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Memories of Warsop - By Hilary Brookes Pollard

E.mail received 6th July 2002

Dear Warsop Web

My father, Eric James Brookes, was buried at Warsop Cemetery on 3rd July. Born in Mansfield Woodhouse on 6th July, 1917, Dad began his working life as a delivery boy for F. Spencer & Son when he was 14. Dad sent me his reference from Spencer's just before he died. It is dated April 1934 and reads: "Eric Brookes has worked for us for two years and we have found him honest and willing and he has a pleasant manner". From 1934 to 1950, Dad worked at Welbeck Colliery, following in the footsteps of his father, Jonathan Brookes. During the forties, Dad was a Labour Councillor at Welbeck, however, I understand he was most remembered for being "the best goalie Welbeck ever had".

I was born at Welbeck Colliery Village in 1945 and remember well the robins' nests in the hedges along Netherfield Lane and the celandines and speedwells in the meadow by the river. Dad was very fond of the country from an early age, knew all the wild creatures' hiding places and didn't need a Met Office weather forecast to know what the weather would be like. He loved to walk in the country with his children, nieces and nephews and enjoyed his excursions until a short time before his death from cancer.

Subject to the vagaries of ill health, I was unable to attend Dad's funeral at Warsop Parish Church but my cousin Sue Reeves Beardsley kept me well informed. She told me that a good number of "Brookie's" old friends from the pit were among the mourners at the funeral and I took much consolation from her account. After speaking with a great many people from all the places where he lived, I found that an extraordinary number of people remember Dad as warmly as I do. He made many friends over the years and kept in touch via phone, letters and carefully-chosen Christmas cards.

A recurring theme of those conversations was that Dad was a superb writer and interesting speaker with a devastating dry wit. He turned these talents to good use when facing the Bassetlaw and District Council with objections to various proposed developments. His letters to the Retford Times were numerous and the editor remembers Dad with affection; he will miss his regular input.

Although we lived for many years in Yorkshire and Bedfordshire, Mum and Dad returned to Nottinghamshire about 15 years ago. Mum died about eight years ago and is also buried at Warsop. The grave stone is missing from the double grave; Dad's name is being added along with the words "All is
well". It was painful, being so far away and unable to travel but to know that so many people from all walks of life and from so long ago thought so highly of my Dad helped enormously. I'd very much like to know who those old pit friends were so my husband and I can continue Dad's tradition and send them Christmas cards.

Hilary Brookes Pollard
2208 Tampa Avenue
Durham, NC 27705
(919) 286-0199

E.mail jimp7@mindspring.com

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