A DISCUSSION about ‘going for a gas mantle’ on the Laisterdyke Bradford Moor Facebook page prompted FRANK HEALY to write this evocative article looking back on his life growing up in the area:

Coal fires, gas lighting, outside toilets complete with ‘air conditioning’ are just some of those memories of during and after the war - yes there are still a lot of us brought up at that time and yes there were such things as cars, although my grandmother, born in 1884, remembered when horses pulled carts and trams.

One person told of going to the shop with a can for a pint of paraffin for the heater, the pig man calling for food scraps weekly, the cream on the top of the milk being frozen, the rag and bone man on his horse and cart, an outside toilet and tin baths, putting a filed down penny/half penny in the meter, going to the shop and asking for one egg, one rasher of bacon and one sausage and carbolic soap. None of the perfumed pampering soaps we buy today.

Then there were trousers with patches over the holes, walking to school in all weathers and staying in school all day from 9am until 4pm. Dad’s Home Guard coat on the bed in winter, out searching for bits of wood to keep the fire going, the list just goes on and on.

Back in those days nobody dawdled in a morning getting dressed - it really was cold and the very draughty, and sash windows were often coated with ice in winter.

Taking out the ashes of a coal fire and then relighting it with wood and paper to get it going. Drawing the flame by sticking a newspaper over the fireplace, often it would catch fire. That before the days of Health & Safety.You could see and smell the smoky chimneys all down the street.

All the people who would call, rent man, insurance man, gas man, electric man, pop man, coal man, rag man, dust man, milk man etc. Toys like a whip and top, clockwork cars and marbles.

Saturday morning or afternoon at the local picture house – the multi-screen edifice had not been invented. They seemed to recycle the same cowboy films week after week but that did not bother us. Someone commented that our local cinema had a several rows of wooden planks with a cloth covering which was not very kind to your bum and gave you a crick in the neck as you had to look up at the screen. There was a commissionaire on the door who used to tell us to check our guns but he was wasting his time; our heroes Hopalong Cassidy and Randolph Scott up on the screen needed all the help we could give them. We lads wouldn’t go to see Roy Rogers (the singing cowboy) and his horse Trigger - we left him to the girls..

Besides the cowboy films we had the ‘Republic’ serials featuring Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel, Flash Gordon and many more. The serials, nicknamed cliffhangers, for their tendency to leave the hero in dire straits (such as, say, hanging from a cliff), ran between twelve to fifteen chapters, and were deliberately designed to lure the audience back to the next show to see the outcome. You can still watch them today on the internet.

None of us would want to go back to those days, but they were certainly character building.