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Home » Memories » Pre-1939 » My Childhood Memories, John Denison, 1926 – 1939 (9)

My Childhood Memories, John Denison, 1926 – 1939 (9)

JD27 – John Denison, 1926 – 1939.

Title My Childhood Memories
Date 1926 – 1939
Location Yeadon
Written By John Denison
Comment A further trip Dad took me on was to see the Tattoo in Roundhay Park but I rather think taking me was an excuse for him to go, I must have been quite young since I remember nothing of the show itself. Year after year at Feast Week the family plus a great many others would take themselves off to the Lancashire coast. For us it was almost always Morecambe but sometimes Bispham, never Blackpool. This was the one and only time when a train left Henshaw Station normally used for only goods and bringing coal for consumption in the mills. For obvious reasons it was called ‘The Ghost Train’ and would pick up other passengers at Guiseley. Memory wipes out little things so I don’t know much about the holiday except once building a sand speedboat.

My Childhood Memories – 1926 – 1939

Before Christmas there were two events, Bonfire and Mischievous Nights the latter being overtaken by Halloween, we did not dress up just went round playing tricks.
Adults usually had enough sense not to respond to taps on the window caused by a button on a piece of cotton operated from a hiding place some distance away after which we ran.
‘Buzzing’ drainpipes had to cease with the outcome of the war.
This was created by lightly stuffing paper up the bottom end of the spout the lighting it.
Dependent upon the length or diameter of the pipe different pitches and volume would be produced.
Pipes were then made of cast iron so it would be inadvisable for present day children to try this with plastic pipes.

Bonfire Night was good for me since it was also my birthday which meant that I would have bought extra fireworks from cash presents.
Different neighbourhood’s would have their own bonfire and ‘chumping’ began in early October.
This involved finding dead tree branches and anything else made of wood which would burn.
It was considered acceptable to raid other bonfire sites, I recall a gang of us going to the Cricket Field where we ‘lifted’ several branches then had to drag them all the way to Wilson’s Field where our bonfire was being built.
We would also go around door-knocking asking for unwanted items.
I, with a mate, went to my Great Uncle Harry who gave us a large heavily carved armchair which I could visualize on top of the bonfire with the guy sitting in it.
It was not to be.
On seeing it my Dad declared it too good to burn and, for many years, it graced the living room becoming his chair.
It was later relegated to the front cellar where it survived ‘for donkeys years’.

JD28 – John Denison, 1926 – 1939.

“Menfolk from the vicinity would build the bonfire so that it could be anything from 12 to 15 feet high with a small tunnel built in through which it could be ignited with an oil-soaked rag.
Lighting time was as soon as it fell dark with with many people attending from the surrounding area.
This was the time for setting off the fireworks after which, once the fire was down to glowing embers potatoes would be put in to be raked out with long sticks, the womenfolk would produce parkin pigs and men.

On those occasions when no local community bonfire was being built we had our own on the front lawn.
This left a round patch which would remain grass-less for a long time joining the well-worn path which people used instead of following the road.
One Bonfire night I went with my friend Frank to ‘their’ bonfire in a field near Ledgards garage.
There we found an empty bus fuel tank into which we inserted giant bangers and sat on it, what a good job it was that no fuel or fuel vapor was left in the tank.

About this ‘path’ which was much disputed as to whether it was a right of way.
Eventually No.1 fenced of their end and put up a stile but No.5 caused lots more bother when they also fenced off inserting a difficult to open gate.
Sounds a bit like ‘much ado about nothing’ but who else would want people ducking their way through hung out washing.
No.1 caused even more uproar by inserting a bollard to close the entire terrace to vehicles, this made the local press.

On 5th November 1939 my childhood was over when I became a teenager and supposedly assuming a more responsible attitude, especially since the war against Germany had been declared two months earlier.”

John Denison
October 2013

The photo is John Denison April 2013, aged 86.

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Consolidated by Jack Brayshaw. 16 August 2022.
Last updated: 16 August 2022.

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