Trespassing got me a smack from policeman
Graham Caton remembers an encounter with the long arm of the law and appeals for information about 'the grumbles'. He talks to Jenny Amphlett.
A photograph on the cover of a recent edition of The Way We Were reminded Graham Caton of a run-in he had with the law.
The 74-year-old retired fabrication engineer was just a schoolboy when he got into trouble for playing inside the derelict Chesterton Hall.
He explains: "I remember the hall well and as kids we knew it as the old police station.
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"It was very derelict and overgrown but you could get in quite easily because there were doors missing.
"We used to look for the old cells but we never found them.
"I remember the hall clearly because of the time the local policeman caught us relieving ourselves inside it.
"He gave me a smack across my head as I went past him.
"It would have been in the late 1940s or early 50s."
Graham, who now lives in Bradwell Lane, Bradwell, was born and raised in Leech Avenue in the Holditch area of Chesterton.
His family didn't have a television until the year he left school, so he and his friends would make their own entertainment outdoors.
"Many are the times we played in the park and had endless games on the 'red rec'," he says.
"We kids always seemed to find all sorts of ways to keep ourselves occupied.
"We would spend hours digging for pignuts and drinking from the spring in what we called 'the grumbles'.
"We would dam grumbles brook until it was deep enough to swim in, or rather pretend to swim in.
"Everybody we knew called it the grumbles and certainly my parents did, but nobody seems to know the reason why."
Graham is interested in local history and has published a book of poems and short stories about Apedale.
He has completed a novel about the Minnie Pit Disaster of 1918, which he is hoping to have published in the near future.
He has also been researching how 'the grumbles' got its name and is keen to hear any new suggestions.
"I have come up with the old saxon words crundle, crundel and crondel which seem to describe a place where a stream cuts into the ground for a few hundred yards or so and forms a distinct v-shape in the landscape.
"That describes the area we used to know as 'the grumbles' very well and so I wonder whether the name derives from that.
"Certainly it isn't mentioned on any of the old ordinance survery maps I've seen going back to 1898.
"I've been to Newcastle Museum and had a word with the curator there and he is also intrigued about the name but couldn't help me.
"So I would be very interested to hear if anyone can shed light on it for me."
Graham has been married to wife Pat for 54 years. They have one daughter and one grandson.
Would you like to share your memories of Chesterton Hall, or perhaps you know how 'the grumbles' got its name? Write to Jenny Amphlett, including your full name, address and telephone number, at: Features Desk, The Sentinel, Forge Lane, Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent ST1 5SS, or email: email@example.com