Kiveton & Wales Heritage

Kiveton & Wales Heritage

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Robert Tomlinson

My 20 years at home in Kiveton Park. After leaving Station Road in 1957, mum dad and I moved into 41 Storth Lane, a bungalow where we stayed until I started at Woodhouse. in 1953, when we moved to Wales Road.

Bob on a Matchless motorcycle on his dad's garage forecourt.

In 1962 the firm, worth a million pounds by todays standards went bust, leaving Mum, Dad, baby sister Clare and me, homeless and penniless. When the bailiffs took away our home and all our goods and chattels,  which for me included a dozen Regal Cinema posters (hand  illustrated),  obtained from the kind management of that precious  picture house,  where my chums and I would take in the latest  flicks  of a Saturday  night, followed by fish and chips at Les Hudson's  miniscule but  magnificent emporium across the way.   Kiveton pit was  what brought my forebears to Kiveton Park. On my  mum's side they  were Cornish, brought north as "sinkers" to drive the pit shaft. My dad's family featured here too, one of them awarded a posthumous George Medal for the rescue  of miners trapped in a cage below ground at Waleswood Colliery. Roberts and Lancashire were family names. Anyone remaining in Kiveton so named may well be distantly related. My own close friends and I once worked out that we were all related, however tenuously, so closely knit were Kiveton families. My best friends included Ken Vickers and his sister Hilary, from Waverley Avenue. Neville Edwards who lived across the road from them, Peter Dawson from Peveril Close, now a Harthill resident and Alan Cocking. Peter Dawson was my tennis doubles partner, we were the junior members of the successful village team, playing in the Sheffield Parks League. Mick Shimwell from Harthill was another in our group, whose sundays were often taken up by walking to Harthill ponds, then back through the fields to the top end of Kiveton, always kitted out in smart suits, far removed from the casual wear of the 21st century. Yet we didn't regard that as "posh". The Bluebell pub at Harthill was often a port of call, mostly evenings, though we weren't great boozers. Come to think of it Kiveton didn't have a pub, just Kiveton Club. Wales served the boozers purpose, though I remember well the Lord Conyers, not for its ales but where I was despatched at a very tender age to learn ballroom dancing in an upstairs room, coached by none other than our village's very own Miss England, June Cooper. What a fuss when June was disqualified from the title as under aged, though the hugely lettered legend "Welcome Home Miss England" adorned the walls fronting the pit cottages for many a year.

My Kiveton Park Primary School head was Mr Whitaker. He informed my shocked parents that I no chance of passing my 11 plus. I proved him wrong by passing for Woodhouse Grammar. Of the teachers I recall Worthy Cope in a tweed jacket I think, and a Miss Jenkins. I did not like primary school where I was nicknamed Tomcat, and ribbed for having gapped teeth and wearing a 'liberty bodice' and dinner time reeked of stale boiled potatoes. Nor was I enthralled by my initial years at WGS. I had much rather have been 'over the meadows' haunting the fields and hidey holes on the farmland stretching up from Storth Lane to Todwick. The wooden bridge was a favourite spot, with a convenient ledge to be had perched under the archway at the far side. Banking fires were frequently set off by sparks from the steam locos whose numbers we collected, but the banking grass was tough and shiny and could be slid down on bits of cardboard. We also made fantastic slides in the school playground, smoothing out a strip of the surface by skidding along on our school boots soled with shiny steel segs. Trolleys were also a popular form of transportation, mostly bits of planking screwed together and attached to pram wheels, with a hinged pair for steering.

Conkering was an autumn pastime, of course, but I wonder if older readers may remember 'winter warmers', tin cans with holes punched in the side, filled with dry tinder wood, ignited and twirled around on bits of wire to fan the glowing ashes. My Storth Lane chums included Stephen Bradley, the Leech girls, Anne and mary and their brother George.

Well that's as much as time and space will allow, (though I must mention chain smoking Charlie Stockdale who fitted our first very tiny black and white TV, Dr Imrie, kind and caring, wearing a mad-as-a-hatter persona) as I set the Tomlinson record straight with our home village.

On my return it took a while to sink in what I really missed about Kive'. It was the sound of the pit. You went to sleep with that deep, throaty, muffled noise in your ears, as though the earth was breathing out from the pit shaft. I recall the mounful bellow of the pit hooteer, and the crunch of pit boots on the march to and from work, resounding from the causey outside the window of my bedroom at 36 overlooking Wales Road. This was the subject of an essay which imprinted itself on a GCE examiners mind enough to get me a high grade O level pass.

Thanks Kive'. Thanks for the memories.      Bob Tomlinson



Return of a Native

My name is Robert Tomlinson, and I am a long lost son who recently completed a million mile, fifty year journey, back home to you.

You were my birthplace, the place where I learned to breath, speak, read, write, clean my teeth, shave and fall in love. Here momentously I discovered rock and roll (school mate Judy Barnes boppin' in the aisle when Elvis showed up at the Regal flicks). This precious plot of Kiveton Park I took so much for granted until those corny, horny old fickle fingers picked me up, aged 20 and set me down on another planet, or so it seemed. Though it might seem barely credible, that million mile trip (or rather drive) that I mentioned was real-time (roughly) from October 2012 when I entered the village in my blue Honda Civic back to the day I piloted my black Morris Minor 1000 back into Kiveton, unaccompanied for the first time after passing my driving test in Worksop. The year was 1959 I was 17 years young, feeling proud as punch to arrive and fill up with fuel at my dad's very own garage, H Tomlinson & Son Ltd, Motor Engineers, on Wales Road.

