Chapter 5: 36 Rastrick Common

eChapter 5:

36 Rastrick Common

Taken by the local newspaper the Brighouse Echo around 1960 (and recently kindly cleaned up by Chris Helme) just before our move to 36 Rastrick Common. I am the second one in with the sandals falling apart and a big chunk cut out of my fringe which apparently I did all by myself. Taken at Bramston Street Rec. on a ride called  ‘The Rant’.

Others identified are from left to right: ‘Lin G.’, (me), ‘Jane F.’; ‘Dunese N.’; (‘Anne S.’; ‘Jenifer C.’; ‘John S.’; and ‘Voronica C’.  are torn off I’m afraid). Where are they all now? PS: The spelling of the names is as it is on the back of the photo in child-like writing.


Above is an example of how I would have sounded 30 + years ago and still can if needs be. It gives you a good idea of the Yorkshire accent from my area. Don’t worry about the visuals in’t video it’s the voice that’s important.


As I progressed from Nursery to Infants at Longroyde School so we moved from Gooder Lane, Rastrick to 36, Rastrick Common, Rastrick, Brighouse which in those days was in the West Riding of Yorkshire now known as West Yorkshire.

An aerial view of Longroyde Nursery, Infants and Junior School as it is now in 2011.

Where the ‘A’ red flag is was Mrs Blackshaw’s nursery where I learned to read. Below that in the garden is where we planted flower bulbs in winter to see the blooms in spring. Below that with the white roof is the caretaker’s house where I was bitten on the face by the caretaker’s dog. The large ‘U-shaped’ building is the main school with the Juniors towards the left of the photo. At the far left is a triangular-shaped playground where we would try and ride the wind with our coats as wings. It was that windy on that hill! The headmaster was Mr Pollard and his office where I was caned 6 times on each palm of the hand was at the top and very end of the ‘U-shape’

(thanks to Google Maps for the photo)

It was one of three cottages – slums – in a space which when you look at it now you wonder how three homes fitted in there. The space where they stood is still there to this day and has never been built on some 50 years later. I doubt it is space enough for one dwelling these days let alone three.

Looking at the photograph to the left of the word Rastrick is an empty space where our house 36 Rastrick Common stood and two other dwellings – believe it or not three homes were squeezed in there. You can get a scale of it by looking at the vehicles on the road. More or less where the white car is at the top right of the photo is where we lived with Lizzie Hurst on Gooder Lane.

(thanks to Google Maps for the photo)

Let’s see if I can describe this place rented to us as stated previously by a Polish gentleman called Julian.

From the road-side we had the back of the ‘coal-hole’  where the coal and later coke was stored. The coal was delivered by the ‘coal-man’ in huge hundred-weight sacks. He would pour the coal through the opened metal plate on the side of the road and we would fill the coal-scuttle (great word ‘scuttle’!) from the other side inside the garden area. As we are talking about the early 1960’s I think the coal was initially delivered by horse and cart. My god! How *old* I feel! It was later delivered by a motorised vehicle, of course 🙂

A coal-hole very similar to ours. The door to ours was where the steps are in this photo facing the house.

Photo courtesy of Humphrey Bolton.

There was another regular horse and cart visitor too in the guise of the ‘rag and bone’ man. You could hear him coming shouting ‘Rag! Bone! Rag! Bone!’ and ringing his bell and, if we had any spare ‘rags’ to give him my Mother could always make a few pennies, for she needed them and for woollens a few pence more!

Next to the coal-hole was the gate into a small garden where Michaelmas daisies grew at certain times of the year I seem to remember. In fact, I saw some the other day when I originally wrote this and it made me think of 36 Rastrick Common.

Down a few stone steps across some flag-stones….. which sometimes had to be removed by Julian the  landlord who would  put his hand in all the sewage up to his elbow whenever we had blocked pipes….and, to the front door which I think was dark blue.

As one enters the door on the left hand side was a wooden screen behind which was our dining table set next to the window which had diamond shapes on the glass outlined in lead which eventually was peeled off or peeled off of its own volition.

On the other side of the table from the front door was the television. We didn’t own the telly. It was rented and we had to put sixpences in the meter at the back every so often to be able to keep watching it. The rental man would come round every so often to empty it and my Mother would always hope that we would get a ‘rebate’ i.e. some of the money back as money was extremely thin on the ground. This was the same with the gas-meter too only it was a shilling we put in that meter.

In those days the reception on the telly was terrible and we didn’t have an outside aerial but a ‘nicotined-stained’ coloured white plastic aerial plugged into the back of the set which had to be moved every so often to be able to watch a presentable picture. That aerial was fixed to so many places in the house it’s untrue. Sometimes you just had to stand there like a statue holding it until the picture went fuzzy again so you could move again.

Before I go on with the tour I need to explain where money was coming in to feed & clothe us all.

My Mother’s partner worked on the bins so was a ‘bin-man’ or ‘dust-man’ or ‘dustbin-man’ even and he always wore his black beret. He worked a full 5 day week and always brought home a brown wage packet every Friday. My Mother, as stated before was a ‘cloth-mender’ and huge rolls of cloth would be delivered and collected by the mill every so often. This how she earned her money. And, I only found out at her funeral that she had been a welder too!!!!

