MICKLEGATE YOUNG PEOPLE
IN THE 1950s
by RICHARD MOSELEY
This wonderful photograph above tells a lot.
A happy group of young people and close friends about to set off for the
day to Scarborough in 1955, all belonging to a thriving Youth Club and
Church. The church is the one that burnt down in August 1965 and which
has now been replaced by a lovely modern building. I would like to thank
two close friends from that period; John Hanson and Max Bradley, for
their assistance in completing the names. I think we got them all right.
There are a few not named and sadly, one or two that have passed away.
If anyone can correct any errors or fill in the few gaps, please let me
know. My apologies also to the ladies, as we decided to use maiden
I feel sure that most in the photograph would testify that this period
in the church and youth club was a very happy one; very meaningful and
very influential in our lives and taking many precious memories into all
our futures. I suppose everyone would say that teenage life and one's
early twenties are always influential but we were so lucky to have so
many enriching experiences and to be part of the group that was to
become known as 'Micklegate Young People'. Here I list very briefly some
of my experiences and memories and maybe one day I will write in greater
detail about some of them.
Firstly there was the Youth Club on a Tuesday and Thursday. The
activities would probably sound a bit boring for 14-20-year-old’s today.
Table tennis and badminton played to the sounds of Elvis Presley and
Bill Haley. However, it was much more than that. The galley of the
church was practically full at the Sunday evening service and everything
was organized so well that we went on many trips. Visits to Scarborough
(photograph) Derbyshire and North Yorkshire. We went down a local
colliery once! On Good Fridays we would walk to Brotherton, near
Knottingley, by the scenic country road and help to take a special
afternoon service in the little Methodist Church. A wonderful tea was
provided by the locals, and then of course, there was the long walk
back. On Bank Holiday Monday, which was then always on Whit Monday, we
would take a coach to a place called Cliff College in the Derbyshire
Peak District, to mix with thousands of other young Methodists in a
series of services held in large marquees. Maybe it doesn't sound
exciting, but it was; very thought provoking and it was also a lot of
fun. Many of us went on holiday together, to places like Christian
Holiday Homes in Saltburn by the Sea, Cromer, Isle of Wight, the Isle of
Man and Conway in North Wales. Later on, some went for a number of
summers to Porthcawl in South Wales. This was organised at first by the
Reverend Walter Newby who had been the Methodist Minister at Knottingley.
As well as having a wonderful holiday, many young people gave testimony
to the faith they had found.
You may ask how on earth did all this get organized so well. The answer
has got to be that we were lucky to have so many committed and dedicated
leaders. In the photograph are Reverend Alf Beardsley and his wife. Mr
Beardsley was the Minister at Micklegate at the time of the photograph.
For me, and I'm sure for many others, he was the most wonderful,
inspiring and Christ-like man I have ever met. His gentle personality
and love of people was awesome. I remember many Sunday evenings when he
would invite us all back to his house after the service. How so many of
us, thirty or forty people, got in I'll never know, but it was a lot of
fun and a happy, enriching time. Later on, Madge and Bob Hill did the
same at their home on a Sunday and they too dedicated their lives to the
service of the 'Methodist Young People' in so many helpful ways. Mr
McCarthy, who is also in the photograph along with his wife, ran the
Youth Club. He was an incredible worker, totally dedicated to youth
work. He was a very caring and approachable person and he had that
ability that many people find difficult, to actively become a personal
friend of teenagers in who you could share your problems in confidence.
Many did and that confidence remained inviolate. A bubbly and very
likeable man, he ran the Youth Club very well. Later on, Mr Norman
Buckle ran the Club and continued the good work. We were so lucky with
As I write, more memories keep flooding back. Things like the incredible
Christmas Variety Show we put on. Fairly obviously, 'Micklemania' became
the name. There was even a chorus and song, words and music written by
David McCarthy, our leaders son, which we sang at the start and end of
the show. We performed the show for two or three nights each January,
playing to packed audiences. Many of the fun sketches and musical items
were of very good quality. David produced the show and it is no surprise
that he went on to become quite famous with his music in the national
field and taught music in a famous Public School.
Finally, I've got to mention carolling on Christmas Eve. It is almost
difficult to believe that thirty or forty of us would walk almost all
the way round Pontefract from 6 or 7 in the evening to almost 2.00am the
next morning, singing carols outside the homes of various people. We
even walked as far as Carleton! I guess it must have brought the spirit
of Christmas to many people. (I'm sure it was also the start of a few
romances amongst us - but I won't go in to that!)
Well as you can guess, it was a wonderful time and this photograph has
brought back so many memories. I've just recently retired from my
Government job as a School Inspector, and now live in the Lake District
but it has been so good to find this photograph, revive the memories and
of course to be a regular subscriber to this amazing magazine. I visited
Pontefract Micklegate Methodist Church a few months ago for the first
time in about forty years. It was so good to find it still thriving,
full of many good people (some of them old friends, with not too much
emphasis on the 'old') There's a new building programme planned with
lots of new ideas in the pipeline. If you are in the photograph and you
haven't been to Micklegate recently, you'll find a great welcome and a
warm fellowship. I think I'm allowed just that little bit of unobtrusive
evangelism! If anyone out there would like to share some memories, do
write or e-mail me. In addition, why don't you write an article or send
a photograph to the new Pontefract and Knottingley Digest Magazine.
In conclusion, I found this other remarkable
photograph (opposite) taken in exactly the same place but at least 30
years earlier, perhaps in about 1923. I can see my mother and two of my
aunts before they were married, as well as my Grandfather, George
Sainter, who was Mayor of Pontefract in 1932. Do you recognise anyone?
It would be great if we could name some more people and find out the
reason for the photograph.
Richard S. Moseley
Email: ckm (at) ukgateway.net
||Micklegate Young People in the 1950s
by Richard S. Moseley was published in the Digest Magazine,
Volume 1, Issue 2, August 2007.