Simmondly is a small village in Glossop, Derbyshire, and in the early 1900s John Pedder, a retired councillor for Stretford Urban Council in Manchester, had a holiday cottage there.
Their granddaughter, Molly, told me the story of Simmondly before she passed away in 2014 aged 100.
‘We had this great big trunk which we’d pack everything into and send it on ahead. We caught a train to Dinting and then walked to the top of Simmondley Lane, where our cottage was located. It was very rural and a different world from where we lived in Manchester. It had lovely views across Glossop and Charlesworth. You could even see Mottram Church on top of the hill.
‘The cottage didn’t have a staircase or an inside toilet, in fact it needed a lot of work doing on it,” said Molly. My Uncles, Jim, Percy, and Herbert, did a lot of it making it nice for us. They made a staircase and put tongue and groove on the walls. It also had a big bay window where I would sit cutting apples, splitting peas and sorting grains for my mother. There was a large fireplace and Grandfather would build a roaring fire, it was really cosy.
To use the toilet, we had to go outside, cross the lane and into a field. The closet, as it was called, was beside the wall of the big house on the right of the photograph below. The house still stands today, although the land in front has been built upon.
This picture shows the original cottage, with Molly sitting on the wall. Underneath, is how the area looks today. One of the windows hads been filled in, but the wall is the same one.
Molly’s uncles later built a shed outside the front door to accommodate the toilet replacing the wooden two-seater from the field. Molly chuckled at the thought of them building a toilet right in the front like that. If anything, it was convenient.
Some years later, her uncle’s brother bought the big house behind, and his wife Florence Lawton, became a councillor for nearby Glossop.
‘I also remember a scandal rocking the village when a woman was murdered by being pushed down a well. It was reported in all the newspapers too.’
Talking about that day, Molly said, ‘When my family took me for a ride out, they didn’t reveal where we were going, but as soon as I saw Motram church, I knew. It was amazing to see how much Simmondley had grown. Lots of new houses, and the place was unrecognisable. It took me a while to get my bearings. It was only when I saw the Hare and Hounds pub, I could work out where our cottage was.
We drove into the car park and I was able to look around. I couldn’t believe the pub was still standing after all of these years.
I’d been back once when my husband, Colin, was alive. In fact, it was just before we got married in the 1930s. We sat on a grassy bank and he took out his sketch pad and drew a farm.’ She couldn’t remember the name of the farm , but when we located it, the sign on the gate said Wayside Farm.
‘It was a lovely afternoon and I was delighted to see Simmondley again. I think grandfather would be surprised, if he could see how it was now.’