BNC Text FY5

Nottingham Oral History Project: interview. Sample containing about 17786 words speech recorded in leisure context

4 speakers recorded by respondent number C153

PS25J X u (No name, age unknown) unspecified
FY5PS000 X u (No name, age unknown) unspecified
FY5PSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
FY5PSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 094801 recorded on unknown date. LocationNottinghamshire: Nottingham () Activity: Oral history project interview Debate

Undivided text

Unknown speaker (FY5PSUNK) [1] Right.
[2] Can you tell me when and where you were born Mr ?
(PS25J) [3] Yes number seven Road,,.
(FY5PS000) [4] And erm were your parents from ?
(PS25J) [5] Yes, both of them.
(FY5PS000) [6] So they've lived here
(PS25J) [7] Well not locally,, more.
[8] My mother was born in and my father was born in Abbey, in the grounds of Abbey, in the stables.
(FY5PS000) [9] He was
(PS25J) [10] His father,his my grandfather, was a groom, and er they lived in the erm in the Abbey grounds, in the courtyard of the stables.
[11] There were some cottages there.
[12] In fact he was, my father was christened in the Abbey.
[13] Which is rather [laughing] unusual [] .
(FY5PS000) [14] And what what was your what was your father's occupation?
(PS25J) [15] My father at first, I think in his very early days, er was a sort of a farm hand.
[16] And then he became erm he worked at the at the Colliery as a er an ostler, a horseman you see.
(FY5PS000) [17] Oh a horseman.
(PS25J) [18] And erm looked after all the ponies.
[19] And as I recall as a child [cough] there were well over a hundred ponies down Pit at that time, because during the nineteen twenty one strike they brought them all up to the surface and put them in the fields and I used to go with my father to sort of look after them.
(FY5PS000) [20] Oh and then, this was this was in [...]
(PS25J) [21] The twenty one strike and the twenty six strike.
[22] They brought them up both times, onto the surface.
(FY5PS000) [23] So you used to go with your father then
(PS25J) [24] That's right into the fields, they they had er the colliery had a er farm adjacent to the er to the the colliery.
[25] Farm it was called, it was rather a big farm as well and these ponies were put into the green fields that sort of on the farm.
(FY5PS000) [26] But this was just during the strike?
(PS25J) [27] That's right, oh yes they were never brought up otherwise, never saw daylight otherwise.
(FY5PS000) [28] And er what did your mother do?
(PS25J) [29] Well my mother was just a housewife as I recall.
[30] Erm well as a housewife erm hm we we were poor people.
[31] The house that we lived in was a two up and a two down sort of thing you know, and er I know my mother used to take in washing, go out black leading.
(FY5PS000) [32] What [...]
(PS25J) [33] Well black leading was a sort of erm going out cleaning the old fireplaces, for people that were slightly better off than we were, their husbands might have been a tram driver or a railway driver.
[34] They had a little bit higher standard of living.
(FY5PS000) [35] I see.
(PS25J) [36] And they could afford to pay the shilling or one and sixpence to have their fireplaces done.
(FY5PS000) [...]
(PS25J) [37] And my mother used to have to go out to supplement our income you see.
(FY5PS000) [38] Because because er in those days [...]
(PS25J) [39] Well we were poor, we were poor.
[40] No arguing about it.
[41] Erm and when I say we were poor there were people even poorer than we were, much poorer.
[42] Erm my father was a er a gardener, sort of as a erm hobby and he had allotments and erm we lived very well foodwise you know on what he really produced.
[43] This was in the early days of when we was in Road, we did move from there eventually.
[44] I'll tell you about that later.
(FY5PS000) [45] Yes.
(PS25J) [46] Erm
(FY5PS000) [47] So you he grew his own vegetables .
(PS25J) [48] Vegetables that's right yes.
[49] And he used to erm things you don't see in allotments today, he used to build the clamps for the pits for storing winter potatoes and turnips and that sort of thing in the garden.
(FY5PS000) [50] What were they?
(PS25J) [51] Well well they used to make a pile of these things and put straw on top of them and then soil on top of them to keep the frost out.
(FY5PS000) [52] Oh I see.
(PS25J) [53] And ev every time you want any potatoes you go and open the clamp or the pit or whatever it was called and take some out and seal it up again and that's how we used to store them.
(FY5PS000) [54] And they would keep for all the time .
(PS25J) [55] Oh yes, a ll through , all through, all through the winter.
[56] The straw and they used to have a like a little erm out at the top of the straw to let the heat out.
[57] It was it was a work of art to make one you know, it wasn't easy.
(FY5PS000) [58] And where was the allotment ?
(PS25J) [59] Erm erm, Road.
[60] Near the boneyard, there was an old boneyard, it's the road that runs through from Church, there were no houses there then, it's all built on now, and there was a sl like a lane used to come from Church to Forrest.
[61] I believe today it's called Road.
[62] I'm not sure about that.
[63] But it was a little lane and there were all these allotments that were on this erm this little lane, and I'm not sure I think my father had two.
[64] Of these allotments, er I don't know how many square yards each one would be, but that was his sort of spare time sort of work, occupation.
(FY5PS000) [65] And and what sort of, when did he have ti , when did he go to the allotment, can you remember ?
(PS25J) [66] Well I, this this is something that's always staggered me because he worked seven days a week, down the mine feeding horses you see, had to be fed, and watered seven days a week.
[67] And erm he he worked shifts, er the morning shift or the day shift as it was called, which was from erm, I don't know as far as I could tell it was from six till two or something like that.
[68] And the afternoon shift was two till ten.
[69] And the erm night shift was till ten till six or ten till seven whatever it might be.
[70] But he used to fit [...] in between.
[71] [...] that in my view is er what I call a being a glutton for work.
(FY5PS000) [laugh]
(PS25J) [72] But er as I say there were people really worse off than we were but we weren't all that well off and my mother as I say took in washing and did black leading and all that sort of thing for very small remuneration.
[73] Erm
(FY5PS000) [74] How many other er other children [...]
(PS25J) [75] There was just one sister , just one sister.
[76] I have one, she's still alive as well.
[77] I have one sister and erm
(FY5PS000) [78] Is she younger or older ?
(PS25J) [79] Younger than me, yes, just slightly younger than me, two or three years, I don't know [laughing] exactly [] but I should say she's two or three years younger than me.
[80] Well I know she is.
[81] But erm eventually we moved from there and my father er we moved into a company house in Village.
[82] When I say a company house I mean a house that was owned by the colliery, newly built with a bathroom.
(FY5PS000) [83] Oh and when, how old were you when you moved in there ?
(PS25J) [84] Erm as near as I can tell you, I could be about er er fourteen.
(FY5PS000) [85] About fourteen.
(PS25J) [86] Yes.
[87] I'd say I'd be about fourt I should be about fourteen.
[88] Just as I was sort of starting work.
(FY5PS000) [89] Yes.
[90] Can I take you back
(PS25J) [91] Yes dear.
(FY5PS000) [92] To to before then in
(PS25J) [93] Yeah
(FY5PS000) [94] in the other house as a child
(PS25J) [95] Mhm
(FY5PS000) [96] erm what do you rem you know you mentioned the boneyard what
(PS25J) [97] Yes
(FY5PS000) [98] else do you remember about
(PS25J) [99] Ooh
(FY5PS000) [100] the area, can you describe what
(PS25J) [101] The area itself?
(FY5PS000) [102] yes what
(PS25J) [103] Erm well the house itself as I say was two up and two down, it was gas lit.
[104] There was no electricity in the house and I can very well remember the gas lighting.
[105] There wasn't even a mantle, it as a wall bracket that came out of the wall with a little tiny gas jet that fanned out sot of thing and that was your illumination for the the bedroom.
[106] The er the two rooms downstairs and a like a scullery affair at the back erm they were lit by a central gas with a mantle, gas mantle you know.
[107] Which you used to light with a taper or something like that and they had little chains on to adjust your light.
(FY5PS000) [108] Oh which can light to dimmer and [...]
(PS25J) [109] That's right, yes, yes, yes.
[110] Well it was always dim, always dim, even the bright light was dim, you know what I mean, there was there was very little illumination really when you consider what we have today.
[111] Erm the scullery now that was just cold water, out of an earthenware, er all the sinks in those days were brown.
[112] They were all, there were no white sinks as such they were all brown.
[113] And then there was a there was a coal fired copper int he corner, and er this was for washing, for boiling your clothes.
(FY5PS000) [114] Oh, can you describe that, [...]
(PS25J) [115] Yes, erm now Monday morning was invariably washday.
[116] And er your parents or your mother or your father would get up very early that morning to light the copper, so that the water would be hot to start boiling, it would probably take, it could take a couple of hours to sort of re really heat a copper full of hot water.
[117] And erm the clothes would be put in there and er they would be boiled.
(FY5PS000) [118] So it was like a large tub ?
(PS25J) [119] You can imagine all the steam.
[120] That's right it was like a huge I say huge I don't know how many gallons it would hold, it was a fair copper.
[121] And er the fire was underneath this you see in a little grate and you used to open the door and stoke it up and er more often than not it was fired by slack, which was a residue of the coal out of the coal house, you know when you broke your coal up with the lumps the the little sl bits of slack they were all put on one side for the copper fire.
[122] And er when that was done the washing the mangle was always in the yard, in the backyard, the old mangle with the wooden rollers and it was quite an effort to turn and we children very often ha to give a turn.
[123] Was erm always kept in the yard, there was no room for it in a small scullery, and there were big old wooden rollers.
[124] And as I say you used to have to erm children used to hav well the elder children had to give a turn with the mangling.
[125] Your mother fed the clothes into the rollers and you had to turn the old mangle.
(FY5PS000) [126] And this used to squeeze out the [...]
(PS25J) [127] That's right, that that was that was water you see.
[128] Erm used to have a also have a wooden tub and a ponch
(FY5PS000) [129] What was a ponch
(PS25J) [130] Well a ponch er it's sort of made of wood, and got a got a handle crosswise which you held in one half of it in each hand, it had a stem, and on the on the ponch itself was a sort of er piece of wood that had been er cut out to have about four, I think it was four, legs on this, you see and you used to stand over the ponch and
(FY5PS000) [131] Oh and
(PS25J) [132] ponch it you see.
