The Barton Waterside Sports


In the Scunthorpe Telegraph's Special July 6th Edn. of 'Nostalgia' I saw a photo. of the Barrow Tug of War team. I thik the tall man standing in the centre is George Stamp. At once i was immediately transported to the large grass field on the North side of Far Ings Road, the field belonging to William Blyth's Tileyard. In the 1920's and 1930's, it was the venue of the very popular Barton Waterside Sports, an event was organised by a Committee consisting largely of Barton Watermen. It might be though that the combination of Waterside and Watermen would indicate that there would be high jinx in the water but that was not the case. The only water nearby, apart from some brickpits, was the tidal haven which in those rather more relaxed days served as a sewer when the tide was out. Sewage water and run off water from The Beck, Jacklins Lane, Butts Drain and elsewhere passed into the Haven through 'Cloughs', the hinged doors fitted to outlet end of drains. These doors let water or sewage etc. out but shut firmly under the pressure of rising tidal waters. When the tide was out and these waters were running out of the Haven one council employee, complete with thigh boots and tobacco, had the insalubrious job of getting into the top end of the Haven and moving along the sometimes quite noxious material. When a tide held the clough near the Railway Station Bridge shut, waters drained off from The Beck, Pasture Road, Jacklins Lane and various dykes filled Butts Drain to a very high level especially near the Drill Hall. From there it ran under the houses on the North side of the road and, emerging at the Marsh Lane corner, it was open again between Marsh Lane and the end of Pasture road which was locally called Sheepdyke. For the obvious reason, in the past sheep were dipped there.

Back to the sports and please to remember that the field was grazed daily by Mr. Stephenson's horses and milk cows. Mr Stephenson of field Farm lived in Ings Road before he and his family moved to the Brigg Road Farm. He had horses for his cartage business and cows for his milk rounds, the very large field was rented and extended from Far Ings to the Humber bank. Half was grazed and hald meadow, a large shed catered for sheltering the animals. On Waterside Sports day the animals were fenced off in the north end nearer the bank but I would imagine one had to look down as well as around.
The Committee organised, stewarded, did everything. I cannot recall if there was an entry fee or not.
At the time I remember the Sports, Bob Osgerby, he was employed by overton Wass, was the Treasurer and his daughter, Betty, tells me she gave a case containing much of his records, papers about the Sports to the Museum. I believe these would tell us much about the finances and organisation of the Sports, it is to be hoped that these documents are still in the Baysgarth Museum. (now under the aegis of CHAMP).

There was keen, competative racing, good prizes, children's sports and, by the way, no child who took part in an event was dissapointed, there was a small prize for all. The main events attracted some outside teams and athletes and the photo of the Barrow team reminded me that tug of war teams came from outside Barton to compete. I have a photograph of the Barton Watermens team, about 1934-36 time I would think. They usually won this event. They are shown with the large Tug of War Cup bearing former winners shields, two smaller cups and their individual prizes, in this case a nice clock. The team shown are (see the Bartonian for picture) standing from L to R. Jim Wood (coach), Arthur Foster, Arthur Seddon, Cliff Thompson, Seated L to R. Billy Gray, Wilf Towle, Pres. (ton) Dove. Another event was the Ladies Tug of War. Once my wife, Edna Towle, her sisters Joan and Barbara Towle, Vera Codd, Edna Haddock and A.N.Other were the members of the winning team, in the final they beat a team who came in from Grimsby
In addition to all this there was a Fancy Dress parade and judging, classes for decorated prams, tricycles, raffles. Havercrofts Ice Cream, and much else. I have photographs of my wife's two younger brothers and one sister on such decorated machines. Kenneth riding a tricycle representing, as depicted in some early publicity, the spans and girder work of the 1929-30's proposed Humber Bridge. Christopher on a tiny trike had difficulty with a yacht, Brenda is made up as Mother Goose. Another photo. taken in Ings Road shows some 16 or 17 children in Fancy Dress. Some indication of the attendance is given by noting the numbers of people looking at the tricycles. I feel sure, am sure, that there are more photographs of this and other aspects of Barton Life and Activities lying unregarded in drawers and boxes in the Town. They are important, they tell us much about Our Social History and should not be disregarded. GO ON, BARTON, have a good rummage around. Tell us what you find. Some readers will know that I am a Barton lad myself and I can guess what some older people may say if photographs are to hand "they'll, whoever they are, they'll not want to be bothered with them old things". All in good local Barton accents, of course.

Article kindly supplied by Charles Watkinson

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