Newbold – Anthony Shaw
Life in Newbold – age 3 to 6!
My father was a member of Derbyshire Constabulary and the first two years of life were spent in Duckmanton. The next three were spent as the first occupants in one half of the newly built police houses on St John’s Road. Nearby family friends were Mr and Mrs Yeomans. I think it was the first property constructed in this area. It was open country to the rear and a great place for little boys to play. The windows were metal frames and a problem from the outset. The kitchen floor was quarry tiles – my brother remembers these well having dropped a container of cream on them when “trying to help”.
We went to a nursery school at around age 4 and from a combination of maps and memories I’ve worked out that this was in the Cavendish School building. At age 5 we started at the Windermere Infant School, which was recently constructed. Our classroom was the one furthest to the left as you view the school from the road – now Newbold Library and a nursery. I can’t remember the name of our teacher but she was very nice and we had a rabbit in the classroom! I also remember a visit from the Mayor of Chesterfield who was wearing his chain of office and showing it to myself and others. The only childhood friend I can remember is John Stone who lived on Cranborne Road. We walked unaccompanied to and from school, unthinkable these days.
A major event is my main memory from the age of 4. Sometime before Christmas 1955 I was
rushed to hospital in the middle of the night. I remember being carried down the stairs into a
vehicle – an ambulance I think but can’t be certain. Earlier that day I recall being brought drinks of water by a queue of children while at the nursery school. I was in hospital in Sheffield for six weeks including over Christmas. On Christmas Day I remember a nurse taking me to a room where there was a pile of presents (left overnight by Santa presumably) and we picked one out with my name on it.
I don’t remember much of being visited in hospital but I do remember leaving. My father came to collect me and we walked out into a filthy foggy day and got on a tram that took us part way back to Chesterfield and then got on a bus. Few people had cars in those days.
I also remember getting our first television and watching Andy Pandy. Also, my mother watching Brains Trust. She was a teacher and worked at Inkersall school, returning to work after we had started school. An elderly couple, Mr and Mrs Wilson, watched over us after school until mother collected us. They lived at 45 Wimborne Crescent and I remember Mrs Wilson sitting making rag rugs. There was a white Christmas in 1956 and our father had bought us a terrific sledge. My brother and I put our presents into a pillow case each, put them on the sledge and towed it round to show Mr and Mrs Wilson. The sledge was well used throughout our teenage years and I still have it.
My brother had a spell in Chesterfield hospital and I remember going to visit him after his tonsils had been removed. He was being treated with the medicine of the time – ice cream.
The present that I’d received in hospital didn’t last long in my brother’s hands! He broke it while playing in a den in the open ground behind the house. My mother was probably pleased. I learned much later that she didn’t think much of children being given toy guns – memories of the war were still fresh as well. However, for children of that era, ‘cowboys and indians’ was the order of the day.
All that was required really was a suitably arranged hand imitating a gun and appropriate noises made as shots were fired. I remember a discussion a couple of years later with one boy whose style was to curl the trigger finger as though he was firing a gun, rather than pointing his fingers to resemble a gun. A serious matter to debate for young boys of the time.