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of Brierley



Memories of my time living at



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    When 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 humans.

     After 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 visitors!

   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.


 The photographs in the heading show myself on the left and on the right my mum 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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