John Marston remembers stealing sleepers for Bonfire Night

Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 17th February 2012 by Liam Physick

John Marston remembers how every Bonfire Night, he and his friends would steal sleepers from the railway tracks to make their bonfire! Another tactic was to steal other people’s back doors. He also remembers building snowmen during the cold Christmas of 1963

Interviewee: John Marston

Interviewee Gender: Male

Date of Interview: 2nd September 2011

Interview Transcript

John: Well, we had an affinity with this area cos of the railway, simple as that.

Brenda: Yeah.

John: My father, as I said before, father, grandfather railway, Brenda’s father, some of our friends’ fathers worked on the railway . . .

Jodie: Yeah.

John: . . . so the railway did dominate our lives, in that sense, this station, you know, played a bug part, but more for us was the goods yard over there, because we lived right next to it . . .

Brenda: Yeah.

John: . . . we literally lived on the railway, I mean, you know, Brenda, I said to Brenda, we, Bonfire Night (Brenda laughs), we used to have, we have, used to have big bonfire in the back gardens, we’d choose someone’s garden each year to have a bonfire in, and we used to go onto the railway – tell this now, 40 years later (Jodie laughs) – no one’s listening, but, and there’d be what you call sleepers there, the things that are in the middle of the tracks . . .

Jodie: Yeah.

John: . . . the wooden sleepers . . .

Jean: (indecipherable) for hours, now.

John: . . . we used to take them off the railway and put them on the bonfire! (Jodie laughs) It was, you know trespassing . . .

Jean: It was a competition, wasn’t it, whose is the biggest bonfire?

John: It was, it was a, you breaking all kinds of laws, but . . .

Jodie: Yeah.

John: . . . most kids in them days were looking for wood for bonfires, so . . . I mean, the old stories are true, you know, you’d . . .

Jean: (indecipherable) the second one.

John: . . . some kids would actually pinch people’s back doors, I mean, it was, unfortunate fortunately . . . it wasn’t, there wasn’t that kind of . . . I don’t know, sensibility about things, was there, you know what I mean, there wasn’t that kind of . . . thing, things then, which are know a no-no, whereas in them days, I don’t think they were accepted but they were, just part of life, you know what I mean, that . . . you know, you needed a bonfire, you needed wood for it, so, you’d just do it, you know what I mean (Jodie laughs), but, yeah, I mean, for us, it was, you know, summers, bonfire nights, Christmases, I mean the old, talking abut before about the weather, I mean, I remember 1963, probably the worst snow ever in this country, it’s one of the periods where people talk about from the past, about now, and it was I remember it being about six foot of snow, and went on from months and months and months on end, you know, I mean, but for us it was just somewhere to play, wasn’t it, you know . . .

Brenda: Yeah, yeah.

John: . . . to build, to build snowmen, to, you know, to basically, I mean, kids chuck snowballs at one another, we didn’t do as much as they did, do these days, but, them days . . .

Brenda: They used to put a brick in it, didn’t they? (Jodie laughs)

John: I don’t really think about it, but, yeah, so, it’s mainly mixed up with all that, you know, long summers, cold winters, and games.

Tagged under: edge hill station, railway workers, sleepers, bonfires, christmas

Categorised under: Social Life

Share this page:


Remember my personal information?

Notify me of follow-up comments?