During the war holidays were practically impossible for various reasons, the nearest I got to a holiday was a day at Cannon Hall Park, Cawthorne, which was a big treat and another story.

Not long after the war was over and the lucky ones, such as myself, had their dad back home, an annual event started to take place, and this was “The Club Trip”.
Working Mens’ Clubs were just that, only men were allowed to be full members, a state of affairs which continues to this very day ( as far as I am aware).
The club trip was a day at the seaside, which was funded by the particular club of which your dad was a member, and it was the “highlight” of the school Summer holidays. Only the children of fully paid up members were allowed to go on this wonderful outing to the seaside, and it was open to all children under the age of fifteen, bearing in mind that in those days the age for starting work was fifteen.
I suppose “The Committee” of the WMC would decide the destination each year, this could be Blackpool, Scarborough or Cleethorpes, the latter being the favourite as it is the nearest seaside resort to Barnsley. As a point of interest it isn’t the seaside, as such, it is the estuary of the river Humber, but to children, what did it matter? The point was, a full day out and not only that, Glory Be, crisps and pop were provided FREE of charge, to be eaten and drunk in copious amounts as we bowled along.

The night before this eagerly anticipated event, we had to go to bed early, having had our bath, hair washed, and clean clothes laid out at the ready for the next morning. It would be at this point that my mother would then start to make the sandwiches, which would serve as our mid day meal, potted meat was the favourite filling, cheese and eggs still being rationed could not be spared. We didn’t care, it could have been coal dust, we were so excited at going to see the sea. The day started very early, and the usually quiet streets, would erupt into noisy chatter as the mothers with their children hanging on to them would make their way to the Working Mens’ Club, where this great adventure was to begin.

Looking back, I suspect that our mother was already worn out at this stage, marshalling her brood together, making sure that teeth had been cleaned, hands and faces washed, bladders synchronised.

The excitement of turning the corner of Rowland Road, Wilthorpe, Barnsley, and seeing a line up of buses, parked outside Gawber Road Working Mens’ Club, the men loading each bus with the pop and crisps. Strangely, few men appeared to take advantage of this annual treat, or was it to be expected, they would no doubt relish a day of peace and quiet, a few pints of beer at dinner time, and a lovely sleep afterwards without being disturbed. This was the one occasion that these men were willing to forgo their traditional Sunday Dinner with the obligatory Yorkshire Pudding. I must say that on each bus would be one Committee man, to TRY and control excited children, whilst their mothers gossiped happily at the front of the bus.

It wasn’t long before the initial excitement turned into boredom, this was the signal for the pop and crisps to make an appearance, it was also the start of the first of the arguments, as to who was getting which flavour, orange, lemon or dandelion and burdock. Fortunately the crisps at that time were plain flavoured only, with a screw of dark blue paper at the bottom of the packet containing salt.

There would be swops of bottles of pop and for a while the only sounds which disturbed the peace were, the noise of the engine, the slurping of drinks and the contented munching of crisps accompanied by the crackling of the packets.
This would once again be shattered, when, all the empty packets were blown up and popped, causing more that one person to nearly jump out of their skin.

We would bowl along for a few more miles, gradually getting fractious, especially when the lads decided that it was fair sport to pull the girls’ hair, or as in my case, pinch my hair ribbons from my long plaits. Eventually the convoy of buses would pull up outside a café which meant that we were not far away from our destination, here the mothers would have a welcome cup of tea, whilst we were issued with threats of dire punishment if we did not get back on to the bus after a visit to the lavatories, the need of which had become an urgent requirement as a result of the pop we had poured down our throats.

We all boarded the bus, and after a head count to make sure that nobody had been left behind, we were off again on our last leg to the seaside. It wasn’t long before we saw the sign post – Scarborough fifteen miles and the excitement gained momentum by each passing mile. Eventually, we pulled up in a coach park, and after receiving instructions, to remember the number of our bus, where it was, and particularly a stern warning that it would leave promptly at six o’clock, we were free.




Naturally we made a beeline for the beach, it did not matter if there were signs of rain, or if it was chilly, we were at the seaside and we were going to have a good time. Indeed we did have a good time too, sometimes the day would be warm and sunny and out would come out bathing costumes (cosies), and the difficult operation of struggling into them, whilst our, by this time, weary mothers would hold a towel round us to protect our modesty. Off we would go splashing happily into the sea. Whatever the weather, we had such fun on the beach (or sands as we used to call them), a donkey ride was a must, as was a game of cricket and a sand castle building competition.  The hours on the beach would fly past and they only seemed like minutes, far too soon it was time to gather our belongings, try to rinse the sand from our feet and prepare to make our way back to the coach.

