'Crayfish catching Oxhey Park','crawley bobs','oxhey park', 'swimming on the colne'

A J Belloni

When I was about 11 during the second world war in the summer holiday for about 3 years we used to catch crayfish. On Thursday afternoon me and my brothers would go to Oxhey Park , we had wheel rims from old cycles with sacking tied in attached to a rope, we’d add some old mouldy meat to the sacking & drop it all in the river between the Wiggenhall Bridge & the Arches. We’d do this about 2pm then come back about 5pm & pull them up from the wall we had about a dozen or so of these sack nets which we spaced out & we put the crayfish caught into a big bucket. We’d bring them to Terry Scott’s dad ‘Fred’ who had a grocery shop on the corner of Tucker Street & Neil Street; he would cook them up and then on Friday go out door to door selling the crayfish & other groceries. We did it for nothing, the water in the Colne was very clean & we could see sticklebacks and tiddlers, in places the river was waist deep, we used to call the crayfish ‘crawley bobs’. Everyone used to swim in the river, in Oxhey Park in the summer it was jammed solid with youngsters & families in and by the river, the boat house where the Irish Club used to be used to hire out boats and canoes, they had at least 10 life rings mounted along the river side path. Up by Five Arches between the river and the Mill Race at Waterfields me and my brothers used to roll in the mud & then wash ourselves off in the river so we wouldn’t have to have a bath. Story narrated by Quintin Butcher of Riverside Road.

This page was added on 08/04/2022.

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