Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Thursday, 11 April 2013


1945 – 1950  Part 4

Halfway down Station Road Godley there is a tunnel under the line which in my young days led through the back of Wall’s Ice Cream factories.   On the back road towards Godley Hill War Memorial you came to the pie factory.   The smell of pies cooking and the view through the window of all the operatives preparing the pies would have me slavering like a dog!    My mother worked there briefly but never came home with samples!   Some of my contemporaries had holiday jobs at “Walls” but I remember Unilever as a mean company towards its employees and their rates of pay were not good. I found other more lucrative work!
Those were the days when one could pick and choose – even for temporary jobs.

Godley Hill, with its old Inn and cottages was a quaint and interesting place.    In one such I had a friend whose mother ran the Ice Cream Kiosk at the foot of Godley Hall Road.   The War Memorial was our last stop on the Whit Friday Church Procession and I see from the Blog that it is still there. 

Godley War Memorial

There was another track from the “tunnel” which led to Godley Golf Club where both my parents were members. Both were active “athletes” and excelled at golf and other sports.     Although I learn to swing a club and play reasonably well for my age, sport was something that my parents did not pass on to me.    I preferred to follow the wisdom of Winston Churchill who is reputed to have said, “When I feel like sport, I lie down until the feeling wears off”.   But the Golf Club was an interesting ramshackle affair until it was re-built and the source of veal sandwiches, pork pies, home made scones and tea after matches.  I became friendly with the Professional, Alan Brown, who let me share hair raising rides with him on the old jeep as he mowed the fairways and the Greens.  The 9 hole course was really an assault course with no need for artificial hazards – the terrain provided that – like the similar course on Werneth Low.  Sand bunkers were for the flat lands!   I cannot imagine what it looks like now because the Club closed in the early sixties to make way fore the Hattersley Overspill.

Our milk was delivered by horse and cart from Osborne’s Farm at the back of Godley Reservoir.  This farm had the lovely name “Tetlow Fold” (“tetla fowt”) and was quite an old construction, 16th century in parts,  with the farmhouse, a second home, the byres and the shippon constructed in the form of a square with a cobbled yard.  The kitchen always smelt of milk for that was near to the cooling room.  Hay barns and cattle stands gave that lovely sweet aroma that one associates with the rural setting.    There was a “copper” in one of the barns where we would sit and eat freshly boiled pig potatoes with hard margarine.  Harvest time saw us stooking and riding the hay cart back to the barns.    Mrs Osborne’s mother was a Highland lady with the lovely old surname of “Christiansen” so there must have been Nordic roots in the family.  She was famous for her soda scones which I love to this day!   I would accompany Farmer Osborne and/or his strapping son, Ian, on some Saturday mornings with the milk deliveries around Godley, Hoviley, Cheapside and Mottram Road.    I learnt about jills and quarts and pints as the appropriate steel measuring implements would brings the milk out of the cool churn and into the waiting  milk jugs of the folks standing around.   The approach of the milk float (and indeed the Co-op Horse) would have gardeners ready with shovels, gambling that the rich brown horse muck might fall at their doors!  
Nowt was wasted then!

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Tetlow Fold

I became a choirboy after my sixth birthday.  Under the tutelage of Fred Whyatt, the head chorister, I learnt how to pronounce the Latin tags of the canticles and “point” the psalms.  Discipline was strict and a clout at the base of the neck from a Psalter was standard practice if we misbehaved.  Fred was a lovely kind “older brother” to me and I recognised him immediately some years ago in a “You Tube video” of Hyde Grammar School, where he is seen playing football.     I gather he returned to the school as the PE Teacher.       Godley Church was big for the size of the village but was well attended and it was the scene of the ministry of Canon Samuel May who was Vicar of the parish for over thirty years.    He had a huge influence on young men, had a wonderful preaching style and a powerful delivery and was full of fun.  I have an abiding memory of standing at the Lych Gate in 1947 for the Armistice Day Remembrance, watching the villagers standing silently, some of them weeping profusely, as 1100.a.m. struck, the Last Post and Reveille was played and the Fire Station siren went off and all the mill chimney hooters of the town blared a Remembrance Day sound I shall never forget.  
But choirboys are not little angels and that topic starts the next chapter.

Happy Days!

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The Lych Gate at St Johns, Godley.

Thanks to Carls Cam for the photos and Roger for another great account !!
Much appreciated ! 


Anonymous said...

thanks for all the information.on your growing up in hyde.but should you not be puting it in book form it would make a very good read.thanks

Susan Jaleel said...

I absolutely agree. You have so many personal recollections which you describe in the most vivid and interesting way. I'm always hungry for the next part of your story, so to have it in book form would be just great. Please think about it.

Trish said...

Another great account Roger, and I agree with the previous comments, it really would make a great book, with old photos included aswell. You really have the talent to write a good book Roger!