Discussion Forum

Dusty Miller

Posted by Lou
Thursday, March 2, 2006

Anyone know why the Dusty Miller, Mytholmroyd has been closed for some little while now?

Posted by N Yorke
Thursday, March 2, 2006

The owners have applied for and been granted permission for extensive refurbishment

Posted by Philip Webster
Sunday, March 12, 2006

Hi everybody

Just noticed a few people are interested in whats happening at the Dusty Miller!!!!!

Well let me enlighten you all.

The building is in the process of a major £650,000 refurbishment, turning the place into a restaurant/bar with en-suite letting bedrooms.

We are due to open mid May 2006 and look forward to welcoming you all.

Phil & Lisa

Posted by Lou
Monday, March 13, 2006

Yes, it had been noted that since my original query major works have started on the building. And not before time. The place was an eyesore!

The renovation of the building, and ultimately the improvement of a local amenity for the village is good news. However, it is just a bit of a shame that the local bus stop shelter is right outside the main entrance to the pub.

Posted by Philip Webster
Saturday, April 1, 2006

Your comment has been duly noted, just to let you know we are in the process of contacting the local council regarding possibly mocing the bus stop somewhere else as it does spoil the appearance of the Dusty Miller. Time will tell if we get anywhere with this.

Posted by Richard Bailey
Thursday, June 15, 2006

What a difference the dusty miller is. I recently called there to do business and as I walked in I was shocked. The place looks amazing. Well done to all involved and hope it proves to be a great success.

Posted by Blue
Saturday, July 1, 2006

I used to go in the Dusty Miller after hay making 20 odd years ago. Having come back to the area and recently visited the Dusty I feel that the place feels more like a city bar than anything, has no soul and bears no relationship to the valley it is in.

Posted by Roy Stockdill
Tuesday, September 12, 2006

It saddens me deeply to have to write this message, but I was exceedingly disappointed by what I consider to be an act of supreme rudeness by Lisa Smith, one of the new owners of the Dusty Miller, as recently as this Sunday just gone (September 10th).

Firstly, to explain a little background, I have a number of articles and features on the Mytholmroyd Web, including one about the Cragg Vale Coiners in the 18th century. Lisa Smith contacted me some months ago via e-mail and sought my permission to put a copy of this article on the wall of the newly-refurbished Dusty Miller, since it was a meeting place of the coiners who are supposed to have plotted the murder of the exciseman commissioned to apprehend them, one William Dighton, in the pub. Naturally, I gave my full permission, no problem.

A cousin of mine in Halifax, Alan Stockdill, has visited the Dusty Miller several times and got to know Lisa Smith. He told her that I would be coming up to Yorkshire to revisit my old haunts this weekend (just gone) and that I would be very happy to visit the Dusty Miller and see my article featured on a wall of the pub/restaurant somwhere.

It transpired that Lisa was having a problem making the article fit onto an A4 page, so I telephoned her last week and we had a conversation in which I told her I would be happy to make the necessary adjustments and alterations. This I did and e-mailed it to her as a PDF. It took me a couple of hours or so to do the work. However, I received no acknowledgement fron Lisa.

My cousin Alan had booked a table for lunch at the Dusty Miller for this Sunday for 12.15 pm and when I spoke to Lisa Smith on the phone from Hertfordshire earlier in the week she told me she would be there to welcome us and meet us. My cousin, his wife and I duly arrived and had lunch and asked a waitress several times where Lisa was. We were told she wasn't on duty that day. I explained the purpose of our visit and we were then told that somebody had gone to fetch her.

She never appeared!!! When we queried where she was again, we were told she had just sat down for lunch with her family, some 20 yards away from us in another room, but apparently she couldn't be bothered to come to meet us. I had actually printed out for her a copy of the article she wanted to hang on the wall. I gave it to the waitress to give to her but but still Lisa didn't have the courtesy to come and talk to us.

My cousin Alan saw and recognised her but we paid the bill and walked out, feeling deeply offended. My cousin and his wife were very embarrassed and could not believe such rudeness.

I feel I put myself out for her in quite a big way, and we had made a special effort to go and have lunch in the Dusty Miller, and Lisa Smith did not have the courtesy or decency to come and say hello or "thank you".

In my view, however much money they have spent on it, the Dusty Miller does not deserve to succeed if that is how they are going to treat people who have made a special effort to help them.

