Living conditions in Ickornshaw 1904.

John Henry Bancroft



Several months ago I wrote a long article about John Henry Bancroft and his sons who were servicing in the Great War, and I recently came across some more information about him that may be of interest to my readers.

A report in the local newspaper in April 1904 describes the house he was living in at number 14 Ickornshaw near Cowling.
Apparently the local medical officer of health, Dr Atkinson, was most concerned about the living conditions in this house, which at the time was occupier by John Henry, his family and a lodger…a total of nine people in accommodation, which consisted of one living room and two bedrooms!
The properly was owned by a Mr Ben Snowden of Fold Lane and was occupied rent free by John Henry, but was is such a dilapidated state that Dr Atkinson asked the Clerk to the Council to obtain an order to close the house as it was ‘unfit for human habitation’
Here is a brief description of the state of the property:

· There were no gutters or fall pipes to the back of front
· The roof is not in good condition.
· It has damp walls and was earthed up at the back to a depth of over a yard
· There are no drains from the house
· There is no water supply to the house.
· The ventilation in the house is not good.
· There is a pail-closet in a state of disrepair.
· There is an open unenclosed ash pit next to it.

I am not sure what the outcome was of the council’s actions seeking closure, but I suspect that they were successful because John Henry and his family moved to the nearby village of Silsden in January 1905, and he remained there till his death in 1931.

The row of houses fell into disuse and were then used for none inhabitable purposes. The drawing at the top shows the row, next to Ickornshaw Wesleyan Chapel, which was built in 1875. The house on the left-hand end was at the time shown as boarded-up. The house at the right-hand end was eventually a blacksmith’s shop, where horses waiting to be shod, were tethered either on the nearby gas lamp or at the end of the nearby footbridge over the beck. The row was eventually demolished sometime in the 1980’s, and a new house has recently been built on the site.

The picture below showed the row in the centre, next to the Ickornshaw Wesleyan Chapel. The Chapel is still there today, but has in recent times been converted into residential accommodation.



I am grateful to Mr Dennis Harker from Cowling, for his help with this article.
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