My paper trail through life...

Broad Tree pub, Ovenden
Broad Tree pub, Ovenden

We were talking in church about just how built up Bank Top and Lee Mount were and how many pubs there used to be at Bank Top, and their names.

As a youngster I was a paper boy at Mr Pallier’s shop, which was in a block of houses and shops at the top of Lee Bank, Halifax.

We would wait across the road by the old concrete bus shelter and toilets near the bottom of Ovenden Way and the bus conductor would throw the bundles of papers at us. In those days most newspapers were delivered to the newsagents by bus.

At the end of Mr Pallier’s block was the Bank Top pub and further on, towards Friendly, was the Broad Tree (pictured below), on the corner of Ovenden Road and the road to the iron bridge and Boothtown.

The lads where I served my apprenticeship, at Kitchen and Wade’s in Turney Street, would pop in there, often getting enticing job offers to go with their pie and peas and beer! Both pubs were pulled down in 1971.

Leaving the church, Holy Nativity, in Mixenden, Val and John Barker were busy, as usual, planting bulbs on their own.

A few months earlier I’d called on Val and John as they were busy getting ready for another church fundraising event. Val uncovered some old comics and we had a good laugh at yesterday’s expense.

Val was saying she was lucky as her father worked at W H Smith’s newspaper distributing centre in Winding Road.He got perks so Val got all the comics. Very nice, lucky devil!

We loved our comics and so did Ma; they led to a quiet hour for everyone. In the 1950s and into the ‘60s we got loads of papers and magazines in the home.

There was the Daily Mirror every morning and the Courier and Guardian in the evening, plus the pink and green editions now and then.

Sunday was a feast day. If Dad wasn’t working he cooked breakfast in bed for all, then roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, plus a load of reading!

There was the Sunday Pictorial, Sunday Mirror, People, News of the World – I always sneaked a peak at the juicy bits!

My younger sister and I shared the Dandy and Beano, a must for every household, I think! I got the Eagle and was it Hotspur? My younger sister, Pat, got Girl, Mickey Mouse and others.

There were the weekly and monthly mags: Woman’s Own, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Weekly News,Tit-Bits, Reveille, Exchange and Mart, Racing Pigeon, a cinema mag for my brother, Ern, and older sister, Nan, and other magazines I may have forgotten, like the New Musical Express for me.

The Lower Market, across Market Street. near where Tesco now is, had piles of second-hand comics; you could take yours back to exchange!

The news at the cinema was a week old and the newspapers were a day behind the southern editions. Then they began to print the Daily Mirror in Manchester as well as Fleet Street so the news was brought up to date.

But the heyday of papers and magazines was passing. In the ‘60s Mum started slowly cancelling many of them. Eventually we were down to just a morning and evening daily and the odd mag.

Many people now get just one paper a day or none at all. Now free newspapers are available and, of course, there is the Internet.

In the heyday of newspapers, after the war, Britons bought more of them than almost any other country per head of population.

But costs, strikes, demarcation disputes and TV brought an end to these golden years.

The Courier is just once a week now – mind, it’s a thick ‘un!Happy reading!

nAnthony Buckless lives at Sunny Bank Road, MIxenden, Halifax.