Norristhorpe was a great place to grow up

I was horrified to read the nostalgia page in last week’s Guardian about the slums of Norristhorpe.

I lived through this time as a child and teenager, and still live in the village as an adult.

The statement by Coun A Cockshot is the first time I have come across anything like this.

Yes, times were very hard, but people made the most of what they had and a doubt Doggus was much different to elsewhere.

Slums! Certainly not! There were outside toilets across the yard, and of course they were the days before fitted carpets, central heating etc, but we had just got television. Wow!

Good neighbours and yes, you didn’t have to lock all the doors.

Norristhorpe then was a true community. Everyone knew everyone and in general got along fine. There was the occasional scrap in the rec with people leaving the club, but that was a matter of fact.

The photograph is opposite the old Co-op above the Rising Sun and there were some lovely people who lived there. I remember one chap, I think he was a Czech immigrant called Marcus who used to make bikes for the kids from spare parts for a tanner, or something like that. In fact some of those houses are still there to this day.

Where I lived in the Belmont area was Mrs Oakley’s corner shop, and Pickles’ fruit and veg store.

It was a good community and we used to play about 15-a-side football in the rec every night from 4pm until dark. Great days!

We had goalposts, unlike now, but there again, the rec didn’t resemble a pig stye as it does today!

North and South Terrace had a good community and I think anyone reading Mr Cockshot’s statement who lived here at this time will be taken aback.

One question, why didn’t the council build social housing at the time, instead of shipping people to other areas when they didn’t want to go. Of course most of the land was sold to private developers, and then we have the Belmont Grange and bungalows.

If you take Norristhorpe now, thanks to the council, every bit of land was sold for housing, except the odd field and it is now just an overgrown mass of bricks and mortar, and there is certainly no community whatsoever.

I pride myself on my manners and if someone passes, I always say hello, but you are lucky to receive an odd grunt in reply.

I could write a book about my village, Doggus, but one thing is for sure, I resent what was said at the time, and without a doubt, it was a far better place than it is now – no questions!

One other thing though, a councillor helping people from Doggus, is a far cry fro today, sadly.


Norristhorpe Lane