Miles Green Memories
Wilf Chadwick came to Miles Green from his birthplace in Fenton in 1921, when his father, Charles Chadwick, married Susan Hulse from Miles Green. He was then about 4 or 5 years old. (See the previous article.)
This article is an edited version of an interview in the summer of 1995. Almost all of it is his exact words, though I have linked it together with phrases placed in brackets. As he speaks in an excellent local dialect, much of the interest of the interview would be lost by translating it into the southern dialect called "Standard English" (which it isn’t). So the interview is as near as I can get it to how it was spoken at the time.
165 Heathcote Rd, Miles Green
(In the house) y'ad th'old rocking chair and we used make us own stools, n' peg us own rugs - cut owd jackets up and a get a pegger and get some bagging, n' pull it through and peg y'own rugs. Quarry floor, and a big range grate and dad used put his delph clothes on cause he was wet through when he come from th'pit, th'footrill, all th'tarme. Used dry his clothes. An' it used tak yer about 2 hours black lead th'grate, but it was always done every week.
(Mother) used to have an old boiler. I used light th'fire with cinders. An old big boiler, (in the) back kitchen, scullery, with a fire under. Big round boiler, chuck em in there and boil em. You couldna put coal - used put a bit o slack and cinders, riddle o your cinders and chuck that on. And then toilet, up the yard. That was up the yard, toilet was. 2 seats, big un and a little un. (There was no flushing toilet then) and they always come empty when you wern aving your breakfast. I wouldna ave that job for a thousand pound. But they never used tak no notice. No there was no flushing then.
(For breakfast there would be a) payce o toast, toast and jam, or toast and dripping or summat. (There weren’t) many cornflakes abite then, as ah knowd. And we used to ave angers and tin bonnet. 'Er didna cook bacon - no stoves. Used to ave angers and tin bonnet, and cook it afront o th'fire. Hook y'angers on the bars... cause it always tasted nicer when the cinders ad dropped on it. And 'er baked bread ... big bowl, fill it with dough, used rise up and then 'er'd cut pieces off and bake it in th'oven. Oh it was beautiful. It was like cake that was. Not same as this bread they ave today.
(I liked) anything. Taters, veg - used grow a lot o veg, and then they'd got th'shop. Oh ah. But I used to call, coming from school, at th'slaughterhouse along by ‘Almerend Club, White'uses slaughterhouse, and ask im fer a cow's bone. E'd give yer one and you could cut about a couple o pound o bits o beef off it. You could make a big bowl o lobby - turnips, carrots and o th'lot in it, pearl barley ... ah, you didna go short o snappin. Then they did a lot o baking, didna they? If I run errands fer Mrs Heywood there was always a payce o pie or cake or summat. Ah.
(Trips?) Yes - ah dunner know abite dad, but mother - we always went to Belle Vue. September Monday thee called it, fost Mondee in September. It was ony about 1 and 6 on th'train then from ‘Almerend Station. It used bay chock-a-block, and Audley. Used pick up at o thayse stations and (we’d go to the) zoo and watch th'firework display. Then later on er a remember going Blackpool with mum and dad, mother and father. A'd bay about ... maximum 14. A remember going Blackpool with em cause a was brined off on me own, yer know, young lad.
(I think that was the first time I saw the sea). Never remember going th'sea before that.
Later on a went in th'Scouts (at Alsagers Bank Church) and way used go camping round Congleton and (so on. I was in the scouts for) oh a year or two, a year or two. But we ad some good tarmes camping. We used go even up Red Hall, past the Minnie Pit, most wikends. We was detailed off, some'd get breakfast, some'd go th'farm get th'milk and eggs. There was somebody detailed fer peeling potatoes ready fer dinner, then detailed off fer getting dinner, then some detailed off fer weshing up. Then way used go swimming after way'd fished in th'pool. Well swimming, we used get a log and swim with this log till we got learn how swim - or a motor inner tube.
And we had a good team of footballers from when I was 11 till I was 14, till I left school in 1930. We used to take us school shoes Friday morning and if you wanted studs on and a lace, carry em round yer neck, you know, and tek em up Albie Evanses, cobblers, and put us a lace in or 3 studs on. You thought you were summat, you know... We had a good side. We never won nothing, but we had some good times.
Same as Good Friday, way used go Mill Dale, down Balterley road. Well you can get to it along Park Lane at Audley and we'd go out at 7 o'clock in the morning, sun would be beautiful. Go paddling, and tek bottle o water and a bag o buns and go dine theer, climbing trays n come back at 9 o'clock, th'sun'd still be theer.
Way used go bed round about 10 or summat when I was younger, not when I got older. We used play outside, Jack Show Your Layt if it was in winter. In th'summer I was always across th'farm (Taylor’s farm, across the road) till it went dark.
