At the meeting of North and South Wheatley Local History Group on Monday 20th March, members were entertained by Martyn Johnson. He was born near Barnsley and went to school in Darfield. From an early age he developed a great love of nature and spent more time messing around outside than on his school work. As a result he never passed any exams and in his words ‘was thick’! His father was a miner so we were invited to imagine the home life he led. Then at the age of 15 he started work as an apprentice blacksmith, a job that he thoroughly enjoyed. His physical stature meant he was built for the job. He also attended a local youth club which was not only a social outlet but the leader was also keen to help the teenagers’ progress in life. They put him forward to Barnsley Borough Police Cadets – but sadly there were no vacancies at the time. Finally at the age of 19 in 1962 he ended up in Sheffield Police.
Martyn then went on to describe his beat area in Attercliffe, some of the many residents of the area, and how he gained experience in the job. Some of the lessons were harder than others! He proceeded to keep his audience enthralled with many humorous stories of his arrests as well as some more unusual incidents. There were a number of accidents he had to deal with, some that also on reflection he and the victims were able to laugh about. All in all a most entertaining morning thoroughly enjoyed by all who were present.
Members went on to hold a very short AGM, settling matters for the foreseeable future and agreed that this year’s summer outing, in June, would be to Wentworth. Now is the ideal time to join the group and enjoy a varied programme for the coming 12 months. More details of this can be found in the group’s page on the Sturton and Wheatley website, and the subjects vary from ‘Velocipedes’ to Murder as well as Zeppelins over Retford, not to mention more help with sorting out your family research. The next meeting is on Monday 15th May at 10.00am at the Village Hall when Mrs Rosemary Beney will be talking about the history of the bicycle in a talk entitled ‘Velocipedes’. In the meantime follow our activities through our Facebook page — search for ‘Wheatley FHG’.