Four Arches bridge
Four Arches bridge at the end of the DIngles

I could see the Four Arches bridge from my bedroom window when I was a child.  It was a good place to paddle and catch sticklebacks to take home in a jam-jar and add to the population in the old Belfast Sink that sat in the 'yard'. These days, I suspect the sticklebacks would have been happier left where they were.

Back then, at the bottom of the garden, the grass was kept mown (I'm told the same area is a mass of brambles now), and you could see humps and bumps -- some people claimed these were the tops of Anderson's shelters, and other that they were the evidence of ridge-and-furrow fields... I think ridge-and-furrow is more likely as Anderson's shelters beyond the boundary of the gardens would not have been very accessible. But whatever they were, courting couples in my teens found them very hospitable -- at the wong time of day, you had to avert your eyes as you walked from Brook Lane along the back boundary of the houses in Cole Valley Road.

Image used with permission and taken from Images of Hall Green Today where you'll find a number of other images of Hall Green Past and Present.

Four Arches bridge in 1905

Brook Farm still existed in 1905, and there was a ford next to the bridge. It does look as if the boys were going fishing, although I doubt sticklebacks were on the menu.

I was always told the bridge parapets were so low to allow loaded wagons to pass; was that not so important by 1905?

Image from a postcard in the private collection of ColeValleyGirl.

The River Cole

The River Cole in winter, as viewed from the road bridge on Brook Lane. I'm sure my memory is unreliable, but I don't remember a lot of snow while I was living in Hall Green after the winter of 62/63, when I remember walking in channels through snow drifts that were a long way above my head. Of course, for a 4 year old, that may not be that high, but by all accounts 62/63 was a very hard winter.

Image © Stuart Atkins and used under this Creative Commons licence.

The Whyrl-Hole/Weir in the Dingles

Another favourite place for paddling and fishing, but very definitely only on the upstream side of the weir.  Keeping your footing on the weir itself was very chancy (a slippery surface and fast flowing water) and on the other side of the weir a deep pool had been scoured. The bridge that crossed the river over the weir (not shown) had no parapet in my day; it's been renovated since and railings added, as shown here.

Image from Whyrl-Hole in the Dingle © Ted and Jen and used under this Creative Commons Licence.