Wibsey Community Web Site

Wibsey village is situated on a broad ridge at a height of 250 metres between Bradford and Halifax. The village is now a suburb of Bradford and it was mentioned in the domesday book. Wibsey means "Wibba's island", from the Old English personal name Wibba. The community web site is wibsey.net.

A Wibsey childhood

Page Three, by David Bland
We were in fact surrounded by the Moulsons. Just beyond the row in front of the house was a scrap yard where the Moulsons haulage vehicles were serviced and parts dumped. At the side of the house was a field owned by the Moulsons where they kept chickens, turkeys and geese. The turkeys would often manage to 'fly' over the 15' high wall and fence and lay eggs in grandad's garden. Behind the house was another yard belonging to Moulsons where they kept construction equipment for digging roads etc. These were the playgrounds of my childhood.
Just up Wibsey High Street lived Billy Ellison who had a totem pole in his yard and he rode a Chieftain motorcycle, wore a fringed leather jacket and had greasy shoulder length black and grey hair. He was supposed to be the blood brother of an American Red Indian. We would stand and stare at the totem pole in absolute awe; looking back it was a little thing about 10' tall, that any self respecting American Indian would have scoffed at, but we children were amazed and believed every word we were told. I think we were rather frightened of him.
In 1953 when grandad died, grandma took me to see people in Wibsey who were relatives - Edna Sunderland née Ellis and her son Donald Pickles who later joined the special constabulary. Aunt Edna lived down Abb Scott Lane, Low Moor. It was a tiny little 2 room cottage and is still there. There was a farm nearby, where they had peacocks, a rare treat for a young boy. The only other place I knew who had them at that time was the Glen Tea Rooms at Shipley Glen. Gran would point out Slack Bottom on the way and comment that she grew up there and went over the road to church and school. Her father Simeon Ellis remarried when his first wife died and the widow he married had been married to Randolph Priestley who had the Gaping Goose.
There was a man I think called Noah, he lived somewhere along Beacon Road or just off there, we watched the Queen's coronation on his TV ( I didn't see another TV until about 1960) I got bored and fell asleep in his rabbit hutch, it took ages to find me.
Sometimes for a treat, we would go to Wibsey park and I would be allowed to row gran round the lake. I have vague recollections of a motor launch doing trips round the island. We would fish for sticklebacks with a net made from an old silk stocking, and put them in a large pickled onion jar with a string handle. The male sticklebacks with their bright red breasts (blood suckers) were especially good catches and could be traded for a handful of taws (marbles).
Gran developed diabetes later in her life and had to sleep downstairs. She loved to sit in an old rocking chair by the open fire, it squeaked in time with the pendulum on the Springer wall clock. She later inherited a cuckoo clock that had weights in the shape of pine cones and a pendulum, and a wind-up gramophone. I think they were from aunt Ann'lizabeth and had belonged to uncle Joe (Mallinson). They came together with some 78 RPM records - Whole Lotta Woman' by Marvin Rainwater, The Hula Hoop Song by Teresa Brewer and Butterfingers by Tommy Steele, amongst others long since forgotten. The needles were copper pins but the playback quality (from memory) was surprisingly good. I guess this would have been about 1958.
She taught me to read using Beano and Dandy comics and the 'Old Moor's Almanac' she had a very broad Yorkshire accent but not as broad as grandad's. The Wibsey/North Bierley accent was known for having its own sounds. I remember this phrase:- "If tha' Bob 'll noan gi' ar' Bob that bob that tha' Bob ow's ar' Bob Then ar' Bob 'll gi' tha' Bob a bob on t' noase". I later caused a bit of a stir when I went to live in Hertfordshire - complete with my Wibsey accent and references to 'osses and t'coil 'oil.
Page Four