MEMORIES OF GROWING UP IN HYDE: 1939 – 1945
Born in May 1939, I grew up at 247 Mottram Road. Formerly the servants quarters of the adjacent property then known as “The Hollies”, it was a large and interesting house for a child – with cellars and an attic, the back room replete with six “servants” bells only one of which was in use being the front door bell which would clank and swing every time it was “pulled” from the front door! The kitchen was situate down two huge steps and had a black leaded grate and a hot fire! There was a washhouse, a coal house down the yard and a pleasant garden overlooking Gee’s Brook and the allotments sloping up the hill to a view of the old Godley Vicarage, Godley School and the tower of St John Baptist poking through the houses. We had a ginnel in a tunnel from the back door to the front pavement and the iron railings had not yet been taken down for the war effort. Just over the garden wall you could see the crenellated “castle” now called Brookbank Folly and three enormous trees. Brookbank House then belonged to Dr Grau who had a surgery in one of the front rooms of the house. He and his family could often be seen pottering around his huge garden.
Early memories of life at “247” was an earth tremor in 1944 , which shook the house for a moment: the distant glow of Manchester on fire during the blitz and the terrifying noise of a V1/2 Flying Bomb over the house as we hastened down to the cellar for safety. With all the fields and woods around, that bomb fatefully exploded on the farm buildings only a mile to the east of our house and very near to the The New Inn at Matley.
SHMD trams hurtled past our house across the cobbles and every fifteen minutes, the local “Joint Board” and North Western buses bound for Mottram and Glossop. This was the then infamously busy A57 trunk road with endless processions of traffic and the tar boiler was perpetually on duty with a man pouring liquid pitch between the setts and throwing to us little boys small globules of the stuff to sniff!!
Towards the end of the war a convoy passed through and stopped on our road. Soldiers got off the vehicles and lay across the pavements waiting for the order to move. Some of the women came out with beans on toast for the men, regardless of their own shortages. We cycled up and down our tricycles talking to them. The noise, smell and smoke of the diesel coming from the tanks was a memory for life.
The view from “247” across Mottram Road at that time was of the land belonging to the Ashbrook family. They lived in the end terrace house and at the end of the garden adjoining was their large shop which opened and closed a few times during my childhood. The shop afforded some shelter from the rain while waiting at our Glen Wood bus stop for buses into Hyde. By the side of the shop was Green Lane, from where, by way of the back of Ashbrooke’s garage, we could collect frog spawn from the water from the side of the bomb craters in the field above.
I was allowed across this road if I used common sense and being an only child looking for things to do, would often, with permission, saunter up Green Lane towards the railway bridge and Dove Holes Farm. The land was rough, boggy in parts, with reed beds, cotton grass and May flowers in the spring. Lying in the grass and looking up to the blue skies, I could often hear skylarks. Green Lane marked the end of the town and the start of the country and I loved it. Werneth Low seemed a long way away and would be an adventure later on.
The Bridge that leads from Green Lane.
The Iron Bridge
Dad was an unknown figure for he had been at war from my birth until I was nearly 6. He was “demobbed” in 1945 and came home in a smart suit. The war was over. A new chapter was opening.
ROGER V. CHADWICK
Many thanks, Roger !! :)