BNC Text H4B

Nottinghamshire Oral History Project: interview. Sample containing about 12641 words speech recorded in leisure context

3 speakers recorded by respondent number C278

PS1Y2 X m (No name, age unknown) unspecified
PS1Y3 Ag5 m (No name, age 70, retired) unspecified
PS1Y4 Ag5 f (No name, age 70, retired) unspecified

1 recordings

  1. Tape 090701 recorded on 1980. LocationNottinghamshire: Nottinghamshire () Activity: interview

Undivided text

(PS1Y2) [1] Mr can you tell us about er work?
[2] Did you get a job as soon as you left school?
(PS1Y3) [3] Yeah.
[4] ... Er [cough] I'd be fourteen in the June and we used to have to keep on till the end of the term which was August.
[5] And we have four weeks' holiday at August.
[6] And when we broke up I, I said, er well that's it now.
[7] We all ... the lads that left at the same time, said, we've got four weeks' holiday before we look for work.
[8] So that was alright till we got home.
[9] [laugh] And I said to the old man I says, er well that's it now.
[10] I said, I've got four weeks.
[11] he said, you bloody haven't, he says, you're gonna look for work.
[12] I said, I've, I've got four weeks' holiday before.
[13] [laugh] He says, you're gonna look for work.
[14] He was out of work.
[15] He couldn't get [...] .
[16] So er we used to go through the motions and er after about er three weeks I think it was, no, yeah, two or three weeks anyway.
[17] We were going round actually looking for work, not ve very keen but we were, we were looking for it.
[18] We'd go to Boots, walk, Boots, and we'd start in, in the meadows in, in , in Street.
[19] Then we'd walk up to Boots up Road.
[20] We'd walk through the lace market, we'd walk up to, and then we'd walk round to .
[21] All in the day.
[22] No buses, no bus fare, no nothing.
[23] Er any vacancies?
[24] No, sorry.
[25] Any vacancies?
[26] No.
[27] It was half-hearted.
[28] E eventually I did get a job.
[29] In, in Street, just a couple minutes from, from my home.
[30] And they said I, I could be an apprentice fitter.
[31] And the wages were seven and thruppence a week.
[32] So I went home quite pleased, gonna learn a trade, to be a fitter.
[33] Quite pleased, went home and er told my dad, I says er I says, I've got a job.
[34] He said, good, where at?
[35] I said,.
[36] He said, what you're gonna do at it?
[37] I says, it's er apprentice fitter.
[38] He says, how much is a week?
[39] And I says, seven and three.
[40] He said, that's no good.
[41] He says, you can get ten and thruppence at .
[42] Good lot of the lads in used to li work at .
[43] So he said, you can go and try .
[44] [laughing] And so [] I went there and they er I eventually got on.
[45] At ten and thruppence a week.
[46] And that was in the splitting job where you was handling skins, sheep skins.
[47] And with the lime and the chemicals that makes your fingers sore, what are called birds eyes.
[48] That red raw.
[49] You could you couldn't bear them a night time.
[50] And you used to wear [...] er er leather ... I've still got a skin.
[51] This or someone else's sister would be ... they used to give you this to make your [...] .
[52] You cut a, a piece out and you'd sew it up, like that you see.
[53] ... That, that sort of thing ... er you used to wear them to protect, to protect your fingers cos it used to get red raw if you didn't.
[54] Anyway I started there, I got the ten and three a week and er eventually not very good, at that time [...] quite a lot of short time.
[55] And they didn't have three days on and three days off, you used to go in this particular shop at eight o'clock and maybe finish at half past ten or eleven o'clock because there was no more skins coming through.
(PS1Y2) [56] And what exactly were you doing?
[57] Wh what exactly was your job?
(PS1Y3) [58] Splitting.
[59] [...] splitting shop.
[60] Now that's a sheep skin.
[61] You see or it was.
[62] [laugh] The splitting machine, that's one half of a sheep skin, that's the outside.
[63] Now the splitting machine used to cut that skin down there like that.
(PS1Y2) [64] Cut it in half then?
(PS1Y3) [65] Split it in two.
[66] So you got two skins.
[67] Now one half, this would maybe go for ... clothes, er coats, [...] or [...] .
