Built in 1774, Planks, pronounced locally as 'Plonks', has been demolished, but lay in the triangle created by the confluence of the Colne and Wessen rivers, in the centre of the village. The site is now occupied by Wessen Court.
Although the whole area was known as Planks, there was a separate alley which ran parallel to the houses, between Planks and the old church, called Golden Alley.
The houses on one side backed up against the river, where there were ash-pits. An area on the opposite bank, still there today, was set aside as a drying area. Planks covered Top o' Street, Roebuck Square (present site unknown).
The houses were all stone-built, 3 storeys, with weavers' windows. It was built for its entire length over a conduit, with a stone archway at the river end (east end). The origin of the name is a mystery.
Planks was demolished between 1935 and 1939.
There was a sweet shop at the top end, by Union Bridge. There may have been a pub called The Roebuck, and there was The Two Dutchmen and The White Hart on Towngate. The graveyard at the back of Planks was used for burials until 1852 The present graveyard was consecrated in 1857. The old church was then used as a warehouse. It was sold to a plumber, on condition that he cleared the site Stone pillars that supported the balcony in the church are now holding up a balcony at 18-22 Colne Crescent.
The population of Planks was mixed. There were those who had been Marsdeners for generations; men who had come to Marsden for work, met a Marsden girl and settled; and itinerant families, often working on the railway or canal.
In the early days, there were people working in all types of textiles - wool, cotton, silk. There was also a wide range of trades, and one woman is listed as a 'Keeper of a Mangle'! Many of the houses took in lodgers as a source of income.
One of the inhabitants of the Planks, William Schofield, was a prominent figure in the Methodist Chapel. He was born in 1820, and was apprenticed to a shoemaker. He became a Methodist in 1839. One source tells us that he was very fond of visiting 'pothouses' before he became a teetotal methodist. He became a coal merchant, and was well-known for his charitable deeds. He was a Sunday School Superintendent for 30 years. He co-founded the Temperance Society. His parents, Henry and Mary Schofield, had a grocery shop in Towngate.
|Number of households in Planks - 17||Population of Planks - 70|
|Ave household size - 4.1||Ave size of nuclear family unit - 3.6|
|Ave age of household heads - 45.5.7||Number born outside county - 16|
|Percent born outside Marsden - 24.8%||Born outside Colne Valley - 33%|
|Households with related kin - 2(11.7%)||Wives in paid employment - 4(23.5%)|
|Hand weaver - 2||Stone mason - 1|
|Mason's labourer - 1||Steam engine maker - 1|
|Railway labourer - 3||Blacksmith - 1|
|Laundress - 2||Seamstress - 2|
|Machine makers apprentice - 2||Burler - 6|
|Grocer - 1||Shoemaker - 2|
|Boatman - 1||Feeder - 2|
|Piecer - 1||Silk dresser - 1|
|Quarryman - 1||Mangelkeeper - 1|
|Power loom weaver - 1||Iron foundry labourer - 1|
|Carder - 1||Milliner - 1|
|Joiner - 1||Dressmaker - 1|
|Housemaid - 1||Slubber - 1|
|Twister - 1||Tailor - 1|
|Number of households in Planks - 21||Population of Planks - 64|
|Ave household size - 3||Ave size of nuclear family unit - 2.9|
|Ave age of household heads - 46.1||Number born outside county - 5 (7.8%)|
|Percent born outside Marsden - 15 (27.4%)||Born outside Colne Valley - 9 (14.1%|
|Households with related kin - 2(9.3%)||Wives in paid employment - 2(9.5%)|
The number of wives in paid employment is interesting. The normal pattern of female employment in the village seemed to be that single girls worked, almost without exception, but that very few did so after marriage. It is possible that the number of working wives can be seen as an indication of the poverty of an area. If this is true, then the relative poverty of the Planks area improved during the 1850's, by 14%.
|Weaver - 6||Book-keeper - 2|
|Asst teacher - 1||Piecer - 4|
|Engine fitter - 1||Wool merchant - 1|
|Grocer - 1||Stonemason - 1|
|Burler - 2||Foundry labourer - 1|
|Joiner- 1||Dressmaker - 1|
|Housekeeper - 4||Feeder - 3|
|Slubber - 1||Shoemaker - 1|
|Waterman - 1||Labourer - 1|
|Rag sorter - 1||Iron turner - 1|
|Charwoman - 1||Tailor - 1|
|Cloth miller - 1|
|Number of households in Planks - 20||Population of Planks - 79|
|Ave household size - 4||Ave size of nuclear family unit - 3.6|
|Ave age of household heads - 43.8||Number born outside county - 15 (19%)|
|Percent born outside Marsden - 34 (43%)||Born outside Colne Valley - 25 (31.6%|
|Households with related kin - 1(5%)||Wives in paid employment - 1(9.1%)|
The number of husband-wife families is low in Planks in 1871 - there were 8 households with no-one listed as 'wife'. The other noteworthy statistic is the number of 'outsiders' - mostly due to the railway, it would seem.
|Weaver - 6||Dressmaker - 4|
|Millwright - 1||Bootmaker - 1|
|Tailor - 1||Foundry mechanic - 1|
|Weaver - 1||Iron moulder - 1|
|Burler - 2||Labourer - 2|
|Railway labourer- 3||Police officer - 1|
|Waterman - 1||Cart driver - 2|
|Servant - 1||Railway miner - 2|
|Waterman - 1||Bobbin winder - 1|
|Bobbin minder - 1||Rag sorter - 1|
|Bricklayer - 1||Cotton grinder - 1|
|Wool feeder - 1||Cotton doffer - 1|
|Piecer - 1||Boiler maker - 1|
|Rag mill labourer - 1||Millhand - 1|
|Shawl twister - 1||Timekeeper - 1|
|Grocer - 1||Railway platelayer - 1|
|Silk frame tenter - 1||Engine tenter - 1|
|Stonemason - 1|
|Number of households in Planks - 19+3 empty houses||Population of Planks - 95|
|Ave household size - 5||Ave size of nuclear family unit - 3.7|
|Ave age of household heads - 52.8||Number born outside county - 29 (30.5%)|
|Percent born outside Marsden - 51 (53.7%)||Born outside Colne Valley - 44 (46.3%|
|Households with related kin - 2(10.5%)||Wives in paid employment - 1(10%)|
There was a remarkable number of people from outside the area.
|Spinner - 2||Wool dyer - 2|
|Grocer - 1||Servant - 1|
|Housekeeper - 1||Doffer - 1|
|Gas stoker - 1||grocer's assistant - 1|
|Teamer - 3||Labourer - 8|
|Wool feeder- 1||Weaver - 3|
|Loom fitter - 1||Afflicted (sic) - 1|
|Cloth miller - 1||Draper - 1|
|Dressmaker - 2||Mason's labourer - 1|
|Wool knotter - 1||Finisher - 1|
|Nipper - 1||Excavator - 7|
|Coachman & Groom - 1||Iron moulder - 2|
|Piecer - 1||Worsted doffer - 1|
|Railway labourer - 2||Shawl fringer - 1|
|Baker - 1||Millhand - 1|