Growing up in Wentworth, South Yorkshire

Mum with her mum and sisters

Mum with her mum and sisters in Wentworth

In this entry I have written about my mother’s memories of growing up in Wentworth. Amongst other aspects of growing up in Wentworth, I have detailed who lived in the cottages on mum’s street. Because of the vast period of time that had elapsed since mum had lived there and talking to me, some details regarding who lived where and at what numbers, may be slightly inaccurate, although details of the actual families and people are accurate. This entry will be of particular interest to people who were living at Wentworth in the 1940s and 1950s although I hope it will have a general interest to anybody who knows the area. Some of the more personal detail will hopefully appeal to my relations.

Wilfred Street, Rotherham

Wilfred Street, Rotherham

My mum was born in her grandmother’s house in Wilfred Street, Westgate, Rotherham in 1938 and spent her early years living in Greasbrough. In 1944, my mum and her family moved to live at Street in Wentworth.

Schooling in Wentworth

Mum attended the Wentworth Church of England School for 5 years between 1944 and 1949. Miss Tradewell was 1 of 3 Teachers and was the one who taught the youngest children. Then after Miss Tradewell, it was Mrs Smith (7 – 9 year olds) who my mum remembered as a being good Teacher. Mrs Smith was nicknamed Miss Louisana by the children. After Mrs Smith, it was Mrs Wright who was also the Head Teacher. Miss Tradewell lived close to the School on Main Street in Wentworth. Miss Wright lived in a small cottage on Church Walk.

Wentworth School

Wentworth School

Mum remembers speaking to Miss Wright after she’d left School regarding her progress etc. A neighbour of Miss Wright was Molly Chappell.

11+ children used to have a lesson behind the blackboard.

There were the usual School activities such as Christmas concerts and Harvest Festivals.

One incident that mum remembered and that made her mum laugh was when she came home singing ‘that’s the way the honey goes’ when it should have been ‘that’s the way the nanny goat’.

There used to be nice jam pasties at dinner time at School which which didn’t consist of normal strawberry/raspberry jam.

Shops in Wentworth

Wentworth Post Office

Wentworth Post Office

Shops in Wentworth were the Cobblers, Joseph Hills Butchers, Bassendales Newsagents (opposite to the Cobblers and Butchers), a sweet shop (possibly run/owned by Miss Godfrey) which was basically a front room and then the Cooperative Store (Mr Green was the Manager and his daughter was called Anita).

Opposite Bassendales was the Harry Wheatcroft garage which later became the Bistro. Harry Wheatcroft married June Wigfield. The Wigfield family were Estate workers at Wentworth Woodhouse and lived at Lea Brook.

Mechanics Institute, Wentworth

Mechanics Institute, Wentworth

There wasn’t a Baker’s shop in the village, but a man called Gerald from Binns’s Bakery used to come round in a van with bread.

The Post Office was run by Mr Ibbotson.

There was ‘the hole in the wall’ which sold vegetables and which bordered on where the Garden Centre is now.

Asquith’s used to come round in a lorry with vegetables and fruit. After the Second World War mum remembered buying a quarter of cherries from Asquiths.

There was a mobile chip shop that came round once a week but mum remembered the chips as being dire.

There was a mobile Library that came to the village once a week, but there weren’t many good books to loan. Instead, mum would go to the Mechanic’s Institute for her books.

Entertainment in Wentworth

Wesleyan Chapel, Clayfield Lane, Wentworth

Wesleyan Chapel, Clayfield Lane, Wentworth

Mr Ibbotson (the Post Master) was also a Preacher and used to give a sweet to each of the children before showing films in the Chapel on Clayfield Lane. This was every Tuesday night.

When aged 7, mum remembered going to Wentworth Woodhouse for a concert to say goodbye to the American soldiers. Songs sung included ‘In The Gloaming’ (sang with Joan Ogle), ‘When The Lights Go Low’ and ‘With A Hundred Pipers.’ Mum practised beforehand at the Goddard’s house. Mum remembered being blamed for singing out of tune but believed she was the scapegoat because she was the youngest.  Consequently she was quick to point out who was actually at fault!

Mum used to pay one penny to go up Hoober Stand and that would allow you to go in and out as much as one wanted.

Wentworth Woodhouse

In the Autumn, mum would collect chestnuts at the end of the lane in the wood near to Needle’s Eye.

On Bonfire night, there would be a competition between the bonfires of Lea Brook and Street. Don Cooper (Joyce Robinson’s friend) used to prepare and do the bonfire and fireworks every year on Airey’s field.