(FY5PS000) [133] And so and and s like scrub well scrub [...]
(PS25J) [134] Well it was it was that's right it was getting the dirt out of the clothes you see.
[135] And then of course there was a erm also the scrubbing board, which was a corrugated board which you used to rub the clothes on like that.
[136] That was wash day.
[137] Erm
(FY5PS000) [138] And these were kept a in the yard, you had [...]
(PS25J) [139] That's right, all those were in the yard, that's right, yes.
[140] Along with the bastion, the bastion u hung on the on the on the toilet wall, nine times out of ten.
[141] It was a big galvanized er sort of affair you know.
[142] That you hung onto this wall and that was brought in once a week for bathing in front of the fire.
[143] On the [...]
(FY5PS000) [144] So that would, in the in the lounge would this be?
(PS25J) [145] Lounge, we didn't call it lounge then dear.
[146] It was the back room.
[147] [laugh] Lounge wasn't wasn't a word that was heard.
[148] It was drawing room for people that had them.
(FY5PS000) [149] Oh I see.
(PS25J) [150] Very seldom you heard the word lounge.
[151] Oh no it was a [laugh] that would be a misnomer if ever there was one, because there was room for a table and four chairs and perhaps a settee and that was it.
[152] I mean a room half this size and this is not a big room.
[153] Oh no they were quite small [...] and then there was the parlour.
[154] And that was invariably reserved for sort of erm weddings, births, and funerals, and perhaps on a at Christmas you'd go in there.
[155] Otherwise it would never be used.
[156] Oddly enough you had a room there, a nice room [...] the front of the house, er lots of people who were fortunate had an old piano on there and they'd have the usual weekend singsongs where you [...] very solemn music for front parlour.
[157] Er I mean this would be considered to be a front parlour and you live in the the back room.
(FY5PS000) [158] And it's the same size as the back room ?
(PS25J) [159] Yes that's right, it might have even been a little bit bigger than the back room, but very seldom used.
[160] And they very seldom had a fire in it at all.
(FY5PS000) [161] And as a child did you know that that you you didn't use this room to [...] ?
(PS25J) [162] Oh yes yes, never used it, we never used it.
[163] Yeah you say you you you could go probably weeks and never go into it.
[164] There's a door like that to come into to have a little er there wasn't a passage because the front door was straight onto the street in this room.
[165] The parlour door went straight onto the street, because it was a terrace you see and you go into the into the front room here and you have another door into the next room and another door into the scullery at the back.
[166] And then there was a yard and then there was a garden.
(FY5PS000) [167] And and what sort of size, you had the garden [...]
(PS25J) [168] Oh yes only a small garden there was small terraced gardens, you couldn't er utilise them to any great degree for for growing or anything like that.
[169] [...] flower gardens they used to use them for, some people would probably grow small things like lettuce and salads and things of that nature.
[170] But erm all the houses were the same.
[171] All the houses were the same, sort of erm, one two three four, there was perhaps four or five to a block.
[172] And then there was four or five again, and four or five again, over the street like that.
[173] But it was erm it was a happy time for in many respects you know.
[174] And although as I say people were very poor they seem to be very happy some of them.
[175] Erm I remember all of them, I know all their names, I can remember all the names of these different people.
[176] And er one old lady, that only recently died about three years ago, at about ninety seven, and she was there when I was a child.
[177] Er she'd just recently died an old lady named Mrs , lived at the first house.
[178] Used to get a sort of entry you know round the top and there was these four or five, I think five, four or five, cottages.
[179] Little houses that er were there.
[180] And quite big families were brought up in some of these houses with only two bedrooms.
[181] It's amazing really, I don't know how they used to [...] and there were only two of us.
[182] We had to share a room.
[183] But when you've got four or five or six children in a house you know with two bedrooms.
(FY5PS000) [184] However you said there were quite a few families with twelve
(PS25J) [185] Ooh yes , yes, yes.
[186] I had erm two of my mother's no my mother's they were both brothers, my mother's brothers, had eleven children each.
[187] And they lived in in smaller houses than we'd got.
[188] However
(FY5PS000) [189] And the
(PS25J) [190] they survived I don't know.
[191] Erm my mother, we were a little bit better off than they were and er [cough] I remember going to a child with my mother, to see what would be my aunt you see and uncle, and the only time I ever remember seeing my aunt with eleven children was sitting at the corner of a table with a sort of a coarse apron on and just sitting there and I never saw her doing anything.
[192] I supposed she was too fatigued to even
(FY5PS000) [193] Yes.
(PS25J) [194] walk about.
(FY5PS000) [195] And and were the children all in the house.
(PS25J) [196] Yeah, well they'd be in and out the yard and everywhere I'd, wherever they used to be I don't know.
[197] But they always used to say there was two football there was a, two football teams between the two families.
[198] That's how they used to count them up.
(FY5PS000) [laugh]
(PS25J) [199] Yes.
[200] Yes and some of them are still alive today.
[201] Yes.
[202] And they lived in er in Street, which are all gone now.
(FY5PS000) [203] Wh how far, was that quite near ?
(PS25J) [204] That's no no it was quite near.
[205] In fact it was a s , that was the erm street that the school where I attended, there was a school in this erm, in Street.
[206] It was called the Street School.
[207] Later it was called the School.
[208] That's where I had my educa education.
(FY5PS000) [209] And how was
(PS25J) [210] And that was next door to the tannery.
[211] Can you believe in building a school or a tannery next door to a, which ever came first I don't know, but the there's the school was there, the tannery was there.
[212] And don't know if you've ever ever smelt a tannery in full production, have you?
(FY5PS000) [213] No.
(PS25J) [214] Well it's horrible.
[215] [laugh] To say the least it's horrible, and yet there we were a school and a tannery side by side.
(FY5PS000) [216] And how far away from your home was this ?
(PS25J) [217] Erm oh I should be a good mile, a good mile, and that's that's another little story there.
[218] That you never hear or see today.
[219] We used to have to pass on the way to school we used to pa pass a bakehouse, Bakehouse, in Road.
[220] And erm my mother used to bake, and we used to take the clothes basket with the tins of dough ready prepared by your mother and we used to take them to the bakehouse at lunchtime, when we were coming back from our from our meal, the midday meal from home, leave them at the bakehouse and so the baker had finished his morning's baking with his oven of his own bread you see.
[221] And he used to put them into the oven while it was still hot to bake for him used to pick them up on our way home from school.
(FY5PS000) [222] Oh was this quite a usual thing for
(PS25J) [223] Ooh usual that were yes, oh lots of people did that.
(FY5PS000) [224] You you you paid your mother paid
(PS25J) [225] You paid a small fee you see or a small charge to have this and the your mother used to put the the dough in the tin and er a little s bit of paper with the name on it, you see with a name on it and that used to go in to the oven.
[226] And then we'd pick it up on our way home from school.
(FY5PS000) [227] And how often was this [...]
(PS25J) [228] Perhaps once a week, twice a week , twice a week sometimes.
(FY5PS000) [229] How many loaves would [...] ?
(PS25J) [230] And I Oh I I can't remember any anyway we used to take the clothes basket.
[231] Children used to take the clothes basket.
[232] Whe and you know, put into the clothes basket and then pick it up on our way home from school.
[233] On our way home from school we should be nibbling all the crust, [...] the nice crosspieces to eat.
(FY5PS000) [laugh]
(PS25J) [234] Yes, it's er i I think, I'm not sure if the bakehouse is still there but erm it was a man named .
[235] I remember him very well.
[236] And in the winter time we used to love to linger in the bakehouse coming home cos it was so warm.
[237] So warm you see.
(FY5PS000) [238] What er can you remember any other shops in that area?
(PS25J) [239] Oh yes I can.
[240] the butcher, on the corner of Street, the little tiny grocers where you used to go and fe your mother used to go and fetch her groceries, and if she spent three shillings in the shop she was a good customer.
[241] Erm there was also a fish and chip shop er that was as well on the corner, that was there years and years and years.
[242] Erm and then there was a Miss kept another little tiny grocer shop there.
[243] Oh I know all the shops.
[244] But the butchers shop was er a very well known shop, and er I remember very well we used to go into there er of course when things were re were really poor, you'd go into the butchers shop in the middle of the week perhaps about Thursday and erm they used to sell they used to cook their own meats then of course you know, pressed beef and all that sort of thing and I remember this beautiful big white erm well it'd be a ceramic dish affair on a stand, used to have a big piece of this pressed beef in it, cutting it off, and all the little bits used to fall round the side, well them come Thursday when [...] only got a shilling in your pocket or your parents had got a couple of shillings left, you got to fetch two pennyworth of the bits of the pressed beef that had fallen round the pan, and that was a meal.
(FY5PS000) [245] How would your mother serve that up, with with [...] ?
(PS25J) [246] Well I don't know, [...] I don't know how she'd I suppose we should have it on bread and butter or something like that you see or with bread.
[247] I mean and lets face it you came home from school er I think we used to come home about half past four from school summertime and the first thing you come into the house and you get a great big thick slice of home made bread and jam which your mother had also made, [...] also made.
[248] And that was put into your hand and you were sent out to play.
[249] We were playing marbles at you know and at and at this time of year, or whip and top and that sort of thing.
[250] And then you'd come back later and have a a sort of tea, but it would still be bread and jam, you know what I mean.
[251] Er as you got older of course you got different meals, but as youngsters we ate a terrific amount of bread and jam.
(FY5PS000) [252] What sort of jam?
(PS25J) [253] Well there was all sorts, whatever was on the go, there was raspberry jam that my mo we used to later years my father grew raspberries and that sort of thing, blackcurrant jam, my mother made all sorts of things like that.
[254] She was a good provider, my my mother was.
[255] And erm in her particular way she was quite a good cook too.
[256] They had to be, they had to be.
(FY5PS000) [257] They had to make things .
(PS25J) [258] Yes.
[259] And going back to the taking of the bread to the erm er bakehouse erm if there was a fire going they didn't do that, because they were baked in the oven, but in the summertime we did it more often than in the winter, because if there was no fire you see, there was no gas cooker or anything like that, all the cooking was done on the coal fire and the oven at the side of it.
[260] And the hot water system was a little boiler at the side of the fire as well and you used to have a ladle and take it out of the out of the er out of the boiler on the side.
