I lived in a large house on Bank Side Street, Leeds. The house had two floors at the front and three floors at he back. A large attic room and massive cellar that gave me the creeps! We had a large rear garden that backed onto a beck (stream). The garden had an air raid shelter which I used as a den!
Trams used to go up and down Roundhay Road into Leeds City centre on a regular basis. I used to go and sit on the wall at the top of the street and watch the World go by! Them day’s wasn’t much trouble around and kids where quite safe! On one occasion I found a Churchill Crown on the pavement, it was as big has my hand! I rushed to the sweet shop and spent the lot. They where so many sweets, I felt like a millionaire
They was a short cut to the shop from Bank Side Street to Roundhay Road, you had to shuffle along a wall a bricks width with the beck behind you. I did it on numerous occasions. However, one day I slipped and fell backwards into the beck it was probably a meter deep there but it frightened me to death. I didn’t do it again!
I had a bath once a week. We had a tin bath which was set up in front of the fire in the living room where I could watch the black and white telivision, whilst having a good soak! Eventually we had a new bathroom fitted in the creepy cellar no more telly soaks! I didn’t want to hang around the cellar to long!
One morning in 1958 there was a lot of commotion at home I had an early bath, best clothes on, haircut. Something important was happening. We rushed to the top of the street to find thousands of people roaming around I thought to myself hope there not looking for that Churchill Crown I found a week before. Then I was hoisted onto my dad’s shoulders, given a flag to wave then it all started. Thousands of people erupted in song and flag waving then a procession of black cars drove by, one was all lit up with a figure sat in the back dressed in all white, waving at everybody. Little did I know then that twenty five years down the line I would be having a one to one with this same person, The Queen.
In 1959 the trams gave way to buses! The tram tracks where either pulled up or covered over with new tarmac. The sparks, creaking grinding noises I loved had gone!
My playground was Roundhay Park. We had a large Lake (Waterloo) for fishing and boating, a Lido for swimming. Good walks and loads of trees to climb we played around the castle (folley) and catch stickle backs, minnows, cray fish and bull heads in the stream that ran from the Upper Lake to Waterloo Lake.
We had gas lamps either side of the street to lighten the area at night. You could shimmy up the gas lamp and swing of the lamp post arms, another trick was to give them a good kick and it used to light up early!
On the corner of Bank Side Street and the junction with Roundhay Road was a Club where I used to go in with my father it had two snooker tables. I was just big enough to see over the top! I would roll the snooker balls into the pockets off the cushion, great fun!
I looked forward to Fridays dads pay day. He would always bring chocolate home and I would have fresh orange juice that came in a medicine bottle! Something to do with rationing I think.
My Nan and Auntie Sandra lived on Leopold Street. I had a few good birthday parties there. An old West Indian lady lived on the corner, all the young kids in the street used to call round for sweets. She had a little party trick! She would cover us all over with a sheet and tap us on the head with a walking stick, once tapped you would come out from under the sheet last one to get tapped won extra sweets, then we do it all over again until the sweets had all gone. There was another great play area - Potternewton Park.
In 1959 we moved from North Leeds to South Leeds, again a very large house that backed onto Cross Flats Park. Fantastic, I could access the park through a hole in the hedge and it was just 50 meters to the swings, roundabouts, slides, sea saws and long boat. Cross Flats School was a skip and jump away, loved it. We had a proper bathroom, but still had a creepy cold cellar! The park was pitch black at night. However, a gas lamp was positioned in front of my bedroom window so it gave my room a warm glow at night.
On Saturdays we would go shopping into Leeds. First stop Lewis’s for a nickerboker glory. My mum and dad would place the order for me and Nina. We would wait in anticipation for this special treat, a glorious tribute to the magic of ice cream. Served in a tall glass it took some time to eat, we would relish every bit, never rushed and never left a bit! Later we would be dropped off at the cinema in Leeds City Square for the cartoon afternoon matinee. Mum and Dad would carry on shopping we would watch Donald Duck, Micky Mouse, Little Rascals, Keystone Cops and many others. Mum and Dad would collect us later, what a great day out!
We live there for four years before moving to the Sunny Views which was about two miles away. A modern house situated on top of the hill with a large garden and no cellar! My bedroom was on the front and you could see Leeds United’s football pitch from my window! This was the start of my football period. I was eleven years old and I got a job at Eland Road selling football programs. This got me a free ticket and a bit of cash. I started to play a bit with some friends and played for a few local teams.
One weekend I built a bogie (soap box trolley). My sister’s old pram wheels a bit of wood and washing line to steer the thing. Maiden voyage down Sunny View’s hill was a nightmare. This hill is steep! At the bottom had to steer left to avoid someone’s garden, going to fast bogie goes one way and I am airborne. Funny when you are in trouble it’s always in slow motion. It seemed to take an age before I landed in a heap battered and bruised no broken bones, the bogie’s a right off but no other serious damage.
During the school holidays me and David Higgins my friend from next door would go to Middleton Woods on our bikes. This was a fantastic place to go we would spend hours fishing, walking, tree swings and making dens. Some times we would walk there and come back across the old coal slag heaps the ground was red hot. Apparently some of the pit shafts where on fire!
More to Come