Stanley History Online
This page covers stories told by village people, past & present. If you have any information we could use please contact us.
One stormy night
Information courtesy of Mary Clements
Upon the death of her father Herbert Fox in 1953 (Mr Fox was Colliery Manager at Newmarket Colliery), Mary and the rest of the family had to move out of the colliery managers house on Newmarket Lane into a smaller house opposite, which was supplied by the NCB. Mary recalled one winters night after the family had just moved into the house, the rain was driving across the fields towards the house, the wind howling.
Shortly after they had all gone to bed there was an enormous crash from above, which woke everyone in the house. Mary recalled her mother racing to her sisters bedroom and being unable to open the door, it soon became obvious that part of the roof had fallen in to the bedroom caused by the chimney pot coming loose in the wind and crashing through the roof. All the debris had piled up behind the door stopping them entering. In panic her mother ran across the then rhubarb fields towards the colliery to get help for her daughter. To this day Mary is amazed how her mother ran bare foot across the fields, in the middle of the night.
Once help had arrived, they managed to open the door to find the girl under the bed, unhurt by all the rubble that had fallen into the room, her face as black as a miners from all the soot from the collapsed chimney. Mary recalls thinking how lucky her sister had been, obviously frightened by the howling wind, she had got under the bed, amazingly this action had probably saved her life.
Newmarket Colliery, by the late Jack Calvert who did the ink drawing for Mrs Clements in 1994. The picture hangs on her living room wall and shows the field her mother ran across that evening, the building bottom left was the medical room where she went to get help
The Barbers Shop 1920s
This shop was located on Lake Lock Road, opposite now what is Blades Hairdressers. The owner, Fred Limer, who was known to most villagers as “Sweeny” carried the business of cutting hair and shaving or trimming beards. It was a timber building, about 20ft square with a door and two windows. There was a stove in the centre of the shop and one chair, the barbers chair, with wooden benches around the perimeter for customers.
There was always a good supply of coal for the stove, local mineworkers kept the stove alight. The wash basin was made of stone and the shop had no running water, the days supply was brought by bucket, water was then boiled on the stove for shaving.
The shop was more of a community centre than a barbers shop, locals would sit around the stove, smoking their pipes and reading newspapers, trying to pick out the winners of horse racing events. When they had made their choice, the name of the horse and which race it was running in was wrote on a slip of paper, usually the inside of an empty cigarette packet, and sent with the stake by a runner to the Bookmaker, who used the Stanley WMC as Headquarters.
All this was illegal during this period, and occasionally the local policeman would summon them to court, they were fined, but it made no difference and they continued to bet. During the summer months the open space behind the shop, which was formally a stone quarry was used to play cricket, and during the winter months rugby and football.
Sweeny was a remarkable character, he was one of the leaders in the village, helping to organise any sporting event. His sons were sporty types, John and Harry, top class Billiards players, especially John. He competed successfully against some of the better players from WMC in West Yorkshire. Another son, Tom, raced pigeons, a hobby and sport he pursued all his life.
Sweeny charged two pence for a haircut and beard trim. Balding men were usually charged one and a half pence.
Born in 1910, Tom Seymour served many organisations in the village of Stanley, many of which he had great influence over. In football he achieved great honours in the field of refereeing both at national and international levels, but what gave him greater pleasure was the way football developed locally. This was due in no small measure to Tom’s enthusiasm and his untiring work for the starting and developing leagues and competitions. Recognition of this was marked when he was elected Wakefield and District Sportsman of the year.
Tom carried his ability and love of football into his voluntary work in the prison service and for the last 20 years of his life he instructed and coached men in HM Prison Wakefield for the Referees Certificate. During that time over a hundred men in Wakefield Prison gained the certificate which gave them a great sense of achievement and hope in the future while being in prison. It is little wonder that upon Toms death in 1973 a wreath was sent from the Wakefield Training Centre AFC, the name of Wakefield Prison Football Club as a tribute to his service on their behalf. In addition to this Tom also served as a Prison Visitor and when most men were settling down to their hour with the paper on a Sunday afternoon, or their cat nap, Tom would be in Wakefield Prison listening and counselling those in need.
In his Civic life for the work of the community there were no political barriers for Tom and he was respected by all because he faithfully served everyone. In the days before his death he was busy in his efforts to arrange for some local Senior Citizens to be allocated the then newly built houses at the top of Bottomboat Road. In May 1971 he served his year as Chairman of the Council and this was to prove what a superman he was, no, not a super star for he never sought glory. The word super really means to rise above and in his year of office, despite the fact his wife Gertrude was seriously ill for much of the time, Tom rose above this great handicap and still fulfilled all his engagements whilst still remaining a most faithful and devoted husband which indeed he was.
In his service to Youth in the area Tom served on many committees, both locally and for the wider area, being Chairman of the Divisional Youth Executive. He was however not only the person who sat at the head of the polished mahogany table in the Council Chamber of County Hall but he was also the man who was frequently seen in the youth clubs learning first hand the problems from leaders and members. His interest and happiest moments were when he was at ground level sharing in the activities of the individual clubs. This could also be said of his work in the field of education, for although he again served on many of the managerial bodies of local schools, his greatest pleasure was derived from being amongst the teachers and children. He could always speak from a first hand knowledge in committee, his priorities of needs for youth club or school were in the right order.
Tom was a man of complete integrity, high principles and yet flexible and always willing to listen and learn of new ideas. He was a trustee and member of Zion Congregational Church and was amongst the faithful who kept the church going. As in his civic life, Tom was not one to have narrow views regarding faith and worship and he played his part in the work of the Stanley Council of Churches.
Born in 1891, Mrs Annie Coward moved to Stanley shortly before the First World War. From 1929 – 1950 she represented the Lake Lock Ward as Labour Councillor on Stanley Urban District Council. Twice during these years she was made Chairman of the Council and became a Magistrate on the Wakefield Bench. It says much of the high esteem in which the community held her as she never suffered defeat in any election during the 21 years that she served the Council.
From 1933 – 1939 she was elected a member of the Wakefield Board of Guardians, serving as Chairman of the Parentless Children’s Home. She also became a member of the Carr Gate Fever Hospital Committee and Governor of Rothwell Grammar School.
The buying of Moorhouse Estate by the Council was due mainly to her initiative and thought for families of the miners and poor people of the District who were always first in her thoughts, and she felt that this was one of her greatest achievements whilst serving on the Council.
The local steam roller
This machine that weighed several tonnes was used to repair our local roads from the 1920s. The following is the school boy memories told by the late Frank Poskett. “On one occasion the driver of this machine gave my school pal and myself a short ride on it. As a young schoolboy this was a great adventure. The monstrous machine was so full of character, it was to us a living creature. The smoke bellowing out of the tall boiler chimney, and the flames from the boiler fire grate licking out through the door was like a dragon spitting out fire with smoke coming out of its nostrils. The giant flywheel was humming like a pack of humming birds and the hissing steam from its cylinder was like hissing snakes. The rattling chains for steering the machine was like the rattle of a ghost's chains straining for freedom. The crushing of the stones under the weight of the rollers made a sound like the stampede of elephants. When the machine was brought to a halt by the screw handbrake, the whole machine shuddered like a giant taking his last breath.”
Mr & Mrs Bullimore
Mr Bullimore was born in Leeds but came to Stanley with his family in 1902 aged 12. Mrs Bullimore was born in Bottomboat and moved to 439 Aberford Road in 1916, where she and her husband would eventually live their lives together. Although the couple were confirmed together in Stanley Church in 1905 they didn’t know each other then, and it wasn’t until the year of the fire at the church, 1911, that they met officially. From that time onwards they went out together regularly but because of commitment to their respective families, it was not until 1928 that they were able to marry, and on Boxing Day 1978 they celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary. Mr Bullimore documented many interesting recollections of Stanley, giving us an insight into the villages past.
He sang in the church choir for 45 years, recalling the tragic and disastrous fire that destroyed the church. He wrote of the great community spirit that was generated in the village, even amongst those who were not churchgoers. A mammoth effort was made to raise money to rebuild the church, in the meantime services were held in the old school, or in the summer, under the trees in the church yard.
Before the First World War the young members of the church, including Mr Bullimore, ran a Pierrot Troupe who gave regular concerts which, for many provided the only entertainment outside the home. This ended with the war, but when it was over another concert party was formed, the main object of which was to raise money for the men’s Tea. This was an annual event for all the main members of the church and was followed by an entertainment. Mr Bullimore recalled that on one occasion over 250 men sat down to tea. It was also practice at this time to hold Men’s Services ever Sunday afternoon at which there would be a regular attendance of 100 - 150. Mr Bullimore used to read a lesson and play the organ at this service.
Throughout his years in Stanley, after leaving school at 13 Mr Bullimore worked for the same firm, Sharphouses, the wholesale grocery firm which started in a modest way in Lofthouse Gate and grew steadily until it became one of the leading wholesalers in the district. He started with the firm as an office boy and for many years before his retirement after fifty four years of continuous service, he was chief cashier. There is no doubt that his loyal service was appreciated by his employers as, after suffering a heart attack which precluded his cycling to an from work, the firm had him conveyed by a chauffer driven car.
