Above: Paul’s Dad pictured soon after the construction of The Dish & Spoon Cafe in 1957. Paul says that it was built from stones reclaimed from the ruins of Errwood Hall. The cafe stands near the famous Cat & Fiddle pub. But has now been renamed (which I think’s a great pity!).
Paul Mason left a message on the Guestbook in March 2012. He then followed up with these further memories of life in the valley;
Your website is great – it’s brought back so many memories. I almost cried looking at the walk videos. It was as if I was back walking with my father. If you look to where the stables were at the hall, you will probably see that the ground is damp. There was a spring at the back of the hall that used to feed the pond fountain.
I can remember my father telling me about the time a pig ran off along the path going up to the left side the hall. It ran over the edge and droped in the ravine. My grandad managed to get it out and them clamed it for himself! I also remember him talking about the coal mine, and where the cartridges were made. He also spoke well of the family at the hall.
I’ve just seen the old video of the village. My dad was born there, and went to the local school. You say it’s a lost world – and it is. I also believe there’s a lot more information to be discovered. I’ve got some old photos, but they’re of later dates and nothing showing the hall. I also had an old standard 8 cine reel which I’ll try and find.
I did have many of the same photos you’re showing on the website. Also some of the chapel people, and others with men in army uniform. I’m afraid I may have put them in the bin, but I’ll have another look.
Just down the road from the Cat and Fiddle pub was a cafe called The Dish and Spoon (now renamed ‘Peak View’). Inside there’s an oil panting showing the cafe dated 1957. The stone that built the cafe was taken from Errwood Hall. My father and mother built and owned the cafe. My mother, Winefred Mason, drove the truck from the hall and over the moor road. If you size the stones at the cafe you will find they are same as some still at the hall.
My father often took me to the hall. If you look at the photos of the crest behind the main door, you’ll see a step to each side. Behind the crest there used to be a cellar. When I was very young it was part filled in, and then later it was slabbed over.
One day, long ago, I can remember walking the valley with my mum and dad. My mum sat on a grass bank, looking across the valley. She asked my dad to take me up a path and we walked up to where the head stones are. I remmber this as if it was yesterday. Bigger stones to my left side. And I think there were four more smaller ones on the right. My dad pointed to the one front left. With his stick he said that’s were your great aunt is laid to rest.
He then pulled away the grass from around one stone. He then said it again and spoke her name, telling me not to forget, and looked at me hard. But this was more then 35 to 40 years ago and I’m afraid that I’ve forgotten the name.
At the back of the cafe was Stake Farm. I was born there. It’s about as high up as you can be born I think. My dad farmed the moors and had over 365 sheep. I’ve also found a photo of my mum with her Wolsey car. She said it would belt through the snow when other cars couldn’t get up there.
I can still remember some famous people who visited the cafe on their way to Buxton. The comedian Arthur English bought some chorley cakes. He forgot to take them, drove to Maclesfield, and returned to collect them. And Cliff Richards – before he was with the Shadows. Mum filmed him with the first standard 8 cine camera. Also Hank Marvin and Betty Driver – but not on same day.
My mother had two ice cream vans which she used in the summer months. One in the Goyt Valley in the car park next to the dam. The other in Buxton, as well as laybys around the tops. She bought the ice cream from Grennelleys in Macclesfield.