Industry, in the form of cotton mills, dominated much of the
scenery of Bollington, but there were many very pretty parts.
One of these was the Recreation Ground and here, amongst the
lovely trees, shrubbery and flowers, the local cricket team had
their home. In this part of the village, the roads ran on different
levels, and Wellington Road, the main street running through
the village, was on a higher level than the Cricket Ground. Steps,
which were quite steep, were necessary to descend from the road
and they wound through a lovely rock garden, forded a brook (the
same one that passed through the school yard), and came out in
the centre of that rich patch of green turf where the cricket
team played each week. The grounds were kept in superb condition,
mowed and rolled each day in the season, until the ground was
like a green billiard table - smooth and flat.
Seats were placed on the sloping banks near the steps, with
plenty of shade from the trees and so great was the interest
of the village people in the weekly games that these seats were
filled to capacity well before the coin was tossed. At that time,
Bollington had a pretty good team, retaining the services of
a professional cricketer (Alice Cook's father) and being a member
of a minor Cheshire League.
We were all keenly interested in watching 'our' team though
I never clearly remember being told specifically the rules of
the game. When we lived on Kerridge, Mother and Dad used to go
down after tea to see the last part of the match before stumps
were drawn at 7.30 pm. After the tea interval, no charge was
made for entrance. We had our favourite teams, and our favourite
players. All, except the 'pro' were local men and each had his
particular skill - opening batsman, spin bowler, fast bowler,
wicket keeper, slips fielder etc. Woe betide these men should
they fail in picking up a ball, being out first or second ball,
or failing to bowl out a batter who was piling up runs for the
It was a lovely pastoral scene, the rich, lush turf amidst the
country setting and sounds; birds flying over the grass, bees
and other insects droning between the flowers and the incessant
murmurings of the leaves as the breeze gently moved them. The
white clad figures would be concentrating on the moves of the
game, whilst the umpire, usually clad in several of the players'
sweaters on top of his white coat, would call the verdict on
a tricky point.
As well as the ever-changing pattern of the cricket, the recreation
ground offered tennis courts, a rose garden, a football pitch
and plenty of space for the children to play. Pride of place
always went to the cricket ground and its vociferous supporters.
Bollington boasted one cinema 'The Picture Palace' although
its real name was the Bollington Empire. It was a run-down seedy
little building but having no competition, it flourished. We
knew little else and accepted it for what it gave to us.
Films, or as we called them, pictures, were very popular then.
Silent films were in their heyday, and we knew the stars almost
as if they lived in the village.
We were allowed to go to the Saturday afternoon matinee and
for the cost of 3d, watched many of the old favourites. psychology
hadn't raised it's head then, so there were no films made specially
for children. We saw the same picture as the audience saw in
First we waited at the box office and having paid our money
were allowed to go in the cinema and fight for our seats. The
Pathe Gazette News was always the first item, and we watched
avidly as Ruby Price, the local pianist, pounded out 'March of
the Gladiators' on the tinny piano. On Saturday nights she was
accompanied by Wilfred Hartley on his violin - this greatly added
to the pathos, of which there was plenty in those days of silent
Then came the serial 'Perils of Pauline'. Pearl White played
the heroine and each week she was involved in some escapade,
ending with her being tied to the railway lines in the way of
the oncoming express, or hanging head first over the cliff which
was rapidly eroding.
Then the 'big' picture - Rudolph Valentino dashing across the desert
with his hapless victim tied to the saddle of his horse. Though
we knew little of sex then, we were stirred with all this chasing
to and fro. Silent films did not necessarily mean silent audiences.
Many were the cries of "He's behind you" and "Don't tell him" etc.,
etc., from the enthusiastic crowd. It was all good clean fun. Orange
peel flew fast and furious between the kids and the more obstreperous
ones were thrown outside. After wallowing in this make believe
world, we would make our way home and act it all out again in the
garden, or house, after tea was over.
© 1985 Enid Simpson