Jackie’s Tale

by

Jackie’s Tale

By Mrs Jacqueline Hainsworth (nee Ormiston)

Well, it’s a long time since I played on East End Park, but I remember happy days with our bottle of water and jam butties going up into the hills to watch the trains. I lived in Clark Avenue from birth to 23yrs with my Mam, Gran, and Grandad (who died when I was 11yrs). I remember happy days with our Auntie Nora who also lived with us until she married sometime in the 1940s. It was a real house full but a happy house with good neighbours. My Auntie Flo and her daughter, Margaret, lived next door to us. We would get home from school and skip with an old washing line across the street and all the rest of the kids would come and join in. Then there was bonfire night everybody helped, we went chumping (collecting wood) and Eddie Purdy’s Shop always gave us boxes to burn. Each mam made something: toffee, roast chestnuts, chips from Robinson’s, parkin (I seem to recall my Mam did the parkin) such joy from the simple things. (No health & Safety just caring parents watching over us). Mr Craddock lived opposite, he was the lamp lighter, and we had a lamp at top of street. We went to the pictures a lot; Easy Road (bug hutch) beginning of week, Princess midweek, Star at weekend, it was the best of times only we didn’t know it.
While at Ellerby Lane in 1955 we made a film does anyone remember? You can view the film at Yfa York Yo31 7Ex. It’s very good lots of familiar faces: Jean Fawcett, Moira Kelly are a couple I recognized can anyone help?
Netball at Ellerby Lane: I remember the day we had to play our ‘thorn in the side’ Coldcotes, we never seem to be able to beat them so this was going to be a real grudge match, I loved the game! Marlene Senior and I played in defence position we were also very good friends. Some of the other girls in the team were: Brenda Bradbury, Jean McConnell, Lesley Beverly and Anne Parkin. The whistle went and play began we all played really well and went into the lead, then we fell behind, such a blow, but we didn’t give in. It was a very hard game for Marlene and me, as we had to stop the goals going in. We went back into the lead. What joy! Then Marlene went over on her foot Oh no! We had to play on as together we were a team, so I made Marlene play on I told her not to be so soft, she was in a lot of pain but carried on, my fault entirely. We won the game but not the cup, that didn’t matter we beat Coldcotes! But poor Marlene she had to go to hospital and arrived back at school in pot up to her knee a broken foot. But she forgave me and we remained good friends we still have a giggle about the game and how determined we were to beat that school they were such a good team. They got the cup but our team had the glory!
On a recent visit to Leeds we had a run round East End Park, it brought back to mind the way Clark Ave used to be, the street was so different only the cobbles remain. I went back in time to 1953 the year of the Coronation it was full of excitement, street parties, all the neighbours getting together to make it special we had hanging baskets outside each house and a long table down the street and our mam’s baking & making jelly, trifles, sandwiches. We all got a crown money box (which I still have hidden away somewhere). There was music, playing games, lots of fun and laughter. Time for the Coronation to begin we all piled into Mrs Bernisconi’s we all thought them very rich they had the first and only T.V in the street – it had a magnifying glass on the front of the screen so we could see the New Queen being crowned. Oh the excitement of the day! I don’t know which was best the Coronation or that we had watched telly. Back to the party and the fun and games, it went on all day the weather was kind to us for the best part of the day but the good old English weather let us down for then came the rain! That didn’t stop the festivities we carried on indoors all crammed into Mrs Abbott’s house at the top of the street (her house was really big with a back room and a front room) how posh was that? Finally the day had to end, but it was a good day the street looked so pretty and very colourful with all the flags and bunting, every house had made a great effort to make it into such a special and memorable day, and I think our parents would hope that as I have kept in mind the wonderful day we all had so should everyone else. It was wonderful back there in that street, there was always a good happy feel to it.
The one thing I couldn’t understand on my latest visit to the Clarks is the street seems to have shrunk. Is that possible, or is it the age thing?
JACKIE G (nee Ormiston)

Clark Avenue

Clark Avenue today

*****

Great Tale Jackie
I don’t suppose there was anything so special about our old East Leeds habitat but it just seemed that it was. Jackie’s tale and Carole’s tale for June epitomises a golden age which makes us long to return there. An old mate tells of how he was playing in the school yard one playtime and a guy mending the road came over with whimsical eye and said to him, ‘Do you know lad these are the happiest days of your life.’ And the mate said I think he was right at that.
I often wander through the old streets where we used to run to school as kids. We at St Hilda’s School would run through the Copperfield’s, the Cross Green’s and the St Hilda’s streets to school. The Ellerby lane kids would run through the Clark’s, the Archie’s and the Easy’s etc and I suppose the Victoria former pupils would run through the East Parks, the Glensdales and Charltons etc. Now those streets seem so bereft. Going back into those streets remind me of the old song: Once upon a time there was a tavern where I would sink a pint or too. It’s about a lonely old woman returning to a tavern of her youth which had been such a fun part of her life but now it was alas, all changed. Once or twice while perambulating St Hilda’s Crescent I have waxed lyrical to present incumbents of the area about its provenance regarding the iconic pantomime Cinderella which was performed by local kids in 1941 in a yard between the houses to raise money for a spitfire. But invariably it falls on stony ground. So forgive me I have penned this poem. I have called it
The Copperfields

Once through these Copperfield’s streets they came,
Laughing and chattering in sun and in rain,
More joined the throng along the way,
Futures bright and hearts so gay,
Others came from different paths
To face English tests and study maths.

