Wray’s Drift and no calculators

Lauren Astburly, Jean Drabble and Dorothy Sykes with some old photographs of the Maltby Urban District Council G130419-2b
Lauren Astburly, Jean Drabble and Dorothy Sykes with some old photographs of the Maltby Urban District Council G130419-2b

If you can remember the days of two-digit phone numbers and being paid your wages in cash, then you can probably remember life before Rotherham borough council.

It was in 1974 that the new metropolitan borough council was created, meaning the end of Maltby Urban District Council.

But now the memories of those years when Maltby UDC ruled the roost from The Grange, on Carr Lane, are being recalled for a new local history display.

Jean Drabble, 85, of Limesway, joined the general office in 1945 as a shorthand typist.

She said: “I was working at the Royal Ordnance Factory but after the war, in October 1945, I was made redundant.”

“I went to the dole office in Muglet Lane to sign on for employment but was told there wasn’t anything going.”

“I went home but about an hour later a message came to go to the council offices the next morning.”

“I saw the chief clerk Mr Maclean and was taken on.”

On the day she started Mrs Drabble said there was a queue down the drive and she was told it was people waiting for parish relief.

I n those days there was no social security and Mr Wray the relief officer used to hand out money, so the queue became known as Wray’s Drift.

Mrs Drabble was eventually given the job of doing the workmen’s wages.There were about 25 workmen based at Mangham’s Yard on Blyth Road.

She said: “I had a great big ledger and I had to add everything up in columns, there were no calculators. Then I had to get what I needed from the bank and put the money in packets and take it up to the yard to give out.”

In 1947 the council had a Labour majority and decided it wanted to trade with the Co-op Bank.

“There wasn’t a Co-op Bank in Maltby but there was a grocery store on High Street, so I had to go there and get the money. The first week the manager got the money out of the tills.”

Mrs Drabble also typed up the minutes and agendas for council meetings, and if they were put in the post before 10am , they were delived by noon the same day.

Dorothy Sykes, 82, of Cliff Hill, worked in the ratings office for Mr Hanson. In those days no one used firstnames at work.

She said: “I was 16 when I started in 1946 as a shorthand typist. It was a lovely place to work with beautiful gardens and an orchard.”

“The only bit I didn’t like was that there was a mortuary downstairs.”

Mrs Sykes said phone numbers were easy to remember because they only had two digits.

The Grange had been the home of a family called Mollekin who had 14 children. It was demolished sometime between 1962 and 1967.

Coun Lauren Astbury is putting together a history of Maltby UDC for a display at the town carnival on 2nd August.

She said: “There’s a lot more of Maltby’s historythat needs tobe discussed.”