Two Old Codgers

How the World strikes us

On a frosty February evening someone saw flames inside the Market Hall in Nelson. He dashed to the police station and the fire brigade
Nelson Market Early1900s
was alerted. By 10.30 that night the market was completely destroyed.

That same evening I was playing outside my home in Lower Clough Street in Barrowford when a man, whose name escapes me but who had family connections with Duerden’s Wood Yard and, I think, also worked at the Newbridge Slaughterhouse, approached me. "Come on Arthur, Market Hall’s a’fire I’ll take you
to see it". He put me in the sidecar on his bicycle and pedalled up to Nelson, and sat me on his shoulders to watch as the Market hall burned.

In my mind, that is a clear memory. The aluminium sidecar; riding up past Reedyford Hospital; the crowds in Market Street and the flames

BUT there are problems !

The man is real, there was a Slaughterhouse in Newbridge, the market hall did burn down on March 11th 1932.
Market Hall Fire

However, at that time I was just two and a half years old. In those days I might have been playing outside on a cold February night but my recollections don’t include him talking to my parents before he whisked me off! And above all, can I really remember what happened when I was so young?

Very often you can find mental images you have used to create such memories. Or think of how the stories were recounted to you be family members but I can find no such ‘props’ for this memory. And yet it seems inconceivable that these things could have happened, even in those much days of much more relaxed attitudes, when I was less than three years old.

There are other vague, faded images that come to mind from around that time. Watching the blood being swilled out of the slaughterhouse. Old Tom Duerden making wooden sledges for the children and using the kneb of his cap to shape the curve of the runners.

What is real and what are tricks of the mind?

Bad Memory

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