Carole’s tale


Memories of long ago

 By Carole Gibson (nee Hillyard)

 Plus a show of East Leeds pride by Dave Carncross

(Remember to ‘click’ on pictures to make them bigger)

I lived with my father, mother and younger brother, Ken, at No 5 Pontefract Avenue from birth until aged thirteen when we moved to No 13 Kitson Street. My father worked for LNER all his life from the age of fourteen at the Neville Hill sheds; first as a cleaner then a fireman and retired as a driver. My mother worked as a machinist at a clothing firm. My brother and I first attended Richmond Hill Nursery School and then Ellerby Lane School until we were fifteen years old.

After Ken and I were born, Dad by then a fireman was allocated three holiday excursion tickets to the east coast each year. Scarborough was our favourite destination and we used the tickets over the long summer holidays – one trip every two weeks. Mother, Ken and I would turn up at the Leeds Train Station greatly excited with our packed tomato sandwiches and flask of tea ready to catch the train. The family ticket was for a dedicated excursion train and you could only travel there and back on that particular train. It usually set off at 9.00 am and returned about 3.30 pm from Scarborough and I seem to remember the journey in those days took between two and a half and three hours. Sometimes the carriages had corridors, sometimes not. Father would occasionally be on the footplate of the train which meant even greater excitement as he was given free time before he had to return to the train. He would pack and take with him a change of clothes as he would be wearing overalls (no smart uniforms in those days).

We would start with a walk down the hill to the beach, as we always liked to sit by the lifeboat station. On the way down if Dad was with us we would stop at a shop on the left hand side for him to buy a plate of tripe. The butcher would cut it into small pieces and put pepper, salt and vinegar on it. Mother, Ken and I absolutely refused to look at it. Dad also liked to have plate of whelks from one of the stalls at the side of the lifeboat station. They were pure rubber as far as I was concerned but Dad loved them. It was all part and parcel of being at the seaside.

There would be fishing boats in the harbour and we would watch them unloading their catches. I used to love looking at all their different fish they caught: crabs and occasionally lobsters were still alive.

The weather wasn’t always good and I seem to remember days when there were sea frets and it could be quite cold. On those days Mother would allow us to spend time in one of the amusement arcades. My brother, Ken, absolutely adored them and this was the highlight of his day.

Another treat was an ice cream from Jacomelli’s on the front on our way back up the hill to catch the return train.

My dad was a member of a works club of some sort at work and he saved a small amount of money each week. At the end of the year a weekend trip to London was organised with colleagues. It would start off early on Saturday morning and return late Sunday night so that they would be back at work on the Monday. They would obviously travel by train and stay in a bed and breakfast establishment. A sightseeing trip would be arranged during the day, sometimes river trips. The evening meant a theatre visit and my father’s favourite was The Crazy Gang. Sunday morning would be a visit to Petticoat Lane Market where small gifts would be purchased for home. On one occasion he brought home a pair of nylon stretch socks. These were a novelty at the time and the first we had seen. Unfortunately when my brother tried to put them on they wouldn’t stretch! Petticoat Lane lived up to its name. We certainly had a good laugh at Dad’s expense.

Father obviously enjoyed the weekend and would return on Sunday night slightly worse for wear. Presumably a number of beverages had been consumed during the weekend as no wives were at hand. Mother was not pleased and for the following week there would be as ‘atmosphere’ in the house, until all was forgotten and forgiven – until the next time.



Thanks for your lovely memories of typical East Leeds life in the 1940s/50s, Carole



And how about this for a bit of East Leeds pride? Dave Carncross managed to get the original street nameplate from his old East Leeds terrace house in May Grove, and proudly sports, it on his summer house.

 daves may grove



Dave has also managed to get pictures of a couple of our old cinemas in their pre war heyday. The Star and the Regent. Note: the Regent has its name painted on the roof and I have had a look after all these years the name is still discernible.

daves star cinema

daves regent cinema




6 Responses to “Carole’s tale”

  1. jackieghains Says:

    Reading Carole’s tale I remember my childhood in East End Park, I lived in Clark Avenue off Pontefract Lane and went to Rchmond Hill & Ellerby Lane School’s also in the 1940’s & 1950’s i am Jacqueline Hainsworth (nee Ormiston) l have many stories to tell is there anyone who I can reminisce with  I would love to hear from them.

    Sent from Samsung tabletEast Leeds Memories wrote:

  2. Douglas Says:

    Thank you Carole for those glimpses of Scarborough and for calling up within me that feeling of excitement about getting to the seaside and the smell of the air and the sound of the gulls and the sight of the fishing catch. I went to Richmond Hill too, and got up to about standard 2 before it was closed after the bombing. I recall that the bomb devastated the cloakroom which was our appointed air-raid shelter. Just as well it wasn’t on a school day. Like you I could never understand why my Dad ate some of those little dishes of whelks that were set out on the stalls by the seafront.

  3. Eric Says:

    I can picture you Dave, sitting on your summer house stoop and sipping Mint Juleps.
    I remember you telling me many years ago that you’d managed to rescue your old street nameplate. A nice memento to constantly remind you of those days, a lifetime ago now it seems. You must have left there around 1960 or so but when did they demolish those houses, & did your Mum & Dad stay there ’til then?.
    Oh, the Star & the Regent, how many happy hours did we spend in those (& other) cinemas.
    Also, thank to Carole for her recollections of Scarboro, I have many similar memories as Scarboro was for many years our family’s annual holoday destination

  4. Dave Carncross Says:

    Eric. The houses were demolished in the early seventies. Mam and Dad then got a flat near Seacroft Hospital which they loved. My Aunt Minnie lived back to back with us at May Grove and they got the flat straight across the landing from Mam and Dad so they were still together.
    Carole. Loved the Scarborough tale. I still love that place and we often have a day out there during the summer. I could never understand how people could enjoy tripe. I had to try it as a kid though and it was like chewing vinegary boiled nostrils as far as I was concerned. Same with whelks – mussels and cockles yes. Whelks no. One of my prime memories of the Star is of us waiting for romantic moments in the pictures and blowing the loudest raspberries we could on our bare arms just as the hero was about to kiss the heroine.

  5. Dave Carncross Says:

    Jackie. Get writing away and reminisce to your heart’s content with all of us on the blog. You’ll enjoy it and so will we. Promise.

  6. aussiepom Says:

    Carol, you have set everyone of with your happy memories of a day trip to Scarborough with you own Dad driving the train. Love the photo of your summer retreat Dave and of course the treasured name plate. Spent many hours at the Star and Regent. thought i was the bees knees when a guy paid for balcony seats. the height of sophistication.
    Welcome Jacqueline. I’m sure you and I were in the same class at Ellerby Lane School. Other names I remember were Betty Fisher, Jean Carrol, Brenda Hunt and Peggy Grundy

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