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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.

Added 10 May 2013


Comments & Feedback

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.
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!
Hi Peter, you probably won't remember me, I'm Anne Jones I'm a little bit younger than you, I lived at 50 Maori Avenue the sister of Ian, Brian & Neil. I have fond memories of when I lived in Bolton, however, I haven't moved far away I'm now living at Wath. Just going back to the good old days only yesterday I was trying to remember the shops my Mum sent me on errands to and they came back to me today, Mrs. Laverick and Mrs. Roberts, I really miss those quaint little shops. I remember your Mum and Dad also your sister Anne. I was sharing a few memories with my youngest on the other day and told him about dripping sandwiches and how we use to dip rhubarb in a bag of sugar also going pea picking in the school holidays oh 'the good old days'.
Hello Anne, I remember you well (and your brothers!). I still live in Bolton. I married Mrs. Laverick's granddaughter in the seventies, and we are still happily married to this day. I will remember you to my sister although sadly lost younger brother Gordon a few years ago. Great to hear from you and thanks for your comments.
Hi, I was born at 96 Ingsfield Lane in 1965. I remember at a young age being sent with my brother to Mrs. Lavericks shop whenever my mother needed a bag of sticks for the fire. Old Mrs. Laverick would be sat in a chair in the corner of the room, which had a strong smell of firelighters Whilst her daughter would serve us. Great memories. Also remember Mrs.English who told me off more than once, in fact, several times a week for chalking on the path outside her gate and playing hopscotch with my brother and mates, Terry Nicholls, Dawn Meakin, Margaret Macintyre, Rodger Kitchen and Julie Cutts. I have fond memories of Winston, the barber in his suit Walking up Ings lane. After cutting my dad's hair my mum would shout us from our gate, when we would hide near the iron bridge at the top off ings lane to avoid a hair cut. I also remember the rag and bone man shouting for rags, when we would immediately run to our hose to ask our mother for rags, Great memories and never forgotten.
Hi, thanks for your response! Yes good times, I remember Mrs English too. Coincidence - I married Mrs Laverick's Granddaughter. Also remember the Ice-cream man pushing a blue barrow filled with dry ice and the rest of his wares, he sounded his approach by using a whistle. He was a rotund fellow and always seemed to have a dew-drop on the end of his nose.

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