PRINCE OF WALES TERRACE, PONTEFRACT
by JANICE BRIDGETT
earliest memories of living at number 63 Prince of Wales Terrace,
Pontefract, was that it was a mining community. I was born there on 19th
December 1936. I lived with my Granddad, Grandma Hill, my Mam and Dad,
Auntie Doris and her daughter, cousin Pam, my brother Gerard, sisters
Avril and Cynthia and myself Janice. My youngest sister Angie, was born
up on the Chequerfield estate in 1950.
granddad had a heart of gold and became a surrogate father to my father
when he was called up for war service. It was six years before we saw
our father again. He stayed in the army for 28 years.
the war years my sister Avril and I went to Wilkinson’s woodworks
which was down Denwell Terrace. It was where my dad used to work. My man
got five shillings a week for fostering children. We spent it at Horner’s
bakery shop in Northgate. We bought a big loaf, two currant teacakes, a
pastry, then we went to ‘Skinny Lizzies’ in Finkle Street for six
two penny bags of chips. My granddad gave us a shilling pocket money; 9d
for the pictures and 3d for sweets. That was our Saturday afternoon
treat at the Crescent Cinema.
families were not uncommon down the Terrace and some of them took in
lodgers and also washing to help out. We had the biggest wireless, which
sat on the table near the window. It blocked out all the light into the
room. It was run on an accumulator which my brother and I used to take
to Brooke’s Garage behind St. Giles Church to have it recharged. We
used to listen to children’s hour, Dick Barton, Daring Dexters and
downstairs rooms were lit by gaslights and we would buy gas mantle’s
which came in little white boxes and were very fragile. At bedtime we
would go to bed with a candle, we felt like Wee Willie Winkie. I still
have my grandma’s candle holder, it’s an enamel one, dark green.
Janice and Avril
grandma’s washday was on Monday’s and we would help her with the
wash. She used the Dolly tubs and a peggy, and then it was onto the
rubbing board. Our job was to turn the wheel on the big iron mangle.
When she had finished her wash she would tip out the soapy water into
the yard which made the soot swirl about but the yard got a good swill.
Our usual dinner was nearly always mashed potatoes, baked beans and cold
holidays and at weekends our time was spent in our Mam's hut in the
flower garden. It was a refuge for us all to be away from under my
grandma’s feet. My grandmother was a hard worker she did all the
housework, cooking and washing but she liked reading and in the
afternoons would put her feet up and read a book for half an hour. She
used to do all her cooking on a large black oven range - it always had a
big roaring fire in the grate. It was always warm downstairs but cold
upstairs. We did have a front room but it was rarely used only on high
days and Christmas Day.
always had a real Christmas tree with proper candles held in a black
clip which you clipped onto the tree. On grandma’s shopping list there
would be Zebra Black Lead, scouring stone block and gas mantles. Most of
the residents of the houses took a great pride in the appearance of
them, scouring the stone windowsills and steps. We were very lucky
children. Our granddad bought us the Dandy, Beano, and Radio Fun, but
grandma liked the illustrated Daily Express. I tried to save 2d so I
could buy Sunny Stories by Enid Blyton.
can just remember V.E. Day. All our neighbours brought their tables out
into the street. They managed to find some jellies, spam, jam
sandwiches, fairy buns and biscuits. Mr. Moiser pushed his big piano out
on the road with some help and then everybody had a good knees up and
sing song. Flags were flying and bunting was strung across the street.
during the war were hard but we were more fortunate than perhaps others
were. My grandfather had a large allotment on which he grew potatoes,
carrots, cabbages, peas, celery and rhubarb. We also had a chicken run
where we kept hens, cockerels and rabbits – mostly they were for the
pot. We used to watch my granddad 'neck' the cockerels and pluck them,
and then he would give us the feet to play with. We were well supplied
with eggs from the hens and grandma made lovely rabbit stew with the
rabbits. We girls had our own banty hens, Sarah, Hannah and Charlie, a
banty cockerel which used to fly at us.
granddad had lots of Hollyhock's and we used to tie the flower heads
together with the bees inside. In the Whitsun holidays we would go to
Hollywell woods over Ladybalk. It was a days outing and we brought back
bunches of blue bells for the house. Our lunch was jam sandwiches and a
bottle of water.
granddad’s hut was a meeting place for all his friends. Friday night
was bath and hair wash, and we had, like many others, a large tin bath
which took ages to fill. My Mam would start with the baby and work up
and then my grandmother would use the bath water to swill the yard. Then
we would enjoy my granddads small potatoes he had cooked for the hens
for our supper.
had an outside toilet which used to freeze up in winter and squares of
newspaper tied up with string behind the door. We were not allowed to
come downstairs wearing our pyjamas in the morning; we had to roll them
into a ball and put them in the sideboard cupboard. My Mam was an
invalid and an hero, she used crutches in the house and she had a
chariot to go out in. Mum taught us how to tell the time with a little
pink clock, how to do blanket stitch and corkwork. My Dad made us a big
dolls house and my Mam showed us how to make furniture using match
boxes. We cut cornflake boxes down to make beds. Mam also made little
rag dolls with arms and legs and wool for their hair. We thought they
were great. My mam was a hero, she was the boss, a caring one.
neighbours on Prince of Wales Terrace were friendly and we had a Mayor
from the street, councillor Dick Robinson – he did us proud. His son
in fact later became a jockey.
Reall in the top house used to sell postage stamps. My father's father
(Granddad Thompson) was a bobby, he was known as 'Bobby Thompson’.
They moved to Beverley when I was very young but we went to visit a
couple of times.
all enjoyed Sunday school with Miss Hinks and Brownies with Miss Ackroyd.
I saw the sea for the first time with the Brownies. We went on a steam
train with no corridors. It swayed from side to side and we thought it
played hide and seek many times on the pit logs and often got chased by
the pit watchman. I lived down Prince for eleven years before we moved
up to the Chequerfield estate in 1947 on my eleventh birthday.
one door shuts another opens.
Janice Bridgett (nee Thompson)