Roy Stockdill
Watford, Hertfordshire
former Mytholmroyd resident

Posted by Adam B
Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Hi Roy,

I have just read your message and it is so sad that you put in so much effort only to feel so snubbed in this way.

I am sure that your knowledge and work deserves a great deal of respect.

May I suggest that you get back in touch with Lisa and give her a chance to explain or at least apologise? It would be such a shame for what could be a good relationship to end before it has really begun and an even greater shame for your feelings to remain hurt when there could be a reasonable explanation for what occurred (however implausible that may seem).

I would not for a moment wish to imply that you are in any way "at fault" for the unfortunate events but I think that it may be worth your going "above and beyond the call of duty" so to speak.

Good luck whatever you decide to do.


Posted by Zilla
Tuesday, September 12, 2006

This just confirms the previous comment by Blue and also my impression of the place.

Posted by Roy Stockdill
Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Thank you for your comments, Adam. They are much appreciated.

However, I played it strictly by the book and e-mailed a copy of my message to the discussion forum to both Lisa and her partner at the Dusty Miller in order to be fair and let them know what I was doing. To date I have received no reply from either. Perhaps she is too embarrased by what she has done, but I tend to wonder whether that is the case. Perhaps she is simply one of those people who do not understand how important good manners are, especially in business where it's vital to make customers feel welcome. I wonder if they are cognisant of how much damage this little exchange is doing to their reputation and future prospects?

I am certainly not going to go grovelling to her, since my cousin, his wife and I got the impression that it was like begging for an audience with the Queen! She will have to approach me if she wants to offer an explanation and/or an apology. I really don't want to sound self important, but having knocked around the world as a Fleet Street journalist for many years and then been an executive for Murdoch newspapers, I have met far, far more significant, important and famous persons than her.

Roy Stockdill
Watford, Herts
(whose parents Leonard & Molly ran the former Royal Oak in the 1950s)

Posted by Fran
Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What a shame that those who applauded the venture and gave something of their time to help it on it's way should feel like Roy does.

He isn't alone in his interpretation of how things have evolved since the opening.

I have heard of many similar stories.

Posted by Rachel
Thursday, September 14, 2006

I think it's a bit of a shame that a personal grievance is being aired for discussion on a public website and that you wish someone's business fails on your experience of an individual. If it saddened you that much you would have maintained your own courtesy and contacted the person in question directly. I wouldn't get back to you either if I was informed that you were posting the whole incident on a public forum.

Could I also ask what makes one human being "far far more significant" or important than another? I appreciate your feelings are hurt but one minute you're talking manners and courtesy which everyone deserves to be treated with and the next you seem to be saying some are more important than others. I think people should try new places for themselves rather than hearing second hand stories, be they good or bad.

Posted by Joseph
Friday, September 15, 2006

I agree. I don't think its fair to air grievances in this way, and it is certainly more courteous to have this sort of discussion in private. It makes you look a bit mean spirited I think, which is funny seeing as it is you who has been wronged.

And if we allow this kind of thing, where do you draw the line? Do we slag off every bar we have a poor meal in? Is that what this forum is all about?

I had a bad pint in the Fox & Goose once. I took it back to the bar, we agreed it was off, and I had something else. Would I have been better posting here first, or is that a bit inappropriate?

....And to make it absolutely clear, no I am not having a go at the Fox, which is a fine fine establishment.

Posted by Roy Stockdill
Saturday, September 16, 2006

I am afraid both Joseph and Rachel are missing the point. I am not complaining about the food or the service in the Dusty Miller; in fact, the food was quite good and our waitress was very friendly, too. She, in fact, to give her credit, was embarrassed when we told her what had occurred.

My observations are about the fact that I put myself out in quite a substantial way to do some work for Lisa, which she has neither acknowledged nor said "Thank you" for - work which involved 2-3 hours on my computer, and my time is valuable and quite expensive. If you read the background to this rather sorry saga, you will understand what I am talking about. To summarise briefly, she asked my permission to put on the wall my article on the Cragg Vale Coiners. It then transpired she was unable, for some reason, to get it printed out at the right size, so I rejigged it, did it for her, and sent it to her as a PDF file. I even printed out a copy for her and sent it to her via the waitress when my cousin, his wife and I were there on Sunday. She did not have the grace even to acknowledge us.

