West Yorkshire market town of Pontefract
 
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Pontefract Letters Page

WOOLWORTHS SATURDAY GIRLS

ADDED 16 SEPTEMBER 2007

Having talked before of childhood days in Pontefract, today’s memories are of happy teenage days, spent dancing at the Town Hall on Saturday nights to the sound of the Yorks and Lancs Band during the war. We thought they sounded like the Joe Loss Band!

I returned to this area around 15 years ago and having heard about the Flea Market, held in the Town Hall on Wednesday’s, I could hardly wait to visit, mostly to see the dance hall once again.

Walking up the steps into the dance hall, I relived my teens. It seemed smaller than I remembered but I had a marvellous feeling as I recalled quick-stepping around, and with dignity I walked very slowly, glancing very often at the stage and picturing the ‘band’ up there.  As I reluctantly left I noticed some photographs on the wall downstairs. One of the photographs was of ‘Woolworth’s Saturday Girls. One of my sisters worked at Dunhill’s during the week and at Woolworth’s on Saturdays. She was a tall girl and one of the photographs had a tall girl resembling her on it. Unfortunately, unlike her, I was too small to be able to see it up close as it was placed high up on the wall.  Her family live in New Zealand and visiting them a few years ago I discovered how desperate they are for family history. I have thought about this photograph many times and it would be wonderful if you could trace it and publish it and of course, for it to be her. I would love to send something like that to them. My sister’s name was Bessie Cording and as I am the younger end of a large family, it is unlikely that anyone of her age will still be around.

I miss the Flea Market and I hope that in the near future it will return - complete with repaired lift!
Regarding the plane crash in Darrington, my friend and I were walking home from the Town Hall along Castle Syke Hill, when we saw the plane crash. It was alight in the sky and we thought it was heading for us. We ran down the hill, jumped over a low wall and crouched behind it, terrified - waiting for the crash. Alas, it fell on Darrington and we just saw the big red glow in the sky.  I told my mum when I went to bed that evening that a plane had crashed over Castle Syke and she asked, “Have you been drinking?”

The next day my brother came in and told us that it had crashed on the home of the Dean family.  We knew this family as we had lived at the Crown Inn on the old Darrington crossroads.

Beryl Sayles (nee Cording)


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