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Knottingley and Ferrybridge Memories

MEMORY AND VERY FIRM HAND


The following article, which featured in a local newspaper, was submitted to us by Mrs. Joyce Bell

Eighty-eight year old, Mrs. D. Lightowler, of The Bungalow, Marsh End, Knottingley, displays a remarkable memory, and a very firm hand, in a letter appreciating  our recent feature on Christ Church, of which she has been a member since childhood. She writes:

A great gap has been put in the lives of the older members at the passing of our beloved Church.  My history of it goes further back than the writer's - to the days when the Rev J. S. Fowler was Vicar.

The Church then was always a treat for churchgoers on Sunday, and always a warm and friendly atmosphere was among the congregation.  Many members have passed away since those days, but there are still a few left who remember the annual parish tea, concert, and dance held in the Town Hall.

Tea was supervised by ladies of the congregation and the concert was mostly given by local talent.  Always there was a delightful sketch by the Dramatic Society with artistes William F. Howard, D. Jackson and P. Thompson.  A dance until midnight ended the evening.

Now we come to Aire Street.  I remember when it would be crowded with shoppers, and the cry of street traders would welcome you.  The voices of Mr. J. Wray with his bargains of fish at give-away prices and Mr. J. Doubtfire, with his rabbit, onions and potatoes for a shilling, could be heard.

Yes, things were very cheap in those days, but money and work were scarce.  There were few luxuries - a loaf of bread cost only 3d. and a pint of milk 11/2d.  Most people were very hard-put.  The only work was at Bagley's glassworks and the chemical works - both a fraction of the size they are today.

The town is now prospering, but the old friendship has gone.  The baths are a great attraction to young children - but the games of old such as battledore and shuttlecock, whip and top, clicks on the doorstep, have gone.

Do you remember the mussel boat coming to Cow Lane Bridge, and Johnny Swales, the town crier, acquainting people, and the majority running with their buckets for a cheap 3d. worth to give the family a meal?

The great event of Knottingley was the Feast, held on The Flatts in the last week in July and full of amusements.  There was a show with dancing girls at the front, switch-back railway with a beautiful organ, and a bazaar where visitors would buy gifts to take home.

There were numerous dolly stalls, side-shows and the Vickers Theatre, which stood at the top of The Flatts for about three weeks, until they had run out of plays such as East Lynne, The Gypsy Bully, and Jane Shaw.

Fine artistes included Mary Vickers, Emma Pool, J. Foulding and last, but not least, the well loved comedian Harry Ives, who used to come on after every performance to thank people for their presence and conclude with a laughable farce.

Yes, memories of by-gone years still ring in the ears of the older folk, but time marches on and progress must continue, though when we think of the vandalism and destruction that takes place, we cannot think this is the same old 'town of yore'.

We can only sigh and whisper, 'Those were The Days'.

Reproduced from a local newspaper cutting submitted by Mrs. Lightowler's daughter, Mrs. Joyce Bell

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