Newbold – Julie Jagger

Here’s my bit of history from my time (and parents and brother) of living in Newbold.  Like many people after WWII, my parents lived with my Mum’s parents in their Water Board owned house on Park Road (the now Registry Office, was the main Water Board Offices and the detached house next door was the main official’s house, my granDad was a Water Board inspector).  My brother had his infant days there.  After the war it took places a while to get organised again, and eventually the Newbold Estates got built.  I presume may of the war brides and grooms were pleased to get a place of their own after living with relations, friends and in landlords’ properties.

They moved to 62 Windermere Road on 30 November 1951, a rainy day and Dad’s 30thbirthday!  It was still a building site, very muddy floors as the workmen had been “mashing” in our kitchen.  My brother almost lived in his wellies because of all the mud, but enjoyed the rides in the workmen’s wheelbarrows!  Mum hated it at first, from the comfort of being so near to town and living with her parents, she felt very isolated and surrounded by a building site.

It had been just farm land and a few cottages and originally called Barghs Lane (I’ve done much research on Chesterfield history and that’s a family that goes back generations and around Chesterfield).  She can remember when Littlemoor Centre was an orchard.  What we later named “The Quarry” or “The Big Green” had in fact been a quarry and was fenced off with some rickety fencing, she was very worried that my brother would wander off and fall down it.  It was still very rural, many a time they heard gunshots as people went rabbiting.

At least they built for the community in those days, local shops dotted about the estates, local schools, we were never more than 10 minutes away from them.  Bus stops and a service that went from early morning to around 11 pm.  Many people still didn’t have cars.  At least there were plenty of firms and factories and pits etc then, people seemed always in work (in my 21 years up Newbold I only ever knew of 1 man ever out of work).  My Dad was a rare one to have an old van which he did up.  The generation that made do and mended.  Most people walked, bused or biked it to work, you’d often see men on their old bikes, flat cap, donkey jacket, bike clips for their trousers and work boots, haversacks on their back.  Most women stayed at home or had part-time jobs to fit in with their families – men were thought of as the main wage earners.  Wages were in wage packets – you never heard of folk being in debt, drunken, gambling, drugging – the problems you have today, people seemed to be decent, law abiding, kept their gardens tidy, polite in the street, kids were safe to go around to the parks or even “Donkey Race Course”, my brother and his mates were allowed – I was kept nearer to home.

I was sent to the local shops and we had less fear of being knocked down by any traffic, you hardly saw any, maybe the butcher’s van, milk van (both Co-op), greengrocer’s van, fresh fish seller, dustman’s lorry with the curved roof and the metal dustbins they carried up and down your paths on their shoulders – a lot of your rubbish you burnt on your own coal fire, bonfires or onto your rubbish heap to rot down, you had large gardens.  You got paper shopping bags then, not plastic carriers, now and then you saw a “Steptoe” type rag and bone man, you begged your Mum for rags and he gave you a balloon, occasionally a knife or scissors sharpener man came around – you never see them now.

By the summer of 1963, we did a council house swap and went onto Wythburn Road next to the police houses.  I had many a friend whose Dad was a policeman, but sadly the moved them around a lot in those days, so every 2-3 years I sadly had to say goodbye to them.  Only the police house would have a phone, everyone else went down to the shops where there was a phone box.  You didn’t phone friends much as no one had phones until a lot later.

We were lucky to have an area of grass in front of our houses, so you could run about on that and play ball games, being careful not to go onto people’s gardens.  Big boys tended to whack cricket balls through our windows, Dad used to go out and tell them off and to go down on the Quarry Green, he mended plenty of windows!

To say dogs roamed free, you didn’t get a lot of dog mess around like you do now!  There was the nearby “Spinney wood” but I wasn’t allowed to go into it.

Also down the road was the “Old Tin Chimney” it was always a puzzle to me, it was formerly an old coal pit, we had many little pits around Chesterfield.
We loved walks up to “4 Lane Ends” junction of Cutthorpe, Barlow, Dunston Back Lane and Newbold Road.  The beautiful smell of Mother’s Pride Bakery – yum!  The little sweetshop we called at, only 1 side of the road up to there had houses, so much farm land across from the Tin Chimney is a very old cottage which I’ve since realised was the Newbold Road Toll House which would date from the turn pike road days, next to that was a field with a white horse in.

Newbold Village had its Co-op, their plastic baskets always gave it (and others) a distinctive smell.  The bun shop, newsagents, chemist – with its distinctive smell, hairdressers, butchers, wool shop, the little chapel that was my baby clinic.  Doctors at the end of Dukes Drive – I thought the rest of that road was almost a forbidden area – so posh!  The cenotaph got moved when the road got widened.  Mum and her friend worked as cleaners for several years in the original Wheatsheaf Pub, which was nearer the road then and helped Mr & Mrs Heap to move to the newly built one behind it – the one you see today.  Old Tom Faulkner, the cellar man used to be on the Trams that Chesterfield had at one time.

Old House Pub and Green Farm and Holme Hall areas were proper farms.  Once I’d got to Newbold Green School, I used to sometimes walk to the bottom of Keswick Drive with a friend, who lived further up Newbold Road, and loved to see the changing seasons and which crops were grown, and the farm animals, for as far as you could see – so rural, yet so near to facilities and town.

