Ashway Gap House Greenfield
Q. Quite recently I have taken to walking in the stunningly beautiful Saddleworth Moor area with friends who live in the locality. Besides walking I am interested in the history of buildings located on the moors. I was delighted to see all the comments that came back on this web site, in respect of a query concerning Ashway Gap House, now demolished. Whilst delving into the history of this building I heard a passing comment that it may have been referred to informally as 'Water House' whilst in the ownership of the Water Board. My thanks to Kath Mayall for her input and could I ask if anyone can confirm that this name was actually used?
Ian Law, Hebden Bridge
A. My grandfather (my mother's father), George Harry Rolls (1883 -1962) worked for the water board that owned the reservoirs and land at Ashway Gap, and the house. He joined the Board as a lad, as a water rate collector (tramping round to collect the rates on foot) and rose eventually to become the company secretary. I remember one or two "functions" at Ashway Gap (House) when I was a boy, between 1945 and 1949, and being shown round the very impressive looking adjacent water works, which has since been flooded by the Dovestone Reservoir. My grandfather retired at 66 in 1949, having been prevailed upon to work for an extra year while, I imagine, someone to replace him was found. His retirement party was one of the "functions" mentioned, at the house, where he was presented with a rather fine "illuminated address" commemorating his long service. I still have this, in its original frame. I don't recall the house looking tatty, which is surprising given its reported role during the war which had then only recently ended - but I was only between 6 and 10 at the time mentioned. I also have a panoramic photo (like a school photo) of the party from the British Waterworks Association during their visit to the Silent Valley Reservoir near Belfast in 1931. My grandfather had become company secretary in 1928, so was one of this party. I don't remember the house at Ashway Gap being referred to by my grandparents etc as anything other than just "Ashway Gap", which to my young mind sounded - like my grandfather! - "important", but it might also have been referred to as "Water House" - possibly by less senior employees of the Board!
Carl Haworth, Retford, Nottinghamshire