The first organist
In the top corner of the graveyard at the front of the old church building lies a horizontal tombstone, blackened by weather and industry but nevertheless quite legible. Doubtless many have passed by the stone on their way to and from church quite obvious of the name carved on it by a local mason many years ago.
“Sacred to the memory of George Egglestone of Bottomboat, the first organist of Stanley Church who died the 13 day of February 1843. Aged 26 years.
My time was short, my years but few,
Like as the grass, or morning dew.
Mourn not for me, the change was great,
Seek but the lord and we shall meet.”
George Egglestone was only 26 years old when he died but by that time he had become organist of the church. Thirteen years previous to that a George Egglestone was mentioned as receiving ten shillings as payment for the half year in 1830 for playing the bass in the church orchestra. At that time, of course, the orchestra led the choir in their musical activities, there being no organ. If it was the same George, he would be only thirteen when he received this payment of ten shillings. Are we to presume then that he was a clever and versatile young musician or that he was following in his fathers or a relatives footsteps as a keen musician?
The Local Postwoman
A well known lady to all the residents of the village, not only because she lived in Stanley from the age of three months but also for the many services rendered to a great many people over the years, I am of course talking about Mrs Kathy Bartle who held the position of local post woman for over 30 years.
Kathy, the eldest of a family of nine, was christened in Stanley Church, as were all her brothers and sisters. She was married there in 1943 and subsequently the rest of the family, with the one exception, were also married in the church. For ten years Kathy worked in a mill and during the war she was in the munitions factory at Thorpe Arch. When she started work as the village post woman she soon became a familiar figure pedalling around her patch.
In 1946 she was joined by a lady who became a staunch friend, Mrs Rene Lunn of Lee Moor, who started as a holiday relief post woman and later took on a full round. She and Kathy used to help each other out and the tales the two lasses could tell would fill a book, but really needed to be heard in person to be fully appreciated, alas, some could not be printed on here! At the side of these two, today’s postmen don’t know there born! During these early days they weren’t post woman, they were ‘ruddy osses!!’ As well as delivering ordinary mail, they delivered soap powders, samples of all kinds, circulars, and after the war, hundreds of boxes of medals which they decided would get round more easily if they pinned them on their own chests.
Apart from their regular work the two became what today would be called ‘community workers’ as they frequently called on the sick and elderly, fetched shopping for them and brought their coal in, nothing was too much trouble for them and time off was almost unheard of, even for illness. Kathy’s retirement in April 1978 brought her many cards, gifts and tributes, including a new bicycle and a silver tea set from her employer. We can best give our thanks to these kind of people by ensuring their memory lives on for future generations.
Killing a pig in 1925
As told by Frank Poskett
Killing a pig was not uncommon in my youth and on occasions I helped my father in the preparation and cleaning-up operation after the slaughter. I should be ten years of age when I witnessed for the first time the killing of a pig in our own backyard. Those days the first job was to have plenty of boiling water ready. The water was boiled in a large steel container which was in a brick-built surround with a fire grate underneath. The pig food was boiled in this container every day - potato peelings, turnips and cabbage leaves etc.
The next job was to prepare the site for killing. A stout wood stretcher with handles on both sides and on 4ins wood legs about 1ft long was placed just outside the pig sty. It would be approximately 6ft in length. The pig was then led out of the sty with a short length of rope tied around its snout. The pig struggled and squirmed as it had sense to know it was going to be killed. When the pig had been half pulled, half led to the side of the stretcher; two of the men would roil it over to the stretcher and tie one of its front legs to it.
The rope was still held tight on its snout and the pig was now captive, laid on its side. The butcher would then pull out a large sharp knife and cut its throat. The pig would give one loud scream and it was dead. A clean, empty bucket was then placed under its throat to catch the blood which was used to make black pudding. The boiling water was then carried in buckets and thrown over the pig, and then the pig's skin was scraped dean with special sharp scrapers - like a large razor blade.
Within a few minutes the pig had been scraped and was clean; no hairy skin remained. The pig was then carried on its stretcher to the entrance of a large shed doorway which would be 7ft in height. It was then hung up by its hind legs on some special hanging books and the butcher would then cut open the belly of the pig and remove all the intestines - there was nothing wasted. The intestines were cleaned and made into chicklins and tripe. The pig's bladder was blown up by a bicycle pump and used as a football; it was tough and could be kicked about for many days before it burst. It was an experience I shall never forget. A very, very cruel way of killing but it was the method used at that time. In its defence, if this method could be defended, the operation of actual killing was more in seconds than in minutes. It was very quick. The butcher, Ralph Limer, charged 10/- for killing and jointing.
Never been so near to death
Many years ago, Benjamin and Ruth Scott ran the Village Stores (now Blades Hairdressers, opposite the Community Centre). The shop sold everything from lamp oil to violin strings, nothing unordinary about that you might say. The story that follows was told by Benjamin’s daughter, Sarah Brown. In years gone by it was custom for people to open all their doors during thunderstorms, on one such occasion Sarah who ran the shop for her father was dealing with a travelling salesman at the shop counter when a ball of lightening, or thunderbolt came through the open shop door. It whizzed down the passage and out of the back door into the yard. Benjamin, who had been sitting in the yard with a mug of tea, came crawling in on his hands and knees in fright. At this time the salesman was also on his hands and knees by the shop counter and declared he had never been so near to death……
By Mr Abson 1/4/1977
I can remember Bottomboat before the monstrous slag heap was allowed to grow – and is still growing. It was a beautiful lush green meadow with a house at the end and a few cattle grazing. There was a lake at the other end, not too deep to be a danger to children. It was a beautiful scene, the river and canal in the distance with the trees and the church spire beyond. In the winter the lake would freeze over and people from surrounding areas would come and skate on it.
The people responsible for the slag heap should be made to come and live in the old people’s bungalows and other houses which have to look at it and watch it growing every day. Apart from the damage done the NCB have also cut off a walk which was a children’s paradise. It went from the village itself to Foxholes and Methley. I and all the children at that time could, during the school holidays, set off with a small fishing net, a jam jar, a bottle of water or home made pop, and a few sandwiches of fat and bread and then, at the end of the day, trek home tired and happy, hoping for another fine and sunny day to come.
What memories it brings back just to sit and think about those childhood days!
Now growing older, as I read about the criticism of today’s vandalism, I wonder why the people responsible for this huge slag heap cannot be called vandals too.
My various jobs in the village
By Grenville Horner
One of my first jobs was as a paperboy for the paper shop on The Grove. This also had the barbers in the back. This must have been around 1964. I would arrive at the shop on my bike around 6.00am where the papers would be dumped in huge bundles outside the side door. They were pretty heavy, and I'd struggle to take these inside, then unpack them and pile them up on a large table in the backroom of the shop along with any comics and magazines, and sort them out into the various rounds. All the names and addresses, with who took which paper, were entered in a large handwritten book, and it was my job to write the house no on each paper in pencil, and assemble each round. Once this was completed, the papers were put into large canvas satchels and off we'd go with our delivery. These could get very heavy for a young boy, and I remember at weekends these bags being especially heavy as the papers were always thicker and had magazines with them.
My round was from The Graziers Inn, to the top of Stanley Hill, including Parkside Lane and Finkin Lane. As well as this, I also delivered to the nurses home and the prison officers training centre at the top of Stanley Hill, and at times I had to make two trips as I couldn't fit everything into the bag. I'd finish around 7.30am and then go home, have breakfast and get ready for school, which would sometimes involve finishing off a piece of homework!
It used to be very cold delivering during the winter months, and I remember several times wearing an old pair of my mums wooly tights under my trousers.
I eventually became the money collector for the paper rounds, which I did on a Saturday morning. This meant having to go and knock on everyones doors collecting the money they owed for the week, which was all recorded in a small pocket book. Sometimes people were weeks and weeks behind with their payments, and wouldn't answer the door when I knocked, so I had to wait and hide until I saw them leaving so I could ask them for the money, which they usually paid in the end. My final collection was from the Ship Inn at the bottom of Ferry Lane, where I was occasionally given a 'small shandy'
Another job was delivering groceries for the Co-op, which was then at the top of Ferry Lane.
I think this used to be on Thursdays after school, and involved me riding a heavy delivery bike full of boxes of groceries up to Moorhouse. It used to be a real struggle cycling up the hill past Stanley Church with a full load on board, and I only did it for a few weeks.
I did lots of farm work around the village. Potato picking at the farm opposite St Peters church, where we were paid by the sackful. Pea pulling in the fields by Rooks Nest, and rhubarb cutting and packing in the rhubarb sheds at Lofthouse Gate. Hard work, but it was always available and a good opportunity to be able to earn some money.
My favourite job was as petrol attendant at the Cinema Garage on Aberford Road. This must have been 1968, as I had my Lambretta Li 150 Series 2 by now, which I used to ride to the garage on. I worked Sunday afternoons, from noon 'till 6.00pm, when I then had to close down everything and lock up for the evening. The garage was previously the village cinema, infront of which a kiosk and 4 petrol pumps had been built on the forecourt. This was my world. To sit in the kiosk, listening to the radio, and fill up cars when they came in. No self service in those days. It was usually very quiet, with the odd car coming in for petrol, so I would park my scooter on the forecourt and spend the afternoon tuning and cleaning it. Sometimes very flash cars would come in for petrol, and I remember not being able to find where the filler cap was on several occasions, and having to ask the driver where it was! What was great about this job was not only was I paid, but sometimes customers would give me tips!
