Aireborough Historical Society

1947 Guiseley Childhood Part 2

Martha Ellen Barrett
Title Guiseley Childhood
Allan Hill
Gender Male
Date of Birth 1947
Currently Residing

Richfield, Wisconsin, USA


Photo: Martha Ellen Barrett at her home in Cross Street.

"When the co-op was closed, me and my dad shoveled all the coal out of their cellar.
I enjoyed shoveling - still do.
As a teenager I was part of the "Cinders gang”.
Too young to be a teddy boy but I hung out with them.
A certain member (still much alive) had a flick knife and beer and later became a senior professional with Leeds City Council!
We had a bonfire on Barrett Street - which ran from the lower part of Morrison’s car park to the Methodist Chapel - the cemetery is still marked opposite Springfield Road end.
I was sent to be a "Primitive Methodist” on Barrett street , but at age eleven, I had to foreswear women and drink, and so I resigned.
Guess I was too primitive.

I can remember all of lower Guiseley as though it was yesterday - I have ‘mind pictures’ of every path and street and car and even the nettles and flowers

When you went ‘down the fields’ from Greenbottom (I believe the footpath is still there but diverted), there was a field on the left and I can remember the tepee shaped hay stacks and the pitchforks and the labourers loading the horse and cart - that must have been 1952 ish - still had a ration card then.
There is a syphon which takes that stream under the railway and it pops up near the nursing home on Ghyll Royd

I can remember every pole on the path (to stop bikes) and every electricity pylon with tar painted on the bottom, and every stone fallen out of the wall and the little stream, and the hawthorn bushes and the rise of the land towards Silverdale and the old disused cottage cellars opposite the bowling green on Silverdale and the concrete bomb shelters behind Shires.

I can remember the phone box on Otley Road near Green bottom and the push button A and button B - and the steps from there down to Park Road.
I can remember the DP’s (displaced persons from Europe) living on Otley road - Yvonne Wasack"

I can remember Harry Corbett’s son Peter being made a "sixer "  at the cub hut - it should have been me so I resigned.

I can remember the bubble gum machine chained up at the bottom of Springfield Road and a ginger kid called Ingham taking the rap for shaking it  - none of us had red hair so we were not recognized

Wish I could remember what I had for tea yesterday !


Ps here is my mum’s mum - Martha Ellen Barrett at her home on Cross Street opposite Coopers wine bar


Pre- NHS so no teeth.

She bathed me in a tin bath many times

I grew up right there off Otley Road - I had 200 hens and 50 rabbits and lots of guns in my long garden  - all within 50 yards of Morrison’s front door (now)


The ’spare land’ was bought by the co-op to build a huge transport garage (where the bottom of Morrison’s car park is now), and long pieces of re-enforced concrete laid there for many years. That is where the cinders gang had their bonfires


There was petroleum store with 8 foot high pipes to vent to fumes and big underground tanks full of petrol


Our tenant at 9 Edward Street was a Spiv - a bus driver who stole the company  petrol which he kept in open tin baths in the cellar ! He by-passed the gas meter with a rubber pipe and ran his several gas fires without flues. His house and our house stunk of petrol fumes and waste gas from the fires.


His house lights were powered by a cable hooked up to the street lights  ! He kept an illegal .45 army revolver under his pillow as so many people were owed money by him. One day his little kid went to  Mrs Lee’s house on park Road with the gun. He pointed it at her and said "bang, bang you are dead”  She took a proper look at it, realized it was real and took it off him.


His wife got cancer so he abandoned her and shacked up in a caravan at Hawksworth with a young girlfriend !


He had a Jaguar with no engine and polished it every Sunday


He kept bantams in his garden which had to sleep in the hedge as he was too lazy to provide a shed - they  woke my dad up at 4am every day - especially Sunday. My dad came swaying back from the Regent one Saturday night and put his arm in the bush, and wrung the cockerel’s neck and shoved it back in the bush


Next day our tenant told my dad he found his cockerel  dead in  the bush and it had obviously suffered a heart attack. Oh dear said my dad.


Sleepy Guiseley wasn’t sleepy on Edward Street





Written April 2013

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I do believe I was at AGS in the same year as Allan Hill, i can remember going to his house at Green Bottom. I remember The small pen and the chickens and Rabbits and his love of Air rifles. His school nick name was Percy, mine was Sid and the chap with the ginger hair who shook the Bubble Gum machine to bits was David Ingham or "Ding" as we knew him, also in the same school year at AGS and all born in 1947.
Allan's description of the area around Green Bottom in the late fifties and early sixties is as vivid in my mind as it is in his.
Our route to his home in Green Bottom after school in the summer was out of the AGS school fields on to the cobbles at the bottom of Park view, then down the footpath to the beck,along the flagstone path beside the beck over the single track Yeadon Branch line,then turn right along the old coach road and follow it on to come out at Green bottom near the new pub,Talisman?I forget now. Just in front of Allan's Place, a little nearer to green bottom was a small working men's Club,Guiseley Factory Workers Club? we were allowed in there because Allan's dad was a member and had arranged it with the steward at the time. We were allowed to play snooker and drink fruit juice, but no Alcohol. The steward at the time was a chap called Alf Richardson, he was a friend of Allan's dad and also a friend of my dad, so he kept an eye on us.
I lost touch with Allan when our school days ended and had no Idea what happened to him or where he ended up,so reading his post was a pleasant surprise which stirred up some happy schoolboy memories.
Excellent post
Thanks Allan.(Percy)
21 May 2013
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