Ormsgill reunion celebrates community spirit
Last updated at 17:22, Monday, 15 October 2012
OLD friends came together to remember the good old days on a Barrow estate which took pride in its community spirit.
More than 135 people attended the reunion for Ormsgill residents and school pupils from the 1950s, 60s and 70s.
People from as far as Canada gathered for the nostalgic occasion at the Cemetery Cottages Club in Schneider Road, Barrow, on Friday night – 10 years after the last reunion.
Harry Hardie, nicknamed Sonny, organised the event after demand for another get-together started to grow around six months ago.
Mr Hardie, 62, of Friars Lane, lived on the estate until 1972, when he got married.
He was delighted so many made the effort to attend and reminisce, and said: “I have fantastic memories. It’s what you call the old community spirit.
“If you didn’t have something, your next door neighbour would have it for you.
“In those days, you left the key hanging behind the door on a piece of string – honestly, you did.
“No body broke in in those days.
“I knew most people on the estate because I got a milk round when I was 14 and delivered to virtually 80 per cent of the houses.”
Jeff Wall, 64, of Derbyshire Road, lived in Ormsgill until he was 21.
He is formerly of Chester Street, which he described as the “original Ormsgill” along with Bradford Street and Grosvenor Street.”
Mr Wall said: “Ormsgill village was those first three streets.
“I’ve got some good memories. It’s a brilliant place, Ormsgill. It had an excellent community spirit.
“You could leave your doors open. Every Christmas and New Year, we were in and out of everybody’s houses – the doors were never closed. You just walked in.
“It’s completely different now, it’s lost its community. All the families, everybody knew everybody.
“It wasn’t ‘did you know your neighbour?’ You knew your whole street.
“My granddad was born in the house that my mother lives in now.
“There was plenty of employment, so you didn’t have to move.
“Everybody seemed to work at either the ironworks, steelworks, Vickers, wireworks or the paperworks.”
The original Ormsgill School still exists as a large detached house in Ormsgill Lane.
An infant school and a junior school were later built in the early 1950s, with many people on Friday reminiscing how the junior school had Barrow’s only underground playground.
Eddie Richards, 63, of Prospect Road, Barrow, used to live in Park Road and went to the school between 1953 and 1960 as an infant and senior.
He said: “It was great fun, but we learnt a lot. They were all good teachers, very strict as well.
“(At home) you knew the people in the four of five streets around you.”
Barrow sisters Sheila Hagan, 63, of Raleigh Street, Maria Hogan, 64, of Victoria Road, and Maureen Adams, 56, of Harrogate Street, were three of seven siblings who grew up in Angle Meadow Lane in the 50s.
Mrs Hagan, who brought with her a photo of a street party for the coronation in 1953, said: “We knew all the neighbours, you could leave your door open and stay out playing. We used to play out until dark in the fields.
“Everybody knew their neighbours then. In our cul-de-sac, in six houses there were three lots of girl twins. You’d just go in and out of each other’s houses.
“We used to walk to Roanhead with bottles of water and get our honeysuckle – your mam and dad used to let you do it then, it was safe to do it.
“I’ve got five grandchildren now and you stay out on the front watching them.”
Mrs Hogan said: “When we were teenagers, we used to go to the dances at the public hall (where the town hall car park now stands).
“And if a lad wanted to walk us home and ask where we lived, we’d tell them and they’d say ‘I’m not walking that far!’.”
The “Crellin Street Bikers” from the 1960s were due to hold their own reunion on Friday night, but instead combined it with the get together at the Cemetery Cottages.
Biker Barry Sharrock, 62, now of Carlisle but formerly of Schneider Road, lived in Ormsgill until he got married, aged 21.
He was joined by, among others, his best man Frank Cheevers, who has lived in Canada for 30 years.
Mr Sharrock said: “We used to play on the slag banks, the brickworks and the woods, and there would be hobos by the brickworks because it was warm. Now you wouldn’t let young kids go there on their own, but those were the places where we could happily play, and that wasn’t our parents being irresponsible. How times have changed now.”
Fellow former biker Eileen Millard, 61, of St Bees, formerly of Ormsgill Lane, said her family used to have the Millard pig farm and market garden.
She added: “I had a wonderful childhood, it was carefree.
“We used to go round all the houses at Christmas time carol singing – we used to earn a fortune!
“I used to play the violin and sang and my sister used to hold a torch because she couldn’t sing! And my other sister played the recorder and we would get invited inside.”
The night raised £100 for Ostley House home for the blind in Abbey Road, Barrow.
First published at 16:32, Monday, 15 October 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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