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Postman’s Knock – Wombwell Man’s Retirement – A Christmas Dinner At Home !

October 1928

Mexborough and Swinton Times October 5, 1928

Postman’s Knock.
Wombwell Man’s Retirement.
A Christmas Dinner At Home !

Mr. Albert Scargill, 43, Mellor Road, Wombwell, has just retired on pension after serving 43 years on the postal staff at Wombwell.

During the whole of that time he has been employed as a postman, and it is computed that he has walked 200,000 miles on his rounds.

Even now he is fond of walking as an exercise. When Mr. Scargill started he could put in his pocket the whole of the letters that came to Wombwell in a day. Now the mail would fill nearly a dozen sacks.

This week Mr. Scargill received a scroll signed by the Postmaster-General:

“On the occasion of your retirement I desire toexpress to you my appreciation of the faithful service you have rendered to the State.”

Mr. Scargill regards this as a great prize, and declares that if he gets nothing else he will consider he has been well paid for the long service he has rendered to the community.

Mr. A. Scargill is 60 years of age. He was born in Leeds, but came of old Wombwell stock. His mother (a Pacy) lived at Aldam House, her father, Tom Pacy, being for many years custodian of the gates where the railway used to cross the main road from Wombwell to Barnsley. Tom Pacy was at one time landlord of the “White House,” the quaint little building (then a public house; on the canal bank between Station Road and Littlefield Lane, Wombwell. Behind the “White House” there existed at one time a tannery.

At the time of his marriage Mr. Scargill’s father, Hiram, was a policeman in Leeds, but after his marriage he left the police force and went to work at Wombwell. Main.

Mr, Albert Scargill started work at Darfield Main at the age of 13, and for the job of motty hanging he was paid a shilling a day, the “day” extending from 6 in the morning to the same hour at night. From Darfield Main he went to Wombwell Main and from Wombwell Main to Mitchell Main.

Up to this time the postal service at Wombwell had been a “one-man business,” Geo. Watkinson being the man. The district was developing, however, and, further assistance being necessary, Mr. Scargill  was employed spare time. From 1885 to 1894 he worked down the pit at night and took out the letters in the day. “There were no lamps in those days,” he told a “Times” representative, and no roads to speak of.

Hough Lane, Wath Road, and Summer Lane were known as such, but they were names only for there was not a house to be seen, and the thoroughfares were rough. Hough Lane was little more than a wide trench and in winter heavy drifts of snow used to make travel difficult and dangerous. Where new Street, Smith Street and Marsh Street form an angle between Station Road and High Street travelling fairs used to gather, and Wombwell Feast was a much bigger affair than it is today. Fun and excitement rained in the town from one weekend to the next, and visitors used to come from all parts in waggonettes.

As a spare time postman Mr Scargill commenced duty at 6:45 AM, and between that hour and 10 o’clock he delivered letters to Wombwell Main, Aldham, Mitchell Terrace, and the farmsteads between. Sunday is included, he worked 21 hours a week, and his remuneration was six shillings. In 1892 he commenced delivering letters in the evening also, working from 6.45 to 9.45 a.m. and from 5.45 to 9 p.m. and then going to the pit. His weekly wage as a postal worker was increased to 10/6. It was in 18 9040 became a fully fledged postman, devoting the whole of his time to the postal service for a weekly wage of 17/6.

A single man at the time, Mr Scargill tells how he met his bride at a farmhouse that stood on the site of the National Provincial Bank. Mrs Scargill was a daughter of Jack Heathcote, a well-known Wombwell man. Her mother is still living.

“I used to take the letters to this farmhouse everyday,” said Mrs Scargill, “and after I had not used to wonder who would come to the door. I won’t tell you what I was thinking. When she came for the letters naturally I was glad to see her.” He added, “I can see her now as she was – smiling face, rosy cheeks, and the curls peeping out of her bonnet.”

At this recollection Mr Scargill blushed. Interposing she remark, “Don’t take any notice of him.”

“Little did I think that I should get her,” Mrs Scargill went on, “but you see, I did.”

Apparently Mr Mrs Scargill have had no cause to regret their matrimonial bargain. There was a time and they had to fend for a family of six on 20 shillings a week, but happiness is always rained in their home. For some time Mrs Scargill lived with her grandfather, Richard Heworth, who resided in Park Street and farm the land upon which the Council houses have been erected. She recalls that where the police station now stands there was once a tailor shop, and the site of the Old Homestead was a farmhouse.

Asked what he proposed to do, Mr Scargill said he would first of all have a rest. “I have plenty to do at home,” he said, “and my garden will take up a good deal of my time. I have not had my Christmas dinner at home for 43 years, and if I live long enough I’m going to see what it is like this time.”

Mr Scargill regarded his knocker as part of his equipment. He has used the same implement on doors (and possibly on dogs occasionally) for 43 years.

Mr Scargill’s brother, George, retired on pension in 1921, after serving as a postman at Wombwell for 38 years.