At Christmas time, mum would sing carols around the Street and down to Colonel Langdon’s house which was across the fields at the top of the yard off the lane. Colonel Langdon had a big house and had something to do with the Wentworth Estate.

Needle’s Eye, Wentworth

Healthcare & Police

Wentworth was served by Doctor Mills who had white hair and lived on Clayfield Lane.

There was no Dentist in the village – it was in Wath at Dunford House (originally the home of the Whitworth brewing family).

The village Policeman was called ‘Bobby Bunfield’ and he lived in the bottom house before going towards Elsecar on Main Street.

Neighbours and other Wentworth people

#3 Street – This is where my mum and her family lived. Prior to moving in, somebody had been keeping ducks in the house. The house was electrified, but there was no gas supply, so food was cooked on a Primus stove in the kitchen. There was a range in the living room. Upstairs, there were 3 bedrooms. A bathroom was put in upstairs years later. Circa 1952, the toilet was moved from the end of the garden to a flushing version outside of the back door.

Street cottages, Wentworth

Street cottages, Wentworth

#1 Street – The Chantry family. These were old people but nice. After the Chantry family had left, the Smith family moved in and then the Owen family (mum remembered that their daughter was called Dorothy). With regards to the Smith family, Walter Smith was the father, Edna was his wife and Michael was their son. Walter pounced on mum after climbing over a stile, down a field at the top of the Street yard which led to Landon Drive on Cortworth Lane and stole her purse. Walter was sent to prison and died there. Howard Davies (brother of 2) who might have been a labourer on the Estate also lived at #1 at one point and mum remembered him having two brothers.

Satchel snatched from schoolgirl

WATH police are to-day searching for a man aged about 35, who snatched a school satchel from a 15-year-old schoolgirl in Talbert-drive, Street-lane, Wentworth.

Most of the contents of the satchel have been recovered except for a purse, which contained 11s.

The girl was Jean Rowbottom, of Street Cottages, Wentworth, who was on her way to school.

The description of the man is: Dressed in dirty raincoat with belt, dark-coloured scarf, woollen gloves and believed to be wearing Wellington boots and no hat.

#2 Street – Jim Wright and his wife Dorothy lived here and they didn’t have any children. Mum remembered Jim as being an odd man; very tall with ostrich like legs and with a piping voice. Mum’s mum and dad were close friends with the Wright family. They eventually went to live in Malton, North Yorkshire and mum remembered visiting them and returning home in the dark and being scared. They may have had something to do with the Estate. Tommy Tinker and wife with their daughter, Mary, moved into #2 after the Wright family had left.

Next to Jim Wright and family were the Hill family. Mavis Hill was the daughter and was older than mum and when she got married, she lived around the corner from the Street. She ended up running off with a Jehovah’s Witness and mum never saw her again. There was also a son. When mum’s mum and dad were having their kitchen and living room asphalted in the late 1950’s (after mum was married), they moved into the empty Hill house for about a week. After the Hill family left, the Fuller family moved in. Jean(ie) Fuller was mum’s friend and was a little younger. They used to play ball against the smooth toilet brick wall. Jean’s hands were always bandaged up with black tar bandages due to eczema. Jean had a brother called Tony. Their parents were called Tom and Rene.

Hoober Stand, Wentworth

Hoober Stand, Wentworth

Next to the Hill family were the Bamforth family. They had a daughter called Joy.

The Lidgett family lived in the next house along from the Bamforth family. Everard and Diane were the children and were quite posh. Their dad might have been called Ted and their mother had a fancy name. Everard was older than mum but Diane was of the same age. After the Lidgett moved out, the Nuttall family moved in. They were called Jim and maybe Ada. Their daughter was called Winnie. But Ada had about 4 daughters from a previous marriage; Ida was one of them and mum was friends with her. Winnie married an Irish man and they ended up living with my parents in Greasbrough for a while but she died young.

In the house along from the Nuttall family, was the Airey family. A branch of the Airey family lived in Swinton and some are buried there.

Around the corner from the Airey houses were more dwellings and gardens. The aforementioned Mavis Hill moved into one of these at one point.

The corner bottom right house was the Wright farm. The wife was nicknamed as the black widow as she dressed in black and always looked miserable. Apparently she wasn’t well liked for some reason. They had a daughter called Enid. Enid married Lol Hunt’s brother (Ken). Ken and Enid then took on the Hunt house because Lol and family moved (they may have gone to to live in the neighbouring hamlet of Harley). The Wright Farm had fields at the back although the first field at the back was Airey’s field. Bonfires were held on the Airey field and may also have been occupied by ponies. The Wright field was at the side/back of the Airy Field.

