LETTER: Great to see old photo in the Chad

1966 Bilsthorpe Colliery Trip
1966 Bilsthorpe Colliery Trip

I can remember the old club trips from Bilsthorpe (last week’s Chad Retro photos).

When I first started going, it went from the railway cottages, now called Forest Link.

The train in those days were steam driven and you had to climb something that looked like a ladder to get up into the carriages, which was no easy task as they had no hand rails to grab hold of.

The journey would go via Farnsfield and Southwell, before steaming on to Lincoln. It felt right posh too. It eventually got to Skegness or Cleethorpes.

After a while we stopped going from Bilsthorpe, probably because of ‘Beeching’ scrapping railways from places like Bilsthorpe. So we started to go to Ollerton on the bus, and caught the train from there. Now this was a real step up in style as we was taken to the seaside by diesel, and no more steps to climb.

On the journey there, all the kids were given a bottle of pop, apple, orange, sweets and I think sandwiches.

The thing you really wanted though was the 2/6d spending money. Always either Skeg or Cleethorpes in those days.

On arrival it was straight to the beach for the day, maybe a ride on a donkey.

It was not as commercialised as it is today.

We all got a bucket and spade and that was it. Dinner time was always men tripping off t’pub time. Kids stood outside with their mams and prams. Your dad would come out with bottles of pop and a packet o’ crisps for his kids and the wife would have half a bitter or mild.

Blokes stayed in the pub until it closed which was about 3pm and then a stroll beck to the station for the long journey home. I always remember parents playing a game with us. As we got close to the coast they would open the window and ask if we could smell the sea air, or they would lick the finger, put it out of the window, bring it in and lick it again saying they could taste the sea air.

On the way back, we would again get a bottle of pop and eat what was left from the morning. On arriving back in Bilsthorpe, it was straight up t’club and more pop and crisps, before being taken home for bed.

In the photo, I recognise the guy with the trilby and pipe, he was a friend of my dad. His name was Alan Quick, who lived on Mickledale Lane, near the Stanton Arms.

He worked for a while at the pit, before leaving to be a prison officer. To the right of him, is a lady from Scarborough Road, Dot Burns. Dot’s husband, Frank, was a small but stout southern Irishman. She was a small petite lady and always had a ‘fag’ hanging out her mouth.

You could tell it was her from the laugh she had, and both loved the beer.

Frank was what’s locally called the ‘Bookies Runner’ in those days. He would collect the men’s betting slips from the welfare, then go down to the bookies on ‘Labour in Vain’, as it was known then — it was a small cottage (still there) by Key’s Garage — and place the bets.

So there you go, a little insight in to the club trips from Bilsthorpe.

Peter Waby

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