Archive for February 11, 2011

Happy Days For Most Of Us

February 11, 2011 Leave a comment

I have seen several postings on the site that finish with the phrase ‘happy days’. Well they were happy times and especially so for young people with few worries. With  justification we can trot out blackberry pies, the beck, little silvery fish, and custard tarts. Not forgetting ginger beer and its sister,wine. Note the emphasis on food and drink.  We can move on to tinsel, pit socks and then ease into Christmas Day. I know that Margaret, Paul’s mother, has always liked Christmas and has taken that feeling right into the 21st century.

Happy days can be dangerous though: I recall climbing the local quarry and very nearly falling down it at the age of ten. I can  also recall my back pass – under pressure – to our keeper David Gerrard in the school cup final of April 1959; it could easily have gone past him for an own goal, but it didn’t! It might have let Waterhouses Modern back into the game although I think we would still have won.

Adults were not always so carefree and words that come to mind are: tiredness, hire purchase, injury, death  and a potential pit disaster. There are other words that jump out e.g. depression, mental health and hopelessness. The mining village was supportive of its own – in terms of kind words, supplying material goods and even money, but often there was little understanding of  severe depression and other mental problems. If one was acutely depressed, and somewhat withdrawn, very likely you would find yourself as a day patient or inmate of Winterton Hospital. Some people associated mental afflictions with the word Sedgefield.

‘You ought to be in Sedgefield’

You will put me in Sedgefield if you do not shut up’  or some variant.

The hospital in question was Winterton. It does not exist now but I recall it because my mum – she was severely depressed for a time  but not in anyway mental- was a patient there for two spells.

If my memory serves me right the hospital had several problems: depressed patients mixed with mental patients  and there was little chance for the depressed to attend social events; the upshot for some of them was that they got more depressed. Pills and electric shock treatment were only short term fixes. Electric shock treatment invariably led to memory loss and that took a lot of time to sort out; along the way it brought more stress and unhappiness – for friends and family as well as the patient.

For goodness sake let’s end on a happy note. Yes indeed, I will happily proclaim that in the early 50s I got two train sets on the same Christmas day owing to a parental mix up. Oh you say, I have mentioned that before. Sorry. Well what about my love for, and delight in, steamed spotted dick. Surely I have not mentioned that in the past???. Tongue. Cheek.


Categories: Memories

One For Alfie – It All Started With A Fall Down The Pit Shaft

February 11, 2011 6 comments

I was having a look on the internet to see whether or not I could find some inquest details relating to my great aunt Ada’s first husband, Harold Swift; he was killed owing to his 300 feet fall down New Brancepth  pit shaft in 1940; during the search process, and not to make light of Harold’s demise, I stumbled myself. Right into  family photographs relating to the Rothwell’s, McGovern’s, Clark’s, Richards’ and more! It may be that Alfie has already see them – they may even be on site for all I know – but  hopefully we will hear!

If you google – New Brancepeth 1940 – up come Dave and Lizzie Richards. Alternatively it can be got to by Flickr vegaways photostream – once in put   Rothwell    into the search box.

Absolutely sensational for Alfie – maybe. Interesting for all of us anyway.

Check out Dave and Lizzie Richards on FLICKR <<<HERE>>>


Categories: Announcements, Memories