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Illingworth House: 25 - Useful Contacts

Some folk are prospering in Keighworth during the war years.

John Waddington-Feather continues his story set in a Yorkshire mill town.

Mary fretted greatly when Joe went into the army, but she had plenty to do to take her mind off worrying. Her adopted sister lived permanently with her and was rising four. She was a quiet thoughtful youngster but had no friends her own age, and understandably so. Sam Greenwood and his wife didn't want her growing up 'rough' and kept her apart from the other kids down the lane.

There was another reason. The Greenwoods didn't know who her real parents were and were paid well to take good care nobody asked about her. There had been enough gossip about the girl when they had taken her in, and they had kept themselves to themselves, fostering the hope that they would before long move up the social ladder to Fieldhouses and away from Garlic Lane, away from Mary and Joe, with whom Sam Greenwood was at loggerheads.

When Joe enlisted, his wage at the foundry stopped immediately. Sam Greenwood never ceased reminding Mary of that of and Joe’s folly quitting a well-paid job to join up. "Patriotism never fed any mouths," he said sourly one day, "and never will. Nobbut them who stay well clear of fighting make brass in wartime." And he spoke true. There were many in Keighworth who slid out of army service and became rich during the war - in both wars.

And as a result Mary found herself short of money towards the end of the war when she was put on short time at the mill. She was paid to look after Helen, but not enough. Sam Greenwood never paid anybody more than he had to, not even his daughter.

She began house cleaning in Fieldhouses to make up the shortfall, and one of the houses she cleaned was the Grimstones'. They had a maid but couldn't yet rise to two servants, so Mary went there as a general skivvy.

Jabez Grimstone was making money hand over fist, and his biggest killing came from land he had bought before the war at Ruddledene, an up-and-coming suburb for up-and-coming young upper-crustians. It more than doubled in price during the war, and he went in partnership with a developer who was on the make like himself. After the war a whole spate of new houses smothered the hillside at Ruddledene, sending Grimstone and his partner laughing all the way to the bank.

Others were also growing richer. Young John Illingworth was sent away to an expensive prep school and later to Rugby. His cousin Rosemary went to a leading prep school and then Roedean. After the war she was sent to a finishing school in Switzerland. But in the holidays they met up at Illingworth House and spent much time together riding on the moors. She idolised her cousin, and her childhood infatuation never left her.

Once he had been put in charge of the POW camp at Skiproyd, Abe Illingworth also spent more time at Illingworth House with his son. He idolised him, visiting him frequently at school and watching him play sport, which he excelled at. He had no more children and his whole life became focussed on young John, the heir to the Illingworth dynasty, to all that he and his forebears had built up. In time the ambition and plans Abe had for his son became obsessive, surpassing even his love for Mary Calow.

As John grew up, his father made sure he met the right people. He certainly made the right contacts at school. His closest friend there was the son of one of Abe's long-standing business associates, Isaac Goldstein, who served in Abe's regiment but was lucky enough to come out of the war relatively unscathed. He was blown up when a landmine went off near his trench and spent some months in a hospital in Scotland where the shell-shocked were treated. Like Abe he doted on his son, who spent much of his holidays at Illingworth House with young John and Rosemary.

Isaac Goldsteen spent a great deal of time there also when he was recuperating.
Little by little Abe drifted back into civilian life. He took his place on the magistrates' bench in Keighworth and monitored Mary Calow and old Denton more and more closely till by the end of the war he had taken over their roles at work.
As commandant of the POW camp at Skiproyd he was within easy reach of Bradford and took the train there to attend directors' meetings. Illingworths had brought him and Mary together, but he never let their love take precedence over the business. Rather, in time, the business took over their love.


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