Growing up on the other side of the bridge.

by

Life on the Other Side of the BridgeThis is an account By Mrs Muriel Parkin (nee Bailey) of living in Hunslet, attending South Accommodation Road School and Later Ellerby Lane School in the 1940s. Coal Collecting in Winter, Jam jar collections  and the joy of Children’s Day at Roundhay Park, Leeds.   

Muriel Parkin (nee Bailey)

Growing up on the Other Side of the Bridge

I don’t suppose growing up on the either side of South Accommodation Road Bridge was much different, after all most of the kids from Leeds ten finished up going to Ellerby Lane School anyway. I only ever made two real friends the rest were just girls in the class. I remember one Saturday, it was about a week before Children’s Day; teacher asked if we would sell flags, another girl and I spent all Saturday morning standing on the corner of Ellerby Lane and Dial Street – mind you we did non-stop business as Saturday was the best day for shopping even through some food was still on ration. It was all a far cry from that which we have today. The five years we had to spend without Dad, who was in the army, seemed to be forever; but we had to get on with life and somehow manage without him. The only boys and girls I played with at first were those belonging to Mam and Dad’s friends but once school started I mixed much better.

            Shelters began to be built for the use of families in the street but we never used them. There was one neighbour across the street who had her cellar converted into a shelter and we always asked if we could shelter in hers if there was a raid. That particular lady’s husband had not been called up into the army, instead he patrolled the streets in his tin helmet and an armband on which was written: ARP. One morning while I was on my way to school I found a large piece of shrapnel near to our step; I still have it to this day, wrapped in newspaper and stored in a drawer.

            I began by attending South Accommodation Road School, where I made loads of friends; you couldn’t help but make friends as we all lived in nearby houses. When I was about seven there was about a dozen kids in our street: Albert Street – it was a great place to grow up there. A new girl came to live next door and I grew to like her very much. Her Dad had been killed in the army and her mam and my mam became firm friends. We were the two oldest in the street and played all the kid’s games together: kick-out-ball, rounders, and hide-and-seek, whip-and-top, hop-scotch and every other ball game there was, and skipping too of course, there was very little falling out and if we did it was all forgotten the next day. During the summer we would take sandwiches and bottles of water to East End Park; we knew how to have fun.        The park wasn’t as it appears today, there were shrubs and the big gates where you entered were locked at night. There was a paddling pool, a sand pit, swings, round-a-bout, and a water fountain; I wonder how many mouths went over that? The park was so full of kids you could always guarantee to be waiting your turn to get on anything. A large board told of all the ‘do’s and don’ts’ you had to adhere to while in the park.

          Folk in other stories have mentioned ‘Red Walls’ our name for the little bridge across Black Road was ‘Red Bricks’ One day we all went there and I went into the stream, stood on some glass and had to walk ‘tip toeing’ all the way home without my shoe. The glass was fast in and Dad had to remove it with pliers. As I was a year older than most of the kids in our street they tended to treat me like the boss, so along with my friend (Pat Towers) we decided to ask the other kids if their mams would give them a halfpenny every Friday, which I then saved in a tin box. When they had saved enough I would take them all round to the café where Mam worked to have buns, tea or lemonade. It was a real treat and the kids loved it.

Coal Collecting

1947 was a very hard winter, we had icicles all way down our drainpipes: one particular day it was so cold and as there was no heating on in the classrooms at schools we were sent home. When I arrived home even though it was snowing like crazy Mam and Grandad were all togged up ready to go out. I asked where they were going; they looked at each other, then at me and said, ‘Down Black road coal picking.’ I was thirteen years old and had never heard of coal picking. ‘Can I come?’ I asked. And I was allowed to accompany them but Black Road in the freezing winter was a lot different to the summer outings we had down there. There were lots of other folk collecting coal on prams and barrows, anything that came to hand. We managed to get enough coal from the outcrop to keep the fire burning.

            When I first started at Ellerby Lane School I was terrified, I had heard from my aunt, who had also been a pupil there; that just the look of Miss Kelly was enough to make you shake. Anyway I had three years to go before I would be in her class. Miss Darnell was my first teacher; she was okay but could be very strict on occasions.

