BarnsleyandFamily

Barnsleymemories

BARNSLEYANDFAMILY
MY STORY  BY
STANLEY ARTHUR LIPSCOMBE


I was born on Tuesday 19 February 1935
At home which was 5 wilthorpe crecent Barnsley Yorkshire at ten minutes to eight. Apparently Miss Jean Naylor who lived at No 7 heard some of my cries as she played in their front garden
At No 3 lived Mr Fred Rushforth with  his wife Jane Rushforth and their two sons Herbert and Arthur,  Fred and Jane were my Godparents. .My grandmother was Ethel Annie Lipscombe (nee Cartmel) married  Arthur  Lipscombe and had Wilfred Cartmel, Hilda and Elsie. Wilf married Dorothy Naylor who lived at No 7, Hilda went into service for a doctor and Elsie was in service for Mr Turgoose and his wife who lived in a house ‘The Homestead’  in Salisbury  Street. Wilf worked at Redfearns glass works where he had to choose between his job or becoming a professional boxer,  so I lived at No 5 with my grandmother.
My recollections of the time between 1935 and 1939 are a bit hazy but  I shall include as much as I remember not necessarily in time sequence.
I used to get a Saturday penny from Mr Rushforth and went to the first shop on Huddersfield rd ( to the left of the cinder path across what we called the clay tip (houses and flats are there now) clutching my penny with my friend Roy Parkin trying to get as much as we could in sweets. A kindly shopkeeper would show us the range of sweets (we called them Spice) available for the princely sum of an old penny. At the front of the display counter were these wonderful  chocolate models of trains. Cars, ships and other models. We never had enough for one of those so we came away with a bag of boiled sweets which lasted a long time which of course we would share. Eureka!  one Saturday the shop keeper was on his own,  his wife busy in the back, it must have been our urchin appearance and the look of longing on our faces ..we walked out with a chocolate train listening to his wife berate him for selling it to us.
During this time I was taken to football matches at Barnsley with Mr Rushforth and remember standing near the half way line and being hit in the face by a clearance…my nose was tender for a while .
From time to time when they had time off  Hilda would come home on Saturdays and we would go into town I remember on old fashioned shop in New Street near the Globe cinema where sweets would be bought to take home. Other Saturdays Elsie would take me to Woolworths the 3d and 6d store where I could chose something for 3d.
On  other occasions I would be taken to Locke Park walking all the way there and back to listen to Brass bands playing or to see the bananas growing in the greenhouse.
Just prior to the 2nd World war  I received a three wheeler bike upon which I would race
Down  Wilthorpe Avenue (it was an avenue then with Plane trees down both sides (I recently counted them there are only 7 left feb 2009). One day I was Going too fast and went into the crescent at the wrong angle and on two wheels which resulted in me crashing into Broadheads fence and doing a somersault over it.            
There  were not many radios in Wilthorpe in 1939  many of the workers worked in the mines,
I remember them going to the pit with their snap tins and water bottles  and coming  home black with coal dust to have their baths  in a tin bath in front of the coal fire. No pit baths or showers then. The children were sent out to play until bath time was over.

Mr Rushforth had a radio and radio licence and when war was declared the radio was taken outside where the neighbours heard the news.
Eventually a lot of the men were called up for war service.
I think I started school in 1939 and remember gas masks being given out in their cardboard carrying cases
Children were given Mickey Mouse gas masks
a lot of us children were disappointed when we
Received the standard gas masks ….we were too old for the others.
Let me try and describe Wilthorpe as it was then. Each day was scheduled for some activity.
Monday used to be wash day, the houses had coal fires with a back boiler and a lever to direct the flames under the boiler to provide hot water, no washing machines , there was electric lights in each house but no power points. Each house had a set pot in the kitchen which was used to boil the water for wash day. This meant carrying hot coals on a shovel from the fire in the room to the boiler in the kitchen(elf and safety?). There were usually two aluminium tubs , one for washing with a rubbing board, a
Peggy stick and a poncher, the other tub for rinsing the clothes before feeding them through the mangle before pegging out, if fine, if not lines were set up in the house to dry the clothes inside which resulted in the room full of steam and smelling of Fairy soap.

