Thrybergh Ravenfield Dalton

South Yorkshire England

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ROY NIXON

 

FOREWORD
During wartime many children were relocated from major cities to rural areas for their safety, or sometimes for other reasons as in the case of Roy Nixon. During World War two Roy found himself living in Thrybergh and the following recollections are his memories of that time. Recently Roy discovered this site and contacted me, and at my request contributed the article below which relates some of his family history and to a small part of his life as a young boy that he spent in the village.
John Doxey
 

ROY'S MEMORIES

 

We are southerners really, and went to live with our paternal grandmother in 1941/42 because my father, a soldier, was sent to Scotland after returning from Dunkirk. Yorkshire being easier to get home to than Devon, especially since war time rail travel was a bit chaotic.


He was a Yorkshire man having being born in Cudworth, near Barnsley, in 1905. His father Humphrey Nixon was a coal miner and I do not know very much about him. My grandmother was called Mrs. Burgin. Mr. Burgin, who I never knew, was my fathers stepfather. He was a timber contractor to the mines, and he forced my father to leave school at 12 (1917) to work down the pit. My father had to crawl into worked out seams to recover still useable timber, so that it could be used again. Later on he became a pony driver before joining the army (Duke of Wellingtons). My grandmother had previously been married to a man called Humpherson, with whom she had two sons. George, whose memorial I sent you previously, and Edward (Ted).


Monica and Gwen Humpherson photo courtesy of Roy NixonUncle Ted was a miner and pigeon fancier. Teddy married but his wife left him sometime in the 1920`s. She left him with three children, Monica, Gwen and Kenneth. Monica kept house for her father, Gwen was training to be a teacher but gave it up to join the Land Army, and Kenneth was away in the army (1941/42). They all lived at 17 East Vale Drive Thrybergh. Gwen and her father were still there in 1961. Monica had married and lived a short distance away. I do not know what happened to Kenneth.
This photo is of my cousins Monica (left), and Gwen Humpherson,

We lived with my grandmother at 33 Whinney Hill. This was a terrace of houses with the backyards shared by two families. They had two rooms upstairs and two down. I think there was some attic space. The fronts faced Whinney Hill and the backs faced the backs of similar houses on Doncaster Road. In between was some waste ground where we all played.

The houses were very basic. There was no electricity, only gas. The kitchen had only one cold water sink, there was no hot water. There was a kitchen range and a copper with a little fireplace under it so the water could be heated on washday (Monday). The outside toilet was beside the midden in the backyard. This must have been a recent addition as my grandmother used to tell us that the toilet used to be a box and bucket affair.


She used to rub her back step with a piece of sandstone that could be picked up on the waste ground. When it dried it was a lovely clean cream colour. All the women used to follow this procedure. We used to listen to the wireless in the evenings. There being no electricity, the wireless was powered by a battery and two accumulators, Grandma had four , two were always at the shop being charged up which cost sixpence. It was my job to take them to the shop and collect the charged ones.
When the Germans were bombing Rotherham and Sheffield the air raid siren would sound, and we had to go in grandma's pantry which was under the stairs. My mother was deemed available for war work, as we had a grandma to look after us. Mum worked in a munitions factory over in Maltby, where she operated a capstan lathe making rifle barrels.
Outside, Whinney Hill led down to Dalton Brook. Down there were some shops and the cinema known as the Bughut. If there was an air raid while you were in the cinema, a notice was put on the screen telling you to remain in the cinema. However when the film finished they chucked you out anyway.


There was a pub in Dalton called the Grapes. My Grandma used to like to go there sometimes where she drank Red Biddy Where Doncaster Road and Whinney Hill met there was the Police Station right on the apex. Opposite The Police Station, on the Whinney Hill side, were some more shops one of which was the barbers. Going on up Hill, just before the church, were some more shops. There was a fish and chip shop there, and a Co-Op (I think). If you wanted to go into Rotherham you went on the trolley bus, which everybody called the Trackless.


I used to go to Whinney Hill School. This was up the top on the right hand side. Opposite the school was a Post Office and the Working Men`s Club. There was a path beside the school that led down to a stream where we often went to play. You could find flints in the stream that made a spark when you knocked then together. I remember playing in the water. We had nothing as grand as swim suits; we just left all our clothes on the bank and played in the stream with nothing on.
Later we moved from Whinney Hill to Silver Street, it was the same kind of houses and we had the two rooms at the front. The family that lived in the back were called Liston. Two families living in one house may sound strange now, but this was wartime and you just had to make do as best you could. We lived in the second house up, number 2 [ I think.] I remember the Knocker Up, who used to tap on windows to wake people up in the mornings. I think you had to pay him for this. Nearly all the men worked in the mines, and mornings you could see them all walking to work.


Pithead baths were in use in the mines when I was in Yorkshire, so the men did not come home covered in coal dust. My Father used to tell me how dirty they would come home before the baths were introduced.
The houses up in East Vale Drive were more modern with an indoor toilet and a bathroom, but I do not know when they were built. I am sure that my Uncle Ted would have only been renting it, but I do not know if they belonged to the mines or the local authority. I donít know if there is much more I can tell you about those far off days, I havenít been back there since 1961 But I expect it has changed a lot. I think those old houses on Whinney Hill are gone now, but Silver Street is still there as is East Vale Drive. I donít know about the school as it was old then, so perhaps now itís gone.


 Two things I always wanted then was to be like all the other boys, and have my hair shaved off with just a fringe in front. Also to wear clogs with the iron on the bottom. My mum would not let me have either. Lovely memories of those far off days.  

©Roy Nixon 2006

 

 

Many thanks to Roy for sharing his life here on this site.

 

 

 

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I have no affiliation  with any Trade Union, Political body, or organization regarding the information on this site. All information on this site is Factual and correct to the extent of my knowledge. There is no intent to cause offence to any individual. Should you spot an error please let me know  and that error will be corrected.

PEASE NOTE:

This site is the result of over 7 years research, and compilation, should you wish to use any of the content for publication of literature please contact me. The poetry and life of James Ross, the story of St. Leonard's Cross, and other items on this site were compiled, and first published on this site in their present context as a study of Thrybergh. If you use this site as a source, out of courtesy, please give credit where it is due as I have done on this site where appropriate.
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