Walter Gosney

A group of workers at the Armitage quarry in Woodlesford.

Its not absolutely certain where this photograph was taken but by a process of deduction its more than likely that the men were gathered together on the quarry top at Woodlesford. From the names written along the bottom its also possible to deduce that the photographer made his visit around the time of the end of the First World War.

The older man on the left with the pipe is most likely Walter Gosney who lived on Eshald Place. In the 1911 census he was 49 years old and described as a “delver in a stone quarry.” He was born in Oulton. His wife, Harriet, came from Tadcaster. They had three sons and two daughters. George, the eldest child worked at Bentley’s as a labourer, Harry was a law clerk, and Walter was a miner’s labourer. Lillian and Florence May Gosney were still at school in 1911.

Walter Gosney’s father and two of his half brothers were local quarrymen. In 1855 at Methley, his mother, Ann Scott, first married William Gosney, the son of a waterman. They were living on Quarry Hill with Ann’s widowed mother, Sarah, when Walter was born in 1863. William died three years later and in 1871 Ann married gardener Thomas Barber who had been living with the family at a house in New Woodlesford. Thomas and Ann had two sons together and they too went into the quarries. Walter was 81 years old when he died in 1943.

The man third from the right in the photograph is probably Joseph Poppleton who was a carter for Armitage’s. He was 23 in 1911 so if the date of the photograph is correct he would be about 30 or 31 years old. Joe’s younger brother, Tommy, also worked at the quarry.

There were no families with the name Gott living in Oulton or Woodlesford in 1911. The nearest possibility is 38 year old Stephen Gott, a stone dresser, who lived in the Dewsbury Road area of Leeds. He may have moved closer to the quarry during the war. If he travelled to work he would have had to come by train to Woodlesford as there were no buses until the early 1920s.

Its harder to identify H. Newton and Atkinson. If they are the two younger men kneeling at the front then they would have still been at school in 1911. There were several Atkinson families living in Rothwell but most of the men appear to have been miners. John Atkinson had run a store and plumber’s shop on Church Street in Woodlesford but he died in 1909. There were other Atkinsons at Fleet Mills and Methley.