Wilsden village memories

| January 7, 2013 | 0 Comments

Mrs K Adams reflects in verse on a lifetime spent in Wilsden.

Now I’ve passed my 80th birthday, I look back to childhood days,

And I think of how our village life has changed, in many ways.

We lived then in a back-to-back, complete with outside loo,

No central heating then, coal fires, coal from the cellar too.

In winter, icy lino, upon the bedroom floor,

And Jack Frost patterned windows, till spring came round once more.

Hot water bottles in our beds tried to warm the chilly sheets,

And provisions filled the cellar, for when snowdrifts filled the streets.

In the village, half a dozen mills, a dye and soap works too,

A printers, and two garages gave work to more than just a few.

The early morning hooters sounded loud across the streets,

And soon the village echoed, with the sound of rushing feet.

As the workers hurried to the mills, quite early in the morn,

For weavers, woolsorters, carders, spinners, all started before dawn.

The streets were lit with gas lamps, with the lighter calling daily,

Friday night was bath night, a zinc tub on the hearth for many.

In the centre of the village, stood the tall and mighty Co-op,

With a butchers, drapers, cobblers, as well as the grocery shop.

Butter and cheese cut from giant blocks, flour and sugar sold from sacks,

And we kids spent our Saturday pennies, on aniseed balls, liquorice and pear drops.

Pear drops

We didn’t need to leave the village, to buy our shoes and frocks,

For the shops sold almost everything, from suits to fish and chips and clogs!

Motor cars were still quite rare, horse-drawn carts the norm,

And milk was brought in big milk churns, and ladled out each morn.

We children played out in the streets, at games like “Tin Can Squat”,

And didn’t cause much bother, the local bobby saw to that!

We all went to the village school, came home to lunch each day,

And daily there at playtime, played the games all children play,

Whip and top, marbles, skipping, conkers, each had a season it its turn,

We did sums and compositions, there was such a lot to learn!

Around the village, fields and woods and farms, some lovely country ways,

Where we picnicked, blackberried, swam in streams, on our long holidays,

We walked through lovely Goitstock woods, played by the waterfall,

Picked bluebells by the handful, there were plenty there for all.

Came home through fields of gentle cows, there are few there now, today,

And houses now fill up the fields, where the March hares used to play.

In winter we went moonlight sledging, all the pitches now are gone,

And the children growing up here today, will never know such fun.

On Sundays to church or chapel, and Sunday School we hied,

And on our Anniversary Days, sang anthems there with pride.

Lads joined the Scouts, girls GLB, men played bowls and cricket,

The ladies watched, and made the teas, while their chaps were at the wicket.

Saturday night whist drives and dances held in the old Mechanics Hall,

To Ernest Mitchell and his Sylvians, we always had a ball!

No time back then for being bored, so many things to do,

Like socials, concerts, beetle drives, keeping allotments too.

The wartime days brought many changes, when the men went off to fight,

With rationing, and the blackout, shouts of “Please put out that light!”

The flower beds grew veggies, and we tried to make do and mend,

Dried eggs and Snoek, tins of Spam – bananas and oranges at an end.

But even in those dark, unhappy days, we still made our own fun,

Till after almost six long years, the Second World War was won.

But things had changed forever, one by one the mills closed down,

Instead of working in the village, we had to travel into town.

Lots of people had to journey miles, some went to live far away,

Little did I know back then, I’d fly round the world one day!

Now we live in a modern semi, complete with inside loo,

Have a car, and bikes, and all mod cons – a lovely garden too.

Fly to foreign countries, see snow-capped mountains, and the Med,

Laze on sunbaked beaches, but when all is done and said,

In spite of central heating, washers, fitted carpets, freezers and microwaves,

Are we really any happier, than in those pre-war days?

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