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Bygone Stanley - Chat with Bert Asquith


I had a chat with Bert Asquith which I found interesting. He said- 'I was born in 1908 in Canal Lane and moved with my parents to Bottomboat when I was 3-4 years of age. I well remember the village constable, P. C. Whitfield. He lived in the houses near to Bottomboat Club and if we were caught stealing apples or pears from the nearby orchard he would clout our ears with his leather glove. I remember on one occasion he cut the flesh above my ear and it bled for a considerable time. It was of no use going home for sympathy from our parents. If you did, another good hiding was had, either a boxed ear or a slap on the behind with my father's belt.

I would be 7 or 8 years of age and I remember the excitement when Mrs Mills was strangled behind the Barracks by a Mr Walsh. P.C. Whirfield, along with another constable, arrested him. He was tried for murder and found guilty.

I left school when I was 13½ years of age and went to work for a builder named Rowland Bagnal who kept his horses, hand carts and materials on the Grove Club premises, now the Grove Park Hotel. My first job was pulling a handcart loaded with bricks to Belle Vue, Wakefield. He was repairing a chimney and had to take the bricks and mortar up the ladder to the roof from which my master was working. It was hard work but after a few weeks, when I had got used to carrying bricks, it seemed much easier. He did most of his business on repair work and often this entailed carrying bricks and mortar towards the top of buildings.'

Bert is now 85 years of age and living in a home for elderly people but still in reasonable good health. He enjoys his pint of beer and a game of dominoes. Bert's father was the first landlord of the new Travellers in 1937 and his grandfather was landlord of the Wagon & Horses in the 1920's.

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