Hi there, just found this website, wow it's
My maternal grandma (Ada Gibson) used to live at
number 53, Wilthorpe Avenue! We (mum, my sister, brother and I) used to
travel up from Hampshire every school holiday to spend time with gran and the
numerous Aunts and Uncles that either lived at number 53 or would always seem to
be there! Oh those extended families were a blessing weren' they.
Dad never used to be able to visit with us, being a gamekeeper and water bailiff
on an estate in Hampshire he could not afford to take a holiday of more than a
few days at a time.
We would all pile onto the steam train at
Southampton Central, and enjoy the days journey - it took hours - arriving at
Sheffield Victoria, then catching the local train on to Barnsley.
Mum must have deserved a medal for all that travelling with three very excited
children in tow!
I remember the Monkey Tunnel very well, and wasn't
there a pond at the bottom of Wilthorpe Avenue called Tinkers Pond? I have
revisited Barnsley many times recently, in pursuit of my family history, and
spent some time in Wilthorpe Avenue, reminicing, wondering what happened to
Tinkers Pond, looking at the Monkey Tunnel etc. Oh those heady days in the
1950's came flooding back, how we all played out in the street, with no fear of
traffic - there just wasn't any! The ice cream man used to arrive on what
I am sure was a bicyle with a sort of freezer box attached. Or is my
memory playing tricks on me? Maybe.
Many thanks for making this website, it is a work
of art, I am going to be sitting here for many hours exploring it, remembering
places, planning visits to areas of Barnsley I had long forgotten
How interesting that you can remember the Gibson
family in Wilthorpe Avenue. Carmen was actually my cousin - her mother was
one of my mums' older sisters. Mum was one of nine children, ranging from
Frank who was born in 1898 to the youngest, Dorothy who was born in 1916.
Dorothy and Carmen were both on the stage, as was Carmens' mother Winifred and
also another sister, Vera who was a dancer. Oh the joy of remembering
Auntie Vera performing tap dance steps and me trying to follow them (without
much sucess). Dorothy went under the stage name of 'Billie Gibson' in fact
that is the name I always remember her being called within the
family! Billie was very glamorous, plantinum blonde hair and always
dressed very smartly - as a child I was always in awe of her, She was like a
movie star to me. She was in reviews etc. - acting, singing and
dancing. Carmen also sung and danced, and Winifred was what was called a
soubrette - an actress who also played in light opera etc.
The Trevor who you recall was Auntie Vera's
stepson - he was born around 1939 and also had a sister called Ena who was about
a year older than he was.
My mum was Adrienne Phyllis Gibson, she married
a Hampshire chap and made her home down there, although her heart always
belonged to Barnsley, she made sure everyone knew that Barnsley was the best
place in the world, part of Gods own Country (Yorkshire of course!)
Hence the reason for our many trips back to Barnsley as children, and also the
reason why it is also so very much in my heart.
Sadly my dear mum and all her siblings are no
longer with us, but they left a great legacy of love for Barnsley behind
them. Do you or your husband have any other memories of the Gibson
family? I am very much into genealogy and any information is fantastic for
I come up and visit Barnsley often, however I
usually stay with another cousin up in North Yorkshire, near Skipton. He
drives me down to Barnsley and we spend many hours just wandering, visiting
places that bring back memories of my childhood. Or sometimes we visit the
Local Studies section within the library - I love plodding through old copies of
the Barnsley Chronicle finding articles relevent to my family. One of mum's
brothers - Bernard Gibson - was killed in the blitzing of Coventry in 1940 and
there was an interesting, but sad, article about him in the Chronicle. Of
course I never find everything I am looking for in those old copies because I
get sidetracked by finding something that catches my eye that has nothing to do
with anything in particular, but is none the less interesting!
Well Mary, please forgive me for letting my mind
wander and taking up your time, many thanks for taking time to reply, it is
lovely to have some contact with Barnsley through your lovely
It is wonderful and very satisfying to receive emails such as these, thank you, Sue for allowing me to include them on my website.