Looking Back: My father the Bare station master
Cecil Hayman reflects on his fond childhood memories when his father, Tom Hayman was the station master at Bare Lane. Now 94-years-old, Cecil recalls a time when he would move around from station house to station house for his father’s career.
Ceil Hayman who was born in October 1921, in Paddiham, Burnley explains:
“I was around nine-years-old when we arrived in Morecambe. My sister Margaret would have been 12 and attending The Royal Grammar School for Girls in Lancaster.
“My dad was Station Master at Bare Lane LMS station about three miles from Morecambe Euston Road station.
“At this time Mr Airey was the signalman there, and the box itself was positioned halfway along the downside platform for better access to those engine drivers who required a signal in order to proceed down the single line loop to Hest Bank and Carnforth.
“At the time, the station house was very much in need of attention. They initiated substantial improvements, including an additional bed room extension.
“Mr Inman from the railway authority spoke with my mother, and together they organised the refurbishment of the kitchen and the south facing window in the front room.
“In consequence of the appreciable time it was expected to take to complete the improvement work, my father, mother and sister needed temporary accommodation in Bare. They stayed in the boarding house of the Meadows family.
“About the same time, I was despatched to Padiham to stay with Aunty Mary and Uncle Allan who at the time were living at 54 Victoria Road.
“Eventually we took possession of the much improved station house, substantially as a result of my mother’s persuasive but friendly talents for getting things right.
“My mother put Margaret in the new bedroom, I was allocated the smaller bedroom where my bedroom window directly overlooked the ‘up’ platform to Lancaster.
“I much enjoyed life at Bare Lane station. We often played cricket in the railway sidings, with a wicket set up just outside the back garden. We always played with a hard cork ball and my legs were hardened against the bruises caused by my dad’s very intimidating fast bowling.
“Eventually I was trusted enough for my dad to let me into the booking office at Bare Lane station. And I was confident enough to be there. There were the ticket racks holding tickets for dozens and dozens of train destinations, some of which I knew and many more which I had yet to learn.
“I was soon competent enough to issue single or return tickets to travellers, men, women or children, to take their money and to give them the correct change.
“In those days the booking clerk had a hand machine for cutting out the top or bottom of a ticket to indicate whether it was for a woman of a child.
“The booking clerk was also responsible for checking the takings and doing a balance at the end of a shift.
“The balance needed to be correct to the nearest penny (old money).
“Of course I had to get to the elementary school in Morecambe, and I had several choices. I could take the train, just one stop to Morecambe, Euston Road station, or by single-decker bus along South Road, or by bus through Bare and along the sea front.
“One particular school friend at the time was Jack Crossley, the son of a publican. He had a good singing voice and was in the choir at the local Anglican church before winning a singing scholarship to Wells cathedral in Somerset.
“By this time I was 10 and was full of mischief. I managed to get hold of the key to the door of the weighbridge building where merchants’ coal carts leaving the Bare station goods yard were weighed. There was a trap door in the floor of the building and this I proceeded to open up. Then I went down into the works of the weighing machine, which proved to be a major error of judgement.
“Very soon I was taken ill and shown to be suffering from diphtheria, children’s disease known to lead to severe inflammation of the throat.
“I was quickly transferred to the town’s isolation hospital in Heysham, and our home was thoroughly fumigated by burning sulphur.
“I only remember awakening in the room, which was part of a larger wooden structure.
“I do not recall being particularly ill as I lay in bed, but maybe I only recalled events after I began to get better. I know that my nurse started to take swabs from my throat once my health began to improve.
“Then one day I was allowed to leave, and my father picked me up from the hospital on his bicycle and carried me home on the crossbar.
“Within a year he found promotion at the station of Chalkwell, Southend on Sea in Essex, whilst I attended Westcliff High School, I began to make progress.”