The following is a transcript of an article from the
of 23rd August 1849.
It is a report on the probable first ever
“works outing” arranged by
Sir Titus Salt and gives
Tudor House & Bell Busk a secure place in the history of
Sir Titus Salt, Saltire and all that includes.
A Factory Turn out!
Not a “turn out” for wages, but a turn out into the countryside, is the object of this article – a turn out of upwards of 2000 of our mill hands from the smoky purlieus of Bradford into the glorious scenery of Craven. This event came to pass as follows.
The hands employed in the several mills occupied by our worthy chief magistrate, Titus Salt Esq. were informed early last week, that on the Saturday following train would be provided for them by their employer, to convey them to Skipton, or Bell Busk, the nearest station to Malham and Gordale. The information was received, as will be supposed, with unfeigned satisfaction, and was the theme of conversation all the week; earnest and sincere were the wishes that the day would be fine, and diligent the preparations of suitable clothing and refreshments for the exercise. Saturday came, and a thoroughly wet morning it was, until about ten o’clock, when the clouds cleared off, and the sun shone forth in full splendour. The hour of the departure was fixed for half past twelve, and long before that time a constant stream of factory lasses and their sweethearts, dressed in their holiday best, were seen wending it’s way through the streets towards the station of Leeds and Bradford railway. Very soon all the carriages were filled; but still the cry was “They come; they come!” Carriage upon carriage was added to the already Monster Train, which were filled as fast as they were attached; and still an anxious crowd was collected on the platform looking in vain for seats. Eventually a second train was formed, and gradually the mass of human beings was absorbed in one or other. Four bands of music attended, which played lively airs at intervals preceding the starting of the trains, and triumphal ones as the gay company passed by the chief stations of the line. Mr Salt himself, with his eldest son, and a party of private friends, occupied a first class carriage in the first train, which extended from the Passenger Station to some distance below the Goods Station, included 41 carriages, and drawn by two engines. An immense concourse of people had collected on each side of the line to witness the departure of the trains and exactly at one o’clock , amid the cheerful strains of music and the cheers of the passengers echoed by the spectators the first train moved forward on it’s journey. The second train followed it at a respectful distance, and was hailed by similar demonstrations of cordial sympathy from the spectators.
The journey was performed pleasantly and quickly, and without incident. The train stopped at Skipton for a few minutes, to give opportunity to any so disposed to stop there. Several respectable persons had assembled on the platform to behold the spectacle, amongst them Sir Charles Tempest, bart. At about a quarter past two, the first train reached Bell Busk, and long before it’s living cargo had discharged itself, the second train, which consisted of twenty seven carriages, arrived at the same stopping place.
Bell Busk is “a name,” without ” a local habitation.” A few small cottages give it the dignity of a hamlet, but there is nothing to point it out as a likely spot for a Station. There is, however, a handsome ash tree immediately behind the station-house, which cannot fail to attract the admiration of everyone who stops there. It has become a station because of it’s proximity to Malham, Kirkby, Eshton etc. The distance to Malham is five miles. It was a strange site to see more than 2,000 persons suddenly turned out in this retired spot, and to the few countrymen who had collected to witness the debarkation, it must have been strange indeed. After some little time for deliberation , the immense company gradually spread itself to the right hand and to the left – some taking this road, some that, but “all on pleasure bent.” Each person carried a little basket, containing the material for refreshment: a necessary precaution, for in such a place such a company would have made a famine in half an hour.
Part of the company only went forward to Malham – the majority were probably deterred by the distance. Those who did go, notwithstanding some severe storms of rain, which considerably dampened the pleasure, were amply repaid for their labour. The chief point of attraction here was Gordale Scarr, and about five o’clock some two or three hundred persons of both sexes had reached that wonderful Valley of Rocks. The scene was one of extreme beauty and interest, and will not soon be forgotten by those who saw it. The young people were evidently struck with the solemn grandeur and terrific sublimity of the spot; truly it was such a sight as few of them had ever seen before. This feeling of awe having passed off, the men and boys climbed up the Scar – the band collected under the overhanging precipice on the left hand side of the chasm – the rest of the company spread themselves out on the greensward in front, or climbed the projecting ledges of rock on the right hand side. The band struck up
“Weel may the boatie row,”
and having played it through, the whole assembly burst into a spontaneous cheer, which reverberated amid the lofty precipices, and called forth “one more cheer” from the delightful company. The band then played “Should auld acquaintance be forgot,” many present joining in the chorus with much feeling.
It was a pleasant sight to see so many human beings happy as they were at that moment; and the happiest of the whole company was the noble-hearted gentleman whose liberal sole had devised, and whose not less liberal hand and supplies the means of diffusing so much enjoyment amongst his fellow creatures.
More than half an hour the company lingered in this magnificent spot and at length reluctantly turned their steps homeward. At the very moment they emerged from the valley, a sudden storm of rain came on, which in a few minutes wet everyone through who was not provided with an umbrella, or could not obtain immediate shelter. This rain continued some time, and materially abridged the further pleasure of the day. But the rain, and the remembrance of it, are both passed away, and the only reminiscence we have of this day’s excursion are pleasant ones.
On the way home, through Malham, Mr Salt and his friends tarried at the Roebuck Inn, where they had a sumptuous tea provided by the landlord and accompanied by an elegant dessert from Crow Nest. By this time the shades of evening were rapidly overshadowing the scene, and all parties hastened back to the rendezvous at Bell Busk. The first train took it’s departure shortly before 8 o’clock, but it was not till 9 that the second was able to get off. Both travelled in safety back to Bradford, the latter arriving at half past ten. The band led the way from the Station, and as it passed through the streets to it’s quarters. played “God save the Queen.”
Thus ended the most unexceptional Factory Turn Out Bradford has ever witnessed. It is, we believe, the first of it’s kind, we venture to say it will not be the last. The effects of such entertainments is good – permanently good. The tend to enlarge and refine the minds, and to cement the feelings of respect and attachment which must exist between the employer and his work people who participate in them. We have read with much pleasure an address presented to Mr Salt, and signed by several of the foremen on behalf of their fellows, expressing a grateful sense of kindness which prompted this Excursion, and a warm hearted prayer that the richest blessings may ever rest upon the head and the home of their generous Master.
It would be wrong to close this notice without offering the meed of praise to the Railway authorities for the excellent arrangements and admiral discipline observed on this occasion. Every exertion was made to provide ample accommodation for the company, which far exceeded the anticipated number, and with as little delay and confusion as possible the necessary accommodation was afforded, although the difficulty of doing this was greatly enhanced by the presence of a large number of spectators who had assembled within the Station. The trains travelled at a good speed, and in perfect safety. And all will rejoice that not a single accident of the slightest kind occurred to mar the pleasure of the day.