Lol Hunt, with children David, Elaine, Irene, Ian, Peter and Paul (twins) resided in the next house along at bottom on the same same side as mum’s home. Lol Hunt may have been a Miner. Lol’s brother (the aforementioned Ken) might also have been a Miner.

The grandparent’s of mum’s friend (Joyce Cooper) lived in the next house along. Joyce’s grandfather had been a Miner. Mum remembered that their house had a carpet! They had a son called Colin and he married a lady called Irene. After the Cooper family had moved out, Kath Airey who married Jack Howse, moved in. They issued a daughter called Pamela. Jack Howse may have been a Miner. Mum’s mum and dad became friends with the Howse family and would to go to the Greasbrough Brass Band Club together, opposite Green street. Jack and Kath’s nephew, Geoffrey Howse, is the author of many local history books. When very young, my mum’s sister, Ann, swallowed half a needle whilst eating a pomegranate. Kath Howse was called upon to help retrieve the needle. Cotton wool was somehow utilised in this procedure.

Street, Wentworth

Street, Wentworth

Next along was Mrs Parkin who mum remembered living in a tiny cottage. Mum didn’t recall ever actually seeing her.

#5 Street – The Hopkin family lived there, Terry and Val. After the Hopkin family left, the Davies family moved in. They were called Faith and possibly Walter. Walter had served in the Second World War and became a Postman afterwards. Their daughters were called Lynn and Linda. Terry and Val Hopkin moved to Rockingham Road in Swinton and are buried in Saint Margaret’s Churchyard.

Next to the Hunt family was Fred Airey’s small holding (hens and he had a field). He lived with his parents (his father was called Oscar). Fred Airey used to have a lorry and cleared the middins out at the back of Street and would chuck some rotten smelling red powder out after doing so. Mum believed he must have been employed by the Council. His father, Oscar, was a Miner.

Opposite the Street yard was the Parkin residence.

Carrying just on from the Street were more dwellings. Mum remembered Frank Airey moving into one when he got married. There was a woman who my mum’s mum knew who lived in one and she worked in a Butcher’s Shop in Greasbrough. The White family also lived around here and mum remembered that their son was called, David.

Further along around the corner of Street was another row of dwellings. Joyce, Morris and Agnes, Donald and Brian lived in the house next to the ‘old garden’. At the very right end of this row from looking at it was the Carr family. They had a daughter called Annie and a Donald Carr lived there who may have been a son. In the house to the left of the Carr’s home was the Davies family. Len was the father, who mum remembered as being quite an officious character and might have worked in the Parkgate Chemical Works and his wife or grandma was called Edith. Their children were called Sheila and Peter. Sheila married Pete Thompson and moved to Scotland. The Burley family was in the next house and one of them married the sister of an Edith Davies whose family may have originated from Wath.

Paradise Square, Wentworth

Paradise Square, Wentworth

In the next house was the Hague family. They had a son called Eric who was younger than Joyce Robinson. Mum watched the 1952 coronation on the Hague’s television. This part of the Street was called ‘Down Row’.

Mum remembered a Johnny Wardle (who later became a cricketer for England) and that his sister worked on the Burrough’s buses that passed through Wentworth.

Other people that mum remembered from around Wentworth were, Barbara Jones (lived in Paradise Square), Terry Kingston, Ian Lomas (now a Councillor), Bridon Exley (from Harley), Joan and Elizabeth Chapman, Philip and Margaret Whitaker, Tom Evans and George Wright, a Farmer who lived on Glasshouse Green.

Mum thought she remembered a Barbara Burley in the Mechanic’s Institute.

Mum also remembered a Joy Bamforth being born.

World War II

During World War II, there was an Anderson air raid shelter at the top of the yard that was beside Tommy Tinker’s house. Mum remembered the shelter being there for years after.

Evacuees lived in Hoober House. Mum knew a girl called Brenda who was one of these. Evacuees also lived off Cortworth Lane.

At the end of the war, there was a street party at the bottom of the Street yard.

Mum’s dad had to put the car away under cover on George Wright’s farm for winter because of petrol rationing.

Mum’s dad trained ‘Bevin Boys’ at New Stubbin Colliery, Greasbrough during the war and at night time was a Saint John’s ambulance driver attending to causalities of the Sheffield Blitz. On one occasion he attended a large underground air raid shelter where everybody had squashed in to keep safe. Unfortunately a bomb had hit and everybody suffocated to death whilst stood up.


One of mum’s friends was Joan Lill who was the daughter of the Landlord of the George and Dragon.

On one occasion, mum went to the Church Fair with her friend, Sandra Rispin and her mother asked ‘what did you bring her for?’  Sandra lived on Main Street.

