IN the T&A’s recent tribute to Bradford musician and DJ Tony Minchella, who died aged 80 last month, regular Remember When contributor Vincent Finn recalled their schooldays together at St Mary’s in Barkerend.
Here, Vincent shares this photograph of the school’s football team 1950-51. He says: “Tony is on the middle row, second left (number 9). If memory serves me right number 12 is Lawrence Watson, who married the daughter of the owner of Phillip Smith pork butcher in Ivegate. Last time I saw him he was managing the shop. Number 6, Jack Cudworth, was killed in a tragic accident when he was run over by a tram on Blackpool front, in about 1954. Number 2 is Robert Slater who, after many years in the RAF, went to live in Switzerland. Does anyone know who the others in the team are?”
Vincent, who grew up in Barkerend and now lives in Boston, America, has enrolled on a programme called Storyworth (email [email protected]) which sends him a question each week about different aspects of life, and memories of the past.
Says Vincent: “At the end of the year they bind all your submissions into a hard-bound copy. You can add photos to each week’s story. It’s a way of getting older folks to recall their memories, and preserve them.
A recent question - What’s the first major news story you remember living through as a child? - took me back to my life in Bradford in the early 1950s. When I was growing up at Harewood Street we had two newspapers a day. My father bought a morning paper on his way to work and brought it home and we had the Telegraph & Argus delivered in the evening. By 1950 just about every house in my neighbourhood had a radio and that was the only other source of news.
Most evenings I used to visit with my grandmother who lived nearby. I’d take a newspaper and read it to her. So began my habit of reading newspapers.
At first I didn’t fully understand all the article I was reading. If there was one that mentioned a politician my grandmother would comment.
When I was about 10 I had a newspaper round and delivered the T&A each evening. Within a year a year or so I started delivering Sunday papers and by 1952-53 also delivered a morning round. I got up at 6am, walked down to Leeds Road and took the tramcar into town to pick up the papers. The newspaper wholesaler was Chas. Pickles depot on Union Street. My first delivery was a solicitor’s office at the corner of Bridge Street then I made my way through the town centre, up through Little Germany. I delivered a paper to the Peckover Club and the Churchill pub. My round ended in the streets around my house by 8am then I left for school.
I had to give my mother my ‘wages’ and she gave me a half a crown for each pound earned for myself.
I got into the habit of reading the morning papers as I walked my round. I got to read a whole cross section of news events of the early 1950s. I didn’t have much understanding of American politics, or English politics for that matter, but I knew the names - General Eisenhower, Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee.
The first news story I had some understanding of was in June 23, 1950 - the outbreak of the Korean War. I think the first British National Service soldier killed in the Korean War was a boy from St Mary’s school, Danny Keenan. I read about the war every day as I delivered my newspapers.
My interest in following the news through a newspaper has carried on throughout my life.”