Characters Methley Cricket Club World War 2

Roy Eastwood – Nonagenarian

Roy Eastwood – Roy brings a long and eventful contribution to this village interspersed with a varied military career in the RAF with postings to many parts of Europe and North Africa during the war along with later demanding posts in the mental health disciplines at Oulton Asylum and Stanley Royd.
Roy belies his nonagenarian status, still observing, and taking part in many aspects of Methley. I look forward to changing the description of the title to Centenarian at a later time.

An incomplete apprenticeship in the clothing industry was brought about with his entry into the RAF following the outbreak of war.  After initial training and that beloved square bashing enjoyed by all recruits his first posting was to the Isle of Man as an armourer – attaching bombs, cannon and bullets to wartime aircraft.   He also assisted in arming Lysander aircraft with armaments and then observe the accuracy of shooting practise at drogues (targets) being towed in the air.
Further postings included N Ireland for 12 months, then on to Liverpool for embarkation to the Mediterranean.  Here his outfit, part of a huge convoy were split when his RAF flotilla was deployed to Algeria, then Malta.  It was in Valletta that he was to come across Bernard Russell of this village returning from operations in the Far East.  A second posting back to Algeria (this was after the Eighth Army Campaign and success at El Alamein) saw Roy in line for a move out to the Far East which did not materialise and therefore did not interfere with his return home and demobilisation. 

So there he was, plus two new demob suits but no vacancies in the tailoring industry!  It was then when he sought out employment training as a male nurse at the Oulton Hall Asylum, then on to working with the mentally disabled at Stanley Royd and was to end his career in the health industry after a stint supplying materials to hospitals

His post war interests included re-joining the church choir at St Oswald’s where he boasts of singing alongside some of the best choristers of the time including his old mate Alan Tomlinson, the Beilby brothers and Will Illingworth to name a few.   

Also not to be left out was a restart with the cricket club along with his old pre-war chums, perhaps an outstanding memory was scoring 120 runs against a successful Whitwood XI.  His affection for the club continued involving himself and members of his family in the running of the club.

After retirement he took up part time employment with one of the Leeds bullion offices putting cash into pay packets of workers, including many pit pay packets – he admits to being astounded at the amounts of the earnings some of those workmen.

Roy has in later years, following the loss of Phyllis taken up the civilised sport of crown green bowling much appreciating the church-side setting of the club.  A sport he can enjoy watching and contributing and which he is still keen to engage in veterans competitions.   It was in these roles he was to be awarded the Tommy Allen Shield for services to the game.

Always independent and smartly turned out in his late nineties, it can only be the result of his former training and experience with the RAF and great interest in the village and its people.  He does not forget his great affection for the younger members of his family who are a great support to him.

Characters Methley Cricket Club Savile Colliery

Bernard Richardson

The young Bernard first came on to the cricket scene at the age of thirteen – volunteering to make the side up by cycling to away matches.  He remembers playing at Knottingley and Whitley Bridge have to bike it home without any lights. At the age of seventeen he entered straight into the batting honours list with a total of 236 runs at an average of 15.7 which included an unbeaten 50. Not bad for an introduction to senior cricket.

But then, he was only following in the footsteps of his father Albert (Rugger 1016) Richardson who had for some years played for the team mostly as its main strike bowler.

The following year Bernard continued his success in the second XI with an accumulation of 368 runs at an average of 20.4 beefed up by his first century against Yorkshire Copper works. He continued his apprenticeship and in the following season (1960) he was being considered for the First XI where he also made some promising scores.

The young ‘Rugger’ was now maturing into more than a promising player.   He took on 1st Xi captaincy in 1968, at the time he was the youngest player to be so elected. 
In 1974 Bernard was the first player to win the newly introduced fielding prize, having been appointed captain that year – a position he was to hold until 1980. During the whole of his captaincy years he was to prove to be a reliable and often prolific run accumulator, being runner up for the batting prize with 500 runs in 1975. All in the background of steadily improving team selections and performances. The club it is claimed had achieved more consistent success in this period than at any other time.