[261] That's another thing you see that that that today you had a a tin ladle and it ever the ladle sort of leaked or developed a hole in ti you didn't discard it and throw it away, you used to go and buy what was called a , which was two little tin washers with a little bit of, I can't remember if it was f a fabric or or rubber, two pieces and you put one on one side and one the other and then a little screw and bolt went through, nut and bolt went through it and tightened it up and that stopped your leak, and that ladle then lasted a lot more a lot longer time.
(FY5PS000) [262] And they sold
(PS25J) [263] Now today it would have been thrown away wouldn't it.
(FY5PS000) [264] They sold these kits [...] shelf
(PS25J) [265] Oh yes, [...] I can see them on now, cards, they used to sell them on cards.
[266] You you know like erm they were they were fixed onto a card with something like elastic or something like that.
[267] And they cost cost a penny of three ha'pence one of these , they were called .
[268] And and it was like a tin ladle which I can remember ever so well the tin ladle.
(FY5PS000) [269] You didn't you didn't have a kettle then it was [...]
(PS25J) [270] Oh you had a kettle, oh you had a kettle as well, yes you had a kettle, which you used to maybe boil on the fire.
[271] Er if you were er some people had a gas ring, you know, not a cooker, a gas ring those sort of ring that you can boil a kettle on, or you could have a saucepan.
[272] I can remember very well having the first cooker we had, gas cooker we had.
[273] That was an innovation.
(FY5PS000) [274] Was that in in in this house in [...]
(PS25J) [275] That was in yes, that was in we had a gas cooker put in there.
[276] And er I can er [sigh] no electricity hadn't been put in that house because the one we moved into at , that had got electricity in it then.
[277] Er but no gas.
[278] Cooker was all electric,th they'd got no gas mains up into the into the old village in those days you see.
[279] So we were all electric there but erm this house at it was erm it was a great time really that we we I mean the kids were happy together.
[280] They played [...] I mean all sorts of games that we played they don't play today.
(FY5PS000) [281] Yes, what can you tell me about some of those ?
(PS25J) [282] Oh course I can Erm there was a game that we called er Tin Lurky You probably won't well you never hear that expression now and er we used to get this old t any tin can and er you somebody would kick it you see and er the one that was sort of one used to have to fur and fetch this tin an bring it back again and then was should all hide, sounds a daft silly game, I know, but this one had to find us and the first one he found it was his turn next to fetch the tin and then find us again.
[283] You played that for hours.
(FY5PS000) [284] Where where would you play this?
(PS25J) [285] Well that we had a favourite place for that, that was at the corner of Road and Road by the chapel, the Chapel, and because it was on a hill, slope on to.
[286] There were no houses, it was all fields beyond there.
[287] And erm we used to kick this tin down the hill and er as I say it would roll down and we would all go and hide anywhere, [...] back garden, front garden, over a wall, round a corner, anywhere like that you see.
[288] As I say the first one that was found had to, it was his turn to be on next.
[289] And then there was another game we used to play was called Peggy.
[290] And er the er we used to have a piece of wood, a small piece of wood that was shaped er like a sort of almost like torpedo at both ends.
[291] And you used to er stand this on a house brick, like it might be on there, and you had another long stick and you use to hit it on one end and as it flew in the air you see it used to fly up then you used to have to hit it as far as you
(FY5PS000) [292] Oh I see.
(PS25J) [293] could.
[294] Again you used to drop it and whoever was what we called on had to fetch this peg back again, put it onto there, and then come and find us again.
[295] That was a sort of similar game to the Tin Lurky
(FY5PS000) [296] And and you used to, where did you get these?
(PS25J) [297] We used to make them ourselves.
[298] Oh yes
(FY5PS000) [299] You used to make
(PS25J) [300] we used to make them ourselves.
[301] If you held a, got hold of a, an old sort of pickaxe shaft, that was the ideal thing for the the stick to hit the peg with you see.
[302] [...] fly in the air and hit it and away it goes, if you missed it you you missed your turn.
[303] Erm another one we used to erm do of course that was a bit more adventuresome as we got older, what was called er Spirit Tapping.
[304] Er you won't know anything about this.
[305] What happened [cough] you used to have a pin and a button and a a reel of cotton.
[306] Can you see what's coming?
(FY5PS000) [307] [laughing] No. []
(PS25J) [308] Didn't think you could, anyway you tie a piece of cotton onto the pin with a button on the end of it.
[309] And you'd stick that into the casement window of a house.
[310] Okay, put it into it and you'd tie your length of cotton or black thread onto the piece of cotton with a button that's dangling down and you'd go across the road into somebody's front garden behind a wall or behind a hedge and just keep pulling the cotton to tap on the window.
(FY5PS000) [laugh]
(PS25J) [311] This is true you know.
[312] And out would come the people to the door, course they [...] couldn't see anything or anybody, back they'd go and then you'd do it again.
[313] This was t I mean when you think about it er it was good fun and er eventually people realized what was happening and of course they knew what was happening but that went on for a long long time.
[314] They called that Spirit Tapping.
[315] If there was some old people here now they'd they'd confirm all that I'm telling you now. [...]
(FY5PS000) [316] Did you get up to any other mischievous
(PS25J) [317] Oh yes, lots of them, lots of them.
[318] There was another one that I consider today was very highly dangerous.
[319] We we used to get erm at the chapel meetings we used to get erm paper, newspaper and put up a s guttering, a spout you know, a drainpipe, and put a match to it.
[320] And it used to roar, you can imagine what the noise was like in the chapel.
[321] This is true.
[322] And they say they're all bad lads today don't they?
(FY5PS000) [laugh]
(PS25J) [323] But this used to happen, this used to happen.
[324] Aye, we've done all sorts of things, there was er I used to go to chapel as well I I we were we were compelled to go to chapel.
[325] Three times a day, well twice a day as we were young, as we get older it was three times, it means we have to go to evening chapel as well.
(FY5PS000) [326] This was er your parents [...]
(PS25J) [327] That's right, we used to go to Road Methodist and erm we got up to all sorts of capers there you know.
[328] And er but we were we were we were good boys at heart.
[329] We never hurt anyone, I think it was just sheer devilment more than anything else you know.
[330] We used to torment the poor old Superintendent unmercifully at the er Sunday School.
[331] All sorts of ways.
[332] But er I could er I I could go on for a long time on that subject but time's short dear ,
(FY5PS000) [333] This is [...]
(PS25J) [334] time's very very short you know.
[335] The anniversaries, they used to be every Easter time, an anniversary, for which the boys invariably got a new little suit, and the girls had a new frock.
[336] That was your annual affair and the er the er the chapel itself was at the end of it used to put up a tiered platform if you can imagine it you know at the end of the little chapel and the erm the younger children was on the bottom and as you got older you graduated to the top and er I don't know why it was though but er I always had to say the collection piece.
(FY5PS000) [337] What was that, can you describe it ?
(PS25J) [338] Yes well at the end of the the the er service or anniversary, whatever, I don't know if it was called a service or not.
[339] Erm there was an appeal, for the for the collection plate that was going [...] round.
[340] [cough] And we the used to pick on a on some sort of a nice looking little boy or little girl to say the collection piece that was appealing and I can't remember what it was now but er probably about four verses of what they called a collection piece, just before they started to collect you see and erm I think I said that three or four years erm running almost, so I must been pretty well good at it. [laugh]
(FY5PS000) [laugh]
(PS25J) [341] But erm it was
(FY5PS000) [...]
(PS25J) [342] enjoyable.
[343] Erm the er choir master there was a er Mr , and he was a wonderful man.
[344] He was what we called a School Board man as well he was, that was his official capacity, and in those days if you weren't at school they used to erm send a man round to see where you were, you know and why weren't you at school?
[345] And they called in the School Board man because lots of schools in those days were run by boards or erm governors I suppose they'd call them today.
[346] And er he was the choir master erm and he and he used to put us onto, we used to have various plays you know, erm maybe two a year or something like that.
(FY5PS000) [347] This was through the Sunday School?
(PS25J) [348] That's right, through the Sunday School yes.
[349] And erm I remember re re one play very very well.
[350] And in fact I've got a photograph of all the [...] somewhere about the house.
[351] And erm one of the girls that was on there became a very very famous soprano in the country, erm Connie Shackelock you've probably not heard of her, she's sort of a bit before your time but er she always used to sing Land of Hope and Glory on the last night of the Proms a few years ago.
[352] And erm that was the spirit that was in those days you see erm, they said I've got nothing to do.
[353] We'd go to choir practice perhaps one night a week, er Band of Hope another one.
[354] Now you're going to say, What's Band of Hope aren't you?
[355] [laugh] That was a sort of temperance league, you know erm where they used to erm er sort of er tell you about all the evils of strong drink.
[356] And it was like the old, similar to the old Templars that were.
[357] Erm it was called the Band of Hope.
[358] And signature tune if that's what you like to call it was Dare to be a Daniel, Dare to Pass a Public House and Dare to Make it Known.
[359] I can't tell you any more than that but that was the, they had this tune that went with it.
[360] and these ladies used to tell us all about his and try and bring us up into a clean way of life, which wasn't bad, wasn't bad at all.
(FY5PS000) [361] Did it, what did you think about, did you mind going to Sunday School?
(PS25J) [362] Well I didn't mind till I got a bit older, then I sort of started to kick, and er as I got older, that's another story.
[363] But erm er we used to have to go Sunday morning.
[364] And in the afternoon to Sunday School.
[365] As I say we got older we used to go on Sun at Sunday evenings as well.
[366] But when I look back when I think about it it probably ke kept us out of mischief you know.
[367] Cos what would we have done if we hadn't had done that?
[368] There was no such thing as radio television.
(FY5PS000) [369] And of course all your other friends of the same [...]
(PS25J) [370] Same, yes yes.
[371] The chapels used to be full, the chapels used to be full.
[372] And if we weren't, if we hadn't hav been, I mean that's probably one of the problems of today I don't know.
[373] You see there's too much spare time on their hands.
[374] We didn't seem to have any spare time.
[375] There was different th different things that we used to used to do, I mean erm that was Sunday taken care of.
[376] It was a sort of a, as you grew older mind you, it was i i i it could have been a little bit of a miserable sort of day.
