As one of Oxspring’s older habitants I have witnessed many changes here since my young days.
Though I lived in the next parish of Hunself for half a century I am now pleased to be back to the place where I started. During the 1930’s I walked up and down Bower Hill seven times a week. On Sundays we attended morning school then trekked uphill home for dinner, then it was back again for the afternoon session. Oxspring Sunday School flourished at that time under the splendid supervision of Mr Joel Marsh who organised an annual concert and prize-giving for children with good attendances.
In summer we had a sing in the village, then, led by the band, we trudged up Bower Hill to sing again at Four Lane Ends. I remember one very hot day when some of the young ones were quite exhausted on reaching the crossroads, but that kind lady Mrs Wray, who kept the shop opposite, had thoughtfully made huge quantities of lemonade from the crystals she kept in her shop. These revived us all before we continued our sing. A tea and sports day event was also organised by the Sunday School at that time.
In the village the Post Office was kept by the Crawshaw family and the Toll Bar shop by Mrs Bower. Across the road from the Toll Bar was Mr Jim Wood’s wooden garage. Here we could buy a ‘pennorth’ or even a ‘harporth’ of sweets from little bags which Mr Wood twisted up himself. When we acquired a wireless set at home we took the batteries to his garage to be recharged on our way to school. Most of Oxspring’s newer residents will remember his son Gordon who kept the newer garage – now also gone to be replaced by housing. Gordon was truly a real gentleman who, no matter how busy he was, would have a cheery greeting for everyone.
Whilst more houses have been built over the years to accommodate a growing population, I still recall some seventeenth-century, whitewashed cottages that were still occupies during my early years. Two of these, inhabited by the Marsh families, were at the top of Manor Lane. A similar old building opposite Travellers Inn was where old Mr Wright lived. Then, part way down Bower Hill was the old, whitewashed ‘Dame School’. Of course, by the’ thirties’ it had ceased to be a school and wasn’t even inhabited. I was assured by my father, however, that it was the place in which his father had received infant education in the early 1860’s, before having to walk to Thurgoland when he was older.
Kindly written by Phyllis Crossland.