Where to begin!
I have very fond memories of Pear Tree Cottage, a warm and welcoming place, the same as the people who lived there ie Aunties Kitty and Dora and Kittys husband Uncle Frank, they were really my great uncle and aunts but that was too formal.
Me and my brother Steven went there often as children, we thought Uncle Frank was magical because when we went he would disappear upstairs and reappear with 2 small bags of threepenny bits, one bag each, for years we thought that he had a threepenny bit making machine upstairs, it was great.
I loved Pear Tree but didn't appreciate it as a child, what child does? It was previously lived in by my great grandparents Frederick and Gertrude Booth, before my time I'm afraid, Gertrude passed away in 1947 and Frederick died November 1956, i was born May 1956 so no doubt I did meet him as a new born, Auntie Kitty never left the family home and lived there with Frank, Auntie Dora did leave home but returned after the death of her husband Tommy, they lived there until about 1970 when Pear Tree was demolished to make way for the new Wickersley roundabout (I still say Wickersley crossroads), they moved onto Shepcote Lane.
The cottage had an extension to the side of it which was 2 storey, it was brick built, the original cottage was stone, the lower storey became the kitchen, as you walked through the front door you went straight into the kitchen, to the left was the doorway to the front room, it was very dark due to the very large pear tree that stood in the front garden, the doorway had really thick walls, this was the original outside wall the front room was really cosy, at the far end stood Auntie Kittys piano from which she taught local children to play, I started taking lessons but didn't take to it, on top of the piano stood Kittys photo of her receiving her music certificate in 1921, back to the kitchen, the second doorway to the left lead into the dining room which was the original kitchen, from this was the winding staircase that lead upstairs, I didn't go upstairs often but i do remember that one bedroom lead directly into the other which as a child i thought strange, at the bottom of the staircase was a door that lead down to the cellar, a place i never went down and didn't even know existed until recently, back to my favourite place the kitchen, at the back end of the kitchen there was a fireplace with an open fire and oven to the side of it, Uncle Franks armchair was placed in front of the fire, I can remember him sitting there, over the window was a pair of bull horns and the ceiling had meat hooks hanging from it, from which uncle sonny at some time hung fresh meat, sonny booth the brother of kitty and dora owned and ran a butchers shop at the top of green lane, he bred and slaughtered pigs in the yard of foers farm which was near enough next door to the cottage, my dad geoffrey bell helped uncle sonny in this job as a young boy, my dad also helped deliver meat to customers via a butchers bike, he has fond memories of sonny. outside to the side of the back door was the toilet, then the back yard which had chickens in it and at the bottom a apple orchard, me and my brother were playing one day and decided to fish around in the water butt from which we pulled out what we thought was a dogs jaw bone complete with teeth, for some reason we were very excited about finding dogs teeth, it wasn't until a good few years later that my dad told us we'd probably fished out a pig jaw, that didn't seem quite as good.
The back yard I think faced onto Foers farmyard, my memories a bit faded here, but I do remember the shoe menders that stood to the side of the cottage on the main road, the cottage stood back from it, in those days (60's) me and my brother were allowed to play outside on the pavement, hardly a car in sight then, we even went across the road to look in babyland toy shop, can you imagine two young children being allowed to do that nowadays?!!
Christmas was a great time, kitty and dora always invited various members of the family to a christmas party, a lovely time for us children, we met up with our cousins and had a great time, kitty and dora always put on a good spread including the obligatory sherry trifle which i'm sure if you ate to much you would be drunk, and always without fail in the room amongst other things was a bowl of rowntrees fruit gums not the normal round ones but ones out of a box that were shaped like fruit, they always tasted better being shaped, i can taste them now!
Going back to my great grandparents Gertrude and Frederick Booth, my dad described his grandad as a very nice man, at one time a coach wright, Gertrude did lots of baking and sold bread and tea cakes from her front door, my dad told me that they were a family who would turn their hand to anything to make extra money, which i expect most folk did in those days. Besides Dora, Kitty and Sonny, Gertrude and Frederick had three more children,Tessa who married and left home, but stayed in the area, her final home being a bungalow on Wood Lane, then there was Scamp, I don't really remember Scamp but was aware of him, he married and left home, again he never left the area, Scamp drove lorries for the Styrings, and last my grandma Gladys Emma Bell nee Booth, grandma married and moved to Thurcroft where she lived for the rest of her life, her son Geoffrey my dad lives in Thurcroft as do I and younger sister Sarah, researching my ancestry right back to the early 1700's the family have always lived in and around the area of Wickersley, my eldest daughter has gone full circle and now lives with her husband and child at the bottom of Northfield lane, Wickersley, better get back to my grandma, i loved her very much, she was as warm and welcoming as Kitty and Dora, i can never ever remember being told off by her, and believe me by all accounts me and my brother were a right pair of monkeys, there is only 11 mths between us, we got upto all kinds of mischief but grandma was always very patient with us, she lead a parallel life with Kitty and Dora, always baking and being busy, they were all very similar and very close, I felt very close to my grandma, I remember a couple of times her taking me to Sonnys shop, Sonny was the same, he was always smiling.
My younger sister doesn't have any memories of Pear Tree, she was born in 1972 after the cottage had been pulled down, she's only ever known the roundabout, as a young child I explained to her where Pear Tree Cottage once stood, where the roundabout is now, it wasn't until recently that she told me that for years she thought I mean't the cottage stood on the actual roundabout and she often wondered how the people who lived there managed to get off the busy roundabout to get to the shops, I thought it very comical!
told by A.W. July 2007
Rowntree's First Ever Ad. 1959 'Only Rowntree's know how to get the best out of fruit'
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