COLUMN: Memories of Mansfield

editorial image

I’m Mansfield born and bred, 68 years of age and I lived in the area all my life until retiring and moving to Cebu in the Philippines in August 2013.

I love to look back on my time in Nottinghamshire and reminisce, so here is the first instalment of a column entitled My Memories of Mansfield.

I suppose my earliest memories are of the early 50s around the time of the coronation.

I was born in Victoria Hospital in 1948.

We lived at that time in what was known as ‘the Camp’ at the top of Westfield Lane.

The camp was a collection of what were called Nissen huts made from corrugated steel sheets or corrugated asbestos sheets.

No-one knew then about asbestos and its dangers, or if they did they kept quiet.

As I recall they were quite cosy, with a coal-fired pot-bellied stove as the central form of heating. Although in those days anything that kept the place above freezing would have been considered cosy.

I remember my mother always seemed to be a bit ashamed of living there, but housing after the war was in short supply.

I think residents were told the camp was only a stop-gap until better housing was built.

Ladybrook Estate was under construction at the time, and we moved there eventually.

Lady brook then could be seen running under the road at the junction of Brick Kiln Lane.

I can remember my first school was Rosemary School which was, of course, on Rosemary Street. To me seeing this imposing Victorian building was very daunting, I was only five. I cannot recall lessons there, only the building.

We soon moved to the Orlit Estate, back again to the top of Westfield Lane. Here I was to spend my childhood. I was to continue my education at Bull Farm School.

School in those days was quite strict, you could get walloped. I did a few times too. I still remember with trepidation the slipper, wooden ruler across the hand and slaps around the head and back of the legs.

That’s how it was, but as far as I know it did me no harm.

Teaching seemed to me to be more, shall I say, formal, but I mostly enjoyed it. We had the old and typical wooden desk with the integral ink wells.

We had wooden pens with nibs that you had to dip in the ink. Most days you went home with dark blue fingers. Often ink smudged on your clothes too, much to your mother’s delight.

Of course then it was Omo and Daz etc with no biological powders for laundry.