LOWDOWN ON LOW HOLE BOTTOM
Price: £695,000 Contact: Carter Jonas. Tel: 01423 523423. LOW Hole Bottom is two miles from Pateley Bridge, but sits in idyllic, sheltered countryside. It dates to 1780s when it was four cottages and is now a large home with an attached two-bedroom cottage.
The main house has an entrance conservatory with views over the front garden. It also has a sitting room, dining room, breakfast kitchen, cloakroom/utility room, games room and a study.
There are four double bedrooms, a bathroom and a shower room.
Outside, there is a garage, a south-facing walled and lawned garden and stream and a rear wild garden. could do most things better than anybody else. He could “put a horse and cart on their backs”, he could make a horseshoe into a corkscrew; he could pick a man up by the seat of his trousers and hold him out with a straight arm. It was he who “smashed to smithereens” a punching tester at the Pateley feast.
But he was a gentle giant, as an old local history book with a chapter entitled “t’oade ‘uns upuv Greeho’” (old ones up above Greenhow), recounts.
“Bin hardly ever took offence or got mad. Though some things did make him mad. He would never stand by and see a man thrashing a kid or his missus.”
Bin would do almost anything for anyone, which made him popular in the mines where he did the work of two men and was always chosen for the toughest jobs. When wagons came off the mine rails, he lifted them back single handed.
So when the pump failed one day in 1895 and the mine began to flood, he stepped in and hand- operated it for 36 perishing hours, waist deep in icy cold water, while a fresh part was made for the pump. The mine and jobs were saved but Bin paid a heavy price.
Rheumatism racked his body and although he was only in his fifties, he never worked again. Reliant on crutches and a wheelchair, he stayed at Low Hole and lived on his savings for 13 years before being supported by the rates.
“The pains in his body were such that perspiration pearled on his forehead and ran down his face, but never an outcry,” says the history book’s author, who reveals that despite the agony, Bin never complained.
“He was never happier than when, every second Sunday afternoon, his neighbours, humble like himself, arranged for the local preacher to hold services in his kitchen.
“The neighbours were good to him and few passed his door without throwing him a word or two. Sometimes they would have a chat and ‘reek’ a pipe.”
One of his happiest moments was when a good friend and former miner came to stay with him to celebrate his birthday. On the morning, Bin wheeled himself to the front door and saw the rock with the inscription “God is Love”. His friend had risen early and carved it for him. The author reveals: “It cheered his last days before he died. I look at it and think of Bin, whose heart was so great, so noble, so fine.”
Roger Tushingham thinks so too. “People told me the story when I bought the house in 1977 and I started looking into it and found a picture of Bin on the internet. He is sitting in what is now the end of my lounge.
“He died in 1915, but the story hasn’t been forgotten not least because of that carved rock.”
Roger bought Low Hole Bottom after it had been converted from a youth hostel.
“I’ve had a few people knock on the door who remember staying in it in the 1950s and 60s, and enjoying a lovely time,” he says.
He is only leaving after 34 years because he is relocating his windsurfing sail manufacturing business to Devon.
“I’ve loved living here and I honestly thought I’d be here for ever, but it’s got to the point where I am spending most of my time on the M5 and it makes sense to move,” says Roger.
“The person I bought the house from modernised the place but they did such an exceptional job that it still retains all the old character and features.
And while they don’t make them like Bin Hannam anymore, Roger reports that there still plenty of characters in “them there hills”.
“There are still a lot of interesting characters in this area thank goodness,” says Roger. “It’s that kind of place.”
LOCAL HERO: Low Hole Bottom was formerly four cottages, one of which was home to lead miner Benjamin “Bin” Hannam, above.