James Baxter

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A walk down memory lane after 60 odd years or more ..

This is just one tale what I wrote in 2014.

My friend David from my childhood days and I went on and along the places we used to laik about at Baildon in 1950s as kids. It was a wet and miserable day, but we did not notice it. From his house, in Collier Lane, which was just across from mine, we took a stroll up the snicket to the moors, this went up the back of my old house. We tried to remember all the names of most of the people that lived at the time, and of how their gardens looked. Up this snicket my father had a small holding in the orchard, where he kept a lot of poultry, off above the large house that was built at the other side of the very high wall, which was laced with broken bottles along the top to keep out trespassers. It was a large orchard at the time, with a long greenhouse with fruit wines in. When we were young there were no houses built in the fields half way up, just open fields towards the moors, but these days they reach to the top of the snicket, built in the 60s. The snicket now is all over grown and, by the looks of it, very little used, with weeds all the way up.

Along the field side on the right, was farmer "Harrison's" small holding. In our day the old iron fence, that was still in place, very rusty and brown, but still has strong as in the old days; this kept the pigs from escaping down the snicket. Once at the top, it opened out to more houses built on an open field that had been opposite.

Taking the road towards the moor alongside the edge of Hope Hill, where we had lots of hours sledging down the very steep hill on a Saturday morning and arriving home very wet through, then passing a house that in the early days was a Dog Kennels (Dove Hall) now a private house, but now a tarmac road had been laid, as in our day it was a very rough road of which, when we had a heavy rain, lots of the loose surface would create dams all the way down. Once passing this part of the road, to our left was the panoramic view over Shipley and Saltaire, and in the foreground was all the open fields we played in, bird nesting and collecting mushrooms. Many new buildings could be made out, in the distance our old school was still up, but not a school as we knew it at Saltaire.

Then we opened a metal gate to enter Baildon moors, in our days it was the five bar gate, that we closed securely. After heavy rain that following night the ground was very boggy on the moor, taking the well-trodden path to the right, we proceed along the side of the moor towards to the top part of the 18th hole, and passing the bullet hills, taking diversions of bogs we came across, but as young boys we just went through them in our wellies.

As we pasted many places we laiked about, we discussed many memories of the times we had in the bracken, playing many a game of hide and seek, and cowboys, taking the old path down along side of the houses built alongside of the moor, but in our days, it was all open with large fields giving us a short cut home. Today we had to keep to the roads back home, passing the golf house.

And once we arrived back to where we started you wondered where all the years had gone.

Days of shopping in Baildon

A few recollections from the mid 50,s

I cannot remember what age I must have been at the time, but I must have been very young, every week I was taken to the chemist in Browgate to be weighed and measured. As I was thin as a stick, my mother used to collect the powdered milk I was having. Afterwards she pushed me up Browgate to the bakers, Feathers was the name of the bakers, to collect the bread for over the week. It came over the glass counter, ell of baking in the shop, I can still smell it now, even after all these years. Along the back wall was tins of loose biscuits, all at eye level for a youngster to look into. Through the glass lid, though my mother made most of our biscuits at home, I did at times manage to twist her arm, and get a few I liked, such as wafer types

Then we walked further up, passing a shoe shop, which was an annual event, for either new shoes or sandals in the summer, passing another grocer's shop, which mum did not go into for some reason, but I would have got into trouble, as I swung on his sun blinds every time I was going to school in the morning, then called at the grocer's further up for some other things. Mum was very friendly with Mrs Lancaster the owner, and had a little chat, must have known each other during and after the war, while rationing was on the go, and pay for the week’s grocery that she had delivered that week. After it arrived I had the card board box to play with each week which it came in. As I became older I made it into all sorts of things:- forts was my favourite, for my soldiers, Army trucks and tanks, cow boys and Indians too, later an office for all my bird books I had on the front room window sill (those that fly).

Once I was old enough, about 6 years old, I was given the little red order book of the list of grocery, and put it through the letter box of the shop, while I was going back to school after dinner time. Having a Bbeech Nut chewing gum machine outside I always looked to see if it would give out two packs, rather than the usual one pkt, and use my last penny.

I sometimes, when a little older, went with my father on a Saturday morning trip down into the village. The first call was at the upholsterers, by the side of the Old Hall, top of Westgate, and up some very step stone steps with some eggs, as Mr Frank Dean was recovering our front room suite. We always paid in kind. When you opened his workshop door, the smell of furniture polish and furniture glue was all around, it was a very intoxicating sort of smell. I liked his small wood burning stove, keeping the place a bit warm at winter time, but it was the top of the barn, with a slate roof, and no under drawing.

After putting the world to rights we left, dad called again with some eggs at the electrical shop, I think it was called "Jeffersons", in the middle of the village, at the bottom of Westgate, it was for our 9” b/w television set he had bought. On the shelves were electric kettles, and other electric appliances, very posh looking electric washing machines lining along the floor to the counter, and many more goods, radios and tv sets in one corner. They did splash out for a "Teas Maid" one year, must have been paid in kind.

Afterwards he went to collect the weekly magazines, at Bottomleys, as we did not have our daily paper delivered; dad collected it when going to work, being first thing in the morning. When walking in there was that paper/ink smell in the shop as all the newspapers were laid out on show along a very long slopping counter. Dad had his Poultry World mag, Woman’s Own for mum, Dandy for me. Later I got the Eagle comic.

Then it was upwards towards home, Dad would call at the green grocers, collecting a few pounds of potatoes and some fish for dinner as they were too heavy for mother to carry home, then further up the road, to "Jowett’s", the butchers, for the Sunday joint, during the war years, they just lived up a few doors up the road, from the shop, so must have been good customers at the time, the shop always seemed covered in blood, along the side wall as he kept carcasses hung up all along the shop wall, of which he took down if a big chunk needed to be cut off, under them was a covering of fresh saw-dust.

These halcyon days still linger in my thoughts and think how things have changed to how we shop to day.

A tale of shopping in Baildon in the 50s.