough musicians and only a few of the best bands survived.”

From “Loftus in old picture postcards” by Jean Wiggins. Reproduced by permission.

Loftus Wool Fair

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“11: Loftus Fair was at its peak in the late 1800s.  Many more houses were being built in the area to accommodate the growing influx of miners and ironworkers from the three kingdoms of England, Ireland and Scotland.  Perhaps, because of the different nationalities, the spirit of competition was very strong in all leisure activities at this time and sheep shearing matches and trials of strength always sparked off friendly rivalry.  There were swinging boats and a roundabout in the Market Place to delight the children, quoits were played behind The Station Hotel and a brass band competition was held in a nearby field.  The Fair continued until the 1930s, but by this time depression had struck, enthusiasm had waned and the Fair was, sadly, abandoned.”

From “Loftus in old picture postcards” by Jean Wiggins. Reproduced by permission.

 

Loftus Wool Fair

Loftus Wool Fair

10: The annual Loftus Wool Fair began on the Friday nearest the 25th of June  and lasted for two days.  No one can pinpoint when the Fair started, though it may have medieval origins.  The emphasis was on agriculture at this fair, farm machinery was on display to tempt the farmers to buy and there was a livestock sale on the field at the back of the Catholic Church.  Bales of wool changed hands at the Golden Lion and farmers’ wives brought produce to sell.”

From “Loftus in old picture postcards” by Jean Wiggins. Reproduced by permission.

Working Ladies

Three Working Ladies9: Mrs. Pinkney, Mrs. Cockburn and Mrs. Jefferson in King’s Yard (formerly behind Pear Tree House), 1891.  It is almost certain that the ladies were working at the Angel Inn when this photograph was taken.  King’s Yard was also known as Hebron’s Yard after the owners of Pear Tree House.  The cottages in the yard were very small, just one room upstairs and downstairs.  It is said that the local witch, Molly Cole,  lived here in a house with a stable door.  She was reputed to be able to take the form of a hare and avoid capture by dogs by leaping over the door into the safety of her home.”

From “Loftus in old picture postcards” by Jean Wiggins. Reproduced by permission.

Market Place, Loftus

The Market Place

“8: Loftus Market was the centre of commerce for the surrounding villages.  Everything could be bought, from tin baths to cheese.  Crowds gathered round the brightly lit shops in the High Street and wandered among the stalls spending their hard-earned money.  Farmers would sell their produce and buy what they needed and men and women looked for employment as labourers or servants.  Dodds shop, to the left, was previously McKenzies general dealers and later became a Working Men’s Club, Labour Exchange and Council Offices over this century.  Next is a chemist, a post office and The National Provincial bank.  A grocer’s shop, ‘Sayers’ and a barbers occupy the ground floor of the Old Hall, which was the home of the Lords of the Manor until Robert Dundas built his new hall in 1840.  Note the glass conservatory on the first floor of the Angel Inn.”

From “Loftus in old picture postcards” by Jean Wiggins. Reproduced by permission.

Arbroath House, Loftus

Arbroath House

“7: A maidservant and a gardener stand in this sunlit view of the rear of Arbroath House.  Built in the 1830s this building was replaced in the 20th Century by a new taller house with bay windows, but its name stayed the same.  More recently it was bought by a speculative builder and converted into two shops with flats above, but it is still called Arbroath House.  Mrs. Askew and Mrs. Nellie S. Middleton served strawberry teas in this garden in aid of the NSPCC, of which Mrs. Middleton was one of the first secretaries in this area.”

From “Loftus in old picture postcards” by Jean Wiggins. Reproduced by permission.