[68] And the other half used to go as a window leather which are called ... st ...
(PS1Y2) [69] Chamois ... Chamois
(PS1Y3) [70] Chamois leather, that's it.
[71] Mm.
[72] And so you got th two skins out of, out of one sheep.
[73] Er one would go one process and another would go the other.
[74] Er that was the splitting shop.
[75] There was all sorts of processes before it got to that and after it got to that stage.
[76] Er
(PS1Y2) [77] And what exactly was your job in the splitting shop then?
(PS1Y3) [78] Well I worked with a man, on a machine.
[79] And a we used to get the skin, I used to pick the skin up.
[80] Give him one part, now you hold that, I used to hook it on to a roller, tuck it over, pull it through and then you've got it lined up hooked on to a roller.
[81] And then he used to bring the knife, there was a knife going like that, a big knife, One about four foot.
[82] And th this knife was going like this and the roller was pulling the skin round.
[83] And it was pulling, the one that you'd hooked on was pulling that one and the other one going out the back.
[84] So you, you, you, that was splitting.
(PS1Y2) [85] Now [cough] do you actually remember going to work, the first day you were, you were going to work?
(PS1Y3) [86] The first day yeah, short trousers.
[87] Er ... the first day I didn't stay dinner.
[88] [...] home but it was only a few yards anyway from .
[89] So eventually we, I, I, I used to get er couple slices of bread, and I used to get thruppence every day.
[90] Now I, I'd got all sorts of alternatives to buy.
[91] had a pork shop in Street.
[92] [...] we'd have a choice of three pennyworth of [...] which were a, which was a big chunk, three pennyworth of , brawn, potted meats, er [whispering] what else is there [] ?
[93] ... Three pennyworth of corned beef, [...] er and then you, you, you could go down on to the fish and chip shop in Street.
[94] And get er three hap'orth of chips, three hap'orth of fish bits.
[95] Which was a good meal, substantial meal you know for thruppence.
(PS1Y2) [96] Now ... from being at school, enjoying yourself and enjoying yourself, and [...] , and going to work, did you feel differently?
(PS1Y3) [97] Feel?
(PS1Y2) [98] Did you feel differently with working?
(PS1Y3) [99] No I don't think so.
(PS1Y2) [100] Did you enjoy work?
(PS1Y3) [101] Yeah.
[102] Funny thing, I've, I've enjoyed every job I've done.
[103] And I mean that.
[104] Er the splitting shop wasn't, wasn't particularly good I, I'd say.
[105] But you were glad to get a job, that were the thing.
[106] That made you pleased.
[107] But once I got out of the splitting shop out into the dry, handling leather rather than skins, er it were terrific, absolutely terrific.
[108] I were in a buffing shop.
[109] And the buffing shop used to er get buff that side, make it smooth you know.
(PS1Y2) [110] Well
(PS1Y3) [111] Then I went glazing.
(PS1Y2) [112] How much of a difference to your family did it make that you were working, financially?
(PS1Y3) [113] Well.
[114] When I went home a when I was started at ten and thruppence a week, it was a regula regulation in the family that the spending money erm ... basis, what you got for spending, was a penny in the shilling.
[115] Now I earned ten and thruppence, used to take the ten and thruppence home and I used to get tenpence ha'penny spending money.
[116] Weren't eleven pence, weren't ten pence, weren't a shilling, tenpence ha'penny.
[117] And that was it.
[118] Then that went when you're fifteen, I was fifteen I were getting twelve and six.
[119] Same again, one shilling and a ha'penny.
[120] Not one and a penny, not a shilling.
[121] [...] Till I was er ... I went, I left and went to gun factory.
[122] Er .
[123] And then when I was eighteen ... er eighteen, yeah, started paying my board then.
[124] [...] Pound a week.
(PS1Y2) [125] Er while you were working did you still try and get sort of like odds and ends and little bits of money?
(PS1Y3) [126] Yeah,wh when you was on short time, ooh yeah.
[127] We used to [...] , I've sold card of the match, at, at cricket matches.
[128] I've sold cushions at the cricket matches.
[129] Quite a few of us from used to go down to cricket match.
[130] And [...] motors, when, football mat and reserve matches at , we used to, there were one or two, weren't many cars about then you see.
