Oldham Historical Research Group

'Oldham Stories'

     'Oldham Stories'
by Mary Dickinson


Just now two horses went down the road and people looked quite surprised. I thought of when I was small and horses were quite a common sight.

Horses and carts were used to deliver goods to the cotton mills, iron works and stores. Wagonettes were used to take people on trips. They were pulled by horses. Belle-Vue was a popular trip. I am getting older now but I remember a Hansom cab which used to come in our street. It brought the doctor round to visit his patients. I think he was called Dr. Corns. The driver sat on top and he used to lift a little flap in the roof of the cab to talk to the doctor.

I lived near an old wheelwright and a few of the Hansom cabs used to finish up in the wheelwright's yard. We played for many hours in those cabs.

My father worked all his life for the Railway and he drove a team of horses. He loved his horses and spent many hours grooming them and polishing their brasses. A few years before he died they brought out three wheeled motor lorries, I think they called them Cobs or Cogs but he never liked them.

Even the fire-engines and ambulances were pulled by horses. Can you imagine them coping with the fires and accidents today? Then motor bikes came on the scene and when motor cars arrived we would all run out into the street to see one. The first coaches were called charabancs but they were very open to the wind and we had to wrap up warm. They had a hood which was strapped down at the back and it was pulled over to keep the rain off us. What a change from today when comfortable coaches take us all over the world.

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