When my brother was a toddler – many a time my Mum took him a walk to “The Chicken Lane” that would be the “Old House” as a farm and Loundsley Green Road was a lane, and before Newbold Green was built, and they’d take bread to feed the chickens.  I can’t remember it myself but before Derwent House was built – at one time was a huge house and gardens and land to the Orange-Broomhead family, a lot of old grand houses and farms have gone to be developed into estates.

Many area had large grass areas, so you didn’t feel hemmed in.  I used to go to the church on Ulverston Road grass area – now a village hall?  When little I went to St Johns Church.  The other grassy area had/has a park with swings, slide, seesaw and a long rocking horse, all on tarmac or concrete, higher slides than today, we used to rub ex-bread wrappers which were greaseproof paper on the slide to make us slide quicker.  Long chains to the swings, some naughty boys used to climb up and wrap the swings around the top frame.  There was none of this spend thousands on a namby-pamby – must be so safe and padded floor park – if you fell off, you were more careful next time!  Had a good oak tree with huge acorns from it.

There was Frearsons big store on Littlemoor (and petrol station?) we didn’t have the supermarkets we have today.  Then came the Littlemoor shopping centre with Fine Fare with the Newbold Library above it.  Near the fork of Stand Road and St Johns Road was a Co-op “Garry’s Co-op” (now a vets).  As by 1957 my grandparents had moved from Park Road when granDad retired and had come to live in the row of little stone cottages on St Johns Road, had very long gardens and their coal houses and outside loos on the fronts next to the road wall.  Probably early Victorian?  The council later knocked them down and built a complex of OAP bungalows.  I think Drakes Newsagents shop is still there, gran had her papers from there and had our comics from there too, and ice-creams in the summer – gran never had a fridge – probably mid 60’s by the time we had one, we all had pantries to store and keep food cool.  Aldersons the undertakers / hairdressers shop in their front room, the wife and daughter did that, Mum used to go there.

I didn’t go to Stand Road Park or Baths very often, I always found it too cold in the open air baths, and had to wait till someone took me – older teenager girls always seemed to look after children then.

Generations and attitudes change in all areas, rich or poor, we can’t change the clock back, only respect history and our own past, do the best in each era of our lives, less firms now and many of us find ourselves on the dole at one time or another.  Probably history does repeat itself.  There was great poverty in the working classes after WW1, many people through their war injuries found it hard to keep in work, and my Dad always said “it took another war to get everyone back in work.”  It must have been agonising to go through one and then get your children to 18 (like my parents) and have them go into the next war.  Another war to scar the minds and souls of that generation.  Dad never shut up about WWII, yet many others came back and never told their families the horror of it.

Dad was in the RAF and Mum worked at Negretti and Zambra.  You never hear much of that firm – they got bombed in London and came to Chesterfield and took over the Robinsons Portland works, they did instruments for the aeroplanes.  Anyone who worked there will now be well into their 90’s.  As it was war work, they were sworn to secrecy.  Mum said very little about it, only that they worked long hard hours, sang to the songs on the tannoy, so any information was taken to her deathbed.  Same with fighting abroad, although Dad said a lot about the war, he probably took secrets about raids etc to his deathbed.  I feel so sad that wars around the world have carried on – so the 1stworld war, wasn’t the war to end wars.  Thankfully my brother was too young to be in the conscription years, its this next generation that will “cop it.”

I suppose when we watch TV programmes of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s – it all seems very old fashioned and twee – but that’s how it was, as children you obeyed any adult, life was simpler, less TV time and more playing out, not the modern gadgets we have now, we worked hard and played hard, communities were communities, you knew most people on your street, Mums chatted at the local shops, kids went to the same schools (you thought anyone who got to High School or Grammar very swotty or posh).  You went to local firms – not all this commuting as today.  We left Newbold in 1978, my brother had married by then and moved away, but keeps in touch with his old pals he’s known all his life.  Mum and I were very sad to leave Newbold and she was upset for ages, but Dad was so adamant to own his own retirement bungalow before he got too old to pay a mortgage.  We moved to Brampton, so still Chesterfield folk.  They died in recent years in their 90’s spending 34 and 36 years in Brampton, Mum was originally a Brampton lass.

 

I’ve been in Brampton 37 years now, but still fondly think of Newbold.  Many of the old neighbours will have passed on now and I wonder where all their children are living now.  I enjoyed my school life, schools were smaller and cosier and not the huge things they are today.  Chesterfield has grown vastly over my 58 years here.  I wish they built for communities now, not the vast estates with hardly a shop or school anywhere.  Its stupid, not everyone has a car to go to work, take children to school, go shopping in.  Ok, people tend to change their houses move now, but everyone agrees that the community spirit has gone, no one knows many people on their street, probably cars, careers and computes have taken it away from us – so much for progress!   For all the modern things in life – life’s still a survival game, may heart goes out to all those on the dole and struggling, I know what it’s like.  To think we were the centre of industrial Britain, a historic town, what have we now?!!  I’ve done my family tree, many generations around Chesterfield, I’m sure my ancestors are turning in their graves to think how Chesterfield has changed – not always for the better!  Nothing seems settled, shops chopping and changing or empty so long.  To people of my generation – its not the town we grew up in, its very disturbing, the heart and soul has gone from many town.