OF Mrs BETTY MARSHALL – A Living Memories Interview by Keith
Maiden – May 2008
photograph will follow shortly)
Marshall spent her childhood living at home on Worksop Road and
for the first few weeks after she married in 1964, in a flat
above the Red Lion. Apparently, the flats were usually allocated
to RAF personnel from Finningly, but Clarice Fowles, the
landlady at the Red Lion, agreed Betty could have one of the
flats. After a few weeks however, she and her husband moved to
rent one of the terraced cottages off Dam Road from a Mrs Saxon
whose father was the “carrier” bringing goods in to town from
Tickhill Station. Later, Betty moved yet again to Mangham Lane,
where she continues to live. Her father worked for most of his
life at Harworth colliery as a wagon loader, except for his six
years of army service in WW2. He was a keen cricketer, and
played for Tickhill for many years. Her mother was in domestic
service at the house in the castle grounds, for the
Atkinson-Clarke’s, who Betty recalls, were “real, old style
gentry! “ Her mother stopped work once she was married.
school in the early 1940’s, initially in Tickhill, but from the
age of eleven went to Maltby Secondary School, leaving school
when she was fifteen. The Tickhill primary school was then on
Tithes Lane, but children then moved to complete their primary
education into a large hut on the site of the present school in
St Mary’s Road. The headmaster was Mr Rice and other teachers
included Miss Newborn, Mr Moore (a bit of a stickler
apparently) and a Mr Mathews, who came from Wadworth and had
habit of throwing his piece of chalk at those whose attention
happened to stray !. Though school dinners were available at
Tickhill, Betty would go home for dinner until she went to
school in Maltby; Peels Coaches, of Maltby, provided the school
bus. Discipline at the Tickhill schools was reasonably good, but
on occasions had to be re-enforced by a slap from a ruler! Games
played both in school and also afterwards, included the still
popular “hopscotch” and skipping. In particular, Betty recalls
“French skipping” which involved two ropes being swung in
opposite directions. Games rarely seen today, included marbles,
“whip and top” and one amusingly called “husky, jusky, finger
In “Whip and
top”, three different design of tops were used; the standard
design, a more bulbous version of the standard design, -for some
reason named “Big Ben” - and finally the “Window Smasher”. This
was shaped like a small mushroom with a two inch stalk and with
suitably deft lashing, could be made to fly in the air, before
coming to earth and continuing to spin. This top got its name
for its propensity to fly in unexpected directions!
finger and thumb” is a game which was played under different
names in other parts of South Yorkshire. Kids divided into two
teams. One team would bend down in a straight line, locked
together in a manner similar to the front and second rows in a
rugby scrum. The front member would lean either against a wall
or against one member who would stand, back against the wall,
acting as a “cushion”. The second team would leap-frog in turn
onto the bent backs of the other team. When all were “aboard”,
the team leader would hold up a finger or thumb, reciting the
words, “husky, jusky finger or thumb” and the other team leader
had to guess which one. If wrong, the process would be repeated.
If guessing correctly, the roles would be reversed. If the
“leap-frogging” team could collapse the other team, they would
continue to be the jumping team.
A much gentler
pastime however, were the evenings attending the “Girls Friendly
Society” (GLF). This was organised in the Parish Rooms by Grace
and Nellie Goodwin. On these evenings, the girls, mostly between
twelve and fifteen years old, would spend the time knitting,
sewing and drawing. Mr Goodwin, the father of Misses Goodwin,
had a small school by the side of the Parish Rooms. It was here
that Betty’s father went to school. Mr Goodwin was also the
Verger at St Mary’s.
