This poem was written in the early 1930s at the end of Rosedale’s industrial age, and is a rare primary source. The Rosedale Railway had just closed in 1929, the last working component in the area’s ironstone industry.
The rhyming couplets present the landscape and the character of the dale, at that particular point in time, referencing the industrial structures alongside natural features, local buildings and people. There is an impression of time and continuity – linking before industry and after – the dale is returning to ‘Quietude true and sincere’, the mines are already ‘old’, and the name Leeman (co-owner of the 19th century Rosedale and Ferryhill Iron Company) is falling out of use. But the shops are still open, left over from ‘Busier days’, and there is a proviso – ‘For the present’ – attached to the ‘engines and drivers have gone’, as if industry could yet return.
A. Stands for Avenue, many know well,
Which leads into Rosedale, of which I shall tell.
B. Stands for Busier days Rosedale has seen,
But her beauty’s the same as of yore I ween.
C. Stands for Chimney the storm beaten pile,
Which can easy be seen for any a mile.
D. Stands for Douker wood, way down below,
In the vale where the violets and bluebells grow.
E. Stands for Engine shed, left all alone,
For the present its engines and drivers have gone.
F. Florence Terrace, once a busy place,
To one, Florence Leeman its name we trace.
G. Stands for Grange farm, on first turn to right,
‘ere’ the beautiful avenue comes into sight.
H. Stands for its Hills, which tower so high,
When lads we thought that they reached to the sky.
I. Its Ivy clad church, to there now we’ll repair,
For the names of The Lads are recorded there.
J. Stands for our old friend Jonathon Robertshaw,
He lives at Burn’s cottage, Primrose Villas you know.
K. Reminds us, Knott cottage way up the hillside,
The pleasant home where Mat Peirson’s reside.
L. Stands for Leeman Grove built long years ago,
It has now got another name “School Row”.
M. Stands for Moorland, where when not wrapped in snow,
The Travellers Joy, and the white Heather grows.
N. Stands for Northdale, where if you search well,
You will find on its hillside the place called Job’s well.
O. Old Magnetic ore mines at Rosedale West,
For quality this was the very best.
P. Stands for Plane Trees an imposing spot,
You’ll find Robert Watson still there casts his lot.
Q. Stands for Quietude true and sincere,
If you love this life best you may find it here.
R. Readman’s boot shop your repairs here may send,
He has often had boots sent from Scotland to mend.
S. Stands for Spenceley and Stamper as well,
At whose store nearly everything they sell.
T. Stands for Thorgill, of this place we must tell,
You will find Charley Waller lives down in the dell.
U. Up to its crags we will now pass along,
Where the Rock pigeon nests and the fox has its young.
V. Verdant valley where the cattle graze,
And the streams trickle down through the leafy maze.
W. Wood End Villas, in the tall trees near by,
May often be heard the Wood Peckers cry.
X. Stands for Xmas, and don’t think it queer,
But here as else where it comes once a year.
Y. Stands for Yatts farm with Hartoft quite near,
The Peirson’s have lived here for many a year.
Z. Zig Zag climb to Bank Top you ascend,
Where the motorist oft fail on the hair-pin bend.
Relics of the industrial structures can still be found in Rosedale, as can the woodland and moorland, the trees, the buildings, and the family names. Although the Chimney has gone, Chimney Bank with its ‘Zig Zag climb’ remains.
The This Exploited Land Landscape Partnership Scheme (the trailblazing story of ironstone and railways in the North York Moors) will help understand and enhance the landscape and its legacy of 19th century ironstone exploitation, preserving it for future generations.