More Memories of Brian Conoby

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blog-bian-conoby-21These are the final offerings of Brian Conoby who lived his life in East Leeds and has contributed hugely to our little tales. Brian sadly passed away shortly after Christmas after a short illness In this offering Brian writes of the legendary race horse trainer, Mick Berry who was his early neighbour and his tale of the ‘The enduring flag stone’ a charming little tale of the 1930s 

MORE TALES FROM BRIAN CONOBY

Jack Berry MBE – Racehorse Trainer.

I grew up at 65 Charlton Road and just around the corner was Glensdale Road and at the end house lived the ‘Berry’ family; they had a small garden. Their father, who worked for Wildblood, the butcher would come home by horse and cart and put the horse in the small garden. One of Mr Berry’s sons emerged as the legendry   racehorse trainer, ‘Mick Berry MBE’.  Mick also wrote the books: One to Go, It’s Tough at the Bottom and A year in the Red Shirt. The red shirts being the late Queen’s Mother’s colours. Mick was a former pupil at Victoria School. I made myself known to him and he sent me a signed copy of one of his books.

THE ENDURING FLAG STONE

My father grew up in the houses which were eventually to be replaced by the Quarry Hill Flats. When he was about ten years of age, which would be 1920, he and his mate chiselled their names into the kerb stone outside their house. When their house had to be pulled down to make way for the Quarry Hill flats they moved to the East End Park area’  One day Mother and Father decided to have a walk to Whitkirk, with me in the pram.  New houses were being built at Whitkirk at the time and they were just about to lay the kerb stones, when dad looked closely at the flag they were about to lay he saw his initials; it was the very same kerb stone he and his mate had chiselled their names into from the old house pre-Quarry Hill! What were the chances of Dad seeing that flag, a thousand to one? Dad wrote to the highway Department and they said they would take it up and they could have it in their garden but we never followed through but the Yorkshire Evening News gave him half a guinea for printing the tale.

I Remember: The water tank being built at the top of Snake Lane, and a road block at the far end of Black Road. (There was another one half way up John-O-Gaunt’s Hill; they were big concrete bocks intended slowdown any German advance in the case of an invasion – it sobering to reflect how serious that threat was taken at that time) There was also another ‘paddy’ engine not previously mentioned, ‘Blenkinsop’

Before the Second World War there was a gatehouse at the start of Red Road near the Bridgefield pub. Sometimes the gateman would turn us back, if he didn’t see me I got through. If he turned us back we would go down Black Road and cut across back to Red Road past Thorne’s farm.

                                           Brian’s map of Black Road and Knostrop (part)

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