Talking about my Mother’s partner I remember on more than one occasion he wouldn’t come straight home on a Friday night after work and would go out boozing and come home a lot worse for wear. Hey! He had worked bloody hard all week! (You carried metal bins on your back and shoulders in those days to and from the back-yards of houses – not like today with wheely-bins and automatic crushers on the back of the wagons which is a lot healthier and safer, of course.) This  would piss off my Mother (I can see that pissed off look now – we all have it in my family everyone last one of us! That same look!)  but it was very easy to piss off my Mother. I inherited that gene for sure. I try to suppress it but nearly 56 years later I have not succeeded. But, money was scarce and my Mother would have the money on a Friday evening and it would be all gone in an instant. All right we may have worn clothes from jumble sales but we were never hungry and always clean. At grammar school I was called ‘Second-hand Barry!’ at one point which was a reference to the song by Barbra Streisand  ‘Second-hand Rose’. I did get my school uniforms free though every year so I was one of the smarter pupils at school. We were also given shoes and a gabardine coat and other clothes by the welfare but as I grew older I found this very embarrassing. The people giving them out weren’t the nicest of folk.

Back to my Mother’s partner  – I can only remember one time when he came home pissed after work on a Friday night that he had bought gifts with his wage and he actually included me this time. He couldn’t afford them but it was a lovely gesture. These gestures towards me were few and far between over the next 12 years or so of living at home. Now I must have been about 9/10 because at this point I was really into ‘Batman’ the TV series as was every one in my school. I had particular ‘feelings’ for Robin even at this early age. I had put Emma Peel from ‘The Avengers’ aside for a while – this was never a sexual attraction even though I still find Emma Peel very sexy. Anyway, he had bought me a ‘Bat Grenade’ in which you secured a cap – the type used for toy guns – then you would throw it up into the air and the top-heavy nose of the ‘Bat Grenade’ where the cap was fixed would crash to the ground it would go off  – ‘KAPOW!’ – well, more a little ‘snap!’ actually. I was over the moon! I even had small ‘poppet’ ‘Batman & Robin’ figures which I took to school with me and kept in my desk. I am sure I brought them home too at the end of each day. And, my Nannan bought me a Batman ‘gonk’ which were fashionable toys at the time. But, I was never allowed to watch the TV programme at home. If I had the misfortune not to be able to visit my Nannan at the weekend I was not allowed to watch any telly of my choice. I was once allowed into the next-door neighbour’s house to watch it though. The couple who lived there were another Shirley and a big tall bloke who was known as ‘Lurch’ (as in ‘The Addam’s Family’). Shirley had a disability which was similar to, if not actually Parkinson’s disease. But, years later someone reported seeing her as being perfectly fine – so some good news there!

As a family we sort of watched ‘Dr Who’ together. This was at the very beginning with William Hartnell which was first transmitted in November 1963.

So, with this timeline (1963 before ‘Batman’ was on TV) I can say now living in 36, Rastrick Common were me (8); my sister May (4); my brother Stephen (2); my sister Linda (1) and Mum and her partner.

I can remember the first episode of ‘Dr Who’ being transmitted and then being repeated the next week – I wasn’t to know until relatively recently that it was repeated because JFK had been assassinated about the same time i.e. the day before in Dallas, Texas and the world was, understandably in uproar. They thought, I suppose the viewing figures on November 23rd weren’t as high as they should have been because of this atrocity so they repeated it the next week. I enjoyed the first episode so much that I thought they repeated it because it was so popular. Anyway, back to why I say we sort of watched ‘Dr Who’ together. Well, it was on about 5pm on a Saturday and that was the time we also had our salad which was our ‘tea’ on a Saturday. So, we were usually sat around the big table in the window area and we usually all sat in the same place. I was always sat with my back to the telly (agony!)  and Stephen was sat facing it with his back to the wooden screen just by the front door – he used to bang his head against this screen when upset and in a ‘paddy’ as well as suck his thumb which he still known for to this day. Why I remember the seating arrangements is because the TV was playing and if I dared turned round my Mother’s partner would shout ‘You fucking turn round to look at that fucking telly again and it will be turned off!’ Well, it might as well have been as far as I was concerned. I think this is what has made me a ‘telly addict’ even until this very day in 2011. I love the telly! Love it!

Luckily when I visited my Nannan I was allowed to watch any TV programme I wanted and one of those programmes was to change my life. That was ‘The Avengers’! I was allowed to visit my Nannan most weekends and for the Summer Holidays even though she and my Mother weren’t talking. I usually stayed over on a Saturday night – not sure about Friday and came back on a Sunday evening. I hated leaving her place and would try and bury myself in the settee so that they couldn’t take me home.  On arriving home something I would do or say would warrant a ‘Oh, so  you’ve fucking been there again, have you!’ and such lovely talk. So, it was like being in heaven and going back to hell, I can tell you!

(PS: I will get back to describing the house – I will, I will, I will!)

Another memory is when my Nannan took me to visit my Auntie Janet (by the way I have never called any of my Aunties Auntie or Aunt – I just call them by their Christian name but for clarity I will use the familial term.) and Uncle Tony who had moved to Milton Keynes where Tony was working for Aston Martin Lagonda. He said he had even worked on *the* car the Aston Martin DB5 used in ‘Goldfinger’. Wow! The point of this memory was that I was told on arrival that the rule was Barry was allowed to watch any TV programme he wanted with no problem whatsoever. Not sure how Tony felt about that but he didn’t seem to mind. I was never ever comfortable with Tony but it was probably my fault rather than his as I am not comfortable with any ‘husbands; boyfriends’ ‘grandads’ etc…..I am not sure of the year of this but ‘Goldfinger’ was a 1964 release so it could have been 1965 or maybe 1966 when we went there. It was around Christmas-time I seem to remember. But, I was free to watch BBC 1; the new BBC 2 or ITV which were the only three channels we had back then. And, we were still in the black and white era.

Another off-shoot of this memory is the time I saw my first colour television. I was looking through a complete stranger’s living room window on Long Ridge, Rastrick in amazement when the owner saw me and told me to go away. I remember stuttering “that I was only admiring your television”….. Long Ridge was considered ‘posh’ in those days. Privately owned houses not council houses.

to be continued……..


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