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Wensleydale cowkeepers in Liverpool

Thursday 4 October, 2018, by Karen Griffiths

A handful of photographs which we discovered scanned onto the Research Room computer at the Dales Countryside Museum started us on a little piece of detective work yesterday. They relate to a Liverpool cowkeeper named George Bargh.

George Bargh's dairy, 134 Carisbrooke Road, Walton, Liverpool c1938

George Bargh’s dairy, 134 Carisbrooke Road, Walton, Liverpool c1938

The first picture shows we presume, a champion dairy cow outside George Bargh’s premises which we discovered were located on Carisbrooke Road in Walton, part of Liverpool. A little bit of searching on Google Streetview located the remains of the dairy.

Carisbrooke Road dairy today, from Google Streetview

Thanks to some of our researchers we already knew that several families from Wensleydale relocated to Liverpool in the nineteenth century, setting up dairying premises within the town in order to supply the rapidly growing population with fresh milk. We decided to see what connection, if any, George Bargh had with Wensleydale. Our starting point was the excellent publications of Duncan Scott and Dave Joy. We’d thoroughly recommend them to anyone interested in this little known area of history.

From them, we moved on to Dave Joy’s website which includes census data and trade directories listing cowkeepers and dairymen. We found George Bargh in the 1938 Kelly’s Directory for Liverpool at his Carisbrooke Road premises, but he is missing from the 1955 one so presumably had retired or sold up by then.

The second photograph shows George Bargh outside another dairy, Glebe Farm Dairy, in Walton Village, not far from Carisbrooke Road.

George Bargh's Glebe Farm Dairy, 72 Walton Village, Liverpool 1920s

George Bargh’s Glebe Farm Dairy, 72 Walton Village, Liverpool 1920s

Google Streetview was no help finding these premises, we assume they were destroyed during the Second World War bombing of the city. However, we did find where it used to be from a map prepared as part of a food heritage project based in Liverpool called Mr Seel’s Garden 

The date is given as 1920s so this must have been an earlier dairy.  He was clearly very proud of his cow to feature it in the picture and the final scanned photograph in the museum’s collection shows that he had good reason to be as his herd contained prize winning beasts.

The City of Liverpool & District Cowkeepers Association Christmas Show 1927 won by George Bargh Champion Dairy Cow

The City of Liverpool & District Cowkeepers Association Christmas Show 1927 won by George Bargh Champion Dairy Cow

We found more photos of George Bargh and his cows on the forum, supplied by someone called Kathleen Robinson (nee Bentham) who had relatives who ran cowhouses in Liverpool and she supplied copies of them to the Mr Seel’s Garden project as well.

George Bargh and prize-winning cow (from Mr Seel's Garden project website)

George Bargh and prize-winning cow (from Mr Seel’s Garden project website)

George Bargh at his Glebe Farm Dairy, Walton Village, Liverpool 1920s (from Mr Seel’s Garden project website)

So far we hadn’t managed to uncover any connection to Wensleydale but another look at Dave Joy’s website led us to the family that actually built the Carisbrooke Dairy around 1900, and to Edward Ewbank Mason, a cousin of George Bargh, who turned out to have a deep family link with Aysgarth and a farm in Burtersett belonging to a great uncle. Read the whole story here: Carisbrooke Dairy – the memoirs of Edward Ewbank Mason. 

The memoir includes fascinating insights into the working of a city cowhouse:

“The cows at Carisbrooke were well housed and regularly fed. Their diet was good quality hay and ‘tubs’ — a mixture of brewer’s grain, Indian meal, oilcake and sometimes treacle or molasses. Water was, in my early years, fed by hand – it was late on in the life of Carisbrooke that automatic watering bowls were introduced. Writing now, 50 or 60 years on, you cannot escape the feeling that the modern RSPCA would not have looked on benevolently to the conduct and life of the cows once they reached Carisbrooke. Certainly the animals did not go outside the yard. And more often than not they never were allowed outside their stalls. Not until a deal was struck with a well-known cattle dealer, Rabinowitz, for the sale of an animal, for meat or possibly to be sold on for future husbandry elsewhere.”

There are many other Wensleydale family links with these long-vanished urban dairies and we hope to explore some of them as the project progresses.


Picture of Karen Griffiths

Karen Griffiths

Interpretation Officer for the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority


21 Replies to “Wensleydale cowkeepers in Liverpool”

  1. Robert Mason says:

    Edward Ewbank Mason was my grandfather.

    His mother was born in Waldendale and the family had associations with Temple Farm, Swinithwaite and Chapel Farm, Burtersett.

    His memoirs include many passages about Hawes and Burtersett in the 1920s and 1930s.

