The Nostalgia column with Margaret Watson
OUR mystery picture last week showing a street in Dewsbury probably left many readers scratching their heads as to where it could be, but there were quite a few who knew exactly where it was '“ George Street.
Nothing gets local people quicker off the mark to get in touch as when I show mystery pictures of the streets and roads in which they grew up.
This week I am showing two more mystery photographs of streets in Dewsbury which were razed to the ground during the slum clearance era of the 1950s and 60s.
The houses on the street I showed last week are long gone but the name of the street – George Street – remains intact, and the people who lived there or who traversed along it on their way to work and school, still remember it vividly.
Among them is Mary Oakland (nee Cross), who lived in nearby South Woodbine Street and used to walk down George Street every day of her working life on her way to Wormalds and Walker’s mill in Thornhill Lees.
She was a packer at the mill and always walked to work from the Flatts where she lived, crossing over Huddersfield Road, under the bridge, on her way to Thornhill Lees.
She told me: “Since seeing the picture I have looked at it time and time again. I knew straight away it was George Street. I remember every single part of it.
“The picture has brought back many happy memories of those days. All the houses on the Flatts where I grew up have been demolished.”
Paul Ketton and his brother John both studied the photograph and feel it is George Street, looking down from Vulcan Road towards the bottom of Webster Hill.
Paul said: “On the left hand side of the street the gap in the buildings, above the lady in the road, was Wormald Street, leading back to Ashworth Road, and the next building is still there, Kirklees Council depot.
“On the right, coming up the street, the building which appears to have a flat roof was an abattoir.
“From 1919-1947 our dad lived at number 36, which was opposite the end of Wormald Street, basically a one up, one down and a cellar.
“As there was no back door, to get to the toilet, you came out of the front door, went down the street, through a passageway before the abattoir and into a back yard. Hard luck if you were caught short!
“My brother wasn’t the only John Ketton to visit the street. In the early 1930s a relative of Granddad was the Mayor of Rotherham and he apparently paid a visit in the mayoral limousine, which must have caused a stir!”
Another reader, John Haigh also recognised it was George Street. “The street leads down to the railway bridge at the bottom of Webster Hill. I used to walk down that Street to the Dewsbury Central School every morning.”
Billy Beattie, of Thornhill Lees, sent this letter regarding the photograph and the article which accompanied it.
He wrote: “Once again an interesting article about Dewsbury’s past.
“I fully agree with you that being a war-time child like yourself that times were hard but still enjoyable.
“Although we were not fortunate to have a normal family life due to our fathers being in the services, thanks to family members and neighbours it was still a happy childhood upbringing.
“Due to the circumstances everyone had ‘to muck together’ and for all those war years make the best of it.”
Although Billy didn’t recognise the street, my reference that it might be in Thornhill Lees near to Wormald and Walker’s mills, made him wonder if it could be Fearnley Street which ran down the side of the Shepherd’s Boy pub and joined Huddersfield Road with Fall Lane.
Billy came to this conclusion because of the reference in my article that the street was in Thornhill Lees and therefore looked no further afield.
The reason I stated it was in Thornhill Lees was because the mystery picture appeared in an old Wormald and Walker’s magazine.
The editor of the magazine asked readers to identify it, but pointed out that it was only a stone’s throw away from their Thornhill Lees mill.
It now seems that one man’s “stone’s throw” is another man’s “half-a- mile” because that is about how far George Street is from Wormald’s and Walker’s.
The two mystery photographs this week also came from the same magazine but this time the editor simply states that both streets are in Dewsbury.
I await with eagerness the response from readers.
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