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Bacup’s earliest quarries were small, worked by only two or three men at a time, but as  the demand for stone increased, larger quarries developed. The largest of these quarries  in 1840 was situated on Rochdale Road; behind what is today’s Maden Centre and  former Bacup swimming baths on Bath Street. Smith & Pilkington were working from this  quarry in 1875 as stone merchants and contractors carrying out such construction  projects as the West Kirby reservoir in 1881. It is thought by people more experienced  than me that it was from this quarry and one situated at Bankside that most of the stone  for the early buildings in Bacup came from these two quarries.   The quarry at Bankside was known as Bankhouse Quarry, the entrance to it was via the  road that once led to Plantation Street, known as Delph Lane. The lease for this quarry  ended in 1896. Deerplay quarry was in use prior to 1844 and is listed as producing flags,  pierpoints, slate, wall stones, fence stones, slop stones, shelves, window tops and  bottoms, steps and risers and road stones.   Other quarries, producing stone up to and throughout the 1840s and onwards, were  situated at Heald, Sharneyford and Stacksteads. Some of the largest quarries in the  Stacksteads area were Rakehead, Brandwood, Frost Holes, Greens and Lee.   Henry Heys a bookkeeper and the son of a farmer from Lower Cockham had moved with his parents to Rakehead between 1851 and 1861  where his father, also called Henry, was farming and dealing in stone. Father Henry was apparently known as“Old Harry” and it is said he was  able to calculate just by looking, exactly how much stone would be needed, to complete a building, something he had done in the case of  Rossendale Mill, Ilex Mill and India Mill, where on a visit to meet with Mr Edward Hoyle and his surveyor, he was accompanied by Henry and  Henry’s friend Richard Siddall.  Old Harry began walking around the proposed site of the new mill. On being asked what he was doing he replied: “Well, we thought we had a  couple of hours to spare so we could measure up”. Mr Hoyle’s surveyor on hearing this gasped and said that it would take at least three weeks  to do the measurements. “I’ll bet thee four baggings it doesn’t”, said Henry, “write it down Dick, we can finish in an hour”. Despite the surveyors'  reservations, Henry’s method proved true and all the more astonishing because Henry was unable to read or write.  Prior to the opening of the mainline railway the quarried stone was moved by horse and cart. Ropes and sheer brute force of the quarrymen, or  brownbacks as they were called, being used to hold back the waggon loads of stone as they traversed the steep slopes of Rakehead. By the  end of 1869, the Heys were working out of Brandwood quarry and using a mineral railway to move the stone from the quarry face to the sidings  that ran alongside the main branch line.   By the time of his death on 28th March 1889 Henry owned quarries at Brandwood, Facit,  and Hambledon  leaving a total estate worth £104.2s.6d. In 1900 eleven years after his  death the company Messrs Henry Heys and Sons purchased the brickworks formerly  belonging to the County Brick & Tile Company Rakehead.  The brickworks were situated opposite Dove Villas, which, incidentally, took its name from  a collection of dove-cotes and aviaries that once stood there owned by Mr James  Worswick prior to the houses being erected. Two years later on the 4th November 1902,  son Henry died at his home Stacksteads-bungalow Thornton, Cleveleys leaving an estate  of £26981.2s.1d at which time a limited company was formed. In 1915 the brickworks  which had supplied the bricks to build Ross Mill was put up for sale. Two years later in  1917, the chimney which had reached a height of 114 feet and was constructed out of  90,000 bricks was demolished.   Another Stacksteads quarry owner and friend of Henry was the man mentioned  previously, Richard Siddall. Richard was described as one of the heaviest men in the  locality at the time, weighing 26 stones and over 6ft in height.   Born in Crawshawbooth the son of a bookkeeper, Richard was working as a quarryman when he went into partnership with James Ashworth a  builder from Blackwood until about 1872 when the partnership ended. By 1891 Richard had moved to Blackpool, where he died on the 16th  Septemeber 1898, at which time he either owned or tenanted quarries at Lee, Frost Holes, Bunkers Hill Greens Moor and Law Head along with  a brickworks, polishing mill and a flag dressing shed situated at Law Head. It is said that the stone to build Robert Munns Stacksteads mill  came from Law Head which at the time was being worked by Henry Turner and Robert Munn.   Following Richard’s death in 1898 he left an estate worth £28045. 6s.2d, his wife Mary Jane dying almost exactly a month after Richard on the  16th October 1898. The business was carried on by his three executors which were his brother Henry and sons James Matthew and David  Henry. Exposed locations with severe weather conditions made for a very rugged tough type of man.  A quarryman would never admit to being cold  even when his hands were frozen to the stone, due to indestructible pride. In bad weather the men could not work and there was no pay for  time not worked, newly quarried stone could not be worked in frosty weather. It was not uncommon for men to be laid off for weeks at a time  during a long cold spell in winter. One such occasion occurred in February 1895 when the weather in the whole of the country was very severe  described in the local and national papers of the time as Arctic Conditions, the quarrymen of Stacksteads and Whitworth were laid off for  several weeks receiving a payment of £1 per week from quarryman's association. It seems from census returns and enquiries made to me that  quite a lot of the Quarrymen of Stacksteads were of Irish descent,  and the four main areas in  Stacksteads which they lived appear to be  Taylorholme, Sandholes Row now known as Bankfield Street, Huttock End and the Blackwood Road area.   