Great fun that cost us nothing.
Sometimes to keep ourselves amused we made a set of stilts each and had races on them. As we had the timber yards of Stephen L Robson and Dryden’s on our doorstep at Dock Road, it did not take any time at all to go up and cadge a few bits of scrap wood off one of the yard lads that worked there.
All you needed for each pair was two pieces of wood about 5 or 6 foot long and about 2 or 3 inches thick. Next, you needed two pieces of timber around 6 inches square. As the yard lads were alright if the gaffer was not around, they would cut them on the saw for you, no bother. If the boss was there, we would get chased away, till he was out of sight. Now we would head over home and scrounge a few nails off one of the neighbours, along with the loan of a hammer, and bob’s your uncle, you’re set. The block would be nailed on to the long piece around one foot up and that’s it – your stilts are ready.
You always got a good laugh because no matter how good you were, sometimes you would fall down like a bag of hammers. The thing was, everyone seemed to get a bit battered and bruised when we had races or tried to show off, but that was all part of the game I suppose. Once you got bored, we would just sling them away as it never took long to make a new pair. Great fun that cost us nothing.
I have never seen a pair of stilts for years, but I suppose if you suggested to a kid to make a pair, he would more than likely just call you a sad old git, but if they cost £100.00 a pair to buy, then that’s alright.