[131] But there was a few.
[132] And we could look after cars at the er reserve matches.
(PS1Y2) [133] Now wh while you were working,w w was your father working at this time?
(PS1Y3) [134] No not very often.
[135] Very seldom.
[136] He did work on er County er Stand, the one that's still there.
[137] He, he, he, he did a f a few jobs and, and, and they were nearly all temporary.
[138] They didn't last long.
[139] Most all, all labouring jobs.
[140] And none of them last long you know.
[141] You couldn't get a regular job, or he couldn't anyway.
(PS1Y2) [142] And erm did your mother work or was she bringing up the family?
(PS1Y3) [143] My mother used to er whe when we were younger used to come down the [...] for a days' scrubbing, charring.
[144] Er she did one or two jobs there.
[145] Well, er
(PS1Y2) [146] Was there a lot of erm drinking used to go on in the, in the, in the area at the time?
(PS1Y3) [147] Well ... you take, to hear, to hear them talk you, you'd think everybody were drunk every night but it wasn't so.
[148] Er I've known ... er one bloke he, he'd send for a pint of Shipstons beer ... when it was sixpence a pint, and then he'd send for another pint and he'd be drunk, or, or he'd be ready f to fight anybody that wanted to fight him.
[149] And there usually was somebody ready to [laughing] fight him for twelve, especially on a Saturday night [] .
[150] Now Saturday night in Street, we used to call it the waits, Street waits, every Saturday night.
[151] You could guarantee that if you waited top of one of those yards that somebody would be fighting or wanted to fight or a window could get broken or, or either men or women.
[152] Men and women, they'd just fight each other but women used to have a go,ar argue not f particularly fighting but you know falling out.
[153] And, and the men they of often used to have a go.
[154] [laugh] [laughing] And the lads [] . [laugh]
(PS1Y2) [155] Did you have any real characters in th in the [...] ?
(PS1Y3) [156] Oh yes, yeah.
[157] I'm not going to name them because of the family, they're dead now.
[158] Oh yes, there was one er, he had a knighthood.
[159] Er people who, who er who lived do th they'll know, and then the family will know.
[160] Cos he, he was Sir, you know.
[161] [laugh] Oh and there was er
(PS1Y2) [162] Why did they used to call him Sir?
(PS1Y3) [163] Well he, he, he used to go to er ... [...] used to go to the British Legion, every Sunday morning.
[164] Now he, he had about ... he about seven or eight kids I think, he must have done, yeah.
[165] Two, three, four, five, [...] , yeah.
[166] And in the week, I don't think he was working at the time, but on a Sunday morning he'd walk out of that terrace house and er he'd be immaculate, absolutely.
[167] He'd have a walking stick, he'd have a buttonhole, a top hat and a stiff collar, and he'd swing this cane and walk up the street.
[168] There goes Sir ... yes. [laugh] [...]
(PS1Y2) [169] What reputation did the have with other areas at the time?
[170] Was it seen as being a rough place?
(PS1Y3) [171] Did it what?
(PS1Y2) [172] What reputation did the have with other areas of at the time?
[173] Was it thought to be rough by everyone else?
(PS1Y3) [174] Oh yes, we had a reputation.
[175] Er I'd a lad, a Street,, [...] , that's what it, [...] they used to call us.
[176] Er yeah, well you know we were rough because, but I mean if we got into a fight, there we there were no gang warfare.
[177] There was a gang of us, but I mean er if one of us got involved with a fight it was him and him.
[178] And we used to stand down and leave it at that.
[179] No nobody'd interfere.
[180] You know, it was a fair fight, there were no kicking.
[181] We'd just fight and that was it.
[182] [...] and I suppose, I, I well I, I used to go about with a gang but we, we never raided anybody.
[183] You know, you, you used to talk about raids and er a black hand gang and all this sort of thing, but we no.
[184] If there was any trouble we, we'd fight but one on one.
[185] Wouldn't gang up four onto one, five onto one, and, and mugging and noth nothing, none, none of that nonsense.
(PS1Y2) [186] How long wer were you actually at then?
(PS1Y3) [187] Well I started at fourteen and I, I had to leave er when I was fifteen and, no, nearly sixteen.
[188] And then I went back at er eighteen until I were twenty, twenty three I think it was.
