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20th Century History

Peter Sanderson – Reminiscences

Peter Sanderson E-mailed this from Pretoria SA 08.07.09

I was born in Methley in January 1949 in a typical colliery house in 5, Low Green Terrace which has long since been demolished. It was a grim, cold house with a typical ash yard and an outside block of toilets which were pumped out by the local council once a week.   If I remember rightly, it was a Rothwell council vehicle. Along side the house ran the “field tops” where I have many happy childhood memories.

My mother was born Kathleen Wright who was the daughter of Edith and Archibald Wright. She had two brothers Ted & Ralph. Both my grandfather Archie and Uncle Ralph worked at Savile Pit and I have fond memories of the zinc bath, the grange fireplace and the smell of coal and soot. The allotments on the lower Mickletown road where the hourly buses for Castleford and “civilisation” passed by remind me of lost contacts with the wonderful Yorkshire names of Sidebottom and Beilby.

I also remember the corn in the fields, the ring of the famous ice cream vendor Anthony Fell, the local pea “gleaning”, visits to Castleford swimming baths, adventures in the “Parlour” (Parlour pit) , “The Planting” (plantation) and down to the canals and the locks on the Aire and the Calder.

We moved away from Methley to live in Belfast where my father (George Sanderson) had been offered a job in a local Grammar School. My mother and father had met during the war while serving in the WAAF and RAF.

My grandfather Archie was a keen cricket umpire and introduced me to the local cricket played up by Church side on the main road from Leeds. I had local aunts who lived in Beeston.

We spent two months a year on holiday in Methley and everything was a wonderful adventure. In those days in the fifties we would travel from Belfast via the Heysham Ferry and then take the steam train to Leeds. I remember the Leeds Market, the round something and the large clock in the square.

My last visit to Methley was some thirty years ago to enjoy pints at the Commercial. My grandparents and uncle have long passed on but I still can sense the smells of the gas lights and I remember living in  1, Taylor Grove.

I now live with my family in Pretoria, South Africa but have the fondest childhood memories of a village with a unique atmosphere, history and people.

Kindest regards
Peter

Peter Sanderson imfundo@netactive.co.za

I knew Archie and Ralph from Savile pit and replied to Peter.