We had booked lunch very specifically to meet her and had informed her in advance that we would be coming. I travelled up some 200 miles from Hertfordshire - admittedly not for just that reason but that was one of the purposes of my visit.

Lisa did not have the courtesy or the grace even to stop by our table, though she was sitting only 20 yards away in the next room.

Sorry - but for me that is quite extraordinarily rude.
I e-mailed Lisa and her partner, trying to be fair, giving them a copy of what I was posting here, and neither have bothered to respond. It's their problem, not mine, but I don't have much respect for people who can treat customers so badly.

I live near London, go into town frequently on business and visit places like the Savoy and the Dorchester, etc, and I really don't see why I should be snubbed so rudely by a couple of village pub restauranteurs in Mytholmroyd without apology or explanation.

I find it interesting that Fay, who runs the Mytholmnroyd Net website, has posted a message, too, indicating that other people are equally unhappy.

Roy Stockdill
ex-Mytholmroyd resident

Posted by Rachel
Saturday, September 16, 2006

I get your point completely, someone has been rude to you, snubbed your article/work and you want to let people in their locality know. The fact that the person is a landlady of a pub seems to distress you all the more.

I think you're missing my point completely - as you say it's nothing to do with the Dusty Miller really (other than the link about the article)- you may as well put the name of the person your grievance is with as the header rather than drag their business into it and you do actually say "the Dusty Miller does not deserve to succeed if that's how they're going to treat people" again the treatment was nothing to do with you as a customer it was a separate issue which you have detailed.

Maybe Lisa had heard that you separate people according to importance depending on your judgement of their status and decided not to further involve herself with you, I hasten to add I don't know her and am just guessing.

To be honest I would just let it go, as much as I agree that manners are very important whatever "perceived" or "judged" status one has I don't think you're going to get a response that would make you happy, especially after publicly airing your grievance.

Posted by Fran
Saturday, September 16, 2006

Doing up and re-opening a pub like the Dusty Miller must have been a massive task, with all sorts of stresses, strains and demands we can only begin to imagine.

Let's all hope that when the dust has settled (sorry it just came out) the owners will have the time and energy to work out ways of dealing with these situations diplomatically, show support to our community and make it into the kind of pub Mytholmroyd can really take pride in.

Posted by Larry Kin
Monday, September 18, 2006

Rachel and Fran, I think again you are missing the point. Roy Stockdill is a very important person from London. He has clearly pointed this out by telling us that he goes to very important places like the Savoy and the Dorchester, and that he has had very important jobs like being a journalist and an executive. The people who run the Dusty Miller are not very important people, no matter how much they try to act as if they are. A very important person has been snubbed by someone who is not very important. A social wrong has been committed, plain and simple.

Posted by Sue
Monday, September 18, 2006

I don't know any of the people involved and neither, indeed, have I visited the Dusty Miller. However, it would seem that Roy has been treated appallingly.

I think it fair that poor customer service is aired publicly. Any service industry relies heavily on its reputation and making any customer feel unwelcomed is not going to be good for business.

Lisa had failed to thank Roy despite numerous opportunities to do so and then 'stood him up' having arranged to meet him. At best this is short sighted - perhaps she was really busy and it slipped her mind - but at worst it was rude.

I certainly wouldn't rush to the Dusty Miller myself having heard of Roy's experiences.

Posted by Rev Tony Buglass
Monday, September 18, 2006

Larry, if you stick your tongue any further in your cheek, you'll need surgery to remove it from your ear. And far from being a "very important person from London", Roy does make it clear from his signatures that he is from Mytholmroyd. He simply suffers the misfortune of being forced by his work to live in the South. Speaking as a Geordie missionary to Yorkshire, I know how he feels!

So if a social wrong has been committed, perhaps it is that a native has been treated as an offcumden. Such a dreadful sin requires restitution, surely. Perhaps the sacrifice of a dock pudding, hurled into t'canal at full moon, with suitable incantations? Or simply an apology, and thanks for his work and his going the extra mile to do it...

Posted by Roy Stockdill
Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I have come to the conclusion that this debate is perhaps a generational problem. Clearly, Lisa and her partner Philip are quite young, whilst I am probably regarded by them as a bit of an "old fogie". The fact is that my generation understood good manners, possibly rather better than people do today.

