John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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The Woodheads move to Thornton

Early Days

July or August 1960
 1. Chris Woodhead’s Mum and Dad and younger brother David moved to Thornton in summer 1960, probably in July or August. Their new home was a semidetached house at 19 Ascot Road, Thornton. Chris went with them and stayed there for a month or so, but then he had to return to Grimsby to start his final year back at Yarborough Road School,
[1] in September 1960. He was due in a few months to take his “eleven plus” examination; and his Mum and Dad thought that it might not be good to take him from Yarborough Road, which he was used to, to a new school in Lancashire just before what was a very important examination. They thought it was better for him to stay in Grimsby and do his “eleven plus” there before finally going over to Thornton and changing schools.
[1] Yarborough Road School: Chris remembers that when he went back to Yarborough Road, to start his final year there, he was in the classroom right at the far end of the building, the end away from Yarborough Road. See also Chris Woodhead: 1960.
September 1960
 2. So it was that in September 1960, at the age of ten, Chris came back to Grimsby on the train on his own. His Dad had come with him as far as Manchester, and had put him on a train there which came through to Grimsby. At that time they didn’t have a car; so Chris’s Dad came with him on the train to Manchester Victoria station, and then brought him across Manchester to London Road station.
[2] He put him on a train there—with the words, we imagine, “There you are, mate; off you go!”—and this train came through to Grimsby.[3]
[2] London Road—today called Manchester Piccadilly.
[3] There are more details of this particular train service in My first visit to Grimsby — Thursday.
 3. Chris was to stay at Nanny and Pop’s (his maternal grandparents’) house at 43 Veal Street. (Later on, another grandson of theirs, Chris’s cousin Brian Hall, had a name for Pop; he called him Woja.[4]) And Woja met Chris at Grimsby Town station—it was evening time, but it was light because it was still summer, perhaps just after eight o’clock—and he took him back to Veal Street.
 (One imagines that he may have been at his local “watering hole” The Wine Pipe before meeting the train. He would probably have made some excuse to Chris’s Nan: “I’ll go a bit early, mate; the train might get in early.” About two hours early! It would still be in Sheffield.)

[4] Woja: so Chris would spell the name; or, following Brian’s father Gordon Hall, Wojer. At this time Woja/Wojer was about 75; he was born in 1885.
September 1960 to February 1961
 4. And Chris lived there at Veal Street from September 1960 till he took his “eleven plus” early in the following year.

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