Children’s Day

I hadn’t heard of Children’s Day until I attended Ellerby Lane School, but that very first year at the new school, Barbara Burton; our head girl, was chosen to be the Children’s Day Queen. Some of the other girls were also doing some kind of display in the arena and I asked Mam and Dad if we could all have the day out in Roundhay Park.  The day finally dawned; it was the 6th of June 1946, we packed sandwiches, cakes and a little stove on which to boil the kettle. It was to be a day I was always to remember – we still have some photographs of it somewhere of those girls in their white blouses and blue gym shorts. I don’t know what it was about that day but I felt so proud, maybe it was because it was my first year in the new school and we were lucky enough to have Barbara Burton in our class. The next year we had Miss Grinstead; she was a small teacher and I always tried to keep out of he way. If any of us girls got anything wrong she would grab us by the chin and rock our heads backwards and forwards. As I was quite small I usually had to sit in the front desk alongside my friend from South Accomm, Jean Parker. For my final year at school my teacher was to be the dreaded Miss Kelly. Unfortunately, I was hospitalized for a while to have my tonsils out that year and while away they had a jam jar collection. By the time I got back to school they were already on the last day of the collection so my contribution was very small. Naturally I came bottom of the collection class and Miss Kelly really laid into me as if it had been my fault that I had been ill. After that I made sure that I would be well prepared for any future jam jar week by collecting jam jars every week and putting them washed and away in Grandad’s cellar. 

            By 1948 I was seeing less of the kids in the street, my sister was now ten, the same age I had been when I looked after the street kids and I was fourteen and doing the grown up jobs to help Mam around the house. I also met my first boyfriend and with my parents consent we used to go to the nearby picture houses (later I became an usherette at the Premier Picture House). We were together until I was eighteen and then I lost him to national service – and another girl!

            During my teenage years in Hunslet I discovered what it was like to go into the pubs, not to drink beer, just shandy, at first as I was only nineteen. There was the Albert Inn at the end of our street, the Queens on the corner of Clarence Road – where I celebrated my wedding and the Prince of Wales on South Accomm. Towards the end of the road there was Billy Walton’s fish shop where I would get fish and chips five times every Friday dinner time for Mam and Dad, my two sisters and I and all for half a crown 22 ½ pence in today’s money. 

            I have saved my ration book too and photographs taken of us all in our Whitsuntide clothes, you knew you would not get anymore clothes until the following year as our parents were too busy trying to keep up with our school clothes. I was glad I had parents in the tailoring trade. Like most folk now in their seventies, I believe we grew up in better times than the kids today. They may be better off but take it from me they don’t love their parents like we did!

 

 

 

Muriel Parkin (nee Bailey)

Growing up on the Other Side of the Bridge

I don’t suppose growing up on the either side of South Accommodation Road Bridge was much different, after all most of the kids from Leeds ten finished up going to Ellerby Lane School anyway. I only ever made two real friends the rest were just girls in the class. I remember one Saturday, it was about a week before Children’s Day; teacher asked if we would sell flags, another girl and I spent all Saturday morning standing on the corner of Ellerby Lane and Dial Street – mind you we did non-stop business as Saturday was the best day for shopping even through some food was still on ration. It was all a far cry from that which we have today. The five years we had to spend without Dad, who was in the army, seemed to be forever; but we had to get on with life and somehow manage without him. The only boys and girls I played with at first were those belonging to Mam and Dad’s friends but once school started I mixed much better.

            Shelters began to be built for the use of families in the street but we never used them. There was one neighbour across the street who had her cellar converted into a shelter and we always asked if we could shelter in hers if there was a raid. That particular lady’s husband had not been called up into the army, instead he patrolled the streets in his tin helmet and an armband on which was written: ARP. One morning while I was on my way to school I found a large piece of shrapnel near to our step; I still have it to this day, wrapped in newspaper and stored in a drawer.

            I began by attending South Accommodation Road School, where I made loads of friends; you couldn’t help but make friends as we all lived in nearby houses. When I was about seven there was about a dozen kids in our street: Albert Street – it was a great place to grow up there. A new girl came to live next door and I grew to like her very much. Her Dad had been killed in the army and her mam and my mam became firm friends. We were the two oldest in the street and played all the kid’s games together: kick-out-ball, rounders, and hide-and-seek, whip-and-top, hop-scotch and every other ball game there was, and skipping too of course, there was very little falling out and if we did it was all forgotten the next day. During the summer we would take sandwiches and bottles of water to East End Park; we knew how to have fun.        The park wasn’t as it appears today, there were shrubs and the big gates where you entered were locked at night. There was a paddling pool, a sand pit, swings, round-a-bout, and a water fountain; I wonder how many mouths went over that? The park was so full of kids you could always guarantee to be waiting your turn to get on anything. A large board told of all the ‘do’s and don’ts’ you had to adhere to while in the park.

