In my last post, I mentioned that we had brooks to paddle in. I know that the Tawd River was known as ” ‘T’ Bruck” as in “from o’er t’ bruck”. However, the brook I was referring to was the one that ran down parallel to Grimshaw Lane and ran into the Tawd nearer the bridge. That was a nice brook and a delight to children such as myself. It ran down across the bottom of what had been my Grandad’s garden. There were some gardens that sloped down from the back of the houses down to the brook. My Mam told me that her family, the Watkinsons, who had a shop at Tawd Bridge , used to have a bit of pasture along the side of the brook where they kept their horses. My Grandad had a greenhouse near the side of that brook. There was a grapevine growing in it, and Grandad and my dad after him, used to grow tomatoes in the greenhouse. Nearby was a little set of stone steps where you could get down to the brook. There were no taps and garden hoses! You had a “degging can” (a watering can) and you went down the stone steps and got water from the brook to water the plants.
This is where I fell in. Several times! My dad even had a little song he used to sing, (to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) – “Dear oh dear oh what shall I do? Fawed in t’ Bruck an’ ‘er geet weet through!” Adults never seemed too stressed about children falling in the brook in those days. It just seemed to be regarded as a normal part of growing up, and rather amusing!
Past my Grandad’s garden the brook ran through Tommy Bellamy’s garden and then through Bennet’s property. Bennets had a sort of market garden and lots of hens.
Finally the brook emptied into the Tawd River. We were quite proud of the Tawd, as we had been taught at school that it was a real River, not just a brook. Also it was the border between Upholland and Skelmersdale. In my imagination it was like the border checkpoint into a foreign land! We used to stand in the middle of the bridge and say we had one foot in Upholland and one foot in Skem!
My friends and I thoroughly explored all along the river. It used to be a clear pleasant stream. Once we actually caught a trout in that river.
Then something terrible happened, almost overnight it seemed. The river suddenly changed to a nasty brown colour. I still don’t know what it was, probably some sort of industrial discharge. It was toxic. No more trout.
Now it is gone all together. The brook is gone too, I suppose. The last time I saw that valley it was a main road! But we still refer to each other as from o’er t’ Bruck!