In January 2001 an ex resident of Kiveton, Bob Durham. sent me the following memories of Kiveton in the 1930s and '40s

"First of all I think that in the 30s Kiveton Park was the little village around the Station Hotel and the other one was just called Kiveton. The park itself in the original state only went as far as Hard lane Cross roads. The railway station names bare this out as the first was Kiveton Park built when the railway was built and the Kiveton Bridge station came with the colliery much later. However that is only my thoughts., I lived there from being born in 1930 to 1949 when I was called up. We lived at "Sun Haven" in Dog Kennel Hill. Does the name still exist I wonder.

My Granddad had the house built in 1927 and it cost about £450 .What's it worth now I ask. I went to school at Kiveton and went by bus in the summer unless I walked and saved the 1 penny fare to spend. The same coming back but I had usually spent my return fare so had to walk. In winter school was let out earlier and as I would have had to wait almost an hour for the bus I came out a few minutes before every one else to catch the train home. It cost 1 1/2 p. For rail fans it was usually an Atlantic no 4443 on the front, a Retford engine and crew and I rode in the cab on many occasions. I only remember one teacher, Albert Bass. He was a strict disciplinarian. We had two women teachers and this was during the war. They used to bring airmen to give us talk on a regular basis and e kids used to say they were the latest boy friends.The families I remember in the village were the Sutton's who lived next door, The son still lives at Dinnington, and then had a semi built just next to them and the moved into one and her mother into he other. Next were the Wood family in the 5th house.They all worked at the Wire Works near the station. We were the only houses that side of the railway and then they built the council offices just below us.

Across the road was Scaifes Quarry where I went to work when I left school at 13. The product was lime which was quarried there and burnt in Kilns.I'll do a story on that later. Before I left school I worked at nights and weekends for the Misses Moses.Blanch and Rachel who lived in the Duke of Leeds house at the far end of the wood. Blanch raised chickens and I used to go to prepare the feed and fetch water for drinking from a well in the field below the house. Other water was on tap in the house but it was collected from rain on the roof in a big tank under the house and I had to pump it up into the system. I got 2/6 a week for this. On the way there I used to set snickles for rabbits and they supplemented our rations.We kept pigs and chickens and granddad used to dig the garden by hand, a full acre. I don't think we ever bought vegetables or meat. Pet rabbits I had used to disappear on occasions and I was told the cat had got them or a fox. It wasn't until I was older that I noticed that rabbit pie or stew usually followed their going astray.

When war was declared in 1939 I was 9 years old 10 days later, I well remember Chamberlain's speech on the wireless say "we are at war with Germany" Life stayed much the same except having to carry the obligatory gas mask at all times, well sometimes anyway. The night of the Sheffield Blitz granddad and several others went up to the top of the hill and could see almost into Sheffield, the flashes as bombs exploded, the guns at Treeton were firing over our heads at the planes caught in the searchlights, one of which was in the stackyard at Peck Mill Farm. On the Sunday Uncle Sid took us to Sheffield to see if we could find some relatives but all the houses were gone, names of the killed were on posters at the street ends but ours were not there.We came through the city centre, burnt out trams still stood on the tracks. Buildings still smoldered and rescuers were still digging. We set off home and by the time we were driving through Swallownest the sirens went again for the second blitz.!

Only 4 bombs dropped on or near Kiveton Park and a land mine near the back of the tips at Kiveton. Our first shelter was in a round topped shed that had pigs in, they were separated by a low wall and when we heard a plane approaching Uncle Sid would whistle to quieten them. We had a Blenheim Bomber crash in the field near to the ponds at the old Dukes house. It stopped so fast it was nose into the ground and its tail stuck in the air. A Stirling crashed at Anston just outside the village alongside the A57 towards Todwick.We finished up with pockets full of bullets from that. Its cockpit was upside down but all the crew survived, one had a broken arm or leg he had baled out.They came to Kiveton School some days later, brought like others by our two young lady teachers. Later we had German P.O.W.s.. The used to have a great deal of freedom and someimes helped Grandad in the garden for the price of a pint in the Station Hotel. No one had any argument with them. One officer started to teach me to speak German but he got sent away soon after. After the war was over we went to the top of Red Hill to look at the street light after the blackout was lifted. The station light were relit and the Station Hotel left its curtains open which gave us kids a chance to look in and see the singer on the small stage in the corner.

