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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 precarious drop!

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 the vicinity.

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.

Ken Rhodes
12 May 2007


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