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Keith Hatfield

A written account by Keith Hatfield who recalls this childhood memories living near Castle Howard Station during the 1950’s.

By pure chance I came across your website and the contributions to the history of Castle Howard Station. I read with interest and affection the account of Norman West. I am the Keith Hatfield he refers to and it was my father who looked after the donkeys from Scarborough sands. Perhaps I can add a little more to the history.

It was from Castle Howard Station that my parents, my brother Michael and I went too and returned from Scarborough on the family days out during the school holidays. The Milsons lived in the station at the time and Betty, Norman West, my brother and I all went to school at Welburn. I remember Norman's parent's well - especially his father who used to light the explosive charges at the quarry just above the station. Along from the West's House was an area called the 'sawdust' where we all played football and cricket. The 'sawdust' was all that remained from a saw mill which operated before and during the first world war - the crane gantry still remains in the form of a square stone building alongside the river Derwent - it was from here that horse drawn barges brought the timber from the woods adjoining the river.The main feature of the area where the sawmill was located was the coal yard, run by a family called Vause. As children we played in the coal yard - using the circular road as a speedway track. In those days we enjoyed seeing steam freight engines shunting the coal wagons and emptying the coal into the cellars below.

In 1948 we had the heavy snow and even worse flooding - my father who kept livestock in his paddock had to row himself around in an old pig scalding bath with the feed for the animals - the paddock was completely underwater and the animals and hens had to be raised onto benches above the water line. Springs running from the wood behind our house burst as there was no escape route for the water and the whole downstairs of our house was under a foot or more of water. We lived upstairs and the only way we could get in or out of the house was to place a ladder across from my bedroom window onto the Scarborough - York railway line which ran literally 6 feet from my bedroom window.

The Station was initially built to serve Castle Howard - Lady Howard was totally against drink and shied away from passing the Crown and Cushion Pub at Welburn. 'Sally Tindell's lane was built as a detour to save her the trauma of witnessing people sitting outside the pub.

My Grandfather - Butler - owned the Crown and Cushion and it was there in the late 1920's that my Father met my Mother. A few years ago my brother and I dedicated a seat to them and it is still in the pub. My father was the Assistant Bailiff at Castle Howard Farm School and also was a Captain in the Green Howard's Cadet Force and ran the cadets at the school. He was an ARP during the war and along with colleagues fought the blaze at Castle Howard after a bomb exploded there. During the war a Halifax Bomber crashed next to Greets Farm - on the left along the road to Welburn - and the crew were looked after by my parents until they were collected. After the war they were frequent visitors to our house.

I have lived in London since 1965 and actually left Crambeck in 1957 when National Service summoned - apart from visits to see my parents I never really returned after that.