Memoirs of Les Talbot

My parents along with my sister and I lived in Mow Cop from 1950 to 1955. My parents had their house built on Chapel Bank and was named Stormont by my Mother who was Irish and named it after the N Ireland parliament building. I returned there only once some 20 odd years ago and it was virtually unrecognisable due to extensive alterations but was still called Stormont. The house was never properly finished at the time; the detached garage had no floor or doors as the builder went bust before completion. My father bought a bit more land from the field owned by Mr. Hancock. It would appear that the garage was later demolished and some of the land sold off for development. Our immediate neighbours were the Culverwells , next the Hodginsons and the Goldstraws next to the chapel. Christine the daughter was a bit of a gymnast if I remember. On the far side of the field were two occupied dilapidated cottages, an old lady lived in one and mad Jack lived in the other, he would shout at you if you came too close. Round the corner on the right was the post office, which was open part time and had no electric light, (a tilly lamp stood on the counter in the winter) and the postmaster scrutinised your post and new most of your business! Opposite was Joe Hancock’s coffin making business and at the top of the hill was Sidebotham's shop.

My father worked for the Ministry of Transport as a vehicle examiner and use to visit PMT in Stoke, Jack Staniers bus company and Billy Robothams bus company (many were Fodens). The garage had no doors but it didn't need them as Rusty his bull mastiff was an excellent guard! Staniers use to come up to Mow Cop in double deckers and would pick us up or drop us right outside our house. Opposite was " the rocks" which was the open range were we relived westerns watched on Friday's on Hilda Boot's television along with the Gregory children (initially the only one in the village). Chris Hancock was my best friend and lived down the far end under the rocky ridge.

Les with his sister and cousin, note told houses in the back, plus the edge of Harding’s Row, both photos dated 1951.

I attended Castle school and I remember being in Mr Meadowcroft's class, the headmaster also taught and came to school on a motorbike and sidecar. Mr Meadowcroft had contacts in the potteries as we made ornaments in craft lessons out of china clay and he would take them away for firing and glazing. The standard of education at the school was not high, and many of the children came from very poor family backgrounds. The possibility of passing the 11+ plus was a little more than a myth. When we subsequently moved to Norfolk I struggled at my new school even though my parents had paid for extra tuition from a lady teacher who lived near Castle school was my best friend and lived down the far end under the rocky ridge.

We were very exposed and winters were harsh. My father use to keep a shovel in the kitchen so he could dig away the snowdrifts from the back door. We had a Morris 8 series 2 initially and he would hand crank out it onto chapel bank in icy weather and bump it down the hill. I know it wouldn't go up the 1 in 3.8 bank and had to take the alternative route, although he had a series E later and that would just about make it. Water pressure was so low that we had a tank in the outhouse with an automatic electric pump to pump the water up to the loft tank; this frequently froze up in the winter.

My parents were involved with both the "top" and bank chapel and can remember talk of the rivalry and politics between so the called wealthy top and poor bank chapel. They were involved with the pantomimes and they do have quite a few photos of them and sure there will be some familiar faces, a Burt Mountford I can call to mind.