Village Web Site Forum

Denis Pickles
Tuesday, December 11, 2007 10:43
Jonathan Whiteoak - Carrier
Brenda Parsons is providing some wonderful photographs of Old Sutton and district. The picture of Jonathan Whiteoak, her inebriate carrier ancestor, was definitely taken at the Crosshills end of Holme Lane. The building behind Jonathan's head would be Thorntons Grocers shop on Main Street, which had been there since 1884. A branch of the Yorkshire Penny Bank was built adjacent to the shop sometime later. Who remembers being privileged to take the pennies collected at school to be banked there? No danger of being attacked by armed bandits in those innocent times! Part of the entrance to the Ebenezer Chapel can be seen immediately over the horses' collar and to the left is the building which I remember as Mewies's Barbers/Tobacconists shop which my grandad used visit daily for a shave. Willy Mewies smoked cigarettes incesantly whilst he cut hair or shaved. The cig never came out of his mouth - and his moustache was stained a lovely shade of brown! I have a vague recollection of buying a 'penn'orth' of twist for grandad from the tobacconists shop which fronted on to Main Street. Now that's a vile habit that's no longer practiced - chewing twist and spitting! Happen it's been replaced by chewing gum and polluting footpaths with the sticky residue.
Denis Pickles
Tuesday, December 11, 2007 13:13
Oops! It was Percy Mewies, not Willy.............. wasn't it?
Tuesday, December 11, 2007 15:44
Percy Mewies was the barber. He took over the shop from his father after returning from the war. His father, I cannot rememember his Christian name, was the heavy smoker. The name Jackseems to popup from the back of beyond. The Willie you are no doubt thinking about, was the other barber, Willie Cooper. You may be correct and if so, I bow to you more mature age.
Denis Pickles
Tuesday, December 11, 2007 16:55
I just bethowt me sen. Percy was the smokers lad and it was Willi Cooper who provided the opposition round the corner. Now what was Percy's father called? In 1935 the sign over the shop proclaimed 'W H Mewies, Tobacconist 'and advertised Wills's Gold Flake. There might be a clue there. It might have been William - or perhaps he called himself Bill? I don't rightly know. By the way Alan, my more mature age does not allow me to remember detail like the wording of signs over shops in Crosshills back to 1935 - it's easily spotted in Vol 2 of the volume of Postcards of South Craven by Alec Wood and Peter Whittaker. The same postcard reveals another mistake I made. The building on the corner, next to Mewies shop would have been the Yorkshire Penny Bank in 1900. A branch opened in Crosshills in 1889.
David Briggs
Tuesday, December 11, 2007 20:21
Denis / Alan - I remember visiting both the barbers (Willie Cooper always had the most up to date comics) Also re Yorkshire "Penny" bank, I was often asked to take the class collection all the way from the Sutton Council School. I remember watching the teller flicking the coins into his spare hand at speed.
Re the photos - arent they great, the one of the Railway station is a gem. So many people will have happy memories waiting on the platform as the set off on the holidays.
David in Oz
Wednesday, December 12, 2007 03:13
Hi Dennis and all,
I remember the barbers across from the YPB and the other, down past the YPB and first left up the unmade road towards the Con Club.
Talking about horse and carts: I remember a tale re the local rag and bone man? who used to tell his followers at the Black Bull that he'd just got his oss to eat nowt an it went and died on him. Any one?
Kevin Bainbridge
Wednesday, December 12, 2007 20:47
Your thoughts on the Yorkshire Penny Bank & the tonsorial artists of Crosshills stirred the memories of both me & my dad (he reckons he was a couple of years in front of you at school – came to the village at the age of 7 from Halifax in 1936 and left school in 1943 to work in T & M Bairstow’s).
He well remembers lugging the savings up to the bank each week and at the same time being given 1s 6d by the head, Mr William Walker, with the instructions to pop into Mr C.A. Hargreaves, pork butcher & purchase 3 pork pies and 6oz of boiled ham to be returned to Mrs Walker – I gather they used to live in a house close to the Baptist Chapel opposite the park pond? She did a bit of supply teaching at the school but wasn’t particularly well liked by the pupils as she lacked the gentle touch – a crack across the knuckles with the dangerous side of a blackboard rubber was apparently not uncommon.
Other non scholarly tasks willingly undertaken included helping the caretaker (brought out of retirement for the war) to shovel coke down into the boiler house & escorting some of the younger kids across to Glusburn Institute where a representative from WRCC gave them woodwork lessons once a week & also to go swimming.

