Florence Ashforth (née Florence Flowers 1876-1973)
Hawksley Road, Sheffield 6
Owlerton, Burton Street, Bamforth Street, Capel Street, Cuthbert Bank Road, Roscoe Bank, Shalesmoor, Jericho and Saint Philip's Road are districts and streets in the north-west of Sheffield where ancestors from my ASHFORTH line were born; most lived and died there too.
As a very young child I remember being dragged off to what seemed like far away places in order to visit the 'rellies', and how one felt like an explorer, cautiously examining an alien environment. During these visits we children would be quickly ushered out to play, usually into the backyard or street, which of course were quite safe, being devoid of motor vehicles.
I was born at Hawksley Road, just off Owlerton Green, though I don't recall there being a great deal of 'green' other than that of Hillsborough Park. I was christened at the Church of Saint John the Baptist, Owlerton, which remarkably, is still in service as a church, despite the dire developments which have taken place all around.
I remember there were three cul-de-sac: Hawksley Road (at the end of which were gates leading into the southern section of Hillsborough Park), Cheadle Street and Cannock Street. What I do remember quite clearly is that for some considerable time only one family owned a motor vehicle. I think this family, a retired man and wife, were named Mr and Mrs Thurlin. I recall they hated us using the gable end of their house for football, tennis and cricket practice, and the risks we took when the inevitable happened and we had to recover the ball from their backyard.
In the midst of row after row of terraced houses, Hillsborough Park was our saviour. We would spend most of our days playing football or cricket, until just before dusk when the toll of the bell would signify that the huge iron gates would soon be locked. Not that this mattered much, since as soon as the 'parky' had carried out his duties and was out of sight, we merely scrambled over the park gates and carried on playing until hunger finally drove us home.
Four generations lived in a rented 3 bedroom terraced house with the ubiquitous outside toilet, which was without an electric light, and of course, freezing cold in winter. But unlike many of the houses it had the luxury of a bathroom, admittedly very small but enormous when compared to a tin bath. The bedrooms were so cold in winter that I would sleep with a hot brick wrapped in a blanket to my feet. The brick was placed in the coal fire just before I went to bed. At least unlike an hot water bottle it couldn't burst, though third degree burns were always a distinct possibility.
My great grandmother Florence ASHFORTH (née Florence FLOWERS 1876-1973), her son and daughter-in-law (my grandfather and grandmother) Ernest ASHFORTH 1905-1990 and Emily ASHFORTH (née Emily BELLAMY 1903-1992), my mother and father and me. When some six years later my younger sister was born I guess we were probably officially classed as 'overcrowded'. So at the age of 7 years I and my family left the ASHFORTH household and moved approximately 3 miles to a newly built semi-detached house at School Lane, Stannington near Sheffield.
In the mid 1950's Stannington was still just a village, with a handful of shops, little new development and lots of wide open spaces. A totally alien environment to a young lad from the inner city.