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A Wibsey childhood
Page Two, by David Bland

Medley took me to the cattle auctions in Otley now and again, I don't remember much about it only grandad looking like a typical farmer in an old trilby hat and a brown work coat, the smell of the cattle and sheep and sitting on stone steps overlooking the auction ring. When the Wibsey Horse Fair was on we would watch the parade of horses being put through their paces by the gypsies and make remarks as to the merits of individual horses. I never knew if he was an expert or not, I was more interested in what was going on up at the fair 'on t' tide field' near 't' cock pit' The dodgems were always my favourite.
I suppose you have many people who can remember the horse fair with horses being paraded up and down Fair Road, and the cock pit (was it ever used for cock fighting?) I suspect that it had been an open cast coal pit.
Medley worked at the Avro factory at Yeadon during WWII, building aircraft.
He smoked heavily throughout his life and always had a cigarette in his mouth, he died of cancer a year after my dad Arthur died. In those days there were no filter tips on the cigarettes. Woodbines, or Capstan and Players Navy Cut if they could be afforded. When I started smoking some 10 years or so later, it was considered 'cissy' to smoke filter tipped cigarettes. The whole smoking issue was one of 'macho image' and 'street cred' - words that were not to be used for another two decades.
In Wibsey there was a man who had a triangular small holding somewhere on Folly Hall Road behind the Cozy cinema. He was called Albert Benn (it was pronounced Beean by grandad). We bought / bartered produce with him for eggs. It turned out from family history research that he was grandad's cousin.
Grandad liked to go to the Upper George pub in Upper George Street for a drink, probably with his brother the 'demon barber of Wibsey' John Greenwood Bland. John had his barber's shop in High Street, just below the 'new fangled' roundabout. He was a bit of a character and would often spend the day’s takings on drink.
I remember grandad Medley taking me to the barbers in Wibsey. It was probably for my first 'professional' haircut, up until then it had been the traditional basin cut. It must have been John. He nicked my ear with the clippers - there were no electric clippers in those days; then he stemmed the flow of blood with a Stiptic Pencil. I let out such a yell, I remember everyone having a good laugh and I hated barbers for years afterwards
Medley would bring a milk stout or a tonic water back for Edith. He had a very broad Yorkshire accent. 'Ah can still 'ear 'im say
"Ah'll pause thi behind f' thee lad" He never did and I remember him as a kind, if gruff person who was always clever at carpentry. My sledge, which he made, was the envy of all my school pals.
Next door neighbours were The Moulsons, Alfred and Emmie with son John, and daughters Barbara and Rita. John was my age and best friend at that time. Next door again were the Hendersons, Albert and Rosemary with son Michael and daughter Stephanie; next door again were William and Hannah Marshall ? and at the end of the row in a tiny, single storey cottage, was an old lady and friend of my grandparents, Clara Eastwood. Another old friend, Annie Warburton lived near the Upper George Pub (apparently at one time the Warburtons were a famous Wibsey family)
Page Three

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