Monday’s meal generally was a cold one using the meat,  if any,  which was left over from Sunday (wash day dinner)
Each day was scheduled     with some household activity.
Thursday was half day closing for the shops and anyone with cash would use the evening to go to the Pictures (Cinema)
It was usual for anyone who had been to the pictures to tell the story of the film to all their friends …..there  were some very good story tellers and we would gather round in eager anticipation for their stories and actions.
For those in work Friday was pay day, some brought their pay packet home intact whilst occasionally some would go to the pub and spend most of it there. Despite some shortcomings it was a neighbourhood where everyone knew everyone else and a good spirit
Was maintained although some petty jealousies and feuds existed family x would not speak to family y for years.
Saturday was market day and there wouls be a queue for the buses into town (Cawthornes, Moseleys and of course the tracky). The housewives would go to town and shop, lugging the groceries back home with the Saturday meal of fish and chips if they could afford them. I always remember Saturday tea with tripe and crunchy celery with bread and margarine.
Saturday was the day to clean out the flues around the coal fired oven with a combination of flue brushes, coal rakes, a small shovel and bucket to carry the soot outside for the garden.
This activity was to make sure the oven would be hot enough to bake the bread as every house made their own for the week ahead and to cook with on the Sunday.
Mrs Croft next door at No 7 would make lots of oven bottom cakes which would be rested on the back step and windowsill to cool. There would always be a small one for Dennis their son and me to share on baking day. We just not dare to take a large bread cake.
At the beginning of the war lorries would park at the end of the crescent to collect scrap metal for the war effort. It was at this time that the metal railings around schools and buildings were taken as well.

SCHOOL

Wilthorpe junior school was only five minutes away from home.
During the war the staff was only female all the men were in the war.
Huddersfield road separated the Wilthorpe council estate from most of the private houses on the other side (important as I go along).
For some reason the tall metal railings which separated the school from the council estate were left intact but the ‘big’ lads had bent some railings in strategic places to enable us to take short  cuts for us to play in the school fields.
I was taken to start school at entered through the top gate.  I went in and immediately made my way to the railings where one was bent and was home sitting  on the steps of No 5 before my grandmother got home. This happened on a few of the first days at school. Not a good idea.
Eventually I was in class writing on slates with charcoal. The rest of my time at school is a blur until I was in the next to the top class. I remember with fondness some of the female teachers, Mrs Ghartrey, Miss Barker and Miss Proctor.
At this time my grandmother and I went to Blackpool to Help at a boarding house which was run by one of her friends. She used to sow and do repairs to bed linen etc. I used to help peeling potatoes in a hand turned peeler, the potatoes had to be eyed afterwards. I had to help setting the tables for the next meal as well.
At school I was in the last (top) class at Wilthorpe which is where troubles started.
We were no angels but did not deserve the wroth of the headmistress  Miss Richards and her deputy Miss Stone.
They had their favourites, if you lived in the wilthorpe council estate …hard luck. The other side of Huddersfield  road, even though some were council houses …you were in.
The first time I fell foul of the stasi (head and deputy) was our own fault. School dinners had been introduced and all pupils had to eat at school and were not allowed out. My friend Albert and I used to nip out through the bent railings to his mums who used to do egg sandwiches for us. All went well until one day as we returned to school Miss Richards was waiting for us at the railings whereupon she started reading the riot act to us and said she would make an example of us. That afternoon an assembly was called and Albert and I were the star attractions for that evil woman.  She proceeded to announce our misdemeanour to the assembled school and them proceeded to whack our backsides  with a rounder bat.
No mention of this punishment at home but it was a while before we enjoyed Albert’s mums egg sandwiches again. WE were watched carefully in school for a while.
There were favourites in our class, and you can guess where they lived… certainly not on the Wilthorpe council estate.
Milk was delivered to school, in one third pint bottles one for each pupil in the class. If there any absentees there  would be spare  milk. These spare bottles were always given to their favourites despite the fact that their parents had what was called good jobs and exempt war  service.
The same used to apply to the vitamin c and cod liver oil tablets given out each day during the war.
Reading played an important part of our education and reading aloud took place.
This meant bringing in something to read to the rest of the class. I had one go at this, reading from a book entitled ‘Wild life in the ice and snow. This was one of my favourites at the time and I knew it nearly by heart but my reading was classed as worse than rubbish. I should like to mention that no other pupil from the estate was asked to read aloud to the class.
This was the domain of the favourites. A boy called Roger whose dad could afford The Champion was always asked to read boys stories whereas the favourite girls were asked to read the stories for girls. Miss Richards was always suggesting that our parents bought us the Childrens Newspaper . Two pupils brought it in on a regular basis, needless to say they lived on the right side of Huddersfield Road. Two out of thirty says something. The weekly publications we got hold of  wereThe Hotspur, The Rover etc were classified as trash but the Champion was upper crust.
 
