Whiteley Turner

Whiteley Turner was the author of A Spring-Time Saunter, a classic book in which he describes the people, life and times of Luddenden Dean and the Brontë country.

He was the third son of Elizabeth and Robert Turner, a wool sorter.

His boyhood was spent at Midgley and Luddenden and he had little schooling.

At the age of 8, he was working at Peel House Mills, Luddenden. In 1877, when he was 12, he went to work at Solomon Priestley's woollen mill in Luddenden.

On 12th November 1878, while reaching over some machinery, his right sleeve caught in the cogs of a carding machine and his arm was badly mutilated, and had to be amputated at the Halifax Infirmary. He was no longer able to work at the mill, and was re-admitted as a free scholar at Luddenden National School. To help with the family income, he sold the Weekly Courier.

Later, on the suggestion of Joseph Wilkinson, teacher at Luddenden Wesleyan Chapel, he sold tea and coffee and built up a round covering the Luddenden valley, Wainstalls and Mount Tabor, and extended this towards Keighley and Queensbury, and south of Halifax. In this way, he acquired a love of the countryside and the hidden history of the localities he visited. He also built up a number of contacts, who were later described in A Spring-Time Saunter.

The family went to live at Hainsworth Row, Mount Tabor.

In 18??, he married Emma Mann and went to live at Prospect, near Mount Tabor Methodist Chapel, where they were regular chapel-goers – occupying a seat known as the calf hoile.

In 1885, he submitted his first article to the Courier and this was followed by others with titles such as A Winter's Day Outing to Walshaw Dean & Hardcastle Crags.

In 1905, the Halifax Courier published a series of his articles which were to form the basis of his A Spring-Time Saunter. The articles were well received and resulted in collaboration between Turner, W. E. Denison, and Arthur Comfort.

Turner himself invested his savings in this and later publications. Sales of later editions of A Spring-Time Saunter were sluggish, and Turner was in difficult financial circumstances, from which he did not recover.

Both the Courier and his landlord, Arthur Llewellyn Whittaker, assisted him in his financial plight. He spent his own money on promotional bookmarks.

He published a booklet on the great blizzard of 1915.

In 19??, he published

Best Ways to Visit Brontëland

which contained a map and tours.

He died on the morning of February 20th 1921, following a kidney illness.

He was buried at Mount Tabor Wesleyan Methodist Chapel (Line U, grave 17) [23/02/1921].

His wife was buried alongside him

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 15:24 / 24th May 2021 / 5287

Page Ref: WW_133

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