[377] Because erm even when radio came er there was only sort of chamber music on the radio you know.
[378] And I think the stations used to close down at night, like on Sunday evening.
[379] And er we thought the heavens opened when la Radio Luxembourg came on at er er Sunday even all day Sunday, when we could tune to the sort of dance music and the singing and all that sort of thing.
[380] But on B B C which was the only station operating at that er time erm er Sunday was a [cough] a drab day.
[381] If you weren't a church guy.
[382] But we used to en I used to enjoy going to it, as I say until I got older and I wanted to sort of stretch my wings a little bit and and I did other things.
[383] But as a child it er to me I thou I think it was er very good.
[384] It's a pity really that er it hasn't been kept up.
[385] I think [...] for them today.
(FY5PS000) [386] How's the, and what sort of time would you spend, how long would you spend at Sunday School?
(PS25J) [387] Well well you'd go to er er I should say in the morning service, that was a service you used to have.
(FY5PS000) [388] Did you go with friends then?
(PS25J) [389] You'd go at eleven o'clock.
[390] My parents used to go occasionally, not all the time, er eleven o'clock probably till twelve.
[391] And in the afternoon I think er it was about a quarter to three till four, and that was er Sunday School.
[392] And we were taught sort of er religious knowledge and all this sort of thing you know.
[393] And in the evening, that was a service again probably from six till seven.
[394] But you see er you know you'd got to do that so in between those times you couldn't do much else could you?
[395] Apart from getting ready to to go and then coming home again you see and your meals and that sort of thing.
[396] It was Sunday pretty well taken care of.
[397] But erm during the week time, in the week you you you you used to enjoy yourself in many ways.
[398] I remember Saturday, as a boy I er I used to run errands for people for pennies, like many more did.
(FY5PS000) [399] You used to do what with that?
(PS25J) [400] Run errands,
(FY5PS000) [401] Run run errands?
(PS25J) [402] Errands for pennies, yes.
(FY5PS000) [403] That would be what, what would the errands be?
[404] What can you [...]
(PS25J) [405] Oh going to grocer the grocers and and even fetching a quarter of tea for for an old lady you see.
[405_1] Er you did a lot of it voluntary but the the better off person perhaps would give you a penny.
[406] No more, and I don't mean a new one I mean the old one you know.
[407] And erm you were very, or even a ha'penny for that matter, and you was glad of a ha'penny.
[408] And when you think of what you could but a penny bar of chocolate and and get a decent size bar of chocolate for a penny.
[409] You could buy a ha'p ha'pennyworth of sweets.
(FY5PS000) [410] So you used to spend your money on on sweets?
(PS25J) [411] Think that right, anything like that you see, yes yes.
[412] And erm I used to help a ma and there's another funny one.
[413] There used to be a man used to come with a horse and dray selling greengroceries and his name was , T .
[414] His shop was on the top end of Road, when it was Road.
[415] And he used to come to with his black horse and dray and I used to go to help him on a er on a Saturday morning, used to get to about perhaps nine or half past and I'd go the rounds with him and all I used to do was to er [cough] take the peoples things that they'd bought up the entry you see because they were all entries then.
[416] And erm when I'd finished with him I'd perhaps get a two or three specked apples or a banana or something like [...] you see.
[417] But the highlight of it was that I used to get a ride on the dray and I used he he we used to finish up the round at the bottom of erm Road, and Street.
[418] And then I used to get on to the dray and sit beside him on the box and then we'd go as far as Road, which is quite a stretch and I used o walk back.
[419] But I had the pleasure of riding on that dray all that way.
[420] That was a a a boy of course, little boy, I wouldn't be probably eight or nine years old.
[421] Used to enjoy it.
[422] That used to take card of many Saturday mornings.
[423] Another thing we used to do regularly as well we boys er [cough] there was a erm a yeast merchant in erm er Road, well I say merchant it ti it was his house, and he had a garage at the side of it and he used to sell yeast.
[424] And the yeast used to come to the erm Station at er in wicker baskets, [...] in sacks, little tiny sacks used to be, little Hessian [...] bags sort of thing, pressed into it har , you know what yeast is, you've seen yeast haven't you?
[425] And er we used to make about six trips with a two wheeled trolley from Station to his house, two boys'd do this job because it was very heavy work you know.
[426] And we'd perhaps make about six trips, and I think we used to get sixpence each for that.
[427] Not every Saturday morning but we used to do this job.
[428] He used to call on two of two boys, but there was a boy named , I remember him very well, and I used to do it regularly for this sixpence.
[429] And er it could take all all Saturday morning to do it you know.
[430] Er but we enjoyed it again it was sixpence and it was a morning you'd been doing something and that was it.
(FY5PS000) [431] How did you
(PS25J) [432] Er.
(FY5PS000) [433] find out about these little jobs?
(PS25J) [434] Oh you were, you were asked, somebody, I don't know how it came about but erm if you found there was something going you went to do it.
[435] I remember another thing I used to do, erm Estate before that was built erm there were all f open fields.
[436] It was like a sort of common land.
[437] And it was called the Daisy Field.
[438] And Road wasn't built on, that was a an a path, like a rough cart road and er Saturday afternoons in the summertime there was a coal merchant had two horses, a man named er , he lived in Street.
[439] He stabled the horses near those allotments where I've just told you about ny father had allotments.
[440] And I used to go and take these two horses and stay with them on a Saturday afternoon grazing on this Daisy Field, all Saturday afternoon.
[441] I think we used to get threepence for that Saturday afternoon's work for grazing these horses.
[442] But I was so small I can remember very well going down this what we called the Middle Pad, this Roa , it wasn't Road, I think it was called Middle Pad.
[443] It used to lead lead to Station and er I've seen these two when I've been walking around, I've seen them take their head up and lift me off the ground.
(FY5PS000) [laugh]
(PS25J) [444] I was so small you see.
(FY5PS000) [445] Yeah.
(PS25J) [446] But ern we'd stay with them all Saturday afternoon.
[447] One boy'd do it one week and another boy'd do it another week you know.
[448] And er we'd get the princely sum of threepence of doing that.
[449] Erm I graduated from that to taking newspapers which a lot of us did.
(FY5PS000) [450] W would you, when would you do this?
(PS25J) [451] Twelve, you weren't allowed to do it until you were twelve.
[452] Twelve to fourteen you did that, and I took papers out for a newsagent called on erm .
[453] I had two rounds in the morning and a round in the evening.
[454] And the two rounds in the morning you did the bottom half of , for the first round and you went back to the shop and you got another bag full of papers and you did the top half of , if you know it.
[455] And erm [cough] like such streets as Street, Road, Street, er Road, Road, Street, all those streets you did.
[456] That was the top half, that was the upper crust,th they were funny [...] .
[457] The the the the so called better off people lived at the top half, and the the the poorer type of people or the poorer class of property was on the bottom half, oddly enough and er
(FY5PS000) [458] What sort er you were saying
(PS25J) [459] Sort of segregation
(FY5PS000) [460] Better off people, what sort of jobs [...]
(PS25J) [461] Well sort of well well you see er when I say that I mean erm er er insurance men, postmen, and postman was a very good job in those days you see.
[462] Postman was looked up to in those days, he was an educated man.
[463] A really educated man, if you if anyone had any forms to fill in er it was the postman you invariably went to, because he was considered to be, he could read and write you see.
[464] Er and lots of people couldn't.
[465] Er er bank clerks, this was the top half er shop keepers, erm and and and sort of the further you went to they, the better the people came because they were top half I mean I remember Tom Williams the professional golfer, he lived up there.
[466] Er the bank manager lived at the top half.
[467] Erm and various people like that you see and it seemed to sort of you you went up the scale.
(FY5PS000) [468] Yeah
(PS25J) [469] Funnily enough, like that you see, I don't know why, dunno why, but erm it was so .
(FY5PS000) [470] And and you the other half I mean what sort of
(PS25J) [471] Well the lower class of course they were the labouring class and the out of works and and the very low, you see the the people on probably a wage of two pounds a week and less.
[472] And when you think of a railwayman earning a pound and thirty shillings a week you know.
[473] Yes, as a as a as a porter or a a a erm what they what used to call them that worked on the line, there was a special name for the li the people that read repaired the lines.
[474] They were very very poorly paid, on the railway.
[475] Well look at a miner I mean if he worked three days a week he might only get thirty shillings, in tho very very very seldom worked a full week.
[476] And you got to bring families up on this you know.
(FY5PS000) [477] Why why why didn't they work, you said they di very seldom
(PS25J) [478] The work wasn't there, the work wasn't there.
(FY5PS000) [479] So [...]
(PS25J) [480] If they didn't want the coal they didn't go to work.
[481] Not like ti is now stockpiling it you know, and here we are paying interest on a mou , umpteen million pounds worth of coal.
[482] Oh no if the if the if the if the if the owners well they were privately owned then the mines were and if they didn't want to er get the coal out you didn't work.
[483] If they couldn't sell the coal.
(FY5PS000) [484] So this would affect your father then ?
(PS25J) [485] On no my father was fortunate you see because he'd got to go to work because of the
(FY5PS000) [486] Because of the horses.
(PS25J) [487] He was very lucky.
[488] He had to go you see, but I mean er [cough] later in my lifetime when we lived in the in the village at I can remember very very well the the er the miners there er going to work and then coming home again, going to work and coming home again, nothing for them to do.
[489] There was a special system they had of erm of giving out work.
[490] I forget what they call the men but the men used to sit in groups, I can see them now siting in groups.
[491] And this er oh dear what was the name of it, they had a special title for the man that sort of ran the stall as they called it for getting the coal out and he he chose who he wanted to go to work.
[492] You were you were new.
[493] But erm it was rough but it was er it was a good way of life in some respects you know.
(FY5PS000) [494] Was there much, can you remember much unemployment? [...]
(PS25J) [495] Oh yes, yes oh yes a lot of it in the thirties, tremendous amount of unemployment.
[496] In fact it was far worse than it is today you know.
[497] Er they grumble about it today but when you think there there there was very little dole in those days, very little dole.
[498] I mean I can remember the nineteen twenty, I I weren't sure whether it was the twenty one or the twenty six strike, and my father was erm on strike, you see, but the ponies had to be thus cared for in the field an I don't think he received any pay and I remember very well erm going to the, my father applying for relief, and er we had to go and face the erm Court of Referees.
