West Yorkshire market town of Pontefract
 
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Pontefract Letters Page

I WAS THE FEMALE CYCLIST!

ADDED 25 JANUARY 2006

Having had my home in Pontefract since 1936, I have been wondering if I could contribute in any way to ‘The Digest’, but as yet I can’t think of a worthwhile story.

I can relate to a number of your contributors. I know Peter Cookson, Sister Bacon, John Green and John Holmes. Dr. Leo Robson and family used to live opposite us on Carleton Road. My father, Mr. David Richards, was secretary at P.G.I. from 1936 to 1951 and knew Dr. Robson well and was upset when he left.

I am prompted to write to you now by a comment you made in the editorial of the January issue. Under the heading Bradburn’s ice cream, you mention the image of Pontefract Buttercross. I am very amused by the following statement – "..in front of which is a passing female cyclist with a dog keeping pace with her". Well, that female cyclist is a teenage me! The dog had nothing to do with me and to my consternation came from nowhere and started following me. Just as I was feeling nervous about the dog, a fellow appeared in front of me and took a photograph. I was very surprised but continued to cycle on and to my relief the dog disappeared. Now I’m pretty sure the photographer was Frank Holmes, father to John.

Often on a Saturday morning I would cycle to town to shop for my mother, to buy tripe from Schofield’s stall near the Buttercross. We had the tripe for tea. Being wartime, with food rationing, this was a welcome change.

I had forgotten about the photograph incident until I saw that photo in the book ‘Britain In Old Photographs – Pontefract’ compiled my Richard Van Riel. I was very amused to see it but it did solve the mystery of that Saturday morning. I still have the basket shown on the front of my cycle. I know Mr. Richard Van Riel, the compiler of the book, so told my story and he kindly gave me a copy of the photograph.

Being a long standing resident of Pontefract, I enjoy The Digest and get pleasure from the mention of people I knew in past years.

Miss Sheila M. K. Richards
25 January 2006


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