It was most enjoyable to read Virginia Mason’s fascinating double feature on the “Toffee Town” exhibition at Bankfield Museum, marking the 75th anniversary of “Quality Street” (Courier, 12 and 14 March). Here is my own family’s story of an early connection with “Quality Street.”
I can just recall my mother’s aunt, Beatrice Roberts (1885-1961), who lived at Malvern, Worcs. Every Christmas from 1936 to 1960 she would receive a large tin of “Quality Street” from Sir Harold and Lady Mackintosh. For she was a one-time employee of the Mackintosh family, though not of the firm.
A trained nurse, specialising in childcare, but with broader capabilities, “Auntie B” was regularly employed by middle-class ladies to take over the running of their households when a baby was due. She would move in, take over the housekeeping and the administration of any staff, and arrange supervision of any older children. She might stay for a month after the birth, and help look after the new baby.
In October 1921 my great-aunt came to Halifax at the request of Mr and Mrs Harold Mackintosh (as they then were) when their son John was born. Six years later, I believe she also attended Mrs Mackintosh at Conyngham Hall, Knaresborough, when baby daughter Mary Mackintosh arrived. The Mackintoshes kept in occasional touch with my great-aunt, sending her photos of their children as they grew up.
Although my Mum’s family never lived in Calderdale, I discovered recently that her 5 x great-uncle John Roberts (1749-90), woolstapler, of White Lee, near Burnley, Lancashire, and his nephew, William Roberts (born 1759), rented rooms in the Halifax Piece Hall in the 1780s. Their names are displayed in the current Piece Hall Tourist Office exhibition. In 1782, at Heptonstall, William’s sister Sally (Sarah) married Joseph, son of Thomas Eastwood, of Eastwood Hall near Todmorden.
It is often forgotten that men from Lancashire and further afield rented rooms in the Piece Hall.
David C Glover