My grandad married and settled on Nettlebank opposite Burslem cemetery. ‘Nettlebonkers’ had a bit of a rivalry with ‘Smothorners’ but that again is history and I am sure there are a few memories of this.
Grandad William Ashley married Ivy Ethel Watson and my Aunty Freda was born, then my father and next my Uncle Ken. My Grandad died at a young age and some ten years later she remarried and another sister was born, Jean. Originally at 402 Hanley Road, Nettlebank the new residence was 404 Hanley Road, Nettlebank. In those days the houses around Baden Road, Community Drive etc did not exist but instead there was a coal wharf on Nettlebank, the wall is still there, and tracks down to the bottom of Smallthorne. My dad served his national service in the closing stages of Korea and luckily for me he took plenty of photographs. During this time he was courting his sweetheart Maureen Elizabeth Rafferty and they married and moved into rented accommodation in Macclesfield Street, then Hot Lane where my sister was born and then up to Duddell Road where my brother was born and lastly myself the ‘baby of the family’ myself.
My aunty Freda was the one the boys looked up to and she took care of the boys as my Grandmother worked at Swynnerton during the war years. Freda and ken both married and moved to the Brown edge area whilst my dad and Jean stayed rooted in the Smallthorne area.
So, we grew up in Smallthorne, not well off by any means but as with most of the families we grew up with we were taught respect and taught a work ethic. I have grown up being introduced by my mum as the baby of the family when she worked in the Chippy and often being called Rob even though me and my brother were not that similar as we grew up. My siblings remained in the Smallthorne area and after a few travels I returned to Bradeley where I overlook Smallthorne and can keep an eye on you all. Many of the people I grew up with still live in and around the area and it is good to share memories with them.
I hope to gather as much information as possible including pictures, documents and more of my own memories and who knows in the future I may make Smallthorne famous in print. I would hope that others would be willing to share their memories on the site as well.
Memories of Barry Ashley