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PICKHILL GARTH

ADDED 17 AUGUST 2007

Contrary to some recent comments about the Digest Magazine, I think it is excellent value for £2 per month. People pay more than that for weekly periodicals without batting an eyelid, and I might add, not half as entertaining as the Digest Magazine. I enjoyed Jean Norfolk's letter about old Knottingley and thought I might add a note about living in Pickhill Garth, just off Aire Street. We shared one outside toilet with the house that was back to back with us. We had a swing fixed onto the toilet door frame, which was great for us kids but inconvenient for those needing an urgent visit - we were forever having to get off the swing as I recall. The toilet was a WC type which we took for granted, so after getting married and going to live in Whitley Bridge with my husbandís mum, as many newly married couples similarly did in those days, it came as a great surprise to discover that earth type closets were still in use; quite a culture shock for the early 1960's.

Back to Pickhill Garth which had a large enclosed yard for the whole row, this provided a handy wall for support when I learned to ride a bike. The bike was my dad's old full sized bike and the only way I could reach the pedals was by putting one leg under the crossbar which was quite a balancing act. I persevered and mastered this method which came in handy when my mother's relatively well-off sister gave her a three-quarter size ladies bike which I shared with my sister Tessa. Riding this bike was a doddle of a job compared to dad's old bike.

When I was sixteen years old I got a job in a malting laboratory in Pontefract and found the bus fares to and from Knottingley took a large slice of my wage, so I bought a bright red racing bike at half a crown a week - at last I owned my own bike. Not only did I have transport for work but I could now also explore the surrounding countryside.

The maltster's I worked for was W.J. Robson whose offices were in a large old house (now demolished and redeveloped) at the bottom of Finkle Street, Pontefract. The lab was upstairs and I remember we had ground coffee made in an earthenware jug - quite an innovation in 1956. The office staff used the old kitchen in the basement for tea making and even had a weekly biscuit allowance. A very happy band of workers. Good days!!

A Mr. Ken Depledge was a member of the office staff. I mention this because the name Depledge was mentioned in the Digest Magazine article on the liquorice growers and I wonder if there was a connection, as it is an unusual name.

On a final note, I was saddened to see the demolition of the old Lime Keel pub in Racca Green - another piece of old Knottingley bites the dust. As youngsters, me and my sister spent hours waiting outside the Lime Keel for my mam and dad, mother regularly supplying us with crisps and pop to keep us quiet. What would the social workers make of that today?

Maud Hall (nee Stones)
17 August 2007


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