Just a boy on Central estate

AFTER reading a recent letter in Memory Lane I thought I might add a few lines about living on Central estate.

I was brought up those days on the “posh end” in Romaine Park from being a baby until I was 18 years old, from 1947 until 1965.

So called the posh end because we had a front and back garden and an inside toilet.

My grandparents lived on Hart Road opposite the Methodist Church.

My grandfather, who was a timekeeper on the railway in Mainsforth Terrace, used to have a garden by the side of the railway embankment, just beside the railway bridge that was demolished around 20 years ago near Rovers rugby ground.

Many a time the steam engines would stop just above the garden and the firemen would roll large lumps of coal down the embankment to keep the pot-bellied stove in the garden shed going.

Central estate was a triangular estate, bounded by Union Road, Cleveland Road and Hart, with lots of different shops that sold everything and anything people needed in those far-off days.

Walking along Hart Road the first shop you came to was Jack Snowdon’s, just opposite St Barnabas Church - better known as Jack’s or ‘the tucky’.

It was a general dealers, but I remember in the back room there was a full size snooker table, where gentlemen only were allowed. No women or children.

Further along Hart Road, opposite Hart Road School, was Harkers general dealers.

Later to be owned by Minnie Lynn.

Next door was a wool shop which I think was run by two sisters, later owned by Mr and Mrs Barker-Platt.

Then on the next corner was the chemist shop.

I would go in here regularly to buy a stick of liquorice to make liquorice water in a bottle.

On the opposite corner of the chemist was Allans’ general dealer, and a little further along was a baker’s shop.

The smell of freshly baked bread I can still smell today when I pass that area.

Then on the corner was Joe Buckle’s barber shop.

Everybody came out with the same hair cut - short, back and sides.

I used to love to sit and listen to all the men’s stories about putting the world to rights.

Turning back along Arch Street you would come to Bill Collets’s hardware and cycle repair shop.

Bill had time to spare for everybody, always with a smile on his face.

It was always regular to see 20 or 30 bikes outside in various states of repair.

At the time the shipyards were going strong, and workers left their bikes for Bill to repair.

Not many cars in those days.

I remember getting my first bike there on hire purchase (HP), a Hercules New Yorker.

White wall tyres, white seat and saddle bag, all for two shillings a week (10p today).

I thought I was king of the road.

Philip Black,

John Howe Gardens,