Memories of Calderdale

Growing Up in the 1940s


Brian McDanielson

I was born in July 1937 at Stead Street in Halifax.

We moved a couple of times within the Halifax area and then we ended up in the Nissen huts in the grounds of the building where the displaced Polish men were living. The building which housed the Polish men was formerly the Shibden Industrial School. It was in the countryside which was where we played and we loved it. The area is now a housing development called Shibden Hall Croft.

We were there for about seven years. We had been living in a larger house and my parents let a room to a woman and her son who was a similar age to me. Because of that, the landlord turned us out!

Eventually, we were given a new house in Southowram, Cromwell Road. I was number six in a family of ten children. We weren't well off but we were well looked after. I went to Akroyd Place School and later to Sunnyside Secondary Modern.

In 1952, I left school on a Friday; the following Monday, I started work at a woollen mill at the bottom of the hill from Hipperholme. The Mill was powered by a steam engine housed on the ground floor.

When I got the chance, I loved to visit the engine house, to see, hear and smell this fantastic machine.

My job was tape sewer and oiler.

Each spindle on the spinning machine was driven via a tape which in turn was fixed around a drum which ran the full length of the machine. The tapes would break now and again, and it was my job to repair or replace them. I also had to oil the machines.

The machines were started first thing in the morning and were only stopped at lunchtime and again at the end of the working day, so oiling and tape replacing all had to be done with the machines in motion. No health and safety in those days.

It must have been 1953 when we moved out of the huts and moved into the four bedroomed, brick built house in Southowram. My life was to become what might be considered normal.

I changed my job a few times in the next couple of years working in two of the brick yards down in the valley and a quarry down the other side of the hill.

Eventually, I was 18 and National Service came around. I remember having to go to Bradford for my medical. I chose to join the RAF and signed up for 12 years.

Postings in the UK, Germany and Borneo gave me a great life.

I married at the age of 23 in 1960 in Doncaster and have been married for over 53 years

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 10:26 / 30th May 2021 / 4333

Page Ref: M_30

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