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RAVENFIELD MEMORIES

Here is the start of what I hope will be a long list of Ravenfield memories, to start off  this page Sheila Khan has delved once more into the family vaults and very kindly sent along the photo below. Sheila writes

It is the wedding of Norah Stobbart Butler to Arthur Thomas Roberts in Ravenfield on 5th April 1935.  The young bridesmaid is my mother Kathleen Lilian Tirrell who was 13 years old at the time of the photo.

Many thanks Sheila

Do you recognise anyone?

The memories of Roy Nixon

The “pub” referred to in an earlier report, and known as Ravenfield Jack’s did indeed exist in the old village –however, the entrance was at the front, not the back. It was entered at the top of a small flight of stone steps. On opening the door, a bell on a spring used to announce your arrival! The shop/off licence always seemed to smell damp and musty. On sale were sweets and a few general groceries, as well as bottled beer (which was taken outside and consumed whilst sitting on the wall opposite!) The nearest pubs in those days (pre and during the war) were the Plough at Micklebring, the Fullerton at Thrybergh or the Ball Inn and the Travellers Rest at Bramley.
As far as I can remember, the occupants at Ravenfield Hall left at the beginning of the war, and the first wartime inhabitants were troops returning after the evacuation from Dunkirk and being temporarily billeted there. Later we had Italian prisoners of war (in their brown uniform with a yellow circle on their backs.) They were not popular as they were said to have killed the deer which roamed in the park and also to have destroyed the fish in the three lakes! After they departed, and towards the end of the war, German prisoners of war were billeted in the old hall. When the war ended, and before they were repatriated, the prisoners were allowed out of the camp and could be employed by local families to help with gardening etc – for which the local people were allowed to pay them about one shilling (5p) per day, or 5 cigarettes a day if they were smokers!! Several prisoners worked for families in Silvermoor Drive.
Two other events during the war were 1: A German bomber returning from a raid over Sheffield dropped a stick of bombs across the Hellaby View estate (quite accidental I’m sure!) Fortunately, none of the bombs exploded and it was said that they had been made and sabotaged in a Czech munitions factory!!
2: An R.A.F. Handley Page Hampden bomber crashed in fields alongside the road leading from Bramley bottom across to Ravenfield Common and, because of the heat of the blaze and the exploding ammunition, rescuers could not get near the burning wreckage!!

 


 

The memories of Roy Nixon cont'd

Between the old village and the school, on the opposite side of the road, was the vicarage and, on the adjoining piece of land, was the village/church hall – a wooden hut in which we held dancing classes and the scouts and cubs used to meet there.  My uncle (Norman Ellison) and his wife ran the scouts and cubs – and we had quite a lively scout band in those days!!The dancing classes were held on a Saturday afternoon and cost fourpence (2p today).
Ravenfield School,( I was there -1935-39) had three classrooms which were separated by folding screens and a wide corridor alongside which was used for assembly and singing lessons!!   The Infants and girls had their own entrance and playground on the side nearest Moor Lane and the boys entered the school and their playground at the old village end of the school.  The Infant teacher was Mrs. Hobson – she lived in one of the houses at Hellaby View and had two daughters, Joan and Roma.   The lower junior teacher, Miss Barker, lived at Wickersley and travelled to school on a motor cycle!!  The upper juniors were taught by the Headmistress, Miss Wilcocks, who lived with her sister in the school house adjoining the boys playground.   The toilets in those days were outside and in the playground.   However, we were lucky in the sense that we had a covered shed which we could shelter under when it rained at playtime!!!    Every day we were given a bottle of milk to drink during the morning break (one third of a pint each).   Also, we were made to drink a small spoonful of cod liver oil each day (there was a charge of ¼d a day or 1¼d per week for this extra treat!!)
During the wartime, the school was often used for dances and fund raising efforts – the folding screens separating the classrooms were folded back on these occasions. The school was also used in the evenings for wartime cookery classes where our mothers learned to make flapjacks, fatless sponge cakes and sweets made from dried milk, a little sugar and some peppermint essence!!
Another event in the village during the war was when we had evacuees brought out from Rotherham to live amongst us. Some didn’t stay very long before returning home, but some stayed with us until the end of the war.
I remember the church of St. James at Ravenfield very well. I was confirmed in the church in the days of the Rev. Whittaker – I still have the hymn & prayer book given to me by the vicar at my confirmation in 1942!! Along with friends, we sang in the choir and were paid 1 shilling (5p) a year. We were also expected to take it in turns to pump the bellows of the organ for the organist – Mrs. Thornton, [ Janette Stender writes :-  who was married to Ernest and the mother of Zilla, Jesse, Margaret, and Kathleen? My late Uncle married Margaret, and my late Aunt married Jesse. ] who cycled from her bungalow in Hollings Lane (opposite the entrance to Reasby Avenue) every Sunday, come rain or shine, to the church.

