Donald Stewart

An ordinary chap

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Donald Stewart was an ordinary chap, just one of the hundreds of ordinary folk who lived and worked in Bollington over the past couple of centuries. Why do I pick him out for a page? Well, simply because I knew him, I liked him very much and he told me an interesting, if hair-raising, anecdote from his life.

He was born around 1900 and I got to know him in the late 1970s as a fine old gentleman. We frequently met in the Crown Inn and shared a few pints. He had various occupations during his life including as a sales representative selling studs - collar studs and cuff links - to the trade. That was in the days when men, including the so called working classes, wore shirts with removable collars. The studs were mounted on cards for retail display in barber's and hardware shops. In the 1960s he and his wife Stella took the Dog & Partridge Inn. I lost track of Donald in the 1980s and believe that he died in that decade.

The anecdote that will remain with me always concerned the building of the 'new' chimney at the Oak Bank Mill printing works. This chimney was built about 1912 and was around 200 feet high. During its construction it was clothed in scaffolding and ladders. One weekend, when the site was deserted, the 12 year old Donald and his even younger sister climbed to the very top of the scaffolding to play! The very thought sends shivers down the spine.

Since I wrote that story above, I have discovered that Donald was born in 1904 which means that he would have been just eight years old when he said he climbed the chimney! Maybe the story isn't quite how he 'remembered' it!

Donald's granddaughter continues to live in Bollington today. Donald's father was Joseph Stewart and he and his family lived at Rock Cottage in Beeston Mount. Donald was one (the youngest?) of several sibblings - possibly nine in total.