January 1, 1970

Mill Trod – Submitted by Bill Goldthorp

By Bill Goldthorp

Submitted by Bill Goldthorpe
Mill Road, Crowle, Mill Trod was the name given to Mill Road by the older inhabitants of Crowle when I was a boy, although by then the official name was Mill Road. I feel very sad that many of these old names have been modified. Mill Trod, makes me think of a tired farmer plodding alongside his horse and cart with a load of corn up to the windmill.

Other local names have been unnecessarily altered. I had a friend who lived in a bungalow on Mucky Lane, Fishlake. The lane had been a short cut between two roads used by horse and carts, unpaved it was rutted, muddy and filthy in winter. The authorities have renamed it, it is now Dirty Lane.

My great grandfather, Edmund Oates, Eastoft village’s boot and shoemaker had a small farm, Gaythorne Farm, Washing Hole Lane, Eastoft. The powers that be stating, “We cannot have a lane named after the place that the poor people of Eastoft did their laundry” have renamed it Washing Hall Lane. My father was highly amused when this happened. The Washing Hole was a pond with firm clay bottom about 18 inches deep. It was where the farmers and farm workers took their carthorses after a days work in muddy field to wash their fetlocks before they returned to the stables.
The position of the hole is still there but it is now filled in, a square of grass on a 90-degree bend in the road.

Today Mill Road is totally built up on both sides right up to the top of Crowle Hill, with side roads to other developments. Up to the time I started university in1951 there was no development at all on the right hand side. It was all arable fields.
on the left was the Baptist Chapel at the corner. Then a row of cottages up to the cutting, where the Isle of Axholme Light Railway passed through Crowle Hill.
Above the railway line was the windmill, one of the three that we had around Crowle. A modern large attractive bungalow now stands on the site of the mill. The old mill owner’s house with attached labourer’s cottage are still in the field. Next the cemetery and then the prisoner of war camp, which became the headquarters of a haulage contractor’s firm. Then arable fields until at the top of the hill, where there was a large villa, built in the late Victorian era. It is still there but its massive orchard now has three large detached houses built in it.
That was one orchard that I never went scrumping in. In fact we rarely went scrumping. There were so many orchards, of varying size that there was a glut of eating apples from August onwards. People were just glad to get rid of them.

Eastoft Road, the large villa. in the centre is still there. Houses have replaced the tress along side. The cottages on the right have long been demolished. The girl and telegraph post are standing in the entrance to a modern garage. Crowle Station was just round the corner. That is the LMS station on the light railway. LMS, London, Midland and Scottish.

Mill Trod Number one.
I think that this is the central part of the photograph Mill Trod number two, showing two old retired gentlemen and men and several urchins. The carts are going up the hill to the windmill.

The full view of the photograph, even at that time the official name of the road was Mill Road. The photograph is taken from outside the Baptist Chapel on Mill Road itself. Note the windmill dominating the whole area. This photograph was taken before 1904, which was the year that the Isle of Axholme Light railway was completed and started to function. The line crossed the road, well above the bush on the right, in front of the single storey building and behind what I take to be hedges on the left, which are in front of a series of cottages, which stand back from the road.

The upper left hand picture shows the windmill in relation to the entrance to the cemetery. The building in front of the windmill is the owner’s house, which is still in existence.

Pinfold Corner, Crowle. This was often known as Doctor’s Corner. The GP’s house was behind the railings on the right. When I grew up Dr. Strachan, whose eldest son Roy, was the same age as myself and was one of my friends, occupied it. Roy and I went to Scunthorpe Grammar School together. The house is very big with front and rear doors and a side entrance on the street, which entered into the waiting room and Dr Strachan’s surgery. There was also another surgery, where a visiting dentist attended once or twice a week. Dr. Strachan who had part time sessions at Scunthorpe War Memorial Hospital anaesthetised for the dentist. Separately from the house was a two-storey building that Dr. Strachan used as a garage. This had originally housed a stable, accommodation for a trap. The upper storey probably a groom’s accommodation.

At the start of the century, Dr. Alexander was the General Practitioner and as at that time there was no road bridge over the Trent or hospital at either Goole or Scunthorpe, he must have been a GP in its widest sense. He had an official appointment as Public Vaccinator. At this time there was one other practicing GP and a person who described himself as a surgeon who practised in Crowle. They would cover the northern part of the Isle of Axholme. For three medical men to be able to make a living in Crowle and District at this time reflects the wealth of the area.
Dr. Alexander’s son, Bertie took over the practice and was appointed as the part time Medical Officer of Health to Crowle Town Council. Dr. Bertie died relatively young in the most tragic of circumstances, when Dr. Strachan bought the practice. Dr. Bertie’s widow still lived on Wharf Road when I was a boy and his son Bobby was a medical student when I was in the fifth and sixth form. I was most envious of this charming young man who occasionally walked up Wharf Road, when I was waiting for the school bus and on one occasion even deigned to speak to me. I have no idea what happened to him, he is no longer in the Medical Register, which is not surprising as if he were still alive he would be at least 80.

The first motorcar in Crowle, 1904. Dr. Alexander and his chauffer. Admittedly, you had to switch on the ignition, prime the petrol pump by hand and then swing the starting handle several times to get it going, hoping the engine did not backfire, thrusting the handle against and probably breaking your thumb. What an advance on harnessing the pony, then backing it into the trap’s shafts and attaching the harness. It would save at least twenty minutes, and then instead of trotting along at 10miles p.h. maximum, its 20m.p.h. or even 25 would get you to your patient in half the time.

Mill Road, taken from outside the cemetery, looking down the road to Dr. Strachan’s house on the corner. The year is 1950. I took the photograph.

A goods train has just started to cross the road, where it would enter the cutting through Crowle Hill, to come out on the other side to cross Eastoft Road and immediately enter Crowley Station.