Dalton Magna, Dalton Parva,

Dalton Brook.

A Personal Website by

John Doxey.

Main Photo Content Jonathan Dabbs




Dalton Home
Site Guide
Dalton History 1
Dalton Folk
Peter Oxley's 1950's
Anne's Dalton Parva
Michael Shaw
1881 Census
1891 Census
Allotts of Dalton
Wedding 1889
John Henry Green
Halford and Burgin
Mason Family
Blyton Family
Blyton Family 2
Arroyo Family
Eyre Family
Cox Family
O'Neill Family
Holy Trinity Church
Trinity Croft School
The Grapes Hotel
The Grapes Hotel 2
Progressive Club
Dalton Now
Panorama 1
Panorama 2
The West Family Photos
The Luis Arroyo Collection
Old Dalton Parva
Researching Family
Local Links
Guest Book
Other Sites
Silverwood Mine
St Peters Conisbro'

Peter Oxley's Dalton

Dalton Lane 1960's photo courtesy and copyright Stephen Purshouse

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.
There was the Bug’ut on Saturday morning, where we saw countless episodes of The Green Archer, Batman and Hopalong Cassidy. We had annual events like bonfire ‘neet’, Whit Sunday, t’ Bottom Club and Baggin’ trips or the Harriers race from Doncaster to Sheffield to look forward to. For a young kid growing up in Dalton in the fifties it was essentially an outdoor life. You went home either for your dinner or to go to bed, and hardly saw your parents. Winter was a time for sledging down the long hill of Kelvin Street where more than once, evasive action had to be taken to avoid getting run over by a passing car on Doncaster Road. There was even the odd abandoned car or lorry to play in.  In summer we would go ovver t’ Wesh to Toll Gate where there was a line of ponds where we could catch newts, sticklebacks and minnows.
There was a farm field that you could get to off Norwood Street where Tony, the carthorse was kept. Any stale bread my gran’ had that didn’t go with the potato peelings to feed the local population of allotment pigs, we would give to him. Tony pulled the milk cart. I never saw a horse urinate so much. He would go on for about five minutes. The liquid would run down the street like a raging torrent.  Younger kids would play games jumping over it, while others tried to divert it by putting grass sods in the way so that it would run into someone’s yard. In winter it steamed like hot tea. Sometimes it would freeze over and you could do long slides on it. That’s when we’d get told off by grown ups for causing a safety hazard. If we didn’t stop they’d throw hot ashes over it to make it melt and spoil the slide, but we knew it would be freezing cold again and Tony would be back next day…
Violet Allsebrook once won a few quid on the pools and opened a chip shop at the top of Kelvin Street with her husband, Jack. At the back of the shop was a small allotment where we once watched the gruesome spectacle of a local man slaughter a pig. Someone sarcastically called him a clever t#&$  for eating a bun while he was doing it. They didn’t tolerate big ‘eads in Dalton Brook.

'Bommy Neet'

Funny really. Nobody, including me, seemed to think of it at the time. Here 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 couldn' t get near them, much less get past them to throw a banger at some kid from 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!
The weeks leading up to Bommy Neet were busy times.  We had to get the wood. Some grown ups used the opportunity to get rid of old settees and other bits and pieces. But you needed more than that if you wanted the biggest bonfire in The Brook. This called for guile. You knew that some kids would stockpile wood, even tree trunks, that they had collected over the weeks leading up to the big night. These stockpiles were often guarded until the early hours to prevent kids from other streets from nicking the stuff. Having the biggest bonfire bestowed pride.  Defending your stockpile against potential thieves called for back-up measures. Sometimes you'd tie up your dog over night on the most prized piece in the hope that it would attack any thieves that came near. At other times you'd set booby traps, usually some string or washing line stretched between the gateposts that led into the back yard. These measures invariably failed. Next morning the wood would be gone and the dog would be found looking distinctly unwell after consuming half a pound of acid drops bought from Mable's shop the year before.  Similar failures occurred with the trip wire method. Sometimes these would be set up too early, just in time to send some unsuspecting and slightly inebriated miner, on his way home from the Baggin', stumbling into his back yard a lot quicker than he expected.


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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