|The view towards Milner Field|
Much of the writing about Milner Field is either pomp or ceremony, forgetting how the poor people of the Victorian and Edwardian times lived, or how hard they would have had to work in order to make the mill owners rich and focusing instead on the splendour and wealthy connections of these rich mill owners and their equally wealthy associates. Of course they held power jobs and knew all the right people; they had enough money to do so.
We are not sitting in judgement however, only it is probably safe to say that in some respects, the Saltaire village of yesteryear could be likened to the famous 1960’s television programme, starring Patrick McGoohan, (who spent some of his life in Sheffield) called The Prisoner. The programme centres on a model village which the inhabitants are not allowed to leave. In the original 1960’s series, a large white balloon called a Rover prevents inhabitants from leaving. They are uniformly dressed and live in similar little houses, controlled by a person known only as ‘Number Two’ and his team. All inhabitants of The Village wear a badge with a penny farthing bicycle on it and uniform jackets and clothes. For some reason this reminds me of the Saltaire of yesterday, although of course it is a very different village now.
Our aim at the Bradford, Leeds and Airedale Psychic Research Society is to look in to the background of places to try to understand possible psychic activity, or even sick building syndrome. We are not going round trying to manufacture ghosts, or to annoy anything that may be there, but we are very serious professionals in this field, as far as anyone can be a professional of the unknown, which is again open to debate as there is no right or wrong answer, however there are still laws of probability and codes which we go by.
In the last year a couple of books have been produced about Milner Field by different authors. One is a background of the actual house and the people who lived there and the other expounds some theories as to what possibly made Milner Field so unlucky. Some of these ideas are pure physics, the others are paranormal.
Could the old photos of the house Milner Field be haunted? Or is one in particular? I have experienced the curious phenomenon in that if I talk about Milner Field or look at a certain photo of it, my feet start itching really badly, so much so that I have to stop whatever I am doing.
An example of this happened earlier just this last week. I was talking about Irish ghosts and I said to my colleague that I wondered if anyone who had ever lived a Milner Field had Irish ancestry. My feet began to itch terribly so I looked up, for some reason, Mrs Hollins who died at Milner Field of pneumonia in January 1926, aged 43. In the book I was reading it showed Mrs Hollins in a First World War nurse outfit and said her maiden name was Anne Neilson.
I found her on the internet listed as Annie Neilson Garrett, from a family listed in the Irish peerage and her father who wrote a book, had attended Cambridge University and was a Justice of the Peace in Epsom, although he was born in Ireland as was her mother, according to the internet. Both Annie Neilson Garrett and her husband Arthur Remington Hollins were listed on a website called Descendants of John Antill, basically listing virtually every family descended from John Antill who lived in the 16th century. The odd thing was I also found listed on the same website, some very distant relatives of mine who must also have been descended from John Antill.
There is an account of a green ghost at Milner Field but there are also reports of other spirits being present. The place was always thought to be haunted pre-1960. One of the ghosts reported is a female. Is it Mrs Hollins or someone else?