Where you are: Living Memories - Betty Marshall
  Betty Marshall


MEMORIES OF Mrs BETTY MARSHALL – A Living Memories Interview by Keith Maiden – May 2008


(A photograph will follow shortly)


Mrs Betty 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.

Betty started 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 and thumb”.

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!

“Husky, jusky, 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.

Childhood 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!

Tickhill was very well served with shops, with Betty recalling the following:

Grocers and General Stores:

Winfrow’s - Was next “Fry’s”, before becoming the “Card Shop”.

Ludlam’s - 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”.

The 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 number.

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.


There were three butchers shops in addition to that in the “Co-op”

Dawson’s - Now Eaton’s.

Glasby’s - Now Fenton’s.

Burke’s - In Northgate near the Methodist Chapel.


Fish Shops:

Bate’s Fish and Chips.- On the RHS of Castlegate, beyond Carpenters

Arms, the proprietor being affectionately called “Chippy Bates”

Fanthorpe’s Wet Fish - Now Juicy Fruits.

Lees Wet Fish- Opposite Mangham Lane.


 Other Shops included:

- Colbeck’s Fruit, Vegetables and Fish - Now the Fish and Chip shop.

- Jenkinson’s 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.

- Jarvis’s Drapery Store - now Lockwood’s flowers.

- Timpson’s 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 Miss Greenough.

- Fox’s Newsagents was a very small shop near to Jenkinsons.

The Tickhill Post Office was on the corner at the Butter Cross next to the library and was run by the sisters, McNulty.

The Timothy 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.


With this 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 daily chore.

Tickhill’s 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 !





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