(PS1Y2) [189] Now why did you leave first time?
(PS1Y3) [190] Got a short time.
[191] [...] were only working half days.
(PS1Y2) [192] And where did you go?
(PS1Y2) [193] And what did you do there?
(PS1Y3) [194] I started painting and then I went to be rivet hotter.
[195] And then I was rive riveter's mate.
[196] I really enjoyed that.
[197] Really enjoyed it.
(PS1Y2) [198] Was it ... what was the differences that you noticed between and ?
[199] What, what
(PS1Y3) [200] Different what?
(PS1Y2) [201] What, what, what were the big differences between the two?
(PS1Y3) [202] Well it, it were the variety you got at .
[203] You see, er there, there was a riveter, and a holder up, his mate, and a rivet hotter.
[204] That's yo that was the team.
[205] Now we, we used to build the frame of a coach, Sentinel er Passenger Coach.
[206] We used to build all the frame and the roof, riveted, no fitted.
[207] Er bolt it together first, and then rivet it after.
[208] So all, all the time th th there were different job.
[209] Different size rivets, different lengths, and I, while I were hotting [...] hotting I knew where, eventually knew where, what size rivet to put in a certain place.
[210] And you used to get them hot ready for, for the rivet for the riveters.
[211] And then we'd get onto the roof with the little tiny rivets, quarter inch rivets.
[212] And maybe an hour after we'd be on three quarter rivets.
[213] Or five eighths or half inch, so you got the variety as well and different jobs to do all day long.
(PS1Y2) [214] And wh why did you leave there?
(PS1Y3) [215] Well it closed down.
(PS1Y2) [216] And ... how, how did you get back into then?
(PS1Y3) [217] Well er my mother went down the yard, I won't tell you about the other, sister.
[218] My mother went down the yard and seen the boss and asked him if he could get [...] and the fact that my mother went down the yard I suppose er ... he must have felt sorry for us.
[219] Anyway I got back and er
(PS1Y2) [220] Was it the same wages?
(PS1Y3) [221] On no, I was older then you see, I was er ... I was, they sent me straight back into the splitting shop.
[222] And within er a week I was told to go into the dry part, handling, in the buffing shop.
[223] Er and then I was on my own time in the buffing shop, and I was getting a man's wages.
(PS1Y2) [224] So what, what were you
(PS1Y3) [...]
(PS1Y2) [225] coming out with then?
(PS1Y3) [226] Mm?
(PS1Y2) [227] What, what were you getting then?
(PS1Y3) [228] Er ... let's see er, around about ... [whispering] [...] thirty shillings [] about thirty, thirty five bob a week.
[229] Which were good money for a single fella.
(PS1Y2) [230] Erm ... now you said you went away, you lived away from home for a bit, when you when you were eight
(PS1Y3) [231] Mm?
(PS1Y2) [232] Did you say you lived away from home for a bit?
(PS1Y3) [233] Yeah, when I were eighteen. [...]
(PS1Y2) [234] Now [cough] ... erm ... you were saying bef was there a union at the at the time?
(PS1Y3) [235] Oh yeah.
(PS1Y2) [236] What you, what you
(PS1Y4) [237] There wasn't.
[238] You, you lost your job trying to start one.
(PS1Y3) [239] No th there was a union we were trying to enrol more members.
(PS1Y4) [240] Oh.
(PS1Y3) [241] Oh the union was there, the Amalgamated Society of Leather Workers.
[242] It was a national union, but it was a crime more or less with some bosses to belong to a trade union.
[243] Now it's a crime if you don't belong to a trade union.
[244] You see, I think, although I can't prove this, you see what happened, when I was in the, in the glazing shop we were, we were on short time.
[245] And instead of er having half day every day cos there were no prospects of, of much stuff coming through, they'd say well we'll all have two weeks off each.
[246] Two men will have two weeks off and it were twelve in the shop.
[247] So two would be off for a fortnight, and then two more and then two more.
[248] Now [cough] the fella that I worked with was the president of the union from the branch.
[249] ... And I was er doing my part I thought to change the world and get everybody into the union so we could get, get better conditions for, for everybody and all this, more money anyhow.
[250] Er ... and I used to go to night school to learn, er National Council of Labour Colleges, to learn economics.
