I have been asked at night school if I will talk about Whitwell in years gone by. But first of all I will talk a little about the place where I was born, and also who my father and mother were. Well my father was born at a village on the outskirts of Retford called Grove, and he was a worker on the farm, he was born in the year 1861.
My mother was born at Cotton Mill, Langwith in the year 1863. Both my father and mother could neither read or write because their parents could not afford for them to go to school, and it only cost 2d. a week. My mother went into service at the age of 12 on a farm and when the weather was fit, had to work in the fields. My father moved from Grove to work for Fielding at Elmton, where the fields joined up, and that's how they met.
My father left the farm to help sink the mine in 1896 at Creswell and he got a little cottage on Bakestone Moor. You remember Mrs. Bell talking on the tape recorder and coming on Bakestone Moor, and going round Highfield corner there were some small cottages, well I was born in the second one.
There were only two shops on Bakestone Moor in 1898. One was owned by Mrs. Kate Blagg for groceries and sweets, the other by Mrs. Raybould, who sold different things, but every, night she used to make chips cooked in a frying pan and we used to go up for ½ penny worth, they were the only two shops until they started building in 1898 and then they built another, which was owned by a man called Johnny Mangham.
The village had two farms, one kept by Mr. Tom Palmer, which was on the roadside and the other by Mr. Pentelow, which Normans took over, after that Mr. Fielding from Elmton took over the farm, he passed away in 1986. The milkman when I lived on the Moor was Norman. We had water and gas turned on in 1912 but they only went as far as Barkers, whose house was just before you got to the gardens, they went down to Stubbins at the top of Petre Hill in the late 1920's.
Down the street was a piece of land where we played cricket and football, and in the centre was a pump which was about 4 ft high at the side of some buildings and we had to go up five steps to get to the pump, it was clean spring water, and by the way we had a well in our back kitchen. The water ran under our kitchen, then over to Highfields, up Bakestone Moor and opposite to the Royal Oak, which was a public house kept by Mr. Robt. Carter. There was a pump but we never traced where the water went when we got to the top of the Moor and turned left, by then they had built a lot more houses and Fanny Young opened their front room and sold different things. I married and left Bakestone Moor on November 5th, 1928.
Now we go up Hillside, on the left was all gardens to the top, now it is all bungalows, go down the hill and where the remains of the cottages are, where the Websters family lived. But first we get to a coal house, connected to the cottage where Cuff Webster lived and inside the coalhouse were some steps and a man called Mr. Coupe used to climb the steps and that was his cobbler shop. We pass the Mallet and Chisel which is a public house and when I was a boy I have fetched many a quart of barm, from the beer barrels for 1d. to make home made beer.
We moved down to the bottom of the hill, but now only one wall standing and one gatepost as you go through the Dicken's, but straight down was a three wall sided area with a great gate in the front and that was called the Pinfold, they used to drive stray animals in there and if you were the owner you would have to pay a certain sum to get them back.
Now we move down to what is known as Scotland Lane, at one time there was a fish and chip shop owned by Mr. and Mrs. Hazelhurst just on the corner, of course you all knew Mr. Richard Streets he had his cobblers shop there for years and Mr. Forshaw, who was at the top of Hangar Hill, taught Dick.
Just across the road were two cottages and two pig styes, and a sweet shop kept by Mr. Ward, the father of Violet and Connie. Just up Scotland Lane on the left hand side you will see where there used to be a letter box, but a little higher up is a yard which they called Teapot yard and there are many stories about that, and the Methodists used to be in there.
As we go up the road we see in front of us the St. Lawrence Church 1200 and the old cottages, farther down we come to the Old George Inn which was built as far as we know between 1743 and 1750 altered into flats in 1972.
We have the Manor House up by the Church but I don't know when it was built because there are different dates. In my younger days there used to be a Church Lads Brigade there, the Boy Scouts, of which I was a member and we used to go up every Tuesday night and Mr. Ellis the Schoolmaster was in charge. We used to have some good Whist Drives and Dances there, and it cost us one shilling. We had 24 games of Whist and very often the highest score would get an eight stone bag of flour, the music was by Mr. and Mrs. Sam Hazelby of Baker St, Creswell and Darwin Humphries of Welbeck St, Mrs. Hazelby on piano and the others played violins.
We walk down High St. and come to Mr. G. Hartley's blacksmith shop and on the other side was a Heartley wheelwright, in those days, it was all carts, and needed a lot of wheels to be prepared and made. Mr. G. Hartley made all the hoops for the wheels.
We come to the Post Office and the first person I know who kept it was Mr. & Mrs. Rotherham, Victor Thorpe went in after. Just below was Mr. and Mrs. Carriers they sold mostly ladies clothes, we pass on to the Boot and Shoe which was one of the six public houses built in 1746 but I only know the first people in my boyhood Mr. and Mrs. Collingham, of course, there have been many changes since then but I do not know them all. Now we travel into the Square where the monument stands for the people who did not return from the 1914-18 war. There used to be a cottage with railings round and a wall, also there was a pear tree growing there that is why they called it Pear Tree cottage. The memorial was unveiled by the Sixth Duke of Portland in April 1924. Thornes were the last to live in the cottage a little lower down the road is what we called the Town Well, the water would be 1 ft deep and there was a chain round it and a high trough for animals to drink out of. Thornes left Pear Tree cottage in 1922.
