My name is Malcolm Street and I have spent 25 or so years researching the village of Greenhow Hill. Over this time I have amassed a large collection of material, including photographs, history, mine plans, maps, recollections of local people etc.
Many people have suggested that I write a book on the area, but I have resisted this as I do not have enough material to write at length on any given topic, however in collaboration with a number of like minded people through the Greenhow Local History Club, we have recently published a book entitled “Life on the Hill”. Most of the mining side has been covered by the late Michael Dickinson, and more recently by Mike Gill in 1998 in British Mining No 60, The Greenhow Mines (Northern Mine Research Society)
With the advent of the internet, it seemed to be a good idea to publish all that I have discovered by means of a web site. This information could be of use to historians, genealogists and anyone with an interest in the village and the area in general.
How my interest came about is as follows:
Greenhow has always fascinated me. As a child in the 1960’s, my mother used to take us kids out for the day and a favourite place was by the stream side near Hoodstorth, just off the Stonehouse to Greenhow road. The road sign at the junction used to point towards a place called Greenhow Hill a few miles away, somewhere in the mist.
In the ’70s, as a young man, I became interested in the lead mining industry and was catching the old X70 bus from Leeds as far as Burnsall. Walking and exploring the mines on Appletreewick Pasture and Trollers Gill naturally led me towards Greenhow. I could just get there and back for the same bus back.
A year or two later found myself and a workmate catching a bus to Pateley Bridge on a Friday evening, straight from work, walking up Greenhow Hill, and camping in the field behind the Miners Arms where we spent many a happy evening drinking, playing pool and talking by night and exploring the mines by day. Most of the properties on Greenhow we either derelict or still lived in by the descendants of the people who worked the mines.
Greenhow attracts many different people; Arthur used to travel up from Otley every weekend, sun, rain or snow, and we became firm friends. Arthur had rented Duck Street Cottage for many years and we eventually started staying there. The cottage was an amazing place, the date above the door was 1673, there was no electric or gas and the water was run-off from the roof. Paul arrived with big plans to re-open Cockhill Mine, Arthur moved out into his own self-contained caravan on a nearby farm, and Steve turned up and became part of the gang.
By this time Steve and myself were doing an “Arthur” – travelling up every Friday night after work and staying until late Sunday or leaving early Monday straight for work. Paul was living there full time. Many of the Greenhow families at this time were moving out of their cottages and farms, which were rented, and moving down to Pateley Bridge where the weather is less harsh and amenities more plentiful.
In time we had to move out of Duck Street Cottage, Paul found lodgings in Bewerley and we were ‘homeless’ for a while until, with the help of friends in the village, we managed to get a short-term lease on Hillside Farm from Mountgarret Estates while the property was being sold. All the empty and derelict property on Greenhow was being sold off by the Estate and our lease came to an end eventually, we were homeless once more.
For a while, we stopped with “Squatter Pete” who was living at Wayside Cottage which was derelict at the time. We had met during the Hillside days and become friendly. He agreed to provide us with floor space at weekends should we need it, however after a short period of time there was friction between us so we moved out.
There was now no accommodation to be had at Greenhow, we went to stop with Paul at Crust Towers in Bewerley. By this time various members of the gang had moved on, and by the time Paul left for Weardale, I was the only one left. I spent the next couple of years in a tent (at weekends only you understand?) in a friend’s field at Greenhow. Work and home life were becoming busier and busier and my visits less and less until they stopped altogether.
Some 8 years were to pass, with only occasional visits to the Hill, when I heard, quite by chance, of the existence of the Greenhow Local History Club. Now my passion for the Hill has been kindled anew. It’s easy to see why people fall in love with the place. The village is the highest in Yorkshire at 1300 feet above sea level and the views can be breath-taking; so too can the weather in winter. It can be blowing a howling gale with blizzard conditions and snowdrifts up to 10 foot high, while Pateley Bridge, some 3 miles away and 1000 feet lower basks in the sun.
Please feel free to contact me if there is anything you want to know, or if you can contribute to the site in any way. The site can be used for anything to do with Greenhow, whether it be current or historical. Please do get in touch by using the contact form on this site.