Archive for the ‘Tuskey’ Category

The Glencoe Railway Children

March 1, 2014

The Glencoe Railway Children
By Former Glencoelian
David Harris
Note: ‘Click’ on pictures and map to enlarge
(It should be pointed out that the ‘Glencoe’s in this tale were a series of streets in old East Leeds and not the lovely Scottish Glen)
In the early 1950s I attended St Hilda’s School in East Leeds and lived in Glencoe View. The ‘paddy train’ ran at the top of our street behind high wooden boards. My first job after school was to climb over the boards with a bucket and go ‘coiling’ for the fire. We would even, irresponsible I suppose, dangerously knock out and pinch the wooden blocks that held the lines in place in aid of the fire. Then, after tea, it was over the boards again to play balancing on the train lines and see who could walk the furthest without losing their balance. On one occasion a bogey appeared on the line, like the ones you see in the American films. We would all pile on and have a great time. Another time we found some detonators and we put them on the line so that the train set them off with a series of great bangs. We

were always getting chased by the ’lines man’ but he never caught us – we knew all the bolt holes.Sylvia with caption

We all enjoyed going to the pictures in the 1950s. I used to clean Aunt Elsie’s steps to get my picture money. In our local picture house ‘The Easy Road – fondly nick named the ‘bug hutch’, the cheapest seats, which were our domain, were made of wood and often had protruding nails. The ‘bug hutch’ was within a couple of hundred yards as the crow flies but it was either over the boards again and the boards at the other side of the lines which protected those who lived in the ‘May’s’ and the ‘Pretoria’ streets or a more lengthy trip to ‘the ginnel’ which passed under the line for safety, but this was not for us it was too far away, so it was over the two sets of boards for us and the same coming home after the show.
Our outside toilets were at the top of the street facing the railway and would ice up in winter requiring a bucket of hot water to thaw them out – even so the pipes would usually burst requiring a plumber. Happy days! Many a time we would sit on the toilet roof facing the railway and when the paddy train came past on its way to the coal staithe at the bottom of Easy Road we would shout for the driver to throw us a cob off, and most times he would comply. Then we would tumble down to retrieve it with our buckets. Another favourite of ours was to hitch a ride on the paddy train on its way down Black Road to Waterloo Pit. Often on these occasions we would start a brick throwing fight with the soldiers from the army camp who manned the Ack Ack guns and barrage balloons during the war and later guarded the German and Italian prisoners. Then we would steal a ride on the dust-carts for the return ride. They had a four inch board at the back that you could jump on as the dustcart slowed for a corner, and then we would jump off as the cart slowed to enter Cross Green Lane near the Bridgefield Pub. The driver who always knew you were on the back and didn’t like it would accelerate into Cross Green Lane if there wasn’t any traffic coming the other way, which meant you had to jump for it accounting for quite a few grazed limbs’.
We were well off for railway lines for there was another railway line which ran under a bridge at the other end of our street this one was over an eighty foot drop! It carried goods trains from the main line at Neville Hill to the Hunslet Goods Yard and beyond. This cutting was locally referred to as ‘The Navvy’. Modern Health and Safety laws have now secured the bridges and approaches with eight foot high metal fences. They make the navvy look more sinister than it really was. The navvy was never a sinister place for us, it was a playground a dangerous one sure, but still a playground. We’d never heard of Health and Safety laws and wouldn’t have taken any notice of them anyway. We were adventurous in the forties and fifties no iPods for us, you were a ‘sissy’ if you came home without a cut or a bruise. We were up and down that ‘navvy’ like monkeys, especially at weekends when there were no railway personnel around – all eighty foot of it. Some maniacs even walked along the parapet of the bridge where a sudden gust of wind would have resulted in almost certain death. There were various features on the way down the navvy which will bring memories to any old East Leedser: ‘Ginner Rock’ and the ‘Town Hall steps’ are but two. One brave but foolhardy lad: David Wilson, once famously jumped all the way down the navvy for a bet of six pence and forty comics. Some say it was an arm he broke some say it was a leg others say got the comics but not the six pence. David is alas no longer with us but his name will live on in folk law as ‘The one who dared to jump the Navvy’ There was one particular descent which was a rite-of-passage for we Glencoe View lads, this was a vertical channel located hard up to the brick work of our Glencoe View bridge with rock on the other side, if I remember we called it ‘the devil’s drop’. You could let yourself down on a rope but the climb back was like climbing up a chimney, feet on one side of the channel and back on the other and inching yourself up slowly. You had to satisfy this climb before you could become a full member of the gang.01-02-2014 19;52;47

