The Great Snowstorm, Christmas 1906

Leeds Mercury, 27 December, 1906, British Newspaper Archive.

People were tobogganing at Ilkley, skating on the Mere at Scarborough and photographing snow-covered trees in the Gorge at Roundhay Park after the Great Snowstorm of Christmas 1906.

Despite the snow, a large crowd turned out to watch the annual Fishermen versus Firemen football match on the beach at South Bay, Scarborough.

My thanks to Gordon Berry of Chicago for sending me this photograph of work to clear the tram tracks between Wakefield and Horbury. I’ve seen another photograph, presumably taken at the same time, of an electric tram making progress through the drifts.

Gordon’s grandparents and their family lived at  Smeath House, Horbury, in the early 1900s (later, in the 1950s and 1960s, Smeath House was my childhood home).

Leeds Mercury, 27 December, 1906, British Newspaper Archive.

Gordon tells me:

My grandfather’s family (Alfred Edward Berry and Fanny Albiia Murgatroyd) lived at Smeath House from at least 1906 till 1909. My father was the third son, Henry Vernon, born in Huddersfield in 1901.  The fourth and youngest child was Cynthia Berry born at Smeath House in 1909.

My brother John Berry was a medical doctor as a GP  in Horbury and Ossett (he retired about 15 years ago and died 2 years ago) – his practice went all the way through to Netherton.  He said when he first got there , some old people remembered the Berry family.

Alfred Edward Berry (right), with his sons Henry (in front of Alfred) and Rex (centre, behind the dog’s tail).

I am pretty sure that some of the boys in the photo are my father Henry Vernon Berry, his older brother Rex (Reginald), and their father Alfred Edward Berry.

The man leaning on his shovel behind Rex might have been part of the team clearing snow from the tram tracks.

I am sure they were in Kristiania (now Oslo) in Norway from 1910 to 1914. I have a record of Rex being at Pannal Ash school Harrogate in the school year 1910-11, recorded as a boarder in the 1911 census, plus a letter to the family in Kristiania in February 1914. Since I cannot find the family anywhere in the 1910 census, they must have gone to Norway then. They certainly returned before the outbreak of World War I.  

Has this young man on the far left been marking the route with flags?

Presumably, Alfred Edward was a mill or brewery manager in Horbury. 

 In later years, Daddy still knew a few phrases of Norwegian, and he also learned to ski and to ice-skate in Norway (occasionally there was enough ice on Bretton Park Lake for us to watch him to skate). There was also a Norwegian plaque on the wall of our parents’ bedroom in Louisville.

 There is a family story that Alfred Edward was a golf-pro at Filey Golf Club when they returned from Norway – he apparently had an excellent golf handicap of 1.

Wakefield Road, Horbury

I believe the photograph shows what today is the Horbury Road, looking southwest towards Horbury. Just visible in the background are two tall chimneys which might belong to Richard Sutcliffe’s Universal Works. Sutcliffe patented the first conveyor belt for use in coal mines in  1905. He bought a former dyehouse here and in that year produced his first six belt conveyors here for Glass Houghton Colliery.

The present day Horbury Road dips under the M1 motorway here.

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