It must have given him great satisfaction, when in 1983 a best individual innings of 95 out of a total of 247 achieved victory in the Hepworth Cup against a strong Knottingley outfit.

1984 brought captaincy again and that year enjoyed an unbeaten 117 against YCW along with his usual contribution to the team scores. In 1987, now as a veteran he was once again encouraged to take up the leadership reins, a position which he retained the following season.

You can’t keep a good man down, because two years later duty called once again, and he took on captaincy of the Seconds a position in which he was supported by a number of former First XI players.
Since those days Bernard has held close interest in the wider requirements of the club keeping an experienced eye on its continuing development and playing a pro-active role in organisation and management of the club.

A later redirection of his love of the game took him to become well known in a white overall coat circuit as an umpire. 

in 2016 he was awarded the status of ‘Club Legend’ along with the now new club President Michael Smart. 

Bernard has always appreciated his role in the club and wonders how players of present times would manage like his father who on certain occasions would turn out for the club after having done an early Saturday shift at the pit. He reminds me of an instance of having given assistance to Peter Bell at Savile Pit regarding the setting up of a retail outlet at the pit. Bernard turned down the offer of a payment for services rendered and in return requested an underground visit. This went ahead and it gave him a reality check on what the work involved especially the part played by his father. I suspect that Peter Bell also gave him the enhanced tour taking in the lowest and narrowest route possible. – Well done Pete, and Bernard.

Coal Mining Savile Colliery

Savile Colliery Video

Brief Introduction to Savile Colliery Video.
The movie commences with a shot of the colliery offices. This building was originally the old lamp room and was converted in 1957 some two years after construction of the pit head baths building which then incorporated the new lamp room.
Next we see home coals being loaded near to the landsale onto the Geo Davies delivery truck. The loading area was sectionalised at the back into one ton capacity segments for tipping outside miner’s houses. On average underground workers received one load every five weeks.
The camera now pans round to take in the two shaft headgears and fan house prior to a shot of the gantry access from the baths to the man riding shaft top. To the left of this is the baths building visible with smoke issuing from its boiler room.
Next is the upturned view of the Savile Park headgear. Then the view returns back to the colliery offices and shows a close up of the then cost clerk (Peter Glover) entering the building.
Another upward view now of the materials yard floodlight column. It’s always windy up there, even on a still day.
Following that we see a long shot of the canal basin cut to the loading staithe, this offering a distance view of the donkey bridge (constructed to enable horse drawn barges to proceed.
Then on view are a number of barges in loading position followed by shots of the conveyor feed gantries clearing the coal to the barges. Continuation of the view displays the side elevation of the old colliery screens not now in use following the introduction of washing facilities and the switch from domestic to power station fuel.
A run of full coal wagons and the steam loco (Airedale) being driven by Ronnie Hare and Charlie Oddy is next. Along with this picture is a view of the ancient steam powered crane and then into view appear the Jubilee side tipping trucks with stone and washer residuals ready to be hauled up to the surface dirt disposal area (Colliery Tip). More views of the surface buildings bring us to the rear of the pit head baths and the end of the short video.
I am indebted to John Sigsworth for permission to display this moving picture of Savile pit taken in the late 1960’s.


Characters History Methley Cricket Club

Annie Carter

Annie Carter

It was no surprise to me to learn that Annie White enjoyed her school years which included dramatic roles in school plays and other activities including singing solo in front of her peers. Surely a pointer to her outlook and later interests in adult life. 

Annie met husband to be Walter on one of his cycling jaunts, an interest in which he excelled and was able to encourage Annie to take part. The activity opening up new vistas for them both – its reported that she claimed to be slowest uphill but always first on the downward sections. They never lost the desire to venture abroad later in life enjoying the amateur dramatic, choir, and church trips in addition to family holidays.

She took up employment in the school canteen after Walter had suffered a serious injury working underground, and it is here where I learned the art of being good mannered and polite to all school dinner ladies and in particular Mrs Carter in order to obtain bigger helpings – it did work.

