After Hatfield Main Colliery began production in the nineteen twenties
Stainforth found itself at the centre of an influx of men seeking work.
Many of these men came from the coalfields of Northumberland after being
victimised for the parts they played in the general strike. Along with
the Geordies came the Scots, also eager to find work at the new colliery.
The miners received a concessionary fuel allowance, but this did little to alleviate the bitter cold to which the houses were subject in winter. The fact that the floors and ceilings were solid concrete contributed to the difficulty in heating the homes.
The houses were quite spacious, the downstairs consisting of a living room of around 220 square feet, a smaller room of about 120 square feet, a kitchen measuring about 120 square feet, and two small areas - each with their own door, measuring over 30 square feet each and which were intended for use as a pantry and a coal house. Later, many residents would take out the walls and doors of these two smaller rooms in order to extend the length of the kitchen.
Upstairs, there was a large bedroom, a medium sized bedroom and a small
bedroom just large enough for a single bed. A spacious landing area
gave access to the bedrooms and a bathroom, which consisted of a toilet
and a large enamel bath.. Of course, before the war it was uncommon
for miners to have plumbed in bathrooms and the common practice was
to bathe in a tin tub in front of the fire. The bathrooms in Stanley
Gardens houses were very basic and because the houses were constructed
entirely of concrete all the pipes and wiring were fastened directly
to the walls as there was nowhere to conceal them.
After the living conditions the miners had endured prior to moving into Stanley Gardens, the new houses must have seemed like dream homes to them.
During WW2 every third or fourth house was given a brick built Anderson Shelter, in case Stainforth should ever become one of Hitler's targets. Fortunately that was never the case and the shelters were used as giant coal bunkers by the residents after the war.
The estate covered a large area, extending from the Old Folk's Centre on Church Road, to the backs of the houses which were (and still are) situated on Emerson Avenue. The centre of the estate contained a large grassed area which for many years was left to become overgrown and unsightly.
This photograph, taken sometime around 1960 shows the houses of Stanley Gardens which faced toward the Old Folk's Centre.
These two photographs show two of the houses shortly before the site was cleared.
I was born in No 5 and lived there until I was 16 years old. In those latter days the houses became decrepit and vermin ridden. The estate acquired a bad reputation as a slum area where nobody wanted to live.
This is No's 6 & 5, with No 4 to the right of the picture. Shortly after this picture was taken the demolition was completed and Stanley Gardens was redeveloped into the estate of pensioner's bungalows which occupies the area now.