[499] And I can remember as a child my mother had to go, my sister, myself, and my father.
[500] And we were called into [cough] this [] long room [cough] at the erm it was at House at and er there was all these well I considered them to be old men, they couldn't have been so old you see but I was only a boy.
[501] And my father was a applying for this relief.
(FY5PS000) [502] This, can you just explain the relief was
(PS25J) [503] Well the relief was for , money to live on you see.
(FY5PS000) [504] Yes so this was through the [...]
(PS25J) [505] Well [...] it was it was charity you see.
[506] It was the local council money sort of thing, Government money
(FY5PS000) [507] [...] Government yes.
(PS25J) [508] Like it would be D H S S today you see.
[509] And erm anyway they went into all your means, and what you'd got and what you hadn't got, I think my father had to sell his cycle.
[510] And then we were down to five shillings a week, there was four of us you see, five shillings a week relief.
[511] And erm the provivo proviso was that you had to pay it back though. [break in recording]
(PS25J) [512] And as I I recall on a Saturday morning I used to have to take the er one and sixpence each Saturday back to this House, and they used to issue us a little receipt and I remember my father keeping all those receipts until it was paid off.
[513] And when you think of a man earning about at the most two pounds ten shillings a week, one and sixpence was quite a sizable amount out of it, but eventually he paid it all off.
[514] Erm and during that strike erm we were fed in a soup kitchen.
[515] And I presume you know what a soup kitchen was like.
(FY5PS000) [516] No, could could you explain [...] ?
(PS25J) [517] Yes, erm well it was the back scullery of a er a local person's house, now these people, er it was a Mr and a Mrs .
[518] That er lived in this house and they were the the real grass roots of the old Labour Party, the real socialists, not like the ones that we know today that only pay lip service to it.
[519] They were the workers and er they sort of opened their kitchen up, or the back scullery, they went round to the local butcher scrounging and begging meat, to the greengrocers for peas, parsnips, carrots, you name it it all went into this big huge copper, which I've previously described to you as a washing copper, and they boiled all this soup up and we kids used to take the a jug and er we had to find the biggest jug we could, in the house that we could get, well the biggest jug we ever had was the wash-hand stand that was in the bedroom, that's the wash-hand stand jug.
[520] You probably don't remember it but there used to be a bowl and a big jug for washing you in the bedroom.
[521] You used to fill it with hot or cold water and use the bowl.
[522] Well we used to take this wash-hand stand jug fro the soup and er they'd fill er this with vegetable soup and er a hunk of bread.
[523] They didn't use to cut it in slices they used to break you a piece off a a big loaf.
[524] And er the reason we took the biggest jug we could find it wasn't so much to feed two children in the house you're parents also wanted a bowl because believe me in those times we were we were hungry, we were dear, very very hungry.
[525] But er we survived it and erm er another [...] my father was a was a born countryman and er during his time he used to go and do a bit of er poaching.
[526] And I remember very very well he had a big heavy coat and my mother put him in a very big pocket on the inside of the coat and we always called that his rabbit pocket, because he very often came home with a rabbit.
[527] [cough] Also as very rare delicacy at times we used to get the odd pheasant, and the odd partridge.
[528] And of course during the strike period er this is one of the things he used to supplement our meals with you see.
(FY5PS000) [529] Where where would he go to?
(PS25J) [530] Well he'd go [laugh] , er we lived at this t time in Road, well you went up the top of Road and then you were across and on into Forrest.
[531] Now beyond Forrest there were all fields, there were the two railways, the old Great Central Railway on one side of Forrest and the old Great Northern Railway on the other side of the forest.
[532] Well my father, when we lived there he worked at the Colliery and he used to walk home and during he s , before before he m before the strike we used to have these pheasants and things, and rabbits which he used to catch, because early morning he seemed to know exactly where to go to get a a pheasant that was roosting in a tree, you see or a bush.
[533] The rabbits he used to put a snare down for, and erm if we were lucky we got one.
[534] But during the er strike he used to go out purposely to get them and he used to go onto these fields.
[535] He would probably have got shop by the local farmers if he'd been caught but er he used to go on these local fields and er and er sn snare rabbits you see, or get a rabbit.
[536] And that used to supplement our our meals.
[537] And he wasn't the only one that was doing this you know, my father wasn't an individual just on h his own, there were other men did this sort of thing.
[538] And er that's how we we survived the the strike as we did.
[539] Er we got through it.Erm and when you think there was no money from anywhere but that five shillings a week that we got from the, from the er I think it was called the Board of Guardians, I'm not sure, and er we survived.
[540] Erm I did know at that particular time know what it was to have holes in my shoes, and a piece of cardboard put into it to protect your foot from the hole.
[541] Like a, thousands more, and another thing we knew we we very often, my wife and I were talking about it only the other day, there was an old saying that er er Percy White's out of prison.
[542] I don't suppose you now what that means at all do you ?
(FY5PS000) [543] No, no what does that mean ?
(PS25J) [544] Well that's when you've got a hole on your trousers and your shirt was poking through.
(FY5PS000) [545] Oh.
(PS25J) [546] And you was you was told that Percy White was out of prison.
(FY5PS000) [laugh]
(PS25J) [547] This is true dear.
[548] b my wife and I was only discussing it er day before yesterday I think it was, we were talking about it because we were talking about this sort of thing.
(FY5PS000) [549] Would your mother, did your mother make clothes for the family ?
(PS25J) [550] No I I , she had a machine, we had a sewing machine, I could tell you a story about that but I won't.
[551] Er she had a sewing machine, she used to make er sort of shirts but not suits and things like that she didn't, she repaired them.
[552] You'd have a patch you see and your trousers would be patched, and er I had no brothers to sort of hand-me-downs so of course mine we went had to be worn out, and erm you're normal attire in those days was a er a pair of trousers and a jersey, you didn't have a suit as such.
[553] Er when you did get a suit it had to be kept for Sunday, for going to to chapel you see, and if you were going to have a new suit it would always be at anniversary time, you didn't get one every anniversary.
(FY5PS000) [554] This was Easter time, this what you call an anniversary .
(PS25J) [555] Easter time that's right, round about now.
(FY5PS000) [556] Yes.
(PS25J) [557] Round about now.
[558] And erm that's when you er when you had your a a a new new rig out as they called it in those days, they called it a rig out, new rig out in those days.
[559] Might get a pair of shoes and a two piece [...] coat and trousers you see, but invariably your school attire was a jersey and er a pair of trousers.
[560] And er never shoes they were always boots, didn't have sort of half shoes it was always a pair of boots that you had.
[561] And er stockings and er
(FY5PS000) [562] You ha you wore stockings then ?
(PS25J) [563] Wore stockings that's right yes you wore stockings.
[564] Erm and I I as far as I can remember I think such things as underwear were unknown.
[565] You know a pair of pants and vest.
[566] You'd wear er you might have a little vest in the wintertime but erm I think they was virtually unknown.
[567] And when I think back you know when I think about it and in the lower class of family even pyjamas were unknown.
[568] A a lad that wore pyjamas was considered to be a bit of a a sissy type of a lad you see.
[569] You'd go to you'd go to bed in a well if you were lucky you had a nightshirt or even in your own shirt that you was, as a young man you would.
(FY5PS000) [570] Mm.
(PS25J) [571] [...] you know, how that change has taken place and I as I say we we were we were compared to some we were well off, we'd got a tap in the house.So many people hadn't even got a tap they were in the yard, and that tap was shared by a dozen families.
[572] That's that that up to recent times was happening in .
(FY5PS000) [573] And and in this the street where you lived did most people have taps [...]
(PS25J) [574] Oh they had a tap in the house, everybody had a tap in the house and they had their own toilets.
(FY5PS000) [575] [...] toilet
(PS25J) [576] And the and the toilet the toilet was adjacent to the, was built on to the house.
[577] But a lot of them at the bottom of the garden.
[578] You used to have to go right down the garden.
[579] But ours was, we had the the house the s the scullery if I can describe it and then there was the coal house and then there was a toilet.
[580] As I've said to you the the old bastinal used to hang on the toilet wall outside [...] was a whole row of them you know these these big galvanized bath things that were brought in on maybe on a Friday night.
[581] And the youngest was bathed first to the eldest and as the young one was bathed bed, upstairs to bed, upstairs to bed, you see and so it went on.
[582] Can you imagine it?
[583] Not much. [laugh]
(FY5PS000) [laugh]
(PS25J) [584] Oh dear.
[585] But erm I erm I recall as well the shops that we were talking about.
[586] [whispering] I'm not sure [...] [] , the grocer's shop erm , now er they did credit trading in those days and most people took the credit.
[587] You used to have a little book and er the grocer would write it down what you'd had in the book you see and then you had to pay for it on th at the weekend.
[588] And if you didn't pay for it at the weekend you got no groceries next week.
(FY5PS000) [589] Mm.
(PS25J) [590] And erm that's how it used to be so o obviously you had to pay like that but er I can remember the the Coop coming to .
[591] It was called, I I can't remember it opening but I can remember the the Cooperatives Association, not the , it was the .
[592] And that was on the corner of er er Road and Street at .
[593] And they had a shop on Vale as well and a shop in erm on , big s store on Road at but that was the Cop , independent Coop you see, like they all were in those days, the Coop, the Coop and so on, had a Coop, had a Coop, had a Coop at er, they've all had three shops.
[594] And this was a wonderful old grocery shop, er plain wooden floors you know, no tiles or anything like that, just the wood floors and I can see the barrels of apples and the barrels of this and then the oranges and the all the groceries and the bags of flour and the bags of sugar and and the and the grocer weighing the sugar up and all this sort of thing.
[595] And the tea in tea chests, loose tea in tea chests and you used to weigh it up by the quarter. [...]
(FY5PS000) [596] So everything used to be weighed [...]
(PS25J) [597] Weighed, yes yes, very little prepacked.
[598] Well it was more, it wasn't profitable you see the the the profit lay in the er in the in the packaging of the goods.
[599] I mean i i the new innovation is just coming round today I see [...] starting the same thing all over again, you're weighing your own products at the .
[600] You see it's it's a little cheaper, see.
