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Home » Memories » 1946-1960 » Alan Hill, Guiseley Childhood – 1947

Alan Hill, Guiseley Childhood – 1947

Alan Hill Undated

AH1 – Alan Hill.

Title Guiseley Childhood
Date 1947
Location Guiseley
Written By Alan Hill
Comment Alan, His Mother and Sister, undated.

“At 2 days old I was brought to live at Sconce Bank, Guiseley. Sconce Bank was the bottom of Park Road about 70 yards from the Yorkshire Rose pub (then “The Commercial”).
At about age three, I remember the row of outside toilets at the back across the cobbled yard.
At age 5, I was sent 2 doors up to “Farmer Strickland” to get hot milk in a stone jug straight from the cow.
Farmer Strickland’s fields were where Silverdale is now and I remember sitting in the hay field watching the men load hay on a horse and cart.
When my mother got fed up of me she used to say “Go and play between the railway lines”.
A joke (I think), but I did, and I used to put old pennies on the rails and watch them squish out really long and thin.
Then we moved to 7 Edward Street which was close to where Morrison’s sea food counter is now.
Only 2 houses had been built – numbers 9 and 7, so the land for 5 and 3 and 1 made up our huge garden right in the centre of town. Our tenant, Vic Burley, lived in number 9.
He had a Jaguar with no engine and standing on bricks – and he polished it with pride every Sunday morning”.
“My early teens would be 1959 onwards.
My residence in Edward Street was 1951 to 1962.

After that I lived on Nethercliffe Crescent when Edward Street was cleared ready for sale to Morrison’s.

I went to school on Oxford Road (infants), then Greenbottom (Primary) and then Aireborough Grammar school 1959 to 1964.

My mother’s mother lived on Cross Street which ran from near where Coopers wine bar is now, to Park Road.
That’s why it was called Cross Street.

As kids we used to play down the fields between Green Bottom and Coach Road and down to Esholt.
We would go down there alone at age 6 – quite normal.
At age 13, I bought a 12 bore magnum shotgun – quite legal.

Alan Hill Undated

AH2 – Barrett Street on my granny’s 80th birthday (held at the co-op hall).
Cross Street is behind us and I am to the left of her.
The Barrett’s, Milner’s, Hills, Holmes, Pouncey tribes combined – all Yeadon/Guiseley/Otley/Menston families.

Courting couples didn’t have cars so much as now so the woods were full of couples ‘at it’ – quite interesting to a kid.

I used to go on trains to Morecambe from Guiseley Station – via Ilkley – over the bridge which crossed Ilkley high street (Brook Street.)

Yeadon had a railway connection and there were wooden crossing gates on the road Ghyll Royd ? which ran from Mc Donald’s (now) to Silverdale.
It is more of a track now but was driveable then.
Regularly, I would find the crossing gates smashed to matchsticks by runaway rail trucks from Yeadon – so I always looked before I ran across.

As an early teenager I would help my dad unload railway trucks at Guiseley station.
He was a coalman for the Co-op (Now Coopers wine bar).
We used to bag up the coal with Walter Melgram and weigh it into hundredweight bags.
Walter was black, and had been a pro boxer on the boxing booths – taking on local drunks who thought they could beat him.
His face was covered in scars from all the fights.
At the end of the day, me and my dad were very black from the coal dust but Walter was whiter than us because the coal dust didn’t stick to his shiny white scars.
We used to sit in the trucks and laugh about that with him.

Alan Hill Undated

AH3 – Alan Hill.

When the co-op was closed, me and my dad shoveled all the coal out of their cellar.
I enjoyed shoveling – still do.
As a teenager I was part of the “Cinders gang”.
Too young to be a teddy boy but I hung out with them.
A certain member (still much alive) had a flick knife and beer and later became a senior professional with Leeds City Council!
We had a bonfire on Barrett Street – which ran from the lower part of Morrison’s car park to the Methodist Chapel – the cemetery is still marked opposite Springfield Road end.
I was sent to be a “Primitive Methodist” on Barrett street , but at age eleven, I had to foreswear women and drink, and so I resigned.
Guess I was too primitive.

I can remember all of lower Guiseley as though it was yesterday – I have ‘mind pictures’ of every path and street and car and even the nettles and flowers.

When you went ‘down the fields’ from Greenbottom (I believe the footpath is still there but diverted), there was a field on the left and I can remember the tepee shaped hay stacks and the pitchforks and the labourers loading the horse and cart – that must have been 1952 ish – still had a ration card then.
There is a syphon which takes that stream under the railway and it pops up near the nursing home on Ghyll Royd.

I can remember every pole on the path (to stop bikes) and every electricity pylon with tar painted on the bottom, and every stone fallen out of the wall and the little stream, and the hawthorn bushes and the rise of the land towards Silverdale and the old disused cottage cellars opposite the bowling green on Silverdale and the concrete bomb shelters behind Shires.

I can remember the phone box on Otley Road near Green bottom and the push button A and button B – and the steps from there down to Park Road.
I can remember the DP’s (displaced persons from Europe) living on Otley road – Yvonne Wasack.”
I can remember Harry Corbett’s son Peter being made a “sixer ” at the cub hut – it should have been me so I resigned.
I can remember the bubble gum machine chained up at the bottom of Springfield Road and a ginger kid called Ingham taking the rap for shaking it – none of us had red hair so we were not recognized.
Wish I could remember what I had for tea yesterday !
P.S. here is my mum’s mum – Martha Ellen Barrett at her home on Cross Street opposite Coopers wine bar.

