The Way We Were in Treeton, 1920 to 1945
I have been asked to contribute to the Treeton website and since then memories have come flooding back which I feel I must record, though just a sprinkling of them.
So many changes have taken place in Treeton over those years.
The Family Home
I was born in March, 1920, I am Mona, the first child of Minnie and Tom Rossington. I can go back over 80 years !
I am told that my father had to tramp through snow to Whitehill, to get the midwife - no telephones or cars in those days.
I remember little of my first years, but I do remember my father bringing home a Cat's Whisker Wireless and with ear-phones on which you could hear music. We had to wait several years for a proper wireless.
Before I was 5, we moved to a brand new house at 18 Rother Crescent with an indoor toilet and bathroom - what luxury ! We had a garden to play in and cows in the field opposite where now there are houses.
In winter we had a fire in the two living rooms every day. The one in the dining-room had a boiler behind it and heated the water and the oven in the kitchen. How my mother gauged the temperature for all the baking, I do not know. There was always plenty of coal brought by a horse and cart and dumped at the front, later to be put down the grate and into the cellar.
Every Monday was washday. We had a copper in the kitchen and this was filled with water in which the whites were boiled, heated by a fire lit underneath. Out came the tub, rubbing-board, posser, peggy-legs and the slavery of washday had begun. Ironing was done with heavy irons, heated on the fire.
The Dairyman - My uncle Jack Cummins was the milk-man and milk was delivered twice daily. It came straight from the two milkings of the cows in large cans carried on a little cart pulled by a small pony. His daughters brought the milk to the door and measured it out in gill, pint or quart cans in to our jug. In summer my mother filled three glasses and put them in the cellar for our supper and when the time came the cream on top was at least an inch deep. No worries about excess cholestrol then !
My brother Des and my sister Mary were born in the early days at Rother Crescent. My mother spent her life caring for us. My father was never unemployed so we never suffered the hardship and poverty of so many, particularly in the 1926 strike.
In 1924 I began school. Treeton Infant School was a stone building, backing on to Church Lane. There were three big airy rooms. Miss Spencer taught the youngest class, and Mrs. B. Wickson the oldest. Her sister, Mrs. L. Nickson taught in the Junior School. Their father Mr. J. Eversden had a grocer's shop at the top of Bole Hill.
The classrooms were heated by open fires protected by fireguards and replenished with coal at regular intervals by the teachers. At 12 noon we all raced home for dinner as there were no school dinners and we have to make sure we were back for 1.30.
On May Day we danced round the May-pole in the school yard trying hard not to get the coloured ribbons in a tangle.
We learned to recite our tables up to the 12 times table. Decimalisation was yet to come. We calculated our money sums in £ s. d. also including farthings and halfpennies. We weighed in ounces, pounds, stones, hundred-weight and tons, and we measured in inches, feet, yards and miles.
It was a happy atmosphere in which we learned our 3 R's taught by these dedicated people.
Junior School came next and eventually the time for the County Minor Scholarship exam. I was fortunate to be awarded a place at Woodhouse Grammar School which meant travelling by train to Woodhouse Mill, and then a long walk up to school. No school buses in those days. Those were happy years and at 18 I moved on to college in London.
The Methodist Chapel played an important part in village life. It was a thriving society, well supported by stalwarts such as Messrs. Shaw, Cooper, Chapman, Payne. Arthur and Charles E. Frost , Banks, Jones, Parrot, Bloom, Rossington and others and their families. There were well attended Sunday services and Sunday School plus special High Days and Holy Days; for example, Whit Monday, when the three Sunday Schools processed round the village, led by a horse pulling an open farm dray on to which had been hauled a piano. We stopped at various places and sang our hymns - I can remember Harold Clegg conducted the singing one year. On these occasions there were games and sports in the Rec in the afternoon, with a huge tea to follow. Next high day was the Sunday School anniversary or Sermons as someone called it. We hoped that the sermons would not be too long as we dare not fidget or misbehave, sitting as we were on a raised platform in front of the congregation.
Our pleasures were very simple and we rarely went out of the village for our entertainment. There were no buses to Sheffield or Rotherham. We played Roley-poley down the Hilly Field in summer, and sledged down in winter. We caught tiddlers in the stream at the bottom of Hail Mary Wood, played hopscotch and skipping.
Joan Bloom was my best friend and we went for long walks round the fields. We were quite safe in those days. We played tennis on courts at the bottom of Pit Lane, made of old gravel and plenty of coal dust. We were filthy at the end ! We had tennis matches on Saturday afternoons. Next to the Tennis Courts was a wooden hut which served as a canteen for the office workers in the week. I think it was a Mrs. Earnshaw who was in charge and made tennis teas for us. Children were safe to play as there was no traffic, only horses and carts. Every night at 8 p.m. the curfew bell tolled, to remind youngsters it was bed-time and time to be indoors.
The War Years
The war brought an end to this carefree life for kids and grown-ups alike. Big Guns were placed at the top of Hilly Field and we listened to shrapnel raining down as we sheltered in the cellar reinforced with pit props. Italian prisoners and Bevin Boys were housed up there.
It was a sad day when Des left us for the Navy, but he came back all in one piece - so many didn't.
There was no National Health Service and doctors cost money so people resorted to old fashioned remedies. Our chests were rubbed with goose fat left over from Christmas and sometimes we suffered a linseed poultice put on our chests ! My grandad J. T. Rossington , was a great one for herbal remedies. The worst of his mixtures was Brimstone and Treacle to cleanse the system ! The best was Elderberry Syrup which was very soothing for coughs and colds. No magic Antibiotics then !
Some people paid weekly into a Friendly Society Fund managed by my Aunt and Uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Jim Havard, and out of this doctor's bills were paid.
Our parents sacrificed unstintingly for us and they gave us many opportunities to broaden our horizons, and I am always extremely grateful for that and to many good village folk who helped me on my way.
I married in 1945 and the three of us went on to widen our lives further in various parts of the country.
I hope there are people of my generation who were born and bred in Treeton who can share my memories and add many of their own, and maybe continue where I have ended.
by Mona Yorke