(George) Turner Schofield
Turner is your great grandfather. He was the local historian, most of these
older pictures were collected by him and a lot of old documents found their way
to the Leeds University and Yorkshire Genealogical Society from him. He didn't
write very much down, however. Mary, his daughter, has preserved his lore and
is a major figure in the local historical society documenting the history of
our local Methodist Church (Farnley Hill which was founded in 1797) and the
village of Farnley. She is the major source for most of this internet history of
Turner was born in 1883 at a house called 'Artists Mount' in Wortley - the next
village toward Leeds. He was educated at the local school in Wortley but had to
leave when he was fourteen years old. He went to work at a small bank in Leeds but
had the foresight to go to night school to learn accounting. Eventually the
local "Lord of the Manor" - Mr. Armitage employed him as a "Secretary".
This meant that he did all the paperwork at the Armitage-owned Iron Works. The
Iron Works produced various things made of Iron, and also produced bricks from
a special local clay that had a white glaze. These can still be seen lining the
underside of a tall bridge carrying the railway over the Ring Road by Wortley.
Jim Scott (Maud's father) also worked there as a clay modeler making moulds on
which baths, toilets and other iron works were cast.
Eventually Turner became indispensable to the Armitages in their personal and
business life. When he was about forty, Mr. Armitage gave him some patents that
were for a new process of drying coffee grounds - instant coffee. He was asked
to 'make something of them' and after trips to Italy to see the inventor and
trips to Germany to pick out large stainless steel boilers he founded Bantam
Coffee in 1912 about fifteen years before Nescafe began. The coffee was called
Bantam because Bantam is a breed of hen that is very small and very strong
(like Bantam-Weight, the smallest men in boxing) and it was sold in very small
tins. We still have demitasse coffee cups with the Bantam logo on them. He
expanded by employing his son Frank in the 1930s and his daughter Mary to
manage the plant and the people, and employed about 25 people. It was very much
an equal opportunity employer and had quite a few crippled workers who could
not get other jobs which was very modern thinking. Eventually, in 1952 the
Labour Government interfered, as they were wont to do, and prices of raw
materials increased from 20 pounds per ton to 126 pounds per ton for no
apparent reason. Bantam decided to stop operating while it was still solvent.
As the business manager for the Armitages' personal life he had his fingers
into everything. For example they owned an island just off Ireland (Dinish
Island in Kenmore Bay about 35 miles west of Cork) and he often went there to make sure everything was being run properly.
To get there he drove to the shore, honked the horn and waited for the
caretaker to row across and pick him up. He numbered every tree on the island
and actually managed their care by telephoning the gardener and telling him
what to prune. Eventually Farnley Hall was too expensive to upkeep and he was
able to negotiate a take-over by the Leeds City Council. As they were packing
things up he came across a pile of parchment in the attic and was told to burn
it. He didn't. It turned out to be a trove of old documents going back a few
hundred years and documenting various meetings including the old Moot Court
that held its last meeting in the Beulah Inn on Lane Side. The documents are
now in the University collection. He was known by the family as 'the indispensable'
because he was.
He was very active in the local Methodist church at Farnley Hill, a few
steps from the house at Field Side that his father moved into when he was
young. He more or less took over the administration and was Steward for many
years. I remember finding some pennies from 1797 when I was with him in the vestry
when I was probably five of six years old - the church was founded in 1797. The
church is now a historic building and one of the crowns of the Methodist
circuit in Leeds.
Pictures of Farnley Hill
His family life was quite rough at the start. He married Maria Emma Illingworth, known as Marie, a local girl. Marie's family were quite ordinary, but Marie went on to get a Master's degree and taught at West Leeds High School. She was quite a catch in the early 1900s when women
did not get degrees. After being married for only a year, in 1912, they had twins and she died a few days after the birth from "milk fever". (see chapter X
for the family disruptions that occurred from this) and is buried in Lane Side
cemetery along with John Edward. During pregnancy she had said that she "only thought nice thoughts so the baby will have pleasant thoughts". The twins survived - Frank, the elder by five
minutes, and Philip. More about them later. After three years he married
again, this was to Florence Beales (Florrie) who I remember as "Grandma
Schofield" and shortly thereafter Mary was born. Florrie came from Dereham
in Norfolk and visited her sister Maude who had married a Leeds man and lived
in Lower Wortley. She met GT at the local church in Lower Wortley and
apparently were attracted to each other because she came back for another visit
and stayed for life.
GT began life in Field Side House with his father John Edward and mother
Elizabeth. When he first married he lived in a white two-story house at the
"top of Whitehall Road" which is still there. It's called Hawthorne Cottage. Frank and Philip were
born in the top left bedroom. He continued to live
there and after his marriage to Florrie they also lived there and Mary was born
in the same room. When Mary was born the Doctor said "I don't think she'll live!". The midwife was nurse Lightowler, who was making her very first delivery after training, and she responded "If it's up to me - she will!!!". Nurse Lightowler persevered and Mary lived. After this, the nurse became a family friend and when the time came for Peter to be born, she delivered me too.
In 1920 the family moved to
Nutting Grove at the top of Farnley. The kids started school at West Leeds ( in those days, Form I started at age nine, so this was in 1921) with
Mary in Kindergarten. At that time, kindergarten was ages 5-9 and 'big' school
started around nine years old. To get there they had to walk down the hill, across
the beck and quite a long way up the other side. The boys got into trouble for
helping Mary to walk on the top of the parapet on the bridge and the family
decided to move a little closer to school! They rented a house in Upper Wortley
called 'Prospect House' from which the boys got married. This house was renamed
'Woodgarth' - the first of many with that name. After this, having more money and being
Managing Director of Bantam Coffee he bought a splendid bungalow at Armley Hill
Top which was called "Windy Ridge" and immediately renamed it to "Woodgarth". This had a wall all around the two or three acre garden, fish
ponds at the front and back, a couple of summer houses, a greenhouse, a tennis
court and lots of rockeries, flower gardens and trellis work. The house is
still there, but the major part of the back garden was sold off and has houses
built on it. The "hill top" has historic significance because the Romans
had used it as a signaling point with beacons that they lit as a primitive
telegraph system to quickly signal invasions. In 60 A.D. Roman coins were found
there and at the Pub 'The Travelers' Rest' across the road.
One of the summer houses had been built by the Armitages for a relative who had to spend a lot of time outdoors, probably because of tuberculosis. It was double-glazed with a real tile roof and was mounted on a spindle and a circular track so it could be rotated to make the most of the pale English sun. Turner bought it from the Armitages.
Later, the garden got too much and Woodgarth moved to a detached house at 2
Gamble Lane along with one of the summer houses. The hilly terrain eventually became too steep when GT had a thrombosis and
he moved Woodgarth again to 58 Butt Lane where he and Florrie eventually died.
Mary sold the house; it's still there, and moved Woodgarth to 5 Water Lane
where she died several years later.
to John Edward's other children