    Dave Joy used some of the memoirs for the piece on Carisbrooke Dairy.

  2. Stephen Bowe says:

    My family history now goes back to 1319 and includes a John Bowe who came from Bainbridge in Wensleydale to Liverpool to set up an urban dairy in Jasmine Street, Everton in the years around 1900. I think cows were sent via his younger brother Joseph Bowe who remained in Wensleydale and farmed all his life (he had 19 children!). If anyone has additional information it would be gratefully received. There were Scarrs in the Bowe family and I think there would have been a community of Dale’s people in Liverpool.

  3. Linda rowley says:

    My ancestors, Hammell & Mudd surnames in particular, also left the Yorkshire Dales (Aysgarth, Thoralby, Thornton Rust areas) to be Cowkeepers in Liverpool.


    Hi. Our family name is Calvert and we are researching this subject at the moment. Grandma May Mody (Calvert) father was William Cowper Calvert who we understand was a cow keeper somewhere in the Everton area . She often referred to Uncle Kit who we assume was TC Calvert of Wensleydale but we can’t find the link
    In the family tree. Any ideas?

  5. Dr Ian Bargh says:

    My Great Grandfather was called George Bargh and became a Liverpool Cowkeeper.

    According to the 1861 census George Bargh born (in the Settle district) at Burton (in Lonsdale), Yorkshire; he was the eldest son of Samuel and Rebecca Bargh, who were then farming 224 acres at Robinson House, Parkside, Burrow with Burrow, Lunesdale.

    He married Lucy Annie James in 1890, originally from Sunderland, Co Durham. The 1901 census then finds George and Lucy Bargh running the Stanley Arms Hotel, Liverpool Road, Aughton, in the Ormskirk district, his occupation was then listed as hotel proprietor and cattle dealer. They had two children, Rebecca Annie and George James (my Grandfather), both born in Liverpool, plus three resident servants.

    The 1911 census showed them living back in Liverpool, at 16 Clarence Grove, Everton; George was now a cattle salesman.

    George Bargh died in the West Derby district on the 4 March 1920, aged 69.

    I believe his widow Lucy then returned to Lancaster with Rebecca and George and lived for a further 20 years, before dying in Lancaster in 1939, aged 74.

    • Many thanks for this – it has filled in some important gaps!

    • Carl Bargh says:

      Hi Ian

      I think we may have been in contact previously. I just felt compelled to mention how small a world it really is.

      My Dad was Frederick William Bargh – one of three that I know of (the other two being my Gt Grandfather and my Gt Uncle).

      My Dad died in 2017, and his wake was held at his favourite and regular hostelry – The Stanley Arms in Aughton (he lived in Maghull with my Mum from 1978 to his death)..!


  6. Ann Payne says:

    The Thwaite, Harper and Sunter families ran cow keeping businesses in Liverpool. The Thwaite family have links to West Burton, Thoralby and Garsdale.

  7. Laura says:

    Hi Karen, do you know where I might find a copy of Duncan’s books? I’ve searched high and low.

  8. Ron Howard says:

    I remember helping in Billy Williams dairy in Seaforth in the 40s and helping deliver milk in a trap like that

  9. Valerie Rogers says:

    My 2x Gt-grandparents were Elizabeth Mudd and John Hammell (ang from de Hamel, certified Huguenot line). They came to Liverpool from Blindsyke Farm in Thornton Rust. Elizabeth’s sister Margaret & husband James Fothergill also came to Liverpool as cowkeepers and being childless they raised their niece, my gt grandmother Martha Ann Hammell, daur of Eliz & John.

    In later years my 2x Gt -grandmother Elizabeth Hammell nee Mudd ran a sweet shop in Everton, she was a widow.

    My Gt-grandmother Martha Ann Hammell moved from the dairy when she married a fishmonger (a bit of a dandy).

    Along with a cousin we did extensive genealogy more than 10 yrs ago, on the Mudd & Hammell’s which can be found online and sited by other people.

  10. John Holmes says:

    Do you have knowledge of the Holme family of Garsdale and Grisedale, or of the family of my Great Grandfather William Holme who had Cowkeeper’s premises at 21 and 27 Mill Lane, West Derby?

  11. Ann Simpson says:

    My husband’s father, George Simpson Jr, born 1880, in West Derby, Liverpool at 9 Chester Rd, kept cows at that address with other family members caring for dry cows and calving at Melbricks Moor, Swaledale. Not sure of precise dates the family were there, but some years. By early 1900s they were at Firs farm, Healey, Masham as tenants of Duke of Buccleuch. Would be interested to receive any relevant information or connections. Ann Simpson, Hereford.

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