West Yorkshire market town of Pontefract
 
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Pontefract Letters Page

MEMORIES OF PONTEFRACT & DARRINGTON

ADDED 9 JANUARY 2007

I was born at 51 Queen Street in Pontefract, and recall childhood times spent there. We were a large family. Two of my sisters married soldiers. My eldest sisterís husband, originated from Tanshelf and served in the Indian Army. He rejoined, or was on the reserve list, when war broke out. He worked his way up through the ranks and got promoted to Major. Thatís great for a lad from Tanshelf. His name was Firth Darbyshire. His brother worked at the Co-operative Gents Tailors and had the unusual nickname of Dubba. My eldest brother was Edgar Cording, and he worked for G.T. Smiths butchers from leaving school up until his retirement.

In a recent issue you mentioned Harold Guest. I also remember the Alexandra being a theatre and Mrs Guest took theatricals in, but I was always told to stay near to our own door when they were there. Later on I remember Mrs Guest working in Marks and Spencer.

We used to go on Park Hill near the water tower to get clay to make winter warmers with. We collected touch wood to burn in them and keep our hands warm. The park was very popular, with a paddling pool beside the boating lake.

I went to Love Lane School, where my best friend was Muriel Waller. I once went outside and somebody said the King and Queen were coming to town. As we werenít allowed down town on our own, I snook off without going in for my coat. I ran all the way down Love Lane, across the road, down a yard which came out opposite the Court House, and on to the top of Horsefair. I shoved to the front on the corner where the arches are, just in time to see the car round the corner (very close!) I remember the King and Queen, George V and Queen Mary, and how they were sitting, bolt upright, without a glimmer of a smile. I believe they visited Tommy Farr.

Then we moved to Darrington and were the last occupants of the Crown Inn which stood back to back with the Ship Inn at the crossroads. Childhood in the old Darrington was bliss. The pub was very old and still had a coach house complete with two dust covered coaches and a blacksmithís shop. Besides the pub, my mum did occasional bed and breakfast and kept pigs. We also had and orchard and stables which we rented to the wood-cutters who boarded with us when they were logging in the district. There were some stone horse-mounting steps in front of the stables and Dick Turpin was supposed to have used them on his way to London. Looking back I wonder where my mum got all her energy from. Alas, in the name of progress a motorway took all that from us but I still love and remember the old, pretty, unspoilt by new houses, Darrington.

I still have my Baptist certificate issued by Pontefract Parish Church when the The Vicar was John Young. The Superintendent was Dorothy H. Hinks.

I am sorry that I do not have any photographs - they all got lost along the way - but I would love to have one of the old Crown Inn.

Beryl Cording


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