David has been given a lovely poem of
childhood memories of Feniscowles by Audrey (Cranage) Ashton of 675 Preston Old
Road. Both people and places in it will
bring back lots of memories for some and provide a window into a lost past for
many others who have come to know the area since.
The poem is annotated to show links to
people and places familiar to many.
Very many thanks to Audrey for
providing this original to David.
If anyone has any old photo’s of
people and places mentioned please contact David who will publish them in the
magazine and on the website.
Memories of a Happy Childhood
For all those who shared it
By Audrey (Cranage) Ashton
They say when you look back over the
Things look better with time
So step back with me to Feniscowles
Its about 1939.
Feniscowles was only a village then
Where everyone knew each other
All was familiar in this ‘little
My family and friends, dad and mother.
The ‘village’ consisted of just the
And York Terrace (with gardens as
A hairdresser’s now stood where the
antiques shop is now
(But they used dinky curler—not gel!)
The Post Office was on the site of the
With sawdust on the Co-op floor
And in most of the shops a little bell
When anyone opened the door.
(Post office first on right, Sutton
The ‘Fieldens Arms’ Landlord stood on
A master of all he surveyed!
With gold watch and chain and ‘slick’ combed-
Jim Ward - a man of the trade!
Pye’s Butcher’s Shop has been turned
into a house
Bill Pye’s meat was delivered by bike!
Of course - meat was rationed, so you
didn’t get much.
Not like now - when you get what you
(House belongs to Norman and Edna Simm)
The hairdresser’s now, was the
Smells of dubbin and leather - a last.
With tacks in his mouth and silver
Over which a stern eye he would cast!
Across from the Fieldens - the Smithy
Where we stood - peering into the
Smells of smoke, sounds of metal - and
With anvil - and ‘clanking’ - and
(Many trades used horses as transport)
And next to the Smithy - the Grocers,
Mrs Dolphin made wonderful cakes!
Nothing was wrapped up in plastic
Things were just put on plates.
(Jose Beetson’s mother, Sharon
So there were such lovely aromas!
Of baking, fresh ham - and cheese
There were brass scales and weights - and lovely fresh bread
Firewood and coffee and teas!
At the sweet shop next door, lived
Norman Simm’s Gran!
She saved sugar coupons for us
For the children had never tasted ice
Then one day - Oh what a fuss!
Word swept round the village - quick
as a flash
There was something free - strange and
And if you ran to the sweet shop as
quick as you could
You’d get something quite cold to bite
Every night in the War was the
No chinks of light could we see!
Or we’d hear at the door—a rather loud
Bill’s father—Bobby Magee!
(Bill and May Magee)
Me and my sister lived on Livesey
Near Gloria, Frank, Donald and Jean
And just on the corner in what is
Lived the Bennetts and their daughter,
(Gloria Fleming, Donald Rishton)
(The Bennetts emigrated To Capetown in
1948, still in touch)
Bob was what was called a ‘rough
Didn’t smoke or drink - so they say!
A Builder and Contractor in haulage
An ‘entrepreneur’ of his day!
His wife was so pretty - a ‘real
She made pretty hats for her head
With little short veils and flowers
A fur cape - when she went to collect
Although many items of clothing were
homemade - non had such panache as these)
Bob’s ‘Rolls’ used to whiz round the
He was covered in grease and grime
‘Come on all you kids - we’ll go for a
Off to Glasson to have a good time!
(Bob had a boat there - very unusual
in those days!)
One week - his car needed mending
So he borrowed our ‘Standard’ of blue
It hadn’t been used very much in the
In fact - it was just like new!
(It must be appreciated how precious
cars were then)
Bob drove it as if he was racing!
At speeds that would break your neck!
My Dad said “Bennett’s going too far!
At this rate my car’ll be a wreck!”
The exhaust fell off - it really
Then Bob said “Look ‘ere Joe -
I’ve got a good customer for your car
At a good price - you’d best let it
So a man - with a blond - and a pile
of pound notes
Made an offer Dad ‘couldn’t refuse’
But he always said Bob had set it all
As a way to pay off his dues.
(probably one of his drivers??)
At New Year a party was held at our
During which the Police - all the four
P.C.’s Stamper, Magee - and Berry as
Plus the sergeant were stood at the
(The fathers of Pamela Lund,
Bill Magee and Harold Wiggins)
Dad said “Don’t worry” - and he let
them all in
As to him it was not a surprise!
He knew what they’d come for - it was
not to arrest!
A quick drink - and my Mother’s mince
Now most of the children went to one
of two schools,
Pleasington - for al the R.C.’s!
Or the Council School here - it was
very small then
With a garden and flowers and trees!
(Priory Close is now on the school
Each Monday night - we’d play top and
Anh ‘Hopscothch’ in the school yard
But at eight o’clock prompt - we’d all
have to go
When practice began for Home Guard!
Ely Jepson had a beautiful garden
On our bikes we’d go to Park View
He sold bedding plants, tomatoes,
Did weddings and funerals too!
(LH End house and rear large garden
He was the ‘main man’ at the Mission
And very respected by all
His sister in law ‘Aunty Marie’
Played piano in the Church Hall.
(Mission concerts were a popular
attraction - Percy (Norman Simm’s
father) had a fine voice)
farm Estate stands there isn’t a trace
cobbled yard, dairy and farm
meadow - so sweet with buttercups
Dog Roses -
a hedge and a barn
(Park farm Cottage is the only
looked over the meadow
Once a year
- to a perfume we’d wake
weather’s ‘set in’ so everyone said
children all looked for a rake!
