Descendants of Ravensthorpe mill owner are reunited

CATCHING UP: Around 50 descendants of the 19th century mill owner George Tattersfield at Healds Hall Hotel in Liversedge. (d306a239)
CATCHING UP: Around 50 descendants of the 19th century mill owner George Tattersfield at Healds Hall Hotel in Liversedge. (d306a239)

A FAMILY held a week-long reunion at the end of an archaeology project that delved into the lives of their ancestors.

Around 50 descendants of Ravensthorpe mill owner George Tattersfield all met for the first time during the celebrations.

The group included relatives from America, Australia and across the UK who spent last week exploring their West Yorkshire roots.

George Tattersfield’s great-great-grandaughter, Vicki Jackson, said: “We’ve had the most amazing week. It’s been fantastic.”

The family reunion has taken two years to organise and by coincidence happened at the same time as archaeologists were exploring the history of the Tattersfields.

During the summer, West Yorkshire Joint Services has been working with schoolchildren to excavate the grounds of the Greenwood Centre in Huddersfield Road, Ravensthorpe.

The site was once occupied by Brickhouse, where George Tattersfield lived in the mid-19th century.

In the 1920s, two of George’s grandsons emigrated to America and 11 of their descendents were among those visiting last week.

They were shown around Ravensthorpe by Mrs Jackson and saw houses where previous generations had lived.

“They were so pleased to see where their family had lived but I think they were sad to see the decline of the area,” Mrs Jackson said.

The Americans also visited Dewsbury Minster and Kilpin Hill, Staincliffe, where George Tattersfield grew up in a family of blanket weavers.

They spent the week exploring sites their family used to visit including Ilkley Moor, Bolton Abbey, and Manningham where George’s grandson, George Arthur, lived.

Mrs Jackson, 67, and her cousin John Tattersfield went to an event at the Greenwood Centre on September 21 which celebrated the end of the summer archaeology project.

“It’s most peculiar,” Mrs Jackson, of Cleckheaton, said. “They’ve got a board up in the library and it’s got my ancestors’ photos on it. The reaction of the children who took part in the project was amazing. It was as though I had descended from a film star.”

That night Mrs Jackson joined the rest of her family at the 50-strong reunion at Healds Hall Hotel in Liversedge.

“I just think what a fantastic family the Tattersfields were and are,” Mrs Jackson said.

“When we got together it was like meeting old friends, even though we didn’t know each other before.”