George & Dragon, Wentworth

George & Dragon

Mum’s friend, Joyce Robinson, lived in the Lodge next to the Mausoleum and her parents were the Caretakers for the Mausoleum.

Shirley from Lea Brook was also mum’s friend.


Craig Mollekin (right) in the back garden of 3 Street, Wentworth in 1979

Craig Mollekin (right) in the back garden of 3 Street, Wentworth in 1979

There are a number of hamlets in Wentworth. One is Lea Brook and the Jones family lived there (Mrs Jones might have worked at Wentworth Woodhouse with mum’s mum), the Laister family whose relations (Ernie) lived at end of the lane with his dad near to Needle’s Eye. Bryan West lived at Lea Brook. Another hamlet was Hoober where Les Marsden lived there.

There were no street lights in Street.

Mum’s dad used to keep chickens in the back garden. Moran chickens, bantam chickens and Rhode Island red chickens are varieties that he kept. Mum never remembered eating the chickens but remembered them being given to relations. The chickens were on the right hand side of the garden as you looked down, next to the toilet and for a time there was just a scraggy lawn on the left hand side as looking down with a gooseberry bush in the hedge. The hens would hide their eggs in the hedges and undergrowth and the cocks would ferociously defend them. Mum’s dad had to ‘neck’ a few that got too vicious.

17 Responses to “Growing up in Wentworth, South Yorkshire”

  1. Rachael Touch Says:

    I’m related to the cooper family, my nan was Frances cooper, Colin cooper married but lost his wife very young, he had 2 girls, Valerie and Angela, they lived with my nan for a while after their mum passed away, Frances cooper ( my nan ) married Arthur Guest and the lived in a new build in elsecar, opposite what is now the heritage centre, I grew up in 7 lea brook 1972 to 1983, I remember mrs Parkin, I remember some of my dad’s family still living on street lane, their son was a little odd and lived in a caravan in the garden, Also remember me and mrs jones at lea brook, we called her jonsey, lovely lady, very fond memories 🙂

    • Adrienne Cooper Says:

      Hi Rachel
      I am the great granddaughter of Frances and My grandfather (her son) was Maurice Cooper and my dad (his son) was Don Cooper. My uncle Brian (the one in the caravan) So we are related! Adrienne Cooper

    • Sharon Cooper Says:

      I’m Sharon Cooper, daughter of Don, grandchild of Agnes and Maurice!

  2. Dean Campbell Says:

    Thanks, a very interesting read..

  3. David White Says:

    Hi there, I am the David White that you mention in your article. We lived at No 17 Street. I lived at Hoober until I was 11, I lived next door to the Holmes’s and then moved to 17 Street. My Mum’s name was Edith White, Dad was Fred White and my sister Jean who now lives in Canada. I lived there until I was 21 when I left to do my National Service in the Army. When I came out and was married, being a joiner on the estate, I got a cottage at No 2 Angel Lane Hoober, and lived there for 8 years. I moved to New Zealand where I have lived for the last 45 years. I still keep in touch with Ernie Laister. I can’t remember your Mum as such but what was her maiden name, as she was only one year younger than me, so I probably do know her. Thanks for your interesting article, my granddaughters have enjoyed reading it too.

    • Sharon Cooper Says:

      I’m Sharon Cooper. My dad was Don Cooper of 18 Street Lane. I live in Alberta now. Small world.

    • Adrienne Cooper Says:

      Did Fred White paint? I have a memory of him giving my dad Don Cooper a painting of the sea.

      • David White Says:

        Hi Adrienne,
        Yes Fred White was an artist and he gave most of his paintings away. So Don probably did him a favour and he gave him one of his paintings. I too am an artist, but I don’t think I’m as good as Fred.
        D White

    • Nikellom Says:

      Hi David – Apologies for my late reply. My mum’s maiden name was, Rowbottom 🙃

  4. Mary Dudill (nee Tinker) Says:

    My name was Mary Tinker, I lived at no 14 Street Lane, from 1950 until I married at Wentworth Church in 1969. Reading your article has been so interesting, it brought back many memories of my happy childhood.

  5. Adrienne Cooper Says:

    Thank you for this. I loved reading it. I am the niece of your mums friend Joyce Cooper. Her brother Don Cooper was my dad. I spent many happy times visiting my grandparents Morris and Agnes Cooper in #18.

  6. Kathryn schokes Says:

    In the 1900s my grandma and her family live in lea brook and worked at Wentworth estate Sommerfiled family ,would love to know more an where they actually lived .

  7. Adrienne Cooper Says:

    oh i see her that your mum’s name was Rowbottom, yes we have a photo in our album of dad your mum!!!

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