Childhood In Affetside

A Memory of Affetside

Born at Baxterhead Farm in 1938, later lived at Butcherhead Farm. Attended village school, teacher Miss Davies, at playtime end she would blow a cuckoo whistle. Had to go to Sunday school but had to walk to Hawkshaw with my sister to church. Cars were a very rare sight, there was a bus every hour, it started from 200 yards up from the Pack Horse Inn next to the village shop, which was called Mynas, or you could walk down to the Bulls Head at the bottom of Watling Street and catch the Ribble bus to Tottington where I went with my mum to the Co-op. I used to walk to Tottinton on Saturday morning to go to the Palace cinema for the children's matinee, Roy Rogers, 'Flash Gordan' I remenber was the serial, always leaving you in suspense. The cinema has long gone and is now the health centre. Christmas 1944 a flying bomb landed across the road, destroying houses and killing 7 people, it was the talk of the village for a long time. I do remember army trucks coming through the village with P O W's, I think they were made to work on the farms. I used to wave to them but my mother would tell me off. I remember seeing  parachute drops over Holcombe Tower, I think they were from Ringway Airport, now Manchester Airport, as that was the parachute training school. On VE day we had a party at the school. I also remember marching from school and down Black Lane singing 'Land of Hope and Glory' and 'There will always be an England '. Summer was the best time, haymaking, watching steam traction engines drive threshing machines. Another highlight was when Turton council resurfaced the road with a steam road roller. Winters were bad, sometimes Watling Street was impassable, 1940 was a very bad winter although I was only 2 and don't remember it, my grand mother who lived in Smithy Fold died and had to be taken down to Bradshaw on a sledge as the hearse could not get up to Affetside, she was then taken to Stockport cemetery. 1947 was another bad winter in Affetside. There was no mains water, some houses had wells,  Butcher Head where I lived had one. There was a village pump close to the Pack Horse Inn that residents used.
I left Affetside in 1949 but often think back to a very happy childhood spent in the village, with school friends like Linda Evans, Billy Lowe, Fred Scowcroft and Eddy Jowles. Affetside today is a differant place, though the houses are still the same it is it does not have the same village atmosphere it used to have.   Baxterhead Farm is a premier property, not like the 2 cottages where I was born and lived. My links with Affetside still exist as my eldest daughter lives in the cottages near the Bulls Head.         

A memory shared by Frank Ryle , on Aug 23rd, 2009.

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