West Yorkshire market town of Pontefract
 
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Pontefract Letters Page

CLAREMONT LODGE, BUTTON PARK

ADDED 13 JUNE 2007

On reading the article submitted by John Ashfield I was reminded of my early childhood spent living at Claremont Lodge in Button Park, from where my uncle, 'Dick' Priestley, ran his painting and decorating business.

My cousins Richard Priestley and Jack Penty (who lived on the much-bombed Mayors Walk Avenue) used to gang around with a friend I knew only as 'Ashy'. As a four year old I tagged along after the older three, despite their best efforts. I remember watching with awe, Richard's O-gauge model railway in the cellar of Claremont House; the 'dens' built in the shrubbery at the Mayors Walk end of Button Park, where the three first enjoyed the pleasures of tobacco. And I am assured by the redoubtable Norman Blackburn who learnt the paint trade at R.E. Priestley's, that the trio, armed with Richard's air pistol, often kept the yard staff pinned down in the office!

I remember the school run by Miss Ebutt as Saint Catherines; my brother Paul attended this school, kitted out in a smart green blazer. My cousin Richard and his twin sister Ann like John Ashworth, went to the Quaker School at Ackworth.

As kids we used to explore the caves off Dark Lane, some of which had been air raid shelters, some held sub-terranean lakes, and all were pretty spooky. No other correspondents to the Digest have mentioned these remnants of underground Pontefract.

Keep up the good work at the Digest, preserving the annals of old Pontefract!

John Priestley


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