Childhood Memories In Blackburn

A Memory of Blackburn

My first school was St Michaels and All Angels in Whalley New Road. We all had to have our gas masks over our shoulders and hang them up on our own little peg. I can remember we all had school dinners, I don't think we paid, we had no money. Also all the very young children had a sleep for a couple of hours in canvas beds so we had to creep around. My father Harold buck and his friend Edmund kept pigs, so they came after dinner to collect the food that was left over to feed the pigs, they called it pig swill. I used to hide when they came. There was a wall at the bottom of the playground with a big drop on the other side down into the brook(Blackwater), we would climb down sometimes, cross the brook and go up the other side to the Tizer where soft drinks were made. Also on the same land was a big lake we called Granny Green Teeth, it was bluey green in colour. We also went through the tunnel under the Tizer and came out at the paper mill and then on to Boyle Street, we had to climb over big wood type sleepers to get out of the brook. Just near the paper mill on Freme Street was a builders yard, we called it the vinegar yard. We would climb over the wall, about ten of us. Inside was a cement mixer, we would climb in the mixer bowl one at a time and see who could stand the most turns. I remember I won, but I can't remember how many I did.
In the summer holidays we used to have our own olympic games on Boyle Street. We had found some tiles with a torch on blue and white so we had all sorts of games - running, high jump, long jump etc. Also about this time the American Army were billeted on the other side of the brook, they used to throw chewing gum and cigs out of the windows. One night I got a right telling off for going home late, I had been trying to get some fags to take home to my dad from the yanks. When the yanks were being marched through the streets all the woman would shout at the sergeant to stop shouting at the men.
We lived on Whalley Range, 145, just near Calder Street. My dad had an allotment at the top of Calder Street, he grew all sorts of vegetables. He would get a sack of seed potatoes to plant and they would be in the house till planting time, but by the time came it would be half empty they would have been used up. Across the road from were we lived there was some shops, one was Rices. I had to take the battery from the wireless to be charged and borrow another till it was done. Also a bakers called Bleasdales where when things were getting better I was sent for 24 hot cross buns, they were lovely, all shiny tops. On Saturday my dad, or fa as we would call him, worked. He worked at Richmond Hill paper mill. Ma would make him a spud pie in a basin so I had to take it for his dinner. Ma would say "ask him for a bob"(shilling). When I was there I would have a great time in all the bales of paper, it was all scrap paper, sometimes I would find comics and books. Sometimes fa would bring home wallpaper that had a light flaw in it (rejects from a wallpaper makers in town). We trimmed the edges but it turned out very nice. Sometimes on Saturday I went with a mate of mine, Fred Crudge, to get coke from the coke work on Harwood Street. We had to cart it all the way back on a barrow. Fred was a refugee from London, we still meet up now and again. We all went to Bangor Street School, Fred, Bill Walsh, Roy Ludden and many more. Later on when in our teens we went the rounds of the dance halls, KENSITAS, FRED SKINNERS, JOE MORTS, ACCRINGTON, ACCCY CON where I met my wife, this was in the sixtys.
I had two sisters, Jean and Maureen. When we were young we would go with our mates to the China Woods up near Wilpture where the road and lanes had names like Paris and the Isle of Man. We took  a bottle of water and a few sarnies and spent the day larking about. Bill Walsh's dad was a coalman, he had a lovely great horse that pulled his cart. When he brought our coal he would shout "coaly", come down the backyard and dump six bags under the stairs next to the kitchen. Talking about stairs, when the Germans were over on a air raid we would all go in Mrs Dandy's next door but one and sit under the stairs till we got the all clear, but I don't know what good it would have been.
Some of my happiest times were at Bangor Street School where Tommy Fairclough would stand at the top of the stairs first thing in the morning tapping with his cane on a cupboard as we came in, keeping a eye on the cane. I also remember Miss Duckworth who we called ma duck, and Mr Crompton who had a real good hand with a slipper.
One of my favorite places was Ribchester. All the family would go and then walk on to Sailwheel Woods. Fa would lead the way and if a car was coming he would shout "Tuck in!". When we got there we would have a picnic and swim or paddle then walk back to Ribchester and have an ice cream before we got the bus home. Another place we went was Corporation Park. At the top was a stone building we called the tank which we would climb up.
Oh happy days, love to all.
Bill Buck.

A memory shared by William Buck , on Feb 22nd, 2008.

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