Another game was to place tin cans on the railway lines and fish for them with a magnet on a long piece of string. And who can forget the iron ‘Monkey Bridge’ where the paddy line crossed over the navvy and where diehards would attempt ‘daring do’s’ with ropes and all manner of death defying manoeuvres. Finally there was one part of the descent composed of loose pebbles where we would ski down just like on scree. Amazingly we survived to tell the tale.
In October we would assail the paddy train again off down Black Road, this time to ‘chump’ – collect wood for the Bonfires (no council arranged bonfires for us) while we were down there we would indulge in our staple diet of Tusky (rhubarb) and ‘oss mangles and likely have ‘sprout fights’.
Oh Happy Days!
p.s does anybody remember the ‘pig farm fish pond’?The Navvy Today for Blog

Navvy for blog

Great tale Dave. Have you anymore? Here’s a bit more info from Dave. Reportedly Joe Ball rode across the parapet of this bridge on Sandra Marshalls two wheeler bike. Good heavens!
Navvy BridgsNote: click on pictures to enlarge


Navvy before railings fitted    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Red Walls

August 1, 2011


 Red Walls

 Not much to see is there? But Red Walls was an iconic play ground for East Leeds lads and lasses. It was reached down the equally iconic Black Road. We would set off on our walking expeditions to Temple Newsam equipped with our liquorish water and perhaps jam sandwiches – we could always pinch some ‘tuskey’ on the way. We would be off down Black Road, perhaps a paddle in the beck at Red Walls and on via ‘The Basins’ to Temple Newsam. Special days on that route are so memorable they are with us for the rest of our lives.

Roy Marriot remembers an illicit day playing truant and going fishing ‘Tom Sawyer’ type to Red Walls; Eric Sanderson sets the scene for bike rides down Black Road; Muriel Parking (nee Bailey) fondly paddles in memories with her dog, Queenie; Janet Elliott (nee Lawler) gets butted by a nanny goat and Eric Allen dares to ride the ‘Wall of Death Basins.’ Plus a map of the location of Red Walls.

 (Next month more Audrey)


  By Roy Marriott

I was in Mr, Holmes’ class (Chuck) atEllerbyLaneSchoolfrom Sept 1945 to Sept 1946. As many of the lads will remember, who were fortunate to be taught by him, he would often end the afternoon lesson by reading from a story, maybe just from 3-45 to 4-00 p.m. I certainly enjoyed it, I’m sure the rest of the class did too.

            I well remember him reading ‘Tom Sawyer’ the part about Tom and his friend Huckleberry Finn playing truant and going fishing was especially enjoyable. A very good friend of mine was Brian Helley, his father was a regular in the forces – I can’t remember which branch, though I remember Brian had to leave Leeds because his dad was posted somewhere near Driffield. I think he left in late ’46. Anyway Brian and I had been enthralled with the idea of playing truant and going fishing. That morning the weather was glorious and as Brian, Frank McGann – another good friend – and I walked home from school we were hatching out a plan. Brian lived quite near to Eddie Purdy’s shop onPontefract Lane in one of theClark streets – I cannot remember which one. Anyway after he’d had his dinner Brian came round to our house and said, ‘Come on then – let’s go fishing!’

            I didn’t need asking twice. I got an empty dried milk tin from the kitchen, punched a couple of holes in the rim, added string and managed to secrete my fishing net. I don’t think my mother even realised what was going on. Off we went, just as we got to the top ofClark Lanewe met Frank coming along Pontefract lane. He was not interested in joining us but he did agree to tell Mr. Holmes we had been sick on the way home and that was the reason for our absence. Our destination – where else of course but down Black road to Red Walls. 

            We had no way of telling what time it was – but we just about filled the tin with tiddlers, sticklebacks and bomb-bellies when our tummy clocks told us it must be just about tea time. So off we set for home. Brian managed to get hold of a jam jar and we transferred a few fish into it.

            When I got home I smuggled my tin upstairs into my bedroom (which was in the attic) fortunately my mother did not come into my bedroom that night. The evening was very warm, the poor fish didn’t stand a chance; there were far too many for the size of the tin. The result being that the next morning there was this awful smell. My Mam thought it was coming from the quarry. The first chance I got I took the can outside and emptied it down the drain. I felt really upset for ages afterwards because I had caused the death of so many fishes.  While you are catching fish it’s great – but you do really have to know how to take care of them. Playing truant – Never again!

            One thing that was amazing, we got back home, around the time we would have if we had been at school. The next morning Mr Holmes asked how we were, I wonder if he knew what we had been up to – he really was a great teacher.    

                                  Eric Sanderson Remembers  Red Walls.

I spent many happy hours down there at the Red Walls. Isn’t the stream in fact nearly the end of Wyke Beck before it finally tumbles into the river? During the long summer days and before we had bikes, we’d often meander down towards there, sometimes down Red Road, past the Basins and cut across Halton Moor but more often than not, down Black Rd with a few distractions like Oxley’s field or even Knostrop Army camp with it’s water filled tank obstacles, brim full of wildlife ready to be caught with a few basic implements.

