Way back in 1981 when I was 12 years old my family moved to Bransholme, I was so excited as it was far away from where I lived, St Johns Grove off Preston Road, or so I thought at that time. My family didn’t have much; we were a large family of seven children so times were tough.
My first impressions of Bransholme were “WOW”, I absolutely loved it. We had a large three-story four bedroom house on Redruth Close, on Midmere Avenue.
My first walk to the Bransholme shopping centre was a great experience, it seemed so posh, I remember Rainbow fashions, Frank Dee’s, Rediffusion TV rentals, to name a few, this was a long time before the entre was extended. I got a very warm feeling of community spirit when I first went to the centre, shop staff was friendly and the centre seemed to be meeting place for friends to catch up.
My new school was Dorchester Primary School; it was very modern in comparison to my old school. I settled in quite quickly and made friends, I loved that school, I loved the walk to school, I used to take a different route so that I could see what people had done in their gardens and how pretty some of them were, In the beginning I used to get lost as it is a bit of a rabbit warren of streets. I have some very happy memories of Dorchester School, I remember when it was time for the annual school trip, I wasn’t going on it as my parents couldn’t afford for me to go, I remember everyone sitting in the assembly hall ready to go, when they all got up to go there was only me left, I was distraught, I felt so left out and embarrassed, I cried and cried, the teachers were so supportive and had a whip round so that I could go, I had the best time, I bought my teacher a Jacobs cracker key ring, I couldn’t believe it actually went moldy, the strange things we remember! I remember me and my step brother used to get picked on at times as we were in the same year and everyone thought we were twins. I hated trouble or any kind of violence, one day one of my so-called “friends” told another girl I had called her a name, she set me up by asking for me to wait outside the school gates for her so that we could walk home, this other girl came out and confronted me asking if Id called her, I hadn’t and tried to reassure her, she suddenly lunged at me and grabbed hold of my hair and swung me around, I was horrified, I threw my school bag at a wall and ran off crying leaving my bag. That was the only time I remember being frightened at school.
I then went to Branshole High, what a monster of a school for a little kid; I have some very fond memories from there, I met some lovely friends who I am still in contact with today. I remember when I was around 14 years old all the girls were starting to wear make-up at school, some of my friends used to put a bit of lippy and eyeliner on me, when I got home I got such a telling off from my step dad, he was quite strict, so I used to have it on at school then wipe it off on my way home, I suppose I didn’t want to be the odd one out. The sports days are a great memory I have, everyone was so committed, the sports area was huge with a proper running track, I remember doing the rely, people said I ran like a duck, I am not the best at running but I gave it a go. All in all Branshole High taught me a lot, probably made me the person I am today, we had such a great year group we have held numerous school reunions since leaving in 1985
After leaving Branshole High I got a job on a Youth Training Scheme (YTS) at Gateways supermarket, the old Frank Dee’s in the Branshole Centre. I was so happy, I was getting £26 a week, I thought I was rich as I never got pocket-money as my parents couldn’t afford it. I still had to pay my parents £15 a week board money leaving me £11 a week, I was still happy, I remember buying my first album a” smash hits” album., new clothes, and at last make-up. I enjoyed working at Gateways, I was on the delicatessen, I was only there a few months when I got asked come off the YTS and work for real money, I think around £50 per week. Life was looking up; I could buy more make-up and clothes, yippee. I started to go the local pub, Foredyke after work on a Thursday night, I remember it being very busy and a great atmosphere, everyone knew everyone, I used to really enjoy going out and meeting everyone. I was very happy.
Gateways is where I met my first boyfriend, he was a friend of one of my work colleagues, he also lived on Bransholme, after dating for a while a expectantly became pregnant, I was in total shock, I was still only 16, I was terrified to tell my parents, my best friend at the time was very supportive, I felt so scared. Eventually I told my parents who took the news very well, they promised to support me, my boyfriend’s parents were very angry, that angry they sent him away to work in Scotland with a relative, I was so lost and angry, I got through the pregnancy on my own, all the people I’d met in the other shops Bransholme Centre were so nice, people knitted for me, bought baby clothes, very genuine lovely people. I had a beautiful baby girl, her father did not make any effort to support me, his family were awful, they basically didn’t want anything to do with us, I did find this hard to deal with, being only 17, single with a baby, but I had a lot of friends who helped and supported me.
