E-mail from Orcadian Mick Braddock formerly of Low Common Methley 2nd March, 2012
Hope you are keeping well. Hoping to get down to Yorkshire for a holiday at the end of the month (March 2012) and hope the weather holds out as we ended up almost stranded with the snow last time we were down there.
I was born July 1942 at Carr Houses and lived there until we moved when I was 4 yrs old. With Granddad Paddy Gallagher & Uncle Ted still living at 35 Low Common I still used to spend a lot of time and most weekends there. The saddest memory I have is from 1949 when Grandma Polly & Uncle Tom both died within a few weeks of each other.
I remember as a nipper a character called ‘Cracker Jack’ who was crippled, possibly a wounded soldier but I don’t know. I remember that he had a shelter set up near the railway bridge built from an old army lorry canopy and a open brazier to keep warm. He was paid to keep the pigeons away from the freshly sowed peas using his shotgun
It seems that when I was very young I disappeared one day and had all the locals searching for me. It turned out that Cracker Jack had taken me to see the prisoners at Pinfold Lane and a place he often took me afterwards. I did have a toffee hammer made out of thick twisted metal made by a prisoner for me, but unfortunately I lost it when moving house about 45 years ago.
An incident I remember well was a villager (I’ll not mention his name) who was paid to put down sick animals taking a dog down the lane near the filter beds and shooting it but failing to kill it with a single shot. The dog was howling and screaming in pain but cartridges cost money and he wasn’t for wasting another. Then the man in the railway signal box came out to see what all the noise was about. When he saw what was happening he shouted for him to shoot the dog again but the man wasn’t for using another cartridge as they cost money.
The signal man raced back to his box and reappeared with a gun of his own. Thank God we thought thinking that he was going to put the poor dog out of its misery, but that wasn’t his intention at all. He shouted ‘either shoot the bloody dog now or I’ll bloody shoot thee’ which did the trick and the poor dog was finished off. We as kids were very happy to see the dog put out of pain but as kids we were also sorely disappointed that the signal man never got to fire a shot as that was what we thought would have been justice.
Just memories Bill and I often think of folk from the village that I knew as a kid. Feel free to use any of these thoughts on your site. I think it better that we don’t mention the name of the man that killed the dogs as I am sure he has descendants still living there.
Incidentally when we first came here to Graemsay (Orkneys) 22 years ago we brought the island population up to 17 and one near neighbor who lived across the bay was a retired chap who moved here from Wolverhampton with his wife after suffering a violent robbery in which they were both injured. He was a famous pigeon breeder (Corbett’s Darkens) and one day whilst talking to him I mentioned to him that my Granddad used to be a keen pigeon man from Methley. ‘Methley in Yorkshire’ he asked, when I told him ‘Aye’ he said ‘funny I used to work down Junction pit there when I was younger’. A small world or what!
Regards and all the best – Mick