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.
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.
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.
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.