An ice-cream dy­nasty, rally driver caught speed­ing and Dip trip

Middleton Guardian - - BYGONE DAYS - HAROLD CUN­LIFFE

EASTER fifty eight years ago, the pa­trons of the Av­enue Cin­ema no­ticed a well dressed gen­tle­man in the foyer, but many had no idea who he was.

Oth­ers gave a ca­sual glance, think­ing that he looked fa­mil­iar. The rea­son could have been be­cause he was not dressed in his usual kit.

The well dressed gen­tle­man was none other than Nat Loft­house. If you are of a cer­tain age you will now know who I am talk­ing about. Nat, dubbed the ‘Lion of Vi­enna’, at­tended the cin­ema to hand over Easter eggs to chil­dren of the North­ern Hos­pi­tal.

Cin­ema man­ager Mr De­nis Machin or­gan­ised the event. The su­per duper eggs were pro­vided by the Van Houten choco­late com­pany, where Nat’s brother, Dick, was a rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

Staff Nurse Skin­ner and a young pa­tient called Sharon at­tended the cin­ema to ac­cept the eggs, which were trans­ported over to the hos­pi­tal. Nat Loft­house was a fa­mous Eng­land in­ter­na­tional cen­tre-for­ward.


Mr. Wil­liam Henry Tay­lor of 19 Henry Street, Park­field, was once a well-known ice-cream seller in Mid­dle­ton. ‘Bill’, as he was known, was one of four Tay­lor chil­dren, who never mar­ried.

In the early days the fam­ily wove silk hat bands in their cot­tage, then they branched out sell­ing ice-cream on Mid­dle­ton Mar­ket.

Bill bought a quan­tity of naph­tha lamps and rented these out to other stall hold­ers. To com­plete his days work he went out hawk­ing fire­wood around town at night.

The Tay­lor’s ex­tended the ice-cream busi­ness by ac­quir­ing bar­rows from which they could sell their prod­uct, the next step was the pur­chase of horses and carts to travel fur­ther afield.

When the head of the busi­ness passed away, their fa­ther David, he left a sum of money to each of his chil­dren with the ad­vice that they work hard, save hard and look af­ter one an­other.

An­other wish of their late fa­ther was that the es­tate of each child when they die should be kept in the fam­ily, it should be passed down to a brother or sis­ter.

This was car­ried out to the let­ter. One of his daugh­ters who was mar­ried left ev­ery­thing to her hus­band, but in the end it re­verted to her brother.

The last two of the Tay­lor fam­ily were Bill and David. They car­ried on the busi­ness un­til David passed away. He left ev­ery­thing to Bill.

Both broth­ers worked hard and saved hard, so Bill had enough money to live on. He sold the ice­cream busi­ness and went into re­tire­ment, but you can’t hold a worka­holic down. In his re­tire­ment he looked af­ter some garages and also sold paraf­fin in his lo­cal­ity.

Re­ports state that he had a care­ful way of liv­ing. Al­ways clean, his clothes were well worn and patched up.

He had no car­pets in his cot­tage, but the floors were al­ways kept spot­lessly clean, he lived a thrifty way of life, his only lux­ury was his tele­vi­sion.

When he was liv­ing alone his next door neigh­bour, Mrs Hilda Jones, kept a watch­ful eye on him and looked af­ter him. The sur­prise be­ing that when Bill died he left Mrs Jones £30,000. He also left her 26 year old daugh­ter £1,000, be­cause he had watched her grow up from a baby to a young woman.

In his will Mr Tay­lor left £100 each to Park­field Church, Long Street Methodist, Chapel Street Methodist Church, Rhodes and Mid­dle­ton Parish Church.

The last word on ‘Billy Tay­lor’ came from his neigh­bour, who told the Guardian that although he had lived fru­gally and sim­ply, he had never stinted him­self when it came to his fu­neral. “He wanted his fu­neral to be like his brother’s,” re­lated the neigh­bour, “and he made all the ar­range­ments him­self some time be­fore he died. It was cer­tainly was a grand af­fair.” MISS JANE One of the sis­ters to Wil­liam was Miss Jane Tay­lor, who resided at the same ad­dress.

From our ar­chive we find that she was a woman of most re­mark­able physique, be­cause in those days when the mar­ket was in the old Mar­ket Ground she would take up her stand in all sorts of weather for the sale of ice-cream.

At one time she was an ac­tive worker for Park­field church and school, be­ing a fa­mil­iar fig­ure in town. She passed away in 1942 af­ter a short ill­ness.

Her fa­ther David started the busi­ness on the mar­ket around 1870. At that time he had a ‘cok­er­nut’ shy, an ice-cream stall, plus he had the mo­nop­oly of the sup­ply of oil lamps.

His death took place in Jan­uary 1917 af­ter hav­ing spent 50 years in the ice­cream busi­ness. He was 74 when he died.

This re­port was pub­lished in the Guardian: “The late Mr Tay­lor was one of the best known fig­ures in the town, par­tic­u­larly to the amuse­ment lov­ing pub­lic whose in­ter­ests have cen­tred around the Mar­ket Ground, for the last 50 years. Here at all sea­sons of the year and un­der all kinds of con­di­tions, Mr Tay­lor has erected his ice­cream stalls and his aunt sal­lies. To­gether with this he car­ried on the work of a car­rier and al­to­gether had the rep­u­ta­tion of be­ing an ex­ceed­ingly pros­per­ous man.”

His death was sud­den, he fell down the stairs at his home af­ter suf­fer­ing an at­tack of dizzi­ness. His wife El­iz­a­beth gave ev­i­dence to the Coroner, she said: “Af­ter din­ner he went up­stairs to a work­room and shortly af­ter­wards she heard one of her daugh­ters call­ing out that he had fallen down­stairs. He never spoke a word. He was badly hurt at the back of his head and died later that same day.” Ver­dict, “Ac­ci­den­tal death.” TOO LATE Mr David Tay­lor, brother to Bill, was taken to court in 1925 for sell­ing ice-cream wafers etc dur­ing pro­hib­ited hours.

Tay­lor was in a horse drawn cart when, on Old Hall Street, two boys stopped him at 9.10pm and re­quested an ice­cream, Tay­lor obliged, which was ob­served by a po­lice con­sta­ble.

He was pros­e­cuted for sell­ing ice-cream out of hours. In court he said that milk could be sold at this time of night, but the Chair­man of the Bench said that his milk was made up into ice-cream. It was pro­hib­ited to sell his prod­uct af­ter 8pm. He was fined five shillings.

“Is It Safe”; This ques­tion was asked by Coun­cil­lor Wilde, chair­man of the Health Com­mit­tee, 1924, with the re­gard to the man­u­fac­ture of ice­cream. In the old days of sav­ing ice from the top of frozen ponds, who knows how pure the ice is? It ap­pears from our re­ports that two ran­dom sam­ples of ice-cream were taken and sent for anal­y­sis. Both sam­ples con­tained bac­cilus coli. RUN­AWAY We dis­cover ice-cream vend­ing has been around for a long time.

In 1899 a horse at­tached to an ice-cream float took fright on Hey­wood Old Road, as it is named today. The horse was bring­ing the com­mod­ity in the di­rec­tion of Manch­ester Old Road, but when it was at the bottom of the brow, it caught its feet on the kerb and took fright, dash­ing along the road at a fu­ri­ous pace.

PC Frances was in the vicin­ity and gave pur­suit.

Pes­sagno’s was a Mid­dle­ton Mar­ket favourite

The Av­enue Cin­ema. Easter eggs were given to poorly chil­dren

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