[251] Er and eventually we changed the foreman, [laugh] the union changed the foreman.
[252] And the foreman er we used to play about, lark about, throw orange peel at each other you know, cos it were a boring job you just stand like this and you could more or less close your eyes, you know.
[253] After a while [...] so to, to relieve the boredom we used to throw orange peel at each other, little bits you know, screw it up and, and one hit this bloke who was made foreman before, before he was made foreman a and we had a fight.
[254] He come at me and he was six foot two and he come [...] he were gonna knock hell out of me so I had to protect myself and we got fighting in the shop.
[255] Anyway we, we forgot about it and, and then he was made foreman later.
[256] So I thought well that's [...] .
[257] Anyway when the time came to, to, to stop off for short time everybody had had their turn except the union president and myself and he came to me this foreman and he said er, now John I don't want you to think what happened between me and you will make any difference about being sent back for.
[258] I said, well I hope not anyway, I says er, if you do I shall have a go at you.
[259] So er time went on, I didn't get the sack, I just wasn't sent back for.
[260] Neither was the union man.
(PS1Y2) [261] Now how did you become involved with the union?
[262] Are you [...]
(PS1Y3) [263] Well
(PS1Y2) [264] always interested in politics?
(PS1Y3) [265] No, no.
[266] I went in this shop with this, next to this fella.
[267] And when I hear that [...] , when you're working you're talking as well and he, he, he was a good talker and, and he, you know, he was a good union, a good clever speaker and he impressed me.
[268] Er and then he got me he er ... he got me interested in politics and he got me going to this N C L C evening [cough] evening classes.
[269] And I got interested and you know it wer I was parti very very interested in, in economics.
(PS1Y2) [270] And did you become a union represent did you get involved in union politics?
(PS1Y3) [271] Oh yes I I was on the committee at .
[272] Er I was on the committee on the buses, but that was later.
[273] I was a rotor man for Bridge Depot.
[274] ... Er yes I was very keen, I'm very interested.
[275] Er
(PS1Y2) [276] What ... did your family and do your friends have views about politics?
[277] I means did they, were they surprised you become involved?
(PS1Y3) [278] Yes er I remember a chap at the depot doing the Spanish Civil War er ... wh th there was a movement going round collecting food for the, or money for food for the children of Spain.
[279] Children.
[280] And I was in the depot and I and I was er trying to er get some money for, for this thing or, or doing something for it anyway, and this bloke said, said John , he said, what the bloody hell are you got interested in the people of Spain for?
[281] We're talking about nineteen thirty six now thirty seven.
[282] I said, well, I said, If we don't those bombers in [...] and, and Spain we're gonna get them over here.
[283] I didn't realize what I was saying but it proved to be true.
[284] Those bombers in, in bombing the people of Spain bombed us eventually.
[285] Anyway er that was the [...] , er no nobody else made any comment, one or two was s s surprised.
[286] You know that I should be interested, well I was the secretary of Labour Party for a time.
(PS1Y2) [287] Whe when you started off becoming interested in politics when you were working at ,we were your friends surprised?
[288] Were they not interested in politics or, or your family?
(PS1Y3) [289] No, no, you see it's the fact that you're working, your conditions, your environment, if you're working in a certain place it's [...] almost built up in the beginning.
[290] It wasn't till, till people got together into factories and, and er workshops and, and things like that.
[291] And working in close relation and discussing things that this is exactly what happened at .
[292] Now i i in one shop er you'll never hear mention of politics, it would be all football, football man, football this, football the other.
[293] But if you get involved working with somebody else who may be interested in politics then you start talking and this is how it develops.
[294] I mean er ... you see th I should say there was about six or seven who were keen on, on, on the trade union.
[295] They weren't reds, communists, or anything like that, they were just good trade union men.
[296] And they'd be talking, now you could bet they could get somebody interested in that shop on, on politics or trade unionism, they'd get one in that shop.
(PS1Y2) [297] Now erm ... was it through this union activity you became interested in the Labour Party?
(PS1Y3) [298] It's [...] same thing, same man.
(PS1Y2) [299] I see, and did you, did you do a lot of canvassing for them and all this sort of thing?
(PS1Y3) [300] At election time oh yeah.