In those days, the stream was very clear, especially a little further upstream as it ran over Halton Moor, and many’s the time when we’ve drunk the cool, clear water on a hot summer day. We’re still here and I never remember anyone suffering any ill effects, so it can’t have been too bad.

It must have been fairly well unpolluted because it had lots of Sticklebacks & Red-bellies in those days.

It was also a good way to cool off by stripping off shoes & socks, sit on the bank down by the Red Walls and let the lovely cool water do its work by refreshing our red hot and aching feet. 

When we were a little older, we used to use it as a turning point for bike races from the top ofBlack Rd, down there and back, it was a good test. A problem we had to avoid however was the huge potholes, created by the Leviathans from the open cast coal mine and the cause of more than a few tumbles.

I’m sure many others will say the same but, as the Paddy ran close by, it was occasionally a relief for our weary legs after a tiring day and to save trudging back to the top of Black Road, to hop onto the back of the slow moving Paddy Train for a quick ride to the top, dropping off just before Cross Green Lane


By Muriel Parkin (nee Bailey)

It was coming to the end of the summer holidays: soon we would be back at school. The family decided that if the weather kept fine we would have a walk downBlack Roadto the blue bell wood. We often went to the blue bell wood but only with Mam and Dad. When Sunday arrived the weather was fine, Mam got on with the dinner early and Dad decided we should give Queenie, our dog, a bath as she had been confined to the house for a number of weeks. After dinner my sister and I did our usual job of washing up and clearing away the dinner crockery and then we were ready for off: Mam, Dad, Brenda, Baby Andrea, Queenie and of course me.

            Queenie was my dog she had been bought for me when she was weaned at six weeks old; she was a white bundle of fluff with just the two patches of brown in her coat. Anyway I had her on her lead until we reached ‘Red Bricks’ (Red Walls).

            There had been another occasion at Red Walls when I had ventured into the stream and stood on some glass, it cut my foot quite badly and I had to walk ‘tip toe’ all the way upBlack Roadhome. The glass was in fast and Dad had to remove it with pliers. Anyway on this particular day we didn’t venture into the water  but there were plenty of other boys and girls playing in there who all wanted to stroke her. I was so proud to be her owner. Unfortunately she had no tail to wag for them as she had been ‘docked’ by the man we bought her from; she just had a stub for a tail and a long ringlet at the end which was soft and wavy like her coat.

            Dad wanted us to push on or we would lose the day and that is when everything went wrong. I let Queenie off the lead as we approachedAustin’s Farm and she bolted. Straight into the duck pond she went as we looked on in horror. Our lovely white and tan dog came out a horrible shade of green and dripping with slime.

 We finally arrived at our usual place to find Mam and Dad’s friends were already there. We had a lovely day playing hide and seek in the farm yard and Queenie was allowed to romp around to her heart’s content and as blackberries were in season and we had taken a basin with us we were able to collect blackberries too.

            Eventually the evening sun began to show, telling us that it was time to go home. By the time we got to the end of our street people were taking advantage of the warm evening to sit around in the street talking. I ran up the street as fast as my legs would carry me with Queenie on the end of the leash looking like and old rag. She had dried but oh did she smell! This meant she was not allowed to go into the house until she had another bath. Two baths in a day for Queenie. We had to use the ‘Peggy tub’ for our own bath. We had some sandwiches and off to bed ourselves. What a wonderful day!

Now Mam and Dad are long gone and we three sisters are in our old age but we still talk about those childhood days and laugh, we couldn’t have had better days, they were fantastic. 

The Nanny Goat

By Mrs Janet Elliot (nee Lawler)

(What a lovely little tale)

When I was twelve years old me and Brenda Johnson, Beryl Morgan and Pat York, all fromVictoriaSchool, went off down to Red Walls to catch tadpoles in a jam jar. We used to take with us: jam sandwiches and a bottle of liquorish water. We were very happy in those days. On the way back we climbed over a fence and took some rhubarb to eat on the way home. As we were walking away a nanny goat escaped out of a field and chased us upRed Road, it ran straight past Beryl and chassed Brenda, Pat and me. It caught me and butted me up the backside. I suppose it served my right for pinching the rhubarb! 

And finally

The Basins

   By Eric Allen

Who remembers ‘The Basins?  The Basins were to be found on the Red Roadedge of Temple Newsam. They were to be reached along Black Road and through Austin’s farm and were a site of great adventure for young ‘dare devil’ bicycle riders.  The basins had originally been mine workings and their spoil heaps. Some had paths going around the sides making them like the fair ground ‘wall of death’ The largest basin had a path going down one side into the bottom and up the other side, this was the best run for the young ‘dare devil’. Unfortunately on many occasions the rider did not have enough speed to carry them up the other side, which ended up with a quick dismount and a hard push to get the boy and bike up the other side before it toppled back on him.

And by popular demand a map showing location of Red Walls.