In spite of its
closeness to Tickhill, RAF Finningly had little effect on the
town during the 1939-45, World War. However, Betty recalls that
there were soldiers billeted at Darfield House, some of whom
were American. She also remembers large rocks or concrete
cylinders which were to be used as a tank trap at the top of
Limestone Hill. These were only removed well after the war
ended. The only other recollection she has of the war was the
sound of the occasional V2 “Doodle bug” passing over and the
instruction to lie flat on the ground should the rocket’s engine
cut out. The warning of the rockets approach would be given by a
siren situated at the Millstone corner.
holidays were usually taken at Bridlington or Scarborough other
than during the war, when Betty would often go to stay with her
grandparents in Langold; her grandfather was the school
caretaker there. This was for more than the occasional weekend
or during the school holidays, because she did on occasion,
attend school at Langold. An Aunt and Uncle were in service at
the Friary and were convinced that the Friary was haunted by a
man on horseback and claimed to have actually seen this. Betty
is not entirely convinced!
very well served with shops, with Betty recalling the following:
Winfrow’s - Was
next “Fry’s”, before becoming the “Card Shop”.
facing Common Lane.
Liley’s - Now
an Estate Agent.
Herring’s - On
Westgate approximately where there are now flats.
Jarvis’s - Now
the site of SPAR. Of fond memory, was the smell of freshly
ground coffee coming from this shop.
Hunter’s - Now
“Floor to Ceiling”.
Co-Operative Society (the “Co-Op”) also had a store which is now
the Emporium. Here was a butchers, and a drapery department in
addition to the general store. In common with most Co-Op stores
of the time, cash was sent in a small cylinder by overhead wire
from the counter to a central glass cubicle. Here, the value of
the purchase was credited to the customer’s “Co-Op number” for
eventual calculation of the “dividend”. (The fore-runner of the
points systems operated today by the main supermarkets). Any
change was then returned to the customer by the same method. On
busy days, the system gave the impression of a hail of missiles
passing overhead ! Betty can still remember her mother’s Co-Op
Most, if not
all the grocers, sold many items “loose”. These included butter,
tea, sugar and biscuits with most of these being on open
display. In particular, tins of different biscuits were held on
a rack allowing customers to “hand pick” their own selection.
three butchers shops in addition to that in the “Co-op”
Dawson’s - Now
Glasby’s - Now
Burke’s - In
Northgate near the Methodist Chapel.
Bate’s Fish and
Chips.- On the RHS of Castlegate, beyond Carpenters
proprietor being affectionately called “Chippy Bates”
Fish - Now Juicy Fruits.
Lees Wet Fish-
Opposite Mangham Lane.
Fruit, Vegetables and Fish - Now the Fish and Chip shop.
who sold mainly wool, the smell of which permeated the shop.
However, they also sold crockery and seeds ! This was a very
dark shop and the owners had a habit of switching the lights off
when a customer left and no one else was in the shop ! This shop
also had a distinctive smell and was on the site now occupied by
the fancy dress shop.
Drapery Store - now Lockwood’s flowers.
Shoes and Cobblers (Shoe repairs) now the Nat West Bank.
- a shop
selling ladies underwear and nightware in Castle Gate in the
shop now occupied by Mary Mary.
- Across the
road in Castle Gate was Winfreys, a shop selling and repairing
cycles and also selling and charging “accumulators “, which were
used to power radios before mains electricity became available.
Next to this
was a tiny shop selling sweets and “bits and pieces “, run by a
Newsagents was a very small shop near to Jenkinsons.
Post Office was on the corner at the Butter Cross next to the
library and was run by the sisters, McNulty.
White chain had the chemists on the site which is now Lloyd’s
and which Betty remembers was managed by a very pleasant man
named Gloyn, who was also the pharmacist.
variety of shops, it is evident that most people did the
majority of their shopping in the town and in the absence of
refrigerators, for many, including children, shopping was a
doctor was Dr Cootes-Wood who lived in a large house, “Renong”
in Westgate. Surgeries were also held at the house and for many
years, Betty worked for the doctor, cleaning but at times
looking after the children and answering the telephone,
Apart from the
disappearance of many of the shops, the biggest change to
Tickhill that Betty has seen in her lifetime, is the growth in
the large housing estates. In addition to more obvious effects,
she feels that the town has lost some of its personality; but
she still wouldn’t wish to live anywhere else !