My 1958 Keil Kraft model aeroplane
By Grenville Horner
My dad and I spent weeks building this. Constructed from a very thin balsa wood frame and covered in tissue paper strengthened with dope, the plane was powered by a quarter inch square piece of rubber passing through the fuselage from the fin to the propellor. You wound it up using the propellor, the rubber twisting round and round and becoming tighter. When released it turned the propellor. Sadly, this plane never flew, as I overwound the elastic and the whole fuselage twisted in on itself and totally disintegrated before we ever got to fly it.
Photo taken in garden of 22 Balk Crescent
Our only other dealing with the problems of flight was a few years later when we built the Keil Kraft "Conquest" which was of similar construction, but a 'tow-line' glider needing no propellor. We launched this rather successfully on the playing fields at the bottom of LimePit Lane, only to see it rise and rise into the sky, eventually being caught on a thermal, and set off at a great height heading over the River Calder towards Altofts, eventually disappearing out of sight. (If anyone reading this found it in their garden, I'd like it back please!)
By John Williams
For the first ten years of my life I lived at 190 Aberford road and spent many happy hours playing across the road up the woods building dens and climbing trees, it makes me shudder to think of how high I used to climb at such a young age. During the summer months I would sit on the front step counting the cars that went by and writing down number plates. It wasn’t unusual to have to wait ten minutes between cars passing. My big treat was two peneth of chips from Jacques fish shop on a Saturday night. A big change came for me when at eleven we made a move to number forty eight Ferry Lane and although it was only a stones throw away it felt like a million miles. I had a whole new gang of friends, Rainbows lived next door, Howard Rainbow and Anthony Mills were my best mates. Howard’s dad had a small farm and kept pigs and hens as well as two or three horses which we used to ride, it was a whole new world for me. We spent hours on the council tip across from Chuggler bunk shooting rats with our air guns. Or just a bit further towards the nagger lines fishing or catching newts at the water works. They were happy days when young people could roam and play without parents worrying.
Jessie’s Stories by Irene Burton
On one of my visits I asked my old friend, Jessie, to tell me above the village, its people and their lives, and her own. “Right then". "I will begin with the well to do and I think Hatfield Hall, the large mansion we could see from the shop, was the grandest and they had a lot of servants. It was a huge place and in one of the rooms was a ceiling depicting the sad story of one of the Hatfeild children who drowned in the fishpond in the grounds, and of the family dog who fetched help. In later years, I used to get through a gap in the hedge and visit the pond, and the statue of the little girl nearby, but eventually it all became overgrown and the statue disappeared. There was a lodge by the Hall gates where the coachman lived, but when motor transport arrived in Stanley, the owners of the Hall, the Beaumont’s, were among the first to own a car. Lawyer Smith being the very first. From then the family were driven everywhere. Miss Florence Beaumont lived mostly in London and was one of Mrs Pankhurst’s ladies and she once held a suffragette meeting at the Hall which was very well attended, ladies arriving in cars, on horseback and even on bicycles".
In 1897, five years before Jessie was born, Hatfield Hall, together with 88 acres of immediate park, was sold for £3750. It had eleven bedrooms, three dressing rooms, large dining and drawing rooms, library and morning room. The rest of the estate was divided into thirty more lots. It has had many uses since then and is now an hotel complex. “Stanley Hall, nearer Wakefield,” continued Jessie “was a small country house built in 1802 and is now a hostel for the nurses at Pinderfields Hospital, and nearby is lovely old Clarke Hall, now a folk museum where children can dress in the bygone costumes and re-enact the past. In 1936, I remember, Queen Mary visited the hall whilst she was staying at Harewood House and found it “very interesting”.
"Then there was the Grange where the Haworth’s lived and their daughter married the son of the Beaumont’s. Fieldhead was a large house owned by the North family, and Miss North sometimes rode around the village on a little cob. She wore a brown riding habit and had her hair in a “door-knocker” style with a brown ribbon bow, and always rode side-saddle, of course. She was a small, dumpy person in build, but she always sat a horse beautifully. Her brother, Kenneth, went to Eton and when he was home from school he read the lesson in church on Sundays, wearing striped trousers and pointed jacket of Eton. At Moor House lived Mr Scarth who used to send boxes of oranges to the schools at Christmas for the pupils. His house had a huge orchard and in the surrounding fields, local people used to take clothes baskets and fill them with mushrooms.
When he left, the mansion was demolished and a council estate built on the site". “Oh, we had our gentry and our grand houses alright.” "Almost opposite Hatfeild Hall lodge was Ferry Lane, where many of our customers lived, although there were several other shops in the lane of various kinds. There was once actually a ferry at the end of the lane that was used to cross the River Calder, where a boatman would take passengers across and animals, this being the only transport available then. Pedestrians and pigs were ferried across for a penny apiece, sheep for half ‘penny, horses crossed for two pence, but a horse and cart together cost sixpence. All this was before my time, of course, and I remember the wooden bridge with the hut for the old man who collected the toll from passengers and traffic".
"In 1971 the bridge was deemed unsafe and a new one built, with Harold Wilson, former Prime Minister, came to open. You never saw such a clean-up of the lane by the authorities for his visit! In 1839 the Aire & Calder Navigation Company built an impressive aqueduct, which carries a canal over the Calder, and a repair yard was built nearby with a dry-dock and fully equipped smithy, complete with steam hammer. There were two basins where “Tom Puddings”, compartment boats, could be taken from the water and loaded onto railway trucks to be taken to the pits for loading, then returned to the canal for their journey to their destination. Stanley Ferry Aqueduct was described as its opening as “a noble piece of workmanship unequalled in Europe”, and is now part of a conservation area".
“I remember and old couple, Mr & Mrs Brown, who were lockkeeper on the canal. Mrs Brown used to collect elderberries from the many bushes which grew along the banks and put them through her mangle to make juice, which she then bottled and sold. My mother used to buy it to make syrup and she would put one pint of juice to one pint of sugar and then boil it. She said it was a lot better than picking the berries herself! The couple also kept hens and sold eggs and every now and then they would turn up at the shop with a bag of happenings to exchange for goods. These coppers were tips thrown onto the paved area in front of the lock house by bargees when they had been safely passed through the lock. The Browns did not have to pick the coins up, their little dog used to do it for them!"
"On the far bank was a row of houses “Calder Row” owned by the Aire & Calder Company and tenanted by their employees. They had no fresh water or means of lighting, and in fact electricity did not reach them until the sixties, I believe. The only way the tenants could get across the canal was by the way of swing bridges, operated by men from the Aire & Calder Company. The toll and swing bridges were closed at nine o’clock every night".
“Not far from the ferry lived an old man who had a little flat cart and a donkey. When electricity came to the area (though not to Calder Row) he was absolutely terrified of it and used to buy, or acquire in some way, all the old bicycle tyres he could find and he would come up the lane with all the tyres fastened round himself and the cart so that he didn’t get electrocuted. There would be 20 - 30 of them and he looked like the Michelin Man. The poor little donkey had all on to pull him, the cart and the tyres!"
"In a cottage further on lived Blind Martha, who everyone said had been blind from birth because of neglect. She used to walk round the village every Saturday selling tea. This must have been her only income, her very livelihood, for I don’t think there was any help for blind people then. The tea was not in packets but was wrapped in five layers of very thin lead foil and was called Kola Kande. Martha wore a black coat and hat and carried her tea in a big black oilcloth bad. One of the village boys used to accompany her and when she had sold her tea, one of the women in the lane used to make her a cup of cocoa and let her use the lavatory".
"Although we sold tea in the shop, Mother always bought some from Blind Martha and my father used to save the little pieces of foil. There were a number of rows of houses and I think Penny Square was the poorest of all. The tenants were mostly miners with large families and there was often fighting and trouble amongst them. One bonfire night they built a big stack and smuggled some gelignite out of the pit. The blast blew out every window in the square and many beyond! Another row was originally Kirkfield Place, but it was also known as “Shepherds Rest and, of all things, “Chuglabunk”. Where that name came from nobody seems to know. It was derelict and a real eyesore for years, then, with the imminent arrival of Harold Wilson to open the bridge in 1971, lo and behold, it was demolished and the area cleared!"
"Near the top of the lane was a row of old houses and in one of them lived a very large woman known as “Old Fanny”. She used to sit in her garden in good weather and all around her fence were nailed hundreds of oyster shells. Fanny was the local midwife and layer-out of the dead, though how she coped with that girth, was beyond me, but cope she did, and admirably. Opposite was a house known as the “Angel House” where lived Mrs Tennant, and I think she must have been a brewer. She walked to Wakefield and back for malt to brew the beer and carried a peck of it on her head all the way home. The name “Angel House” came about because there was a small carved figure of an angel in one of the windows and, strangely enough, although many tenants took what they could when they left, including doors and skirting boards for instance, the angel always stayed".
