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.

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.

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).  

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!

20th Century Characters

Mary Worrillow – Councillor

When Mary Willshaw of Methley Junction  married Frank Worrillow she may have been attracted by the uniform.  Mind she was herself to grace a uniform in later years when proudly carrying the British Legion banner to the November remembrance parade at Whitehall, all this after attending the British Legion evening service in the Albert Hall. She was of course one of their ardent supporters who included organising the distribution for poppy sales and collections.

Mary was to play a big role in pursuit of fairness and equality as a union official at Anson’s Brass Founders in Castleford.

That same zeal was to be transferred to her standing as a representative on Rothwell Council on behalf of the people of Methley.    It is here where I first came across Mary in about 1972/3 as chairman of Castleford Rugby Union Club.   Our application for planning permission had been declined which was to be the catalyst of obtaining a Sports Council Grant and securing the move to Whitwood.   Mary supported our revised proposition along with other members of the council sub committee.

Further roles on the council included approval for the construction of the Rothwell Sports Centre and her name can be found on the plaque in the entrance to that building.

No slouch, this lass – before taking up employment at Ansons she worked regularly with other local women, including Florrie Wright and Mary Croxall on the land for Huddlestones.

Mary also assisted as a voluntary helper with pensioners at their functions and trips. Fundraising was also on her itinerary for various charities including a role she took on with a group who provided breaks and pleasure by singing for hospital patients.   In addition she could be found working as a church cleaner with her sister-in-law.

Daughter Pauline assures me that her mother would not have pursued the move to demolish the rows at Methley Junction – her vision would have been to seek funding for the improvement of those houses in situ.

For relaxation away from all this, Mary and her sister in law enjoyed dressing up in jeans, check shirts and Stetsons and joined the YeeeeHaaa Country and Western afficionado scene.  I can just see them –    The Country and Western Worrillow Sisters with their guitars and songs.

How did she do all this  –  well it’s because she had great support from husband Frank and her daughters. 

20th Century Characters Methley Cricket Club

Reverend Ralph Emmerson

Revd. Ralph Emmerson 1913 – 2007
Suffragan Bishop of Knaresborough

Educated at Leeds Grammar School, Ralph Emmerson initially worked for Leeds Education Authority before obeying the call to study ordination into the church at King’s College London.

His later appointment as Suffragan Bishop of Knaresborough was historically awarded to former priests of St Oswald’s Methley.

Arriving at the village as curate in 1948 and already being perceived as a potential high riser in the church given his dynamic first experience at the parish of Seacroft in Leeds. The later position of Rector was the second such posting of three parishes where he was incumbent.

During his charge on becoming Rector his organisational skills enabled him to conjoin the existing two parishes of Methley and Mickletown.

His love of sport and already proven experience in the game of cricket, allowed his natural talent to communicate and also blend in with all, including the tail gate rippers and deputies at Savile pit.

His introduction in 1949 into the Methley cricket team had an immediate effect when he took the bowling prize with 33 wickets at a rate of 10.06 runs per wicket, standing out as he did with his individual white cap. Continuing, in the year 1951 the Rector took the batting prize and was now an important member of the side. 1952 saw him elected as vice-captain when he again succeeded to win the batting prize. Finally and deservedly he was elected club captain in 1954 where once again he led the batting averages.

1956 sadly saw the end of Ralph Emmerson’s association with Methley CC when he took up an appointment as vicar of Headingley (He surely must have engineered that one!). He departed as an all round club cricketer who would be greatly missed it was claimed as he was presented with a leaving gift.

My reflections go back to the garden parties held in the rectory grounds with the Rector showing me how to attract visitors to part with their money in order to throw wooden balls at bottles (in place of coconuts) stacked on shelves in the vacant triple garage.

Even an inexperienced adolescent like me could tell that the man was able to communicate and succeed with all he came into contact with. I was able to work that out when he introduced me along with others to confirmation lessons in 1955 culminating in bishopric confirmation at St John the Evangelist’s Oulton.

Ralph Emmerson left the parish of Methley in 1966 moving onto a higher plane (no, not that one) a bit nearer to HQ. That’s the trouble, you get a decent centre forward/leg spinner and they go and transfer them elsewhere above your head.

20th Century Characters Farming Football

Charlie Bentley – Methley Perceverance

Charlie Bentley
Perseverance was the name of the football side captained by Charlie in those successful years in between the wars. And perseverance was just one of the many qualities contributing to the stature of the man himself.

Charlie operated out of the Manor farm (opposite the Bay Horse) which was one of the many Mexbrough tenanted farms in Methley. During his time there, it would not be unkind to say that the farm buildings were a tad short of investment. Must have been one of the very few farms that had it’s own petrol pump (Derv).

Rationalisation and combination with Walter Riby and Stan Pyrah of Shann farm introduced the group into diversifying farm operations by marketing the produce. Yes, they were one of the earliest mobile farm shops. Reductions in arable land through building and coal mine expansion despite the excellent farming prospect available at Gamisker drove the need to add to their income and sell their produce directly.

After seeing the success brought about by Fred Riby in selling a surfeit of cauliflower from a wheelbarrow. The three partners embarked on an entrepreneurial business opportunity which was much welcomed in the village. A converted canvas covered farm cart including weighing scales with one horse power traction was enough to bring fruit, veg and forced rhubarb to the masses (village streets of Methley) o Friday evenings. This so as not to interfere with farming operations.

Charlie was perhaps better known and popular as a member and captain of the Methley Perseverance AFC (games played down Cutler Lane). Under his leadership the side won the Yorkshire League in 1923/24 and achieved high placings in that same league all that decade.