Anyone who cares to look at my other contributions to the Mytholmroyd Net (my articles and the pictures) will know that my mum and dad ran the former Royal Oak in the village from 1950-58. I doubt many people will remember them now, since it is half a century ago, but I do happen to know that a few do, since they have e-mailed me to tell me so.

My dear parents were the essence of old-fashioned, old-time village publicans, whose first priority was customer care - a term we seem to have forgotten. Len and Molly (my parents, as they were known to everybody in Mytholmroyd) regarded it as their bounden duty to stand and talk to a customer for as long as he wanted, even if he was drinking half a pint of mild and was the only customer in the pub! This kind of concern and service for customers appears to be dead today and to have been replaced by a new breed of junior entrepreneur who are interested only in making as much money as they can for as little service and customer care as possible.

I was brought up in Mytholmroyd from the age of 10 to 18 (my formative years, as you will discover if you read my article "Memories of Mytholmroyd"), and I have great affection for the place. Thus, it saddens me to learn that somebody thinks I am some sort of self important person from London. I am a Yorkshireman, through and through, born in Bradford and brought up in Golcar in the Colne Valley and then Mytholmroyd, and began my professional career on the Halifax Courier in 1956.

My mum and dad were stalwarts of Mytholmroyd society for a decade in the 1950s, hosting the Mytholmroyd FC club and Mytholmroyd's pigeon fanciers at the Royal Oak for a similar length of time.

I am a son of Mytholmroyd and, now working as a professional genealogist, I have offered to research the ancestry of Ted Hughes, gratis, as my gift to the Ted Hughes Centre (if it ever happens).

Where did Lisa and Philip come from?

Roy Stockdill
Watford, Herts
01923 893735 (in case anyone wants to discuss anything).

Posted by Joseph
Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I disagree Roy, with your assessment that manners is a generational issue. We are (every generation) all in agreement that it was a little rude of the owners not to acknowledge the work you did for them. We don't know why, as we've not had their side of the story.

We/I disagree with your response however; of publically trashing the reputation of the proporietors and their establishment. I'm sure it was not your intention, but the impression given by your posts on the thread is that you had been slighted, and have therefore set out to cause damage to the owners in whatever way possible.

And if that impression is incorrect, people might have wondered why you were posting. Are you just really warning people not to undertake any free work for the the proprietors?

Good manners to me might have been writing to the owners. Or calling them. Or popping in next time you are up. Posting on a public website is just rude, no matter how old you are.

And if there is a generational issue here, might it be that some members of the older generation don't understand what the an online discussion forum is all about, and about its impact? Roy's posts will over the next few weeks will be be indexed by search engines, and associated with the DM. So next time someone searches for DM on t'internet they'll start to see his less than favorable comments.

Now either Roy knew this, in which case it makes him look mean. Or he did not, in which case there really is a generational issue here, in that he has not really understood what posting in a forum is all about.

Gosh. Now I sound mean.

Posted by Andrew Hall
Thursday, September 21, 2006

Perhaps I'm too naive, but if Larry's comments are tongue in cheek, I fear to imagine how far Tony Buglass's tongue has gone in his defence of Mr Stockdill!

As the rather ghastly Lloyd Grossman has been know to say - let's look at the evidence.

A local lad made good has been slighted by a local Calderdale hostelry. He has done the landlady a favour, by reproducing one of his own articles for display on her walls, and is offended that she has not acknowledged this.

The local lad has then got on his high horse, and, in an obvious attempt to get his own back, written to Hebweb, and said " I live near London, go into town frequently on business and visit places like the Savoy and the Dorchester, etc, and I really don't see why I should be snubbed so rudely by a couple of village pub restauranteurs in Mytholmroyd without apology or explanation.", the inference being that he's an important guy, and that the owners of 'village pubs' should really know their place and understand the importance of touching their forelocks to such important people as he (obviously) is.

But what of the other side? Mr Stockdill's comments only present one side of the argument. From his comments on Hebweb, we know that he considers himself to be an important person, who has had important jobs, and dealt with other important people in important restaurants. I have to say, that, if I owned a local restaurant, and such a self-important person had walked in, I too, would have taken a back seat, and pretended I wasn't there. I can understand the owners entirely.