[601] But erm and all sugar used to be packed in thick, very thick blue bags, heavy blue thick bags, and there's an art in doing it as well in folding the the bag [...] , I've watched them hours and hours.
[602] And er they used to pat the butter.
[603] The butter was all loose, there was no prepacked butter, it was all c came in tubs you know.
[604] And the and they used to pat the butter, there was one firm that specialized in nothing else, the .
[605] And er you you you could hear them patting this butter outside a shop you know, it was a lovely sound on marble slabs and they were patting away at this butter.
[606] But
(FY5PS000) [607] And how would they s how would they sell that?
[608] How would you take the butter home then ?
(PS25J) [609] Buy it by pound, yes, they wrapped it up in paper wr in greaseproof paper yes they'd pat it into
(FY5PS000) [610] They wrapped it up in paper.
(PS25J) [611] a square.
(FY5PS000) [612] Oh I see.
(PS25J) [613] And take so much off and pat it up and then then wrap it, very nice and neatly.
[614] When you think of the work that the old grocer used to have to do you know, make you a three corner bag out of a bit of paper, to put a pennyworth of pepper in.
[615] I mean can you see it really when
(FY5PS000) [616] Yeah.
(PS25J) [617] when you think about it, yeah.
[618] And of course they sold almost everything [...] the grocer sold almost everything.
[619] And er the then again that that's all all changed.
[620] Erm even the chemist shop as such has changed.
[621] That's been sort of revolutionized, when you when you think that you used to have to buy, didn't have to buy your tea, but you used to buy a [...] tea from the chemist shop and the only person that sold it was a chemist, that was .
[622] Which is sold everywhere today, you could only buy it in a chemist shop, tea.
[623] Along with tea, that was another brand that the chemist used to sell.
[624] was a digestive tea, they called it Digestive Tea in those days.
[625] To sell it of course, but erm that was another facet of it.
(FY5PS000) [626] Did you go with your mother then shopping
(PS25J) [627] Oh yes, yes.
[628] And I could tell you another story as well, I maybe used to pinch an apple out of one of the barrels.
[629] But the shop, the store manager knew and it was paid for.
(FY5PS000) [630] Oh I see.
(PS25J) [631] You see, he knew.
[632] Ah.
[633] As a child, I can remember it ever so well, doing it, mm, taking this apple out and and invariably used to have one when I went in.
[634] But me mother used to pay for it you see.
[635] It was an understood thing, I think the kids used to do this but the parents used to,
(FY5PS000) [636] Use used to pay
(PS25J) [637] Used to yes used to put it right yes.
[638] He told [...] hadn't he, the manager.
[639] But erm those were those those were school days.
[640] The school itself as I say I went to er Street School.
[641] And er in later days it was called the School.
[642] It got rather sort of upgraded.
(FY5PS000) [643] What sort of, what time did you start school, can you remember ?
(PS25J) [644] Nine o'clock in the morning , er till twelve.
[645] We used to have a lunch break at around about half past ten I think ti was, we used to go out for a quarter of an hour into the school yard to play and have your lunch.
[646] You used to take your lunch with you, as sandwiches.
[647] Erm I can recall my first day at school.
[648] It was a Miss , was the he the teacher.
[649] And a Miss was the head mistress.
[650] This was the junior school, we went at five.
[651] And as I say you took your little wrapped up lunch invariably in newspaper, because they was no such thing as tissue paper int hose days you know, that wasn't hardly available.
[652] And erm you used to cut it into the basket in the corner.
[653] And
(FY5PS000) [654] What everybody had to put their
(PS25J) [655] Everybody yes the name, your name was on written on it you see.
[656] Everyone put their lunch into the basket in the corner and in this first class there used to be a a sandpit and I remember we we had very big cards, well I say very big about six inches long by three inches wide.
[657] And each one had got different letters of the alphabet ion it and that's how we learnt the alphabet.
[658] With these cards.
[659] I think there was three or four classes in the primary school.
[660] Then you graduated into the sort of the er erm upper school.
(FY5PS000) [661] And you say in in in this class, this is when you first went to school they had a sandpit, this was for playing in ?
(PS25J) [662] That's right playing in, the sandpit, that's right a, a sandpit in the corner for playi we kids to play in you see.
[663] And er I remember this Miss very well, she was i , skirt down to her ankles sort of thing, black skirt you know and high collar and sort of tied hair, very dark person but she was a very nice charming lady as I recall now.
[664] And erm I think you know you you owe quite a lot to your first teachers, quite a lot.
[665] And er I I as I say I moved up into the next er school.
(FY5PS000) [666] Can you re remember what sort , oh this was a different school?
(PS25J) [667] No, same in the same school, in the same school yes, different different
(FY5PS000) [...]
(PS25J) [668] sort of department sort of thing.
[669] The primary school was a small school on one side and then we moved over to the boys, and the the boys school was on the top floor and the girls school was on the bottom floor.
[670] And we all used to we we both schools ended up, er used to use the same assembly hall.
[671] And erm we used to go into the assembly hall every morning for prayer and then we should just go up to the erm we we used to go upstairs to the er to the classrooms which were off a long corridor.
[672] There was one long corridor and all the classrooms were were off this corridor you see, I I should think there'd be er five, five classrooms, it was it was no sixth form.
(FY5PS000) [673] Can you remember what sort of s , how many children to a class, [...] ?
(PS25J) [674] Oh yes I can, about forty or fifty of us to a class.
[675] And erm the first class was a Mr erm Mis was a Miss .
[676] A Miss , that's right, she took the first class.
[677] That was one of the, graduating from the primary to the upper school.
[678] And I remember her very well and the next class we went into was a a Mr .
(FY5PS000) [679] Can you remember what sort of lessons you you did [...] ?
(PS25J) [680] Oh yes, yes, yes, we did er we did everything, all the the three Rs and everything else.
[681] And as we got up into the classes we also had a woodwork er centre, and metal shop there.
[682] And we also had a swimming pool about, a small swimming pool.
[683] Er only a small one, erm it was real a a learner er swimming pool, but erm the less
(FY5PS000) [684] This was contained in the school grounds?
(PS25J) [685] That's right, yes, well it was a school yard, it wasn't, they weren't grounds a as such, it was a yard.
[686] An asphalt yard.
[687] And erm we erm when you got to about the third class I think you you was allowed to participate int he woodwork and metal er class, you used to go across for half a day a week.
[688] And other schools in the area used to use this facility as well as well as we did.
[689] And the the pool too.
[690] Like from Road at , and er I think I'm not sure whether or didn't use to use it as well.
[691] There was quite a few schools used it.
[692] Road schools, they used it.
[693] Er the woodwork centre as well.
[694] A man named was the er principal of that er of the woodwork and metal, I think there were two teachers there two instructors if you'd like to call them that.
(FY5PS000) [695] And what
(PS25J) [696] Erm
(FY5PS000) [697] what would you do in this sort of would you make things that you could take home ?
(PS25J) [698] Oh we'd make things, make things, that's right, yes, [...] instruction.
[699] They taught you how to to saw a piece of wood and how to make a joint, a dovetail joint or a mortice and [...] joint.
[700] Er I think I [...] , the height of my erm efforts there was I made a needle box, a needlework box, with all the partitions in and we French polished it and all this sort of thing.
[701] And I also made a couple of erm copper ashtrays and and and beat them.
[702] And we also did a bit of leather work to, where we used to hammer the the leather and put colours on to it to make purses and that sort of thing.
[703] These are things they don't do at school today do they?
[704] Not much of them anyway.
[705] Not in that class of school.
(FY5PS000) [706] And would these be with the with the idea of teaching you almost like a trade, you know sort ?
(PS25J) [707] No no no no no not a trade, just to make you handy.
[708] No it was just it was just so you, I mean let's face it, er my father used to mend our shoes, repair our shoes, in fact I've still got his hobbing iron now.
[709] You don't know what a hobbing iron is do you?
(FY5PS000) [710] No. [laugh]
(PS25J) [laugh] [break in recording]
(PS25J) [711] It was cast in heavy metal and er it had er sort of a a sole on one e part of it, and a heel on the other part, and then there was a small children's sole.
[712] And er you sort of pull the shoe over the sole and er then hit, my father would sort of shape a piece of leather around the sole of the shoe and then er he would sort of tacks that went through, the hobbing iron which was iron of cours tacks that went through, the hobbing iron which was iron of course would bend them over inside your shoe, just like a normal cobbler repairs shoe.
[713] Then he'd have a, then when he'd done that he'd have a erm, oh I think they used to call it a a wax ball, er to rub round the end of the sole and have a an iron that he would rub this wax into the seam between your your your shoe itself and the leather to seal that off and make it waterproof.
[714] And it all our shoes were repaired on the backyard, like that er he had no shed ad there was no outbuildings were we lived at anyway, and er he'd always sit in the summertime in the backyard repairing shoes.
(FY5PS000) [715] Where wold he get the material for [...] ?
(PS25J) [716] He'd buy that from a cobbler's shop, from a shoe repairer's shop.
[717] Erm of which were there were many in those days er, not so many today of course but er er ooh I should say there were probably on Vale which was our nearest sort of shopping area to where we lived, there were probably two or three erm shoe repairers, including , and you could go and buy leather there.
[718] Get a a small piece, you could buy a I think it was called a side of leather or a whole piece of leather and cut yourselves out of it.And erm leather wasn't cheap even in those days, it varied in thickness.
[719] In ladies' shoes it was a thinner leather and the men's shoes it was a thicker leather.
[720] That's another thing they used to do in those days they never do now, a lot of men when they bought a pair of boots, they had them what they called plumped.
[721] And they'd buy a brand new pair of boots and take them straight round to the shoe repairer and have an extra sole put on, from brand new to make them last longer.
[722] You'd see men walking round on their shoes about an inch thick, you see.
[723] And the the moment that that sort of sole had worn off that the shoe repairer had put on it wasn't allowed to go any further than that, it was taken off and another one put on.
[724] Consequently their sh their their boots lasted them almost a lifetime.
[725] And er on your, on the better shoe, like you what we call, might call a Sunday shoe, you'd have a a rubber heel put on, I don't mean just a a complete heel but a round disc that was screwed on to your heel, if I can explain that to you.