The Bentley family brought Stan Pyrah up following the death of Joseph Pyrah, his father at the battle of Arras in the first world war.   A letter home from Joseph carried the words “I will be glad to be out of this damned place,” within a few days he was killed.   His name is incorrectly engraved on the churchyard war memorial where it is recorded as Thomas Pyrah.

Charlie had been offered trials with Arsenal an opportunity which was denied him for family needs. They would of course have got a good ‘un.   A defender on the field who was as strong as an ox (noted when I saw him handling sacks of potatoes). I am also informed that he had on one occasion lifted the front of the tractor enabling running repairs to take place.

No less was his outstanding contribution to Methley cricket club where he excelled both with bat and ball.   Carrying on where he left off at Castleford Grammar School having been described as ‘another first class bowler from Methley’.   Also recognised at this school as a first class footballer. 

Highly regarded throughout his life, Charlie Bentley would engage in civic responsibilities often being involved in the coroner’s jury concerning local deaths by misadventure.

Winding up the partnership which could not compete with the onslaught of sales by the encroaching supermarkets, Charlie was later compelled to work directly for Mexbrough farming.
On retirement Charlie and Elsie moved into the larger section of Clayton Villa in Woodrow during the period of the 1960’s.

Would welcome any photo featuring the cart.

Characters Coal Mining Savile Colliery

Joe Sidebottom – Foreman Blacksmith

Joe Sidebottom
Blacksmith Savile Colliery

Imagine, it’s 5.40am on a winter Sunday in the 1960’s, and Joe the foreman blacksmith is already igniting the forge prior to starting work at 6.00am. He takes note of all the men in their bib and braces arriving after clocking on (Every Saturday and every Sunday except holidays). It’s minus 2 degrees centigrade out there.

Joe has a schedule of week-end maintenance covering examination and replacement of screening plant, surface conveying installation in fact all equipment involving moving or vibrating metals.

After deploying the blacksmiths and their strikers, Joe will advise the surface foreman of the repair objectives and update him of any absences etc. Most of that work will be carried out on the heavy duty anvils at the forge in the blacksmiths workshop.

Joe had recently taken over the reins from the experienced and equally long serving Chris Beilby. With slight appearance he didn’t look like the stereotyped blacksmith but looks can be deceiving certainly in his case hiding the power and his mastery of the huge hammers,tongs and clamps.

Could it be that such conditions including dust, rust and smoke would be an aid to longevity because Joseph Sidebottom survived in decent health until the age of 99 in the retirement cottages in Woodrow.

No, it is more likely that his advanced age was contributed to by his extended interest in the sport of crown green bowls. Not only a successful competitor, but also a long established keeper of the green in that picturesque Churchside setting.

Many of Methley’s beginners in the sport would subscribe to the view that the same man had throughout, offered coaching and advice to all initiates in the sport.

The club members so admired the man that they have instituted an annual knock out competition in his name, winner to be presented with the Joe Sidebottom Veterans Shield.

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19th Century Characters

Revd. Thomas Dawson Lumb – Curate

Thomas Dawson Lumb
Curate 1821 -1843
The Leeds Intelligencer reported the recovery of the body of Dawson Lumb of Methley on the 17th December, 1843 from the river Aire at Swillington Bridge as a ‘Distressing Occurrence’.
This blessed curate had served St Oswald’s and its parish faithfully from 1821 until his untimely death at the end of 1843. The incumbent at this time was the Hon. Archibald Hamilton Cathcart who was also the Rector of the church at (now nearby) Kippax where he resided, and at the same time who enjoyed the title of Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the West Riding.

One week earlier, the curate had left his residence at Churchside House to visit his uncle Richard Lumb at the Lowther’s Arms Hotel adjacent to the bridge at Swillington.  He did not return and his absence in those following days would have been a source of huge concern to his wife and their five children along with parishioners of the village.

The inquest held on the 23rd December, at that same Lowther Arms before the Coroner, a Mr Jewison delivered a verdict of ‘Found Drowned’.

All the possibilities of how he may have entered the water would have been considered. However, it was generally thought that an accident at the bridge to the poor man in extremely foggy conditions was the most likely cause. It was most unlikely that local people would have considered that he had taken his own life.

Looking back, it is possible to deduce that the curate did not enjoy a satisfactory level of income given the fact that he carried out private schooling from his home at Churchside. There is little doubt in my mind that he would have solicited support for an improvement to his stipend (salary) from Cathcart, his successor Yorke Savile and the church authorities. We would not know the outcome of any such overture.

At this point I am indebted to Debbie Cunnew, a descendant who was interested enough to raise the matter in the first instance, she was later kind enough to send me a copy of the will of Richard Lumb, the uncle of Dawson Lumb. The contents of the will indicate that Dawson Lumb may have borrowed and accumulated debt with his uncle over the years, and in an act of kindness his uncle had bequeathed the sum of the debt to his nephew in the will. Additionally, the will did not indicate that there would be anybody to benefit from the death of Thomas.
We are not to know if Thomas was aware of the contents of the will. However we know that the poor man had recently lost a favoured son in a tragic shooting accident. We can also ascertain that Thomas would have been acutely aware of the preparations for the introduction of an act of parliament which would improve the conveyancing arrangements of sites for the construction of new schools. This would certainly include one to be aimed at Methley and would surely aggravate his small but private earnings from the school.
The recent installation of Yorke Savile as Rector would also considerable reduce the income levels as that incumbent would take on more of the duties of priest with christenings, marriages and burials.