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A Shout From The Attic: Reasons To Tiptoe

...Another house to tiptoe past was one on Portland Street, an old dark house with dusty windows, tattered curtains and a garden that never saw a spade....

Ronnie Bray tells of houses which put fear into young hearts.

For earlier episodes of Ronnie's engaging life story please do click A Shout From The Attic in the menu on this page.

Tucked inside the main Gates of Greenhead Park opposite the top of Fitzwilliam Street was a lodge in which Captain Irons, Huddersfield’s Superintendent of Parks lived, unseen but feared. Fear of him among us children grew from his name and the mystique we wove from it. His was one house that I passed on tiptoe.

Another house to tiptoe past was one on Portland Street, an old dark house with dusty windows, tattered curtains and a garden that never saw a spade. The occupant was a crusty old man whose adjectival cognomen was ‘suspicious.’ He was a suspicious man and that sounded terrifying enough to frighten us, so we tiptoed past his house lest he, on hearing us, woke from his giant’s sleep and rushed out and ate us.

Upholding the dignity of Captain Irons and Greenhead Park was a ramrod of a man. He looked like a Regimental Sergeant Major from the Brigade of Guards, and perhaps he was. He was the nameless Park Ranger who would have had the horns off a bull if one had dared look at him. He was taciturn and as straight-lipped as he was straight backed. We had a preternatural respect for this uniformed guardian of all things in and to do with the Park.

Past the sweep of the park boundary was the corner house of some notable photographer who had a large lean-to conservatory with exotic plants in profusion. Then, a pedestrian set of terraced houses ran the street out to the Junction, broken only by well-to-do Vernon Avenue.

Once past the Junction pub, Westbourne Road – there could be a clue in that name, but I had no difficulty missing it – swept up from where Trinity Street left off and, after turning mysteriously into New Hey Road, and goodness only knows what happened to Old Hey Road, it ran straight up through Marsh, Lindley, Salendine Nook, Mount, Outlane, Scammonden, and the moors. Some called it the Rochdale Road after that.

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