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Alverthorpe and Low Laithes Part 8

Ernest Buckley Fletcher (1897 - 1992)
(Notes from his childhood)

The cottage where he was born in 1897 was near to Alverthorpe Hall where the Clarksons lived. His grandfather used to look after the Clarksons dogs when they went on holiday. Three years later when his father died his mother took a little shop at the end of Shires Row off Green Lane near to the Malt Shovel Inn.(see back cover) When he was five years old he was taken to the school on Willow Lane, the teacher was a Miss Smithson. He had to cross the Beck near Colbecks Mill (later Walker's) by stepping stones.

Later he moved to the Council school (or Church school) where the headmaster was a Mr. Downes. Ernest did very well at this school and got lots of prizes for his work. One of the men who came to teach religious studies was a man called Edwin Wordsworth who had an invalid carriage and was pushed about by a man named Sam Ramsden.

After school on nice evenings he used to go for a walk on the mill fields to what was known as "Mushy Brigg or Bridge" and this led up to the railway line at the top of Willow Lane.

In the Council school playground was the old village pump. Some houses did not get tap water until after the first world war. Ernest had an uncle who lived opposite the council school who had a well with a pump in the garden of what was called "The old bone yard". Most houses at this time had only candies or paraffin lamps for illumination. He could remember when they began to put gas lamps in the village streets.

The village policeman in the early 1900's was called Bobby Bell and he lived in Flanshaw Lane. Ernest's uncles had horses to pull their carts on their fruit and vegetable rounds and he used to like to take them up to a field near Silcoates school to graze in the field.

He used to spend a lot of his spare time at Silcoates school nursery run by a Mr. Skinner and his family. The school was burnt down in 1907. There was a Toll Bar near the school and people had to pay to go through with a barrow or a pig, if some people had both then they put the animal in the barrow because they did not have to pay for what was in the barrow

Ernest used to go to Melbourne House (known as Prophet Wroes Mansion) with his grandfather to buy fruit from their orchards. He could remember men coming from there to the village to work in the mill, they all had long hair.

The Moorhouse family who had Moorhouse Mill bred fine horses and he remembers his grandfather bought one. Major Moorhouse was killed in the first world war and that brought about the end of their mill. Tommy Swale who had the bakehouse at Westgate end began business in Flanshaw Lane opposite the Albion Pub.

Further on past Bull Pit Field was a bridge on Park Lane which led to the Wright Hepworth flour mill a Mr. Butterfield was the miller. Ernest sometimes went to have tea with them because they were very nice people. Sometimes they called at his mothers shop to buy a few items.

He remembers seeing an old lady at the farm which became the golf house who was known as old mother Cutts', she used to sit at the door smoking a pipe and she would tell them some very queer tales. Another old lady who lived in the village was a Mrs Sewerby who went round the village knocking people up in the morning for work. She used a pole with wire on the end and would tap on the upstairs window.

Ernest also mentions John Willie Walker a joiner who was a heavy drinker who went bankrupt and ended up in Stanley Royd. He is said to have made two coffins, one for himself and one for his wife and kept them in the front room.

Near Moorhouse mill in Flanshaw was Flanshaw Old Hall, during Ernest's school days this was occupied by a Mr. Horsefalls who kept poultry in the upstairs rooms and used the downstairs rooms himself A Mr. Taylor lived in the east wing and he used to take the photographs of the Carnival. Grandma Fletcher used to buy these from him to sell in the shop.

Ernest B. Fletcher later set up business as a upholsterer and at one time leased the top floor of the battery station as his business premises possibly in the twenties.


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