When Old Memories are Good One’s

Hello Sandyford and Goldenhill folks, look who’s back with more memories of days gone by.

As you probably know, I have written a few articles reminiscing about earlier times in and around Goldenhill and Sandyford. Tom Simpson tells me that hundreds of people read these articles, this is very rewarding and also flattering to think that my personal ramblings could be of interest to so many. The good thing is, quite a few old friends have been in touch because of these ramblings.

Alice Street, Goldenhill in 1967

I don’t know about other people, but now that I am retired I seem to ponder my past quite a lot and fortunately, most of the memories are good ones. You may find that you have read some items previously, no, it is not old age creeping in, it is because one thing leads to another, some memories overlap and fresh memories pop up all the time. Well, that is my excuse anyway.

Recently an old friend got in touch and we have swapped photos and memories about living in Alice Street and the bike rides we used to go on when we were teenagers. His dad had the cobblers shop in Alice Street and our grandmothers were cousins, how are you Tom?

Who can remember when the wakes used to arrive and set up shop on the banks by Jeffrey’s garage. The annual Catholic procession was another milestone as were the charity walks around the village by the Methodist children, all dressed up in their new clothes on the first Sunday in June.

The Co-op delivered its bread by horse and cart and Artie Bollington in Brakespeare Street used the same method for his coal deliveries. Artie’s yard is still there but the horse has long since gone. The delivery horses always left a deposit on the street and I used get sixpence a bucket from my uncle. He used to put it on his rhubarb, personally I preferred custard, sorry, old joke.

It seemed that back when I was a boy, everybody knew everybody, it was difficult to misbehave because there was always someone there to threaten to tell your dad.

The previous paragraph by David is something that we all need to take on board, is this the way how today’s society should deal with 21st century antisocial behaviour. Website comments on antisocial issues are more than welcome “let’s not forget  how we dealt with it in the last century”

14 comments to When Old Memories are Good One’s

  • I was intrigued by all of the photos in the following Goldenhill & Sandyford – photo memories over the years . An amazing book

  • David Wood

    Matt, have a look at the above link.
    David Wood


  • David Wood

    I knew this would happen, just as I thought I had used up all my memories, my old mate Tom conjures up some more.
    Keep going Tom, we might get another few pages out this eventually.
    I am so enjoying this.
    Cheers, Dave

  • HI DAVE. I think you have just about used up all the memories but here goes.Most of our early years were spent playing around Alice st. Waggon rd.and trapped in between, The Square,which was behind your house,after the houses in the square were knocked down it left quite an area for play.And play we did.It became a meeting for all and sundry, you name it we played it.I have vivid memories of trips to red rocks and camels hump (on the old birchinwood site),hurling down kidsgrove bank on bikes with fixed gears and very poor brakes (scary),sitting in the scrap cars behind The Nelson after school.In the colder months we made winter warmers (a can on a wire filled with anything that would burn)and swapping comics door to door with our mates.One day a load of machinary turned up on the high st and proceeded to rip up all the tram lines all along the level, it drew loads of spectators.Do you remember standing watching the old catholic church burn down that also drew a huge crowd,you must recall Vera”s chip shop opposite the Globe next to temperance place,made famous by her cat that use to sit amongst the tripe in the window. A quick mention of sunday school I know we spent a lot more time exploring under the stage than on it,After a long hard day on the swings it was great to get a cool refreshing drink from the tap at the edge of Vera Neats field.Now a few queries,wasnt there a Pc bobby Brotherton who was good for a clip around the ear if you did anything wrong,and a small shop at the top end of Alice st just above the chapel,I know there was another cobblers shop around the corner towards the high st in Ann st run by an old gent but I cannot remember his name. Finally when we got older we discovered the delights of the Cushion pub Latebrook as it was known locally,and finished many a nights out back at Pancho”s cafe.TOM

  • David Wood

    Hi Tom, bobby Brotherton lived in Garbett street or Church Street as it was then and yes he was very strict and it was for our own good.
    The shop at the top of Alice Street was owned by Mrs Jones.
    The little cobblers shop was Mr Burndred I think, you just walked in the yard and there it was, never took our shoes there though, we kept it in the family, nudge, nudge.

