« D Is For Dachshund | Main | Chapter Two »

A Shout From The Attic: Outside The House

Entrance to the house in which Ronnie Bray was born was by the back door. Only ladies, gentlemen, and Doctor Hanratty used the front door. In fact, since ladies and gentlemen never called, the Irish physician was the sole ingressor through that hallowed portal.

To read Ronnie's autobiography from the beginning click on A Shout From The Attic in the menu on this page.

I was born in a large terrace house at the top of Fitzwilliam Street, Huddersfield, directly opposite the end of Wentworth Street, which is why it was called Wentworth View. That legend was painted on the plaque above the shared passageway between our house, 121, and the Barratt’s house, 123.

Entrance to the house was by the back door. Only ladies, gentlemen, and Doctor Hanratty used the front door. In fact, since ladies and gentlemen never called on us, so our Irish physician was the sole ingressor through that hallowed portal. Lesser, therefore, ineligible mortals who knocked on the door, were brusquely directed to the back door. Nanny had been in service for many years and knew a thing or two about protocol.

We used the back door for all purposes. When I was older, friends who came to see me were admitted just inside the back door. Peter West was, for the most part, my only friend but if I had had others, they too would have had to wait inside the back door. The only children who ever got in the house were my cousins. They did not come often enough, but were good, friendly, happy children.

Three-fourths of the way through the passageway was the coal chute. This was a round hole cut in the huge sandstone slab that paved the passageway and formed the roof of the coal place in the cellar living room. A round cast iron lid closed it with leaf shapes cut out in a roundel, almost star like. This balanced precariously on a narrow ledge that ran all around the top of the hole.

The regular coal man would drop bags of coal with a hundredweight each down the hole into the keeping cellar. We would count the bags, since coal men could be dishonest, letting one bag go down with a pause halfway so that the householder counted two bags for one. When taking in ten bags or so, it would be hard to tell if there was one short by looking at the mountain of coal in the coal ‘ole.


Categories

Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.