7. NEW DRESSES, FLOWERS AND DECORATED PRAMS (1/2)

Ron & Margery Milton

St Mary’s is obviously the main church. Holy Trinity was built in 1909 – where the leisure centre is – that’s where it was originally. That was like a big hall with a gallery round and it was always said that the architect had plans at the same time for a theatre somewhere and he got the plans mixed up and that’s why it was such a big hall with the gallery round – now what truth’s in it I don’t know but that’s what we’ve always been told.

I can remember Hurrell, when we were youngsters. Hurrell was here during the First World War, and Griffiths was at Holy Trinity. They were both in the parishes during the war. I always remember Griffiths, when I was in the choir, listening to him reading out the list of casualties that had happened. Griffiths was quite a gentle, kind man. In fact, he was his own worst enemy in many ways because he was always helping people, in those days there was no keeping of accounts in the church, the vicar had the money. Whatever money came in and he used the money – I don’t mean he used it fraudulently – he used a lot of it particularly during that war to help families, and it wasn’t until after that that they called a parish council to attend to those sort of affairs.

St Mary’s Sunday School used to go up to where the John Cleveland is now, up Butts Lane, and in some fields…they would do more or less the same sort of thing. Once a year and then you’d have what they called a Christmas Sunday School treat. In which you’d go to the hall, you took your own mug for your tea and then again you’d have bread and jam and a piece of cake. Then after you’d finished your tea you’d take your mug back home and then you went back for games. You imagine doing that now.

In those days the treats, as they were called, were the main attraction annually. The free church treats were a big day. They were always the first Saturday in July and each chapel would have a tableau, a huge lorry or something with a biblical tableau on it and there was quite a bit of competition, and ill-feeling unfortunately, between the chapels over these because they were judged. All the little girls used to have a new dress for that day and they’d have garlands of flowers, they used to go round the houses collecting flowers to make them – and perhaps young mothers would have a baby in a pram and that would all be decorated…anything was decorated. It was very competitive.

Ron & Margery Milton

We used to meet at what was the parish hall then, at the bottom of Trinity Lane and we’d march to the top of what is now Hollycroft, singing ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ more often than not, and then Pickerings vans would come and we’d all get in the back and be taken to Wykin, into some farmer’s fields and that was it. There’d be a sweet stall and then you’d have your tea which consisted mainly of a bit of bread and butter or bread and jam and a piece of cake and we played some games.

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Ron & Margery Milton

There was the Co-op gala. That was on a Saturday once in the summer and you’d meet in Castle Street and be given a bag with your tea in it – quite a substantial one from them – and we used to go out of the town walking, of course. I don’t know where we finished up, some field somewhere, have organised games, races, that sort of thing. That was quite a thing.

August 26 was the big day – the Horsefair. All the shops were boarded up and they used to run the horses up and down in what is Lancaster Road and up towards Station Road. One horse was run up and down and it was bought and when it got to the top of Clarendon Road it collapsed and that was it…it had been too much.

Tinkers used to bring them you see, brush tinkers and people like that. I know some of the lads up Priesthills Road used to have a whip, they were some of the better off ones, they just played with it, it was really quite a day…it was quite an event. That’s why that bit from Station Road down to Lancaster Road is called The Horsefair.

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Albert Attenborough

The first holiday…the first time I saw the sea was when I was 14 and that was because someone took us out, some organisation, and I think it were the Co-op, organised a trip. They took us all in buses…that was Skegness. You wondered what the devil it were – just amazed at all that water. We’d never been, you couldn’t go any further than Hinckley, because you couldn’t afford it.

 

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