Memories of Fred Rotherham


Hi, I’m Fred Rotherham I was born in Mosborough in 1927 (I’m one of dinosaurs), I lived in Cadman street, and in them days the street lighting was Gas, house lighting was gas or oil lamp or carbid lamp.  Everybody seemed to be ok and everybody were friendly.

I went to school what is Joseph Stones Centre now (2016), I used to climb over church wall because I was always late me and Roy Froggatt.

Used to get cane twice a day, once because I was late for assembly and another time because we wrote with left hand, you couldn’t write with the left hand, they used to rattle your knuckles in them days.

Cadman Street was unadopted there was great big boulders, any strangers that come used to be skinning their shoes up, only regulars knew how to walk up Cadman Street.

In them days most of the houses were in West Mosborough that’s up Back Street, South Street, not many up Mosborough Common, passed Toll Bar there no houses hardly, used to be open fields  Colliery’s used to walk to Birley pits, these colliery’s used get there sandwiches pinched by some of these tramps in the woods at side there.

One day Mr Brunt was walking to Birley and one of these blokes come out and said “I want thee sandwiches (snap) Mr Brunt said “here you are then” and offered him his sandwiches, when he come for them he smashed him in the nose and left him in the edge bottom.

Mosborough Hall nobody lived in there, they said it was haunted I think they said it was haunted because a now and again a few people went there and it was run by skelton staff.

We used walk down hollow Lane a place at side of Mosborough Hall there was a 10 ft high wall there and the other side thee there was best orchard in area.

Small trees, all eating apples, it was 10ft high its still there, we used to stand on each others shoulders, then another lad would srum climb over drop down other side, We all had Red jerseys, a little red ties we would fill our jersey’s up  and we used to divide them between ourselves.

Another time we would go down Hollow, get over wall, or fence because chestnut trees, plenty of them, conkers, 3 of us used climb trees, and others used to sit waiting, no sooner had we climb the trees, then old Mr Walker that owned the farm  used to come through gate and sit under tree and smoking his pipe.  It used to take him about ½ hour, kids were up trees and we were in long grass wet thorough waiting on him going.  He never said anything to us and he just went away.  No trouble at all.

Another trick we used to get up to, 3 of us used climb over wall into Mosborough Park, because it was a park at side Mosborough Hall in them days one used to stand in Pingle with 2 grass stods in his hands  and when Hawk used to come up back lane (main Road)  it was a fellow which had fruit, he used to have a brazier thing on side of his cart, when he got level with him, he thorough stods at him, he used to stop cart chase him up Pingle but he couldn’t catch him because he was the best runner.  Others used to lighten his loads abit like, he sooner got used to that.  Then he didn’t run after us no more.

South Street

Up Duke Street there was two pubs, one Duke William and the other Blue Bell.  Blue Bell had a real good football team and they were all colliery’s and they used to go to pit, then come home and used to play football at top of back lane,  that’s straight up South Street and its first field after Pingle end.  You knew they were colliery’s because when they stripped down they had black legs, they didn’t bother washing them days.

Uncle Harry Lee was a lines man and time keeper, he hadn’t got a watch so he used to have an old alarm, he ran line, if Bill Bell was losing he used to put clock back abit, if they were winning he used to shoved it on abit.

Anyway when we finished there, we used to go across road against Alma pub, next to place to Alma Pub was straw rope factory and we used to watch Mr Turner and Mr Heffity, twist and making ropes.  One of them I think it was Mr Turner he used to have a waistcoat on, he was always taking topmill snuff.  He used to be do abit then have a pinch. When he died he had about 2 pound of top mill snuff in his pocket .

They had  road isle red fowls they used to sell eggs, but to stop people taking them because he had a broody hen they used shake eggs and broke yoke so that they couldn’t sit em.  Folks stopped getting them because they said you don’t get eggs from there because they are only half full.

Then sometimes we used to go to bottom of back lane, bottom of Back lane where its meets Gas House, Gas Lane there was a Mill parts of it are still thee, it was run by water, it was water driven and moss used to come and turn wheel and that used to turn run mill.   There was one bloke working there, no health and safety, all belts were running without any guards to em at all, he run it all time and he never got injured, he wouldn’t let any kids near them.

In them days you had to go to Chapel, on Sunday we had go three times a day if you were unlucky, we used to keep around wood tilt, if doors were shut then you only had to go morning and afternoon.

At Sunday me dad used to say to me shall we go for a walk everyone had a walk around woods in fact Chapel walk was called “up Bridle and down Plumbley”

We walked going up Plumbley Lane one day, where Dawes Farm Wheels was,  a little old small fellow had a house in Dawes stock yard, he used sit telling tale, Arthur Kay the called him.

We were going passed one day, he says to me, here come here I want you lad “have you been a good lad” he says.

I said “I’m always a good lad”.

He says have you ordered one of my pony’s, I says “hey no I didn’t know you had em”.

He says would you like one, “hey I would”, what colour would you like?, I’d like a black one.  I thought I don’t know how I’m going to get it up genill in any case.

I’m sorry duck I’ve only got a white one, but keep asking.

We went passed a time or two and me dad says going ask him, I says “as me pony come, “Not yet lad’ he says.

Anyway one day we went passed and he’d got his back to me, and he was talking to another lad, have you ordered one of my pony’s and if he’d like one, and what colour would he want, he said he wanted a white one, he said I’ve only a black one, keep asking lad he says.

