MY CHILDHOOD MEMORIES
Fred and Mary Bugg moved to Knottingley from Castleford in 1938, when I
was two years old.
into a terraced cottage in Cattle Laithe, which was situated at the
South of Knottingley, approximately one and half miles from the all the
later, my sister Margaret was born, followed two years later by a
younger brother Terry. Finally our youngest sister Christine was born
when I was twelve years old. I remember that Margaret, Terry and I went
to stay with our Aunt and her family in Airedale, whilst our mum gave
birth to Christine.
I had a
happy childhood. All the children from the other cottages and the farms
in the area played together. We had to make our own entertainment back
then, and made up games such as "Kick can". The rules of
"Kick can" were simple, just kick a can as far as you could,
then another one of us would run and collect it and place it on a wall.
Whilst this was all going on the other kids would run off and hide, and
it was the job of the person with the can to go and find them all. Other
games we played were "Jack-Jack shine a light", which was
similar to "Kick can" in that it was a hide and seek type of
game, but everyone had a flash light which they had to flash to the
person who was chosen to find them, so they knew where to look.
game of "Jack-Jack shine the light", one boy, who was six or
seven, went missing. Everyone from Cattle Laithe turned out to search
for him and he was eventually found by a young man called Bert Skinner,
fast asleep in a rhubarb patch. I won’t name the youngster to save him
embarrassment as he still lives locally.
There was a
small wood nearby where we used to play, the trees were all given names,
like Barn Tree, Queen Tree, King Tree and favourite tree. Many a happy
hour was spent climbing those threes, and the youngster who fell asleep
in the rhubarb patch once kicked a bee’s nest out of one of these
trees and ended up badly stung all over his arms and legs. I remember
his mother painting his stings with dolly blue, which she used to put in
her laundry, but which seem to do the trick on bee stings as well.
There was a
large grass field belonging to a local farmer called Harry Fisher. Mr.
Fisher allowed us to play on the field and we named it "the
valley". It had a huge hill where we used to sledge down on various
arrays of home made sledges, made out of roof tiles and cardboard boxes.
used to play in the "gold mines", which were limestone cliffs
where we climbed up and down. One of our pastimes during the bird
nesting season would be to collect eggs, which we kept in shoe boxes
lined with cotton wool.
making scheme was to collect Rosehips to take to school. We got three
old pennies per pound for them and they were later made into rosehip
syrup cough medicine.
went hungry as children, even during the war years. My mother, along
with the rest of the mothers, made sure we got plenty to eat. They made
some good meals from the produce our fathers used to grow. Everyone kept
a few chickens and some had pigs. My father was one of those who kept
pigs and each year he applied for a permit to butcher a pig. A local
butcher Fred Smith, who had a shop in Aire Street, would come over and
cut the pig up, salt it and hang it under the stairs. It was a massive
event for us children as it meant we would get the pigs bladder, which
we would dry out and blow up to make a football.
reached school age, I attended a school in the "Holes" next
door to the Duke of York Pub. From there I moved to Ferrybridge School,
which is still there today, but is now a small industrial estate. At the
age of eleven I had to go to Pontefract Boys secondary school, on the
site where Morrison's supermarket now stands. The girls attended the
Girls secondary school which was on the site where Mamma Mia Italian
restaurant is situated.
All of us
children from the Ferrybridge schools went to these two schools. We were
issued with a contract pass to travel on the local buses, meaning that
those of us from Cattle Laithe left home at about 8am each morning to
walk down Bone Mill Lane to catch our bus. We used to bring with us a
gallon can and leave it at Glasbys garage where it was filled with
paraffin for our lamps. We would collect the cans on our way home from
worked at Jackson’s Glassworks on shift work and one of my jobs from
the age of ten was to feed his pigs and hens if he was at work. I
remember on one occasion he allowed me to buy three young chicks for
nine old pence. Two of the chicks died but I sold the surviving one to
my fathers sister for Christmas dinner. I received the princely sum of
fifty shillings, not a bad investment for nine pence.
childhood memories are happy ones, our family did suffer some bad times.
My youngest sister Christine contracted Polio at the age of fourteen
months. She was admitted to Pinderfields Hospital Wakefield where she
remained for some considerable time. My parents used to leave home early
every Saturday morning to visit Christine returning home around six in
the evening. It was my job to keep and eye on my brother and sister, but
due to the nature of the community in which we lived we were given our
dinner by one of our neighbours.
As a reward
for behaving whilst our parents were away we each received a treat. I
got the Eagle comic, Margaret got a girls comic and Terry a small lead
farm animal. Eventually, much to everyone’s delight Christine returned
home. She had to wear callipers on her legs but never once complained.
Indeed to this day she has never complained about her disability.
Laithe was a small community where everyone was friendly and would help
each other any way they could. Once a family from London came to live in
one of the cottages. Mrs. Wakefield and her children were moved from
London to escape the bombing, and although it couldn’t have been more
different for them in Cattle Laithe, they soon settled down to our way
of life, finally returning to London when Mr. Wakefield was demobbed
from the Army.
Bone Mill Lane; well it got its name from the Bone Mill which once stood
there. Ferrybridge Services stands there now but back in the war years
they made glue at the Mill and I can remember seeing Rats as big as cats
running around when we passed by.
war, four buildings were erected and aeroplanes engines were tested in
them. My poor father never got any sleep when he was on the night shift
as they made so much noise and you could the see the jam pots moving
across the table from the vibrations.
bomber planes took off from Pollington Airfield we used to go outside
and watch them fly over. They would fly in a "V" formation. My
father, on his days off from the Glassworks would be on fire watch at
the Top of Jackson’s Water Tower. He told us that on their return they
would come back alone or in small groups.
We used to
have a horse and cart, and my father and his friend used to go to Selby
market on Mondays. On one of those days he took me along. On our return,
we were nearing Monk Fryston and a bomber flew overhead with its rear
end on fire. Whilst we were watching it, it crashed into Monk Fryston
woods. I found a piece of the plane and kept it under our stairs for
years. I never knew what happened to it.
had a happy childhood and I look back on it fondly. I had good parents
who loved me and my brother and sisters and looked after us well.
christened George Bugg, but changed my name by deed poll to Barker,
forty six years ago.)