"In Percy Terrace lived more miners but they were all from Northumberland. If pits were on short time or there was no work in one district, whole communities would up stakes and move to where work in one district, whole communities would up stakes and move to where work was more plentiful. There are many people whose ancestors came from different counties because of this. The wives of these miners were smart and good housekeepers and most of them did excellent Norman quilting. They were all chapel-goers and the chapel was the most important place in Ferry Lane then. There was always some activity and always something going on every night. There were the young men’s groups, bible classes for all ages, Ladies’ Meetings and the Christian Endeavour, to which, although we were Anglicans, my mother allowed me to go, for she knew it was good for me and I would come to no harm. The young people used to put on all sorts of concerts and entertainments then. I think the chapel is now converted into flats - such a pity".
"Amongst the residents of the lane was Mr Firth, a tailor, who would invisibly mend a tear and if the owner of the garment could find where the repair had been done, there was a small discount. It was seldom the tailor had to pay up, his work was so good. My best friend, Millie Lodge, lived on the lane and her father owned a threshing machine and was called on by the local farmers to do the threshing of their wheat, barley and oats each year. There was also a very capable joiner and undertaker, Mr Cheeseborough, who employed a number of craftsman, as almost everything was handmade, and Mr Curtis who had the wagonettes that ran to Wakefield and back each morning and afternoon on Fridays and Saturdays. The only means of transport then, apart from the wagonette, were horses, carts, pony and trap and bicycles".
“ It was a very mixed population in Ferry Lane then, as I Suppose it still is today…..”
Six weeks an three days
As a child my father John Parkin went to Stanley Grove School, one weekend whilst playing out on his bike he fell off his bike. In doing so he went head first over the handle bars breaking both his wrists. He had a fair bit of time off school as a result, infact this fair bit of time went on for six weeks an three days.
When dad had the pots taken off, he went back to school, but was taunted about the long absence by his teacher, Mr Allbrighten. This continiued day after day, after day, Mr Allbrighten would call the register "Davies?” “here sir" “Dick?” “here sir" "Hartley? “here sir" "Parfitt?” “here sir" When Mr Allbrighten got to dad he would shout out "six weeks and three days?" having the whole class in uproar.
Clearly upset by this, his father Ernest noticed there was something wrong and asked him what was the matter, “Nawt dad” he replied, “ney, theres sumat up wi thee lad, what is it?” He explained what had been happening at school and how the teacher, Mr Allbrighten had been taunting him in front of the class by calling him six weeks and three days. “I will bloody six weeks and three days him!” said Ernest, and off he went down to the school to confront the teacher in his string vest with his braces hanging by his sides.
When he got to the school he burst into Mr Allbrightons classroom, where the teacher was sat marking school books. “Whats this then about you calling my lad six weeks and three days?” Before Mr Allbrighton had chance to answer he was knocked to the floor, “My lads name is Parkin, so use it in future”, he shouted before storming back home.
So the next day at register the names were as usual called out, "Davies?” “here sir" “Dick?” “here sir" "Hartley? “here sir" "Parfitt?” “here sir" “Parkin?” “here sir”. From that day onwards Mr Brighton was always very polite with my dad. Prehaps it was the thought of a bad tempered miner walking into his class, giving him a few well chosen words, before a well placed thump….
Miner who found beauty in coal
Mr Burkinshaw, a miner who spent his entire working life at Parkhill Colliery found coal to be the perfect modelling material. A hobby that spanned most of his 84 years, his designs and models became bigger and grander as the years went on. After his death some twenty or so models he had made came into the possession of his family, many were busts inspired by his work colleagues. With out doubt his finest pieces were a coal tub, miner’s lamp and a 24 inch high crucifix, the crucifix being his most ambitious design by far. The crucifix was carved from hundreds of pieces of coal that were then painstakingly glued together to make the finished article. The carvings had to be blacked with boot polish at least once a fortnight to preserve them. Mr Burkingshaw was always very proud of his work and used to keep his models on display in a china cabinet. After his death his family gave the crucifix to Saint Anne’s church in Wrenthorpe.
A £10,000 gesture
Two sisters, Mrs Alice Whitaker and Miss Rose Coundley left £10,281 to the Methodist Church on Ferry Lane after their deaths in 1978. The pair who died within two weeks of each other worshiped at the church for many years when they lived in Stanley, their parents being founder members. The sisters moved to Newton Hill before retiring to Scarborough where they lived well into their 80s. The money they left was used by the Methodist Chapel to buy a new pipe organ.
Honk the Donkey
Honk was kept in Saint Peters Church yard by the Rev Peter Hicks during his time as Vicar of Stanley. Honk became a local celebrity during the 1970s; he was loved by everyone from small children to old ladies who would bring apples and carrots to give him after the service. Sadly Honk was knocked down by a taxi on Aberford Road after being released from his tether by an unknown person. Honk always made his own vocal contributions during services at the church, much to the amusement of the worshippers inside.
Rev Hicks with Honk
Stolen chain of office found on beach
The chain of office worn by the chairman of the former Stanley Urban District Council which was stolen in February 1976 from Stanley Parish Church was found several weeks later on the beach at Whitley Bay. It was found by 10 year old local lad while out walking. The chain made largely of copper and bronze, had been on display at Stanley Church since local government reorganisation in April 10974. It was stolen when a thief used what is thought to have been a chisel to force open a glass cabinet. The Vicar of Stanley, rev. John A. Crabb, said “we are all absolutely thrilled and delighted that it has been found. We certainly never expected to see it again, and it is wonderful that it has been found so far away.” Once returned the chain was then sent to Wakefield Council to be stored alongside other civic regalia.
Return on an investment of 70 years
Worshippers who paid for bricks to build Ferry Lane Methodist Chapel were offered a return on their initial investment some 70 years later. The Chapel was built with bricks that were stamped with the initials of each person who helped buy them. When the building was being converted into five two bedroom flats in 1990 a wall to the rear of the Chapel was demolished unearthing some 60 initialled bricks. They were offered back to the families of those who helped finance the building all those years ago.
Dish cloths and chips
By Jennifer Terry (nee Barber) 12 October 2010-10-12
My sister Mavis and I had a very happy childhood in Stanley . We moved into the Prefabs in 1946 and lived in Victory Avenue, Ferry Lane . It was a very happy place where we all played together skipping, fishing in the streams down Balk Lane and hide and seek in the pit hills. We all walked to Stanley Grove School over the Nagger Lines, picking the lovely wild flowers that grew everywhere, as each class had a nature table. We attended Saint Swithens Sunday School and on a Thursday evening, we went to a sewing class where Bertha Wheatley taught us to knit dish cloths. These were later sold at the church bazaar. The mums followed us as each week they had whist drives in the school room. We were given money as we left to walk to the Grove Fish Shop for two penny worth of chips and scraps which was the highlight of our week!
Memories of Stanley
By Bert Asquith
I was born in 1908 in Canal Lane and moved with my parents to Bottomboat when I was 3-4 years of age. I well remember the village constable, P. C. Whitfield. He lived in the houses near to Bottomboat Club and if we were caught stealing apples or pears from the nearby orchard he would clout our ears with his leather glove. I remember on one occasion he cut the flesh above my ear and it bled for a considerable time. It was of no use going home for sympathy from our parents. If you did, another good hiding was had, either a boxed ear or a slap on the behind with my father's belt. I would be 7 or 8 years of age and I remember the excitement when Mrs Mills was strangled behind the Barracks by a Mr Walsh. P.C. Whirfield, along with another constable, arrested him. He was tried for murder and found guilty. I left school when I was 13½ years of age and went to work for a builder named Rowland Bagnal who kept his horses, hand carts and materials on the Grove Club premises, now the Grove Park Hotel. My first job was pulling a handcart loaded with bricks to Belle Vue, Wakefield. He was repairing a chimney and had to take the bricks and mortar up the ladder to the roof from which my master was working. It was hard work but after a few weeks, when I had got used to carrying bricks, it seemed much easier. He did most of his business on repair work and often this entailed carrying bricks and mortar towards the top of buildings.
A look back in time
By Ralph Limer
A Stanley villager named Mat Burkinshaw had a wagon which he used for taking small parties to such events as racing and football matches within a reasonable distance. Ralph was sent by his father to see Mat and ask him it bring his horse-drawn wagonette to take this small party to the races. The wagonette was undergoing some repairs so Mat said 'Go tell your father that the wagonette has no wheels on, so I will bring the flat cart.'
So the small party of villagers went to the races on the flat cart. Between them they only backed one winner, hut it was sufficient to buy them all a few drinks. So they stopped at an Ale House on their way back home and spent their winnings on good, strong old ale. They were all very much the worse for drink but Mat managed to roll them on to the flat cart and eventually they arrived back in Stanley Lane Ends. Fred, the barber said 'Before we leave we will sing a song- 'When Shall We Meet Again' by this time Alan, the owner of the cart and driver, had seen more than enough of his passengers so he sang a song - 'Never No More I Hope'. This was typical of those days; the men worked hard, they played hard and a day out meant a lot to them and they usually completed the day being worse for drink!