A narrow escape
When a was working at Metallic, started work, mother bought me one. Graves of Sheffield. Two pinde thee were then, new bike. An a went work on it - there was ony one brake, front caliper brake - an ah was well away on this bike, geen dine Chain Bank, and at the bottom there was two very bad bends lark that. An arm following this bus down and it was just started mizzling with rain an course the bus stopped, an ah was thinking What's it stopped half way dine this bank for, cause it inner a bus stop? So a tried me brake but it wouldna old and ah went round this bus, an ay'd stopped cause there was another bus coming up an ah went through with me andlebars, just room fer me andlebars goo through. An ah'll never forget - Arry, ay worked at McLanagan's chemist, Arry whatsisname, bus conductor. Ay come after may, ay says, "What kind er..." A was ony abite fourtayn, fiftayn, "What kind o flowers d'ye like," ee says, "Cause yer'll need em."
Ah says, "Thee dustna think a did it apurpose," a said, "A'd arun in th'back o th'bus before getting 'it with a bus." But it fraytened me, a never ad nothing eat o dee. A didna.
A greengrocer's round... and another narrow escape.
(My father had a greengrocer’s shop and round for a time.) A used go grayngrocer with im when ah was 9 or 10. Start at 9 o'clock in a morning and come back at 10 at nayt. We used go up Miles Green, into Audley, down ter... no Bignall End, up Wood Lane, back down Breery Brook, Tibb Strayt, Hope Strayt, dine th'other, Diglake Strayt, Wood Strayt, up th'Owd Road, then up Wereton, Booth Strayt, Mellard Strayt, King Strayt, Quayn Strayt, back, dine Chester Road, over Nantwich Road, into Shrayley Bruck and then up into ‘Almerend, and go up ‘Almerend, and finish up by th'Hollers and come dine th'Hollers, bite nine, half past nine at nayt. A remember when way come dine Wood Lane Bank, Peggy's Bank they call it, and it was all owd stones, yer know. But when we finished up Wood Lane, what we used do, we used ter tie a wire, a big strong wire, round the wheel and slide, slide the wheel down cause it was lark that. Then when way got (to) Bobbie Allen’s from th'farm - ay ad a bungalow built at th'bottom, and then it levelled off a bit and then there was ony a little drop dine ter th'road. Anyway we got theer, tacking the wire off th'wheel an th'horse got dine. Well a thought ee'd fell dine. And apples and oranges were running dine and (we were) running after em, collecting em up an then way come back. It's a bit difficult, you know, when ee got down on a flat cart, cause (of) the braces all tight and everything. Anyway we got im up and dad says ee musta slipped. We got ome and ee got dine again. Ee says, "Ee's got bally ache," dad says. So we got im up and in shop we ad raspberry vinegar, olive oil, Indian brandy. Well ee got some, boiled this Indian brandy up in wayter, filled a pint and 'alf bottle and ar was pouring it dine while ee was opening is mouth. And then ee says, "Run im up and dine." Well ar was running im up and dine and it shifted it... it did, ah. Ee'd got bally ache.
(The horse was)kept down by th’Minnie Pit in them fields. And we used ave fer go out bite 4 o'clock, and start catching this horse, may and Bram (my brother). Bit o bran in a tray and they’d got about six horses there. Well one run off, they all run off. And we used to ave to try and get im back fer shaft im up and get to ‘Almerend Station pick a box o’ fish up at quarter to eight on the train from Manchester. An ay put me on is back once and slapped im across th'behind, ee adne got a bridle on or nothing and ay went, ar'm anging on, owding onter is mane and a kept slipping, underneath. A slipped under and a was owding on (and thinking) soon as ee puts is shoes on may ah'll be dead. Ay appened gallop over me. Ee did. (laughs) Ee was a lad was our youth, itting im when ah was on is back.
Visitors, waifs and strays
They were two lovely people, (Evan and Betsy Edwards - see previous article) they were. Two lovely people. Do anything fer anybody. At our ouse we always ad waifs and strays and blind people and everybody theer. X and Y they wern o backward, yer know. But thee used t'ave Blind Mary fer th'wikend. A remember this bloke from Crewe, ay made may a fiddle with a treacle tin, one string on it. An ay could plee it, but ah used plonk on it, you know. There was always somebody theer. And then they'd argue about religion, Ernie Evans, me dad and if Uncle Jim was o'er from ‘Anley, they'd be theer an' rattling about religion. An' owd Charlie Haywood next door ay used go Prims Chapel.
All as ar remember, thee used ter go round on voting day with a placard and a think, if ah remember right, Josiah Wedgwood was our Labour MP. Vote, vote, vote for Colonel Wedgwood, Ee's sure to win the day, If ee'd got a double-barrelled gun, Ee'd blow this other feller away. That's what yer used sing. Ah. There's nite on voting now. Yer never see nothing. But way always used walk up and dine th'strayt. Ah.
Next: Pits and Footrills