My family of 8 moved to Duke Bar in 1960. I was 6 years old. We lived on Pheasantford Street, which is not visible on the photo but it was a right turn before reaching the Duke of York Hotel. I worked at Hudson's cake shop opposite the left side of the hotel. I worked for Mr and Mrs Hudson and served in the shop on Saturdays. I was 13 years old when I worked there. When I went home, Mrs Hudson would put any unsold cream cakes in a bag for me to take home for my family. I also had a paper round which used to be my brother's round, I took it over when he gave it up, I delivered papers after school. I worked for Malc who sold papers on the street corner opposite Mrs Tattersall's shop. Mrs Tattersall sold sweets from big jars which you bought by weight. She sold cigarettes and even sold them one at a time, I saw her do it. Hard times hey! You could get a glass of soda which she made for you with orange squash and soda from a syphon. I think it cost twopence. When we first moved to Duke Bar, although the trams were long since gone, the tram lines were still there, but they eventually disappeared too.
Pheasantford Street, when I lived there, was so quaint with cobble stones and the Bankhall pit gates entrance at the bottom of the street. I was woken up every morning to the sound of the miners walking up the street going to work, they would be in their work clothes, their hard hats had the light on the front and they would be wearing their clogs. The vision was very much like one of Lowrie's paintings.
The people who lived in Pheasantford Street were hard working, down to earth, friendly people. There were the Mcguire family who lived in the old police house next to the pit gates. The Mcguires were a large Irish Catholic family. There were more than 11 people in their family. Two or three of them were my friends. The Grimshaw family lived in the end house with a bit of spare ground next to them. We had the yearly bonfire on the ground right next to their house. All the neighbours gathered there on November 5th. Some people brought treacle toffee to share with everyone, and spuds wrapped tight in newspaper were thrown on the edge of the fire to bake. The older parents used to sit on the old sofas and chairs which were the last things to be thrown on the bonfire - the sofa and chairs - not the older people!
In the summer all the kids would play on the street. We played games like 'Ring tin tin' and British Bulldog. Quite a few of the parents including my mum and dad would watch the kids play from their doorstep, they would get together for a gossip. It used to have wonderful community spirit.
I am sad to say that I visited Phesantford Street in 1998 hoping to refresh my cherished childhood memories, but found that all the quaintness and personality was no longer there. Culture changes, hard times and neglect had taken its toll.
I am proud of where I come from and learned some valuable life lessons from my time spent living on Pheasantford Street.
A memory shared byon Jul 5th, 2009.
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