[726] It's like a a rou round disc that screwed on and as that wore at the back you used to just slacken the screw slightly and turn it round until a little bit more of it wore and then you turn it round again until the whole thing was worn down.
[727] Then you replaced that, that was saving your heels.
[728] This was for economy's sake you see, you couldn't afford to buy shoes like people buy them now and just throw them away.
[729] Er a pair of shoes if you bought it had to last you a long long time.
[730] And these were the things that did
(FY5PS000) [731] And the only time you would get a new pair was if the top part of the shoe [...]
(PS25J) [732] That's right, if the sho if the top part of the shoe went that was the only you got a new pair or if or if it burst around the sole and the seam.
[733] Er there was there was a erm a stud that was called a .
[734] Er that was the name of the manufacturer an you used to buy them on cards, they were all sizes and the big one you used to put onto the tips of your your er soles just in on the tips, to save the front of the shoe.
[735] And the er if you didn't have your rubber soles which er a lot of people didn't really like, I think most people thought they were a bit effeminate, most men did anyway, and they used to have these little metal tips put on, you see, or a metal sort of cross section across the heel, that was to save your your shoes again.
(FY5PS000) [736] Would would women's shoes have the metal soles ?
(PS25J) [737] Oh yes, women, yes they'd have little tips, little put on, but theirs were little tiny ones.
[738] Erm we boys, my father used to s what we call stud our shoes, and they were round sort of metal studs, and these were sort of knocked into your soles to save the leather.
[739] This was innovation all the time just for economy's sake, you you as I say you you just couldn't afford, although you could buy er a beautiful pair of shoes for twelve and six, that was a lot of money.
(FY5PS000) [740] Where would where would your parents buy your clothes?
[741] Would you go into the city to buy [...] ?
(PS25J) [742] Oh no, no, no, no, local shops, local shops.
[743] I don't think I ever I have ever [...] anything out of the city at all.
[744] Er th the main shopping area for us when we li well it was when we, for both places, was .
[745] Well Main Street catered for almost everything.
[746] There was everything that you particularly could want from a grand piano to a pin sold in Main Street.
[747] I mean there were erm draper's stores, there were furniture stores, there were all the butcher's shops, grocer's shops, greengrocer's shops, chemist's shops, ladies' outfitters, hatters, tripe shops, er seed merchants, er bakers, millers, erm I can't say there were wallpaper sop shops and paint shops as such because there wasn't such a thing as a wallpaper shop specializing it usually went to the hardware shop for wallpaper and paint.
[748] And paint wasn't as you know it today, there were perhaps three colours in paints, green, brown and cream.
[749] Everyone's house, and that's another thing, if you wanted to paint as your house inside, the cupboards and the doors, they were painted brown and that was a lifetime's job, they were never done again, not like you do now with this freshening up of paint every so often.
[750] Er wallpapering erm you invariably did that yourself or there were there were paperhangers and decorators about.
[751] Erm if I remember correctly the pre-War price for hanging a wall up, a roll of wallpaper was about sixpence a roll, and that included preparing as well.
[752] And if you wanted ten rolls of wallpaper they'd paper your room for five shillings.
[753] In fact I have a bill somewhere where the next door to me at at the shop on Street was papered from top to bottom and the total bill for the paper and labour I think is under three pounds and that included el e e e eleven rolls for a staircase.
(FY5PS000) [754] So most rooms were papered you didn't leave the walls just painted ?
(PS25J) [755] Oh no no no, there was no such, there was there was distemper as it was called, er not like emulsion is today, there was this distemper that was called but er oh no that was that was for the pigsty the distemper was, whitewash.
[756] People used to whitewash their ceilings.
[757] Erm with whitewash not with er emulsion, that was too expensive, they'd buy a packet of [...] a packet of which would make so many gallons of whitewash and you'd whitewash the ceiling.
[758] But er if you had to paper the parlour was always papered in the ceiling but he kitchen was always whitewashed because we had these, if I explain to you these er fireplaces that er weren't very successful burning coal you know and the smoke would rise and before you knew where you were the ceiling was black again so sort of every so often up went the whitewash brush and you'd whitewash the the ceiling.
[759] But erm the paintwork was always, inside a house was always brown, like this is, as you can see it's woodwork, it was it was a colour like a chocolaty brown.
[760] And er I never remember er my parents painting anything in the house at all.
[761] I don't think my father would've known how to use a paint brush anyway.
[762] You know what I mean i i it wasn't done, wasn't done.
[763] Th th when the house was built it was painted and I think that used to last it's lifetime.
[764] Mind you it was paint then it wasn't like it is today, it was sort of good lead paint was put on, and it did last.
[765] And that's another thing I mean where erm as I got I mean cleaning was sort of a a spring clean was springtime and that was it.
[766] You had a turn out then and I think it lasted till the next spring, not like taking curtains up and down like people do now and hoover for the carpets, course the carpet would be taken out and beaten as you as you know, they weren't they were slung onto a line and beaten with anything that was handy.
[767] There was no such thing as a vacuum cleaners or anything like that you know.And er er that's just how it went on.
[768] It was an amazing thing really when I when I look back and think about the decoration side of it because, those fireplaces were had to be seen to be believed because they were, if the wind was in the wrong, you we , the room was full of smoke.
[769] And the kitchen was just through there and er my mother when she used to bake and cook er the blue smoke would be everywhere and er it must have been terrible when you think about it you know, terrible, it must've been.
[770] But er they they managed, they managed, they coped.
(FY5PS000) [771] Just going, [...] you were talking about [cough] decorations, with going back to the school, we were talking previously about school,
(PS25J) [772] Yeah.
(FY5PS000) [773] h what were your, can you remember
(PS25J) [774] [cough] excuse me.
(FY5PS000) [775] what the classrooms were like?
[776] How were they
(PS25J) [777] Oh very vividly.
[778] Erm now the the it was it was a it was a mixed school but the girls were all on the, it wasn't a mixed school in the sense of the word there was mixed in classes.
[779] There was the the boys section, the girls section, and the juvenile section.
[780] Now the juvenile section was on one side of the yard, the school yard.
[781] And there was this long building on the er the other side of the er yard.
[782] Now the down floor or or the ground floor er th was the girls, and the assembly hall, the big assembly hall, and the boys classrooms were above the girls, you went upstairs, you see onto one wing.
[783] And there was a very long corridor with a mo what must have been I should think five, there was no sixth form, so there'd be five classes, five classrooms off this long the hallway perhaps as wide as this room which is what thirteen feet.
[784] And er the classrooms were off this with sort of wooden petitions and glass, in the door.
[785] And erm the er the first class was right at the very far end of the corridor.
[786] That's where you graduated from the junior class as a boy, you'd move up to that first class on this er this long corridor.
[787] And each year you moved up whether you were good, bad or indifferent you moved up one class, you see.
[788] You were you never stayed in the same class two years.
[789] Erm you you came up this that's right class one and then class two, and then class three, class four, class five, that's right, right to the very end.
[790] And the headmaster's room was at the very end of that corridor where the fifth class was.
[791] Er and we called er his name it was a Mr , we always called him Gaffer , it was never Mr , it was the Gaffer was the headmaster.
[792] And er he used to pop in and occasionally take the fifth class, whether it was because it was near to his office I don't know.
[793] But erm that was your final one and er that was run by a Mr , I remember Mr because he was also the sports master as well. [...]
(FY5PS000) [794] So each class had mixed ability groups [...] mixed ability [...]
(PS25J) [795] Oh yes, yes yes, oh yes, it was just d if you was if you was behind then it was just too bad.
[796] Because erm even going back to those days it was the bright ones that were pushed forward and the the sort of dog take the hinder most sort of thing you know.
[797] And erm I think I was in the middle somewhere, I wasn't er brilliant but I must have been somewhere in the middle I suppose.
[798] I I can't complain, I had a reasonable education there, as to what was available, as to what was available.
[799] But erm it was good, the school life was very, very very good because the teachers, they were they were excellent men when I look back and think about it, they really were.
[800] And er what I see of the modern teacher I'm probably looking out with three different eyes, they don't seem to come up to the same standing as those men were, at all because one thing that I I remember very vividly about them all, and they were family men, what I call family men.
[801] And er I don't know they seemed to be sort of more worldly wide in many respects.
[802] Probably weren't I don't know but they seemed to us I may be looking at it from a child's eyes but er that's how they seemed to be to me.
[803] I mean er I remember one year we had to we was asked to write an essay or a composition as it was called then, not essay, composition.
[804] As to what we were going to do in our school holidays, and if I don't, let's see, the teacher was named , it's be the fourth class, and er two of us decided we were going to, and this was before the days of hiking as such, we decided we were going to go hiking.
[805] We didn't call ti hiking we were going on a walk.
[806] And we described what we were going to do on this walk and where we were going to go and both sort of referred to the same composition and there was a prize for the for the one that was judged the best.
[807] Anyway this boy and I was judged to be the most original and the best you see.
[808] And er the prize was a erm a trip into the with a teacher, on his motorbike and sidecar, he'd got a motorbike and sidecar.
[809] And er he he wen he took along on this jaunt right out to , into the, [...] he showed us the erm major oak, I can remember it very well.
[810] And he came, when we came back again, he brought us along the erm main road back and er and er he we visited er Bridge.
[811] Now this was the old wooden toll bridge, before the new bridge was built, I remember that being built in nineteen twenty eight.
[812] And erm this was the first time that I'd ever been sort of as far afield into the country as this, and to go and see the erm er Toll Bridge at , that was, and top go over it, because it was a long wooden bridge that used to go over, and er we thought that was absolutely fantastic.
[813] That was our prize for writing an essay, but he was a human being, this this teacher, he seemed to be so friendly towards us, you know.
[814] Although erm on the other hand I'd plenty of strap, what we call strap you know.
(FY5PS000) [815] Was what form of discipline [...] ?
(PS25J) [816] Yes, oh yes.
[817] The cane, cane and strap you used to have, the teacher used to give us the strap, the headmaster used to give us the cane.
[818] Erm
(FY5PS000) [819] What was the strap, can you describe ?
(PS25J) [820] Oh yes, it was a leather er erm a piece of leather with three tongs on it and a handle to it, and er you used to have this strap on your hand.
[821] Not your body at all.
