Bradder Street Memories of Jimmy & Alan

Have just returned home from a very pleasant three days in my home town of Mansfield. My wife and I had a lovely time visiting friends and relations, not forgetting our visit to the Museum and meeting with Liz and Jodi, also the other members of the Museum staff.

Probably the highlight of our trip was, my meeting with Jimmy Cockett, who used to live at number 77 Bradder Street, and whom I hadn’t seen for at least 72 years. Jimmy and his wife Mary, are lovely people, they are both church people, and Jimmy is in his early 80’s. It was lovely being able to reminisce over past times ,and about people we both knew, and Jimmy knew all of my family.

The Cockett’s family lived at number 77, and Mr Cockett used to work at the Whitely’s factory on Victoria Street. They moved to Dallas Street for obvious reasons, in order that Mr Cockett could be nearer to his work at Whitley’s.

We talked about the Cocoa Pond, the Brickyard, Fatty Man’s Bank, the Lord Byron, Shoggy Green’s Stables, the Brickyard Pond, Quarry Lane, and Victoria Street..

We talked of the little shop on Victoria Street near to Whitley’s Factory that was run by a small lady by the name of Nelly Dean.

We spoke of a Slaughter House at the side of the Co-op Warehouse, and the folk who lived in the stone cottages next to it. These folk included Miss Burney the school teacher, the Dixon Family, The Chadburn Family, and the Wass Family.

Jimmy reminded me of a story about a man of off Cambridge Street, we believe his name was Benny Barrows, who went missing for a long time. No one heard hide nor hair of him for many a while. At the far side of the Brickyard and along side of the Hayfield, there were many allotments. The man who had the corner allotment nearest the Brickyard Pond, used to take a bucket with a rope fastened to the handle and drop it into the Brickyard Pond, pull it out when full, and take it to water his allotment. He did this one day, and when he pulled the bucket up, the suction of the bucket in the water, caused the body of Benny to surface to the top.

The amount of accidents in the pond made the authorities decide to fill the pond in with factory waste for landfill.


Comments about this page

  • More reflections reminded me of the most happy, innocent, enjoyable, appreciative and yet impoverished upbringing I had as a child in the 1930’s. It was a time before the advent of television, mobile phones, in fact we were lucky  if there was a phone near at all.

    The word impoverished brings to mind the standard of living we all shared. The low wages were hardly enough for the working man to keep the family fed. Most working men had a debt of some sort, I don’t mean the buying of a property, for just about everyone rented from private landlords. The debts were created from buying food, clothes , boots/shoes, Doctors, fares, and gas bills.. Of course , children were an extra burden on the weekly wage. So it was for us that everything had a value. Even a piece of wood had a value and we could knock up a four wheeled trolley from an old pram’s wheels and some wood.

    By alan curtis (06/12/2014)
  • How amazing it is when you re-read something from the past, the memories of that time come flooding back. As children of the 30’s, we had nothing to speak of. The most important possession we had were our wits. This was born in the main when at school. There was always a lad in the school who was known as the ‘Cock  of  the school’ and most of the children would fear him, and give him a wide berth. Of course the teachers would use this to their advantage and give him additional responsibility.  Occasionally, another lad would question the ‘cock of the school’ to his rights to the crown, and a fight would  erupt. A crowd of children would encircle the two opponents, shouting and cheering for whom ever they wanted to win. If the fight wasn’t stopped by a teacher, they fought until one didn’t get up, or when one held up his hands to stop the fight. The two would then shake hands and go their own way.

    The Summer holidays were always spent roaming the surrounding countryside. For no one had money, and to me the seaside was another world beyond our families reach. The eldest child in the family was always made responsible for the rest. That was unless we went out in a gang of lads. I recall we would take a shortcut to the old sand quarry by walking along the viaduct and coming off at ” Fatty Man’s Bank “. Other times we would climb down a tall tree that had grown higher than the viaduct whose branches were within reach from the top of the stone wall. I still bear the scars!  

    By alan curtis (03/12/2014)
  • Returned Friday from an enjoyable one day visit to the old town. On a visit to an old friend, we discussed the Brickyard Pond. Benny’s name came up, and apparently my friend knew him. Whether my friend is mistaken or not in saying his name was Benny. I cannot say, but he said that Benny’s Dad committed suicide in the Brickyard Pond. Just to confuse matters, if he said it was Benny he knew, meaning Billy, then Benny would have been Billy’s father. Maybe someone can come up with the answer ?.

    By alan curtis (21/06/2014)
  • I have just re-read the above memories, and have to admit that it reminded me of what an impoverished childhood that we in the 1930’s had. It was a time I feel the youngsters who came along after the W.W.2. could not possibly begin to understand what it was like. To begin with we had no wardrobes as such, just a lobby hole where everything was thrown in. One bath a week, the rest of the week was a wash down in the kitchen sink.. A ladle of hot water from the boiler that was attached to the coal fire was used for this. Many a lad at school got his knuckles rapped for having a dirty neck. If we did anything wrong at school, a clout at the back of the head,  or the cane either on the palm of the hand, or it was bend over to receive the whacks elsewhere. My word, one does appreciate todays life luxuries now. We appreciate our home, which we never dreamed of years ago. We owned our own home, wow, we were well off, no more do we have to pay rent. And our nice car, that we can drive to anywhere in the country, even abroad, again, another wow. And I think most of all is the luxury bathroom with the shower and big bath, which is the most appreciated. Not forgetting our lovely garden where we can walk round and enjoy with a cup of coffee. and smell the roses. Now we have luxury beds with luxury bedding, and luxury fitted wardrobes, a thing that to we children of the 30’s had never heard of. If we were cold at night, it was chuck another coat on. In many ways, I enjoyed it all, we knew nothing else, and never looked or expected anything else. I just wish my parents could have shared in our fortunes of the kind of lifestyle that evolved after the war. If I could, I would thank them for teaching us right from wrong, how to behave, how to have good manners , how to love thy neighbour, and for a good family life in our upbringing. Lastly, for all the hard work they did for we children, through the hard times in their lives. Alan.

    By Alan Curtis (30/05/2014)
  • Was Benny, Bills Dad?

    By Michelle Stevenson (26/05/2014)
  • Alan what lovely memories ,the people the places that have long gone. I just love story’s like yours i do hope you have many more tell you must write them down. Pam Kitchen

    By pam kitchen (15/09/2013)

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