          Folk in other stories have mentioned ‘Red Walls’ our name for the little bridge across Black Road was ‘Red Bricks’ One day we all went there and I went into the stream, stood on some glass and had to walk ‘tip toeing’ all the way home without my shoe. The glass was fast in and Dad had to remove it with pliers. As I was a year older than most of the kids in our street they tended to treat me like the boss, so along with my friend (Pat Towers) we decided to ask the other kids if their mams would give them a halfpenny every Friday, which I then saved in a tin box. When they had saved enough I would take them all round to the café where Mam worked to have buns, tea or lemonade. It was a real treat and the kids loved it.

Coal Collecting

1947 was a very hard winter, we had icicles all way down our drainpipes: one particular day it was so cold and as there was no heating on in the classrooms at schools we were sent home. When I arrived home even though it was snowing like crazy Mam and Grandad were all togged up ready to go out. I asked where they were going; they looked at each other, then at me and said, ‘Down Black road coal picking.’ I was thirteen years old and had never heard of coal picking. ‘Can I come?’ I asked. And I was allowed to accompany them but Black Road in the freezing winter was a lot different to the summer outings we had down there. There were lots of other folk collecting coal on prams and barrows, anything that came to hand. We managed to get enough coal from the outcrop to keep the fire burning.

            When I first started at Ellerby Lane School I was terrified, I had heard from my aunt, who had also been a pupil there; that just the look of Miss Kelly was enough to make you shake. Anyway I had three years to go before I would be in her class. Miss Darnell was my first teacher; she was okay but could be very strict on occasions.

Children’s Day

I hadn’t heard of Children’s Day until I attended Ellerby Lane School, but that very first year at the new school, Barbara Burton; our head girl, was chosen to be the Children’s Day Queen. Some of the other girls were also doing some kind of display in the arena and I asked Mam and Dad if we could all have the day out in Roundhay Park.  The day finally dawned; it was the 6th of June 1946, we packed sandwiches, cakes and a little stove on which to boil the kettle. It was to be a day I was always to remember – we still have some photographs of it somewhere of those girls in their white blouses and blue gym shorts. I don’t know what it was about that day but I felt so proud, maybe it was because it was my first year in the new school and we were lucky enough to have Barbara Burton in our class. The next year we had Miss Grinstead; she was a small teacher and I always tried to keep out of he way. If any of us girls got anything wrong she would grab us by the chin and rock our heads backwards and forwards. As I was quite small I usually had to sit in the front desk alongside my friend from South Accomm, Jean Parker. For my final year at school my teacher was to be the dreaded Miss Kelly. Unfortunately, I was hospitalized for a while to have my tonsils out that year and while away they had a jam jar collection. By the time I got back to school they were already on the last day of the collection so my contribution was very small. Naturally I came bottom of the collection class and Miss Kelly really laid into me as if it had been my fault that I had been ill. After that I made sure that I would be well prepared for any future jam jar week by collecting jam jars every week and putting them washed and away in Grandad’s cellar. 

            By 1948 I was seeing less of the kids in the street, my sister was now ten, the same age I had been when I looked after the street kids and I was fourteen and doing the grown up jobs to help Mam around the house. I also met my first boyfriend and with my parents consent we used to go to the nearby picture houses (later I became an usherette at the Premier Picture House). We were together until I was eighteen and then I lost him to national service – and another girl!

            During my teenage years in Hunslet I discovered what it was like to go into the pubs, not to drink beer, just shandy, at first as I was only nineteen. There was the Albert Inn at the end of our street, the Queens on the corner of Clarence Road – where I celebrated my wedding and the Prince of Wales on South Accomm. Towards the end of the road there was Billy Walton’s fish shop where I would get fish and chips five times every Friday dinner time for Mam and Dad, my two sisters and I and all for half a crown 22 ½ pence in today’s money. 

            I have saved my ration book too and photographs taken of us all in our Whitsuntide clothes, you knew you would not get anymore clothes until the following year as our parents were too busy trying to keep up with our school clothes. I was glad I had parents in the tailoring trade. Like most folk now in their seventies, I believe we grew up in better times than the kids today. They may be better off but take it from me they don’t love their parents like we did!

 

 

 

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