Words & Photos: Mark Stevenson
Thomas Hollings was a grocer and draper in Farsley for at least 30 years.
It may be that his business was doing well because in the 1860s (or early ’70s) he was able to either rent or have built Commercial House on Farsley Green, which in the 1840s had been owned by Clara Thornhill and rented by William Pearson (a farmer) as pasture.
Thomas lived at Commercial House with his wife Eliza, who was still running the shop as a grocer in 1891 aged 63. Two of Thomas’s daughters Hannah (25) and Alice (17) were teachers in a ladies school in 1881.
Benjamin, Thomas’s eldest son, went on to become a bank manager living at 141 North Street in Sheepscar in 1901 and at 80 Francis Street, Chapeltown in 1911.
His youngest son Harold was a doctor who lived at Holme Upon Spalding Moor in 1901, where Eliza (his mother) now lived aged 73.
I wonder how pleasant a place it was to live? Commercial House had a farm at the back of it, a mill pond to the side. I imagine both would smell, especially in the hot weather. Not to mention the noise of the animals!
Then there was a Nether Cape Mills opposite, which overlooked the house. The noise coming from it and the smithy at the back of Cooper’s Coffee Shop would have added to this.
Imagine all the mill workers and miners going into The Fleece on payday, the anti-social behaviour that would have happened around that pub wouldn’t be something you would want your kids to see.
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