GROWING UP IN ENGLAND LANE
ADDED 12 MAY 2007
After avidly reading Peter's Smith’s article, 'Growing
Up In England Lane' in issue 44 of the Knottingley Digest, April 2007,
I feel that I must comment on what to me is a wonderful story. Just like
Peter, I too grew up in England Lane and being born in 1945 it makes me
some 10 years younger than him. I wonder what changed during this time
span. The memories that Peter evokes are still quite clear in my mind and
all the kids of my generation must have done all the same sort of things
and appreciated all the wonderful natural features and characters that
were still around. I grew up in the newer council houses and along with
many of my mates I was part of a first occupier family. This must have
been around 1948. I can remember the BB banking and some of the older lads
rigging up a swing where you held on a rope and swung from the ‘Isle of
Man’ returning back to the banking slope. Also a wire rope slide was
rigged up across the old Harker's quarry, I believe by Harry Limbert the
father of three England Laner’s, namely, Dave, Lawrence and Peter.
Incidendently Dave married Peter Smith's youngest sister.
I seem to remember that an old piece of bent steel (an old large spoon)
straggled the wire rope and you hung there until you had slid across the
quarry from the railway fence to a tree on the other side; quite a
The lime quarry was coming towards it's natural life and the lime sacks
used by the kids on the slides were scarce, needless to say we improvised
even to the extent of wearing out our trousers.I notice from Peter's
photograph that short trousers were the order of the day.
The quarries were teaming with wildlife and birds, some of which are now
extremely rare. There were always the blackbirds and song thrushes in
abundance, while Whitethroats, or Nettle Creepers as we called them, were
plentiful in the "tip". Yellow Hammers or Scribblers, Linnets and
Greenfinches (we called them Green Linnets) were ubiquitous. Stock Doves
and Wood Pigeons were regular nesters as were Hedge Sparrows called
‘Collides’, and Lapwings or ‘Peewits’ were always in the adjacent fields.
I could go on forever. I understand that the Great Crested Newts, which
were plentiful in the quarry ponds during the 1950's, now have protected
status. The kids always called them Askards, though I’m not too sure of
the correct spelling.
An old character who was usually around the quarries tethering his pony
was Navvy Bob Simpson. You didn't go near Navy Bobs pony when he was in
I also remember Charlie and Walter Foulds. Charlie had a wonderful cure
for boils which involved rubbing fresh cowpat onto the infected area. I
believe it worked for Colin Goulding who is the grandson of the George
Goulding mentioned by Peter.
I can remember Faers' railway gatehouse later to become occupied by a
pigeon fancier called Roly Robinson. We called him ‘One Eye Roly’. I
believe he had a daughter who married Freddie Vickers’ another England
Lane character of which many stories abound, including challenging for the
world raw egg eating championship.
Of course it has been well documented about Jackie Emmerson’s escape were
he was stuck in the chimney of the White Swan Inn which resulted in his
nickname of ‘Bunghole’. A good friend of mine called Kenny Milton was the
estate joker. Kenny could reel the jokes and stories off for hours on end;
a truly funny person. Even a dog obtained a nickname. It was owned by
another very funny person called Peter Clough and when diesels replaced
steam hauled trains on the Goole line any noise sounded would result in
the dog giving chase adjacent to the cricket field. It was then named
‘Diesel Dog’ by all the England Lane kids.
There must have been some generation gap between myself and Peter,
however, for a period after the war until the late 1950's, time must have
stood still in a magic timewarp in England Lane.
12 May 2007