By Sid Pickersgill
I was born at number two Bottomboat Road, Stanley, the son of Hayden and Florence Pickersgill. My two sisters, Joyce and Margaret, both deceased, were also born there. We attendeåd the infant school next door. The houses numbered 2 to 12 were family owned, as were numbers 1 to 41 Westerman Terrace, which included the Post office, rented by Abraham Tate. These properties were owned by my father’s aunt, Ann Capes Westerman, who was known as Aunty by all.
Her sister was Emma Nettleton, who had several properties in the street named after her. She had a daughter who married Joseph Wheatley of Smaller Bite Farm, who owned land and property in Bottomboat.
After attending the infant school, where Mrs. Summers was the Head Teacher, assisted by two sisters named Holbrook, we then went to St. Peters, where the Head Teacher was Mr Harry Ward, assisted by Miss Wood and Miss Milner, then to the new Stanley Modern, where Mr. Tommy Taylor was head, leaving at the o age f 14. I then went to work at Charles Wensley’s garage in Wakefield, as an apprentice paint sprayer, but it did not suit me, so I went to work at William Lambs, the local Clog factory, as a clicker. My eldest sister worked there and all her friends whom I knew, so it was as if I was accepted into a new family. As a young boy I was known by everyone in the village and ran errands for many of the old people, which included the boss’s mother Amelia, who assured me that it was her who was really the Boss. Later on in my life she proved it to me.
My Father was a miner, and teetotal. He attended the local Methodist chapel, now demolished. I went to the Sunday School where Mr. Bowers was President. Mr. Wheatman, Fred Firth, Eric Butterfield, Abraham Tate and his sons were officers. My mother attended the Salvation army. My two sisters Joined her. I then joined the Rev Cannon Baugh at Stanley Church as a chorister. My best friend was Allan Ward. His Grandfather Harvey, would take all the young lads to watch the local team when they played at home. We had to take our hats, and on the way he would find a stick to put our hats on and cheer them on.
Some good players were signed by big clubs. I remember watching Don Howe of Bolton Wanderers, and George Howe of Huddersfield town. The teams’ changing rooms were at the Rising Sun, which is still open. The Landlord was Walter Watts. There was also the Working Men’s Club. The President was Fred Thorpe, a man with a pointed waxed moustache. The steward was Mr. Taylor followed by George Briggs, then Jack Capes. He left and went to the Tramways Club in Market Street, Wakefield. There was also the Masons Arms where Roseanne Smith was the Land Lady. Her Husband Nelson was the Overseer in the screens at the local Newmarket Colliery. This is where I had my first pint of beer which cost two shillings. One could be very intoxicated for £1. At the top of the hill was the Railway Hotel, Mr Holgate was the landlord, he was called Tid! Must not forget the good rugby players, Brian Briggs, Laurence Milner and Albert Firth.
There was the Post office In Tate’s Grocery shop and Moon’s had a shop in the middle of the village. Mr. Moon was the Chief Training Officer at the colliery. We also had a fish and chip shop managed by Mrs. Butler and her daughter, Betty. Across the road was the butcher, Ernest Hargreaves. He and Mrs Butler Married and with Betty, they left the village. Harold Cotton moved into the butcher’s shop, and Herbert Lamb into his factory and Mr. and Mrs. Anderson took the fish shop. There was a shop in the first house in Cassy Court run by Tommy Smith and his wife. He also had a fish shop. Mr Lambs sister Hilda had a sweetshop next to the factory gates. There were two Barbers, Mr Darnbrer, and Arthur Pickersgill, who was also a plumber and glazier. His wife Cicely, was a school teacher at Stanley Grove School. We had two cobblers, one behind the post office named Mr. Edchell, and Mr. Gibson, who would collect and return customers’ footwear. His shop was in Outwood.
I remember the people who came down from the North to work at the coal mine. Mr. Bowers, Mr Wheatman, Mr. Liddell and a family called Ringer, who lived in the Co-Op street. They had a tin bath hung up outside the door and the boys would bang it so loud that she would shout at us in her native Geordie tongue. During the war we had evacuees from London, they livened up the village.