The Stanley Carnival & Gala of the 1920s and 1930s
By Frank Poskett
A really big occasion in the village was the Annual Carnival. Almost everyone in the village played a part in making this event a success. All the local farmers competed against each other for the best decorated cart, and the shire horses were fitted with polished harness and were well groomed. Local womenfolk usually cleaned and decorated the carts with flowers and ribbons. On the parade through the village each cart was filled with the children, all dressed up in their home-made dresses. Every mother made sure her child was clean and well dressed and the girls always looked so pretty; some would get dressed up as if going to a fancy dress ball.
Others had a bit of fun as a comic band. But there was nothing comical about the Stanley Brass Band who led the procession. They were indeed a fine band of very talented musicians. Most of them were miners and it was a pleasure to listen to them play.
Some of the men folk had still a Penny Farthing bicycle in their garden shed and the few who possessed one had it polished and greased and they rode in the procession. Games were organised. All the children in the village at all ages took part. There were races for different age groups of running, sack races, egg & spoon races - all good fun. The womenfolk all made a contribution of buns and cakes so that everyone had a little something to eat. An elderly lady (I wish I could remember her name) made bottles and bottles of nettled beer. She made a small charge of 1d. per bottle, and it was a most refreshing drink. It was indeed a very special day and I think God must have known how important it was to the villagers because I never remember any occasion when it rained. It was always a bright, sunny day.
Serious accident on Aberford Road
A collision occurred on the junction of Parkside Lane and Aberford Road one February morning in 1930 between a car and motorbike with side car. The car, driven by Arthur Hardgrave was proceeding towards Wakefield when it collided with the motor bike, driven by Frank Chambler who had entered the road from Parkside Lane. Mr Chambler was taken in the Wakefield City Ambulance to Clayton Hospital suffering a broken leg. Upon his arrival the limb was amputated, Mr Hardgrave suffered from shock but was able to continue with his journey.
Stuck in the Church organ
During his time as Vicar of Stanley the Rev Peter Hicks got himself in a spot of bother with the church organ. A few moments before he was due to open the church doors for a funeral he was alerted by the organist that the door on the organ loft was jammed. Due to this the funeral would have to go ahead with no music. Not wanting to let his parishioners down, Rev Hick’s decided to climb through the back of the organ and try freeing the jammed lock on the door to save the day. However as he climbed through the thousands of pipes, levers and other workings in the organ, he suddenly found himself wedged. With hardly any time to spare he quickly set about freeing himself by removing two of the larger organ pipes to make his escape. Fortunately the Vicars Houdini act ended just in time for the service to start, freeing the door and replacing the pipes he had just moments to dust himself down before conducting the service. The pipes were a little out of key and the Vicar still a little dusty but in the end all was well and the service went ahead with the mourners unaware of the drama that had just unfolded.
Fatal Accident on Stanley Hill
Article from the Wakefield Express November 26 1927
At 4.45 on Monday morning, Isaac Ray, miner, of Ferry Lane was proceeding up Stanley Hill to his work, when he saw two men lying in the middle of the road, and a bicycle nearby, with the lamp burning. He at once got the men to the roadside. And found that one was James Wm. Hopwood (36) miner, of Camplin Yard, Eastmoor and the other George Wilkinson, miner of Walkers Yard, Eastmoor. Dr Patrick and PC Kitson were soon on the spot, and the men were taken to the Clayton Hospital, where Hopwood passed away the same night. At the inquest which was held Wednesday morning by the Coroner Mr C J Haworth and a jury, Ray gave evidence as to finding the men who were unconscious, with their heads pointing to the hedge and their feet to the wall.
There was only a yard between them, and the bicycle was four feet in front of them. He knew both men. They would be going to their work at Newland Pit, Normanton, and it looked as though Hopwood, who rode the cycle, had run into Wilkinson, and knocked him down. George Wilkinson, the other man (who was wheeled into the room on a bed) was able to give evidence. He stated he was walking in the middle of the road when he heard a bicycle bell from behind. He stepped to one side, was hit in the side and knocked down. He knew nothing more until he got to the hospital.
He thought he must have stepped to the wrong side of the road. Dr C H Robinson, said that the cause of death was fracture of the base of the skull. Gulden Warrington, miner, who also worked at Newland, said that Hopwood passed him on his cycle by Bar Lane, and later he saw both Hopwood and Wilkinson on the road. He gave them a drink of water from his bottle, and Hopwood said, “I have hit something but cannot say what” Wilkinson said he had been hit in the back and knocked down. This was all he could get out of them. It was a wet morning, but there was no fog. The Coroner said there was no doubt that the deceased had pitched into the other man and both were knocked down. It was another case which proved that when people walked in the middle of the road they took risks. There was a very good causeway at this particular place. A verdict of “Died by misadventure” was returned.
Happy cinema memories
Many people remember the village cinema, the clog and rhubarb. Kids would queue for ages outside, waiting for it to open, pushing and shoving in the crowd trying to be first through the door. The cheap seats did not have a ticket office, the money was collected by a woman with a tin. It was known as the penny rush, you put your penny in the tin and as long as you were putting something in the time the lady was not suspicious. However, a lot of the kids realised that you could get away with putting old buttons or bottle tops in the tin, as long as it made a noise going in it was fine. During the film the woman would count the money from the tin and would find all the buttons and bottle tops, when confronting the kids about it, they all claimed to have put a penny in!
The Monkey Run
Back in the good old days, Sunday evenings were when groups of boys and girls gathered on the monkey run, also known as the duck run. This was the name given to the section of Aberford Road between The Grove and Newmarket House where groups of girls and boys would gather. They would walk back and forth on this stretch of road in groups, meeting friends and if individuals were lucky, arranging a date. I wonder how many of the married couples in the village today met this way!
My pleasant Stanley memories
By Graham Waite
Graham runs the Methley website that can be found on our links page
My first marriage was in Stanley Church in 1971 but I gather they do not use it now or if so very little. The girl I married was from down Marshal Street, I use to go three times a week for a number of years to the Lane End Club now I see is flats, and on a Sunday morning with her farther and his pigeon racing friend around all the pubs in Stanley and Bottomboat before going to her house for Sunday lunch that he prepared earlier and she finished cooking for our return. I still go in the Wheatsheaf on summer days. I also plan to visit the Rising Sun to remind me how small it really was, I also order pork pies for our Methley Archive Group, the last morning before our Christmas party, all these little things brings back memory's of my teenage years. I first started going to the Lane End Club Youth nights at 17, I believe it could have being Wednesday nights, run by a committee member that also lived in Marshall Street, handy as it was possible to jump over the wall and you was there but not so easy on the way home, My Stanley experience all started from there, just a few of my pleasant Stanley memories.
The Death of Mary Marolle
Mary Marolle, daughter of Robert Calvert was passing through the village in 1838 when the coach she was travelling in went out of control and overturned; in the accident she sustained serious injuries. Her injuries were so severe that she died after lingering for several days, aged 25. She was on route to meet her husband in Leicester; this sad story is depicted on her headstone in Saint Peters Church yard which is situated near the main entrance. The photo below is of her headstone.
Mary Marolle's headstone
The stone tells the tragic story of her death, click the image to enlarge
By her Grandson Kenneth Smith
Sarah Hutton was born in the year 1891 in the village of Banby on the Marsh East Yorkshire, now called Humberside. When Sarah first moved to Ferry lane we are not sure, but she moved in a hurry to get away from her parents .Sarah married a little late in life about the age of 27 or 28 to a Robert Hutton, he was lot older than her. Sarah’s parents did not approve of her marring Robert and threatened to disown her if she did, age was the problem but marry him she did and moved to Ferry Lane, which year that was I do not know. Sarah had nine children, unfortunately only three survived my Mother who was Alice, May and George. Sarah had a hard life in more ways than one, Robert her husband worked on the railway for a number of years but he was not in very good health. Sarah had to nurse him and look after him for a very long time as well as looking after the children.
There was no NHS in those days but she did get a little help from the parish I remember her saying. Sarah’s family was well known in Kirkfield Place , which was a close knit community made up of mostly of miners and their family’s all sharing the same type of hard lives, but happy ones. My Grandma was a very proud lady, I remember on one occasion my sister Betty and I thought we would help her by hanging out her washing on the line which ran across the yard while she was out. When Sarah returned she took all the washing down and re hung it, I asked her why and she said it was not hung out properly, saying what will the neighbour’s think? Sarah never had much in life, but what she had she shared and nothing ever seemed to get her down. If it had not been for her giving us food when we came home from school and at weekends making stew, which she would add a few vegetables to in the week I would not be here to write this today. I have very fond memories of a kind and remarkable lady, my Grandma Sarah. She sadly passed away at the age of 83.