(Large wooden rakes)
came over a haytime
To lend a
hand - with work on the farm
We were all
very shocked when the farmer told us
‘home’ for his stay was the barn.
would be raked - and then loaded up
All - plus
the horse - played their part
to the yard - hay passed to the barn
Then a ride
on the big wooden cart!
- called ‘baggin’ - in straw baskets and cloths
down to the field to save time
tea. Bread and cheese, home made scones
and some jam
farmer we’d sit down and dine.
was a cry from the front - ‘Rag and Bone!’
the man with the cart!
you a rubbing stone for some old clothes
pony - head in sack - stole my heart
(Rubbing stones were a square block of
substance used for cleaning front
The Sun and
the Star and the Eclipse
thriving workplaces then
carried square wicker baskets of food
or canteens for them!
(Eclipse cotton mill)
Thursday night - all during that time
Sunday School - just down the road
ran dances for ‘our boys in the war’
everyone joned ‘A-la-mode’!
Her son had
‘gone missing’ but she lived in hope
coming back home once more
never returned - but she never gave up
on the Memorial of war.
went to the Abbey - much later on
And saw the
grave of the Warrior unknown
My Father -
in whispers - reminded us all
To think of
Joe Barratt from home.
year there was held a Fancy Dress Ball
Run by Miss
Redmond and brothers
hushed voices - tickets went on sale
for Unmarried Mothers’!
( In Immanuel Sunday School, these
tickets with pretty edges were put on the mantelpiece for display many weeks
Friday - from what was then ‘Jamworks Lane’
Stocklough Lane now I believe!
Edmondson’s farmers with their horse and cart
home grown veg, spuds, beans and peas.
(This farm was completely destroyed by
mornings when we were off school
from the farm on the hill
to hear the ‘clip-clop’ of the hooves
‘Captain’ the horse - what a thrill!
no more than three in the cart behind her
stood erect - holding the reins!
stockings - pull down hat - cross o’er pinny as well
up streets, roads and lanes.
We’d go to the
steps - where we’d get her the jugs
with little lace covers
the edge (to stop flies) was a ‘must’
or fridges for our mothers!
take out the long metal scoop
kit - was it pint, gill or quart!
to the farm (the motorway’s through now)
And Captain - alas ‘il est morte’
‘D-Day’ the Americans arrived
children thought film-stars had come!
errands for them - from the shops - loaves of bread!
they threw us chocolate and gum!
Only on the films!)
camped under trees - behind the stone wall
Broken Stones Road
But one day
we went there and there wasn’t a trace
- all shipped abroad!
(Many of these boys would have been
killed in the D Day landings)
At the end
of the War was a party
parades - dressed in red, white and blue
rained - so no tea on the Rec as was planned
School had to do
It was soon
after that - we made a new friend
was Renata I think!
big gold ear rings—and had thick long black hair
necked dress - in gingham and pink!
She sang us
the song called ‘Lily Marlene’
had brought back a bride
was in Napoli - so she told us
rolled down her cheeks - and she cried!
Doctor was called Doctor Leigh
gentleman to be sure
He lived in
a big Georgian house (now knocked down)
Tree - he’d find a cure!
man you could not have met
As a matter
of fact - it was said
saved all hi sweet ration regularly
sweets to kids ill in bed.
One of the
places we used to explore
Was down in
Feniscowles Old Hall
houses were occupied then
So we had
to get over the wall!
(Both gate houses are still there but
Then all of
a sudden - we’d hear a loud shout
‘Curly’ -the man from the lodge
to give chase on this Private Lane
But if we
were quick - we could dodge!
In a big
house at Beechwood lived ‘Popeye’
He said ‘I
own all land around’
patch on his eye—and a silver topped cane
If we met
our feet didn’t touch the ground!
(In woods on the site of the old Oak
tree Pub, now Tesco)
As we got a
bit older there was no need to go far
music and friendship and fun
week—dances were held in a school
Tocholes and Houghton were some!
we would go to the market
For a dress
length - then we’d treadle all day!
night - it was ready to wear
model dress some may say!
quite safe to walk - shoes wrapped in brown paper
scarves over our hair
use lipstick at home when we left
- we didn’t dare!
shared one - any colour would do!
And we put
it on - once on the way
And when we
arrived at our ‘Dance of Romance’
We’d need a
shilling to pay!
one special place where we all loved to go
bikes - or we’d walk all the way!
Bolton Hall farm in Hoghton
there and stay for the day.
(Fondest memories of Donny, Lance,
Mary, Jenny RIP, Sally, Alison, Jim and Len)
teenagersloved to make there
‘Open House’ to us all
music from a wind-up gramophone
always felt welcome to call.
It was ‘out
in the wilds with flag floors and oil lamps
dance to the tunes of the day
Heart - Wheel of Fortune - This Old House - I Believe
Sugar Bush - Volare!
remember I told you about Edmonson’s cart
veg on a Friday Night?
about now - Mary and Jim
Had a new
business venture in sight!
started a Band - Jim played the drums
accordion was squeezed by Mary!
in their best - and looking quite smart
arrive with their ‘gear’ -a bit early!
there in her black evening dress
sequins and diamante - so perfect
she lifted the skirt - so she didn’t trip up
‘wellies’ rather spoiled the effect!
Feniscowles Station - now called Feniscowles Bridge
buy tickets to go on the train
in the Waiting Room by a warm fire
In the cold
- or if it started to rain.
- Chorley and Southport
To the Isle
of Man you could roam!
Ted Heath—Ivy Benson were on
bands than at home!
So that was
when childhood vanished
I was now
in the ‘Social Whirl’
wonderful time to remember
Is when I
was a little girl!