Joe Stringer

Joe Stringer mending a friend’s car.

Rothwell born Joe Stringer was a mechanic at Cooper’s garage in Oulton for over 12 years. He joined the firm shortly after he left school at Christmas 1950 and went from being a “grease monkey” apprentice to a fully qualified mechanic. Later he was given the responsibility of running a small garage owned by Frank Cooper at Methley. In 1962 he left for a better paid job with the West Riding County Council based at Lofthouse.

Joe’s father, Leonard Stringer, was a miner at Newmarket colliery and several of his uncles also worked at pits in the Rothwell area.

His mother’s father, Fred Fish, was a well known character who worked at Bentley’s brewery as a drayman. He was born into a mining family at Radstock in Somerset but moved to the Castleford area in the early 1890s. In 1895 he married  Rose Eva Whittick (or Whittock) whose father, Benjamin, had also moved from Somerset to work at a colliery in Glasshoughton.

Initially Fred and Rose lived at Castleford where their first child was born in 1897 but two years later, probably coinciding with the job at Bentley’s, they moved to a small cottage at Burnell’s Yard off Midland Street which years later would become part of Cooper’s property.

Click on the link below to hear Joe Stringer talk about his grandfather Fish and his time spent at Cooper’s.

From grease monkey to mechanic

The forecourt of Frank Cooper’s garage in about 1950. Pictured are an Austin van an Austin Atlantic, two Austin FX3 taxis similar to those used in London, and a Rolls-Royce.
Joe Stringer’s grandfather, Fred Fish, with his family a couple of years after the death of his wife at the age of 42 in 1915. Back row: Fred, Mabel, Fred Fish, Ivy, Leonard. Front row: Eva, Nellie, Tom, Jack, Ada Anne, Albert. Leonard Fish came a miner and then served as a cook in the Royal Navy during the First World War. Later he was a postman based at the Oulton post office delivering letters to Swillington. His son, Hugh Fish, who was one of the first pupils at Rothwell Grammar School in 1933, was knighted for his work in the water industry.