Dry Cell Batteries and a Pocket Full of Peas
There were a few gangs in Stanley and i will mention a few like the Ward Lane Gang, Grove Gang, Lime Pit Lane Gang and the Outwood Gang as a local man told me. These gangs didn't come armed with machine guns or bowie knives, oh no! these Gangs came armed with dry cell batteries and pea shooters. They would meet up fully loaded with a pocket full of peas and a hand full of dry cell batteries that they had striped out of old radio grams at the local tip. All ready to do battle they marched up Ferry Lane and into the acres to make war on the Outwood lot. Once spotted you would throw your dry cells at them and if they threw one back and it hit you "you knew about it". When you ran out of batteries to throw, you had to fire your peas at them whilst making a hasty retreat back in to the nearest wood! When the peas had gone you were off back in to Ferry Lane to tell their story on how they did battle with the "Outwood lot". And all this just to protect there little bit of Stanley.
The Warrinder Family
By Brian Robinson
When we were kids in the late 1940s or early 1950s we often left the safety of our home area at Lane End and wandered down the Nagger Lines to the old toll bridge. We would stop at what we called the Water Works near the ferry to play in the woods and overgrown area where there were some areas of stagnant water with steep brick slopes at the side. This would be regarded as highly dangerous now but we thought nothing of it and played there for hours. One of the features there was a plant which smelt and tasted strongly of aniseed. (No doubt someone will now tell me it was poisonous!)
If we continued down to the river we were always cautious of the residents (Mr. and Mrs. Warrinder) who lived in the old stone cottage (the old pub?) on the river bank on the left side of the road. If we came too close Mrs. Warrinder would yell and scream at us and we were quite frightened of both of them as they chased us off. Mr. Warrinder had a magnificent white bushy beard. We were only kids at the time but a legend had been built up about this couple and we didn't want to dabble in the occult. They were both obviously (to us) very old and capable of anything.
Some years later when I was working on a paper round I delivered to the Warrinders who had moved to an old cottage near the present health centre near the quarry and opposite the Waggon and Horses. They were a lovely couple and every week after she had been baking Mrs. Warrinder saved me a bun as I delivered her paper. Mr. Warrinder didn't have much to say, but he was friendly.
The Anderson Air-Raid Shelter
My dad was 8 years old when the second world war started and just like the rest of the country, Stanley had to face the every day trauma. In 1940 nearly 2 million air raid shelters were distributed country wide, and if your family were poor you got the shelter free and the well off had to pay the sum of 5 pounds.The shelter was made of corrugated steel which came in 3 sections, the front and back and the one piece wall and roof section. Once errected the shelter had to be half buried in the ground and covered with soil to give it added protection from the bombings, the shelters were cold and damp and near on impossable to sleep in. When the siren sounded day or night your family would make there way to the shelter in total darkness until they heard the second siren sound off, this went on for nearly 5 years right up to the end of the war. After the War a lot of familys kept there shelters and used them as sheds or coal bunkers. On one occasion my dads family had to sit 2 hours in the shelter with water just above there ankles,with lights out and having to sit in the freezing cold the shelters were an awful place to be.
My mam an dad got married in 1957 and there first house was in Kirkfield Place on Ferry Lane, it was a two up an two down terrace house.The toilet was across the yard, and the bath was an old tin bath that you had to fill up in front of the kitchen fire. The only source of running water to the house was to an old pot sink in the kitchen, during the day you would have to use the toilet across the yard and at night you would use a chamber pot. Mam would say if you was a woman you would have to be desperate to use the toilet at night usualy holding on till morning. The men on the other hand used the chamber pot but it was usualy full to the brim by 2am and if it was too cold outside they would open the bedroom window an pee straight into the yard! On one occasion a neighbour said to my mam, did you hear it raining last night kath? bye eck it was peeing it down. Well i suppose she was right about it peeing down but wrong about the rain.
I supose theres a few people out there thats been through it, your dads getting ready to go out to pub on a Sunday dinner time saying ill see you at half 2 love. And when half 2 comes theres no sign of him, 3 o clock comes around an theres still no sign of him then 4 o clock an so on. Meanwhile your all sat round the table waiting for him watching your dinner go dry then around 5 o clock your dad staggers through the door saying is there any dinner lass im bloody starving. Now think on that your dinners been in the oven for near on 3 hours so its not going to look as good as it did at 2.30, your best bet was to close your eyes and point your fork towards your dinner plate and chew it with a smile on your face just to show that them who had made it that you was enjoying it.
Now think on this went on for years and years, until one lady from Ferry Lane got sick of it and one Sunday herself and her kids waited until 2.30 for her husband to return from the club He didn't return so she said to the kids get your dinner i wont be long and she picked up her husbands dinner a knife and fork, and not forgetting the brown sauce she marched up to the end of the Ferry Lane and up to the old Victoria Club at the end of Lime Pit Lane. She went in and put the dinner down in front of her husband saying if you cant make it back for 2.30 i will be fetching your dinner up here! right im off home to get my dinner before it goes cold! She had the club in uproar and her husband never lived it down, the Sunday after her husband was sat at the kitchen table for 2.30 and they all enjoyed dinner together.. He always kept good time after that day he had his dinner in the club...
My dad John Parkin knocked about with his cousins and his mates in Ferry Lane, either playing cricket or football or doing a bit of harmless mischief. One day a bloke from the chuggla grabbed Josh my dads cousin and give him a clowt round the ear ole and said if you come back chelping at me again you will get another clowt. Dad and crew headed back home upset at what had happened. My grandad saw Josh and asked whats up with thee lad?, Josh told him and grandad wasn't right pleased. Off he went in his string vest and braces hanging down his backside to confront this bloke about picking on his nephew. He got to the blokes door and started banging on it shouting come out tha bully n pick on me but the bloke did not answer his door, i will be back to get thee shouted grandad and went home. The next day he went back banging on the door, but the bloke still dare not answer. Again grandad shouted i will be back for thee ya coward and again came home. The day after grandad set off back to the bloke's shouting if he does not answer this time i will knock his bloody door down. About half an hour after he set off he returned with a smile on his face and said they have gone, my dad said what do ya mean they have gone? they have done a moonlight flit my grandad said. A week or so after that my grandad and his family moved into the same house!
A Drunken Sing Along
Raymond Smith was a local lad who lived in the Deep Drop house up to it being demolished in the 1960s. Raymond liked a drink with his mates on a weekend in the village pubs, afterwards they would end up at one of their houses to continue drinking up to the morning laughing and joking. However with Raymond the more he drank the more he sang. One of his mates had a four track tape recorder, and unbeknown to Raymond would set it recording when he was in full flow. Some of these tapes came into my hands several years ago and they make for great listening. You can make out what he is trying to sing but its all slurred and very high pitched! They are a great snap shot into the past and contain many hours of laughing and joking from a bygone era.
The shop opposite Lane Ends football field was owned by the Wollin’s family from after the war up to the early 1990s. Anyone who went into the shop will remember it as a real Aladdin’s cave; I was always amazed at what you could get in there. It was what you would call a real old fashioned shop. The counter ran all the way round the internal walls, and all the walls were shelved floor to ceiling. If you picture the shop in open all hours your almost there. George Wollin ran the shop up to the 1980s when his son Richard took over.
He and his cousin Jeff had worked in the shop for many years before Richard took over. Again if you picture the character Arkwright in open all hours, Jeff had the same humour, he was a real diamond geezer. Every time you went to the shop you would be in there half an hour laughing and joking with him. Jeff always saw himself as a bit of a singer using every opportunity to demonstrate his Al Jolson impersonations to you, when he was singing Mammy he was down on one knee arms waving like in the film the Jolson Story.
He always wore a white overcoat with pens in his to pocket, I remember we would get groceries on the tick mid week any pay for them on Fridays, the sort of thing you don’t see any more. When I was a child I would go down to the shop when Jeff was on his dinner and sit in the back room with him laughing and joking, that was if he wasn’t at the bookies. You could guarantee that on a dinner and after work that’s where he would be. He had that Les Dawson face where he could pull his bottom lip up to his nose; he always would pull funny faces behind peoples backs if he didn’t like them! Richard was another real character.
He had an unmistakable laugh that you could hear a mile off. Always smiling he was always acting the clown. If there was something you wanted that he didn’t stock you could rest assured that he would get it for you. I remember the best things in the shop were the buns in the glass case on the counter and the large selection of sweets in jars that covered a full wall! It was a sad day when Richard sold the shop, the end of an era. Most shopkeepers today can not even muster a conversation or smile.
The Baker Lane of my youth
As told by Colin Parfitt
Back in the 1940s the Lane was a much different place to today. We lived in a old row of houses just after the Bridge opposite Bramleys Field. Our House was number 15. I think there was five houses in the row that backed onto the railway banking. Our neighbours were my grandma Mrs Annie Barber, who was my mums mum, there was Bill Bero and his wife, my cousin Melvyn Butler lived next door. I remember running round to my Granny's house to get sweets, she always had some. She was very old when i was little but i remember she always wore a apron and because of a stroke she had could not move her arm.
I went to Lofthouse gate school up to being 11 when it was onto Stanley Secondary Modern. They were good days, better than now, in the summer months all the kids on Baker lane would play cricket in Bramleys Field opposite our house, sometimes even the parents would get involved. My brother Freddy still had a wind up grammar phone which we would take to the 19 acres to sit and listen to with other members of our family. We had a big family in Stanley at the time, i had several cousins and we all would mate around together, old and young. My Grandad, my dads dad was a welsh man who came to Stanley in the 1880s looking for work, rumour had it he got a woman pregnant in Wales and did a runner.
