Ganging up

Schellenberg’s was a bone and glue factory along Cargo Fleet Road close to the river and docks. Great mounds of smelly bones destined for the grinder stood out in the open with only a corrugated roof structure overhead. Squeezed between Schellenberg’s and the endless goods yards, a steel graveyard of old rusting boilers, twisted pipes, vessels and tanks assigned to be fed to the ever hungry furnaces, sat behind a dilapidated corrugated steel fence. A loose sheet afforded access, and one of the large vessels was a secret meeting spot where my playmates could shelter from the rain.

Occasionally we encountered another gang from a foreign area of the town. A brief skirmish of stone throwing and name calling usually led to one of the groups retreating to another part of the yard. The wooden footbridge over the railway was a great spot for catchy kissy, running over the bridge then across the lines, pausing to let the sooty steam engulf us as trains passed underneath.

The Pogues – ‘Dirty Old Town’
I met my love by the gas works wall
Dreamed a dream by the old canal

Next: Scouts

Previous: Free range in the 1950s