  • David Wood

    The corner of Heathside Lane and the High Street, by the Red Lion,is the exact spot that I first met my wife in September 1964.
    Still together and still married after all these years.
    I hadn’t forgotten it’s just that the picture reminded me, honest.
    David Wood

  • David Wood

    I should add that the young lady who introduced me to my wife was named Florence.
    They worked together in Woolworths, Tunstall.
    Florence taught all the lads in our class to waltz, it was not easy but she persisted until we were semi competent.
    We now correspond and she enjoys these articles.
    Well done Florence.

  • Florence wallbanks

    hi David and Tom

    I certainly can remember PC Bobby Brotherton I think for the wrong reason and yes he was strict but fair and he certainly had a sense of humour. He used to walk down the back entries as part of his beat and his helmet used to show over the top of our gate just like a red rag to a bull. Well I got my Mam and Dad to buy me a bow and arrow set complete with rubber suckers and practiced till I could hit what I aimed for and I lay in wait for him, Took aim and knocked his Helmet off I ran like hell through our house which was roughly in the middle of the street. He had to go down the entry along the bottom and up the street But he got me. He had me by the scruff of the neck feet dangling (he was a big man to a little girl) my bow and arrow in the other hand which I had not thought to drop, me yelling as loud as I could that Bobby had got me and banged on our door my Sister Beryl thought it was Bobby Whittington that had got me and came out shouting to put me down only to be stopped in her tracks when she saw PC Bobby Brotherton.
    Now you have reminded me David I can Remember the dancing lessons and if I remember rightly we put on a sequence dance display. Can you remember Mr Woodcocks nickname he was another one that was strict but fair and stood up for the pupils in his class

  • David Wood

    Sorry cannot remember Mr Woodcock’s nickname.
    I did repair his washing machine once in the 80s, I was in his kitchen and he said “whatever is the matter Derek” and I said, “I am still scared of you sir”, (40 years of age I was )”and my name is David” he said “thats good, carry on Derek”.
    A few months later I was in Tunstall market and he came up behind me and put his hand on my shoulder, I knew it was him before I turned around.
    He lived to a good age and he was a very good teacher.

  • Michael Wrench

    I was at school with Ann Brotherton around 1950, and I remember she was the daughter of a policeman. Head at the primary school was Mr. Chesworth, and I remember teachers Mr Beech and Miss Rhyddu. This was when the school was still next door to the church.

  • Tom Simpson

    Hi Michael,
    Nice to hear your story. I am not sure if you still live in the area but the school you mention is still standing but only just.
    The church school has been neglected, and during the past year has suffered yet another arson attack.
    The company from Birmingham who own the building are looking at demolishing it and putting flats up in its place.
    It is a shame this has been allowed to happen.
    If you have any other information/stories about Goldenhill or Sandyford, then please share it with us all.
    Many thanks,

  • Hi David
    Having read all your pieces and taken in the incredible array of nostalgic photographs I find myself drawing on nostalgic memories of my early youth at St John’s Anglican school, and St John’s church, and a few experiences at the Goldenhill Secondary School before winning a place at the”Tech” when I passed the 13-plus (It became the Stanfield Technical School split into two campuses – the traditional one in Moorland Road, and the new school at Stanfields.

    I’m one of boys from Sandyford, and in the early days went to Holly Wall Lane Primary and lived behind the pub at the bottom of the hill. There was another Alan Jones, about 2 years younger than me who lived in Maureen Avenue, and it is amazing how our careers inter-crossed for many years afterwards. My dad Jack was killed in December 1946 doing his job as a shunter at Witfield Colliery on a cold/rainy winters night. Somehow Mum and I got by for a few years, but she then met and married my Step-dad William Collinson in about 195o or New Years 51. Bill lived in Russell Road and we moved to his place which backed onto the Meakin’s Cricket Ground.
    My friendships with the cricketing fanatics in Wignall Road continued, including with Ken Higgs, the Hancock family,and Kieth McGarry, whose cousin lived in Goldenhill and played for Port Vale – the famous Billy McGarry. We used to go and visit Billy folowing Church on Sunday one in a while – I recall he lived in the street that entered the High Street by (I think) it was Parker’s electrical store.
    One of your photos of the class of 1950 triggered me since I remember chasing the girls from that class around the lunch breaks at the “tin church”; and as mentioned earlier I ultimately married one of them and moved to Australia including spells long spells in the USA, Canada, and back to OZ.

    Let me get back to Sandyford and Goldenhill, and express the desire to reconnect especially with Ann Brotherton, Jean Lawton, Derek Hancock and May Podmore, or was it Sandra (the girl I went out with was a sister to May?) We’ll all be in our late 70’s or early eighties by now.Incidentally, I lost contact also with Keith McGarry, who I recall went to live in Sneyd Green and he worked for my cousin Barry Proudman, an accountant who ran a major car company I think in Stoke.

