Mill Town

I have already said that Mill Town was based on Old Bramley, a place I am experientially familiar with and also through passed down tales.
I played as a young girl in the field in front of the mill with my siblings and friends, when the horses were not grazing there. I never knew who owned those horses, but I felt sorry for them and would feed them any bread I could take from home and with  grass pulled from the other side of the stone wall, behind which they were contained. There was  rusty barbed wire alongside the wall and my mother, a nurse, would tell us terrifying stories about lockjaw and other  possible  illnesses s we could catch if we ever got so much as a scratch from the said wire. I did cut myself once and suffered vibrations of fear for a long time afterwards, although no serious illness followed. That is the trouble with my memories of Old Bramley. I have  a background of old stone buildings and vacant courtyards and narrow high walled ginnels, threaded together by a cord of anxiety which  I shall write about at another time.
The mill was still in use when I was very small. Men would come into the mill yard and play football. Apparently from my pram I would point and ask,”Boys doing?” But as my sister would point at cats and say,”Fucker fack,” I suppose I had the winning question.Copy of wellington mill
Someone  told me in later years that the mill girls would sniff under their sweaty armpits if they felt their energy flagging.  I don’t know if that is true or not, but it was before people used deodorants quite so regularly. The air raid shelters I described were built for mill workers as well as local residents, who didn’t have a Morrison shelter. They were used often I believe as Leeds was bombed regularly. My Granddad was walking along a Leeds street during the war when a bomb was dropped and a wall collapsed on him and  he wasn’t found for a day. But there was no trip to hospital and a couple of days later he was back on war  duty with the army. He died a relatively young man and the adhesions they found at the PM were dated back to that accident. He must have been in constant pain for the later years of his life.
The house he bought for my mother was built along with some others on the edge of  the mill field in the late 50’s. He paid for it with a pools win.
The mill remained empty for years, when bizarrely the mill field was filled with houses and the mill knocked down and left as a field.