Village Web Site Forum

Brenda Whitaker
Queensland Australia
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 22:32
Sutton and its Park 50 years on
We have just returned to QLD after a hectic visit to the UK which included a couple of days in Sutton, the village I left in 1961.
Two of our grandchildren from New Zealand were with us specifically to show them where their nana grew up and went to primary school. There are such a lot of changes but despite my nostalgia the village looks and feels very familiar still.

We went into the park during a brief dry spell – it is looking an absolute picture and those who keep it that way deserve a massive pat on the back. It is a big asset to the village and from what I read on this site it sounds as though it is still a hub for family activities.
Of course the park has changed, I showed the girls where I played tennis, but alas no tennis courts, no tennis pavilion remains except for a narrow concrete slab – I showed them where the slide used to be, a kind and generous gift from Walter Thompson and on which nana stood to say thank you to Mr Thompson on behalf of the village children. Gosh how that area has changed and how fortunate the children of the village are today. With all the other playground items it was hard to get our two girls to understand the importance of the slide in those days or, in this plastic era, to picture it with its brass strip to slide on and how we used to rub candle wax on it to make it slide faster, to have competitions on how far off the end you could jump when it was at its fastest!! Not to mention the black backsides we ended up with because of the candle grease.!

The paddling pond is still there and, it had water in it too. Much of the foliage of rhododendrons etc has been cleared – these were little dens and hiding places for us as small children along the beck-side and alongside the tennis courts. It is all looking an absolute picture though and it provided a very happy stroll down memory lane for me. Standing on the bridge looking across at the chapel was very different without the grand structure that was there in 1961. So much of my time was spent there that it felt quite sad really but I do have photos and memories.

My old home in King Edward Street looks the same from the outside, as do the others along there. And, there are still some allotments on the beck side of Bridge Road where my dad grew our vegetables, fruit and his ‘show’ chrysanthemums. The Primary School (which was the Council School in my day) basically looks the same. Of course Bairstow’s Mill, where I worked in the burling and mending from 15yrs old, and the mill dam, are long gone. The post office is still in the same place, as a young teenager I delivered newspapers 6 mornings a week from there before catching the bus to KGGS at 0820 from Holme Bridge. And, there is still a chemist shop opposite too. St Thomas’s Hall, now very aptly named the Village Hall, looks the same from the outside. Gosh how many dances did I go to in that hall ??

There have been many changes in the last 50 years and I could write reams – however suffice it to say that from all I read on this website, those who live in the village today share a pride in the place. It really is a little ‘slice of heaven’ – (to quote a line from a song written in this part of the world!!!)
Nikki Barrett
Thursday, May 31, 2012 16:56
Lovely reading your trip down memory lane Brenda - I have just nipped next door to tell dad....David Barrett :o) he was grinning when I told him about the slide story and remembers it well x
Alan Pickles
Thursday, May 31, 2012 17:49
Hello Brenda,
I've been waiting for the final report of the visit to Sutton and thought that I would give you chance to settle back in at home before renewing the contact. You are a bigger nostalgic than me. Your memories date from the same era as mine and the thought that the park has changed so little is a credit to those who are responsible for it's upkeep. I'm not surprised that David laughed when shown the part about the candle wax, I'll lay any money that he had some in his pocket many times when sliding down before running off to claim one of the swings. The photograph on the website of the ceremony when the slide was opened says so much and shows many of those who enjoyed it in later years, myself included.
Good to have you back in the website.
Take care and cherish the memories of times gone by as well as the recent trip.
Brenda Whitaker
Queensland Australia
Thursday, May 31, 2012 21:53
Hi Nikki - Naturally I remember your dad very well and I am glad it raised a smile, we, your dad and Alan (Pickles) are the same era and 'played' in the park as well as going to school together - your dad, Joan and Michael lived on Boundary Ave when we were kids - and, of course, your grandad, Frank was my boss at T & M Bairstow. It is great to think that some families are still in the village and it is lovely to read your contributions. I have checked out your website too I might add.
Duncan McHenry
Thursday, May 31, 2012 22:10
Hello, Brenda. My granddad and grandma lived on King Edward Street - they were caretakers at the school.
Brenda Whitaker
Queensland Australia
Saturday, June 2, 2012 21:26
Sorry Duncan I cant just recall you or your grandparents - which end of King Edward were they and was their name also McHenry?
David Laycock
Saturday, June 2, 2012 23:46
Hi Brenda.
Great memories. Hopefully I will be able to come back with memories as good as yours. My cousin Ruth has sent me a commemorative medal and I commend the council for their results. We will be watching as much as we are allowed to watch of the Jubilie celebrations and hope all Sutton enjoy them. Although a lot of Aussies want a republic, but it is still a majority for the crown, at least as long as she lives.
Brenda Whitaker
Queensland Australia
Sunday, June 3, 2012 02:07
HI David - is that the Jubilee/Sutton Park centenary medal?
I heard about it when I was there but didnt get an opportunity to follow through on it... Do you or any reader know if it is still available - I think they had to be ordered. Perhaps I havent looked in the right places for detail. Like you we will be watching TV for the celebrations. We took the girls to London for a couple of days too so they will now be able to say - I've seen that/I've been there - etc. Just a little attempt to get the next generation of kids from down-under to understand/appreciate the culture of our heritage.
Paul Wilkinson
Sunday, June 3, 2012 08:12
Hi Brenda - see the news page for details about the centenary coins.
Brenda Whitaker
Queensland Australia
Sunday, June 3, 2012 21:31
Thank you Paul - I should have known better - I checked the Council's website and found nothing - but didnt go to the oracle! That'll larn me !!
Ruth Finlayson
Sutton in Craven
Tuesday, June 5, 2012 10:02
Hi Brenda,
I ordered the commemorative coin from the
Do not know if they have any left but you can always try.
Brenda Whitaker
Queensland Australia
Wednesday, June 6, 2012 02:39
Thanks Ruth - it is being progressed as we speak.
Brenda Whitaker
Queensland Australia
Tuesday, June 19, 2012 05:39
Today's mail delivered the commemorative coin I was after.
I am very impressed with it - also impressed with the excellent help from Denise Emmott at the Parish Council. Not only did she deal with my request promptly and kindly, she also included a very interesting item published in the Craven Herald with a little of the park's history. It was extremely thoughtful of her and a good read.
The old saying is ..."nowt as queer as folk" - but I think it should be...Nowt as good as folk! "
I look forward to seeing detail of the July 21st celebrations on this site - as always it is up with the news of the village events.

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