Ever an active contributor to village life, Annie was a member of the cricket club ladies section helping with teas and fund raising, this, introducing her to becoming one of the organisers and players of the ladies XI where she turned out as stumper. Again, I wonder if she remembered the miserable 12 year old (me) who had been dragged along with his mother to away games to watch ladies playing cricket !!!!!
Annie was also a member of the British Legion and in particular enjoyed the weekly ladies night. Her schoolgirl desire for the footlights ensured that she also took part in the village amateur dramatic productions, she claimed that she always got the part of the maid.

Perhaps her biggest contribution to this village was the different and often arduous roles she played over the years in support of the church. Starting with the then recently built St Margaret’s church, she followed her mother taking on caretakers duties which involved scrubbing the floors, cleaning the silver and brasses and laundering and ironing the vestments (including stoking up the boiler for the 9am service and following evensong). Along with this came responsibilities with the church hall for whist drives, and other village functions, in addition Annie played her part in the Mothers Union.

Annie was up to date with all matters concerning the Church, however in the early months of 1985 there was one very important subject that she knew nothing about which some of those around her were fully aware of.
All was revealed when the postman delivered a letter bearing the Royal Coat of Arms inviting her to Ripon Cathedral in order to receive Maundy from her majesty the Queen. After getting over the shock and modestly deferring the award. Annie, I’m pleased to say, reverted to type asking what she should wear and what she might wear and in general completely looking forward to the whole ceremony.
Well, she did select the right outfit, she practised the curtsy and come the day (its always Thursday) she was able to take in the whole procedure along with Walter (in his new suit). Annie’s words to the Queen were “Thank you Ma’am” and she later commented on how flawless the Queen looked with sparkling eyes and a lovely smile, Annie described it all as wonderful.

Proud daughter Elaine, after the occasion stated that she did not know anyone as selfless as her mother who had served and given of herself all her life, Elaine added the her mother fulfilled all the requirements to qualify for Royal Maundy.
No argument there Elaine.


School Reminiscences

I’m adding a picture of a really pleasant reunion which took place on Monday 23rd at the Pontefract Crematorium. When I suggested to the lady that she might care to park their car under the shade of the trees further back, she said that her husband Hubert was ok nearer to the crematorium. Soon as I heard the name I knew it couldn’t be anyone other than Bert Allen former teacher at Mickletown School and this started a very pleasant exchange of former names and places. I did of course come across himself in the past after school as both our sporting interests coincided with Castleford and Pontefract RU clubs. I did remember that the man was quite pacey, so I can tell you he has lost a bit of speed and a tad of memory of pupils names, however I enjoyed much conversation with himself and Jan. They tell me that they have returned to this area after living in Devon for 30 years.

Family Announcements Pontefract & Castleford Express
Sadly, his long life came to a peaceful end on Saturday, 9th Ferbruary 2019.



Local Events Social

Castleford Rugby Union Car Boot Sale

Looking forward to 2019.


Apple and Carrot Cake

Apple and Carrot Cake
Should you have watched the outstanding Trooping of the Colour this year – June 9th 2018. In addition to the exceptional display of marching by the Coldstream Guards, you may have noticed the starring equine role played by the charger ‘Royal Blue’ of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. This was the mount of Colonel Launders of the Coldstream Guards who as Officer in Command of the Parade was to issue the instructions to provide the accurately timed continuity of the Parade.
Royal Blue is to be commended for his steadiness and equine authority in support of the Colonel throughout the parade.
Attached is a photograph of Corporal of Horse (Blues and Royals) Daniel Evans scraping out the parade ground grit from the hooves of that starring horse later that afternoon. Should the horse have been better rewarded? Of course he should, and after the clean down he was the recipient of a delicious apple and carrot cake for his contribution.
Why should I write all this you may ask? It’s easy, the cake was made by my granddaughter Jessica and Daniel’s young son Xander then presented to the horse who accepted it willingly in preference to the usual oats and straw.