I thought my pony’s come  but you didn’t interferr with them in them days until thy finished talking in them day. I waited until lad had gone; he turned round, smiled and put is arm on me shoulder and said:  “you’ve caught me out duck”, I’m only having you on,  I haven’t got any ponies I only have you on, if I’d have any money I’d buy all of you a pony.

I didn’t see him for a long time, they pull the farm down and he went to live in a bungalow at top of School Street with his son, I was married at time we were walking passed his bungalow and his daughter in law was thee, and I said I’ve been talking about your mester how he kidders on about pony’s. how longs as he been died, She says he’s not died hes in front room, go and have a word with him if you want.  He was about 96 I knocked on door and he says come in before I could say anything he puts his hand on me shoulder and says have you come for your pony lad.

In them days farmers were always hard up, Dawes they had that farm where the Wheel was, and a shop in Chapel Street, they sold duck eggs and he used to get 2 free posters for Electro pictures anyway nobody did nothing for nothing.  Are you going to use them tickets mister Dawes , no lad you can have one, but first I wont you to go to farm and muck all cows and horses out.   I used to work all day for a free ticket.  Used to go to Eckington and with these free tickets you could sit on back seat at Electro House.  A bloke called Smedley used to shine torch on us there about 8 of us got these tickets.  When Smedley come with lamp, he was going to throw us out, we used  to show him these free tickets, but he never apology.

When we come out of thee, we used go down back row from Electa to Ashton’s Grocer shop for a pence of broken biscuits, he said to us hang on a minute i have not got any broken biscuits, but he got a tin down he used to break them up for kids.  We only a one lot between us and used to eat them all way back up to Mosborough.

Used to go to penny rush at Eckington it was a regular thing for kids, pictures like, we used to watch     Touching Hand, Tarzan, we used to come over fields and all the kids were tarzans when we’d seen Tarzan films.

Anyway for entertainment we used to go fishing for tiddlers and we had what you called pin hooks, you got some of your mother’s black cotton, put it on a piece rod/stick out of edge, and got a pin , turn it over and put a worm on and bring it home dead.

There were two blokes who were game keepers there, Fab Ashley and Joe Wall they had no hope of catching kids, they had a whistle, and one of them used to stand at one end of long wood, and one used to blow whistle and Fab used to shout get round em Joe.   All kids used to rush back home.

The river in them days was a lake it was all fasten up like, its only a bit of a river now, fishermen used to fishing  for trout and kids used to watch them all time and all sat around, waiting for them to leave, when they went,  they used to have a boat that they kepted in a shed.  All the Kids got this boat, no oars and kids used row with their hands.

When it come to winter time,  once I remember there were two waterfalls like overfull from dam, and we were getting icicles, I were clever, ever so clever,  one of waterfalls were iced up and so I decided to go down this waterfall and get these iclcles they were about 5ft long ones, I were breaking them off and giving them to kids.  Then when I went to go back I found out I couldn’t get back, I couldn’t swim, I got a top coat on and helmet on I remember, I kept sliding and sliding, it was about 6ft deep this overfull and I dropped into overfull.  I couldn’t swim and  remembered every think I did, I walked on bottom, and come up over side.  We had to lit a fire cause I daren’t go home because I wet through.

Now and again Dam used to build up, it used to break away  and used to break through, you could hear it at Mosborough.  It sounded like thunder when it broke, it used to wash everything away, it washed a bridge away at bottom of Eckington Church steps.  It broke at time a two, reason it were breaking they used to repair it with bales of straw, fancy using bales of straw.  It used to break two or three times a year.

As kids we used to play games, nobody never ever come on main street, all kids played games, kit can, ducky stone and such as that.  If a car did come all kids used to shout at it, now I can’t get across road to go to fish shop.

We all used run errands, there were no bathrooms, Friday nights were bath night in tin baths, it used to be hung outside against back door, every one had one.

Carbid  If you had a bite, there was a old sit up and beg and lamp they had on were carbid lamps they still use it.

We had a good idea with carbid, kids got an rowntrees cocoa tin, knock an hole in it top put so much carbid in it, it was a brown powder and you put some water on it, and it use to make a gas, we used to lite it with a match.  If you had done it right there was about a 2ft high jet of flame, if you’d done it wrong, you’d get a 4ft jet of flame and when you got home your mother used to say “ you’ve been playing with Carbid haven’t you”.  How did she know, she said have a look through mirror, and all our eye brows were stinge and all front of our hair had a donkey fringe which were stinge.


A poem by George Foster  from Norwich in 1800’s  – MOSBOROUGH

Fred’s favour poem

Dear old Mosborough, pleasant village, thou art precious unto me

Where so ever I may wonder,

Back my thoughts will fly to thee.

Of the world thou art my centre

Be my wondering er so great

Like the needle to the magnet like my heart,

Here my heart doth gravitate.

Ha! these scenes of past enjoyments\;

Joys I love to dwell upon’

Why, there’s scarce a spot within thee,

But I hang a tale thereon.

They recall familiar faces,

That have vanished from the earth;

All their faults are buried with them,

Now I only know their worth.

Blessed memories! how they hover

Over thee – thou hallowed spot;

Hark! methinks I hear them whisper,

“George, beloved! forget me not”.

In thy woods, when sweetly blooming,

Oh I’ve found a calm retreat,

When the wild birds sang around me,

And the brook flowed at my feet.

Thou art like a fine old matron,

Beauty’s stamped upon thy face,

Thou hast troops of sons and daughters,

Bright as any of our race.



A few memories of Fred Rotherham of Mosborough, when he spoke to the Mosborough History Meeting Group in 2017.