By Wendy Hughes

Pudsey and Blush

Pudsey and Blush

The Bear

A trip to Pudsey in West Yorkshire last week starting me thinking; I knew little about the town, although the national mascot of the BBC’s ‘Children in Need’ campaign is well known. Did Pudsey have any connections with the town? Of course he did. Pudsey was designed in 1985 by graphics designer Joanna Ball’s home town where her grandfather was once mayor. He was originally introduced as a brown bear, but the following year (1986), he was changed to a yellow bear with a bandage over his right eye, and in 2009, Pudsey was joined by a brown female bear named ‘Blush’ who has a spotted bow with a similar pattern to Pudsey’s bandanna.

Pudsey_Bear_in_Pudsey_ Park_

Pudsey_Bear_in_Pudsey_
Park_

 

The Town

The_World's_End,_Pudsey

The_World’s_End,_Pudsey

Surprisingly the market town of Pudsey was first recorded in the Domesday Book as Podechesaie and then in 1086 as Podechesai. The origin of the name is unknown, but it is thought more than likely to have derived from the personal name Pudoc and the word meaning island, therefore it would mean Pudoc island of ‘good ground in moorland. Another suggestion is that in the early 6th century the district was in the Kingdom of Elmet as it seems to have retained its Celtic character for perhaps two centuries after neighbouring kingdoms had adopted the culture of the Angles

Around 1775 a cache of silver Roman coins, many predating Julius Caesar, were discovered on Pudsey common at the place called King Alfred’s Camp

Pudsey_Town_Hall_

Pudsey_Town_Hall_

During the 18th and 19th centuries Pudsey was famous for its woollen manufacture, and at the time of the Industrial Revolution was one of the most polluted areas in the UK. This was due to its position in a slight valley between the two industrial cities of Leeds and Bradford, which resulted in whichever way the wind blew Pudsey, was covered in thick soot. This meant that as the temperature in the valley rose, the soot become trapped leading to thick dense smogs, which in turn led to a saying that pigeons in Pudsey Park flew backwards in order to keep the soot from their eyes. Today there are a number of recreational parks in Pudsey featuring Pets Corner, an aquarium, bird houses and a Pudsey Bear (made of vegetation) as well as plenty of playing areas for children.

 

The town was also famous for cricketers. Yorkshire and England cricketer Sir Len Hutton was born in Fulneck and was called ‘the man from Pudsey’. Ray Illingworth, another former England captain was born in Pudsey as well as fast bowler Matthew Hoggard. The England opening batsman Herbert Sutcliffe attended Pudsey School and learned the game with the Pudsey St Lawrence and Pudsey Britannia cricket clubs.   For over 100 years the Yorkshire County Cricket Club had at least one player who came from the old borough of Pudsey. The Yorkshire cricketer John Tunnicliffe was born in Lowtown.

Pudsey_St_Lawrence_Cricket_Ground_-_Tofts_Road

Pudsey St Lawrence Cricket Ground – Tofts Road

 

 

THE PUDDING

What about the famous Pudsey pudding and how did it come about?   1846, the year the Corn Laws were repealed is a memorable date in British history. The people of Pudsey were almost solidly ‘Radical and Free Traders’, and as the era of free trade was dawning and the hope for cheaper bread, the radicals of Pudsey wanted to mark the occasion with a suitable celebration, something that would be remembered by all.   A ‘little committee’ was formed, meeting in the house of Mr John Baker to plan how this great event would be celebrated. After much discussion they decided on a pudding, of which everyone in the town could have a share and it should beat all records for its size and quality.

One of the dye-pans from Crawshaws Mill was thoroughly cleaned and filled with spring water. The pudding was to be made up of twenty stone of mixed flour, suet and fruit, and the ingredients were divided between twenty housewives, with each bringing her share for the final blending. The mixture was then tipped into a large canvas bag, and my means of a windlass, fixed over the pan, hoisted into the vessel.   For three days and nights the pudding was kept boiling, along with half a dozen smaller puddings. Finally on 31 July 1846 the 1000lb pudding was hoisted out of the pan and placed on a light rowing boat, loaned by Mr R Wood, where it sat surrounded by the smaller puddings. A procession headed by Mr J. R Hinnings and Mr Samuel Musgrave on horseback. Four grey horses were yoked to the boat and driven by James Wilson, a former sailor who was now watchman at Priestley Mill. Tickets were sold at a shilling to those who wished to eat a share of the pudding, but each diner had to provide his own plate and cutlery. The procession wound its way around the town with several thousands of people looking on. In Crawshaw Fields tables were arranged to form a large square and a special ‘spade’ provided to ’dig up’ the pudding to serve to the crowd. In no time at all the pudding was eaten, but the story of the pudding went down in Pudsey history.

 

 

 

 

About Wendy Hughes

Wendy turned to writing, in 1989, when ill-health and poor vision forced her into early medical retirement. Since then she has published 26 nonfiction books, and over 2000 articles. Her work has appeared in magazines as diverse as The Lady, Funeral Service Journal, On the Road, 3rd Stone, Celtic Connections, Best of British, and Guiding magazine. She has a column in an America/Welsh newspaper for ex-pats on old traditions and customs in Wales. Her books include many on her native Wales, Anglesey Past and Present, The Story of Brecknock, Brecon, a pictorial History of the Town, Carmarthen, a History and Celebration and Tales of Old Glamorgan, and a book on Walton on Thames in the Images of England series, a company history and two books on the charity Hope Romania. She has also co-authored two story/activity books for children. Her latest books are: Haunted Worthing published in October 2010, a new colour edition of The Story of Pembrokeshire published in March 2011, and Shipwrecks of Sussex in June 2011 and Not a Guide to Worthing in 2014. She is working on a book entitled A-Z of Curious Sussex which will be published in 2016 Wendy also works with clients to bring their work up to publishable standard and is currently working on an autobiography with a lady that was married to a very famous 1940’s travel writer. Wendy has spent many years campaigning and writing on behalf of people affected by Stickler Syndrome, a progressive genetic connective tissue disorder from which she herself suffers. She founded the Stickler Syndrome Support Group and raises awareness of the condition amongst the medical profession, and produces the group’s literature, and has written the only book on the condition, Stickler The Elusive Syndrome, and has also contributed to a DVD on the condition, Stickler syndrome: Learning the Facts. She has also writing three novels, Sanctimonious Sin, a three generation saga set in Wales at the turn of the century, Power That Heal set in the Neolithic period entitled Powers that Heal, and a semi biographical book entitled New Beginnings which deals with two generations coping with blindness and a genetic condition. She has also had a handful of short stories published, and in her spare time is working on several at the moment. She also gives talks on a variety of subjects including Writing and Placing Articles, Writing Local History, Writing as Therapy, Writing your first novel, etc, and runs workshops on the craft of writing – both fiction and non-fiction. She is a member of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists, and a member of the Society of Authors.