Royal Blue was to follow this up as star attraction when, as mount of Adjutant Major Dominic Alkin, Grenadier Guards on the 10th August, 2018.  He was to ride up the steps of the grand entrance of the Royal Academy, Sandhurst as part of the Passing Out parade of some 200 new to be promoted 2nd Lieutenants into postings in the British Army.   Attached is the horse and rider along with trainer Corporal of Horse Daniel Evans.

Jessica isn’t one of the characters of this village, but she’s visited and walked round it many times as you would imagine. She reminds me that years ago she always enjoyed bringing the carrots for the horses the paddock at the Low End when we called to get eggs from Eddie the Egg Man.
This article when published on the Facebook page ‘Characters of Methley’  attracted 575 hits in 36 hours.

20th Century Characters Coal Mining Savile Colliery

Sam Bullough

Sam Bullough 1909 – 1973

Tuesday 17th September 1963 saw the start of what was then a unique slant of a disputation when a delegation of colliers from Savile pit descended on the NUM Yorkshire HQ at Barnsley.  They were seeking restitution over a simmering dispute with the NCB management at the pit.  This in regard to fall back rates of pay when  production was not available.     This visit included a discussion with President Sam Bullough (himself a man of Methley) seeking support for their claim.     Sam, it would seem was unable to resolve the situation in the short term hence their change of tactics and the introduction of what was to become a headline stay down strike.

Sam was formerly a collier at Allerton Bywater Colliery where he had been elected to become Branch Secretary, a position which was to be the springboard for his success in the ballot for the post of Vice President of the Yorkshire NUM.   Success in 1954 brought about as a result of two left wing aspirants standing which was to split their share of the vote.

Sam, throughout his tenure as vice president and later president from 1960 along with his period of office as vice president of the National Union from 1963 was to work against the influx of left wing political ambition into the union.   To that end he introduced forms compelling new members to sign an undertakingto prevent alleged communist influence into the union.  Sam was opposed to members of the communist party hijacking the trade unions and the labour party to advance their ideology. 

Sam initially lived in one of the rows of Methley Junction and later moved on to the new Pindergreen estate.   I did meet him on one of his occasional visits to Savile pit where he would look up his old mate Pat Mannion in the medical room for a non-official cal.  

He was always pleased to be invited to attend the retired Savile miners tea held annually at the ‘stute’ (Miners Welfare).  

Methley Cricket Club Social

Artistic Reflections of Methley

Below are two artistic views of the village created digitally from appended photographs.  The first one is cricket scene from a Jack Hampshire final in August 2004 along with the original picture.  The second is a view of the Mexbrough Arms pub pictured in May 2003 and the original photo.

Phil Wilson of Pinfold Lane is the electronic artist, and don’t think for a minute that all you do is press a button because that is not the case and the artistic application takes up much time.   I was certainly captivated by Phil’s creative side when he converted the sight screen into a scoreboard (which is not visible on the photo) and the attractive introduction of the panama hats. 

20th Century Characters Rivers

Joe Green – Midget Submarine

About 15 years ago (2002) the late Joe Green of this village asked me to undertake research into his claim that he witnessed the passage of a mini submarine on the river Aire somewhere in Methley .

I did make some in depth enquiries at the time but I was unable to confirm such a journey. Joe always furthered the subject when we met, I suspect to overcome the disbelief of his claim by some of his tap room cynics, but again, no luck with the enquiries. He was however, able to tell me that it was called the ‘Sprat’.

Enquiries did reveal that there had been some five such vessels tied up in Hull docks in the 1950’s but no report of any inland waterway journeys.

In September this year (2017) quite by chance in Normanton library I came across the attached photograph in a book covering local canals where it was reported that the vessel was en route from Wakefield to Leeds and navigated on the surface of the canal for clearance purposes. The book was unable to confirm the date.

At this stage a conversation with Vera Garland at the weekly Archives gathering enabled me to call Joe’s daughter Joan in Lofthouse and relate the find to her. Joan was able to add more to the story claiming that as a young girl she also saw the vessel along with her father and others from the village watching it negotiating Kippax Locks.

Joan also added that the Rothwell Record had since reported the story and offered to provide me with a copy of their coverage.
Sorry Joe it’s all a bit late!