I remember my best friend and playing in the Lane. Not traffic in those days, we would play in the road for hours! Sadly my friend died at the age of five or six, he got ill and i never saw him again. It was common back then kids dying. As i got older my cousin came to live with us after his dad died, that would have been 1955 when i was 13. I shared my bedroom with him which i wasn't happy about. he was a bit older than me and we used to fight all the time, i once hit him in the face and made him cry, at the time i thought it was great. My older brother and his mates would climb up to the top of the old railway bridge and scratch their names into it but i would never dare get up there.
My dad was a hard bloke, very strict but well respected by all in the village. He got into many a fight because of his temper. He worked on the Waterways most of his life, before i was born he was the lock keeper at Methley. My mum was a lot different, small and quiet she would never speak back to him. I remember them falling out, he locked her out of the house in the rain, we dare not open the door to let her in for fear of what he would do. We had a row of toilets in our yard that were for the whole row, bath time was normally Sunday night and it was in the tin bath in front of the fire in the kitchen, i was always last in being the youngest. My mum and dad would go down to the Ship Inn on Ferry Lane Sunday nights leaving my older brother Freddy in charge of me and my sister.
Most of the houses that stood at the bottom of Baker Lane were demolished in the early 50s as were a few rows of terrace houses that stood opposite Armitages Row near the top of the hill. One Christmas just before we moved i remember my dad winning some money, that was the best Christmas we ever had, we all got good presents that year. I got a red pedal car, my pride and joy for years it was, my sister got a shiny new doll and pram. We moved from Baker lane in about 1955 when our houses were condemned, a lot of houses in the village were knocked down around that time and were replaced by the big council estates that are still there today.
Mr Moore or as he was known in the village Dummy Moore, he got the nickname because he was actually deaf. A lot of the land he farmed was behind the Travellers pub, streaching as far as Lime Pit Lane. My dad told me stories of how they would ride on the back of his cart, and of other times when he would chase them off his land. One of the boys who was my dads age (born in 1930) once upset Mr Moore by making fun of him. The next time the lad bumped into Mr Moore he was on his own and the story goes that Mr Moore picked the lad up by the throat and gave him a good hiding. He obviousley didnt know his own strength because the lad could hardley breath for a week afterwards!
The Travelling Salesman
In the 1950s Stanley had travelling salesman that would knock on people’s doors to try sell goods from a suitcase. They would include things like dishcloths, pegs, cotton and ribbons. One such salesman would visit the Chuggler on Ferry Lane quite regular. He would knock at the backdoor then sit cross legged in the yard with his suitcase open trying to sell his goods. One of the residents from the Chuggler would always enthusiastically go out to sit in the yard cross legged with the salesman, looking at his goods. When they had been sat there for a while the suitcase would be empty, the contents would be all over the yard as the man had a good look through what was there. He would then stand up and say, “no I’m not interested today old cock” go back in the house and shut the door, leaving the man to repack his suitcase. This was a regular occurrence so you would think that the salesman would become wise to the gag and not go back to the house, but he went through the same thing every time!
The Stanley Of My Youth
By Mrs Allison
The Stanley of my youth was considered to be a very pretty village. The church stood in a prominent position amongst very few houses. We were blessed with many beautiful walks. One of which was favoured by all led down to the river then along its pleasant banks to the Aqueduct. A large number of poor people lived in the area at that time. Many of them attended the local school each week to receive assistance from a receiving officer for the sum of two shillings and six pence. On Sundays these same poor people dressed in bonnets and shawls, went to church for the family service, at the end of which loaves were distributed to them.
Pews were divided, on each side of the central aisle. People who could afford it paid a yearly sum for the privilege of having their own seats; these were all at one side. The opposite side was free. On harvest festival day we had to take our places very early because of the large congregation. Extra seats were brought from the Lady Chapel and placed in the central aisle to accommodate the large number of worshippers. There was a gallery at the rear of the church, Sunday school pupils were made to sit up there during morning services but had to leave before the sermon was given. We young children loved to sit up there, high above the congregation, and enjoyed the delightful view from above. On St. Thomas day the people who were poor made their way to the vicarage where they received warm clothes for the winter period. When any person had been very ill they were sent to the cottage hospital for convalescence.
There were few social events at this time and therefore the Sunday school feast was deemed to be a great event, people came from near and far. We met friends on that day that had never been seen since the feast of the previous year. Scholars from three schools joined in the precession from Saint Peters School and walked to the church for the service. When the service ended the precession re formed and because we did not have our own band at Stanley in those days, Rothwell band played at the head of the parade, marching us to the vicarage where we were given large buns and tea in mugs which we had to carry throughout the precession. Unfortunate children who had dropped and broken their mugs shed many tears. After tea everyone went along to an adjoining field, where sporting games were held and people danced to the music of the band. During this period Stanley boasted cricket team captained by the curate Rev. W.P. Kingston. One Saturday there was great rejoicing when the team won and brought home the cup. The next day at the morning service just as the curate and choir began to walk down the aisle to their places, the organist began to play, “ see the conquering heroes comes”
One day a wedding party was held up at the railway crossing by the side of the old station. The gates were closed and people became very worried at the thought of being late for the service. At last the gates opened and somehow they managed to arrive at church on time.
Many of our senior citizens will remember that awful day in February 1911 when the church caught fire during a very heavy wind. Nothing could be done to save it. Everyone was sad of the heart on that terrible day. The following morning the whole village turned up for the service that was held outside the burnt out ruin of our church. This morning service was the last to be held there until the church was restored. Meanwhile all services were conducted in Saint Peters School.
Penny Square Ferry Lane
One bonfire night many years ago, the residents that worked down the pit smuggled some gelignite out and used it on the annual bonfire in penny square. The bonfire stack was huge and putting the gelignite in the fire caused it to explode, blowing every window out in the square and beyond. There is also a story of a man being stabbed in the square, probably around the 1930s. It is said the residents of the square were a rough lot who worked down the pit and got into a lot of fights around the village. Part of the square still stands today on Ferry Lane, albeit a row of three houses. The square was built in the 1870s and is one of the oldest buildings on the Lane today
In a cottage on Ferry Lane lived a woman called Martha, she had been blind from birth, the village folk would say that her being blind was through neglect as a baby. She would walk round the village on Saturdays selling tea, her only source of income. She wore a black coat and carried her tea in a black oil cloth bag. The tea was wrapped in five thin layers of lead foil and was called Kola Kandle. When selling her tea she was accompanied by one of the village boys.
Electricity In The Village
Many areas did not have electricity until the 1930s when the National Grid was completed, even though the Power Station near to Stanley Ferry had been built many years before. When Electricity did come to the village there was one man on Ferry Lane so terrified of electricity, he attached as many old bike tyres as he could find to himself and his flat cart. When walking around the village he looked like the Michelin man! So terrified of electricity, he attached as many old bike tyres as he could find to himself and his flat cart. When walking around the village he looked like the Michelin man!
Old Mrs Holdford
Mrs Holdford lived in the bungalows on Balk Cresent which are still there today, She was well in to her 90's, every day she would walk down to the shop for her 40 Woodbines and 10 or so bottles of stout. When she got to the shop she would just walk to the front of the que no matter how full the shop was, no one dared to speak or dare to tell her off for pushing in. When she had been served and out of ear shot the shop full of customers would start talking about her and how many Woodbines she smoked, and her bottles of stout. People thought she wont last long if she does not cut down. In the end it was not the woodbines and stout that killed her,Old Mrs Holdford got knocked down and killed by a double decker bus.
War Time Memories In Stanley
As Told By Mary Clements nee Fox
Prior to joining the Royal Navy my brother joined the L.D.V.-Local Defence Volunteers (Look, Duck and Vanish!) - Home Guard, which was formed at the colliery. Consisting of miners, he learned Morse and signalling and consequently he was a signaller in the Royal Navy.
My sister went to work in the pit canteen, which was erected for the wartime years to feed the miners and Bevin boys and also the outcrop workers. My Aunt and Uncle took a young Scottish man (an outcropper) in as a lodger, and a hostel was built for the Bevin boys (still standing today). In my last year at Infant school (1939/40)we should have gone to the swimming baths but this was cancelled due to lack of transport. We had to practise going in to the air raid shelter, in twos.
I started at Grammar school in the September of 1939. I was there until the end of the war. During that time a lot of teachers were called up and therefore we had a lot of replacements. I guess everyone tried their best! Obviously foreign camps were out of the question, so we had 'harvest' camps. I went to Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, by train, and was given 'raspberry picking'. So we were all doing our bit towards the war effort, agricultural wise, and a great time was had by all.I can only remember going the once, but these camps were all through the war, whether there were different locations I couldn't say. we still had school uniform, supplied at Rawcliffe's Outfitters in Leeds (with clothing coupons in 1951 of course) so clothes were worn to grow into! My Gaberdine raincoat was practically ankle length, and it lasted all my school years. I wasn't the only one; there wouldn't be the coupons to keep buying clothes that just fitted.