He also remembers an annual cricket match between the school and Ermysted’s (Mr Walker was an old boy) held at Embsay at which Sutton were always thrashed. On the last occasion that he remembers, the lads all made their way there by means of a Pennine bus but had the treat of being ferried home by Mr Wilson in his Flying Standard 8 (registration BAK 397!). There being insufficient carrying capacity in aforementioned vehicle there then ensued a complex relay. The first batch of lads were dropped off in Skipton to start walking home while Mr Wilson returned for another batch who were taken as far as Bradley Lane End and then returned for the last lot who exchanged places with the first group who were well on their way towards Bradley & taken on to Kildwick corner, then back for …. well you get the general picture. Dad was a bit disappointed that he had to make the last leg from Crosshills on foot & didn’t have the glory of being conveyed home by motor vehicle. What would the ‘elf & safety mob have to say about that these days? Imagine the risk assessment forms to be filled in for that little school trip!

Dad was also a customer of the Mewies emporium and tells me that one of his tricks with his cigarette was to stick it to the end of his tongue (no cork tips then) and withdraw the whole thing into his mouth while still lit (too tight to buy an ash tray?)
In the 50s and 60s I was a customer of Willie Cooper. Popped up there once a month after school for the old short back and sides and a dollop of Brylcream from a big black pump action dispenser (I think there were a pair of them – one for each chair). There was always a radio playing tuned to the BBC Light Program & even today when I hear a Glenn Miller tune I’m taken back to Willie Cooper’s, sitting there reading battered copies of the Beano & Eagle while waiting my turn – in fact I still vividly remember hearing on the radio news of the death of Donald Campbell (OK so not in the same league as the Kennedy assassination but do you know where you were then?).
Denis Pickles
Thursday, December 13, 2007 14:04
Of course I remember where I was on the morning of 4th January 1967 when I first heard the tragic news of Donald Campbell's death. I was in Clasketgate, Lincoln where I was working at the time. I had a special interest in the attempt on the world water speed record taking place on Coniston Water because a few years earlier I had been working in and around Coniston and I knew the area very well.

But back to Mewies's barbers. What was the old mans name? Was it Willie? Ask your dad Kevin. Jack seems to have a remarkable recall on all things re Sutton and district in the 1940's! And he [Mewies] didn't need an ashtray - he had a spitoon

And isn't it remakable how this website throws up coincidences? This topic was started by me after seeing photographs posted by Brenda Parsons, who is Geoffrey Happs's brother. I Think that Geoff and your dad might have been buddies. I spoke to Geoffrey on the phone the other night for the first time in over 60 years and we concluded that despite the large number of outside lavvies and a fair share of substandard houses, Sutton wasn't a bad place to be brought up!

Kevin Bainbridge
Thursday, December 13, 2007 17:45
Just been on the electric speaking tube to my dad & he thinks that 'Billy' Mewis rings a loud bell. He wants to know if you remember another barber in the village - Morris Hargreaves? He lived somewhere just below Bill Sturdy's butcher's shop going towards the corner of Mill Street and had his front room partitioned off with a couple of benches for his customers to sit on. When dad first went there it was all hand clippered - non of this modern electric nonsense - but he was favoured because the queues were usually shorter!

Spitoons - there's another thing which brings back Sutton memories - do you remember the spitoons around the edge of Sutton baths? Always seemed to be clogged up with corn plasters and fag ends. The plasters I could understand but fag ends? Was there a league of forgetful smokers in the village who in their eagerness for a swim plunged headlong into that heavily chlorinated pool still dragging on their Capstan full strength?

