My Dad, James Feeley (Jim), was born on the 7 July 1914 

at No. 6 High Street, Westgate, Barnsley, his parents were 

Thomas (Tommy) Feeley born 1880 in Tipperary, Ireland 

and  Sarah Elizabeth (Sally) Feeley nee Wood, 

born on the 19 February 1882 in Barnsley.  




Although my Grandad was a Roman Catholic they were married at 

St. Mary's Church, Barnsley,  





They had four children, my Dad being the fourth child and only son, 

although the family, due to tragic circumstances 

was eventually extended to two more boys and a girl.  

Lottie was born on the 21 October 1904,  Nellie on the 7 October 1908, 

Mary on the 6 July 1910,  it was a hard life as was usual in those days, 

with very little money to bring up a family of four. 

  Dad told me that Grandad Feeley hated going to work, 

and if he broke his boot lace it was an excuse to have a shift off from the pit.  

Who knows, maybe his Dad wasn't well, 

but it certainly made life so much harder for the family.




 Grandma (Sally) Feeley was a very strong supporter 

of the Labour Party and worked tirelessly to help 

Barnsley's first Labour Member of Parliament, Mr Potts to be elected.  

As a thank you he invited her to The Houses of Parliament 

for "tea on the terrace", all the family were thrilled by this event, 

going to London in those days was like going to the other side of the world.  I have seen a postcard which she  sent to the family, 

saying how much that she was enjoying the visit.  

She served on Committees, her main interest being the Public Health Committee and became quite a well known figure in Barnsley.



When Dad was a small boy they moved next door to No. 4 High Street, 

this was a typical Northern Terrace House, but it did have three bedrooms.  Between No 6 and No 4 High Street, 

was a ginnel and a bedroom belonging to No 4 was built over this ginnel, 

it was freezing cold in that bedroom, but at least it was there.




The first Mary Feeley ~ my aunt who sadly died at the age of seventeen



Mary Feeley the first - 1910 -1928



Mary Feeley the second (me)



Nellie Feeley - aged 17 (Dad's older sister)


All the Feeley children went to St. Mary's Church School, which was situated directly opposite No 4. being separated by a piece of waste land, on which air raid shelters would be built, at the start of WW2.  

Dad enjoyed going to school, he had a great deal of respect for the Headmaster 

Mr. (Boss) Adams, the bain of Dad's life was his hair, it was very thick and unruly. 

Mr. Adams would send Dad back home to have his hair parted, 

which was impossible.  

One day, his Mother was so exasperated that 

she marched Dad back to school, 

sought out  Mr Adams and handed him a brush and comb, 

saying "You have a go".  Dad was never sent home again.



My dad is on the front row, second from the left.



Jim Feeley (dad) aged five



Nellie Feeley between her brothers Frank and Bill Wood.








Above - Sarah Waterson age 11 & Norah Waterson age 5


When Dad was twelve years old he met my Mother, Norah (Waterson) 

she was ten, and had returned to Barnsley, with her Mother and three sisters  after living at South Elmsall for four years.  

He often used to tell the tale that as soon as he saw her, 

he knew that he was going to marry her, 

(and they say that kids start young these days).


My Mother's family had come to live in Berry Row, 

which was also known as back High Street, 

sometimes as a treat they were allowed some chips from a nearby 

fish and chip shop, Dad used to sit on his door step, 

(Many is the time, that someone would shut the door and send him sprawling onto the pavement), 

waiting for the sound of my Mother's flat feet running to the Chip Shop, 

his words, he had a charming turn of phrase had Jim.  






In 1928 some big changes occurred in Feeley Family, 

due to tragic events,  Mary started to be ill with rheumatic fever and died 

her death devastated all the family, particularly my Grandma, 

who visited  Barnsley Cemetery every day, and would sit there for hours.


It wasn't long before another death occurred in the family 

my Grandma's brother, Harry  had served in the First World War,  

where he was gassed and finally died at the age of thirty eight .  

He was married to Rose, and they had four children, 

Bill, Frank, Lottie and Betty, it seemed that things could not get much worse, 

when not long after, Rose, and Betty died, 

these circumstances were extremely tragic.

As a result of all this, my Grandma adopted the three Wood children, 

and from then on, Dad called them his brothers and sister.



Mary Feeley born 6 July 1910 is the one in the poke bonnett, 

Lottie Feeley,  born 21 October 1904 is on the top right of  the photo

(click the picture to zoom in)

Dad was fourteen years old when he left school, 

which was the normal age, he got a job at Carlton pit, 

and still having to wear short trousers, because there wasn't any money for any others.  

In fact, money was so scarce, that he had the choice of using the bus one way, 

and walking the other, he opted for riding home from work, 

because he was always so tired. 

  Although life was hard, he always said that his, was a happy childhood, 

he was always in trouble because of the mischief he got into, 

a bright spot was when   





Jim is the lad on the front row with his sleeves rolled up

he was awarded a medal for playing cricket for Barnsley Boys, 

he gave my brother John, this medal on his twenty first birthday.  

The work at Carlton Pit was spasmodic, 

so when he was nineteen he went to Birmingham 

to a Training Centre and trained as a brick layer, 

by this time he was officially "walking out " with my Mother.  

Sadly this same year, 1933 his Mother Sally died at the age of fifty one, 

she had been ill for sometime, but had refused to go to the Doctor until, 

it was too late for anything to be done. 



St. Mary's Boys' School, where my dad attended, in front of the photo is Churchfield, this was a large concrete area, where we used to play, cricket ( I was always the fielder).  My cousins Tony Hawley, Jack Winder and David Watson, went to this school.  To the right of the photo is the back of Churchfield Terrace, where all three of them lived.  They couldn't have been much nearer to school than this.


Churchfield was where the circus used to hold it's practise, we loved it, we had a "free show for a few days".  I can remember my Auntie Mary, David's mum, hearing a knock on her back door, standing there was a lady from the circus, she asked my Auntie if she could have some water for the elephant.  My Auntie naturally said of course and went to get a bucket to fill with water, the next thing she knew was an elephant's trunk, snaking round the back door into the kitchen.  It was hilarious, I am glad that I was there to see it for myself.


Churchfield also had a huge brick tank which was sunken into the ground, there was always much excitement, when this tank was filled with water.  It meant that the Fire Brigade were going to practise, another free show, which we enjoyed.

Since I have been grown up, I have realised that it was a miracle that nobody fell into the water, we used to get so close.



Dad - 1932, this photograph was taken in Blackpool.



His Dad Thomas (Tommy) had served in World War 1 

and I have an ivory rosary, which he brought home with him from France, 

plus a few cards which he sent home. 

( He died on the 15 May 1955).  



Here are four generations, on the left is my Great Grandad, John Wood, in the middle is Lottie Polding (nee Feeley) to her left is Sally and sitting on the table is Trevor,

Lottie and Alf Polding's eldest child. ~around 1932



John Wood, Sally Feeley's father and my dad's grandad.



music ~ Birth of the Blues




Fast forward to 7th July 1984, Dad's 70th birthday party, here he is with his sisters and my cousin Kathryn.