As Joseph intimates, Mr Stockdill's postings on this forum are cheap and disingenuous. (OK, I know! What would you expect from a journo!) The amusing thing is that I, and many of my friends from Hebden Bridge have it in mind to visit the Dusty Miller, a place we would have never visited before the "Stockdill Diatribe". Perhaps the Dusty Miller can benefit from this self-important little man.

Posted by Roy Stockdill
Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Most entertaining comments, Andrew. However, like others, you miss the point yet again, as I have been at constant pains to explain.

Let's forget me for a moment and let me tell you about my mum and dad, Len and Molly Stockdill, who were landlords of the former Royal Oak in Mytholmroyd from 1950-58. They never had much money and certainly never made much at the "Oak" but they were one of the most popular couples in the village. They worked damned hard and had a cheery smile for everybody - regular or stranger - and regarded it as their duty to offer as good a customer service as possible.

Many's the time I saw my mother standing at the bar talking to one lone customer when she could have been doing many other, more important things, because she considered it her responsibility to do so. This is an aspect of service that does not seem to have occurred to Lisa and Phillip who now run the Dusty Miller.

My cousin from Halifax, his wife and I were in there for over 2 hours and Lisa could not even find the time to spare a couple of minutes to talk to us and thank me for my work on her behalf. Now, I'm sorry, but that to me is pretty da----ed rude!

If you think I'm a self important little man, that is your privilege. However, I am of a generation that appreciates manners and service and does not much care for youngsters in a hurry who don't want to know, once you've given them what they want - which I am forced to suspect is the case here.

I was brought up in Mytholmroyd from the age of 10 to 18 and still love the place. Where are you based, I wonder, and how much have you contributed to the Mytholmroyd Net? I have several articles there and have provided a number of photos - have you contributed anything other than your comments to this discussion?

You may further be interested to know that I have e-mailed my work to Lisa and Phillip once again (since, they claim, suspiciously in my view, that they never received the file the first time) and they still refuse to acknowledge it.

If you do pop into the Dusty Miller sometime, perhaps you'd be good enough to let us know whether my article about the Cragg Vale Coiners is on the wall or not. Frankly, I don't much care any more.

Oh, and by the way, I do know exactly what posting to a mail list means! If you enter my name into Google, you will find an awful lot of hits, since I am a fairly well known genealogist these days.

Best wishes
Roy Stockdill
Watford, Herts

From Joseph
Friday, September 22, 2006

Thanks for clearing that up Roy. On the basis therefore, that you know full well how forums, search engines and "posting to a mail list" work, I propose that we ask for this discussion thread to be closed off.

I'm in agreement with Jonathon who writes in a paralell thread

"I'm also struggling with the thread about 'The Dusty Miller'. Whlist the initial complaint was evidently highly significant to the person who wrote it, I'm not sure that I think that customer dissatisfaction is a community matter. Whilst I am not alleging that the person who started the thread or the people who contributed to it are doing so, I fear that we could be encouraging 'score settling' via the website. This should be nipped in the bud."

Posted by Rev Tony Buglass
Monday, September 18, 2006

Honest, Andrew, my tongue never left my mouth! OK, I admit - it is a preacher's tongue, well-exercised, and pretty muscular, but it was only a little in my cheek.

As you suggest, let's look at the evidence. Roy did some work for the Dusty Miller; he went the extra mile to make it a favour; he was left with no thanks, no welcome, not a thing. He feels aggrieved, and sought to share his feelings in a local forum.

I wasn't originally going to enter the fray on this one, but I eventually decided to for two reasons:

  • I thought Larry either did a brilliant reductio ad absurdum, or was illustrating the extremes of misrepresentation to which this issue seems to be going; I therefore decide to take it as a send-up and seek to clarify and defuse the matter a little.
  • I don't think Roy needs anyone to defend him, he is more than capable of doing that on his own, but I did think that some were taking some of his comments and making too much of them. I don't read them as "self-important", because they weren't the principal reason for writing - they came into his comments later, and were primarily an expression of disappointment and hurt. Now, whether you agree with me or not on that doesn't matter a jot. The bottom line is that Roy does have a valid complaint - he does appear to have been slighted.

I rather hoped to bring a bit more of a smile to the issue, and take some of the heat out of it. I appear to have failed. Perhaps my illustrations of dock pudding sacrifices and incantations were closer to the truth than I thought. Be afraid. Be very afraid...

Several people have suggested that this thread now be closed. We agree. Webmaster