I was now about 7 or 8 years of age and moved up to Hunslet Carr Primary School.
The School lessons changed to more English and Maths. History, Physical Education and Science were all now added. I remember Science was my best subject. More sport was now being played. Rugby, football and cross country running (well Around Middleton Woods) anyway.
School dinners were at St Oswald Hall, not far from the school. The hall is demolished now, it used to be on site of Arthington Medical Centre.
I remember going to St Oswald’s Hall for annual injections, but I can’t remember what for. I do remember everyone wanted the jab first as they used one needle for everyone, so when you were last to have jab, the needle was blunt and hurt. The needle was massive. Can you imagine that nowadays?
The Dentist was next to the Hall, Mr Vann was the only Dentist. If you wanted gas instead of Cocaine to knock you out for an extraction, you had to go back. Gas was every Friday, when the anaesthetist was there. I can remember queuing round the block on those days. Until last year, the dentist’s premises were still there, but now they’ve moved to Hunslet near the Library.
In those days many children had health problems. Measles, Scarlet Fever (my Sister had that) Rubella and Chicken Pox to name a few. I had TB when I was 2 years old and then again in 1972. You’re not supposed to get it twice, but I did. Trust me to be different.
I remember being told by my Mother to go to a mate’s house when he had Chicken pox, so I would get it. It was better to get Chicken Pox then, apparently than to get it in later life as an adult. This could result in you getting Shingles. I have not a clue what inoculations were available then.
Out of School
My first job was doing a paper round for Anderson’s paper shop, in Hunslet Carr. My Dad had a smallholding down on Pepper Road. My job on a morning, before school, was to go feed the chickens.
I had to make sure no foxes had got them overnight. We had a cat that used to kill all the rats and mice as they were constantly (before Tommy the Cat came), getting to the sacks of chicken feed. He never used to eat much, I expect he was full of mice.
Sometimes I was late for School, when the cock got out, with hens following. It was a bugger getting them back into the run – have you ever tried to catch hens? I don’t know who made a hole in chicken wire for them to get out.
I would go back after school on a night and get the hens into the coop, collecting eggs to take home.
I made a bob or two selling any leftover eggs, that my Mum didn’t want. The money also went on buying chicken feed.
Did you know many folk now keep hens as a greener way of life? I know three of my friends in Middleton do.
We kept rabbits as well. Unknown to me at the time (silly me) I thought they were pets. Until one day they were nowhere to be found. Found out later where they had gone. We had rabbit stew for dinner. Yum.
There was a general store in Hunslet Carr called Thurkettles. I asked Mr Thurkettle once if there were any Saturday jobs going, such as deliveries to people in the area. He said not, but you can wash my car every Saturday and polish it once a month, so I did that. It soon got round that I was cleaning Mr Thurkettels car, and I ended up doing four cars in Hunslet Carr, for other shop keepers.
I think maybe this is where I got my business skills from. Having been in employment since leaving School, I did start my own small business in 1986.
Every August Bank Holiday the “feast”, or fair came to Hunslet. It was the biggest in Europe at that time, I think the biggest now is Hull. Although the fair used many sites, I remember the fair coming to the Parkside Rugby Ground car park when I was a lad.
Again I made money by setting up stalls and taking them down when they left. My favourite ride was the Caterpillar, a green cover used to come over the top of ride. For some reason we all liked to be in the dark. All the stall holders recognised me and I never had to pay for any of the rides.
I remember going home with many goldfish in plastic bags, Mum not knowing what to do with them all. I think in the end most of the street had my goldfishes.
Camping in Middleton Park
In the School Holidays we used to put tents up in Middleton Park/Woods. Being lads, we always tried to pitch tents up near any lasses tents. Can you imagine camping in Middleton Woods today? We always stocked up with crisps and sweets at Tallants shop. The Park Café was open as well, so there was no shortage of food.
By this time we had moved to Belle Isle, so we could always nip home if we needed anything. One thing our parents did not allow us to do was to cook anything, quite right too, at our age.
That’s all for now. I’ll post more memories soon.