May 23 12 8:38 PM

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Old Hutte Lane by its very name implied that it was old.   How old was not certain for research showed it was a lane back as far as the 1100’s.  The Olde Hutte its self no longer existed but at the start of the lane the Old Hutte Gate house stood with a ramshackled barn, over grown with blackberry bushes and bracken ferns.    A hump back bridge had been constructed over the main to railway line sometime in the late 1800’s.   From the bridge the lane ran straight for a while lined on both sides by hawthorn bushes then curved in a s bend with two old houses set to one side.   The houses had privet hedges, flowerbeds and neat green lawns.  One house had a bright red front door the other a dark green one.  Beyond the houses there where fields of oats and barley, peas, potatoes or sometimes they were left fallow.   The lane ended at the Speke Housing Estate bus terminus with a small farm complete with an apple orchard being all that was left of .

The lane provided the children of the housing estate with a relatively safe bicycle way and walking lane on summer and autumn days.    The main lure of that lane was however the hump back railway bridge.    Three tracks ran under the bridge, two express lines and a spur to take goods trains filled with timber into the Bryant and May Match Factory.    Every steam train that ran under that bridge had a number on the front of its engine and sometimes it bore a name.   Most kids had a train spotter’s book, which listed the numbers of each engine in use, and when they passed by you would cross the number out of the book.  The best steam engines to see were the two that would be coupled together pulling the red carriages of the Mersey Side Express.    This train came through every day at full steam, smoke billowing from the chimney stacks, steam hissing from the sides and the driver would wave and blow a shrill whistle as he drove that engine under the bridge then out the other side.    We children would wave back and hang over the bridge edge so the smoke would blow into our faces.    Coughing and choking from the gray, black coal fire smoke we would laugh, as we looked at each other our faces smudged with black soot.   Sometimes the train spotting game became dangerous; some of us would climb down the side of the bridge and stand on the side of the track underneath the bridge.  When the trains went through the whole place would tremble like an earthquake and fill with acrid black, gray and green smoke.  Visibility would be zero and you had to remain quite still as the carriages went hurtling passed only inches from you.  Another trick played by some was to wait for a slow goods train to come along the spur line then chase along after it.   Running as fast as you could then jumping onto the carriages and taking a ride to the next bridge.  Then jumping off and walking back along the track with trains flying by whistling out a warning to stop your stupid and dangerous act.  As far as I can recall no one ever got hurt doing this.    However our mothers and fathers became aware of the games and warned us to stay away from the and silly us though we could lie about were we had been when asked if we had been to the bridge.   With hair stinking of coal smoke and faces smudged with soot spots we would say we had been playing in the Millwoods and hadn’t been anywhere near and the .