Archive for May, 2009

More Tales of Between the Wars byStan Picklesl

May 1, 2009

blog-stan-pickles-22Stan tells of te custom of ‘britching’ when a lad got his first pair of long ‘uns. And of his first delightful holiday provided by th village of Barmby Moor for the ‘poor children of Leeds’. Stan completes with two sporting moments: The RL Cup Semi Final of 1936 between Leeds RL and Huddersfield and the 1928 Hepworth Cricket Cup Final between East Leeds and Hunslet 

At Last the Britching day Arrives

Another big day in our lives was the day we got our ‘long ‘uns’. In those far off days until we were about sixteen years old we showed our knees in short pants and sported a fancy pair of socks with coloured tops turned down at the knees. It was usually a Sunday morning when you would be given our last inspection by Mother and with neighbours at the ready you stepped out into the street. As you passed they would call, ‘You do look nice! You’re a man now! How does it feel?’ of course then you would have to stand a real rigging. Yes we fellows have come a long way since those ‘britching days’.

Until we were about three years old in fact we were dressed like girls then all at once you were changed into a little boy, at first with short trousers, coloured jerseys with a fancy collars and a tie to match. It was a big day for you when at last you got your ‘long ‘uns’

            Sundays were very different between the wars, the older folk would be seen taking bunches of flowers to the cemetery whilst teenagers would gather in the lovely parks and do a little ‘flirting’. After tea we would listen to gramophone records playing the latest tunes, play cards or perhaps dominos with a little flutter of a halfpenny a game.




My First Holiday


A memorable school holiday in the depressed year of 1924 is still treasured in my life. Recently as I was returning from a holiday in Whitby with my twin eleven year old grandsons, my mind went back to that holiday many years ago. I was thirteen years old and Silverdale had been providing holidays for Leeds school children for a number of years but a new venture had just got underway. Yorkshire villages such as Nun Munkton, Barmby Moor and Bishop Wilton opened their doors to many under privileged poor children of Leeds, who throughout the hard times never had a holiday from one year to the next.

            Along with two other boys from my class I was chosen to have two weeks at the delightful Barmby Moor. You can just imagine our excitement as the wonderful day in August arrived. Children from various schools in the city grouped on the station platform for their big adventure, what a scene it was with about a hundred boys and girls all carrying pillow cases packed with a change of clothing and the other essentials for our holiday. Many of them had never been on a train, let alone a holiday. Eventually, the train pulled in to the excited chatter of our party, with our parents waving us goodbye and a last word from the officials we were on our way to Pocklington station where four or five farmers with horse-drawn flat carts took us to our village about a mile and a half down a lovely country road, where the local children greeted us and took us to our ‘digs’ for our stay.

Barmby Moor was beautiful; we stayed in a cottage by a stream with an elderly couple who were so kind to us. The three of us shared a bedroom with a big double bed and we soon made ourselves feel at home with the nice couple. Each morning we came down to breakfast at 8.30 to the smell of fresh baked bread in the neat kitchen where a pot of tea, a boiled egg with bread butter and jam awaited us. Then it was outside to walk around and explore, sometimes accompanied by the village children who had become our friends. Each day a very nice lunch and tea were ready for us and always there was a glass of milk at bedtime.

Each Sunday we went to church and on the first Sunday the vicar gave a special welcome to the ‘Leeds children’ and wished us all to have a happy holiday. An optional pleasure was a ride in the cart to our host’s hayfield to pitch haystacks. It was all new and interesting to us – quite a novelty – and I learned something I had never known before and what an appetite it gave us! Our kindly hosts gave us an apple each during the rest periods. On the two Saturdays we were there we were taken to the pictures in Pocklington which made a change

I can still see the little stream rippling its clear water through the village. Yes! and the walks on the moors, trips into Pocklington, services in the beautiful church, our work in the hayfields and the welcome we received. To have it all and to be blessed with good weather made this a holiday always to be remembered.

However, all good times have to end and the day of our departure arrived and after we had been given a bunch of flowers each for our mums we said goodbye to all the friends we had made and we were on our way back to Leeds. It had been indeed a special treat for us in those hard times. 

My First Girl

                                       (A Little Love Story)

I met Elsie on that lovely Barmby Moor holiday. We hit it of right from the start when we stood side by side on that farmer’s cart taking us to that lovely village for those lovely two weeks. ‘Which school do you go to? Where’s that? What’s your name?’ etc. We had made our first tentative efforts to be acquainted. Although there were about thirty boys and girls in our party we were always in each other’s company. We even managed to go to the two Saturday picture matinees in Pocklington together.