My return to Kiveton 53 years later took me there again, but nowadays the  site, 36 Wales Road, though it still hs the same telephone number, is  Central garage. How that came to pass I will recount shortly. First, my trip  'home' was triggered by a Woodhouse Grammar School reunion on October  13, which I attended with my life long pal John Betteridge, with whom I  stayed at his bungalow in Wales, and another schooldays pal Ken Chapman,  History Society Chair.  John and I were born in 1942 within months of each other, the Betteridge family residence a couple of doors from my home, sunnyville, 91 Station Road. My mum was Frances Annette Tomlinson (nee Shorthouse) and my dad Captain Tommy Tomlinson serving with the Royal Military Police SIB section, equivalent to civil police CID.

Tommy was the son of Herbert and Lizzie Tomlinson, and it was Herbert my grandfather who had founded the business which is now Central Garage on the site that began life as a market, launched when Herbert, my grandfather returned from service with the Royal Artillery in WW1.  When Tommy returned from four years in the Middle East at the end of WW2 he tried to get into Grand Prix motor racing. He had raced motorcycles before the war, winning many trophies at events around Donington Park, riding Norton machines adapted by him and his father in Kiveton. When the racing dream failed to materialise, Mum set up a hairdressing business while Tommy joined Herbert to build the garage into a prosperous feature of Kiveton village life. In the 1950s they supplied local owners with new BMC, Austin, Morris, Riley and Wolsley motors. The spanking new Morris Mini was unveiled to Kive' in our front showroom.  I personally collected new minis from Kennings in Sheffield, driving them on trade plates back home to our garage. Exciting stuff for this teenager, who also got to drive dad's bentley. I was gifted a superb (second hand) Austin healey Sports which Dad had painted British Racing Green with an off-centre white stripe. I felt like jack the Lad powering along Ulley straight mile in the old bird which would rattle along at all of 65 mph, feeling more like 165 so low down you were to the road.  Tommy guided H. Tomlinson & Son to new heights, acquiring Fox Covert Garage, at Worksop, The Globe Garage at Attercliffe, and creating the filling station at Wales Bar, which is still there. Valuation in 1959/60 took the whole shebang close to the million pound mark by todays standards.  Things went badly wrong, hire purchase deals fell through, and quite suddenly the busines foundered. My Dad went bankrupt, and overnight, we found ourselves homeless and penniless. I was forced to quit my studies at Leeds University and get a job as a journalist with the South Yorkshire Times at Mexborough, where I remained as a reporter and eventually Editor for 20 years.

My Dad eventually reinvented himself outside motors, retiring as national sales and training executive for a nationwide heating and ventilation company. He and my mum were living at Hampton, Surrey when they died, both approaching 90, within a short time of each other, some eight or nine years ago.  Our family never fully recovered emotionally from that terrible disaster, yet I have to say how pleased i am that the Watts family, who took over the business on our departure, were able to pick up some pieces and develop the garage into the prosperous place it is today.

On their behalf, manager Bruce Pearson, who would be eight years old when we fell from grace, graciously showed me around my old home during my visit. What a kind gesture, thank you Bruce.



The Yorkshire Lancashires from Cornwall

Frances Annette Shorthouse, my mother, who composed these memories in her 85th year, was born in Kiveton Park in 1917, offspring of families drawn here by the sinking of its pit, her kin brought together over the 350 miles between  Peggs Green, Leicestershire, on her father’s side, and Camborne, in Cornwall, on her mother’s. Francess Annette’s mum, born Elizabeth Ellen Annetta Lancashire (known as ‘Nettie’), living in childhood at 77 Little Rows, Kiveton, was one of three daughters of Samuel Lancashire, mentioned in the following story, a miner born in Staffodshire in 1864. His first address in Yorkshire was simply 94 Kiveton Park, before he moved to 10 Barlbrough Road, Fir Vale, with his widowed mother Sarah, and siblings. However, on February 4th 1888, at Harthill Parish Church, he wed Nettie’s mum to be, Frances Philippa Roberts, born in Cambornel in 1861. She had travelled over 370 miles to Yorkshire as a member of General Booth’s Salvation Army Crusaders, setting up camp, as described here, to bring religeon to Kiveton Park pitmen. In 1901 Samuel and Frances Philippa have set up home at 76 Little Rows, with daughters Nettie and Ruby, and son Joseph. By 1911 they had moved tot 47 Wales Road, by which time another daughter Edith Pearl had been born, and dad Samuel was a Corporal at the the pit. When he died on Bonfire Night, 1938, his home was 16, Waverley Avenue. Frances Philippa had died the year before. By this time their granddaughter Frances, author of this piece, preferring to go by the name Ann, was with mum Nettie, dad John Shorthouse, and brother Gordon, at 91 Station Road, a house built for her father on fields  known as Scotch Farm. Their move to this grand address is also described in Ann’s writing. In 1942 Miss Shorthouse married ‘Tommy’ Tomlinson, from 36 Wales Road, where he worked with his father Herbert running the motor garage and general stores. After the war, in which Tommy served for three years with the Military Police in Palestine, he and Ann moved to 41 Storth Lane, with son Robert, born in 1942. In 1959 they produced a daughter, Clare. Mrs Tomlinson died in 2008, aged 91, seven years after Tommy’s death, six years after she penned these memories, while living in sheletered accommodation in Thames Ditton, Surrey, coincidentally precisely with the distance from Camborne, 291 miles, travelled by her grandmother Captain Roberts to reach Kiveton. These are extracts from Ann Tomlinson’s memories of Kiveton in the 1920s.

Robert Tomlinson




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