Bramley in The Years 1935 to 1941
Now 80 years of age I used to live with my Mum and Dad and brother Michael in Lincroft Crescent just above the Sandford estate. The houses were new and rather small though we were so happy there as children. There were many pals and I often wondered where my special chum Ronnie Little went when I had to remove into Leeds by the university after seven years in Bramley. The Lido was the cinema at the top of Waterloo Lane. Mr. Tunney was the attendant and Mrs. Tunney served in the small ticket booth by the main entrance. It was twopence for the front seats and four pence if you sat in the posh seats at the back. There were two 'turns' each evening starting at about six o clock and eight o clock. I went to Wyther Park school where Mr. Crabtree was headmaster of the all through school from the age of five to school leaving at fourteen. I left at the age of eleven to attend West Leeds High School. There were often fights between the boys of Lincroft Crescent and the lads from Sandford estate because Lincroft Crescent were private houses as against the council tenants from the estate.
We shopped at the all purpose shop Kaye's or at the cake and bakery Boshells further along towards Yates's mill. A small shop run from a cottage called Mrs. Nicholls was next to Boshell's and in I think 1941 she was murdered in her home. the murderer was never caught. Bramley Fall Woods was a place for us to play and there was never any thought of paedophiles - they just did not exist then.
At Wyther Park School we were taught by lady teachers up to the age of about nine. Miss Tuckey was lovely but there was an ogress called Miss Smith who broke a ruler on my hand with repeated strikes when I had done something to displease her. She was a horror and not fit to be a teacher - I know because I became one. We used to be petrified every Sunday night because she taught us music on the Monday and was the worst teacher I have ever encountered.
In 1941 we suffered an air raid when a bomb was dropped behind our house in the rhubarb field which is now built upon with houses. We awoke to a golden light of flares being dropped and as we were getting to the air raid shelter (built by my Dad as a really super shelter with a concrete entrance in the garden) a terrific explosion blew out the windows , smashed the bathroom and knocked the lamp from the ceiling of the living room. Soot was everywhere. A low flying aircraft flew repeatedly over our house and bombs were dropped on the Sandford estate. The raid was probably aimed at the Kirkstall forge armaments factory in Kirkstall. the following morning we went round to see the large bomb crater.
We used to go to either the Lido or maybe the Clifton cinemas though it was usually the Lido and if an 'A' picture was being shown we children if we were not with our parents would have to ask adults if, 'Please will you take us in' as unaccompanied children were not allowed.
Games were played in the street such as 'pise ball' a version of rounders and hide and seek. neighbours would tell us to move away if we were annoying them with too much noise. Carol singing was popular at Christmas time though we never seemed to make any money out of the venture. The usual was one verse of Good King Wenceslas (pronounced 'Wenslas' by us) followed by a knock on the door.
I remember a late night newpaper seller calling out his wares as he unusually came round Lincroft Crescent. It was the day the Graf Spee scuttled herself.
Sloane's bakery at the top of Outgang was where we went for a few cakes in the early wartime years. It was called the Saturday two o clock rush and customers were rationed to just a few items of the then unrationed cakes.
Occasionally our family went to the Pavilion cinema at Stanningley if there was a special film though afterwards there was a tram ride to Bramley Station and then a long walk up tp Town Street and then down Waterloo Lane.
I went frequently to the library at Bramley just up past the church with a steeple. Can't remember the church's name -St Mary's ? One had to be very quiet in the library. My favourite books were William, Biggles and any book on Science. There were comics in those days and I remember the first issue of The Beano and The Dandy. There were also magazines without comic pictures sich as the Hotspur and Wizard. we devoured any reading matter in those days as there was of course no television. The wireless featured The Happidrome on Sunday evenings and Monday Night at Eight. the pleasures were simple but wholesome unlike today's muck and filth. If any road repairs were needed a night watchman in a small sentry box and a brazier burning coke were stationed at the site. he would clean and set up the red paraffin lamps round the site and warn off any thieves.
In the area where the Sandford estate now stands there was an old abandoned manor house in which we used to go. rather spooky and we did not stay long. It was since demolished to make way for more council houses.
The week end ride into town on the 77 bus allowed us to visit the shops such as Lewis's, Hitchens, Mathias Robinson or Boots in Briggate.
They were indeed happy days and I still make sentimental journeys in my car and park wistfully outside no. 31 Lincroft crescent and think of my family now no longer here. yes indeed - Happy Days.
Lynden Flint - and where are you now Ronnie Little ???
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