There was still a treat to come, the day wasn't quite over, fish and chips eaten out of the paper, with lashings of salt and vinegar, the best thing of all, we could eat them with our fingers, whilst walking back to the coach.  The wisdom of our having this treat was often questioned, during the journey home, the details of which I will not go into.  I will say that we did not travel without plenty of paper bags.  It was a tired bunch of young and older who mustered together at the coach park, waiting for the head count, before we were allowed to get on board. Wearily we would take our seats, feeling grumpy and over tired, yet, not wanting the day to end, at the start of the journey home we would have a sing song, gradually, this faded away as one by one we fell asleep.  The next thing we knew, was our mothers shaking us awake, we were home.


Gawber Road, Working Mens' Club ~ Barnsley.



                                            music "under the boardwalk"





I was just four years old when I started at St. Mary’s Church of England School, I had a very happy year there, then horror of horrors I had to leave.  My mum had been given an exchange for a council house at Burton Grange, which was only about three miles away from where we lived, the cottage in which we were leaving had been condemned just before the start of the war.  However, all none essential building stopped at the outbreak of war, due to a shortage of materials and manpower, my mum had worn a trail to the Housing Department in the Town Hall, begging for another house.  We loved the cottage but it was so damp, she became desperate to move, she was worried about my health.

So it was in October 1944 we moved, we might as well have emigrated, it seemed such a long way from where we had lived and I was parted from my cousins (who were more like brothers to me).

I did not realise at the time what a wrench it was going to be, I duly started at Littleworth Infants’ School, my first teacher being Mrs. Ladlow,

I thought that her name was Mrs. Wagglebow, which caused a great deal of mirth from my classmates.  I was used to being teased unmercifully, but being teased by Jack and Tony was far different to be laughed at by strange children at a new school.  I can remember the very first morning, I cried buckets, when my mum left me, fortunately it turned out well, how was I to know that the little girl called Pam Thorpe, who befriended me by drawing me a Dutch girl, was to become my life long friend.  (this coming October we shall have been friends for fifty eight years).

It wasn’t long before I settled down, and I started to enjoy my new school, strangely as far as I know, I was the only child to have her Dad on Active Service in the Army.  All the other Dads worked in the coalmines, which exempted them from being “called up”, to serve in the forces.

I soon made friends with the other children in my class, the Headmistress was called Miss Hepworth, who was strict but kindly.  I even asked if I could have my dinner at school, which invariably was mince, mashed potato, carrots or cabbage, my favourite pudding was chocolate sponge with chocolate flavoured custard.

The time soon came that I was to move from the Infants’ school to the Junior school, this was no problem, for one thing the two parts of the school were attached and the main thing was I knew everyone who was being elevated to the Junior School.  I was in the A stream, and my first teacher in the Junior School was Mrs. Bostwick who came from Cudworth, the next village from where we lived, she had trained as a singer during some part of her life, and she loved to play the piano and sing to us.  Some of the lads would put their hands over their ears, it was sissy to listen to a teacher sing, I stayed in the A stream for the rest of my time at Littleworth Junior School, one year I actually came second in the class.  There was one fly in the ointment and the bane of my life, and that was the needlework class, Miss Gooding was the teacher and she was a lovely lady, but she was rather lax.  I had started to embroider a bib for my new brother/sister, and I used to get into such a tangle with all the threads, that I just sat there, scared stiff that I would be noticed.  The school week for me was Monday, Tuesday, and then the dreaded needlework class on Wednesday, after that I could relax and enjoy Thursday and Friday.  I became so paranoid that I decided that I could not carry on like this and one day in fear and trembling, I took my work to the front of the class and burst into tears.  (on reflection, I was prone to bursting into tears).  Oh, the relief when Miss Gooding told me not to worry about it and to do my best, I could have kissed her, to think I had spent all those weeks in agony, which so easily could have been avoided.

(these days I would have been offered counselling-being sarcastic here).

The time flew by and during that time, my dad had returned home from the war, ten months after that, John made his entrance into the world, I had the time in hospital with Scarlet Fever.  Before I knew it, I was in Five A, preparing for the eleven plus scholarship exam, I can remember so clearly taking those exams, which were done in two parts, with a week in between.  I was nervous, I have always had a phobia about exams, but by some miracle I was awarded a place at Barnsley Girls High School, together with my friend Pam.  We were the only two girls to pass for the High School, and I can remember my feeling of astonishment, when the letter, bearing the good news, arrived.

Little did I know that I hadn’t even started learning at that point and going to the High School was to be another test of endurance.