Fishlake History Society

Recording historical information before it disappears

Fishlake History Society

Recording historical information before it disappears


Eve Atherfold, Chairperson of Fishlake History Societchaired a talk in Fishlake Village Hall on Childhood Memories17 local people were present.

Meeting Content: Childhood Memories

Unfortunately, the proposed speaker could not give his presentation and our Chairperson, Eve Atherfold very kindly created an excellent interactive talk with those present on childhood memories.

Eve opened the meeting up with recollections of the hot summer of 1976. John Duckitt’s memory of this time was that there was a huge explosion in ladybird numbers which stopped building works on the Humber Bridge. Dorothy Whitehead remembers the streets being covered in ladybirds, so many you couldn’t avoid stepping on them. Viv Cheetham explained how it was too hot to walk on the packed beaches and tarmacadum on the roads melted.

Eve commented that her Sundays as a child was Church in the morning at Kirk Bramwith Church, the afternoon was spent at the Methodist Chapel at Moss and sometimes Church again for the evening service. Brenda Grafton’s Sunday - Fishlake Church in the morning but then Sunday School at the local methodist chapel as the Church had no Sunday school.

Utilities – Fishlake first got piped water in 1956 and Sykehouse in the late 1950’s. Electricity also came in the 1950’s – Hay Green first.

Shopping  Fishlake had a number of travelling shops – Gallons, Stubbs. There was a bus to Doncaster on market days.

Eve Atherfold commented that butter was taken to Doncaster market from Fenwick Stationand bags of peat were taken to Moss Station from Walden Stubbs for next day delivery to London.

World War II – a few of the group commented on the bombing raids around Doncaster. Sprotborough was a target (possibly because Marshall’s was sited there – ordnance suppliers). Fishlake had one “attack” – bombs were offloaded after a bombing raid on Sheffield landing on a field off Hayes Lane. John Duckitt remembers a field at Sykehouse being used for target practice and a system to allow the farmer to use the field when not required for practice.

Quite a few of the audience remember helping to make rag rugs – some called them “Peggy Rugs”, some called them Hookey Rugs”.

Trips to the seaside were an annual event organised by various organisations - the Women’s Institute, the local church, Sunday Schools. Bridlington and Cleethorpes were the most popular venues but occasional Scarborough featured.  Bus companies remembered were Richardsons, Cressey (Stainforth), Eddie Lee (Rudgate Lane, Sykehouse), Roe’s wasused for Fishlake trips, Tommy Hollings of Askern was used for Fenwick trips.

A way of earning pocket money during the summer holidays was pea and potato picking. Nan Steers who lived in the cottages opposite the Hare and Hounds (now Elizabeth Cottage, Church Street) was the local ganger for Fishlake. Picking rose hips for sale was very popular in this area. Queen Alexanders Rose Day was started after World War I to raise money for ex-soldiers – Eve Atherfold remembered taking manufactured paper roses around the villages for sale as button holes.

Harvest suppers were quite a feature in the year – Stainforth Methodist Church on Silver Street, the village hall in Fishlake and Moss with Fenwick Church Institute were venues.

Local shows – all the villages had shows at some point– Sykehouse Show, Thorne Show, Barnby Dun Show, Snaith Show. Sykehouse Show survives to this day; the others have all gone. 

Popular Pastimes – virtually all the group remembered using whip and tops, jacks, marbles and bobbin knitting. Mark Duckitt recalls visiting a Mrs Clegg at Askern for piano lessons. Stainforth cinema on Ellison Avenue was a Saturday morning treat. One shilling bought entry, an ice cream and chips on the way home. In Fishlake Mrs Smith, The Elders, Main Street ran the Girls Friendly SocietyMary Metcalfe remembered s camping at Brodsworth Hall with the Girls Guides.

A treat in Fishlake was chips from Fred Cross’s mobile chip van which parked on The Landing. Fred Cross became a motor dealer in Hatfield

Dorothy Whitehead was brought up as a child in Mexborough but her childhood memories are very similar, despite having a town upbringing rather than a rural childhood.

Chapel Anniversaries were a special event. The girls always wore a new dress on Whitsuntide Monday and prizes of (usually) books were given out. There were 2 chapels at Sykehouse, 1 at Wormley Hill and 3 at Fishlake.