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Another Thurnscoe Lad - a Memory of Thurnscoe.

Born 24th February 1947 at 66 Church Street Thurnscoe, one of the worst winters or so I was told. I went to Houghton Road Infants and Junior School. I remember Mrs Cook she was a little woman, her favourite weapon was the spindle from a chair, Mr Carr was a good bloke, he never hit me. I went to the Thurnscoe Hill in 1958 and left in 1962. Mr Buck had a bat with "Ouch" on one side and "Wow" on the other, Young Mr Haigh used the slipper or the knuckle on the head, Old Mr Haigh the Headmaster was very adept with the cane, he got you on the upward stroke and on the downward stroke, so when you went for 6 you got 12, aah the good old days, but they were respected.
I left school at 15 and worked as a pony driver at Dearne Valley Colliery until I was 17 and a half, when I joined the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. I served for 13 years and 31 days. I spent 2 years on the buildings as a joiner, I went back to work at Hickleton Main Colliery then on to Bentley Colliery. I received a back injury in 1992 and I had to finish work.
I was co-ordinator of a Neighbourhood Watch until 2002, when I set up a group to look after Thurnscoe Cemetery called the Dearne Memorial Group. Over the past 6 years we have raised and spent £150,000 on memorials to 970 babies buried in paupers' graves, a memorial to 164 miners who were killed at Hickleton Main Colliery, 2 memorials to soldiers who died in service, and one sailor who died on the submarine HMS Affray, we have a website www.cemeteries.org.uk and I have just secured a grant for 10k to put on the burial data of all the 20 cemeteries in the Barnsley area. So far the data of 11 cemeteries have been backfed from burial registers on to digital format which is over 140,000 names.
Thurnscoe has changed for the worse in my mind, since the pits shut the heart has been ripped from the villages in our area, the majority of schools, pubs, cinemas, buildings which we used as children, the Baths, Scout Hut, Snooker Hall, everything has been knocked down for town houses, even Church Street and Chapel Street looked better when the Dole Backs were there, at least we had a few Blackclocks for pets. I always thought progress was for the good of the community, well I am afraid someone made a serious mistake here.
I remember Thurnscoe as a busy and thriving community, when the gardens at the top end were well kept and full of home grown veg, Houghton Road in spring was a picture with the cherry blossom in bloom, now there is one single tree, the avenue of trees leading to the park which Rev Thornley Taylor donated to the village, the beautiful park and bandstand with the pagodas near the pond and sunken garden (I had a few snogs in the pagodas) but these were all taken down or filled in when Barnsley Council took over. Thurnscoe has been neglected and all the bits and bobs that have been put up in the village and the other villages in the Dearne Valley won't hide the systematic destruction of the communities in the Dearne.
We can never go back to how it used to be, but I am glad I spent my youth in the 60s because I wouldn't like to be growing up in these times, the young are on a road to nowhere, they are all painted with the same brush. I used to nick the vicar's apples from his trees, stick a penny banger in a key hole and run off, these were the dangerous games we played, today it's drugs, guns and knives, the kids of today should be pitied not scolded. Only government policies will change the rot which has set in, there is too much greed, too much emphasis is on money, even Christmas is being spoilt by money grabbing shops, who start selling Christmas cards in September. Gone are the days when you looked at the end of your bed at the pillowcase with all your toys in, at least they were appreciated, those were the Good Old Days. I hope the youth of today can say the same thing, that's if they can remember them.


A memory shared by First Name Last Name on Sep 26th, 2008. Send First Name Last Name a message

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