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Knottingley and Ferrybridge Memories

KNOTTINGLEY WILL ALWAYS BE 'HOME'

LYNN KING (nee Brocklehurst)

My name is Lynn King, formerly Brocklehurst. I grew up in Knottingley, which was 'home' for the first 21 years of my life.

My first recollection was sitting on our door step with a white dog, my mum later told me we lived in Victoria Terrace when the photo was taken. The next memory I can recall was moving house to 12 Forge Hill Lane. We moved house on an old pram and a lorry. I do remember taking a pram down the hill and later running around the new house. We had many happy years there and I can recollect feeding horses over the wall at the end of the garden. Many a time I was chastised for taking the daily loaf of bread and feeding it to the coal horses as they were known. I later found out that they were owned by the people who delivered the coal to the houses where we lived. I think the name of the people was Maeer but I'm not sure.

My dad was a retained fireman and many a night we would be awakened by the bell at the top of our landing, Dad would rush around for his trousers and then rush down to the fire station which If I remember right was behind where we used to live and opposite the Kings Mills factory. I can still recall the fire which engulfed the Kings Mills factory; my dad was on that one. When he went out my mum would say, "Don't worry, dad will be back soon", and she would settle me down in the front bedroom of our house which overlooked the foundry in Forge Hill Lane and I would lay awake waiting for his familiar footsteps to climb the stairs so I could finally go to sleep.

The night the Mill was alight I could not sleep and me and mum were waiting for dad to come home. We sat at the bedroom window and watched as the flames grew. I was excited but I know now that my mum must have been horrified as my dad was trying to help put the fire out. It was only 20 years later that I learned how close I had come to losing my dad that night. A hose had hit him and thrown him into the water and he was pulled out by his fellow fire-fighters. My dad, my hero, was safe and sound.

Years passed and life was normal again. Birthday parties with the cousins, nights out for mum and dad at fireman's dinners, new school and then a move. We had a new house. We moved into No. 1 Sycamore Avenue, Knottingley, on the new Warwick Estate. I was 8 years old and could not believe the house. It had new white cupboards in the kitchen and a bath so there were no more rub downs! Embarrassment can only strike if you are not expecting it and I was so happy to have a new house and bathroom and so excited to show my nanna the new bathroom that I took her up and opened the door, not realising that my dad was in the bath! I have paid for that ever since.

My new school was really nice and my teacher, Mr. Richardson, helped me to find out I liked art. This followed on to my new school when I turned 12 and went to Knottingley High School. I embraced all the new things on offer at my new school. I even got to go on the sponsored walk which enabled the school to buy a place in the countryside where we were all allowed to go and stay for 1 week. I know my parents had to pay for me to go there, but they never moaned and said they could not afford it. I remember they always managed to find whatever money was needed for school trips.

When I finally left school I started work in the Co-op. I left school on the Friday in July 1971 and started work on the following Monday morning. This led to my meeting the boy who would steal my heart, Billy Addleton. I first set eyes on him through his parents front window. I was using the swing on the green in front of his house. He was the boy with the brightest blue eyes I had ever seen and the kindest heart, which he gave to me, and which I thought would always be mine. We were inseparable for more than 5 years. Love never comes easy though and in May 1975 we broke up. I was devastated. I never thought I would ever be happy again. Funny how life treats you.

I left Knottingley in 1977 when I joined the Army and moved to Guildford. I have since moved to Milton Keynes and am happily married with four girls and am now the proud grandma of a little lady called Violet. Lots of things have happened in my life but I'm still proud to be called a girl from Knottingley. I have been back numerous times and Knottingley still brings a knot to my throat. All the old memories come flooding back; people I have known, places I have been, and the many happy and sad times I have had but to me Knottingley will always be HOME!

LYNN KING

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