Dad remembers Geoff, part of the gang who laiked up the Clough & Ravenstones (did he have an older sister Barbara who was in dad's class at school?) - all those outside lavvies and ash pits providing endless opportunities for adventure including Gordon Hiscoe's garage where they dismantled the ammo plundered from the downed bomber to make fireworks - I understand a hollowed out garden cane stuffed with gunpowder made for an interesting if rather erratic rocket.
Brenda Parsons
Friday, December 14, 2007 11:51
Isn't it amazing what memories are revived by a photograph of an old man on a cart? I must hunt out some more and see what else you all have filed away in the memory bank!
Kevin, your dad remembers correctly about my sister Barbara, she's the eldest of us. What is your dad's first name? Reason I ask is that Barbara has lost much of her memory now but is still able to recall her younger days in Sutton. She is 14 years older than me so we do not have a shared childhood and I don't know the people she would have known, that makes it difficult for me to talk with her about the times she can remember. Any names, incidents or anything at all really which your dad could provide would be a great help in my communication with her. She and Geoff have a shared childhood and so it a little easier for Geoff to communicate with her than it is for me. If anyone has any memories, however small, about my sister I'd be so grateful if you would let me know privately, Paul will let you have my email address.
Denis Pickles
Friday, December 14, 2007 12:21
Another 'Ooops'!
Sorry Brenda. I didn't really mean to give you a sex change! Of course I know that you are Geoffrey Happs's sister , not his brother.
Brenda Parsons
Friday, December 14, 2007 20:13
Not to worry about the ooops Denis, judging by some of the spam mail that arrives in my Inbox I wonder if other people think I'm a bloke too!!
I visited Sutton some years ago with my daughter to show her where I was born and where I played, she thought I was very lucky to have spent my childhood there, despite the outside lavvies! She couldn't get over the fact that fields and hills were so close by and that you didn't have to drive for miles to be in the countryside.
Thanks Kevin, and happy surfing with your dad, I'll look forward to the results!
Denis Pickles
Saturday, December 15, 2007 13:41
Barbara Happs's name was listed on the Honours Board which used to be fixed to the wall of the 'Big Hall' at Sutton Council School. Is it still there? She was awarded a 'County Minor [Commercial] Scholarship in 1942. Perhaps she'll remember leaving and going to school in Keighley. Perhaps she'll also remember some of the others listed that year. They were Alfred Bailey [Technical], Terrance Dryden [lived at High Buckstone Farm?], Audrey Saville, Nancy Akrigg, [I think her father had a bread round] Jean Chapman,William Greenwood, John Hindle [nickname 'Ping'], Roy Smith, Joyce Quinliven, [the postman's daughter], Brian Walsh [Art School] and Kenneth Laycock [Art School].

Might stir a few memories for Jack too.
Brenda Parsons
Saturday, December 15, 2007 14:34
Thanks Dennis, have made a note of the names as none of them are familiar to me. I did know Babara went to Keighley Girls Grammar School but that was all, I think it was mentioned in passing when I passed my 11+ and went to a similar establishment. I didn't know she'd won a scholarship in 1942, but I wasn't born then so I suppose by the time I was old enough to understand things like that it was all a thing of the past as far as the family was concerned. As I don't live in Sutton any more I wouldn't know whether the Honours Board is still there, I do remember seeing it when I went to school there, brown wood with gold lettering methinks? I don't think I ever paid more attention to it than that though. Does anyone know if the Honours Board is still on the wall at the school?
Kevin Bainbridge
Sunday, December 16, 2007 09:56
I'll get in touch with dad (Jack) this weekend and get him to stir up a few more memories for one and all. Mum & dad will be coming down from Sutton to stay with us over Christmas so I will see if I can hook him up to my laptop & give him some surfing lessons.
Sunday, December 16, 2007 18:13
The honours board stood for many years on the wall at the end of the school hall. This was removed for some reason many years ago and I seem to remember seeing it as an outside wall on a shed in the allotments adjacent to Cragg Lane. It may still be there but I doubt that the lettering will be legible. Perhaps one of the Sutton residents could have a look for us. How about it Paul?
Monday, December 17, 2007 10:06
Hi Alan - yes, I can take a look but it will be the end of the week before I get chance to go up there in the daylight.
Brenda Parsons
Tuesday, December 18, 2007 17:42
If it is still on the shed wall and available for rescue, perhaps it could be auctioned off here on this site and raise some money for a village 'good cause'?
Jack Bainbridge
Tuesday, January 1, 2008 15:43
Hi Dennis
Thanks to Kevin’s good offices I have been following your recollections of Sutton Council School and some of the events of the time that you attended, with pleasure and interest and am prompted to set down some of my own memories which you have evoked.

