Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Woodcroft Revisited - A 50s living history DVD

Here we have a great living history documentary about growing up in part of Rossendale in the 1950's. The DVD is really well produced by Ken Stott (remember Ken from late Stott & Vizzard). Ken and his friends have done this dvd of which the proceeds are to go to the Rossendale Hospice.

If you want to sample a short viewing of this DVD please check this out on You Tube please click on this link:

If you want to order a copy for yourselves and at the same time help a super cause, the cost of the DVD is reasonably priced at £9.99, and please contact Ken direct by clicking here:

Monday, 23 April 2012

"Bath Time, blinkin ages ago"

“Bath Time, blinkin ages ago” (Bryan Yorke 23rd April 2012)
“Ay lad, its Thursday, and tha nus what Thursday is!
Go down cellar and bring up tin bath and put it in front uh fire.
When thas done that, put some watter in Burco and turn it on.
Mek sure thas turned it on tu full, or tha’ll wait for ever”.

Half hour on and its only just about warm enough,
So after turning tap open on Burco and filling bowls,
Then putting this in bath and repeating process half a dozen times,
“You’d shairt Mum! Thers not enough watter here to fill bath”,

And she’d reply, “Well! What do you want me to do abowt it?”
“Use what tha’s already poured or wait for more watter warming up in Burco,
But if tha waits, first lot of watter ul a gone cowd tha nus.”
So a shouted back “Its OK I’ll mek do with what a got.”

And mum would also shout owt
“And wile yer had it, mek sure tha scrubs behind them ears,
I’ll bi checking thi owt later so do a proper job or else!
So scrub yer did, if tha new whats good for thi

Soap wi used was not like it is today, it was one of two sorts!
Either a “red oblong block” and I think it was called Lifebouy,
And sometimes she’d get that special soap which was a brown oval shape,
A think it was called carbolic or sommut like that,
What I remember most was that it stank.

So you’d ask mum, what have you got that sort of soap for? Its smelly!
And mum would reply “Its special soap, and its really good stuff,
And I want to mek sure tha washes thi head wi it”,
Whats so special about washing tha head wi it, I'd ask!.
Some of them at yon school are full of nits, and a don’t want thee to get em,
and if you have got any now then that special soap will kill em.

Have bin in tin bath now for at least twenty minutes or so,
So I must be really clean! Should be with all that scrubbing.
Arnt I glad that that fires up back er chimney and throwing off plenty of heat.
So, lets brave it and get owt and get dried off.

Yud get dressed quickly and abowt to make a hasty retreat to ya room,
when just at that very moment, you’d get a clip round earhoiyell,
and mum would say "And wer der ya think thas going? And ya sey “Am gooin playin owt”,
Yer gooin nowhere until thas emptied that bath, dried it and put it back daern celler.

"Those were the days my friend"
But today you can just lie theer and turn taps on!
And pull plug owt when thas finished!
Furgiveness is what I need ney,
For tekking it all for granted….

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Ay Rag Booen, As Ti Any Owd Rags

"Ay Rag Booen" (By Bryan Yorke - 12th Feb 2012)

"Rag Booen", Any Owd Rags",
"Ay Rag Booen" was what was shayted,
O'er many times a day,
Daern main Street ur back street,
It amplified away....

Thad hear his cart a trundling,
O'er setts his poony clipped,
From Top Oth' Town to further daern,
He'd do his daily trips.

Thank ya lass fur bundle ur rags,
And neh tha wants a "donkey stoowen",
Tu brighten up tha step and cill,
Well here thi are, in cream or grey,
A Donkey Stoowern to polish away.

Thank ya lad for bundle ur rags,
And thank thi muther too.
And neh I'll bring a smile to thee,
But first, goo home, and get a jar,
Then a "gowdfish to thee can be".

A remember, Mr. Mahoney,
And Mr. Capels too,
But the ones I remember best was George,
And his son Teddy too.
Thi wer the Rag and Boone Kings,
Who'ad shayt from behind reigns,
"Ay Rag Booen", "Any Owd Rags"......

And now a little blog: “Ay rag bone, any owd rags! You don’t hear it much these days, just occasionally you might get a guy on shanks pony with a sack thrown over his back, walking down the back streets shouting “Any owd rags”

Once of a day you would regularly see the Mahoney’s, or the Caple’s, and probably most known of all, Teddy Berry, going around town calling out whilst sat on their pony and carts.
I often wonder why did all the rag and bone men come from the Top O’th Town? Area.

I can remember some of the rag n bone chaps giving away “Donkey Stones” to the ladies as a swap for their old rags. Those same ladies would go out every day and rub the stone on the edge of their steps or their window cills, and in some cases would completely scour the full flags to make the stonework decorated. You don’t see that sort of thing today. Although sadly in a lot of instances today, I suppose lovely stones has been replaced with “tarmac”. If you want to read more about “Donkey Stones” then CLICK HERE and you will be directed to a site devoted to the subject.
Also the rag a bone chaps would sometimes give away “Goldfish” or "firewood", as a alternative to Donkey stones. And if you pestered your mum hard enough, you could have landed yourself with a goldfish.
Georgie Berry, besides having his rags and scrap metal yard up on Rock Hall, he also used to also have a shop up Church Street, next to what was the Bird In Hand pub. I remember my dad buying me a push bike off George, and paid him ten shillings for that bike. It took some getting used to, because it was a bit too big for me really, but I conquered it in the end. I suppose ten shillings them days (mid 1950s) would probably be about £10 in todays money.