When my daughter was one year old I got a house on Leeming Garth on the Noddle Hill Estate, I loved living there, I have never felt such a strong community spirit as what I did there, my next door neighbors were so friendly, they used to cook, bake for us, after I knew them a while they would baby sit for me, they really looked out for me, I felt so safe and happy living there, the other neighbors were great too, all the children played together on the green, I felt safe to walk around the streets at night. If ever there was a something happening in the area the neighbours would all speak to one another and make people aware and look out for one another. It was hard being a single parent but I did the best I could.
I got another job at the Bransholme Centre, this was at Fletchers, I really enjoyed this job too, the staff were really friendly and we got a lot of regular customers in who were nice, (most of them anyway) I did notice that the center was becoming a bit of a meeting place for some of the local youths, these were known to be taking drugs and generally getting into trouble, the atmosphere did change, the security guards were forever asking them to leave the center and occasionally there would be the odd scuffle, It didn’t seem to last too long as the center underwent an extension , seating was taken out which stopped youths congregating.
I lived on the Garths for around eight years, during this time I can say I had some great times, I loved the community spirit it had, the people were friendly and very supportive in times of need. I’d met a new partner by this time and after a few years we had a baby girl.
I then moved to Mullion Close as I needed more bedrooms with the extended family, this wasn’t too far from the garths but it did feel different, there used to be a lot of kids on mopeds going past as it had a very long straight path running in front of the houses, the police were often around, I liked the house better than the Garths but I didn’t like the area as much, although the neighbors were once again very friendly and supportive, my new baby daughter had contracted meningitis at four weeks old she spent a lot of time in the hospital, my next door neighbors were so good to us, they would take my other daughter out with their children so that she got a break, we would sit and share a bottle of wine when I needed to talk about things, they were more supportive than my family, these were very emotional and hard times, my daughter was left profoundly disabled, as she got older she became hard to look after and my back was really feeling the strain from all the lifting and carrying, when she was three I separated from her father, I was practically looking after her on my own and we were not getting on at all. Soon after this my back went whilst I was carrying her, luckily she was ok, my elder daughter called my best friends sister who lived on the Garths, I got rushed into hospital and she took my daughter to her house to look after. The next day she came around to see how I was, I was not in a good way, I had a prolapse disc, I couldn’t look after my daughter at that time and I was worried sick, what was going to happen, I’d had no family support since she became ill, my friend’s sister just came out with it and said, “why don’t you let me look after her as her carer”, and this is what happened for four years after, I owe this person so much, she looked after my child whilst I couldn’t, changed her home with all the adaption she needed, went to meetings, took her on holiday, basically her life had changed and she did this for me and my daughter. She had lived on Bransholme all her life, she was so caring and grounded, without her my daughter would have been sent out of Hull as there was nowhere for her to go with her disabilities. I would call her “The salt of the earth”, she didn’t have much herself but what she did have was the most amazing family unit I’ve ever seen, she was there for them all regardless. All her neighbors loved her.
My daughter attended Bransholme High too which was strange as a lot of the teachers were still there.
This is probably where my Bransholme days ended, I moved to Howdale Road, not too far away from Bransholme.
Here is a brief summary on what has happened since the good old days!!
I started work at Humberside Police as an admin assistant; in 2007 I joined Humberside Police as a Police Constable.
In 2009 I became a grandmother (nanny) to a lovely baby girl and I married the man of my dreams in Sri Lanka.
In 2010 I became a grandmother again to a lovely baby boy
On April 8th 2011 my youngest daughter sadly passed away through complications after an operation.
April 2012 my husband was offered a job lecturing new police recruits in New South Wales, Australia for three years, He accepted the position and we have been here since July 2012. I was offered a position of lecturer at the same academy which I accepted.
2013 I found my sister, she was adopted at birth when my mum lived in Australia in the late 1960’s, she knew she was adopted but didn’t know she had brothers or sisters or where we lived, my sister lives in Melbourne, we’ve met numerous times and flew my mum, daughter and grandchildren over to Australia last October for a big reunion which was in a nation magazine here.
I still reflect and reminisce on my days living on the Bransholme Estate, I love seeing the pictures and comments on the Bransholme High face book page, seeing some of the names brings back memories of which are all good. I’m looking forward to our next school reunion next year when I’m back home I still remember the ones who are no longer with us too.
I went to the tour of the school with some friends and my daughter before they knocked it down, it still smelt and looked the same, it was like going back in time, it was great, I had little flash backs of things that happened. One of my friends was a bit mischievous, she found some slippers under a teacher’s desk and put hand gel inside them, she said she was always too good when at school.
I can truly say that I had a good experience on Bransholme; I get defensive when I read and hear negative comments, it has its ups and downs but there is not other place like it.