Who of my generation could forget the winter of
We missed the 1933 one, but boy did we have some snow
Winters in those days used to be cold anyway, but not
with the snows like we had in 1947.
The frosty season usually started about November,
unlike the homes of today we didn’t have double glazing or central heating (unless of
course you had paraffin stove in the middle of the room).
I remember the house on a frosty morning being very
cold, even to look out of the house to see what the weather was like you had a job on
scraping the frost off the windows (and that was on the inside)
The kids of today don’t know how lucky they are.
We didn’t have far to go to school from our Moorland Estate down to Guiseley Secondary Modern school on Oxford Road.
So before school you would be out on the footpaths
making slides, then when you got to school you would make some more in the
playground, every break that you had from your lessons you would
be out in the playground sliding, I remember I was always into my dad’s shoe and boot
repair box and hammering more studs into my boots so that I could slide better,
and then of course after school you would be off home to continue sliding on
the slides that you had made in the morning, it was so cold they didn’t get the
chance to melt out.
But then when the snows came everything changed, we
had never seen so much, and it was so deep that nothing could move.
Milk was delivered by horse and cart, but even the
milkman struggled because in those days, he had to carry milk from his cart in a 3 gallon milk
urn to each household and measure it out into the house holders milk jug, when it was
empty he would have to return to his cart to refill his 3 gallon from either a 10 or 12 gallon urn,
so when you look back at things like that, and the conditions, it was not an
Back in those days we all got a bottle of milk at
school, a small bottle measuring a third of a pint, fitted with a cardboard top with a piece in the centre you could push through for the
drinking straw, of course at that time with the weather so cold the milk was
frozen and it used to lift the top off the bottle. We used to stand the bottles on the central heating
pipes that ran around the classroom until the milk lolly sank back into the
bottle. The cardboard top also had another use, and that was
to wind some wool around and through the drinking straw hole until you could do
no more, tie it off leaving a long length of wool as a tail then cut all the
way round the outer edge, and low and behold you had made a pom pom, or you
could collect the tops thread them onto a piece of string to see who could
collect the most.
Because the snow was so bad the council had to get
bulldozers to clear the roads, but they always left that last inch or so on the
road and when that froze it made it very slippy. I can remember the milk man going around with big
wooly socks over his boots just to give him a better grip.
When the bulldozer came up Moor Lane it went as far as
Ripley Lane (just above Mount Pleasant)
and it left a pile of snow about 8 or 9 feet high, well with road conditions as
they were that was a fantastic launching pad from which to set forth on your
sedge. I only, from what I can remember did it twice, and
that was to go from Ripley Lane, down Moor Lane, past Carlton Lane bottom, down Town Street, past Union Street, Towngate,and down to Green Bottom. The road was
like an Olympic track, nothing or no one about, it was ours. Twice was enough, it was good but the walk back up to
Ripley Lane took too long, and whilst you were walking all that way back you
were missing all the fun.
During a normal snowy winter most of our sledging was
done in Bob Abbishaw’s field which is now home to The Lilacs just off
Kellcliffe Lane, Bob Abbishaw was a local butcher with a shop at the Town Gate
end of Union Street, and in its last years was run by Stanley Kay who was the
cousin of Joyce and Margaret Kay, their father J B Kay had the shop next door
that used to be Dibbs grocers. Joyce Kay later went on to marry my cousin Harry Baldwin who at that time was gardener for the Busfield family who lived
down at the bottom of Wills Gills,and owners of Albion mills. Joyce and Harry later took over another local shop in
those days which was schoffields groceries and is now headmaster barbers shop.
The other field that we used to use a lot for sledging
was one of local farmer and cattle dealer Tom Penny who lived just after the Manor House up Town Street Guiseley, the field now holds the houses of Willow
Gardens and The Sycamores.
All in all 1947 was a harsh winter but as kids we
still had a lot of fun, even if at the end of the day you went home wet through,
frozen half to death, there was still a good coal fire in the grate to get you
warm again, but that was after your toes and fingers stopped tingling, then it
was a nice pot of tea and a couple of slices of dripping and bread and probably
a spread of Marmite on top.
Oh happy days.