    I will always remember the bakery than was in the lane opposite the Church school that ran down to a farm. As a youngster Bill Collinson had worked there, but his main role was to work for his dad doing coal deliveries from a horse and cart. He got out of this and did an apprenticeship as a painter and decorator working for two firms in Tunstall over most of his working life. Bill’s mother had a ‘posh’ house in High Street, Sandyford (opposite the Coop), where she had at various times her other sons living with her namely Arthur and Marcus. Bill Collinson senior had long passed, but he must have made some money somewhere and the “old Lady” Sarah-Ann used to hire a large chauffeur driven car to take us all out for day trip to the countryside each summer for several years in a row. I used to do her shopping every Saturday (all morning) and was gifted six-pence as a reward. In the interim I was proud of my Jones Heritage (Fegg Hayes and Chell), and vehemently refused to become the adopted son of the Collinson clan. In this tangled web of Goldenhill names Bill’s cousin was Ms Eptlett, who ultimately inherited the Collinson ‘fortune’ simply because I had failed to change my name. I was very familiar with Ms Eptlett, the Headmistress of the Goldenhill Infants school – after church Bill would take me to meet the famous Ms Eptlett, who lived on High Street, opposite the Church.

    By this time I was an Alter (infact Boat) Boy at St Johns, and as I approached 13/14 I was Confirmed and graduated to assisting the Vicar in preparing for early morning sacrements to as many as 3 parishioners. Another one of your photos triggered my thoughts since it contained the image of “Frank”, an older guy from I think Sandy Lane who had become friends with a trainee Priest whose name was Stan – forgive me but the image brought back memories of “Frank-un-stan” – a phrase I used later to my chagrin since Frank dismissed me from the Alter brigade. I stayed in the church as a choir boy, and tried to compete with the trained voice of Alan Knapper (Coclough Lane). I did represent the church in Saint Matthew’s Passion in the mass choir at the Albert Hall. Little did I know that much later in life (1991) I would sing St Matthew’s Passion again in the Cathedral (Dom) Aachen in Germany 9in German) sitting next to the tomb of Charlemagne. Why is this important to me – well after my mother died about tenders ago I became enveloped in her Genealogy leading to a mass of European discoveries including Charlemagne as my 43 Grew grandfather – I sat next to the guy in Aaachen Dom

    My Step-dad Bill Collinson had not been a Churchman for many years, and suddenly he started all over again when I stopped going to St John’s on entry into my days at University (in residence At Keele). Bill quickly became the Vicar’s Warden, and the Treasurer of St Johns. The vicar was unquestionable The Rev Father Craig. Mum and I found mentions of Father Craig a little tiresome when I visited at weekends. Also in 1991 I visited Goldenhill and saw the changes brought about at St John’s by the resident Priest of that time who I recall was a Frenchman. He had some photographic records of Bill as Vicars Warden, but I couldn’t help but take in the changes to a much more Catholic way of doing things at the church, or was it modernising? The High alter had previously been a magnificent wooden sculptured work which incorporated the existing crucifix that was retained. The rest of the Alter had gone. Bill had spent many painstaking hours re-gelding the alter with gold leaf, and so I was aghast that it was no more. There is an interesting link here. My father-in-law John Chidlow was a Stonemason who had worked initially for a ‘Jones’ on the upper High Street of Goldenhill and rented one of those terrace houses just on the flat leading to Kidsgrove Bank. He had served in North Africa and Italy in the War following the birth of his daughter Patricia. He moved to new job in Burslem (the Coop Funeral Service) and relocated the family to Norton, which believe it or not is where I re-met his daughter when I was about to leave high school at 18 and go to University (Keele). Pat and I married when I graduated. Amazingly John and Bill worked together to refurbish the alter at St John’s when I was at University.

    I could wax lyrically for hours, and I have a few photographs which I can dig out of Pantomimes in the “Tin church”, and “Charity” street parades from St Johns where everyone dressed up in their new Sunday Best – I wore my little Red Cassock and White Church Smock freshly laundered by Mum.

    Best regards
    Alan J

  • David Wood

    Alan, what a brilliant piece if Goldenhill history that is.
    I have a Goldenhill Memories Group on Facebook if you are a user of that facility.
    I not, you can email me on,
    Please get in touch.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.