My Pye Bank

Story:Barbara Warsop

My maternal grandparents Thomas and Lucy Walker lived on Skinnerthorpe Road in the 1890s. Whilst living there they had four children, but one died. The surviving children were called Fred, Doris Madelene, and Ruth. The photo of Skinnerthorpe Road outside the shop was taken in 1906. It’s a school photo, my Aunt Doris is on the back row, second right of the teacher, wearing a white apron, and my aunt Ruth Walker is sat front row second from right, also with a white apron.

My grandparents later moved to 13 Reginald Street, Pitsmoor, where my mum Mary was born in 1912. My mum was born 12 years after her next youngest sister, Aunt Ruth. I suppose grandma could have lost some babies in between but who knows. Mum always said she was the little runt of the family, being born when Grandma was in her 40s.

She went to Pye Bank School. This is her class photo from 1922, when she was 10 years old. She is in the second row from the top, fifth from the right. The other photo is a school drama group, which looks like a nativity, but I don’t know anything more about it. The house she was brought up in was a back to back house with not much space for a big family. On the ground floor it had one small living room and a tiny slop kitchen on a lower level.

There was nowhere for a growing lad to escape a baby, so when Fred was about 17, he said he was fed up with the screaming baby and went and joined up. He found himself in the 5th Royal Irish Lancers at the beginning of the First World War. He is the young soldier in the photo. He was gassed but lived.

The 5th Royal Irish Lancers Regiment was disbanded in 1921 but the squadron was reconstituted in 1922 and amalgamated with the 16th Queen`s Lancers to become the 16th/5th Queens Royal Lancers.

Later, Fred married a widow called Nellie, who had a daughter also called Nellie. Together they had Dorothy, my cousin, and lived at 44 Burngreave Road. When she left school, Dorothy went to work for the photographer Fred Knaggs. She enjoyed the job so much that when she got married to a man called Denis Bell, they opened up their own photography business from her parent’s home.

I was born in 1938. My father was called up in 1940 so Aunt Doris and Grandma came to live with us during the war for moral support for my Mum. Grandma passed away during that time and Aunt Doris never went back to Reginald Street. She stayed with us until she passed away in 1962. Grandma and Granddad plus Doris, who never married, are all buried in Burngreave Cemetery.

I don’t know if my cousin Dorothy Walker still lives as I have lost touch with her years ago, she would be 89 or 90 years old now. The last time I saw Fred was at my mum’s funeral, she died aged 51 years in 1963. Before she died my Mum always went to see Fred. So Fred out-lived my mum by quite a few years.

Barbara wrote this article as part of the local history group. Their next meeting is 10am Friday 22nd January at St. Catherine’s School. Just turn up!

Fred Walker
Fred Walker
Pye Bank school photo
Pye Bank school photo
Skinnerthorpe Road 1905
Skinnerthorpe Road 1905

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The content on this page was added to the website by Graham Jones on 2016-01-13 10:37:49.
The content of the page was last modified by Alice Kirby on 2016-09-28 12:13:19.

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