Alternative Names
Cowdon; Coldoun; Cowdoun
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Old Cowden Hall Stories

The group of four shared some of their memories of Cowden Hall with the children.

Treasures
Alex: We used to go down and pick up pine cones, and chestnuts, take them home and dry them, [Alex pointed to the fat end of the cone], I put a screw nail in there, and tie a piece of string to it, then you can paint them with water colours, dip them in the paints or paint each bit individually, then you have them all the colours, hang them up as decorations. When you dry them slowly, they keep their shape, and don't open up.

Alex: Look, I found this coin at Cowden Hall when I was a wee boy. I know its Queen Victoria, but I can't find the date on it, we'll look, you can see the date, its 1870, but I can't make out if it's 73 or 74, so I need someone with good eyesight to help me with this.
Walks
Alex: When I was a little boy in Cowden Hall we had a lot of walks with our parents, there was no entertainment, or computers, so we always went for walks. They were nature walks, and my mum and dad would always turn it into a competition, to see who could spot something first, or who saw the most of this, or who saw the most of that.

Alex: We go down with the grandchildren on nature walks, and you see: squirrels, the grey squirrel, I've not seen a red squirrel, not yet! You get deer down there at Cowden Hall, but you've got to be very lucky to see deer. The children should always take a camera, because the things you see, the things that crop up, it's worth getting a photo of them.
Freedom
Willie Wilson: What I remember at Cowden Hall was the wee river, and there was a boating pond. I used to love going out to the wee island, jumping over to the island and picking the bull-rushes, huge bull-rushes, with the big heads on them. I'd take them home and put them in a vase.
Beauty
Gina Henderson: I remember the bluebells, blankets and blankets of bluebells; I didn't ever work there or at the Mill, but I used to go down there and pick the bluebells. They still grow there, the place is covered in them in the spring-time. I think it's the surroundings, it's a beautiful area, up onto the braes, magnificent trees, and the fields, and of course the ruins. Some of the ruins you can see are really interesting.
Workmates and fun
Netta McDade (a former Mill worker from the age of 14): What I remember, when I was young, at Cowden Hall, we used to play I spy, during our lunch break, we'd go into the grounds and play, and it was a beautiful place.

Allison: What did you do at the Mill Netta?

Netta: I fed the winding machines, big machines, with fine cotton, onto these bobbins. That was from ten to eight to quarter to six, an hour for lunch, and we got a breakfast break in the morning. We used to come on the train, you know, they used coal, it was the steam trains, it was compartments you sat in.
Trees and wood
Netta told us about all the different things that were made out of wood at Crofthead mill - bobbins and toggles, parts for coffins, wooden handles; boys went into the mill to train in woodwork, training to be tradesmen.

Willie said he still had a coffee table that was made in the turning shop at the Mill.

Gina told us how the scrap wood from the mill was collected by men and put into a horse and cart, and taken and sold as kindling for people's fires at home. She remembered how she and her brother used to play with the round scraps of wood before they were used to start the fire, they would make castles with them.

Netta pointed out that they didn't have toys like they do today, and nothing was wasted, even the sawdust from the mill went to the butcher's shops for the floor.

Willie agreed and told us how he used to go with the horse and get bags of sawdust to put down under the cattle's feet at the farm.


Image: Montage