Rob Seymour’s Childhood Memories of Madeley

This article was sent to us by Rob Seymour of Swansea, after we were able to send him copies of pictures showing him scenes he remembered from holidays in Madeley between the mid fifties and the early seventies.

Editor’s comments are in italics.

Madeley Court and pool photographed late 1930s.

Click the photo to enlarge it.

During the war my Uncle’s family were fortunate enough to be evacuated to Madeley to escape the air raids that Liverpool was subjected to. If my memory serves me correctly, the first house they had was an old shop premises right next to the bridge that crossed the main street in Madeley (it’s still there – the last building on the right before the Foresters Arms pub, the bridge you mention was the railway bridge that carried the Wellington to Coalport branch line, now replaced by a concrete foot bridge). I visited Madeley several years ago to attend a conference at the Court Hotel and was astonished to find the old place still standing even after all the alterations that had been made.

My uncle Walter Seymour, Aunty Ivy and their children Walter, Margaret, Ronald, James and Sheila, were then given one of the council houses in Upper Rd and that is where they stayed for many years. They lived at number 56 just across the way from Jack and Ida Bailey, who some of you may remember. There was a path that led between the two houses towards the mount at the back of the house where it split in two directions, one leading to New Rd and the cinema (still there, but now a private house) and shops and the other way going between the two mounts and running alongside the local cricket pitch and emerging higher up the main street. I spent many happy hours playing in the mounts (these were the spoil heaps of the old Meadow pit, which closed in 1919) with some of the local kids. Jack and Ida had three boys as I recall, John, Terrance and Lawrence and it was Lawrence and Terrance who I was friendly with. I also recall the Wheatly family from Upper Rd but I can’t remember the young boy I was friendly with although I do remember his father taking us to Manchester docks for the day in his wagon. I do recall he had an older sister called Anne.

I would spend almost the whole of the summer holidays in Madeley staying with my Uncle Walters family and I must admit they were probably the happiest times of my childhood. Please correct me if I am wrong but I have a distinct memory of us catching a train into Wellington from a little halt at the bottom of Park Lane (right again, although it must have been a fair old walk to catch the train – the halt you refer to was at Lightmoor Junction on the Wellington to Craven Arms line, the best part of two miles from Upper Road! – see our “Railways” page for a map). When I was staying in Madeley my Mum would send me a postal order for ten shillings and I remember going down to the post office to have it changed. I do believe the post office was opposite the Anstice (the post office was demolished in 1968/9, but if you look at the page in our Pubs Section the post office is the building on the right of the first photo).

I remember another lane that ran between the houses in Upper Rd only this one led in the other direction across the fields towards the Coalport Rd. (this was the route of the old tramway that carried coal and ironstone from the Meadow pit to the Blists Hill furnaces). I remember at the end of the lane were a couple of cottages that had to rely on the tap that was outside and we would often take a drink from this tap after getting permission from one of the old ladies that lived there. At the bottom of the hill that led down to the Coalport Rd was the All Nations pub where the grownups would go for a drink in the evening and the kids would have a bottle of shandy and a packet of crisps brought home at the end of the night. We would often take a walk down the Coalport Rd to the river at the bottom or walk further on to the Shaky Bridge in Jackfield (the only war memorial bridge in the country).

It was here in Madeley that I developed my love of fishing and the countryside in general. I can still remember the nights that were spent at the Court Pool with the Bailey boys or spending the day down at the river at the Half Moon stretch even getting as far as Ironbridge on a few occasions. It may seem like a twee thing to say but the summers really were summers back then. We would spend hour upon hour just wandering the fields and I remember the view from the front bedroom window were you could look right across the valley to Hay Farm (now The Great Hay Hotel & Golf Club).

Madeley will always hold a special place in my heart and I plan to go back for a visit in the not too distant future as I still have relatives in the area.