[822] And er er it varied from one stroke on one hand for a certain thing or one on each hand, up to I've had as many as six strokes of the strap.
(FY5PS000) [823] What what would you have done wrong to get say one strap?
(PS25J) [824] One strap?
[825] Erm talking.
[826] Persistent talking you would get two.
[827] In fact I had it six for talking in class, I remember very vividly having six strokes of the strap on my hand.
(FY5PS000) [828] So
(PS25J) [829] Oh we used to shake our hands, we didn't use to go home complaining.
[830] We didn't report them to the authorities, or anything like, we knew we'd we'd earned them.
[831] I had strap many times, I remember once, on my desk, in my desk, they were lift up desks at the time, and it it and it was teacher was a grand fellow , and I got under my desk, underneath my desk, written underneath it, erm God helps them that helps themselves, but God help them that I catch in this desk.
[832] And of course we used to have desk infect inspections, of course we used to take that down before a desk inspection you see, this we had a surprise inspection and lifted it up and saw this and read it out, read it [...] , Right, he said, And we'll go God's going to help you do something else, come out .
[833] And I had three strokes on each hand for that.
(FY5PS000) [834] So he'd hit you in front of the class ?
(PS25J) [835] Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes, we used to get punishment in front of class.
[836] Now anything really deadly serious that took place then you taken to the headmaster's room and he dealt with it.
(FY5PS000) [837] What were these serious
(PS25J) [838] Cane.
[839] With a cane.
[840] Now being late, the headmaster always dealt with you fro being late, that wasn't a teacher's responsibility at all.You used to have to line up all those boys that were late, you used to have to line up outside the the headmaster's room, one at a time, I I jus [laugh] on each hand, you used to have a cane on each hand.
[841] Never on your backside like you see in the films, that sort of thing, always on your hands, never anywhere else, never got hit your body.
[842] Erm
(FY5PS000) [843] After you'd had this erm punishment ere you expected to go back to your lessons straight away, how long did it hurt, did your hands
(PS25J) [844] Immediately, of course it hurt.
[845] Your hands were red, you used to shake them, and go back straight back to your work.
[846] And I never remember any boy ever cry.
[847] ... You didn't cry, nobody showed it like that.
[848] And er I think in the junior school, it was in the juniors you didn't get punishment there as children in the first school, you stood in a corner, that was your punishment.
[849] Like I I see it done today I think that sort of thing, you used to stand in a corner.
[850] But erm oh no we we er we we took it and and that was it, you accepted it.
[851] Accepted it.
[852] And er another thing that we never did in those school er very very very rarely did a boy erm oh what did we use to call it?
[853] When he he he evaded going to school, play truant.
[854] He he very rarely played truant a boy didn't it's er in fact I er I don't think I ever did, to my knowledge played truant at all during school.
[855] It was a very very rare occasion, er you had to be ill to be off school.
(FY5PS000) [856] You never thought of just taking the day off [...] ?
(PS25J) [857] No no no no no no no never.
[858] Never even even your last day at school you you didn't take it off.
[859] You were there.
(FY5PS000) [860] Why do you think that was?
(PS25J) [861] Well I think it was the discipline that you'd got in those days.
[862] It just wasn't done.
[863] Er school days were school days.
[864] You went to school at nine o'clock, you came home at twelve, you went back at two and you came home at half past four.
[865] And erm we never thought about playing, I suppose there were odd boys that did this sort of thing but er they were very very rare, very rare.
[866] In fact you you the classroom was always full, there were no spare seats at desks or anything like that, and if one was empty you knew something was really radically wrong.
[867] Er I think one of the greatest er causes of s absenteeism, it wasn't so much ill health er not on the part of the pupil, I think it was more er if something was wrong within th family, particularly if you was an elder daughter or an elder boy, you see and erm, if your mother was ill or or confined you see, you were probably kept at home er for those sort of reasons to either look after the the younger children at home or to help to to look after home.
[868] I mean there was no such things as home helps and and that sort of thing in those days, it was a case of of doing it yourself.
[869] And I think where where youngsters were away from school that was a greater reason for them to be at home, to look after home, whilst their parents were ill or if probably one of the other kids were off ill or something like that you see, because in most families there was what three and four children.
[870] I mean ours was a comparably small family with two.
[871] And erm as I told you before we had, I had two aunts with eleven each.
[872] And erm I should say the average family was around about four, four mark, four and five children mark.
(FY5PS000) [873] So what, elder children had res had quite a bit of responsibility [...] ?
(PS25J) [874] Oh very much so, very much so.
[875] Very much so.
[876] Very much so.
[877] [cough] In fact my own wife, she came of a big family and and she had to look after most of the the younger children until they started work you see and then it was the next one that had to look after them again you see and so on, and that's how it went on.
[878] But erm er the school days I think were were really the best days of our lives, but they we were the happiest days anyway because I enjoyed them and most kids enjoyed school in those days, not like it is today.
[879] And er we had some marvellous school parties.
[880] Erm when I say parties that's probably not the right word because erm party indicates sort of food and games, we had concerts and we used to put on these concerts, the pupils used to put them on ourselves and our parents were invited to come and watch these concerts.
(FY5PS000) [881] What at Christmas time ?
(PS25J) [882] No no no, that was a special one.
[883] Er the Christmas party, that was always a special party.
[884] The whole of the school would join in that, boys and girls were together, they were se segregated in the hall you didn't sit next to a girl or anything like that, the boys were on one side, the girls were on the other side.
[885] But the the Christmas party was something out of this world.
[886] You used to have to take a er a erm your own cup and erm that was for your for for whatever we had we I don't know I remember we had lemonade or pop or whether it was tea or we had er we had to take a cup, and er most of us invariably took a a big handkerchief with us.
[887] [laughing] Now you might ask what the big handkerchief was for. []
[888] And I assure you it wasn't to wipe your nose, it was to bring home any surplus cakes, that were left on the table.
[889] And you were you were invited to take those home and they used to say, Put them into your big handkerchief and wrap them up.
[890] Erm either for the younger children that were at home or your parents to eat.
[891] And er nearly every boy used to take a handkerchief along with him to the, that was to the Christmas party because that was the only party you had a meal at school.
[892] And er as I say we had a concert after this but th th I can't remember whether they were professionals or whether any good amateur people.
[893] But we had some fantastic concerts, we had a stage at the end of the assembly hall, and they used to put on this erm concert for us, singing, dancing and the piano, I remember that very well, the piano.
[894] And er it would you would have tea at about er half past three, and probably the concert'd start at about half past, about five o'clock, half past.
[895] And we should come away about sort of seven o'clock in the evening, it didn't go on till late at night, you know, like some of them do now.
(FY5PS000) [896] You'd go with your parents?
(PS25J) [897] No, no, on your own, no no your parents weren't allowed to that one, that was that was children's party.
[898] That was a it was a party.
[899] And er the trestles and the tables were all laid down the assembly hall and then we had a er er after the erm when you had your your meal, which consisted of sandwiches and cake, that was all.
[900] It wasn't a knife and fork effort at all.
[901] And er we'd have to clear all those away, and the chairs would be put into rows as I say, the boys'd sit down one side, the girls would sit down the other.
[902] And the junior school would sit on the floor in the front and that's how it used to be arranged.
[903] That was every Christmas there was a party of some sort put on for us at school.
[904] But erm Mr was, he was the headmaster, he was another great character, a great fellow, he was a very big, he was a tall man, about, well over six foot high.
[905] I mean I can't remember really but I should say he'd probably be about six foot two or three.
[906] He always used to wear a bowler hat and very dark clothes.
[907] And er he'd only got to sort of look at you and er that was it.
[908] With him.
[909] But the discipline was at school w it was when I look back it was marvellous, we we were never really bad lads.
[910] We got up to mischief obviously like a lot more, youngsters do even today, but er there was none of this sort of vandalism, we didn't use to destroy anything.
[911] Erm if we broke a window it was accidental.
[912] I mean I walk around the town and I see a factory or a shop or a house, it only got to be empty about a week and all the windows are smashed.
[913] We did nothing like that.
[914] We broke windows accidentally, we were throwing erm in fact I was only talking about whip and top the other day, and erm er which was a a game we used to play [...] .
[915] And there was the erm there was a top called the window breaker, and it was a special top that had got a long stem on it and a big round like a mushroom, it was like a mushroom almost.
[916] And erm these things used to used to sort of wind the r the the the spring or the leather thong around th top and start it off to spinning you know and then you'd keep whipping it like that and you could make these things jump into the air, in fact a friend of mine was telling me, we were talking about it the other day.
[917] He said, He saw one boy hit one of these tops and it went straight over a house top.
[918] So high.
[919] Now these things used to break windows obviously, you can imagine it can't you?
[920] And that's why they were called a window breaker these tops.
[921] And it you broke a window you had to pay for it.
[922] Or your parents did.
[923] There was none of this running away and, I haven't done it, and this that and the other.
[924] You had to accept the responsibility if you broke the window and your parents used to settle up for you.
[925] You got a good hiding for it but but that was it.
[926] You you you used to break windows but it wasn't done like you see now people, kids s picking up bricks and just breaking a window for the sheer delight of it.
[927] And that wasn't done.
[928] Erm but erm we we've gone through the games haven't we the marbles and that sort of thing we we played that [...]
(FY5PS000) [929] Can I talk about your erm school holidays, what
(PS25J) [930] Ah.
(FY5PS000) [931] say the summer holiday what what would you as children have done in
(PS25J) [932] That
(FY5PS000) [933] your school holiday?
(PS25J) [934] Well Easter er and er Whitsuntide wasn't a holiday, Easter was a holiday.
[935] Now Easter was taken up with the sort of playing in the streets virtually.
[936] Er whip and top and marbles and all those sort of things we used to do.
[937] Come the summer holiday which was August Bank holiday, for this I think we were away from school a month.
[938] Now er first few days you'd be feeling your feet of course, you'd be playing all sorts of things, you know being free, er in the street, and all this sort of thing.
[939] And erm er where we lived it was adjacent to what I call Well.
[940] Now as a as it as it's pronounced there, is the town, but this was called Well.
[941] Now this was a li a piece of common land adjacent to Cottages, which was on the sort of the north side of .
[942] And er there was a a sort of a a cliff, a sandstone cliff, and er out of this cliff side [recording ends]