   The church was in the grounds of the Ravenfield Hall and we gained access by parking our bicycles at the foot of the village and then walking across a field and up to the church - cars were a rarity in those days, unless you were one of the few wealthy farmers!!
   On the corner at the cross roads (where the Cavalier public house is now), was a shop run by the Sanderson family selling sweets, newspapers etc. It was also the post office. Across the road was a general grocery / hardware store known as “Bashforth’s”, and a little way down Ravenfield Common was a fish and chip shop.
When we first came to live in Ravenfield, we were the first tenants in one of the houses newly built by the Taylor Brothers and known as the Silvermoor Estate – later re-named Silvermoor Drive. If I remember correctly, Taylor Brothers consisted of three brothers – Bill, Edwin and Horace, together with their sister “Miss Taylor”. The brothers built the houses (and later built Reasby Avenue) and Miss Taylor was the rent collector. Bill Taylor and his sister lived in the first houses to be built in Silvermoor Drive, whilst Edwin and Horace lived down Ravenfield Common – I was at school with Ben Taylor (son of Horace Taylor.)   Edwin Taylor and his wife were also musicians and regularly played for dances in the village hall.
At the top of Silvermoor Drive were open fields where we would play football, look for birds nests and also walk across to the smaller wood leading down to the colliery – or take the path across to Sunnyside. There were lots of skirmishes in Silverwood between the boys of Ravenfield and “the enemy” from Sunnyside – all of which were quite harmless!!
At the bottom of Silvermoor Drive and round the corner towards Bramley, there was a row of houses known as Stone Row and these houses stretched almost to the brow of the hill leading over to the houses at Hellaby View. Between these two sets of houses were open fields and, during the war, an anti aircraft searchlight battery was stationed there.& There was also a small farm across the road from the Hellaby View estate owned by the Goldsborough family – they delivered milk locally, together with Turners who farmed in the old village.
On the subject of churches, my grandparents and family and my father all came from Thrybergh and were regular worshippers at St. Peter’s Church at the top of Whinney Hill. My father was in the choir at St. Peter’s, worked at Silverwood and also played cricket for Thrybergh The vicar at the time of my early childhood was the Rev. Guy Cook  who later moved to be vicar at Tickhill. Whilst living in Ravenfield, and before joining the choir at St. James, my sister and I were expected to walk down to Sunday School at St. Peters at Whinney Hill every Sunday – and then walk back home in time for lunch!! In the evening, along with our parents, we would again walk all the way to St. Peter’s for evensong and then go back to my grandparents house in Eastvale Drive for supper – the treat then was that we travelled back to Ravenfield on the 9pm bus !!! In those days, the Cenotaph was halfway up the hill leading to Silverwood Colliery. It may have been out of the way by modern day standards, but I think it was a much nicer setting. I can remember how, once a year we would parade all the way from St. Peter’s Church to the Cenotaph for a special service.

Text copyright Roy Nixon

page and transcription John Doxey

 

 

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