Rose Born in 1926
Lived in Alma Grove
Rose remembers mostly the shows put on at the Rialto. Mr Prendergast, who was the father of John Barry, helped the school to put on very good shows. The school did all the work but he allowed them to put the shows on at the Rialto. He also owned the Clifton cinema.
Rose and her cousin did Irish dancing on stage. Her cousin had danced in competitions and had won some medals. Mr Brisbane (who was the father of Archie Brisbane) taught them to do the dance and made up the routine for them. They wore dresses made by Rose's mother. They were an off white colour and they had emerald green jackets and a shawl/sash that was worn on their left shoulder to the waist. They had black shoes with buckles on. In one of the concerts Rose played a fairy and got quite upset when she lost her partner at the side of the stage just before they went on. Mr Prendergast was very nice and very helpful to the school. As kids they were very excited to play at the Rialto and had to get dressed up and look the part. At the Rialto there were turns like dancing and choral/choir singing. Once the boys had to swing illuminated 'clubs' around. The boys always had to wear grey trousers and a white shirt with their red and green school tie.
Sister Catherine was the head of the school. Another teacher was Mrs Mangan who was very nice. Miss Arrowsmith was a good and popular teacher too (Puzzling as Irene Arrowsmith - later Benneworth - was born in 1919 - TR).
Rose lived in Alma Grove and was the youngest of three girls. Her childhood was lovely and she had a good mother who looked after them properly. They did not have much money but they had everything they needed in a good and loving family. Rose's Dad was in the army for a long time and when he came out there were no jobs for the ex-army men, they were not bothered about them and times were hard. Eventually he got a fruit and veg round in the barracks. He had a horse and cart and used to keep his horse stabled in the Barrack Tavern pub (which is now called the Fulford Arms). One day it was snowing and sleeting very badly and her dad came to school and took them to the fish and chip shop at the junction of Hope St and George St for a meal. It was called Amy's fish shop and it was a special treat which she really enjoyed. Fish and chips cost 3d.
There was a shop on the corner of Margaret St called Boyntons and you could buy bulls eyes and pontefract cakes there.
School was very much the 3R's. There was no swimming or sewing. PE was only in the yard and was just physical education and exercises. Games in the playground were skipping and rounders.
On cattle market days the young unemployed men would hang around and hope to get a days work as a cattle walloper. They could earn 3d or 6d for a day's work. All the farmers used to drink in the City Arms pub and pay the lads to drive the cattle.
On procession day she went to school and then they all got dressed up in white dresses and veils. The boys had white shirts and a green and red tie. They would make their way to the Convent on Lawrence St and lots of schools would meet up for a service before starting the walk. Some of the kids carried the banners and her sister carried a banner for 'Children of Mary' which was a children's religious group. For their procession dresses they went to Boyes department store and her mother would buy a remnant of white satin or silk and then take it to Mrs Savage who lived in Sandringham St and pay her to make the material up into a dress.
Church was a big part of school life and they were at church a lot. They were never away from church and Rose felt sometimes it was too much. In the first class Rose remembers a priest called Fr Ryan who was a very nice man. Later his nephew Michael Ryan was priest at St George's and went on to become a Canon at St Wilfrid's.
Rose did not like Sr Catherine and a lot of people thought she was a snob. Rose got a borderline with her 11 plus and Sr Catherine told her she would not be able to go to The Bar Convent as her family would not be able to afford the books. The poorer kids were looked down on. Her mother was very cross when she found out and felt they could have pulled out all the stops and maybe get her there but they were not given the chance. Rose ended up going to St Wilfrid's secondary school in Monkgate. Half the school (the school that is still there now) was for the infants and half was for the secondary girls. Sr Catherine was a sister of Charity but people did not always think she was very charitable. When Rose got her borderline result Mrs Bruce ran down the school yard to tell her to look out for a letter coming about it. When Rose's mother had dresses made for the shows like the Irish dancing Sr Catherine was never satisfied and picked faults with it like it was the wrong material.
On Tuesday after school Rose's mother went to a sewing guild at the convent on Fawcett St. Rose's mother belonged to it and made Rose go but she did not like it.
Mr Brisbane who taught them dancing was a PE instructor in the army and lived in the row of houses between the Pavilion big house and Miller's fish shop in Fulford. The Pavilion was the home of Mr Prendergast.
In her class was a boy called Francis Matthews who became a famous actor and played 'Paul Temple' in a popular TV programme. He has been in many things and at one time was always on the telly. John White and his brother Patrick were good actors and were in lots of local performances including the Mystery Plays. Patrick White went on to become high up in the police force. Next door to them lived Joan Whitehead who married Len Drinkall. They had a son called Keith and during the war he was in a performing group (ENSA?). He starred in TV's 'A Family at War'.
Near Rose's house in Alma Terrace on the corner of Frances St was a chip shop and on the other corner of Frances St was a shop called Blackers. Opposite Alma Grove was a police house and it had a phone box outside and its own cell in the house. One day a notorious offender was being hauled into the cell. He saw Rose's sister and shouted 'Hello Teresa'. Everybody heard and she was shown up. In George St, facing Hope St, was a shop called Beryls which sold cakes. Next door to it was a bookies.
As kids Rose said she had a lovely mother who looked after her family well and kept them entertained. They were always doing something. She would make a picnic pack up and send Rose to Forders shop next to the Wellington pub in Alma Terrace to get some lemonade powder to make into a drink. They would take a rug and the gramophone plus the speaker horn for it and all carry the stuff down to Fulford Fields by the river for the afternoon. They only had one record and they played it over and over again. It was called 'Donna Clara'.
Sometimes the army used to have 'Military Sundays' at the barracks and Rose's mother would march them over for the day. The soldiers gave them horrible hard biscuits and they nearly broke their teeth on them. They also used to walk to Escrick regularly to pick mushrooms.
She had a friend in Alma Terrace who was very fashion conscious and one day in church she had a beautiful big hat on. There was a thread loose on the edge of the brim and she tried to pull it and all the brim came off as she went round and round trying to tidy it up.
There was a brewery down the lane that led to Piccadilly. It was very big and went right around into George St too. It faced Peel St and was a very tall building.
Some of the families that lived near school were . . . The Fairweather's, Rose had to pass their house on her way home and it always smelled so good of baking and bread. Quite often Mrs Fairweather would give Rose a loaf for her mother . . . There was a Maule family who lived very near the church. She knew Chrissy and Peter and thinks there were 2 or 3 other children too . . . There was a Murray family and a Todd family. The kids used to sing 'Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for me and Mrs Todd'!
There was a shop in Walmgate called Addy Haythorns and you could buy a pair of shoes for 3d. There was a great big pile of them in a corner and you just went a bought a pair. You had to sort them all out and one boy from Hope St bought two left ones and wore them!
Rose says "We were poor, we had nothing - but we had everything".
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