Now these streets seem so forlorn
as I wander through them all alone
Fresher fields called all away,
The time had passed to skip and play.
Where they have flown it’s not mine to know
Have their lives been fulfilled?
I’d like to think so.
Indulge me a bit more.
Once in school we had assembly and then off to our individual class rooms. We sat in rows from the front of the room to the back two to a desk, two boys two girls, two boys, two girls etc. We didn’t have homework so we didn’t need to carry anything to school. The school books we kept in the desks which had lift up tops and ink wells. When you got a new exercise book it was a joy and you would try to keep it pristine clean at the start but then your mate that shared the desk with you would lift the desk lid up while you were writing and your book would be spoiled with dirty great blot from the brown powdered ink which filled up the ink wells. No ball pens in those days; it was years later that I saw my first Biro. At 10.30 we would gurgle a gill of milk and then onto playtime and those wonderful playground games.
As I flunked my eleven plus I stayed at the same school, St Hilda’s, with the same kids all way from five to fifteen years. In those ten years we got to know each other very well and became firm friends. But now we are mostly lost to one another: where are they all now? How have they faired? It’s hard enough to keep track of the boys but even harder to keep track of the girls as most have changed their names upon marriage. I hate to think of us drifting out of life without further contact so, next time I catch a leprechaun by the toe I’ll make him reveal how all those good mates faired, before I let him go!

************************************************************

Finally, Dave Carncross asks if anyone recognises themselves on this picture – he is on there somewhere. He thinks it’s a Bourne Chapel outing in a farmer’s field near Snake Lane. Probably sometime in the late 1940s?

dave's bourne chapel group

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6 Responses to “Jackie’s Tale”

  1. aussiepom Says:

    Such a lot of nostalgic memories this month covering bonfire night, coronation, watching the only T.V. in the street. then seeing those same streets as an adult and thinking they’d shrunk. We were only young kids at the time and it was our world, we felt safe. the excitement of gathering ‘ chumps ‘ the Sunday school concerts and day out at a farmers field. Does anyone remember going on Richmond Hill outings on the back of a ” Spillers Flour ” flat bed trucks? The thrill of winning any sporting event was on par with winning an Olympic gold medal. We made sure we didn’t fall over at netball practice in Ellerby Lane school yard. One slip and you’d have gravel rash from your nose to your knees. Do you remember when they tried to teach us to jump hurdles Jacki? The bar came up to my chest! Put me off playing sport for life.
    I wonder what did happen to all the kids we knew back then. Maybe when you catch a leprechaun Pete we’ll find out.

  2. Dave Carncross Says:

    Lovely tales Jackie. At least your old street is still there. Mine disappeared (except in my memory). Most of the kids I remember seem to have done Ok and a lot of them are overseas. A happy childhood and common sense can take you a long way. I wouldn’t swap the house I have now for the one I was brought up in but I still have super memories of all things Easy Road. Best of both worlds really.

  3. Eric Says:

    A really nice story evoking lots of pleasurable memories of those days & enjoyed by so many in those times.
    I went back to the area recently and in some ways, wished I hadn’t , it had changed so much.
    I was very lucky, had friends from all around the area & so roamed over the whole district for many years.
    Your tale fits the ethos of this site extremely well so thanks for bringing another set of memories for us to enjoy

  4. Jacqueline Hainsworth Says:

    I also went to Bourne Chapel every Sunday morning for Sunday School afternoon for chapel service and again at evening. We did some good concerts, my staring roll was singing The Bell Bottom Blues by Patula Clark, Betty, Marlene, Jean, Ronald also did thier bit we had a really good time, also does anyone remember the Band of Hope which was held on a week day night oh happy days.

  5. Douglas Says:

    ……………………………………. I can remember going to the Bourne Chapel a few Sunday mornings in the mid to late 1930’s. My two cousins, Vera and May Monk were a few years older than I and I think they were Sunday School Teachers. All I can remember is listening to some stories. Later, in my early teens I used to attend the boys’ club on Friday nights. We were able to play billiards, I have a feeling the venue was next to the ruined Richmond Hill School and the Minister’s name was Mr Green. Thank you Jackie and Peter for helping me call up those memories. It wasn’t happy all the time, what with the war, and tough Hunslet kids, but in retrospect I had a very privileged and happy upbringing in good old East Leeds.

    • Jacqueline Hainsworth Says:

      Hi Douglas you were a bit before my time at Bourne Chapel I went in the 1950’s but still remember some good times concerts trips out to the coast and the Band of Hope I went till I was around 14 yrs then moved on to Ossie YMCA near east end park a lot more up market or thats how it seemed at the time

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