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Back button | Home | Saltaire History | Russell Fenwick shares his memories of Saltaire in the 1940s and 50s
Added: 9 January 2009

IN THE 1940s AND 50s

Russell Fenwick contacted the village website on 2 January 2009, to share his memories of Saltaire in the 1940s and 1950s.

    I moved to Dallam Avenue, to live with my auntie in Saltaire in 1941 aged five or so, having moved from The Mumbles in South Wales, where my father was posted in the army. My mother and I stayed at this address temporarily before finding accommodation with my grandma, just off Saltaire Road where we stayed until VE day when we had a big bonfire to celebrate.

I started at Shipley Church school opposite the town hall, and then moved to St Pauls Road, Shipley until my father was demobbed. We stayed at this address until  we were allocated a prefab in Gaisby Lane, near Bolton Woods. This was our first house with electric lights, would you believe, and not the old gas lights. I renewed my links with Saltaire by passing my 11 plus exam, and going to Salts Grammar School in Victoria Road in 1947! I remained at school until 1952 and then joined the RAF in 1954 when I left Yorkshire for good as it turned out.
They really were the good old days!

Russ Fenwick

Russell has clear memories of life at Salts, which was then housed in the old Factory School and in the Institute.  It didn’t relocate to its present site until 1963.  He was in Trojan House.  Russell particularly remembers the large size of the portions in the dining room.  His family were still experiencing rationing, but he says that “the order must have gone out to fatten everyone up, and for me it was paradise”.  He also remembers the late Bob Cryer, who was a prefect in 1951, when Russell was in fourth year.

A school trip to Ingleborough and Settle provides another anecdote for this less than model pupil.  After attaining the summit of Ingleborough, the sole of Russell’s shoe came off and he and two friends became detached from the main party.  The main school group returned to Settle but Russell and his mates found their way to Ingleton Station, where the driver of a goods train who was shunting in the goods yard took pity on them and gave them a lift to Settle.  Punishment came on their return to school when headmaster, Mr Parkin, administered “four of the best” with his cane. Russell says that punishment day at Salts was normally Tuesday, but they were regarded as a special and more pressing case.  Did no one appreciate his initiative in correcting his navigational error?

Later, Russell joined the RAF.  He is now retired and living in Guildford where his hobby is music and he plays keyboards, guitar and banjo, recently starting a folk and skiffle group.

Russell would love to hear from anyone who was at Salts over the period from 1947 to 1952.

email Contact Russell Fenwick



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