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The Laburnums 2002

I was born at the “Laburnums” Barnsley Road Brierley on the 14th April 1943.


See also

Where R U Now


The Laburnums 1959

 I was born at the “Laburnums” Barnsley Road Brierley on the 14th April 1943. My first memories of Brierley were that it was a small village with just a few local shops and two main council estates, Hilltop estate at one end of the village and Park estate at the other end, linked with one road starting at the Three Horseshoes Inn. Just beyond the Three Horseshoes were the Post office (a short distance away) and then the Co-operative shop. This coop used to sell more or less everything you required. Butter and cheese were cut off the block, as was bacon and other meats. Further along Church Street and on the left hand side of the road was the Methodist Chapel and further on from the chapel still on the left was Hall Farm followed by Brierley Hall. Brierley Hall was the only place I knew where conkers could be collected and where I was chased away dozens of times. Next stood the church and cemetery (now looks little used) followed by St Paul’s school which I attended from 1948-1954. After the school there was Danny’s Ices where we used to buy ice cream about once a week. After the ice cream factory there were about three houses that were spaced out. Following on from these, there was a sharp corner known as Cordeux’s Corner and so on down Common Road to the Park estate. We used to play quite often in the park. Brierley school pupils also used the park for sports activities, until they got their own playing field, which was situated, around the back of the school. A path led from the top of the park across the fields to the Hilltop estate crossing what was known as the five lands. The park estate was also known as China Town. I do not know the reason for this as I didn’t know of any Chinese people living here. (Note from Gary the web master) I am told that the reason they called it China Town was because jokingly every time a debt collector called at the houses, the mother would get hidden and a family member would shout through the door "Shint in" meaning she isn't in but obviously sounding chine's in Barnsley dialect.

  When I was old enough to understand things a little clearer, I realised that we lived on a smallholding of four acres with lots of buildings and a large field. I spent hours chasing butterflies there. We also had a spring at the bottom corner of the field where we used to get ice-cold water in the summer (there were no fridges in those days), quite a few kids from the village used to play near the spring. We used to collect blackberries from around the field. Across the fields from the spring and near the railway line (now closed down), there was a small pond where we fished for sticklebacks. Further along from the railway line there was a wood where we used take sandwiches and play for hours. The small wood was aptly named Bluebell wood, as there was lots of bluebells growing in abundance there. Another play area was called the Cow mounts. This area was where the railway tunnel had been cut out (about 500yards long) and the debris from this had been stacked in hills and was overgrown with grass and trees. As there were no trains on a Sunday, we used to walk through the tunnel. The line was a main coal haulage line from several collieries and during the war in 1944, an incendry bomb was dropped near the tunnel area but no damage was caused and no further bombs were dropped after that. On leaving this area we came to the main road to Hemsworth and a hill called Bay well Hill that was named after the well, which lies about half way up in a field midway between Brierley and Windy Nook. Heading back towards Brierley we passed Folly Hall Farm which are now dog kennels, arriving back at the “Laburnums.”                                   

     Growing up in Brierley in the forties and fifties was a fantastic time to look back on. It’s a shame that the kids of today cannot experience the easygoing life we had. We used to enjoy school without all the stress that school children endure today. I remember the visiting clergy who made the religious services very interesting. Nearer to Christmas time, the school pupils had a carol service in the church. I remember one particular Christmas when I was chosen for the choir and we sat above the congregation. They gave us a tremendous ovation at the end of the service. Unfortunately I can’t remember the year. The school pupils Christmas Party took place in the Institute across the road. We used to watch a short film, maybe Charlie Chaplin, and we eagerly looked forward to a visit from Father Christmas with a present for each of us. We enjoyed playing in the snow during the winter months; somehow we seemed to have lots more snow in those days. It was a major blow when we all reached the time when we had to leave St Paul’s school and go onto further education at one of the ‘big schools’, Barnsley High, Grimethorpe Secondary, Hemsworth Grammar, Felkirk Secondary, Barnsley Technical School and Notre dam Sheffield.


Part 2

     To continue with my memories, I will start with my home, The Laburnums, I lived here with my brothers and sister, Bernard, Arthur, Frank and Blanch for a few years until they started to move away to their different destinations. Bernard emigrated to Australia, Arthur went to live in Darfield and then Cudworth. Frank left two years after Bernard to join him in Australia. Blanch went to Doncaster to start her nurse training and I became what you may say is an only child. At first I missed them very much and The Laburnums became very quiet. The bungalow next to my house was lived in by the Hancock's. The next bungalow was owned by a Mrs Breedon the next was Claudie House where my friends grandparents lived. I used to play  there for hours on the long summer days with Tony, Denise and Linda Spaxman. I have now been in contact with Denise after about 40 years which was really very nice indeed but also saddening that her brother and my old friend Tony is on longer with us. I also used to play quite a lot in the Hilltop estate with loads of kids who lived there.

     We used to have a big bonfire on the green on the estate and most parents joined in. We gathered the wood from the fields and hedges around this area, starting date was the end of September and up to the big day on the 5th November. We all enjoyed the gathering  of the wood, the shop at the entrance to the estate donated some burnables as well. Now back to the Laburnums, in our two acre field, we used to grow wheat and once a year we had the threshing  machine come to us. This was our own Harvest Festival. Mum made cakes and buns, tea and pop so that we could celebrate the harvest. The thresher was a big machine which blew out lots of smoke and steam and you could hear the distinctive thud of the single cylinder drive unit all around the area, days well worth remembering. Sadly they have now gone forever.

     For a while during my schooldays, I delivered eggs and plants around the village which we grew on the smallholding . As a special treat my dad let me deliver flowers around the village to help me buy Christmas presents e.t.c. Here are a few names of the people from those days of long ago. Wheaters, Whites, Normingtons, Wilkinson's, Newton's, Pickens, Corcoran's (may have spelt this wrong) Steele's and many more.

     Another area of play was called Tom Bank (Willowgarth school is now built in this area) which we used mainly for sledging after a good lair of snow had fallen. We seemed to get more snow then than now. I spent many happy hours here during the Winter months. Its really nice to think back to those days, now long gone. Memories are part of life and should be kept alive. Well I will finish here for now. BEST WISHES TO ALL WHO MAY READ THESE MEMORIES. BRIAN BOWER( DONCASTER)     

     If anyone remembers me they may contact me, if they wish.

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