I moved to Folly Hall in 1963 I was about 9 years old. Henry Kenyon, a
Hemsworth farmer had previously bought the house and land as a 'job
lot', but as he only needed the land, he sold the house on to my parents
When we moved into
the property it had no running water, and we could not make a cup of tea
and also we had no toilet or bath facilities etc, until the water board
had dropped water in a churn off at the top of the long lane that led
from the main road. This was done on a daily basis. A small well
provided water for the livestock, but was not fit for the use of us
we had been resident in the property for about three years, we applied
to the water board for running water and I remember them saying if we
dug a trench, they would lay a pipe down. My dad and my uncle did this
with a JCB. When the water was finally connected it was like heaven
having running water in the house.
I recall sometime
later, (and forgive me if this up-sets anybody) on the bad bend where
the end of the by-pass is now, a NCB van turned over, and the driver ran
down across the fields to Folly Hall to gain help from us. There were no
mobile phones at that time, in fact at this time, the phone lines were
made of copper and went overhead on telegraph poles, it was not unusual
for the phone to go dead, and not only that, but during one of the
miners strike, the poles went missing also, leaving us without a phone
for weeks until new poles could be erected.
We were totally
isolated at Folly Hall; the summers were great, loads of walkers passing
by, but the winters we were often blocked in by drifting snow from
across the fields. At the time my dad worked on the ambulance service,
leaving home late to work nights, the lane would be blocked with snow,
and impassable, and he would have to walk to the main road for a lift,
just like we did to collect milk dropped off by Frank Lord, a local
milkman, Brierley post office rang us up to inform us when we had post,
the post had to be picked up from the post office on Church Street.
I remember the
steam trains on the railway line and walking under the tunnel once the
trains had stopped with my mates from Willowgarth, Ronnie Wileman, Chris
Clark, etc, scaring each other to death. The 'cow mounts' was the place
to play on; the surrounding area was just a great big playground. Once I
had left school at 15, not many people came down as we were that far
away, so it was up to me to go to them.
Where the gate is open is
looking towards the back of the house where the living room
was situated. Me and my mum Marjorie Cornell (nee Nuttall),
are sat in the orchard with Whisky and Mick the dogs. In the
orchard we grew apples pears and plums. To the left of
the photo as you view it (out of view), was an earth toilet
that was the only toilet the family had. It had to be
emptied every week by Brierley council.
Left to right My mum
Marjorie Cornell (nee Nuttall), Nora ? and Eunice Nuttall.
Viewed as you approach Folly Hall on the lane from the main
road. Due to tax on windows, at one time the windows
at Folly Hall were bricked up.
All photographs circa mid
to late 1960s.
The rooms in
Folly Hall were very big, also the window sills, it was not uncommon for
us to get a lot of visitors staying overnight, and for me to loose my
bed! My mum would make the window sill up into a bed with a quilt, and
that's were I would stay for a night. At the front of the building,
there used to be a few windows bricked up, it is believed this was due
to a window tax that came out, other windows replaced those when the tax
was scrapped. (Window tax coined the phrase 'daylight robbery').
When we moved in
to Folly Hall, It had previously been split into two by two brothers who
wanted their own house. The second small kitchen was made into a small
room; this was at the right hand side of the house. The slates on the
roof were made of stone; this made the roof very heavy and did cause
problems to the walls as time went on. The toilet was across a 'fold
yard' where stock used to stay, and in the orchard. This was an 'earth
toilet' that was emptied by dustbin men every week, not very good for
I remember my
parents doing some research about Folly Hall at Hemsworth Library and
found that it was originally built to house the men who dug the railway
line close bye.
While we were
there, we had dogs, cats, pigs, hens, goats, ducks etc even a horse. A
goose acted as a guard dog. I remember one day the Insurance man calling
and the goose would not let him out of his car, he sat there pipping his
horn but we could not hear him. He eventually went into Brierley to find
a telephone box to ring us and ask us to put the goose away so he could
call without it attacking him.
At this time my
dad drove, but not my Mother. You can imagine what this was like when
Dad was on nights, and with the phone situation, it was a very lonely
place. Often we would see car lights coming down the lane, only for it
to be a courting couple stopping half way down, and that was another
thing that stopped Dad getting out on a night time, having to knock on
steamy windows to get them to move their car.
When I started courting,
I took my then girlfriend home for the first time, we stood at the top
off the lane, she said, where do you live? Down there I said, pointing
down the lane, there's no way am I going down there with you, I know
what you're after! But I do, I insisted, she later became my wife.
If ever there was a
need to contact the police, there was always a debate whether we were
South or West Yorkshire and which force should attend, either way they
always struggled to find us.
Dad wanted us stay down
there, and we would have, but Barnsley Council would not give us
permission to build a bungalow. Oh how I wish things had been different.
My parents ended up selling the property and went back to live in
Hemsworth, but me being married at this time, I moved to Ackworth, later
returning back to Hemsworth.
photographs in the heading show myself on the left and on the right my
Marjorie Cornell (nee Nuttall). This was the
Fold yard adjacent to the house. The stable used to be a separate house
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