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Donkey Stoning The Steps

Donkey Stoning The Steps I moderate an English Conversation Group and include, from time to time, some of the unique regional customs. 'Stoning of the front steps' somewhat difficult to explain to individuals, where, English is not their first language. On reflection, perhaps, a custom that would have been unknown to English people not living within a defined region of the country.

Seeing housewives, never a men, stoning the steps was a familiar sight when I was a child. I maybe wrong, but I had a distinct impression that the choice of colour, white or brown, was a subtle indicator of social aspirations. I can also remember remarks disparaging those who failed to complete this ritual in a timely and satisfactory manner The custom originated in the mills where 'stoning' was used to counteract the potentially dangerous grease on the mill floors.

The use of donkey stones gradually died out during the 1950s and 60s. The last big manufacturer of the stones was a company called Eli Whalley, founded in the 1890s, in Ashton-under-Lyne, which ceased trading in 1979.