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Catty Nelly (1958)

The yard belonged to Catty Nelly and the cats and kittens were her kids so to speak.

When I was at Western Board School I got the chance to become a milk monitor, so I jumped at it.   Everyone in school was entitled to a free small bottle of milk, so us kids got the job of dishing out to the classrooms.  The classes varied from around 24 to 30 kids in each one, so we had a fair number to deliver each day.   Now later on, after break, we would go back around and collect all the empties and return the crates back to the main distribution point.

Now when we returned, there was a couple of the lads tipping the dregs into one bottle to make up full ones.   As I was a green horn I followed suit and did the same.   Once finished that was it, we were off out of the school gates leading on to Burdon Main Row and away up the road.   When we came to the first lane, we went half way up and one of the lads opened the back door.    There in front of us was about 30 cats in the back yard.   Out came an old dear who thanked us and gave us the crates with some empty bottles in to take away.   Back to school we went at full speed and dropped off the crates, then returned to class.

During the dinner break, one of the older monitors pointed out that the yard belonged to Catty Nelly and the cats and kittens were her kids, so to speak. Just how long this went on for I have no idea, but they reckon on more than one occasion the Council took loads of her cats away.  The last time I saw Nelly was in the early 1990s and she still had a couple of cats, bless her.   When it came to her age in the 1950s, we thought she was 90 years old then, but even in the 1990s she still looked the same age.   Today sadly Nelly is gone but it is safe to say she was of the eccentrics of the 50’s.

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