If there was a new pupil admitted to the class they  were placed according to their to their social standing. A girl came from the West Indies and she was seated with her favourite girls.
On one occasion a poor dressed boy was introduced to the class and he was placed next to me. We had large wooden and metal desks which seated two on the bench type seat. Unfortunately for me he had a bladder problem and he was soaked in urine most of the day as well as the seat we both sat upon was also wet.
He always came to school dry, we guessed his mum had dried out his clothes but not washed them and the stench of urine was ever present. Apart from his condition he was a decent lad who was only too aware the he smelled of urine. He stayed a few weeks and then moved on, as was common in the war.
On another occasion a girl called Molly Polding was placed next to me. She was one of the favourites and had a reputation for nipping.
This I found out to my cost with deep imprints of her nails just above my knee. Each time this happened I,  course yelped. You are disturbing the class Lipscombe was the retort,  despite the fact that I showed the teacher these marks. You have made those marks yourself was the sympathy extended to me.

As I have already mentioned granny and I went to Blackpool and one time we stayed three months during which time I had to go to school there with Eric the boy who lived next door at No 11 Albert Road.
I had a happy time there and loved the school which was near to Blackpool’s football ground. During this time we wee taught fractions and I must say I was good at fractions. Upon return to Wilthorpe school they had just recently started fractions and as usual the questions asked to the class were directed  to the favourites namely Roger, Kathleen and the rest. Unfortunately they were devoid of answers.  I had my hand up and reluctantly the teacher asked me to provide the answer. Unfortunately for me I provided  the correct answer on about six consecutive occasions. The lesson was immediately stopped and the headmistress Miss Richards was called who proceed to ask were had I learned fractions. She proceeded to ask me to answer questions on fractions which I answered correctly . A hurried discussion took place and I was to learn the outcome the following day. In the assembled class it was announced that I was to be excluded from the class and transferred to the remedial class of four with the command Lipscombe ‘follow me’ uttered by the said Miss Richards. Unknown to me the class had already done long division and I had not which was revealed when I was presented with some to do ….I hadn’t a clue and there was no help forthcoming from any of the two teachers. I was left to twiddle my thumbs whilst they took us remedials back to basic addition and subtraction which bored me stiff. Upon arriving home I told Granny of this and she proceeded to teach me Long Division.
It took a few evenings as the time tables were instilled into me by constant repetition in class.
Upon return to school I asked for the long division questions and I answered all of them correctly. Once again the head was sent for and she asked me where I had learned them..so I told her and immediately was reprimanded  because my layout was not the one they had taught……I realised then that some you cannot win.
My penultimate remark on education at this       school is as follows.
In each school at the time there was a ‘cock’ of the school, a boy who could fight and defeat any other boy in the school. At wilthorpe this was Ron Pendlebury who was as strong as an ox but never went out of his way to prove it. You did not challenge Ron.
The second was a friend of mine Brian, who one day angered me by calling me a bastard.
Even though I knew he was right I laid into him and punched until he gave up. Even though there were only the two of us news spread like wildfire that I had beaten Brian if a fair fist fight.
Shortly afterwards we were all playing on the waste ground below the school. Boys and girls together, which was unusual because we were segregated at playtime, iron railings suppurating us. The whispering started that Michael Senior, son of a teacher at Loncar or Mark street school wanted to fight me to become second ‘cock’ of the school. May I point out that no animosity existed between the two of us.
In the end egged on by the other pupils, who formed a ring around us, so we started fighting, fist only, we were going hammer and tongs with  no one on top or likely to win. The ring dispersed like magic, Miss Richards had arrived. She was accompanied by Miss Stone who was told to take everyone back to class and make an example of Michael and me.
Back in class we were brought to the front facing the blackboard and Miss Stone.
She had a wooden rule in her hand and said ‘hold out your hand, Michael, which of course he did, Palm up, whereupon she tapped him about six times with the flat of the rule. ‘Sit down, Michael’. ‘Now you, Lipscombe, hold out your hand’. I offered my hand, left one, palm up ’Turn it over Lipscombe’, she said. Whereupon she turned the wooden rule onto it’s edge and started to hit the knuckles on my left hand with all the force she could muster. I counted the strokes thirty in all, I remember saying to myself that I was not going to cry, even though I could feel a tear starting to form in each eye. At the end of this I turned to go and sit down thinking she had stopped. She called me back and said that she had not finished. ‘Now the other hand’ she said. I put my right hand out, palm up, and she told me to turn it over. Once again she brought the rule down another thirty times across my knuckles and the told me to sit down. ‘That will teach you, Lipscombe, not to fight in school.’ Not a mention  to my opponent.
NB The Wilthorpe estate kids were referred to with their surname whereas the favourites were referred to with their Christians names.

The above is a rough copy, written by my husband, Stan.