My Memories

Cecil Fryer 1920
Private Collection
Edith Fryer nee Shepherd circa 1927/8
Private Collection
Norman Fryer aged 10
Private Collection

My Grandparents

My Grandfather Thomas Fryer was born in Oakham, Rutland. He married Mabel Morley who was born in Shelford, Nottinghamshire.  Thomas came to Pleasley to work in the pit at some time prior to 1907.

They had six children, my father Cecil (Cyril), John (Tup), Fred, Tony, Graham (Shig), Alfred (died 1926) and one sister Madge. The family lived on Gas Hill, Pleasley.

Grandfather Thomas died in 1926 leaving Mabel to bring up six children.


My dad Cyril (Cecil) worked at Pleasley Colliery, he was the head lamp man. He worked there  from 1924 -1974.





New England

At one time, the family used to live in the houses at New England, Pleasley. That would  have been in 1934 or before, because I was born at 23 New England and my grandmother lived at No. 20.

We then moved to 321 Chesterfield Rd and Uncle Fred & Aunty Joyce moved into 23 New England and Uncle John and Aunty Elsie lived at 24.

Charlie Butler lived in number 22, he had a saw mill and used to sell sticks around Pleasley.

Mabel my Grandmother died aged 79 in October 1962.


My mum Edith lived until she was 99, she died 13 August 2009.



Chesterfield Road and ‘The Acre.’

I was an only child and we lived at 321 Chesterfield Road (knocked down now for them to build the ring road). Dad rented 1 acre of land off of Nottinghamshire County Council, half an acre was used to grow vegetables. On the other half we kept 300 fowls, pigs and ducks.

At Christmas Mum and dad used to kill fowls or ducks and pluck them for people. A pig was also killed every Christmas.

Pig swill used to be collected from all over Pleasley.


Chickens and eggs

We used to fetch one day old chicks from Mansfield Railway Station, bring them home on the bus put them in the little back bedroom under a light.  Eggs from the hens were sent to a packing station, I don’t know where this was as they used to come and collect them.

At school the teachers used to say ‘Fryer, I want to see you’  –  I wasn’t in trouble they wanted some eggs!


My uncle used to fetch the milk from Cumberlands Farm at Pleasley,  and we used to help deliver the milk with a horse and cart  The milk was in churns, and you came out with the jug to get your milk.

Horse Trotting

We use to watch greyhound racing at Sutton and Shirebrook, and we also went horse trotting.   Horse trotting was on Old Mill Lane, Forest Town, (where the caravan site is now), a man sat between two wheels on a bar with a saddle on it and a horse trotted not galloped. The Horses raced around the track.

Hair cutting was another thing, done ‘up the acre’ with hand clippers.

When I was 12, I broke my ankle jumping off a shed on the acre.

Working at the pit

I worked in Lamp cabin at Pleasley Pit for three years, then I wanted to get married so had to go down the pit to earn more money at Crown Farm Pit (Mansfield Colliery) I was there from 1951 to 1987 (36 years).

When working at Pleasley Pit we smashed up 150 oil lamps and buried them on Pleasley pit tip when they were no longer used and we had new ones. Me and my dad smashed up the lamps.

War years

Life at Pleasley was great, we used to live with my grandma while mum went to work in Barringers/Metal Box in the war. Dad was in home guards.

We had lots of fun with lots of friends.  In 1947 when we had lots of snow we had to dig a road up the lane to the acre to feed the animals and sometimes walked on top of hedges because the snow was drifting.




Comments about this page

  • I’ve just been reading your history and found it very interesting. My dad used to work at Pleasley pit as a back ripper, that’s what my birth certificate says.
    His name was Aubrey Smith, we lived at 328 Devonshire Street, New Houghton. He worked at the pit from the age of 14.
    My grandad Arthur Smith and many of my uncles worked there too.
    My mum mentioned that she worked at Barringers too. I’m not sure when though. Her name was Sheila Smith( nee Wathall)
    Would love a copy of the book. Is it still available please?

    By carol smith (20/06/2023)
  • My dad lived on Hillmoore Street, Pleasley, Len Ward (Tenner)

    By nicola (12/01/2022)
  • Sylvia Sommeling Shaw mentioned that she used to live at 531 Chesterfield Road. My grandma Alice Newton used to live at 533 next door, and I used to live on Teversal Avenue with my parents growing up in Pleasley, was the best time of my life.

    By Shaun newton (14/03/2021)
  • My message is to Robert Buchanan’s post. I lived next door to MP’s fishing tackle shop, 294 Chesterfield Rd North, the shop’s still there but don’t know what it sells. I can remember Chris Buchanan he lived at Radmanthwaite, and can remember Frank from Pleasley, he worked there, there was another chap worked there as well can’t remember his name. Frank used to run fishing club from Poplar Drive Working Men’s Club, we used to go out on a 54 seated bus every other week end all over different rivers.

