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Knottingley and Ferrybridge Memories



Photographs supplied by Paul Dean

Paul Dean as a youngster Paul Dean

After seeing your site on the Internet, I thought you might be interested in my recollections of Knottingley. Well here they are, a bit muddled maybe but someone might find them interesting or they might jog a few memories.

I was born in 1953, my parents lived at number 2 Island Court, which was right on the river bank at the bottom of Aire Street.  The river was at the time of my childhood how can I say interesting, as it changed colour on a regular basis, red, blue, brown etc, and there were days when there was soap suds blowing down the street. As a youngster I can remember summer times when everyone would sit out on the banks on an evening because basically that was all the entertainment you could afford, there was not many 'tellies' then. Sometimes the men would swim across the river to the meadow side sometimes bringing back `water hens eggs` The only photo I have from this time is me sitting on the river bank in my cowboy outfit with my dog, ironically after this photo I found out I had been sitting in an ants nest.

Well can anyone remember Aire Street? From our house you walked up street, there was Robinson's chemist, can't remember the next few shops but there was a pub called the Buck with green ceramic tiles on the walls outside. Tom Taylor's butchers shop always sticks in my mind, at the side was a tunnel leading to his slaughter house. One day a week a delivery of animals would come, next day he would slaughter and butcher them, then they would be in his shop window, you don't see that now. Moving up there was the Harbro which was a toy shop, I can't remember the owner well but the assistant was Edith Shaw who eventually lived with her mum and dad in the new block of flats we all moved to. Further up there was another chemist this time it was Ken Sharpe's, then a paper shop, somewhere up there as well was a foundry which was set back down a tunnel I believe, the road pulled in a bit then as you went up to the post office but here shops were on both sides of the street now, opposite the post office there was Laurie Cooks barbers shop (all the same hair styles) 2/6d. Carvers shop which sold parts for bikes and always smelled of cigar smoke because that's what he always smoked, further up was Kings Row eventually occupied with Gypsies, right at the top was the library which was just round the corner (Pettits corner I believe) named after the other butcher who used to have his slaughter house across the road in between the church and the corner pub (Sailors Home) the road carried on then to the town hall corner. Where Low Cross flats are now was the air raid shelters. Just before the town hall corner a little road joined Aire Street called the Croft. If you walked back down here it ran at the back of Aire Street and had many snickets leading into the street. Right at the bottom of the croft it joined Cow Lane where the Cherry Tree pub is, on this corner there was Toddies motor bike shop. Following round back up Aire Street there was a rather posh bake house and tea room I believe, Whittlam's shop, across the road the Palace cinema, Amos's garage, Norah's sweet shop, Claytons fish and chip shop, Harry Clay's grocery shop, Lillian's shop then you were more or less back to where you started. Ship Lane ran at the back of the Palace and was where my granny lived, Emily Taylor if anyone can remember her, and some where between her house and ours someone had some geese because I can always remember being chased by them each time I went there, I think they belonged to someone called wait for it `Barney Rhodes` I was always told they were from Barney Rhodes's farm. I could never remember him and for years it was just something in my mind when one night we were in the local club (the new central club or Trap as it was known) when this man said to me, "Hello Paul do you know who I am" and I just replied off the top of my head "Barney Rhodes" and he said "Yes!".

I thought I could remember all the places on Aire Street but I can't, some keep coming back as I write this, I hope someone will read it and say he's missed out so and so's shop or no this was there.  I can remember the first real film I saw at the Palace. My man took me to see Hercules and I believe it was Steve Reeve who played the lead, I also saw Sean Connery in a film before he was famous, it was about Irish leprechauns.  I've forgotten what it was called.  I'll have a look at my mothers to see if I can find some photos to send in, and will try and send some more words in later about school, C of E Primrose Vale, Miss Elliot, Miss Helm, Madge Fox and Mrs. Myers. Can anyone remember them, 36 to a class and country dancing in the playground!, I was only little and used to always get put with a girl called Mary Lister who was head and shoulders bigger than me. When it came to swinging round I always ended up with scabby knees, ( I'm sure Mary turned out to be a great person) This would have been early 1960's.

Hope this is of interest to someone and brings a few memories back.

Paul Dean
14 April 2001

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