Continued from ‘The Warley Lantern’ newsletter Christmas 2012…
A news item from the Sowerby Bridge Chronicle: Wilkinson Pickles of Gads Hill in a unique stone-laying ceremony in 1897
(click to enlarge image)
(Extract below from the feature in ‘The Warley Lantern’ newsletter Christmas 2012)
Gads Hill and the Astonishing Wilkinson Pickles
The steeply banked and formerly densely wooded area of Trimmingham has always been closely associated with Warley. For example, Miss Elizabeth Farrar, who lived at Trimmingham House was one of the main benefactors for the building of Warley St John’s Church. Scattered across this hillside, around and below West View Park, lie many fine houses. The grand and imposing ‘Gads Hill’ is situated on the hill-top and, as lovers of Charles Dickens will know, takes it name from that famous author’s own house in Kent. The house was built by Wilkinson Pickles owner of the nearby Steam Laundry who insisted on an exact replica of Charles Dickens’ own library being created in the house. A wonderful story and apparently a somewhat eccentric character. Amongst Wikinson’s other notable activities were globe-trotting trips to all corners of the earth studying steam laundries and a visit to the holy land – where he brought back two very heavy tablets of stone which he installed in Boulderclough Methodist chapel. Williamson was a native of Sowerby but like many before him had chosen to emigrate to Warley at the earliest opportunity and naturally, we don’t blame him. His house still stands proudly on the hilltop with some windows looking straight out to Warley Edge. Did he imagine as he gazed out to the fields beyond, that he might one day pen a work that would be as great as his hero?