Memories Of My Childhood In Rossington. - a Memory of New Rossington.
My story starts on the 1st of March 1950, the date of my birth at Doncaster Royal Infirmary. My parents Jack & Mary Flather lived in Old Rossington at 65 Haigh Crescent, living with relatives (Guy) until a house became available for our family to move into. We then moved to 57 Gattison Lane one of the many council houses built for mining families in this area. My father (Jack) worked firstly as a miner and then a deputy at the pit. My mother did many jobs such as working in the fields picking vegetables which were in season at the time of year, and we as children used to pick peas and beans to supplement our pocket money in the summer holidays, competing with the older women for the best rows which yielded more produce and better weights to fill the sacks which were weighed and a ticket produced to exchange for cash at the end of the day.
I attended Rossington church school with my two brothers Stephen and Jack. Being a church school we got all of the holy days off of school after attendance for regestration and attending church for a short service, and on Ascension Days we would climb to the top of the church tower for a service before going home. The church was surrounded by cast iron fencing which my younger brother Jack occasionally got his head stuck in, and it took some effort to release him.
Sunday mornings was always a circular walk from the village to the Great North Road, and back via another lane past several farms then the school and church, past the old police station, across the level crossing of the station and back home for lunch. In the afternoon we used to go to church and were given money for the collection, half of which we used to spend at Billy Bonza's garage on the way, and put the other half in the collection plate.
We moved from Gattison Lane to live at The White Rose Hotel which my parents managed for several years before we moved out of the area to live in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. I have many happy memories of my childhood, spending the long hot summers in the river at Stringy Billies and walking to Waddy Lane to the river there and fishing for sticklebacks with my little net, and, when the water was frozen in the winter, skating on the ice. Going on bike rides to Tickhill with a bottle of water and jam sandwiches to share between five of us, which were always dry, and always found its way into the bottle. Watching the majestic steam trains passing through the village en route to London and Scotland, waving from the bridge at the passengers and them waving back to these dirty faced little urchins.
Games played in the street were skipping, with the rope turned by our mums, while we counted in and skipped, marbles which were always popular, whip and top, sometimes using the stone bottle stoppers as a top, and of course decorating them with a chalk design. Roller skates which were metal and adjusted with a nut in the middle to fit all sizes, and which you could share and have one each. Hopscotch, and in the Autumn the great conker fights, which you now require safety glasses and gloves to compete if at all!!! These days can never be recaptured, but will remain with me forever. Neighbours' names who I can recall were Mr & Mrs Taylor, who had a son called Ian, and whose pram I used to rock for a bar of chocolate every Saturday afternoon, and who were the first people to own a television in the street. Derek & Myra Dobson, who were friends of my parents and one of the first to have a car in the street. Mr & Mrs Ashworth, who had a son called Roy (?). Mr & Mrs Wright who lived opposite and had two children called Christine and Brian, and a family called Moss who lived lower down and had a daughter called Margaret. We were a family of Five children, Margaret the eldest, Stephen, then me (Sandra) Jack and finally the baby of the family Derek, who is now just turned fifty.
Gattison Lane was in the new village, but we used to go to the little open market in the old village on Fridays and Saturdays to buy produce and spend our pocket money. The cinema was opposite the market and had a tanner matinee on Saturday mornings which was well attended and exceeded the decibel limit on many occasions. Films were 'Zorro', 'Cisco Kid', Lone Ranger and Tonto, lots of cowboy films for the boys, and the goody always winning the day.
Days out were to places such as Finningley to the air displays to see the mighty Vulcans, Spitfires and Lancasters flying low over the airfield, all done on a tandem, an old racing bike which my father used for work and a bicycle borrowed from a neighbour. The races at Doncaster (The St Ledger), where they had an enormous fair and lots of things to do, and a little flutter on the horses.
Shopping was done locally at the Co-op, but Doncaster was the place for school uniforms, shoes, and special outfits for Whitsuntide and holidays to Skegness and Cleethorpes (Beach-home), very basic, but a change from home and a rest for my mum and dad.
A memory shared byon Jun 20th, 2008.
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