Pre- NHS so no teeth.
She bathed me in a tin bath many times.

I grew up right there off Otley Road – I had 200 hens and 50 rabbits and lots of guns in my long garden – all within 50 yards of Morrison’s front door. (now)

The ’spare land’ was bought by the co-op to build a huge transport garage (where the bottom of Morrison’s car park is now), and long pieces of re-enforced concrete laid there for many years. That is where the cinders gang had their bonfires.

There was petroleum store with 8 foot high pipes to vent to fumes and big underground tanks full of petrol.

Our tenant at 9 Edward Street was a Spiv – a bus driver who stole the company petrol which he kept in open tin baths in the cellar ! He by-passed the gas meter with a rubber pipe and ran his several gas fires without flues. His house and our house stunk of petrol fumes and waste gas from the fires.

His house lights were powered by a cable hooked up to the street lights ! He kept an illegal .45 army revolver under his pillow as so many people were owed money by him. One day his little kid went to Mrs Lee’s house on park Road with the gun. He pointed it at her and said “bang, bang you are dead” She took a proper look at it, realized it was real and took it off him.

His wife got cancer so he abandoned her and shacked up in a caravan at Hawksworth with a young girlfriend !

He had a Jaguar with no engine and polished it every Sunday.

He kept bantams in his garden which had to sleep in the hedge as he was too lazy to provide a shed – they woke my dad up at 4am every day – especially Sunday. My dad came swaying back from the Regent one Saturday night and put his arm in the bush, and wrung the cockerel’s neck and shoved it back in the bush.

Next day our tenant told my dad he found his cockerel dead in the bush and it had obviously suffered a heart attack. Oh dear said my dad.

Sleepy Guiseley wasn’t sleepy on Edward Street”.

April 2013.

Previous Comments:

I hope you read these comments of mine Alan, much of what you describe I remember well, particularly the old coach road, and Esholt woods. There used to be a Bradford Corporation Game Keeper who patrolled the woods with a shotgun, we called him ‘trigger itchy’, because if he heard children’s voices he would loose off a couple of cartridges in the air for no other good reason than to scare the living daylights out of us. He would be behind bars for doing that nowadays..
Walter Melgram and Alf Richardson (The Club Steward) were both friends of my dad Syd Walker, who was an amateur boxer in his younger days, Alf Richardson was a Strongman in his day, he used to bend iron bars and break 6 inch nails for fun.
Walter Melgram was the bouncer (doorman) at Yeadon Town Hall on Saturday nights and also at Rawdon Drill hall. The strange patchwork appearance of his skin was always something he laughed about and he was known to say that ” they never stood me up reyt afoor they sprayed me”.
A very handy chap to have on your team if you needed help and a great sense of humour with the ability to laugh at himself, a very popular and well liked man.
21 May 2013.

I do believe I was at AGS in the same year as Alan Hill, I can remember going to his house at Green Bottom. I remember The small pen and the chickens and rabbits and his love of Air Rifles. His school nick name was Percy, mine was Sid and the chap with the ginger hair who shook the Bubble Gum machine to bits was David Ingham or “Ding” as we knew him, also in the same school year at AGS and all born in 1947.
Alan’s description of the area around Green Bottom in the late fifties and early sixties is as vivid in my mind as it is in his.
Our route to his home in Green Bottom after school in the summer was out of the AGS school fields on to the cobbles at the bottom of Park view, then down the footpath to the beck, along the flagstone path beside the beck over the single track Yeadon Branch line,then turn right along the old coach road and follow it on to come out at Green bottom near the new pub,Talisman? I forget now. Just in front of Alan’s Place, a little nearer to green bottom was a small working men’s Club,Guiseley Factory Workers Club? we were allowed in there because Alan’s dad was a member and had arranged it with the steward at the time. We were allowed to play snooker and drink fruit juice, but no Alcohol. The steward at the time was a chap called Alf Richardson, he was a friend of Alan’s dad and also a friend of my dad, so he kept an eye on us.
I lost touch with Alan when our school days ended and had no Idea what happened to him or where he ended up,so reading his post was a pleasant surprise which stirred up some happy schoolboy memories.
Excellent post.
Thanks Alan.(Percy)
21 May 2013

I also lived at Sconce Bank from circa 1950. We had the Holmes family on one side who had two boys,(John and Gilbert) and on the other side was Ada Kitson and her mother. Ada would get the Beano from Lee’s paper shop at Green Bottom, and then used to pass them on to me. Until I read Alan’s post, I thought I had lived in Sconce Bank from 1950, but we were two doors from Mr Strickland, so I am wondering if we lived in the same house as Alan but later. I remember Alan, although he was older than me. I remember his father better, as when I left school I went to work for the Co-op and he was a driver at our local branch.
I remember Walter Melgrem fondly as he was always great with us kids. He told me that he used to box under the name ‘Kid Chocolate’.
Thanks for the memories.
01 July 2013.

Consolidated by Jack Brayshaw. 22 August 2022.
Last updated: 22 August 2022.

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