|Sir Isaacs Walk, Colchester|
© Copyright David Hawgood and
licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
|Milnrow from the air in 1926|
Milnrow, near Rochdale, is close to the border between Lancashire and Yorkshire, with the Pennines and Saddleworth moor as a backdrop. The stony hills produce sheep rather than crops. It was once a woollen weaving area, until the industrial revolution brought cotton spinning mills, drawn by the abundant supply of water and damp atmosphere. The cotton mills are all closed now, but in the 1920's, the chimneys of Milnrow's many operating mills would have been a prominent feature of the landscape.
|Dale St, Milnrow|
© Copyright David Dixon [under a CC licence], via Wikimedia Commons
Many of my grandfather's relatives worked in the mills. What did my grandmother make of their north country way of speaking and relating? What did they make of my grandmother, with her 'southern' accent and Salvation Army upbringing? Strangely, it had not occurred to me before I visited Essex that my grandmother would have had a different accent to those around her when she arrived in Milnrow. I don't remember her sounding 'different' when I knew her as a child, so perhaps she gradually took on the local accent. Or perhaps I just didn't notice.
She certainly left the Salvation Army to join the local C of E church, though whether willingly or in deference to my grandfather I don't know. As far as I'm aware she became part of the Milnrow community. But how different the culture and environment must have seemed when she first arrived. And how little we know or think about our parents' and grandparents' background until it's too late to ask them.