which consists of the villages of Crich, Fritchley and Whatstandwell

Agnes Hilda Shepherd (née Worthy) 1892 – 1986

This is a transcription by George Wigglesworth and Helen Betteridge of a BBC Radio Derby broadcast Hilda made with Ashley Franklin in 1982. Some excerpts were published in the Radio Derby magazine that year.

She was born in Crich, April 24th 1892, the eldest child of Frederick Worthy, a framework knitter, and Rebecca who had been a factory hand when living with her mother and father and family in Boam's Cottage in Crich. Her father was the second child of William Worthy, a wool sorter, and Alice. Hilda's parents had married in September 1891 at the Baptist Chapel in Crich. She lived in Holloway from 1895 – 1901on Buxton Terrace. A memorial is in Holloway cemetery to her parents...

Well you know, I am in my 90th year and I can go back to when I was a child of two. It was some years ago now that I asked my mother about several things I could remember and she told me what age I was at the time. I remember saying to her, 'Mother, I can remember the old gentleman with the long beard lifting me up so often and putting me on his knee and she said, 'Fancy you remembering that because that was your grandfather and he passed away when you were two.' I said, 'Didn't he sit on what they used to call a settle and it was covered in black and red chintz?' She said, It was, and fancy you remembering that and I often used to say to mother, 1 can remember so and so, and so and so, and she said she had clean forgotten, ‘Fancy you remembering it’ ...

My father worked at Lea Mills when we lived in Holloway; well he took me into the mill and showed me what he was doing. He had a very long machine and be used to make lengths of fabric that was cut out later into men's woollen shirts and underpants. Of course, they had to go for 6 o'clock in the morning and the first six years of father's married life they lived at Crich, they were waiting for a cottage at Holloway and be had to walk several miles there. It was all open country, there were no buses running, men you know hadn't even a bicycle and they had all that way to walk. Even when it was snowing or raining they had to be at the mill for six. They had a drying room and there was one for the ladies and one for the gentlemen and they used to have to go and dry all their clothes before they could go into the mill and start their work because the distance they had to walk from Crich. it was such a long way and they used to often be snowdrifts they had to go through. He told me several times that at a place they called Windy Gap, halfway between Holloway and Crich, where the snow drifts used to be nearly as deep as them but they had to go through to get there to go to work because wages were very small in those days and they couldn't afford not to get to work for 6 o'clock

My father, he was in the band at Lea Mills Prize Band and he played the cornet. I can maybe tell you something and this stands out in my memory as if it happened yesterday. When father came home from the mill in the evening he used to bring a boy with him, about fourteen, and 1 can see father putting the music stand up now and I was sitting on a little stool in the corner. He learned that boy how to play the cornet and be became a famous conductor. He lived at Crich when he was home, his name was Sam Hollingsworth and he went all over the world conducting Besses o' the Barn and the Black Dyke band and all the bands we hear of today, the old ones, he went all over the world with them. Then I read in the Telegraph that he had retired and come back to Crich to live with his daughter. Well a year or two after, some relatives came over for the day from Birmingham and they said, 'We'd like to take you out this afternoon, where would you like to go?' 'Take me to Crich.' So when we got to Crich, two old gentlemen were sitting on a bench in the Market place and we pulled up and I got out and said 'Could you tell me where Sam Hollingsworth lives?' And they said, 'Yes, down a lane off the Common'. His wife said, 'Oh he's just gone upstairs to have a lie down,' so I said, 'Oh don't disturb him.' Only I said, 'I have come from Derby to see him.' 'Oh! ' she said, 'I must fetch him down.' S0 he came downstairs and I said, 'Hello Sam,' and he said, 'Hello. I don't think I know you,' so I said to him, 'Well going back Sam, when you were a boy who taught you to play the cornet?' 'Oh!' he said, 'that wa Fred Worthy at Holloway.' 'Well,' I said, 'that was my father and I have read now and again about you going all over the world with the bands. I thought, oh, I wish father was alive to know that you had become such a famous conductor.' He said, 'Were you the little girl sat in the corner on the stool?' and I said, 'Yes, Sam, I halve never forgotten you. ' He said, 'Well, well, well, you were the little girl sat in the corner,' and I said, 'Yes! I knew as much about the cornet as you did but I never had one to play. But I often wish father had lived to know his pupil become so famous.'

He got great hopes for him but I don't think he thought he would be conductor of a band like he was. He was thrilled when I went to see him. He said, 'You have thought about me and travelled from Derby today to come and see me?' and he said, 'oh I remember so well the little girl on the stool in the corner and you always kept so quiet.' I said, 'Well I was told to keep quiet while father was talking to you.' ....

Well, we never went away for a holiday, I'd spend it with my cousin in the fields gathering flowers. We used to make that our holiday, we never went away, unless we went to stop with Grandma at Crich for a few days and of course that was a walk into the next village.

This was written up in a Radio Derby magazine during 1982 reproduced below.

article on Hilda Shephert page 1

artilce on Hilda Shepherd page 2

The article above is courtesy of Asley Franklin

Hilda Worthy family tree


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