Visiting Mow Cop

Iím trying to find out more information about Doris Ingham to put with my family history records and any information would be greatly appreciated.

As a child I rarely got the opportunity to go away on holidays, except for the occasional day trip to Llandudno, Blackpool or Southport by train and Iím sure this was the case for many children growing up in the 1950ís. However my dad had a cousin who lived in Mow Cop and so I did spent many school holidays visiting Aunt Doris with my parents and I just loved our trips there.

I lived in Hindley, Wigan as a child with my parents and since we didnít have a car in those days, we would travel to Mow Cop by train. I canít remember how many connections we would need to get there, but what I do remember is descending the train at Mow Cop Station and having to walk from the station with our suitcases and on the journey having to cross a field. There would be inquisitive cows in the field at times and I was terrified of them, perhaps not knowing the difference between a cow and a bull and imagining we would be trampled to death, but somehow with mum and dad between me and the cows we managed to get to the safety of the other side of the style and then on our journey to Aunt Dorisís.

Aunt Doris was always busy as she ran one of the local shops in the village, ďInghamsĒ. This was always a great attraction to me, since there were shelves filled with rows of jars of colourful sweets, chocolate limes, wine gums, pear drops, peanut brittle were just some of the varieties I remember, along with lucky bags, liquorice sticks and a fridge containing ice creams, choc ices, strawberry mivvie lollies etc, of course the shop sold a variety of other items, though not as interesting to me, from packs of wool to aspirins. You name it, Iím sure Aunt Doris could put her hand on it somewhere within the chaos of boxes.

There was a dark cold cellar beneath the shop from where Aunt Doris would bring up the rolls of bacon ready to be put on the slicer in the shop, which was operated by hand and large cheeses all wrapped in muslin cloth.

My dad was very good at D-I-Y and an electrician by trade and so Aunt Doris would have a list of items that were in need of repair around the place.

Mow Cop Castle could be seen from the front of the shop and I was always anxious to go up the hill to visit the Castle. Aunt Dorisís dog Peggy would come along with us in the early days and dad would stand me in the round windows and point out all the places in the far distance. To this day I have a model of the Castle at home and would never part with it. Not sure if there others like it still around.

I seem to think that Aunt Doris had never been married. She was a strong character with a wicked sense of humour. She once placed a whoopee cushion under the seat of the chair dad went to sit on and just roared with laughter as he sat down. Her living room was at the back of the shop with a big black leaded grate and a large square table covered by an oil-cloth, but of course this room was also an overspill of boxes from the shop, which Iím sure Health & Safety inspectors today would never allow. I was in my element when I was older and was able to serve customers at the shop counter and weigh out sweets into cone shaped paper bags for the local children who visited regularly, of course under the watchful eye of Aunt Doris ensuring that I didnít weigh out too many sweets.

Unfortunately, Aunt Dorisís shop had been broken into on a couple of occasions and because of this she would sleep in a chair downstairs by the fire, with a poker by her side for protection. She never felt safe going upstairs to bed, which was such a shame.

When it was time for us to leave and travel home Aunt Doris would pack a box of goodies to take home with me, along with oat cakes which werenít available in our home town.

When I think of my childhood my thoughts flash back to Mow Cop. I wouldnít have wished to spend my holidays anywhere else.