Memories of Stoke-on-Trent people - Mike
Alma J. Ibbs (nee Meakin)
MADE IN THE POTTERIES.
The memory is a wonderful and cheap conveyance to take you to all the places you wish to remember.
I was born in Etruria Vale Road in 1936, the youngest member of a family of nine.
The war: This did not affect me as I was almost too young to understand what was going on. There was the rushing up Clough street to go to the shelter under the ruck- plenty of people were in there and I wondered where we were all going to fit. I was wrapped in a blanket. The Anderson shelter in the back yard which I seem to recall held blankets and food. There was a bomb dropped near the bottom of Ladysmith Road, and I was amazed that it could hit a few houses and the rest were still standing. The railings disappeared from around the park to be melted down for the war effort. The street party after the war was over, held in Ladysmith Rd, near to the Boulton’s house.
My first school: This was Belmont Road, Infants, which was really convenient, as I just had to cross the road then go down Dundee Rd, and I was there. The little camp stretcher beds for the afternoon nap, the small bottles of milk each day, even in the school holidays. The play- ground rocker that would hold more than two people. The ‘old’ teachers Miss. Heap, Paterson and I think a Miss Weatherill. When walking home, there was a lamp-post near to Dudley’s house, I wonder how many children have bumped into it when walking backwards and turning round-then bump! Me for one!
Shelton St. Marks, Junior School. This was quite a walk from the Vale, but we used to cut across the fields-well that was what we used to call them. It saved us walking up Clough St, to Mount Pleasant, then up Milton Street, Rectory Rd, across the main road and we were there. It didn’t seem to bother anyone having to walk .It was during the winter when the sleet would cut your legs and above your knees got chapped, and sometimes bled, then you were in more of a hurry getting to and from school. Shelton School had a choir and we used to visit Rest Homes and even a training college and Senior citizens meetings. The highlight of belonging to this choir was the annual visit to go to Birmingham to sing on the wireless in ‘Children’s Hour” conducted by Rae Jenkins and the lovely ice cream which followed the performance. Mr. Pipe and Miss Joan Martin were in charge of us. Miss Bentley was our P.T. teacher, taken in the ‘yard’ regardless of weather, but one thing she taught us, which I have always followed is the correct way to stand-especially when in a queue, without getting tired. Strictness was a pre-requisite in those days and I don’t think we came to any harm by this. When I was 44yrs old my husband Arthur and Kiwi daughter Lisa returned to the U.K. and saw Miss. Bentley coming towards me in Stoke, I just said” hello Miss Bentley”, and she looked at me and after not seeing me for thirty three years, she just said “Hello Alma”. I was amazed! My daughter was most impressed. I remember Mr. Cooke the care-taker allowing us on odd occasions to have a warm by his fire in his shed. Gerald his son was in our class.
Wharf Lane Senior Girls. It was a great time spent here, (I enjoyed all my school days) my special teachers were Miss Byram, who taught maths, and English, who eventually when teaching us something really new, got used to me asking “could you give us an example please?” Miss Lovatt our P.T. and dancing teacher was also a pleasure to have known. I also saw her in Hanley Market Square on our visit and had a chat.
I made many friends at school and many who I still maintain contact with, but I often wonder how and where a close friend Barbara Round (now) Bentham is. Bedfordshire was the last address I had.
Tinkersclough Mission was our Sunday- School, and I remember with fondness the anniversaries where the girls had new dresses and we all sang on the make shift stage with our parents in the audience. On the Sunday morning we would all walk down Clough St, and down Ladysmith and up Dundee Roads, singing and the band marched in front. It was to the ‘Tin Mission’ we would go to watch the 1d pictures, silent at first then onto talkies-great fun. Guy Parkhouse will always be associated with this memory.
Etruria park was obviously our main area for play. We were very lucky with the swing park with the acrobats and the queedles and swings. Albert the ‘parkee’ used to chase us when we made shadows with the cut grass in the grass park. Boys and girls used to play cricket and French cricket in the grass park. It was through this grass park I took my turn taking my father’s ‘snappin’ on a Sunday afternoon to Shelton Bar, when he was on ‘noons’, with his can of tea with a handle and mug at the top.
It was quite a sight when they opened the furnaces at ‘The Bar’ and the whole sky lit up.
Painting of Shelton Bar by local artist Alf Wakefield.
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After leaving school days behind, my leisure time was spent at the B.R. Youth Club just below the Odeon in Hanley and the Speedway on a Saturday nights, watching Dave Anderson and Gil Blake throwing ash and dirt up going around the bends! I went to work at the office of the C.I.S. in Glebe St, Stoke. I stayed there for six years. I cycled from the Vale to Stoke and Bedford bank was always a challenge especially on wet mornings.
I hope that some people who read the’ Memories’ part of this web-site find this mingling with their own memories, they are something that will always remain with you that you can re-call whenever you wish. You can imagine, I have many more memories too numerous to put here, but my ‘family’ will be able to read these and many more in the book I am writing, ‘My Story’, so future generations will ‘know me’
I left Stoke on Trent and the U.K. with my husband and two boys in 1966, but my memories will always return to the Potteries as long as I live.Best Wishes to you all. Alma.
Alma J. Ibbs