Lancaster nostalgia: The Dodgson family part two

Raymond Dodgson (left) and Jimmy Skeats (right) outside the joinery workshop, Hornby, circa 1958.

Raymond Dodgson (left) and Jimmy Skeats (right) outside the joinery workshop, Hornby, circa 1958.

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In the second instalment, historian David Kenyon recalls Harry’s colleagues and his retirement.

Workshop colleagues and the end of an era for Harry

Hornby village, late 1940s. The joinery workshop of Harry Dodgson can be seen to the right hand side of Hornby Bridge, next to the river bank.

Hornby village, late 1940s. The joinery workshop of Harry Dodgson can be seen to the right hand side of Hornby Bridge, next to the river bank.

Bryan Dodgson

Another apprentice at the Bridge End workshop was Harry Dodgson’s son, Bryan.

David remembers Bryan making a farm cart for W N Booth at Castle Hill Farm in Burton-in-Lonsdale.

His son, William Booth, has told David that he still has the cart, but it needs a new floor. David also remembers working with Bryan to make farm trailers using ex-Army lorry wheels. The draw bars were made by Titteringtons, the local blacksmiths.

Bryan left to start his 
National Service in 1952. After training at Carlisle, he was posted to the 1st Kings Own in Germany. The regiment left for Korea in the summer of 1953, arriving in the late autumn. Fortunately, the war, which started on June 25 1950, had ended by this time.

Raymond Dodgson

Raymond Dodgson had been serving an apprenticeship at Emmanuel Jackson’s at High Bentham. Raymond was good company, but was a bit of a ‘jack the lad’. He was completely fearless of heights.

When Burton Church was shingled, Raymond climbed up the steeple jacks’ ladders to the top of the tower and performed a handstand.

Raymond’s National Service was spent in the Parachute Regiment, serving in Cyprus during the emergency of 1955-59. Raymond was a keen cricketer, playing for the Burton-in-Lonsdale team for many years.

‘Jimmy’ Skeats

William James Skeats (Jimmy) was born in 1895 at Burton-in-Lonsdale formerly known as Black Burton, and was one of a family of 10 children. On leaving school he worked at Burton Potteries.

Aged 19, he joined the Army under Lord Derby’s scheme. Young Jimmy fought on The Somme and at Ypres. Jimmy ended the war with the rank of corporal.

After the end of the First World War, Jimmy returned to the potteries, but was never happy with this kind of work.

In the early 1920s he went to work for his brother-in-law Harry Dodgson. Jimmy was very talented in lots of ways and had a natural talent with wood. He was always kind and helpful.

The end of an era

When Harry Dodgson retired circa 1967 the workshop was demolished and the area turned into a car park. Bryan Dodgson then moved to the old castle workshops, owned by Sir Harold Parkinson, of Hornby Castle.

Jimmy was employed by Sir Harold on general maintenance work.

Bryan moved into house building, employing his brother Raymond as foreman. He developed many parts of Burton-in-Lonsdale.

The Royal Oak Meadow estate in Hornby was also a Bryan Dodgson development.

His last major development was Manor Court at High Bentham circa 1988. This large and prestigious complex is a lasting tribute to a man of extraordinary skills.