Horseshoe Inn Yard

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Memories of Sandra Genders formerly Hemingway

From 1948 until 1997 there was a detached house to the right of the horseshoe yard which was occupied by our family. It had been a slaughterhouse. There was a building of similar length and breadth running parallel to, and to the right of the house. This was the actual slaughter house and held the ring through which a rope was passed and attached to the intended 'victim'. The animals head was thus forced towards the ground and held whilst slaughter took place. It was demolished about 1958. However, the massive stone in which the iron ring was fixed could not be shifted, and remained in the centre of the lawn until recently.

Horseshoe Inn 1904

Between the wooden shop and our house, and running at a right angle to the road, were a single story two roomed cottage, and a one-up-one-down cottage. The first was occupied by Peggy Martin, a man, whose father Moses (my Dad assures me) lived to be over 100 years. In Dads words, "Peggy was hermaphrodite". Next came the Cleggs, whose sons almost drowned me as a three year old. They dipped me in the water butt which collected rainwater off the roof at the rear of the cottage. Next was Billy Lunn whose wife, I believe, went on to write children's' books. My memory of them is that they had their first child, a baby daughter whilst living there.

The other cottage was occupied by Mr George Spivey and his wife. Mr Spivey rented all the land in the back right-hand section of the area. He grew vegetables, kept chickens for eggs and meat, and pigeons for racing and showing. He grew tomatoes in two long greenhouses, and flowers, especially roses. There was also a huge and very productive pear tree on the land which was another source of income for him. Mr Spivey was a green grocer; he hawked his vegetables, eggs, etc. from a horse and covered wagon which was designed for the purpose. They also ran the 'corner shop'. About 1952, the Spiveys moved to occupy the left hand half the building which was formerly the Horseshoe public house which has now been demolished.

The next occupants were a couple, she was named Olwyn. Olwyn was non too fond of house work, but had a generous heart. I was in her house one day when a travelling salesman called. She invited him in to display his wares which consisted of mostly cheap brightly coloured chiffon scarves with gold coloured thread sewn through. She gave him a cup of tea and bought a scarf which she would not wear and could not really afford. He was probably a disabled ex serviceman.

Then Bert Scott and his wife came to live next door. The cottages were 'condemned' in the early sixties and Bert and his wife moved to London Park.

The right hand house of the pair of three story dwellings that still stand today was occupied by Mrs Durrans and her son until the mid 1960s. The left hand house was occupied by Fred and Blanche Unsworth, their son David and his grandfather Tom? Marshall. Mr Marshall rented the land to the rear of the wooden shop that stood at the right-hand side of the yard. He kept chickens and rabbits in long, black sheds. Mrs Unsworth died in about 1957 and the family moved. I believe the next tenants were Mrs Mona Porritt and her family, who moved across the road from Mayfield House (now Manor Park Estate) to occupy the house for the next thirty or so years.

The little one up, one down, squeezed between the rear of the three story and the then newly named 'Horseshoe Cottage' was occupied by Frank and Mrs Bush and their daughter Judith. Mrs Bush left there in about 1998. The Bushs had previously occupied another larger cottage. One that was back to back with this cottage. After the Bushs came the Bruntons, the Jacksons (Mrs. Jackson was formerly Judith Bush) and then, with possibly others in between, the Willans.

'Horseshoe cottage' was at one time occupied by Billy Davy and his wife. This was around 1960. Billy was a market gardener who also kept a large number of chickens which he repeatedly lost to foxes. He also kept geese and goats.

The right-hand side of a large building at the front was occupied by Tommy and Florrie Hemingway with their sons Peter and Michael who arrived in the 'Yard' about the same time as us. It was a rambling sort of building, all flagstone floors, Yorkshire range, high ceilings and dark inside. The boys were a similar age to me and my sister so became playmates.

After the Spiveys, the Hemingways ran the corner shop or 'wooden hut' as we called it. I remember it was very busy with lorry drivers and AA men stopping off to have their bacon butties and mugs of tea. They did a roaring trade in the summer with a concoction of pop and ice cream served at tables outside. Unfortunately one hot summer the wooden hut could not protect the bottles of pop from the heat and they exploded. The rack of full and exploded bottles was dragged outside where the bottles continued to 'pop' until they cooled. At that time the shop provided an ice cream stall at the Whit Monday Fete which was held on the field opposite Christ the King Church in Stocksbank Road. I used to help — anything for a free ice lolly! A flat farm cart with inflated tyres was loaned to transport the ice cream up Stocksbank road. There was no engine, we all pulled. The ice cream was stored in insulated boxes packed with dry ice.

The other half of the building had been the Horseshoe Pub. To the rear of the building were various out buildings and a stable which had belonged to the pub and went with tenancy of the property. Entering by the front door to the right of the hallway was the front room which had obviously been a public house room. On the top third of the wall opposite the window, and running practically the full width of this room, was an etched or possibly engraved plate glass window. At the other side of the window was the kitchen from which all activity in the room below could be observed. The building was built on a slope so there were ground and first floor rooms on the side facing the road, but at the rear was only a kitchen with a cellar below.

To the left of the front door was access to a toilet extension, and to an enclosed staircase which ran from the front door up to the rear of the building. Access to the cellar was via a trap door in the floor near the kitchen door. I once went down there for Mrs Spivey. It was a huge room, white-washed until it gleamed; and piled high with tinned foods. I supposed they were left-over stock from the days of running the shop. Pineapples, peaches and fruit salad — all the 'Special' Sunday tea or Christmas treat stuff which I had rarely tasted in the early 50s.

The last building in the yard and in the bottom left-hand corner, next to a tree, was the cart shed. A three walled building with a large weathered stone pillar holding up the roof at the centre front of the shed. The flagstone roof sloped down from the high wall at the back to the twin openings (created by the pillar) at the front. Many times, I have sheltered from the rain in that building. I was unable to cross its threshold for fear of becoming entirely soaked by the deluge which poured off the edge of the gutterless roof, and even when the rain stopped I could not escape. I was cut off from access to the yard by a river of water which rushed down the yard in a river which snaked in a loop up to and then away from the shed and towards the road. It was variously used as a cart-shed, a doorless garage for the temporary shelter of vehicles which broke down (a seemingly frequent problem with post war cars and motorbikes) on the ascent of Mirfield Moor and (after the bus stop moved nearer to it) a bus shelter. Today it is unrecognisable!

In the early 1950s most of the properties in the yard were owned by and rented from Sir John/George Armytage, although the three storied properties, I remember, had some association with Nunbrooke farm, which is just below the Yewtree House (formerly another pub). None had a bathroom but had a zinc bath which hung on a nail outside, usually next to the FRONT door. All had an outside toilet and only those fortunate enough to have a 'Yorkshire' range had anything approaching running hot water. Linoleum and coconut matting were the usual floor covering, although earth and flagstone floors were still in evidence. 'Our' house still had gas mantle lighting but was replaced quite soon after we moved in. It also had its own well in the cellar.

Sorry to go on so much, but once I get started...........