Burnley On Barracks Road

A Memory of Burnley

At the house where we lived from 1928 until 1935, (No 24 Barracks Road, Burnley, now called Cavalry Way), it was called a 'back to back' row cottage. It comprised of two bedrooms upstairs, one just about able to fit a double bed, and one very small room for two single beds. This is where my sister and I slept until seven years later when we moved house, after my brother was born (we were all born in Burnley Bank Hall Hospital). When my younger brother was being born, our dad caught two pigeons and baked a pigeon pie with vegetables, to take to our mother at the hospital. I do not remember any other furniture in our bedroom, it had a very small window high up. We used to have to go to bed at 6:30pm every night. I can remember Sunday nights in summer when the ice cream man rang his big old school bell. Sometimes, we were lucky and got an ice cream cornet with raspberry syrup on it, brought up to us. At the bottom of the stairs, was an old tin gas clothes boiler washer, and just passed it was a stone sink. You then turned left and down two steps into the living room. There was a table, four chairs and a big giant wooden chest (our presents were placed on it at Christmas). At the opposite side of the stair steps, was a black cast iron fire (a fire oven plus a hot water boiler ) all combined. When I was old enough, I cleaned this fireplace with Zebro polish. Suspended from the ceiling just in front of the fire, was a clothes rack for drying the weekly clothes washing. There were only three windows in the house, two upstairs and one in the living room, all facing the street. There was only one door into the house. Directly behind us and attached to us, was another cottage - there were no toilets and no bathroom in the house. Yes, we did have modern gas lighting - you had to put money into a meter that was inside of the house. You could buy a shillings worth of gas at a time and when the meter ran out, just insert another shilling. We had just one cold water tap. We had houses on either side of us ,they were called terraced cottages. Next but one, to us on the left was a pub (General Campbell Inn) at No's18-20. We were number 24 and had No's 26, 28, 30 stuck to us. Our drop toilets were in the square behind us…there were a row of these things for the area...and no water. We could not complain too much, it was private and there was a roof to it, and we did not know of anything better. Underneath the staircase was another set of stairs, this led down to the coal cellar. The coalman used to pour the coal down a chute from outside of the house. This hole was covered by a steel plate in the wall or the floor outside. Outside of our front door at the edge of the flags (pavement), were two old fashioned cannon barrels stood up and embedded in the floor. This was to prevent army vehicles from running into the house. Across the road from us, was the rear entrance to the army barracks. The main entrance led down Cavalry Street to Barracks railway station on Padiham Road. When the army had big parties, our mam used to go across to help at serving and cleaning up. She would come home with food from there and sometimes brought large dishes of trifle for us. She also used to clean an apartment for one of the officers, he was called Broderick. My sister and I would play with his daughter Sheila. Sheila set her bed on fire one night, playing with matches and was burnt badly, she only lived a couple more years - she developed pneumonia. The officers in those days wore silver breastplates, helmets and rode horses, they also had a small troop of soldiers dressed the same way.
My mother's mother once lanced a large abscess on my sisters throat, to save paying money to a doctor to do it. I did not see it, but was told about it when I asked why she had a one inch scar on her throat. I know few names from this period - Alan Bailey at No12 and Doreen Dougan lived at No 30. Evelyn Sturdy was climbing over some tall spiked railings with me and my sister when she slipped and the sharp spike went through her thigh, sorry no picture. Rowland Farrer

A memory shared by Rowland Farrer , on May 8th, 2012.

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