You had to carry your gas mask at all times, plenty of air raid shelter practice, lots of make do and mend (most of my clothes were remade from my mothers), we walked to school and back on most days (2 miles each way). There was a school special bus, but that was a mile walk. My brother and sister had a bike, but I never did, probably due to the war.
Another Aunt and Uncle of mine took in a boy evacuee, along with lots of other families in Stanley. Unfortunately I do not know any more details.
Home Life: naturally we missed by brother. He was only 17 1/2 /18 years years old when he went into the Royal Navy. His ship was sunk whilst on the Russian convoys, he survived and came home on survivors leave, but we didn't know anything about it until after the war. I wrote to him as often as a schoolgirl would, and had a couple of salor penpals from one of his ships when I was in my teens.
Leaflets were distributed about aircraft silhouettes for recognition, enemy as well as allies. These were stuck on the wall in the garage were we could see them at all times. I knew them all, every night we used to turn the light off and stand in the doorway and watch the hundreds of bombers going on their raids and recognise them. My cousin's husband was one of the bomber pilots, the sight and sound was awesome. On the kitchen wall we had a very large map of the world and every night we would all sit around the table in silence and listen to the none o'clock news ( after Big Ben had struck nine) and follow the action on the map. We knew every capitol of every country and also their national anthem.
Every Saturday morning a friend and I used to go to town for our mother with ration books and queue. Maybe we would get an egg, then on to another shop and queue again, maybe a link of sausage, and then another shop and queue for maybe a cake (as dry as old sticks), maybe nothing. We were told which shops to go to, it took all morning but we didn't mind, I guess we felt grown up, and better still, away from mother's eagle eye!
Another friend of mine, her mother was a nurse at Pinderfields Hospital situated between my home and Wakefield (renowned for its burns unit), we both used to spend our weekends with her on the ward she was designated to, the leg ward. Prefabricated huts were erected at the rear of the hospital for the influx of wounded service personnel (still in use)It became an Emergency Hospital, plenty of men in royal blue jackets ad trousers, white shirts and red ties (uniform of the wounded). We did lots of jobs to help out the nurses, like making tea, going around with the tea trolley, rolling bandages, talking to the men and reading to them, writing their letters, chatting etc.
They were like our big brother;they certainly treated us like their kid sisters! Do this, get me that etc. and we would jump. Loving every minute, bearing in mind, these men came from all over, some were allies, not many could have family visits as they were too far away. Transport wasn't all that frequent, at the end of one of the visits, one of the wives came to me and thanked me for being there, she said it helped both her and her husband to know that there was someone like my friend and I around, obviously as a girl I wouldn't understand fully until I was a lot older the heartache on both sides. Sadly she died not long after, when I think about it they wouldn't be very old. Maybe twenty plus! Some were very ill and some, brandishing their crutches as they tried to speed up and down the ward, going to the local pub, returning back to the ward late, over the limit, in the dark bumping into the table in the middle of the ward, not quietly vocally or physically! We would hear about it the next day. As life is, it could be sad, also very amusing. It was certainly an era of children should be seen and not heard, speak when you are spoken to, and not until, not told anything and one daren't question. Very hard for the youth of today to understand.
School leaving age was fourteen, and to work, so that enabled you to go out. Being grammar school, leaving age was sixteen, so at the latter end I was able to go to dances (we learnt ballroom and old time at school). Walking home took one hour, in the black out, the door would be unlocked but everyone in bed. Sweets were on ration, and each month my mother would ask me if I preferred the money so as to let my dad have my ration. I took the cash; naturally I would be offered a sweet now and again.
Our milkman had a small dairy farm about five minutes away from my home; he had a land girl and a young German POW. I often went after school, I learnt to milk a cow, and stayed for tea, as the farmers wife was a gentle lady and said the land girl and the prisoner of war needed some young company. They delivered the milk in churns with a pony and trap and they ladled the milk into our enamel white jugs, edged with blue.
I lived in a large house, being the manager's house, practically in the pit yard so my dad and sister didn't have far to work. It was detached and surrounded by rhubarb fields and sheds (our area was known as the rhubarb triangle) I often went and drove the tractor with the farmer sitting with me until he could trust me on my own, I would be about fourteen then.
Decoration in the interior of the house was all painted, no wallpaper, easy to wipe clean. For a change we used to get a colour wash (distemper), dip a sponge into it, squuze it, then dapple and stipple all over the walls, making quite an effective pattern. Mother used to make clipping rugs out of old materials. She was very good at feeding us all, a very good manager, it must have been difficult. I used to love grated carrot sandwiches for my tea, very moist. She certainly made sure that my dad didn't go without;as his working days were very long, going underground to check on the men at work, then back in the evening for paperwork in his office. He was a very fair man, his first concern was his working men and then that the coal output was as it should be. We always had a coal fire and cooked by coal oven, toasted bread at the end of a toasting fork in front of the fire, best toast ever! Blackout must have been a headache, as we had a lot of windows, the one on the stairs was huge.I guess it would be a joiner from the pit who made the framework and stuck on the blackout material making a shutter, which we could put up at night, and take down next morning. We used our cellar as the shelter, so when the siren went, that's were we would go, the window was shielded outside with a lot of sandbags. There was a searchlight unit based on Hungate Lane, Scholey Hill, Methley, a mile down the road, and when that was switched on it was better than any moonlight. It was situated near a place called Methley, and the villagers affectionately called it 'Methley Moon'.
We didn't have any iron railings or pans to offer for salvage for the war effort, and our windows never had sticky brown strips to stop them for shattering. My brother met and married a Belfast girl who was in the WRNS. None of could travel to Belfast for the wedding owing to the war, it must have been heartbreaking for my parents and he would be without any member of his family.
By Wakefield Libraries & Information Services
My Grandmother Rhoda Parkin had a budgie called Peter,over the years Peter picked up quite a lot of words from Rhoda some of them we can not repeat,Rhoda would say whats your name and Peter would say Peter Parkin 80 Ferry Lane Stanley.And when my Grandad walked in Peter would shout 'get down cellar ya bald headed old bugger' chirp chirp 'an get some coal in'. Peter Parkin died on the 22nd March 1958 which was the day Rhoda an Ernests Grand child was born..
You Can Leave The Way You Came In
A story told to me by an old village resident, in the 1940s he lived on Baker lane with his mother and father in a row of houses that backed on to the railway. As they could not afford to buy coal his father would send him onto the railway lines to collect it. He would climb out of the back window and on his return throw the sack of coal through the window and climb back in himself. Only on this particular night the local policeman saw him and followed him back to the house and through the window. As he went through the window he was me by the boys father who then asked him what his business was. The police man went onto inform him that it was against the law to take coal from the lines and that he would be receiving a fine for his sons actions. Obviously deeply upset by this the boys father refused to unlock the door for the police man and told him to leave the way he came in. Bemused by this the policeman climbed back through the window to then be told he should come back without his uniform on so they could sort it out like men. Needless to say the policeman nevertook him up on the offer.
View down Baker lane in late 1940s, Bramleys field is just on the right.
All On The Same Shovel
My Dad (John Parkin) was a loco driver at Park Hill in the early 1970,s and he was once telling me about the breakfasts him and his mates used to make while on the train, eggs bacon black pudding sausages you name and we had it all on the shovel and bi eck it tasted grand he,d say...so i said well what happens if you need to go to the toilet dad, he replied 'all on same shovel lad all on same shovel'.......
Locomotive passing Park Hill Pit
The Demolition Of Kirkfield Place
In the early 1970s a film crew descended on Ferry Lane to film the demolition of Kirkfield Place (known locally as chuggler bunk) the film was to be used as an advert featuring the golden wonder boy, as he bit into his crisp it showed kirkfield place explode into a pile rubble. Local people watched the filming but as far as we know no photographs were taken of the filming nor do we know if the advert was used on the tv. If any one can share any information on this please contact us.
Kirkfield Place being demolished in the late 1960s
Never Been Right Since
My dad John Parkin and his cousin Josh were once messing with a motorbike down at the chuggler, as it started to get dark they wired up a cable from the house to the toilet block across the yard to power a light leaving all the wires of the cable bare not thinking it would harm anyone. Anyway while they were messing with this motorbike along comes Joshs brother John, not knowing the cable was there he walked straight into it. Dad said there was this big almighty flash and all the electric went off. and at this point all they they could hear was John shouting and cursing. Realising what dad and his brother had done and called them all the names under the sun.Since that day John has always had a bit of a stutter. And as Dad says John has never been right since.
Murder In Ferry Lane
The story goes that a Mr Corfield Murdered his wife Anne before jumping in front of a train. One Sunday Night they both went in the Ship Inn as they did most Sundays for a drink, Annie was a good singer and well liked, however her husband was jealous of this and that night they both left the pub early after an argument. It is not known what happened after that but Annies body was found in the fields on Birkwood hill having been strangled, Her husband then threw himself in front of a train early the next morning.
Stanley Lamp Lighter
Mr Goulthorpe, of Lee Moor Road, was a lamp lighter for Stanley Urban District Council in the days when street lights had to be lit by hand.
He was also the local 'knocker up' man, responsible for getting all the miners up for their early shift. Mr Goulthorpe was also the chapel keeper for the Wesleyan Chapel on Lee Mount.