Industry in Kiveton

This bit is about the industry in Kiveton park. As I said there was Scaifes quarry across the road from where I lived and at the other side of the village was Turners quarry. Both burned limestone to make lime which was sold in many cases to farmers for spreading on the land. The method used was that the stone was blasted from the quarry face about 30 foot high and then loaded into little tubs on rails to get it to the kiln road. The kilns were holesin the ground about 10 to 15 foot deep. These started off with a layer of brushwood, mostly hedge clipping from the farms we delivered to, then a layer of coal about 18 inches thick. This was then filled to ground level with limestone and then another layer of coal.Then more limestone was built on this to about 12 foot high, then another layer of coal. This was then topped up with a cone of limestone and covered on the cone with rubble and small pieces. The walls wer then plastered in a mixture of soil and slacked lime like a cement and then it was lit by setting fire to it via the tunnel used later to dig the lime out.

For the first few days, if the wind was from the West, we had a thick pall of brown smoke which was as thick as a good fog that drifted over the road and house until the coal got well lit. Funnily enough we never suffered from the problems of whooping cough as a lot did in those days, in fact some kids were brought to stand in the "reek" if they had a bad cough, some even lifted in tubsby the crane to sit over the kiln if the reek was going straight up. The kilns burned about two weeks then as they cooled the lime was dug out from below in a little tunnel with two holes into the base of the kiln. The dust in these was lke talc, but no face masks or protection of any kind was even thought of.

The limewas put in share tubs and lifted ont lorries of which Scaifes had four suitably lettered on the sides, three Dodges and a Commer about 5 tonners. They also owned several railway waggons,5 plank again lettered which only occasionally were sent out to I know not where. About 10 men worked at the quarry.A mechanic called Booth,he had been to Austrailia at some time in his life and kept us engrosed with tales fromhis travels, The foreman was calld Goddard and drove the crane, a three ton with a 30 foot jib built by Smith and Sons Rodley Leeds. At 14 I drove this more than he did, in fact I did all the jobs the grown men did as I was a big ladfor my age, cheap labour I suppose, I only got 24 shilling a week,£1: 20 at todays money, but then a full wage was only about £3:50.

One name I remeber was Francic Beniquisto, obviously Italian, he was never interned during the war and on he made some real Ice Cream for the celebrations. Dropping the quarryface was done about every two or three weeks and involved drilling holes 16feet deep,two rows with holes about 4 foot apart. They were then primed with lead filled tubes of Ripping Amonite and connected to the firing box with wires. Two men went onto the road opposite our house with red flags, shouted "fire" several times and when things were stood and all the residents had taken shelter in the house the plunger was pressed and witha massive bang another 30 foot long 10 foot wide 16 foot deep section of the face dropped into the quarry floor. The bigger pieces were pop drilled and broken later with a small charge. And so on week after week. Lots more detail but that's the basics.

Turner's built their kilns a differant shape but the systen was the same. They also sold stone blocks for building and had a brick kiln as well. Other industry was the Wire Works and Edward Suttcliffe Malsters, both down the lane between the railway and the canal. There was a village shop and Post Office down the drive just over the canal bridge and later a local girl opened a shop in what had been the gravestone display building just up Red Hill near the station. Later an extention to the Wire Works was built near the Station Hotel.

There was one bus an hour to Dinnington via Anston and then it came back to go to Sheffield, route 6 and 19, I think they still run with those numbers anymore [not in 2012 they don't]. Trains ran to Sheffield and Worksop on a fairly regular basis, the Worksop ones either carried on to Cleethorpes or Lincoln. One telephone box between the level crossing and the bottom of Dog Kennel Hill which I only ever used twice in my life. I remember the big yellow A.A. badge on the Station Hotel, every village had one. I think London was 169 miles, that was always the centre motif, then the distance to the next towns.

Bob Durham, Jan 2001"

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