Rabbit Hill, Haworth, Yorkshire. © J. Ashley Nixon
Dorothy Nixon, now in her ninety-third year, was born in Haworth, Yorkshire and has lived in the village for most of her life. As a young girl, my mother was given the opportunity to take piano lessons, and she used those musical skills for many years as a local dance class and pantomime pianist. She was also a poet, although many folks, until now, don’t know it.
Her earliest known poem was discovered in a drawer in her family home on West Lane after her mother died. It was a dedication “To Mam and Dad” written on her twenty-first birthday, in 1949. In the 1980s, Dorothy’s writing grew from personal rhymes for friends and family to stories about local people and places.
One of these was Lower Laithe, one of many reservoirs in the Pennines, completed in 1925 through the efforts of her Dad, Grandfather and others in a large gang of local navvies. She wrote about Top Withins, the farmhouse described in Emily Brontë’s classic novel Wuthering Heights. There was a poem about the windmills that began to appear on the moors around Haworth in the 1990s. She would often write poetry, like Summat an’ Nowt, in the West Riding of Yorkshire dialect and usually find something funny to say, such as in The Octopus, her last gathered poem, written in 2008.
Over the years, my Mum’s poems, such as The Navvies and Rabbit Hill, inspired me to photograph some of the places she mentioned. Cobbled Together features these and other images, made during visits to Haworth between 1985 to 2016. They were selected to fit in with her words, relate visually to my childhood roots, and connect with the family grown from them.
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