A Personal Website by
Main Photo Content Jonathan Dabbs
|Dalton History 1|
|Peter Oxley's 1950's|
|Anne's Dalton Parva|
|Allotts of Dalton|
|John Henry Green|
|Halford and Burgin|
|Blyton Family 2|
|Holy Trinity Church|
|Trinity Croft School|
|The Grapes Hotel|
|The Grapes Hotel 2|
|The West Family Photos|
|The Luis Arroyo Collection|
|Old Dalton Parva|
|St Peters Conisbro'|
Peter Oxley's Dalton
Dalton Lane 1960's photo courtesy of Stephen Purshouse
Growing up in
Dalton in the 1950’s and 60’s was something that I look back on with great
fondness, although we were blissfully unaware of our relative poverty, as I
suspect were many others who lived in similar communities in the industrial
north of England. It was a tight-knit community, self-contained, yet open to the
influx of people in search of work from other parts of the UK and beyond.
Rotherham, all but two and a half miles distant, was a world away, a metropolis
too difficult for a sub-teenage child to comprehend. We didn’t care. We had
everything we thought we needed, fields to roam in, trees to climb, pit ponds to
swim in, intricate nooks and crannies in ‘the backs’ to hide in as part of the
many esoteric games we played. We had ‘mabs’ and snobs to play or street cricket
with a dustbin lid for the stumps, propped up with a house brick. There was
always a slightly inebriated grown up who had just rolled in from the club after
a morning shift at ‘t pit willing to turn his arm over to get the little bleeder
out. There were throwing ‘arrers’ and trolleys to make. Trolley making required
a bit more skill, but a mate’s older brother would often help. Two large back
wheels would be cannibalised from an abandoned pram, the two smaller front
wheels from an old push chair. The hole for the single bolt that enabled you to
turn the front wheels was burnt through the wood using a red hot poker. The
axels were secured to battens of wood by nails which were hammered in in a line
and then bent over to form a kind of bearing.
Funny really. Nobody, including me, seemed to think of it at the time.
we were in 'the backs' on November 5th in the 1950's, perhaps half a dozen
huge bonfires down each street, so large that they completely blocked the
crossroads or 'entry' that gave access between the rows of terraced houses
to the adjacent street The bonfires gave out so much heat that you
t get near them, much less get past them to throw a banger at some kid
Saville Street on a spying mission. The wonder of it was that there was
never an explosion. At every crossroads there was a gaslamp, and the
bonfires were built right over the gas main!
We'd often play football on what was probably the most unlikely football pitch in the country, between Cleggy's cornfield (off Dalton Lane) and Magna Lane. Not only did the pitch slope steeply from one goal to the other, but there were steep slopes up to both touchlines from the top goal, leaving it in a kind of valley. Taking corners was dead easy from this end! You could also take a shot at the bottom goal from the top goal penalty area. This usually ended with the ball floating down Dalton Brook towards The Grapes! We'd play football until it was too dark to see the ball. The way home was up the unofficial footpath by the allotments at the side of Cleggy's field and onto Dalton Lane, climbing over the wall at the top, next to Jim Edwards ' garage, where he kept his gleaming Humber Hawk car. At the end of the football session somebody would tell us a story about some mad axeman or other maniac who had been seen in the area, and we'd be s#!$ scared to go home by Cleggy's field in the dark, so we'd go the long way round by Doncaster Road. Eventually we forsook this pitch for the flatter topography of what we called the 'little park' behind The Baggin', although we had to make do with coats or jumpers as goal posts. As usual, we'd finish playing when it was too dark to see the ball, but this time instead of going straight home we would go into The Grapes car park and wave cars into a parking position before opening the door for the occupants. If there was a posh-looking car, we'd scramble to get there first. Sometimes they'd give you threepence or even a tanner, after which we'd nip in Bellamy's chippy for some fish and chips. Mr Foster, who ran the Grapes in those days, had two fierce Alsatians, each of them the size of a small horse, which he used as guard dogs. Mr Foster didn't like us taking money from his valued customers, among whom were Rotherham United players, and even the chairman Louis Pursehouse., so he'd let his dogs loose on us and we'd run off in blind terror to climb the nearest tree or high wall to get out of their way.
Many thanks to Peter for contributing his memories to this site
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