was born in Tanshelf in Coburg Street in 1920. My dad, a miner, worked
at the local Prince of Wales Colliery for fifty years. My mum, dad,
myself and my baby brother, moved to Maypole Yard when I was about five
years old. The Maypole was a shop whose main produce was butter. It came
in big barrels and the staff used to mould it into a shape very much
like a brick and then stamped a cow on the top. Kids spent hours
watching the cow being done.
part of Maypole had only five houses with one tap outside our house for
everyone to share. We had a midden into which all the rubbish was
placed. At the top of the yard were about four steps that led into Star
Yard where we moved again. Woolworth’s was not built at that time.
was a small shop that sold savoury hot ducks and my Dad’s favourite
meal on Friday’s was these ducks so I used to go with a jug and get
two hot ducks and some hot gravy for tea. To this day I never found out
what was in the duck but they were 2d each. The shop was later
demolished when Woolworth’s store was built.
Star Yard, lived Benson, the local gas lamp lighter. He went round town
at night putting the lights on and putting them out again in the
fire station was outside the Town Hall opposite Boots. When there was a
fire a siren was sounded and a glass was smashed to get a key for the
man to open the doors. Men came running to get to the fire. Mr. Dibbs
lived in Star Yard and he would race down the road with all the kids
running after him like the Pied Piper to watch the thrill we all got
from seeing the red engine.
one seems to remember that there was a cannon on display in the grounds
of Pontefract Castle just before the Second World War but there was; I
had my photograph taken against it when I was nineteen years old. At the
time it was believed to have been used when Cromwell stormed the castle
but it was removed during the war, presumably to be melted down in aid
of the war effort.
Beatrice Thorpe (nee Evans)
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