Happy Days

A Memory of Batley Carr

I remember Batley Carr and Hyrstlands well. I moved to Hyrstlands in 1958 into the new council houses alongside the park, we'd all been re-housed following demolition of houses in Batley, Taylor Street and the houses between Yellands and the White Hart pub. The new houses were great as we had a bathroom inside not the usual trek down the street to a shared khasi with the complimentary key on a string fastened to a bobbin. I was ten years old in 1958 and looking back the number of mates from the estate and the Carr were the biggest boon. When we played rugby it must have been 20 a side and we played on a rough piece of ground in the park where they eventually built a bowling green and so we lost our 'Wembley'. All the lads played, we played for hours, in fact it was a bind to have to stop for tea. In summer it was bunker time (the trolley with four old pram wheels - 2 small at the front and the bigger the better at the back). A nut and bolt from Dixon Hall's was the mainstay of the steering cross-member. The track was from the park gates to the junction at the bottom of the Carr where the derelict Collins picture house stood. It seemed like the Cresta run back then - not for the faint hearted! Can anyone remember the park ranger, a tall guy - looked ex military with big handlebar moustache and carried a truncheon? I delivered papers in Batley Carr but not for Archie Jessop the local newsagent, but for Helliwells at Mount Pleasant. The Carr was old streets then and I can remember Canary Island, Victoria Street and Howard Street near the Quarry. Christmas was good for the tips - to say they were hard times people always gave something. I loved taking papers as I got to read all the comics. Saturday afternoons in winter was match day up at the Mount where we all went to watch the Gallant Youths. The players gave heart and soul then for a pittance. At half time it was our turn on the pitch - kids from all sides of the ground ran on and the crowd would cheer us on. One of the ex Batley players kept the Cherry Tree pub just lower down from the Shoulder of Mutton pub - his name was Austin Kilroy and heard he'd died about four years ago. I moved from the area in 1967 and lived in Wakefield for nearly thirty years before moving again to the East Coast. I did however go up Batley Carr Road and Hyrstlands Road last year to visit my grandaughter at Staincliffe Hospital and it brought back endless memories, even though the houses have changed and the flats in the Carr look old now. I don't think we'll see those community days again but I enjoyed them.

A memory shared by Michael Kemp , on Mar 18th, 2013.

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