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Growing Up In The Pit Houses

A Memory of Bolton Upon Dearne

We were raised in a pit house on Springfield (sometimes 'Avenue') near the far end of Ings lane, in the Fifties. It was a small street, only 6 houses. 2 or 3 keys would open both front and back doors (and the coal-house) of the whole street; but you hardly ever locked the door anyway. Often our small 'gang' walked over the lane towards Broomhill where there was a small wood. We would pinch a big spud from the field and try to cook it on our camp fire, charcoal on the outside and rock-hard and cold in the middle! If you were hard you got a turnip (swede?) and ate it raw - it was about 15 minutes walk if we ran..... Playing on the street had its own hazards, not traffic but mums leaning out of the windows telling you to "bugger off, my husband's been on nights", and a ton of coal in the road waiting for someone to get the barrow out! Dad's barrow was 'huge', home made, with old pram wheels. Talking of pram wheels makes me think of the trolley you could make from them, with some scrap wood and a bit of washing-line to steer it and pull it back up the hill.
I remember the cockle pond down the railway track towards Wath Pit, where you could catch good fish if you could avoid bigger lads shooting at your float with air rifles from the railway bank. We sometimes put a penny on the track and watched as a coal train ran over it to flatten it out - oh Health & Safety where art thou? There is mention of the 'Suicide Bridge' in another Memory of Bolton. I never knew where the name came from, it seemed a bit ghoulish when you were a 'nipper'. Playing there was a bit risky as the cutting was through a sandstone gorge about 50 feet deep known obviously as 'the rocks'. The cutting was also the local council rubbish dump where you could collect injuries on a weekly basis. I remember the Tetanus jabs to this day.

A memory shared by Peter Wraith , on May 10th, 2013.

Comments & feedback

Tue Jan 6th 2015, at 11:40 am

thetaylors.taylor commented:

Hi Peter. I lived opposite your family My Name is Norris Taylor. I remember all the oily motorbikes - your Bond Bug and some of the scrapes we all got into. Cyril is no longer with us. Cyrils' daughter Janet (my stepsister) lives near to me in Norfolk and both my siblings (Linda and Clive) still live near Doncaster. Betty is now in care and the House we had such happy times in has been sold. Springfield Ave was a great street with great neighbours - your dad Jack was a great guy and you mum Connie was a great friend to Betty. Hope you and the rest of your family are well.

Tue May 12th 2015, at 10:16 am

Peter Wraith commented:

Hi Norris, great to here from you. Sorry for late response - never expected any comments. Still live in Bolton. And yes I still have an oily motorbike, used frequently!

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