Village Web Site Forum

Paul Wilkinson
Friday, November 16, 2007 14:59
Sutton in 1960
I've added a page to the gallery containing a series of photos and delightful recollections from Brenda Parsons, taken in and around Sutton on a Summer's day in 1960. If they trigger any memories for anyone, please share them here.
Denis pickles
Friday, November 16, 2007 17:06
Wonderful photographs Brenda. Sutton and district as I remember it. The name Geoffrey Happs springs to mind - a lad of my age from 'down' Sutton. Any relation?
Do they trigger any memories? Of course they do - every picture brings to mind a story or an incident. Haven't time to recount them all now ... but I will get round to it ere long. I presume that you are married Brenda - forgive me if I'm presuming too much. But was Parsons your name when you lived in the village?
Friday, November 16, 2007 18:40
Not only do we get some wonderful photographs to stir the memories, but we get a commentary which invokes even more. The pictures of the entrance to T. &. M. Bairstows set me off thinking about the short period that I spent in the Production Control office after returning from National Service. The people that worked there from George Catterall ( Alan's father ) to Gilbert Pogson, Alan Barret, Milton Bainbridge, Charlie Tetley , Keith Riddiough and numerous others. The office I worked in was situated opposite the Institute and now my grandsons live in a house not far removed from that position. The photos of the main street ( St. Thomas' Hall, the fish shop, the hostel and the Church) all contain memories too many to mention. Your recollections of the blankets issued each afternoon to encourage us to sleep stirred other memories. My teachers at that time were Mrs. Townson and Miss Ingles. My most vivid memoryof the latter was of her exposing her long brown bloomers every time she bent over one of her pupils. The pictures of " Charlies" and the Co-op in Crosshills are wonderful. Thank you for allowing nostalgic old men such as Denis and myself to share your album. I have no doubt he will impart even more memories when he has time.
My trip down memory lane showing the bus stop at "The Black Bull" was from 1956/8 but that did no stir the feeling that you have done. Thanks again.
Brenda Parsons
Sunday, November 18, 2007 17:05
I am so pleased that my photos brought back so many memories for you two lads (old men indeed!!) and very surprised that Dennis remembers Geoffrey Happs. Yes he is a relation, he's my brother, still going strong at 74, and living in Doncaster with his wife Jean, one of the Sutton Mill Hostel girls. They have a son and daughter and three grandchildren. He'll be stunned when I tell him that you remember him, we'll see if he remembers you Dennis. We also have a sister, Barbara, she is the eldest, who is now living in the Cross Hills area with her husband Fred Bailey. Are you two 'nostalgic old men' still in the Sutton area?
Geoff had an adventure of his own in connection with the bomber which crashed nearby in 1943 about which you might be interested to hear. He was ten years old at the time and along with his gang of mates retrieved certain items from the wreckage. His souvenirs happened to be live ammunition which he brought back home to Harker Street. Typical of most lads of ten he had no sense of danger, and went into the outside lavatory, got a fire going in there and lobbed the rounds of ammunition onto the fire. You can imagine the consternation of all at the resulting explosion which nearly blew him and the lavatory to kingdom come! Mother berated him then and for years after, even when he was a grown man! I think he was also in dire trouble when Dad came home on leave for the first time since the incident. He can remember Billy Walker telling them in school that if they had taken anything from the wreck that they must bring it back, just a bit too late in Geoff's case though, and he recalls a table in the hall being piled up with all manner of things that had somehow found their way into the possession of many local lads!
I wish I had taken a photo of the Institute, and can't think why I didn't as I spent hours there in the swimming pool. As I recall the pool was only accessible from three sides, the fourth side was the wall of the building and this had arched windows high up near the top to allow light in. I think the attendants blew a whistle when it was time to come out, and of course we never wanted to so we would make for the middle of the wall side of the pool and stay there, just trying to postpone the time when we had to leave the pool. If you pushed your luck too far the attendants had the option of using one of the long wooden poles, which were usually propped up against the wall, hooking it on your 'cossie' straps, pulling you to the side of the pool, and sending you packing with a flea in your ear! Now I hope I've got the right pool here as this memory is so vivid, so would someone please put me right if my memory is confusing it with somewhere else I went swimming. I also remember that the changing rooms for the 'stute pool seemed to be located outside so having got into your bathing suit there was a bit of a rush through a chilly outside passage-way before you could get into the warmth of the pool area itself - again I'd like to know if I've remembered that correctly too. I would love to see some photos of the Institute both interior and exterior if anyone has any they could put in the gallery.
I wish I could say I remember my teachers at school or anything we did but I can't, although I can remember playtime - I suppose that says plenty about me! There were two playgrounds, one for the boys and the other for the girls and infants, with a wall down the middle keeping us all in our respective zones, I keep wondering if its still like that today.
Am I also correct in thinking that opposite the Institute was a branch of the Co-op? I'm sure I would walk up Harker Street, turn right and first right again and there was the Institute on one side of that street and the Co-op on the other, I've often stood in the queue there, saving a place for my mother, after word had gone round that something or other had arrived. This was usually something that hadn't been seen for months so there was great excitement when this happened and the queue formed immediately, ration books at the ready. I'd better stop as I'm in danger of waxing lyrical about the Co-op, so I'll save it for another time!
None of us were living in Sutton after 1951, Geoff and Barbara married and moved away, and my mother moved with me to South Yorkshire to live nearer to her own family. I married too and have a daughter and son, their dad died several years ago, and as there isn't anyone calling me grandma yet I can keep kidding myself that I'm not really that old yet!!
Denis pickles
Sunday, November 18, 2007 19:27
You can tell Geoffrey that I remember him very well [I'm 73 yrs old and going strong] as does another old friend, Brian Wilcock, who I have just been speaking to on the phone. Brian has lived in Canada since 1948 and we are still in touch on a regular basis and visit one another now and again. Geoffrey and I [along with scores of others] visited the plane crash site at Bradley Lane Ends together and came away with souveniers. I posted a note on this forum about the incident and Bill Walker's lecture about retuning anything we'd collected. Look it up. I think it was Roy Boothman who returned a belt of machine gun bullets which he'd stached in the saddle bag of his bike. We didn't hear the explosions from the exploding 'Happs' ammunition in Bent Lane!
By the way, Brian Wilcock recalls the cottages by Bairstows Mill bottom entrance very well. His aunty, May Midgeley and his cousins Hugh and Alan lived in the cottage next to the gate.
Ask Geoffrey if he recalls Douglas Reeves, Kenneth Bailey, Gordon Saville, Peter Noble, Harold Hawker who would be about our age.
And as your mind and memory seems to be so brilliant, do you remember anything about the WigWal Concert party which functioned on Holme Bridge. They gave one or two concerts to raise money for the war effort. Don't think there would have been enough to buy a Spitfire but the shows were great. Those participating all lived on Holme Bridge and the concert party was named after the two streets where they lived .. Wig..... Street? Wal....Street? The Boothman's and the Monkhouse's were definitely in starring roles!
Brenda Parsons
Sunday, November 18, 2007 19:58
Dennis, I can give you a quick reply re the lads Geoff might remember as one of them is his brother-in-law, and that's Ken Bailey, I'll have to ask him about the others. Ken married Jean's (Geoff's wife) sister Kath, another Hostel girl. The two girls came from Northumberland and returned there after their respective marriages to Geoff and Ken. Ken is still living there but Kath died quite a few years ago, however he has his children and grandchildren keeping an eye on him so he's OK. The WigWal concert party isn't something I remember so I'll check with the other two and see what they know about it.

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