    By Malcolm king (24/11/2020)
  • I’m trying to find out about my late mum’s childhood, born in 1952 in Pleasley. Kathleen Smith or Jacques, sisters Margaret and Joyce, brothers Ray, Henry and Ron who worked at Pleasley farm. Mother Lilian, and father Harry lived on Chesterfield Rd.

    By Jason wadsworth (08/06/2020)
  • Does anyone remember my grandad’s shop? It was called MPS Products and it was on Chesterfield Road just 200/300 yards from the New England Pub.
    Any photos would be great to see.

    By Robert Buchanan (06/10/2019)
  • Did you know Joseph Shepherd?

    By Louise Booker-Parkinson (22/07/2019)
  • Hi Norman.I enjoyed reading your memories. I lived at 531 Chesterfield Road from when I was born in 1947, until my dad Rudi Sommeling left the colliery to work at The Metal Box in about 1960. I went to Farmilo school and then to Brunts. I emigrated to South Africa in 1970 and now live in Florida USA. Recently I went back to Mansfield and stayed at the Mansfield Manor Hotel in Carr Bank Park. The son of an old friend of mine took my husband and I to see the Colliery museum which I found really fascinating. As a child, I never realised exactly where my dad went to work every day, so it was very nostalgic to sort of walk in his footsteps around the mine buildings and to see all the machines and equipment he would have seen every day. It was actually a very moving experience, and it was nice to see that the memories are being preserved by some dedicated people who care about preserving Pleasley Pit for posterity. I see one of your comments is from Allan Parker, and I’m wondering if he is the same Allan Parker who was my first ‘boyfriend’ at primary school. 🙂

    By Sylvia Sommeling Shaw (10/07/2015)
  • Re. Ralph I was born at 24 New England, Leslie was my cousin lived 23. Ralph was called after his dad when he was small he used to get confused when called Ralph he thought they were calling dad so they called him Cookie, he lived at 26 New England he had 3 siblings Ronald Derick and June.

    By Alwyne Fryer (07/09/2013)
  • Great story uncle Norman

    By Iain fryer (09/03/2013)
  • For J. Miller, try going on the “photos of Mansfield” site there’s some lovely old pics on there at the moment.

    By Ann Lewis (31/01/2013)
  • I recall going to school with a Leslie Fryer from New England. Was he from the same family? They lived next door to a family called Cook and at school the son came to class and said he had not got a name so Miss Rawson said we would call him Ralph. Can anyone recall that? Also Mrs Wilson’s shop was the small one up from Dutton’s paper shop. Mr Dutton used to have a betting shop at his hairdresser’s in Pleasley

    By Allan Parker (19/01/2013)
  • My grandparents had a butcher`s shop on Newboundmill Lane in the 1950s. It was demolished to make way for new housing (Deansgate?) I have happy memories of going with my grandmother to deliver meat. Does anyone have a picture of the shop?

    By J Miller (09/12/2012)
  • I was born at my Grand parents house at 297 Chesterfield Road in 1956, just before the garage and later the New England pub was built, I think they were called the Coop houses. My mother was Lily Robinson, nee Calladine and my Grandmother Nellie Calladine nee Brown. My Grandad Bill had worked down the pit but later worked on the milkround with a horse and cart, he unfortuanately dies in 1961 with a lung desease through years of working underground. As a child I would play with the other kids either football on the wreck or we would walk to Morey Bridge and fish for sticklebacks, we would be gone from 9am on a Saturday morning till 7pm at night but no one worried, you came home starving hungry and tired out but loved every minute playing in the fields and streams. I feel so sorry for young kids today, they think they have a good life playing computer games but they dont have half as much fun as we had, and it was all free. Sunday dinner was shin beef done in the range and yorkshire pudding in a big tin, it was delicious, we would go to Mrs Wilsons for a bottle of Sunecta orange crush to have with our dinner. These were very happy days, no one had much but it didnt matter, my grandma was a great cook and could make the most lovely dinners and tea’s of bread and jam. Those days will never return but I for one am so happy I lived them.

    By Paul Robinson (22/10/2012)
  • Do you know how much genuine vintage miners oil lamps go for nowdays !! I lived at 617 Chesterfield Road from 47 to 53.

    By Anthony Holmes (30/06/2011)
  • Great memories brings back alot of happy hols I had with my Uncle Jack

    By peter tucker (15/02/2011)
  • Lovely memories of a place I only lived in for 5 years in the early 1960s.

    By Maria C (07/11/2010)
  • Well done Norman. A very good article which makes really good reading. Brings back those happier memories of how Pleasley used to be.

    By Allan Ward (06/03/2010)

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