3 thoughts on “Sheraton Street (back street), Oxbridge

  1. Ah those little backstreets with the granite sets, which varied from streets to street and location, depending on how the landlord had decided to build. They were used mainly by the Corporation bin men or the coal man, with the dust and coal carts being hauled by horses.

    Is my recollection correct in thinking that a dust cart was hauled by something like a pony, whereas the much heavier ones carrying coal required something like a shire horse? And the ponies could negotiate round the little passages more easily.

    Who these days would let a three year old play on their own in the back street? I guess that the thinking was that he would not wander very far. Able to move up to the front street when he reached five, the kids looking after one another.

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    • Fred, when those houses were first built the toilet down the yard was a dry earth box not flushed, that came later. The Night Soil cart would use those back streets once a week and empty the night soil bins through a trap door in the wall, there are tales of people being enthroned at the time and new words added to the local patois. What happened to the night soil I have no idea but when I lived in Deighton every house had such toilets with wonderful polished wooden seats and a local farmer emptied them into his midden, it ended up back on the Vegetable Gardens, if you think about it an endless recycling.
      Cart Horses were a mixed breed, my Uncle Arthur had Clydesdales, Suffolk Punch and Clevelands, they were pure breed heavy horses for ploughing and farm work. The Cart horse was a smaller breed between heavy horse and Pony, the two wheel trap we had at Deighton was pulled by a tough little Hill pony, I could go to Welbury Station and pick up the parcels from the goods area and that little pony found it no problem pulling it back up the hill, I was 11 years old and trusted to harness the trap and horse then drive it, of course there were no vehicles on those small country roads, it was war time.
      When the photo was taken children played out in the street or back lanes, there were few cars about and any coming into the street would be watched by everyone as an oddity, “hello, what has Mrs so and so got a car visiting for?” a curiosity every one watched out for the children. When I went to St Ann’s Brickworks with Dad he usually had to wait to be hand loaded I played with the local kids and Dad often had to go round the houses to find me, probably sitting eating jam sandwiches with the rest of the kids.
      Life was communal if a mother was out shopping or otherwise engaged the kids would use any house. One night a worried Lady knocked on my door, had we seen her daughter last seen with my daughter, “no we thought she had gone home” my wife, “hang on” dashed upstairs counted heads and found one extra, she was fast asleep so after a cup of tea to calm the mother she was left to sleep, that was the way of things.
      It got well into the fifties before vehicles became more used Horse pulled carts being the norm Coal Milk Goods even Dust carts still pulled by them. There was a flush of Army vehicles into the transport sector which started a rapid change from horse to motor, those of us who knew horses regretted the loss.
      Frank

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  2. Peter, were you born 1950/1, if so did you go to Oxbridge?. I remember a Peter Brooke’s in my class in the infants and juniors then after the eleven plus I think you went to Richard Hind.

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