Dalton

Dalton Magna, Dalton Parva,

Dalton Brook.

A Personal Website by

John Doxey.

Main Photo Content Jonathan Dabbs

 

 

 

 

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DALTON BROOK 1906

 

 

Photo Courtesy Brian Eyre1906 Silverwood Colliery was now producing coal and the Dalton Main Colliery Co. had decided to provide housing for the workforce employed by the company. They also owned the Roundwood Colliery near Aldwarke, both mines would employ more than 3,000 men. Nearby the  village of Denaby had been built to house the men employed at Denaby Colliery so the scheme at Dalton was not new in concept. It was a necessity for the mine to bring into the area the amount of men required to produce the expected output, and it also was a further income for the Dalton Main Company from rents.

 

Herbert Mollekin a builder of Maltby was employed to construct the houses and the deal was this, Herberts wife Bertha Mollekin was to purchase the land in Dalton upon which the houses were to be built.

Architect E. Hutchinson and son of 18, Howard St., Rotherham were asked to design these simple dwellings. Originally there were to be 178 houses erected, but after several discussions and surveying of the area the final number was 224 dwellings.

These 224 dwellings would be rented to the miners and Dalton Main were to lease the houses from Mollekin the builder, the lease was until 1948 at 10 10s per year per house. The lease of each dwelling was undertaken only when each dwelling had passed inspection, and classified as ready for habitation.

The maintenance of these houses was to be the mine companies responsibility and so tradesmen were employed on a full time basis, and they operated out of a yard [ Millhouse]  on Doncaster road Dalton. Rents were also collected there.

 

As part of the agreement the bricks used in construction would be provided by the Silverwood Colliery brickyard at 0. 22s per thousand, the boundary walls would be capped by half round brick toppers. These houses were in rows each pair sharing one yard, within the yard can be seen the outhouse which contained back to back outside toilets and coal houses, with a garbage area in-between.  Initially the toilets were the old thunder boxes with a container beneath, these containers would be emptied by a man employed for that purpose, we will leave his job title bestowed upon him by residents to your own imagination! Eventually drainage was implemented and everyone breathed a sigh of relief as you can imagine the stench when the bins were emptied.

With the implementation of " Proper toilets" was the practically maintenance free cast iron syphonic  cistern, they clanged, they rattled, but unlike today's plastic cisterns they gave years of maintenance free usage. If the flushing arm eventually stuck with rust you just dropped a little magic vinegar on the pivot and the problem was solved. Unfortunately the arrival of a sewage system brought with it a new problem, blocked drains, made worse by the fact that with the back yards and the laneway being asphalted the ensuing river of sewage flowing to the nearest stormwater drain was worse than the river of blood from the Ghostbuster movies. The unsuspecting partaker of liquid amber  returning home at night would paddle through this river before the realisation hit them that it was not just water trickling beneath their feet. As an old plumber I used to know would always comment " And that my dear is the price of  progress!" Mind you there was one good thing about these outside toilets and that was the good old wooden seat which was a godsend in wintertime.

The toilet and coalhouse walls and ceilings were whitewashed [ Lime washed ].

The windows were sash windows, some of which were replaced in later years with modern [ At the time ]timber frame hinged windows. The sash windows would often seize up or the sashcord would break in later years.

In side the houses had the old copper boiler for washing clothes, and a fireplace in four rooms. Also incorporated was the good old Yorkshire range fireplace and oven combined with pivoting stands on the side of the fire to place pots on for cooking purposes.

The roofs were sound in structure with good quality redwood laths supporting the best quality Bangor slates copper nailed individually to the laths. Back then cow hair was used as a bonding material in wall rendering and the under sealing of roof slates, and the Dalton houses contained this method.

 

THE LAST HOUSES STANDING

Google Earth imagePrior to 1906 Dalton had relatively few inhabitants. There were 224 houses constructed to provide accommodation for the expected number of miners, but these small dwellings did not just house one family, most people who actually held the tenancy sublet rooms to lodgers thus increasing the population by more than the expected amount.  

 

Now you may wonder why the walls to divide the yards, well I believe they were placed there so that the good womenfolk had something to lean on whilst having a good old gossip session, they were also a deterrent against adults chasing kids who had been up to mischief. They were also a great aid to the menfolk returning home from the pub as they were something to lean on and guide you from the gate to the door.

Many lifelong friendships were made between the lodgers and the people who held the tenancy, though often the lodger would move himself and his family into their own place after awhile, the bond remained. 

Eventually the houses were purchased by Rotherham council, today 2006 there are just a couple of these houses still remaining which are on Doncaster Road [ House front ]and Saville St. [ House Side ][ See Google Earth image above ].

 

 

See also

Streets for a listing of people who occupied the above houses.

 Reflections A poem by Danny Squires

 photos   by John Ward.

 

 

 

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