Gwen Harris (nee Willetts)

     Gwen's Recollections

     She remembers being scared of the flares used by the night soilers as they emptied the toilets down Stour Hill by the brook.

     The fairs that came down the New Horse Road (Forge Lane) - there was a helter skelter and the ground became very muddy.

     Mr Young who lived in a house on the corner of Brick Kiln Street was known as 'Jack the Runner.' He ran a hand cart and sold wet fish.

     A lady pushing a pram shouting 'Darby End Watercress, every penne'th mecks it less.' The cress was in a bath of water. She would take out some cress, shake off the water and put the penne'th on your own plate.

     The rag man came with horse and cart shouting 'Any old rags, bottles or bones.' He would give you a goldfish or a day old chick.

     Old Mr Ewart Griffiths who lived where the True Britain Pub used to be, made delicious ice-cream and sold it around the streets.

     The knife grinder would shout 'Knives to grind, knives to grind.' He pushed a cart about with a circular stone which went round as he worked the treadle with his foot to sharpen your knives or scissors.

     A horse drawn cart came round with a round a bout on. It had little cars etc and a round pointed roof. You gave the man a jam jar and he put you on the round a bout and cranked a wheel to give you a ride.



     Gwen does not much care for what Quarry Bank has become for example the awful litter problem. Gwen has always loved children but has never had any of her own. Except for a few children she has difficulty in understanding the children of today. The more opportunities they seem to have, the less respect they have for people and property.. But on the other hand as a women, she would not like to go back to the 'good old days' with washing and cleaning, making fires and living without modern day electrical appliances.

     "And do you know what the first thing a new born baby does?
     Makes room for another one."


     Childhood memories of V.E. day -- aged 15 years.

     She attended a party in Queen Street and she remembers trestle tables up the street - probably from New Street Chapel. These were covered with their own table clothes and people supplied their own crockery. Flags and buntings were hung from bedroom windows across the street and everybody wore something red, white and blue. Gwen even had coloured ribbons on her sandals. People in the streets supplied the food, someone would take a tin of salmon, some baked cakes, and others made sandwiches. There was lots of food to go round.

     It seemed a feast.

     They had singing, and danced to a gramophone, but did not have a bonfire!


         Quarry Bank

     ©  M.P.L.H.G.  2014

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