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Page 4 of 7
The Real Railway Children of Feniscowles
Page 4 of 7
We always listened to the radio, as we did not have a television. However, we did get a television eventually. This was in the form of a black and white portable one, which we placed on a stool. The screen was approximately 4 inches wide by 3 inches deep and we would watch full length films on this, all huddled around it. Another must-have trend that arrived was VHF because of the quality of sound. However, the only radio station that could be picked up on VHF at that time was Radio Blackburn which had just started broadcasting. If you listened now to what Radio Blackburn transmitted then, you would be in stitches. It seemed everything they said was repeated, twice
Another place we would frequent was situated a short walk up Stockclough Lane – the Sand Quarry (or ‘Sand Quas’ as we called it) operated by Thomas Williams (Euxton) Ltd and their green lorries. You could watch for hours, and be mesmorised by all the crane and lorry movements, and the workings of the grading machine, which would shake out all the pebbles and small stones before leaving piles of pure, clean sand. This was then loaded onto the green lorries, where they then proceeded onto the weighbridge before leaving.
Above The eerie, strange landscape of Withnell Brickworks
or three times or more, together with a continuous time check every five minutes, but the sound was good! One summer, we decided to have a go at making sarsaparilla beer. You could purchase all the relevant ingredients from Walsh’s sarsaparilla stall on Blackburn Market. The initial brew that was produced tasted quite good and so it was decided to make a little bit more. That turned out well, too. Now it was decided to make a good quantity (a few gallons) including giving it a longer time to ‘brew’. Then, one hot day we were all sat at the table having our lunch when there was a very loud ‘Bang!’ and the kitchenette bottom doors flew open, one of which came off its hinges. What had happened was that one of the containers of sarsaparilla had exploded due to the fermentation process in the heat. The temperature of the brew should not have been allowed to rise above 65 degrees F (18 degrees C). We didn’t make any more after that. Directly opposite the station house, facing the canal, was the Charrington Hargreaves Fuel Company. This consisted of six very large oil storage
wondered what would be inside this strange place. We did know that flat lorries containing what seemed to be very large packets of flour did arrive occasionally. So this building became known to us as ‘Ranks Flour Mill’. Weeks went by and still we did not have a clue what went on in that building, until one day we suddenly had some extra packets of biscuits in the house. These biscuits were edible, were very plain, quite hard but tasted extremely bland, rather like a digestive biscuit but not as sweet. We called them ‘dog biscuits’ and they had come from ‘Ranks Flour Mill’. It was not until years later that I found out what the building really was – a government food storage warehouse for use in the event of any disaster, natural or otherwise. Charrington Hargreaves and the emergency food storage facility has long since been demolished and is now Kingsley Close.
Below Taken from an empty station house in 1974, showing Charrington Hargeaves fuel depot, Broadhalgh’s Sheet Metal works (with yellow sign) and Fred Reeds farm. Eclipse Mill chimney can be seen on the right. The trackbed is now slowly becoming overgrown but the bridge has still to be dismantled.
tankers, a yard and an office. There were daily comings and goings of the Ford tanker lorries that would load up and despatch the oil to Blackburn and the surrounding area. However, the problem came occasionally at night when a tanker from Ellesmere Port would arrive to fill up the main storage tanks. To transfer the oil into the storage tanks, pumps would start pumping very loudly and would go on, and on, and on. Some nights it would not be too bad, but if the wind was blowing in the wrong direction, it was very annoying. Complaints were made, but to no avail. It was one of those things you just had to put up with. Next to the oil depot was a large, single storey building, built of brick with an asbestos roof. There were no windows in it and along the roof were circular vents. As inquisitive boys, we all