Memories of Tickhill, South Yorkshire.
Elsie Lester, nee Kitching. Born 23/07/1916
Elsie's son, Michael, tells us that his mother passed away
on 22nd June 2011. We hope that this lively contribution will
help to keep memories of her alive.
My son, Mick, says someone is asking for
people who have any anecdotes about Tickhill School. Well, I
went to the infant school at 5 years old (Sunderland Street),
then the second school. The head teacher was Benjamin Shaw, a
very good teacher. He went on holiday and came home with a wife
from Canada! The teacher I liked most was Mr Greenhough. He was
very tall and thin, and very knowledgeable about the stars and
planets (which was the death of him, as he was out with his wife
and daughter one night, stargazing, and a man on a bike with no
lights ran into him and killed him! That was after I had left
the school). There was a young teacher who used to try and get
me to talk in front of the class but I was petrified of being
looked at as I had a squint! In a younger class there was a Miss
Foulstone who was a legend in her day. She was very short and was
notorious for jumping up on a chair to gain attention and had a
very loud voice.
I know I hated history and maths (except
mental arithmetic) but enjoyed Swedish drill which we had daily
after roll call, prayers and a hymn (as it was a church school!)
But games I never liked, as I never could run. There was a
school anthem Mr Shaw taught us for Sports Day:
Play up Tickhill, this should our anthem
Play up Tickhill! This means both you and
Play up Tickhill boys and Tickhill girls
We will do our best as Sheffield plays
At play or work we will never shirk
Downhearted? No not we!
Play up Tickhill!
Tickhill had some good shops. From
Northgate was Jarvis, and Jenkinsons, a very good grocers who
baked their own cakes and bread (they would also bake large
cakes for anyone who had no suitable oven). They also had a
clothes shop in Sunderland Street.
Then there was Hunter’s (a clothes shop),
then Timsons, a shoe shop. I think they are the same country
wide firm, as they had a few sons and they were all shoemakers.
I used to look longingly in their shop window but could never
have their shoes!! Then there was a butchers shop, and a paper
and sweet shop which is still there opposite the cross. Then
there were offices and a pub, the Castlegate, with Mr Winfrey on
the corner, then three separate Co-op shops opposite to three
other shops (sweets, greengrocers and another). Then there was
another greengrocers and a sweetshop where I would spend my
pennies because he used to give us good weight! Near our house
was a small sweet shop. The garage was opposite by Smith’s farm.
And a small shop, sweets, tobacco etc kept by Mrs Bridges who
was my godmother (a Scotswoman)! She had married twice and was
also known as Mrs Milner! I don’t know which was her current
name, although she was a friend of my mother. Does anyone
Does anyone remember going to stand outside
pubs as the buses or charabancs drew up on their way home from
the Leger at Donny, and shouting ‘hip hip hooray mister!’ in the
hope of a winner throwing some loose change out? It happened at
the Carpenter’s Arms and at The Millstone.
Also, can you imagine a child nowadays
following another child who was eating an apple, and begging to
be given the core, or watching it was not thrown away? I can
clearly remember the plea, ‘Givust core’ (give me the apple core
please). They were the days when an apple or orange in the toe
of a Christmas stocking was a real treasure.
Our house in Castlegate was ideal for a
big family as it had a huge yard with stables and cart sheds and
a huge barn and garden with a 9 foot high stone wall round it.
There were lofts over the stables. It was an ideal place to
bring a friend to play in. It was demolished and at least 6
terraced houses were built in its place.
Opposite us was the castle and the Mill
Dam, which when I was young used to be working and was a bit
frightening when the water was rushing under the bridges, then
out of the other side and down the water fall! Sometimes we’d go
round the mill and were given a sample of the seeds they were
grinding (usually for animal feed), beans etc. The dam fed the
castle moat then wandered through the castle fields. An idyllic
place! Plus there was a rookery in the trees and the swallows
swooping over the water surface at dusk.
I had a milk round at 4.30am and after
school. I took 6 cans at a time, 3 in each hand (then back to
take six more, and again and again, summer and winter). Most
people had 1 pint and some only half a pint! At weekends some
people had 2 pints! I must have been very tough as I walked
miles a day (and not only me, a boy called Reg Davis was also
one of us). I was paid 2 shillings a week for that, which mam
used to take. But I didn’t tell her that sometimes I had 1 or 2
pennies as tips which I spent on halfpenny worth of sweets or
monkey nuts from the greengrocers in Castlegate! On one of my
school reports the headmaster wrote ‘E L seems tired’!
Then I had a bad knee and ended up in
hospital at Doncaster for weeks with a ‘pre patella bursa’. I
was proud to quote that name to any enquirers! My mam was also
in hospital by then after her last child, with anaemia. My poor
old dad had to cope as best he could. By then my oldest sister
was married, my three older brothers were married, another older
sister was in service in London, and there were two younger
sisters and a brother at junior school. I had a plaster on my
leg for 6 months after coming out of hospital, so things were
hard as my dad was on the dole by then. Poor dad!
I don’t know if it was my 11th
or 12th birthday whilst I was in hospital, but I
missed my 11+ exam for which I’d begun having homework for! But
I never went back to school afterwards. When mam came home, I
later went into service in London with Dolly, my sister who was
5 years older than I. Bless her, she died at 29 of a brain
tumour. She was an angelic girl! She’s had what was known as
‘infantile paralysis’ in those days, which left her with a limp
always. Before she died she used to have severe headaches, but
always kept working! She took me on holiday to the seaside once
for a week!
Whilst I was in hospital, I had no
visitors at all, but my sister Kit (Katie) sent me a present by
post at Easter. Two lovely Easter eggs! I showed them to one of
the nurses and said ‘would you like a piece of one?’, at which
she took them both away and I never saw them again or tasted one
at all! I was very hurt about that as I was going to share them
with my own younger brothers and sisters. I’d never had anything
so lovely in my life before! I never told Kit or anyone about it
because I didn’t see anyone! No one had money to spend on bus
fares or hospital visiting in those days! Looking back, I was
lucky in a way, that I was in hospital and being looked after
and well fed for those two or more months! I enjoyed the stay,
apart from the morning and evening sessions when the nurse came
to clean out my operation site with the gauze, forceps and
Lysol! Thank god that someone invented antibiotics! But they
made a very good job of my knee!