Where the Doctors Centre is, used to be a farmyard and there was a farmhouse too, the people I know lived there were Mr. Bruce Ellis, Sapsford, Ken Barlow and the last one was Jeff Ellis. A stream of water runs from the Town Well underground through the stack yard and past the buildings down to the bottom of Spring Hill, down the field where the flats are built, down Station Road across the road down to the Mill Dam at the bottom of the tip of Whitwell Colliery, the water never came out of the ground until it crossed the road down Station Road. We come back and go up Hangar Hill and there are some old cottages there, and where the Baby Shop is that is where Dick Streets learnt his cobbling with Mr. Forshaw.
There was A Curiosity Shop there and the Worksop Co-op Butchers, Grocers and Lady and Gents clothing.
On the corner opposite where the old buildings are, used to be a shop where you bought all kinds of tools - and the next one was a butcher's shop kept by Mr. Bottom, then he moved down Lowpit Lane which is now known as Ashleys.
Mr. & Mrs. Noah Shuker came to live there and made a sweet shop of it, a few years later they left and Mr. and Mrs. Oxley came and made it into a fish and chip shop, there has been many changes but always Fish and Chips. Just round the corner they tell me that was the Main St. and there were 3 shops down there, but they must have been there before I went down in 1928.
Now we go down Fox Rd and at the bottom on the left hand side there used to be a Brewery owned by Mr. Minkley, the last time any beer was brewed, was for the Feast 1900. Mr. Whiting bought the Brewery yard and lives there. We also had a mill up Mill Lane where farmers used to take their corn to grind but that finished about 1907 and they took the sails off in 1908. I have never seen it work but when I was a boy and went to school we could see the Mill and the sails moving because we often went over the High Hill.
To finish our journey we go back to the Square and past the schools and there is a house just past, but I remember it being all sorts, it was a sweet shop kept by a Miss Newton then Mrs. Coupe came in and she left, so Mr. Richard Streets bought it and moved from Scotland Lane, he had it many years then he sold it to a gentleman the back end of 1973 and it caught on fire Monday 7th January 1974.
We finish by going up what we called Websters Hill as there was a family living at the bottom and they kept the butchers shop, and when they left Mr. Coupe from the farm came and after that Mr. Kirk, we have had a good walk round.
Three things that come to my mind is Mr. Cannon Mason left, the sails of the mill came off. The finest snooker player and billiard player was born in Whitwell, April 15th 1901 down Welbeck St. and he learnt the game at the Boot and Shoe. They all left 1908.
Now I forgot to mention a few words about Larpit Lane. Just on the left hand side going down, Mr. Naylor had a cycle shop and I bought my first cycle there, a Raleigh in 1924 and I've still got it in my shed, a little lower down was a cobblers shop, kept by Mr. Wood and he was a cripple in his right leg, he used to walk with a wooden crutch, always under his right arm. Lower down Mr. Grant did cycle repairs in his front room. We have had lots of sports people in our village, first Joe Davis, billiards and snooker player, 22 days younger than me.
Now we come to the Lowe's family, who lived at the bottom of Spring Hill just at the back of the Holmefield, they had four sons all sportsmen, the eldest one was a footballer and he was the Captain of Liverpool, and the week before the final of the English Cup in l9l3 he was injured and they lost l - 0 with Burnley. Now they had another son and he was a fast left-hand bowler and he could make them jump they called him Thomas Crusoe for a nickname and he was killed in the 1914-18 war. Of course most of you may have known Charlie he played as far back as 1925 and a little later, he was a fast right hand bowler and he went as a professional to Linlithgow College.
There are other families in the village but the history would be too long. The Biggins family were footballers and cricketers. Horace went and played for West Ham. Then the Jones', William Jones went down to Brighton. The Warners opposite the Butchers Arms played tennis for Derbyshire, they were sister and brother. Then we had Norman Drake, who used to live with Fred Taylor opposite the church, and he used to throw the discus and the hammer. He used to go down Southfield Lane and practice in the field where the school is now, he twisted his heart. Then we had the bowls players, Harold Wood and Billy Beeston played for Nottingham County.
We must not forget the one we all know Mr. Les Jackson, played cricket in the Test against New Zealand at Old Trafford, Manchester, 1949.
My wife and I went to her cousins at Stretford for the weekend and I had two days at the Test Match, Les played against the Australians and it was the people who got him into the side, he also went to India but had to come home with a bad arm.
We had bare knuckle fighters, the Ellis' and on Bakestone Moor towards the football field was a big wooden building which they called the Mulldoon and that is where the fights used to be, also in there they had cock fights. We must not forget the music side of the village, Mr. Milnes, organist, choirmaster and connected with the Whitwell Methodist Church for 70 years.