A childhood filled with fond memories of early school days, the smells of the street and the red glow of Shelton Bar


I was born in Middleport at 10 30am on October 8, 1941. My father was a coal miner so he was not allowed to go to war but he was a Territorial Army member and played cornet in their band.

I was too young to remember much, until the end of the war. But what I do recall is that after the ceasefire a great big bonfire was made at the bottom end of Turpin’s entry in Slater Street, and there were lots of people all dancing around the bonfire. Everyone was so happy.

I also remember the air raid shelters in Slater Street, they would not have been much good if a bomb had dropped on the top of them. There were also horse drawn carts delivering milk and bread. There were a lot of pubs also in Middleport.

British Steel, shelton Bar logo

I remember the smell of bread being baked at the Co-op at the bottom of Slater Street. There was a smell that we used to get when the wind was blowing in a certain direction, which was the smell of the sewage works at the end of Newport Lane.

At night time there was the red glow in the sky from Shelton Bar Steel works when they emptied the molten slag into the lake we called it the ‘bogey tip’.

Further to my memories of Middleport I started to remember things from the age of four. One of the things that got me at that time was when my dear friend Eric Tinsley told me that he had got to go to school at Middleport Infant School. I’d lost my playmate, I thought.

Eric was a year older than me but as time went by it was my turn to go to Middleport Infant School.

The morning arrived and my mother took me to the school. I remember going into the classroom, it was not the nursery classroom but the first year term one.

I remember the feeling of being so lonely and abandoned that I ran out of the classroom and ran back home. My mother comforted me and took me back – I soon settled in.

I cannot remember all the teachers’ names, but one I always remember was Miss Hall. She looked so old to me.

It was great fun when all of us children had to go into the little hall and form a big circle and sort of dance along in a revolving type of skipping dance. Then came the time towards Christmas when we had to put on plays for our parents.

I was cast as ‘Simple Simon’ in one of these plays but as I walked on with a tray full of pork pies I dropped the lot on the floor. Everyone was killing themselves laughing – but not me.

I left Middleport School after infants and went to Saint Paul’s Junior School.

It was okay there and I soon settled in. One of the things I really remember is when Mr Jones, one of the teachers, asked if anyone was interested in learning to play the recorder.

I jumped at this because with my dad being a trumpet player it was in my blood to learn music.

About five or six of us volunteered and we used to practise at the old vicarage in Newcastle Street on a Thursday afternoon. The vicarage was across from where the car wash is in Newcastle Street, where Steelite is now.

As the years went by it was time to leave Saint Paul’s School and the beautiful old church and return again to my beloved old school, Middleport Secondary Modern.

But that had its problems. With my birthday being in October a few of us could not start at Middleport in September but had to start in the January after Christmas.

The problem was that all the kids in 1A were three months ahead of us and they could all do double writing, or as they say joined-up writing. We had to struggle on and learn how to do it.

Miss Adams was our teacher, she was also the maths teacher. I liked her, although she was very strict but her history lessons were brilliant. We assembled in the big hall twice a week, I think, all the classes attended and we would say prayers, sing hymns and listen to readings from the Bible.

I liked it best when we had assembly in the classroom and Miss Adams would have me playing the mouth organ while everyone was singing the rhymes.

Middleport was where I grew up and I have so many happy memories I will remember until my dying day. I still visit Middleport to have a look around. It looks very nice but it is not the Middleport that I knew and loved.”





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *