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Post by Stanley » 10 Nov 2018, 05:32


I have a bit of history for you and a story as well. I'm sure many of you will remember Tommy Fitton who was a bookmaker and had his shop on Commercial Street opposite the Green Street Club. I was never a betting man but came across Tommy frequently in the regrettable period when I spent far too much time in the Craven Heifer and so I knew him well by sight. For my story we have to go back to the time when I was driving the cattle wagon for Richard Drinkall.
Gilbraith’s at Accrington were the Leyland Motors agent and did our heavy repairs, at one point I took a wagon in for new king pins. There was a curious coincidence which is worth a mention. The first time I went in Gilbraith’s garage I saw a bloke in a brown smock sweeping the floor. When I got a good look at him I realised it was Tom Fitton the bookie in Barlick I’d won all the money off years before. I went across to talk to him and find out how he had landed up in Accrington and found it wasn’t Tom but his double! He was the splitting image of Tom and it was uncanny. The reason why this comes to mind is that he was the main man for striking king pins out of the housing in the axle. I should explain; the king pin is the swivel on which the front wheel moves when steered. They are mounted from below in the end of the axle in a taper housing so that the more the weight goes on them the tighter they become. Over the life of the pin they become very firmly fixed in the axle end and getting them out can be a problem. The certain method is to take the axle out from under the wagon and press the pins out hydraulically but this means dismantling the whole of the front end. If it can be managed, an easier way is to warm the end of the axle and drive the pins out with a seven pound hammer. The problem here is that you haven’t got a straight blow at the pin because it is under the front wing. The bloke who swept up, despite his slight build, was the best striker in the shop and he always attended to king pins. Striking well is not a matter of strength but of aim and co-ordination. This bloke came along and drove both pins out with a couple of blows, very impressive.
Coincidences like that stick in your mind and I have never forgotten it. In case you're wondering about the money..... Many years earlier in the Craven Heifer, and I admit I was well lubricated, I did something I had never done before, I put a substantial bet on the Spring Double. I won the equivalent of 20 week's wages and made a resolution never to back another horse! Few go to their grave in front of the bookies......


Tommy's shop was on the left in Commercial Street.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

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