Recollections of Barton by Ian D. Thompson


Brief Self-History

I moved to Barton at the age of 2 from Grimsby in 1932 and lived initially on Butts Road whilst my father had a house built on Westfield Road, number 95 incidentally.

My father was Relieving Officer and Register of Births and Deaths. He was known as “Births and Deaths Thompson” to differentiate between the other Thompsons in the town, it was seemingly an adoption of the Welsh system! There was Furniture Thompson on Fleetgate, and Newsagent Thompson in the Market Place. Robinsons also enjoyed similar distinction with Draper Robinson, Painter Robinson and Steamship Robinson so named because his initials were S.S

When the Relief System was superseded by the “Welfare State” my father transferred to the Ministry of Pensions the office being (I think ) immediately adjacent to the Police Station.

I attended the Council School on Castledyke West and then Barton Grammar School now I see referred to as The Old Grammar School (shame) where I achieved notoriety by serving as Head Boy for two years. I have a copy of the Book recording the history of the school in which I am mentioned 10 times. This book was brought to my attention by one of our readers at Church who lived in Barrow and went to B.G.S. After National Service in the R.A.F. I trained as a teacher and commenced my teaching career at Barrow-on-Humber CE School where Jack Smith was the head.

Jack Smith was a superb chap who never had trouble with parents because when he took up the post as Head it mentioned in his write up in the Lincolnshire Times that during the was he had been an unarmed combat instructor to the commandos. When in 1956 the senior part of Barrow School closed I moved away from Barton to teach in Lancashire and to get married.

I had a superb childhood in Barton, even during the war. We used to play in Barton Cliff which are three disused chalk quarries up Westfield Road. The Home Guard used to train in the first quarry and I remember we found a hand grenade which they had lost……….we took it to pieces!

An American Mustang fighter crashed at the top of Westfield Road and I was able to procure several live rounds of .50 ammunition. The Police found I had it and I had to return it.

An aeroplane made a forced landing on Westfield Road I remember well because they had to remove the single bladed propeller and I was able to pick it up quite easily. There was a severe haystack fire at the farm up Westfield Road at the corner with Gravelpit Lane and several fire appliances were in attendance. It was in wintertime and was so cold that the water used to extinguish the blaze was freezing whilst the firemen were dousing the fire.

1947 was an horrendous winter. The Grammar School’s catchment area included the out-lying villages and the buses bringing in the pupils from Barrow, Killinghome could not get through so we, the kids who lived in Barton were given days off to play in the snow. The best sledging in Barton was at Greenpits, a small disused quarry up Barrow Road opposite the Cemetery which I think has now been “housed over”. Sledging on a moonlit night was magical. There were definite sledging runs and I particularly remember “suicide” a run where the sledge was actually airborne for part of the decent. Those inexperienced in the mystic arts of sledging invariably came to grief!

As we used to sing in the War;

“Underneath the spreading chestnut tree

Neville Chamberlain said to me,

If you want to get your gasmask free

Join the Barton ARP.”

(sung to the tune of “Underneath the spreading chestnut tree")

Or as a tribute to Fred Clipson, a barber on Holydyke we used to intone

“Time flies but Fred clips on”.

Thank you and goodnight!

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Many thanks must go to Ian D. Thompson for his recollections

Barton Stories


copyright 2004 Dazxtm