            Elsie lived in Hunslet and I knew it well as I often went to the rugby matches at Parkside and to Hunslet feast on the moor. During our holiday a few kisses and cuddles passed between us  and on our return to Leeds we said goodbye at the station and Elsie ran off ran off to greet her mother who had come to meet her and I was met by Father. What an excited crowd was on that platform as we went off in all directions to our homes

            I never thought I would meet Elsie again but a few days later as I was leaving the street with my pals to play football on the park a voice called out, ‘Hello Stanley.’ I looked around and there was Elsie looking very smart. She told me she was on her way to visit her aunt and after a few words with her I rushed off to catch up with my pals, nothing but sport was on my mind at the time. Alas, I never saw Elsie again. We were both thirteen years old at the time.

Two Sporting Events

I would like to record here two memorable matches: one rugby and one cricket that gave me lasting memories.

The Rugby League Cup Semi Final at Wakefield 1936

Leeds v Huddersfield

On a sunny March afternoon before a large crowd of 30,000 Leeds and Huddersfield turned out in their smart amber and blue and claret and gold to a great reception in that which was to be the greatest game of rugby I ever saw. Here are the details:

The game commenced with booth teams coming close to scoring, then on fifteen minutes, after some clever back play, Huddersfield took the lead with a good try between the posts. It came after a brilliant passing movement left Leeds bewildered and allowed Fiddes to race over to score. Scourfield added the goal to make it 5 points to nil. Leeds fought back with good moves but could not get the final touch.  Play continued to thrill us with forwards and backs alike giving everything. Then five minutes before half-time it all happened – a quick break from the scrum by Williams saw Fred Harris take the ball on the half-way line and into his stride with Eric Harris in support. As on many previous occasions before Fred showed the ball and Eric went inside then with opponents all hesitating Fred went inside himself with Eric switching to the wing, Fred still showing the ball made a sudden dart and Huddersfield at last realising what was happening went to tackle Fred who slipped the ball to Eric ten yards out and he made no mistake with a clear run to the corner. Williams levelled the score with a fine touchline goal and both teams held out for the next five minutes to half time to make it 5-5 at the interval. It had been a great first half with more to come.

            The second half started just as thrillingly – both teams throwing the ball about with forwards all linking up and tackling their hearts out. On and on it went and just when it looked like being a replay Leeds scored the vital try ten minutes before time: a kicking dual between the full backs: Eaton and Scourfield  saw both sets of forwards waiting to pounce. A huge kick by Eaton made Scourfield lose the ball and John Hall the Leeds hooker was on it like a flash but not having much time he threw out a long pass to Eric Harris’s wing and Eric ran onto it and went over a few yards from the corner, Williams obliged again and despite Huddersfield’s pressure Leeds held out to win a thrilling game ten points to five. At last Leeds were Wembley bound. It was a pity there had to be a loser. For me it was the greatest game I ever saw.

Now for the best game of cricket I ever saw.

The Hepworth Cup Final at Burmantofts 1928



The picturesque little ground behind The Dog and Gun public house, York Road, was the setting between for the Hepworth Cup Final between two great rivals: East Leeds and Hunslet. A lovely August afternoon saw Hunslet win the toss and decide to bat. Billy Newton and Wilkinson opened for Hunslet to the bowling of Fisher and Beverley. It was a steady start that had the big crowd watching every detail. At 17 the first wicket fell, Wilkinson bowled by Fisher for 7. That was quickly followed by Bill Newton – 25 for 2. Les Philips went around the 40 mark and with Shuttleworth soon out Hunslet were 55 for 4. Fisher, taking two wickets, Beverley one wicket and one run out. Hunslet found runs hard to get and continued to struggle against Fisher who was taking wickets and keeping the batsmen quiet. Eventually after a thrilling three hours of play Hunslet were all out for 115. Horace Fisher taking 6 for 31.

            Now it came to East Leeds turn to bat, the openers Walt Maskill and Herbert Brooks made a steady start but lost Maskill at 20. Number three went with the score on 22 – Billy Newton claiming both wickets. Fisher came in to join Brooks and the pair gradually took the score along into the fifties but good Hunslet bowling made East Leeds fight for every run. Watched intently by the thrilled crowd the pair took the score to 90 before Fisher fell, LBW to Newton, who had just come back, on for a score of 29 and then another blow, probable the biggest for East Leeds, Herbert Brooks was caught behind for 45 after a really good innings – 92 for 4. By now Billy Newton was bowling like a man inspired and those 24 runs to win were going to be hard going when two more wickets fell on the 100 mark. Alf Reynolds and Wade were scratching and scraping, Reynolds getting a lucky edge for four and a single here and there saw the score creeping along until a quick taken run by Wade, the stumper, saw East Leeds home by four wickets – what a thrilling match enjoyed by all and a more exciting game of cricket would be hard to find. Well done East Leeds and congratulation to Hunslet for making it such and enjoyable game.


more tales of between the wars

May 1, 2009


May 1, 2009