Workshop 3: Rising Brook Centre: Regeneration Monday Group

CLICK HERE to open PDF of the Seaside Memories Book or read it here

1st February 2010 - WE MADE THIS - Rising Brook Centre - book and CD distribution. The first time one of the participating groups had chance to see their own memories in print.

The distribution workshops show a Power Point Presentation on a large screen about the project - have readings from the book and take photographs and feedback. The books and CD sets are presented free of charge as are the workshops.

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Hey . . . that's me . . . that's my story . . .

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Rising Brook Baptist Church Centre, 9th March 2009.

To listen to our stories click here

Rising Brook Writers Library Workshop Group were supporting this workshop. A large group with over 30 participants - some exciting stories - one about being wrecked at sea - orphanage camping adventures and Butlin's competition memories.

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Our Stories

Kathleen McCabe: Regeneration Group (Rising Brook Baptist Church Centre)


I was brought up by my mother’s sister and her husband because times were pretty hard in the 1920s. I had a sister and brother and my father worked on the railways so there wasn’t an awful lot of money about. I went to stay with my aunt and uncle in Chapel Terrace in Stafford where I’ve lived all my life, apart from the 12 years I was in the army.

I met my late husband in the army where we were both sergeant majors during the blitz in Hull. We got married in 1952 and I came out of the army about then. When he finished his time we came back to Stafford to Chapel Terrace. We used to go to Blackpool every year for our holidays because we liked it so much. We’d go for a week or a fortnight and we stayed in the same hotel up on the north shore for years. It was a lovely hotel and we met some nice people from all over the north and south of England. We’d go and sit on the beach, walk along the promenade, go to the theatre and I remember often going dancing and seeing the circus in the Tower.

We had a car by then so we went to Blackpool in that but before the war my first family holidays with my aunt and uncle were to Brighton on the south coast when we went on a coach or on the train. We would spend the holiday on the beach and just doing the normal things, nothing outstanding. There just wasn’t the money in those days. 

One of the things we did look forward to every summer before the war was the Stafford Pageant. It took place in about June and was always on a Saturday. The Stafford Town Band, which was a very good band, played the music and marched in the procession with youngsters from the Scouts and other groups marching and playing instruments as well. Various firms such as Lotus and English Electric as well as shops in the town would decorate floats representing something of what they did. They would have their names on the floats to advertise their businesses. There was always a pageant queen and a lady from the corner of Chapel Terrace wore a swimsuit and rode side-saddle on a white horse as Lady Godiva. She would be in her thirties I would think and had beautiful, long hair right down on her shoulders.

The procession started in the south of Stafford and worked its way up through the town. It used to come into Gaol Square where a wagon would be selling ice cream cones. Sometimes we’d go up on the Foregate where the old hospital used to be, to follow the floats on to the common where there would be a fair. The town used to be absolutely packed with people. It was brilliant.



Sydney Wells

Regeneration (Rising Brook Baptist Church Centre)



In the late 40s and early 50s I was in my teens and still at school studying science. I lived in Wellingborough in Northamptonshire with my parents and younger brother. My dad was an inspector on the railways and got concessionary travel so we had some kind of holiday every year.

When Dad got into a more senior position, he had a ‘foreign pass’ that entitled him to free travel, not only with the company he worked for but also with any of the other railway companies in this country and on the continent. I didn’t go on the continent with him but at one stage Mum and Dad went to Austria and didn’t pay anything for their travel.

We went on family holidays to different places but we used to go to Rhyl a lot because it wasn’t too far from home and you didn’t have to mess about changing trains. We would stay at the Co-op holiday camp just outside Rhyl for a week. There were no buses to fetch you from the railway station. You had to make your way on foot and it was quite a walk to the camp especially when you had a big case or tin trunk with you.

The camp was right on the coast but it was a long way down to the sea across pebbles and what seemed like miles and miles of sand. There were 60-80 wooden huts, or chalets as they grandly called them, each with a primus stove. There were no communal meals; it was all ‘home-cooking’ because Mum cooked it. Since the camp was run by Coventry Co-op there was a shop, like a small Co-op, that sold milk and bread; all the things you couldn’t do without. It saved you having to go into Rhyl.

In the camp there were fancy dress parties where you had to make your own outfits and they put on their own entertainment. One year they did a shadowgraph show called The Operation. We had sand castle competitions as well with prizes which, as you can imagine at the seaside, were always sticks of rock. A chap who did a certain amount of organizing put on walks to the local beauty spots.

I remember my grandma knitted some new maroon trunks for me. They were alright while they were dry but when they were wet they weren’t such a good fit. I never actually lost them, although on occasions I might have lost a bit of dignity.

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