(Email: from Chris Reid i went to school and lived in Haslingden from 1963/4 to about 1976, i used to help drive and work the last rag and bone cart in Haslingden which belonged to Teddy Berry. his son and daughter are both still living in Haslingden i believe. his daughter Shirley (Nuttal) still lives on Sunny bank street his son Duncan i am not sure of his current address. Their grandad George used to have a shop on Church St next to the Bird In Hand pub. where the shop burnt down and George died in the fire. They also had stables that linked from the rear of the shop to what is the landleague. i am afraid all i have is memories. As there was no mention of the last rag and bone man i thought i throw my bit.)  Sadly since Chris wrote this Shirley has passed away. 

Email : from John McGuire - Victoria, Australia) Hi Bryan,
I have been reading the Blog for the past few years and the articles have been very interesting and nostalgic. I attended college in Bolton with John Entwistle of the Swinging Hangmen and later at Haslingden Grammar with John R
Edwards (which article did he contribute to the blog?). I also went to St Mary’s RC with John Bedford, thanks for the school photos John. My great Aunt and Uncle Mary and George Horlock rate a mention in the article about Carrs village.
The purpose of this email is to relate a story told to me by that legendary rag and bone man, Georgie Berry.
Georgie was my great Uncle and I used to visit him in his Church St house. By that time of course Teddy had taken over the business. I last visited him just before emigrating to Australia in 1964 (Could someone provide more details of the fire in which Chris Reid asserts Georgie died)..He recalled his glory days tatting in Haslingden and his arch rival Ezra Mahoney. Ezra Marney ,as he was known in the local patois, had a yard in a paddock between the top church and Spring lane. He stabled his donkey there.
Their rivalry for the local trade was intense and Georgie was exhilarated to read in the Free Press one day that Ezra Marney had fallen over a wall at his yard and sustained a broken neck from which he eventually died. Needless to say he was bitterly disappointed when he later found out that Marney’s donkey was also named Ezra and it was the donkey and not the man that had died.
Keep up the good work,
John McGuire
2 Mulkarra Drive,
Chelsea, Victoria 3196

Anthony Halstead (4th March 2015): George and Teddy Berry were the best.  As kids, up "Shoot" we'd follow them, and their horse (Spangles), they'd always give us any old toys they got in.

Ian Edmundson (5th March 2015): Reading about Georgie Berry and Mahoney reminded me.  There was a building we called Mahoney’s on Clod Lane between the plantation and Bentgate, next to the football field.  There were lots of dogs inside and lots of junk!

Via Eric Saunders "His horse pulled cart used to rattle down the back road in Acre, my mum either cambe back with a goldfish or a stone polishing the steps.

Sylvia Blundell "We still say your bedroom looks like Georgie Berrys Junk Yard in this house.

Walter Metcalf "I remember Mahoney's donkey feeding out of the pig bin next to the C&B Coal doors.  They lived on the corner of Hargreaves Street and Church Street and had a stable and yard next to the Unity Club. 

Chris Kirby - "According to the newspaper article from 1950 (seen below) Georgie Berry raised thousands of pounds for charities with the penny farthing and boneshaker bikes"

Patricia Haworth -  In 1962, Jim, me and my friend Ann, and her boyfriend (Mal Cab's) at the time all went to Accy Town Hall to a BEATNIK BALL.  We went to George Berry to borrow a couple of bowler hats, he was so helpful.  Just as a matter of interest I was 5 months pregnant at the time, so I wore a big chunky jumper in BRIGHT LEMON, and a mini skirt (can you imagine) haha, however I still have the swater to hold on to the memories of that great night.  Yes I remember George Berry, bit like Fagan from Oliver Twist. 

Denise Dunn - Lovely to see Jimmy Capell who was my grandad and Billy Capell my dad and I was formerly Denise Capell.  I was brought up at Top of Town on Rakefoot near to Teddy Berry's Rag n Bone shed.

Ivy Murray - I remember when I was a little girl during the war we had a pet goose.  George was going past our pen.  The goose flew at the pony which reared up tipping George off the cart.., he wan't amused by my grandma said it was his fault for frightening the goose.

Diana Barnes - Yes I remember also doing the Donkey stoning on our front steps and you had to get a perfect straight line - Happy Days. 

Glenys Jarosz - In exchange for old clothing he gave us a goldfish in a plastic bag full of water or a donkey stone. 

(Click over to enlarge)

Newspaper cutting showing Georgie Berry on his "boneshaker", 
Thanks to Chris Kirby.