A Typical quarryman's work attire was thick corduroy trousers tied just below the knee with string wearing them like this allowed the trousers to  be kept baggy around the knee allowing for easier bending. A pair of big heavy clogs or hobnailed boots a tie tied around the neck no collar and  a heavy jacket.  Another club named the Brandwood Labourers Accident Club had been set up by 1888.  The club was described as an “exceptional institution  for the quarrymen and labourers of the district”. The members of the club paid sixpence a month in the event that a member met with an  accident he would receive 10s per week for the first six months and 5s per week for the next six months. Previous to the club if a quarryman  had a severe accident a collection was passed around his workmates to help the man's family. During the year 1887-1888 the club had paid out  £93.15s and the club had 396 members. Accidents were common especially to the newcomer quite often an injured quarryman would wake up  to find himself in the pub awaiting the services of the local Doctor, and it wasn't  unusual for many a Quarryman's wife  and even in some cases his children to be in  need of the Doctors services suffering from punishment the quarryman had  inflicted.  Unfortunately, the brownbacks reputation wasn’t helped when the following story  appeared in the Bacup Times in March 1881.   On Saturday last a number of the pigeon flying, cock-fighting, gambling,  dog- racing,  fraternity-indeed a large number of the scum of Stacksteads  met at a familiar haunt, and added to their multifarious amusements that  of a man and dog fight. Most of our readers are doubtless aware that at  Stacksteads there is a considerable proportion of the rough element. One  of the most notorious of this class is a big, burly, and ferocious looking  individual, who occasionally varies the monotony of his everyday life by  drinking, fighting, and not infrequently does he go through the  performance of worrying and eating rats, to the great delight of his  associates. Occasionally he tries his teeth on pots and plates, whilst to  him cow heel bones are as ordinary food. Not long ago this individual  chewed and swallowed a tot glass, in a well frequented tap room, the circumstances forming an interesting subject of study  for several of the younger members of the medical profession. Such a thing as throwing up the sponge is it is said, entirely  unknown to him. His last adventure took place on the above named day, when he tackled an animal almost as ferocious as  himself.   Abulldog named Joe, and he has come off conqueror. The dog is noted for his prowess in combats with his canine neigbours  and his master who by the way was on the spree turned in at the headquarters of the cock and dog fighting fraternity and  being under the influence of liquor, and in a talkative mood, he at once proceeded to recount the adventures of his wonderful  dog, and in the course of his wild rhetoric offered to back the dog against the champion of live rats, glasses and bones, a  challenge which was no sooner given than it received a ready response. The agreement being that the dog should have the  same chances as he would if pitted against another member of the canine species, whilst the man was to have his hands  fastened before him, and fight with his mouth. The burly looking fellow descended to the same level of the brute, and on his  hands and knees, he waited for the attack of the dog. The latter on being unmuzzled was hounded on by the spectators, and  the fearful combat began. The struggle was brief but nevertheless a fearful one. The man espied his opportunity and, and  seizing the brute by the right ear, with his powerful teeth, he pinned it to the floor and “worried” it in such a manner that it’s  boasting master “threw up the sponge”. The dog is well known in the neighbourhood of the Stacksteads stone quarries and  carries upon its hide the scars of many a tough battle.    Today there are strict health and safety rules that have to be abided by in any workplace but in the workplaces of our ancestors, there were few if any and therefore accidents were common.  In order to get the quarried stone from the workings at Brandwood quarry to the railway siding at  Atherton Holme a tramway was used.  The tramway had to cross Blackwood Road and this often posed a danger to the residents of Blackwood  Road as well as the brownbacks and contractors working in the quarry. When a wagon was loaded and ready to be sent down the steep incline  the engineman would blow a whistle to let the signalman who would be at the bottom of the line and any residents know that a wagon was  about to be set off. After checking the line was clear the brakesman would then let off the brake and the wagon would begin its run taking four  or five seconds to reach the crossing on Blackwood Road.  The only safety feature on the line was something called a scutch, which if used  before a wagon reached it could derail the wagon thereby stopping its descent. Unfortunately if the wagon had passed this point there was no  way to stop the wagon hitting whatever was in the way. On December 15th 1888 this happened to be a 44-year-old man by the name of Robert  Ashworth Dearden.  Robert a contractor was helping another contractor to lead his horse over the crossing in the road when he was hit by a  wagon carrying seven tons of flags. The resulting impact threw him onto the line whereupon the wagon ran over him decapitating his head from  his body. With an abundance of pubs in the area, it is hardly surprising the brownback often spent his entire wages in the pun then found himself up in  front of the Magistrate a selection of accident reports and court reports can be read by clicking the links.  
Lee Mill Quarry William Henry Amyes quarryman at Henry Heys Typical brownbacks