My brother Milton, 12, and I, just gone 7, started school in mid December 1936 after we had moved from Halifax – just in time for the Christmas party – nothing wrong with the timing there then!

I remember being instructed to take a plate , mug and spoon along and being plied with jelly, blancmange etc. and suitable drinks of the day. It was the practice of two of the school governors – Mr Forest and Mr Preston, to provide each pupil with an orange and a rosy apple every Christmas at their own expense, and this continued until wartime restrictions made the fruit more difficult to obtain.

I well remember the introduction of air raid precautions, the evacuation to the cellar being one of the first, in the event of a raid. We were all encouraged to take old comics and books in case we had to spend a long time down there! After much practice it was found that it tok too long to evacuate the whole school via the boiler house steps. So along came some workmen to cut a hole in the floor of the classroom next to the girl’s cloakroom, where a set of steps was installed and a trapdoor fitted. From then on certain classes had to use that entrance to the cellar when the warning went.

After that came the splinter proofing of the windows. The authorities supplied rolls of net curtaining material which had been impregnated with gum and dried. Some of us lads were called on to help out with the task which involved cutting the material to windowpane size, soaking the piece in warm water briefly and then applying it to the glass. Sounds easy – but despite everyone’s efforts the stuff just refused to stick to the glass. I think every type of gum and glue that the school possessed was used, to no good effect and I believe the sticky paper lattice pattern was used in the end. There were no more volunteers for that job any more!

Then of course we remember the chore of trailing that gas mask back and forth to school but we daren’t be caught without it. Incidentally Dennis you were right about the musty smell in the cellar but did you know that Mr Walker started a mushroom bed down there? It would be about mid 1943 and he used to send me down there occasionally to check the temperature. I don’t ever remember seeing any mushroom though!!

I remember that Wellington bomber crash by Winifred Café. I had gone home for lunch as usual that day and the news had been brought into the village by Martin Parker who had been working in Cononley at the time. Consequently we lads were raring to go when the school bell went at four o’ clock. The fuselage had been removed leaving a few broken trees under the canal bank. I remember seeing one wing at the far end of the field opposite, not far from Bradley Lane End. I'm pretty sure there was a guard positioned by it, so we resorted to poking around under the canal bank. It sound callous now but at that age we didn’t comprehend the gravity of it all. Much has been written already about the who-ha following the recovery of ammunition so I’ll just say “Guilty m’lud!”. It must be said on the subject of souvenirs that the chance of finding Perspex (the material forming the windscreens and canopies) was a big attraction as it was a useful medium to fashion in to trinkets etc. – no one had heard the word Plastic in those days.

I think the school involved itself in the village war effort wherever possible. I remember one salvage effort when pupils were encouraged to get parents to root out unwanted books and magazines to help swell the collection, the whole being stored in the girl’s bike shed. Inevitably things needed to be tidied up occasionally to which task some of us lads were detailed and I remember seeing a set of beautifully bound volumes of pre war AA members handbooks which must have been treasured items at the time. One of the lads found some copies of Health & Beauty rumoured – shock - horror - to have been brought in by Miss So & So of the infants! We were not sure of course but perused them in the interests of further education!

