Things I’ll remember all my life
I think that’s a line from a beatles song isn’t it?
(No doubt someone will confirm).*
There are certain events in one’s life that are unforgettable, here are some of mine.
Life as a junior
During part of my time at Hathershaw Juniors my dad was the steward of the Phoenix Bowling Club on Charleston Street, Hathershaw. In the games room there were two full size snooker tables, many happy hours were spent, stood on a chair, learning how to play snooker. This was to lead to a period of “mis-spent youth” playing snooker in the “pill hall” in Hollinwood and the “temperance billiard hall” on Union Street, Oldham, anyone else remember any of these?
Another memory in the juniors was the whole class making cheese by putting the small bottles of free milk in a darkened cupboard until it had gone off, I can still smell it now.
Life within Hathershaw Tech
There is a lot worth remembering during life at Hathershaw, here’s a few.....
School dinners, so far as I can remember they cost one shilling a day (5 pence in today’s money). We used to buy 5 tickets on Monday mornings. I seem to remember they were blue and it was your responsibility to look after them for the whole week, no ticket - no dinner. School dinners were good I personally enjoyed them, when both your parents worked it was an ideal situation, they were good value 2 courses every day but anyone who stirred their jam and semolina into a pink mass was liable to a good ticking off by the teacher on duty. At lunchtime it was a challenge to try to be one of the first in the queue, I don’t know why, perhaps, we thought that the dinners would run out before we got served, it was always a dash down the corridor as quick as you could, without being caught running and then sent to the back of the queue by the teacher on corridor duty.
Free milk, again a rush to the doorway leading to the playground for your free bottle of milk, I think it was a third of a pint, similarly to school dinners, we perhaps thought there would be none left when we got there.
The day we were allowed to go to school on our bikes seemed to be a big step forward and being able to leave them all day in the bike shed knowing they would not be touched and would still be there at home time, these days you would have to take both wheels with you and padlock the frame to the ground. Having your bike at school meant that you could get home quicker and then go on your “paper round”. Several of HTHS lads had a paper round at Birchwood’s on Oak Road, Dave Griffiths, Les Thomas and myself, to name a few. We had a paper round in the morning, before school and then one in the afternoon, after school, for which we got the grand sum of twelve shillings and sixpence (62 ½ p in today’s money) and if you were head paper lad you got an extra half crown (12 ½ p) for going back every morning and evening to make sure everyone had turned up, if not you did an extra round for more money. I remember one Sunday morning being bitten by a dog, it was a particularly vicious thing, you had to creep up the garden path to push the paper through the door trying not to let the dog hear you but more often than not it would come hurtling from the back garden and have a go at you, on this particular morning it made contact and sunk its fangs into my leg. Being the obvious hero, I finished the paper round then informed the newsagent I was going to the hospital to get it dressed, this was about 9am.
Having sat in A&E till about midday I was finally seen by a doctor.
“What time did this happen?” says he, about 8.00am says I, “You should have come earlier” says he. No comment.
Keith’s mum (or should I say Lemon's mum) had a shop on Featherstall Road, a little way past Middleton road, it was on a corner but I can’t remember the name of the street. We used to walk from Limeside over Frederick Street, past the old Werneth Firestation and down Featherstall Road to Keith’s mums shop almost every night of the week.
We would always go into the shop and buy 2 ounces of toffees and then say "Is Keith coming out ?" to which his mum always used to say “you don’t have to buy toffees, just ask if Keith is coming out”, but we always bought toffees first. We would all then go up Featherstall Road and cut through a back alley, which is still there, onto Main Road where Keith would call for some of his mates. I think, but may be mistaken, that Jean Cornwall lived over that way. Then after a couple of hours we would walk back home.
One of my final memories of Hathershaw was the final term's school dance when we were allowed to come in our “best bib and tucker” and we could actually listen to the latest pop records on the school record player in the main hall, and having the opportunity to “walk” someone home. Names to remain anonymous to protect the innocent.
Life post Hathershaw
Keith has already mentioned in one of his footnotes, see my retrospective No 3, that in our working lives our paths crossed many times due to us both working in the same rubber and plastics industry. It was during one of these times that Keith asked if I still collected Cliff and the Shadows vinyl LPs, I said yes and at that time, must be almost 20 years ago I mentioned that I was only 1 Shadow LP short, whereupon a few weeks later Keith duly turned up with “From Hank, Bruce, Brian and John”. He had been in Manchester on business and had called in a record shop on the off chance, and had come up trumps-brilliant!
Well Keith, I am still collecting. I have a full collection of Shadows vinyl albums, except one elusive album, but have 2 more specialist record shops to search, both on the Isle of Wight, where we are going for a month at the end of September, and almost a full collection of Cliff vinyl albums - the same search tactics continue.
If anyone is interested in vinyl there is a new shop opened in Heywood called “Vinyl Records” selling only vinyl records, it’s like going into Aladdin’s cave, but it can seriously damage your wallet, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
My other main interest is vegetable growing, I have had an allotment for over 30 years, it keeps you fit and active, but these days have to be careful with the digging.
These are a few of my memories but who knows, there could be more to come.**
* Richard, see Roll Of Honour, Class of '59.
** Keep them coming.