Aside from the buildings and places set aside for children to play, there has always been other things to amuse children. Here are some of the entertainment found round Rishton when you didn't have 2 brass farthings to rub together.
Children had several places to go for a swim, walking through Tottleworth would take you to Great Harwood swimming baths, if you had the money!
But half way there, in the Norden Valley at the bottom of Tottleworth is the meeting place of the Lidgett Brook, and Norden Brook. A nice afternoon would see many people, families especially, walking round the loose surface roads and lanes, stopping for an hour while the kids paddled in the stream on a nice summers day with a picnic in hand.
Once the new bridge was built in 1912, a shed was built at the same time, and this later became a cafe.
A little further on, and the Lidgett brook could be found at the back of the Cemetery pub at the edge of Great Harwood, again, picnics and days out where popular with families.
If 6d (2 1/2 pence) couldn't be afforded, swimming was often done in the Reservoir, off the jetty, were the fishermen frowned, or the bottom lodge, or even the canal. Me, I've swum in all 3!
On the canal we used to walk towards Church (South) because the water always looked cleaner there. We would walk to the boundary and jump in off the bridge.
At the bottom lodge, the jetty which was built for releasing the water from the lodge was always used as a diving board, jutting out as it does about 8 feet into the water, it was great to run off!
The reservoir was probably the cleanest, fishing was popular there, and the water well looked after. But as I say, the fishermen frowned at children splashing about and scaring the fish!
Lads would find an old tin can and play football on the streets, if you were lucky, one of the lads would have a ball, and the inventive ones would tie a bundle of rags together with string to use instead.
There weren't much problem with neighbours coming out and telling you off, as long as you didn't hit the windows!
Parked cars? what were they? There were so few cars, even during the 1970's that a clear spot could always be found on the street, but if you were making a lot of noise you would often be told to "play outside your own house".
A couple of coats at the bottom and top of the street and you had a full length pitch with a lamppost marking the halfway line.
There was no such thing as bad light, and play would continue until you were called in for the night. There was no hunting round for children, they were playing on the street!
Lampposts were used to gather round in an evening, to climb, and to use for skipping if there was only two people!
Skipping ropes were tied round the lamp halfway up, above the knobbles on the gas lamps, so the rope couldn't slip to the bottom.
Ropes were slung over the arms that stuck out at the top, and make into rope swings, or you would climb up them and swing off the arms of the post yourself!
Nice simple one this, the girls would use the four corners of the street as posts, the bowler would stand in the middle and a game of rounders played!
I was thinking about the games we used to play as kids.. Has anyone ever mentioned the ‘wide game’ This game involved a largish group (maybe 20 or 30 kids) who would form 2 gangs, the ‘Hunters’ and the ‘Prey’. The ‘Hunters’ would stand in a huddle and count to a hundred in order to let the ‘Prey’ run off to all corners of Rishton and hide. The Hunters would then give chase and the Prey would be converted to Hunters when they were cornered caught and ‘tagged’ . The game was finished when everyone was caught, or it got too late and everyone went home!
As kids we also did some amazing team skipping games in the school yard or in the streets, accompanied by chanting rhymes. Two children would turn the rope and others would run in skip to a chant which would get progressively faster….
One fine morning in the middle of the night
Two dead men got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
A blind man came to see fair play
And a legless policeman chased them away.
O U T spells “out!”
Or how about…
“Mr Shaw is a very fine man
He teaches the children all he can
He teaches the children how to dance
Out of England in to France
Out of France and in to Spain
Over the hills and back again…..
Or something like that!..............there must be many others in peoples memories?
(Mr. Shaw was Methodist School Headmaster until about 1958, known as "Billy" Shaw)
This is were one child would use a piece of chalk and mark up the walls and pavements as he ran round the streets. The other kids had to find and catch him, which they could has the lead child has to stop to draw the chalk marks. It also occurred that you could end up with several chalk marks on the same corner pavement, all pointing in different directions after a few games!
Knox and Stick.
In this you take a marble, throw it in the air, and hit it with a stick. You and your friends have then to guess how far you have hit it.
Buck and Stick.
This is similar to the above, but with a sharpened stick. The stick is balanced over a stone and hit in the air, then it is hit with the stick.
Leap Frog/Cap on Back.
To play leap frog one simply bends over and braces oneself so that people can leap over your back.
Cap on back is the same, but was played as each child leaped over the frog, their cap was placed on their back. Each child would take their turn to place their cap piling them up. The game was over when the first child knocked the caps over, they would then become the frog.
People have fond memories of playing in the fields, making daisy chains and seeing if you like butter by holding a buttercup under your chin.
Bonfires were common up till about the turn of the millennium in 2000. Holt Street Recreation ground was used every 5th November by the local children, people bringing their wood to burn from all over and the kids tidying up the area locally. Settees, wardrobes, and old timbers were all put to flame on the big night. Local people would turn up to light their fireworks and have a good time.