The mention of the beds introduced for the beginner’s afternoon nap, referred to by Alan and Brenda Parsons jogged a few memories. The room to the right of the infant’s cloakroom was used to site the beds on a day by day basis as required. The room was occasionally used by the school nurse and dentist. As many people will remember, the room also doubled up as the County Library on certain evenings. All the bookshelves were enclosed by locked cupboard doors when not in use and the area was generally very quiet. There was a locked door in the room which afforded access to the stock room. Bill Walker sometimes used to hand me the keys and get me to fetch blotting paper, ink powder or such and if it was the tot’s siesta time I had always to check with the supervising teacher first and tip toe between the beds. The teacher may well have been Miss Ingle, Alan, I remember the name if not the bloomers!

Yes Dennis I have cause to remember at least one garden party at Lyndhurst, organised as you say in aid of war charities. How us lads used to hate wet Wednesdays at school when we were prevented from playing football or cricket in the park as it meant country dancing in the school hall, an event we regarded on a par with a visit to the dentist. Imagine how we felt when the school was asked to provide a display of country dancing as part of the entertainment. Giving up our Saturday afternoon and just when the matinee at Charlie’s Picture House was showing “Jessie James” in glorious technicolour. I had to wait 35 years to catch it on the television.

I very much enjoyed playing football and cricket for the school team – I can’t say if we attracted any talent scouts, but I think we managed to hold our own against the Church School and Glusburn School. Not so with our annual fixture with Linton Camp School when we were always trounced. We also had an annual fixture with Ermysted’s Grammar School – the venue being Embsay cricket ground one early evening after school hours. After being given some bus fare we had to make our way to the ground by public transport. The last time I played was in 1943 – at that time Mr Walker was running a small car – a Standard 8 I think it was, registration number BAK 397 (put the note book away Alan!). After the match he ferried the whole team home in stages, the first lift dropped off at Bradley Lane End with instructions to keep walking and the rest of the party having walked into Skipton picked up in turn until we all got back to Sutton.

Mention should be made of the playground cricket which many of us enjoyed during the summer months. A bat and 3 stumps were kept in the boys porch and there was always a rush to grab the bat first at playtime. The stumps were reared up against the top wall of the yard and play commenced. The rules had evolved over the generations and were passed down to juniors when they graduated to the boy’s playground. No runs or scoring was involved but boys queued up to bowl the batsman out in the normal way or he could be caught out by any of the fielders. If however the ball was struck against the wall, the rebound had to be caught with one hand only, to count. The successful player then took over the bat. To avoid disputes the LBW rule was dispensed with unless there was blatant obstruction which usually invoked howls of protest. Balls were frequently hit over into the park among the shrubbery and we were allowed to retrieve them so long as we were back in the yard before the bell went. Sometimes the ball would be hit onto the school roof much to the bowler’s disappointment. Occasionally Mr Walker would come out with his bat to take a stance at the wicket after placing a penny piece on top of the middle stump. Any boy who could displace it was allowed to keep it. Naturally this was an incentive to bowl as well as one could but another was that any bad deliveries would be clouted over into the vicinity of the park lake. Without fail one or two would be lofted onto the school roof. In hindsight I’m sure he did this on purpose, so providing an excuse to call for the ladder to be brought round and one of the elder lads to be sent up, thereby retrieving all the other balls up there. I myself remember being sent up the ladder a couple of times – I wonder what elf ‘n safety would make of that today?

I understand from Kevin that the fate of the honours boards has already been raised on the site. Such a terrible shame if they have been allowed to be destroyed. They were very much a part of our school experience – after all we faced them for 10 minutes every single morning during assembly and I’m sure that they were a source of inspiration to some if not all of us. I confess a vested interest as my name was alphabetically placed first on the list for 1940!

Hope these thoughts stir more memories and are of some interest to browsers of the site.

