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Told you I was getting old i meant he is 80 now.[V]
A look at the Directory of Lostock Hall for 1904 shows that of the first 68 names and addresses, 33 were working in some capacity on the Railway -whether platelayers,signal men, drivers ,firemen etc.
Some of the remaining 35 were retired and a few were involved in other work.
One thing I did love about mt grandad's job was his driver's cap smelling strongly of engine oil. He always used to throw it on my head when he got home.
Unfortunately the steam and smoke affected his health at quite a young age as it must many employees in that line of work.
The site is really great I think.
Lynne, I want to reply to some of your contributions to the Leyland Forums, and the three main lines of interest seem to intersect here at Lostock Hall Engine Shed. I believe this forum had a hiccup, but I'm told that it should be up and running now. The three lines of interest are:
1. this forum - my dad was a Lostock Hall driver up to his retirement in 1958. If he started as a cleaner at 16, that would be in 1909, only a few years before your grandfather. If your grandfather and my dad were contemporaries, that makes me feel really old! My sister and I are now dredging our memories for railway stories.
2. a September 2009 thread centered around Brownedge Road - my sister and I have read your account of your walk from the level crossing to Tardy Gate with enormous interest, as we lived in the bungalow next to the Red Bridge and have many memories. I hope we can take this up in another thread.
3. the Balshaws Grammar School forum, which I have just discovered. There too it seems there is scope for comparing.
More on these topics in due course - I am having long phone talks about it with my sister, who is fascinated by it all and keeps filling in more details that are new to me.
Hello Jack,
Does seem we have been walking along much commom ground in the past.
Just for now though -you say the bungalow next to Red Bridge -incidentally the last time I walked that way locals I spoke to did not refer to it as the 'Red Bridge'.
If it was the bungalow on the right hand side as you walked towards Four Lane Ends my grandfather Walter used to take me there visiting sometimes -though I can't remember names now.
At the end of the war I think it was that house where those living there had made a 'sculpture 'out of the firewatching gear -tin hat etc in the front garden to celebrate the end.
I have very vivid memories of Balshaws in the forties -I think because of the war and those gloomy days I felt privileged to be able to go to a grammar school-instead of the mill which was still a likely prospect looming for a working class child.
There were bad moments but mostly good.
Best wishes
Welcome to the forum Jack. I live close to where the engine sheds were, on the fields known as the painters fields close to where Farington station was. My grandfather Charles Watton moved to Farington to work on the railways back in the early 19 hundreds until he retired around 1945 or so I assume, when he would have been 65, but he died when I was 8 so I have very limited memories I'm afraid.
Hi Jack
Martin ~
Hi Jack,
Just checked on a few dates.
My granddad was born at Meanygate in 1890 so on the 1911 census he was 22 and was down as an engine cleaner then -I think he had started on the railway as soon as he left school- the Wesleyan School Bamber Bridge- in 1902/3 must have only been 13 when he left.
Did they start as cleaners at that age or was there some other form of work for new entrants! Shovelling coal maybe?. They were mere boys were't they!
Many of the railway workers seemed to live in Watkin Lane or Black Lane.
Was Black Lane part of Brownedge Rd? Nice to hear from you.
Incidentally I had forgotten about Wilkie being known as 'Squire'.
I found him a really interesting person and had lots of discussions about music -the piano in particular-I think he was just very clever and got frustrated at times when we didn't measure up in class.
Another subject I learned from him was a smattering of economics and the beginnings of political interest. Also quite a few notions on Communism.
Anyway back to the topic in a way.
Grandad always used to wave when he went past the bungalow. If its the one I think it was very close to the track.
One station I used a lot was the Todd Lane North one.
When my children were babies I used to put the pram in the Guards Van and stand with it to Preston-usually I would walk back to Lostock Hall.It was always a nice neat station with the usual chocolate machine.
Bye for now
[Big Grin]
Hello to you folk who replied to my post. I don't immediately recognise the names that are mentioned, but I will meditate a bit, especially about who "Walter" could be, and also try them on my sister - perhaps she will remember. I think young lads straight from school to the engine shed were probably given some very menial work to start with - this needs further investigation. I believe that my dad (born 1893) went from school first to a cotton mill, and later, still quite young, abandoned it for the railway, so the year of that is a bit uncertain. Brownedge Road is shown on old maps (I think I have the 1899 O.S. map) as Black Lane. It's a beautiful map, which I will have a fresh look at before getting involved in discussions about Lostock Hall/Penwortham/Bamber Bridge history. Lynne, thanks for your slightly more mellow comments about Squire. Todd Lane station (formerly called Preston Junction), played a huge role in my family's life, as it evidently also did for you Lynne. My sister and I have many stories of that station between us, and some of them might reach these pages later. My dad and mother were prominent in the opposition to the closure of the station (a futile effort as it appears now) and they appear on local newspaper photos that I have somewhere in a drawer.
Your mention of Todd Lane station brings back many happy memories for me too, as I grew up on Todd Lane North. The flower beds were always beautifully tended by one of the porters, Bert Woods, as I recall. There was a grumpy little ticket collector called Smith and another jolly chap who always used to sing songs about the sunshine when in reality it was pouring with rain! I too was opposed to the closing of that station as I then worked at County Hall and the buses were not anywhere near as convenient. Not just on a personal level, but a new housing estate (Glendale) was being built in close proximity to the station - think of all those people who could have boosted its income if they'd been able to travel by train!
You are right Dotty-so sad to see the area in Todd Lane North where the tracks used to be -the station was so important then and would have been a real asset now. I was away from the country when Beeching did his axing but came across a series of photos the other day of rows of redundant steam trains waiting to be broken up in Lostock Hall -such a sad sight.
If you would like to send me an e-mail Jack I will give you a few more details .
[Big Grin]

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