Jack Bainbridge
Tuesday, January 1, 2008 16:40
What a wonderful, descriptive epistle. The memories that have been recorded by you and all he others contributing to this website are something that would have been allowed to disappear in the not too distant future. (Sorry but we are not getting any younger.) My main memory of you is seeing a thin, good looking, blonde haired lad in his early teens, riding his bike on Holme Lane without his hands on the handlebars. ( You have no need to worry, I didn't have a notebook then, and don't have one now.) I just thought how clever you were to be able to steer it without holding on. Milton brings back memories from Sunday School and then later, from my short time working in the mill office. Please give him my regards. Your description of the inside layout of the Council School is well remembered. Mrs. Townson was the teacher in charge of the infants when I attended . She used to glare at any child refusing to sleep in an afternoon. Always wanting to know what was going on, I used to get glared at quite frequently.
I was never good enough to play for the school at either football or cricket. I did, just once, however, bowl Mr. Walker out in the playground and claimed the penny. A short time after that I received six of the best for some misdemeanour and wore blind that he was wreaking his revenge. I must have made an impression because I visited him and Mrs. Walker at their home in Wakefield whilst I was on a course in the mid fifties, and he remembered both incidents. Thanks once again for the contributions to the website. Keep them coming.
I was listening to a programme on the radio a few weeks ago when the presenter was interviewing a man about this type of subject. When asked about the reason for his interest, the interviewee said, "My wife defines nostalgia as the antidote to boredom in men." Maybe she is correct but who cares, I enjoy it and it is obvious that there are others who do also.
Denis Pickles
Tuesday, January 1, 2008 21:56

I fully concur with the congratulationary remarks penned by my younger brother. Thanks.

No, I didn't know that W W Walker had tried to grow mushrooms in the cellar but it probably accounts for his preoccupation with the temperature of the cellar and indeed, of the school. In November 1944, the School Log Book has several references to coke shortages leading to the school being closed and children being sent home. Teachers however, remained on duty [stiff upper lip!] No mention of mushrooms though!

The second access to the cellar was probably made during the first few weeks of the war. It was in use on October 12th 1939 when gas mask, fire drill and ARP exercises were carried out. 'Special exit made in cellar is proving very helpful', writes the Head Master.

I can remember only one Christmas Party when we were given an apple and an orange. It would have been in 1938 - I started school on 28th November that year - I remember that Laurence Preston, one of the governors referred to by Jack, dressed up in a Father Christmas outfit distributed them. Incidentally, Laurence Preston was my grandfather's brother.

There were two classes in the Infants department. Miss Townson looked after Infants Class 1 and Miss Inglis, [the Senior] Infants Class 2. As well as the beds in the room that doubled as the County Library, there were two rocking horses. One, an old fashioned war horse with a moth eaten mane which rocked on traditional rockers and the other a more modern piece of equipment, an altogether more glamorous appliance, white with black spots, shining harness and a flowing mane. If I only remember one thing about my days in Infants Class 1 it will be that I was never allowed to 'ride' the flashy new horse! I was too big.

Being 'big' once got me into big trouble with Bill. After an incident in the boys playground when I managed to plant a snowball full frontal on Bill's chest, I was invited by the offended party to the board room , select a cane and assume the position for corporal punishment. 'Bend down and touch your toes', 'Can't Sir', I replied. 'Why not?' Because me mam sez me legs are too long!' A fact not really appreciated by the Head who gave me a couple more for luck! I wonder if the Black Book has gone the same way as the Honours Board?

Jack, you'll remember - there were two Honours Boards? The 1944 Education Act made a few changes which took effect in 1945. 1944 would be the last year of the Sir Donald Horsfall Scholarship. My pal John Brian Wilcock was awarded one of the Horsfall Scholarships to Keighley Boys' Grammar School in 1944. His name was the last one to be added to that particular board which was on the side wall between the classrooms of Standard 1 and Standard 2.

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be. Or is it?


Maurice Atkinson
Sunday, May 11, 2008 21:49
W.H.Mewies (Barbers)...This goes back quite some way in this topic !
Billy Mewies was the father, Percy was the son. Willie Cooper was indeed the barber up the unmade road off Holme Lane. My father, Reg, worked for Percy Mewies at one time and also Willie Cooper for a period !

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