(PS1Y2) [301] Have you got any stories about that?
(PS1Y3) [302] Er well I were out of work and er ... [...] municipal elections used to come in November.
[303] Er and er there were great rivalry between, between the Con er the Conservatives and the er Labour Party.
[304] And er apart from canvassing which we did.
[305] A canvass, cos I was a block steward, I used to collect the, the stubs and at election time we would do a canvass of our own block.
[306] Er asking people whether they were favourable, or mark them favourable or not favourable and so on.
[307] Er and then w we used to do the bill posting, vote for so and so, or vote for so and so.
[308] We used to stick ours up and if we see any fresh blue ones we should pull them down.
[309] Er and they used to do the same to ours.
[310] Er then election day we were out all day with, with a driver of a car getting people out and [...] for them or going through the motions.
[311] I've looked after the kids for them while they've gone to vote, anything to get them here, that was the thing.
[312] Cos they, they er Walter used to say, any positive voters we must get them out on the day.
(PS1Y2) [313] And apart from that time during er elections etcetera how much involvement would you have just a normal we week, where there's no elections on or anything?
[314] Did you have meetings very often?
(PS1Y3) [315] Er well yes at er there were several er Michael Foot, Fenner Brockway, Stafford Cripps and Jimmy Maxton and Harley Pollet and Jimmy Gallagher.
[316] There was communists, there was I M Ps, there were Labour Party men, and at that time there was a unity campaign.
[317] Er it were led by Sir Stafford Cripps and er Michael Foot.
[318] Fenner Brockway, well I, I've gone to meetings in the Albert Hall, and I've gone to meetings at Sheffield.
[319] I, I joined the er demonstration in Hyde Park.
[320] Er when the Durham Jarrow marchers came
(PS1Y2) [...]
(PS1Y3) [321] Er we was there for the er when they came in.
[322] Er [...] were several meetings, public meetings.
[323] Oswald Mosely, he was in the Albert Hall when, when all that trouble [...] was, we were together then weren't we?
[324] At er Oswald Mosely
(PS1Y4) [325] [...] you you used to go the weekly meetings [...] the Labour Party.
(PS1Y3) [326] the month
(PS1Y4) [327] That's what that's what you're talking about isn't it, the weekly meetings?
(PS1Y3) [328] [sigh] Monthly, monthly meetings.
(PS1Y4) [329] Pardon?
(PS1Y3) [330] Monthly meetings.
(PS1Y4) [331] Monthly meetings
(PS1Y3) [332] Yeah
(PS1Y4) [333] you used to go to
(PS1Y3) [334] Oh yeah it was a monthly meeting.
(PS1Y2) [335] Could you tell us about Oswald Mosely, and s and wh what happened then?
(PS1Y3) [336] Well er ... first of all you'd get the minutes of the last meeting and then you, you'd get correspondence and then you'd get chairman's remarks.
[337] And then somebody would bring something up.
[338] It may be the pro prospective candidate or panel name to go forward on a prospective candidate or something like that er and then there'd be er a talk by, by the chairman about the finances or what we ought to do er to organize er ... events to improve the finances.
[339] It was all about money or you know there wasn't a great deal of political activity or, or great deal of political work done in, in the Labour Party.
[340] It was all done er er ... the borough Labour Party.
[341] Now you got, you got, you got your war ward which was nothing because the wards was er the chairman and the secretary absolutely [...] .
[342] You know, er er and they'd tell people and, and there was no, never much debating as such.
[343] What you laughing at?
(PS1Y2) [344] Nothing.
[345] [...] go on.
(PS1Y4) [346] He er he asked you about er wh who was it?
(PS1Y2) [347] Mosely, did you say that you went to see Mosely in a meeting?
(PS1Y3) [348] We went to a public meeting at the Albert Hall, me and her, when Sir Oswald Mosely came to .
[349] Er and a lot got chucked out.
(PS1Y2) [350] When was this?
(PS1Y3) [351] Ooh nineteen thirty six or seven.
(PS1Y2) [352] And was he,
(PS1Y3) [...]
(PS1Y2) [353] go on.
(PS1Y3) [354] Before we was married.
[355] Thirty six or seven.
[356] Thirty six.
[357] And we, we was up in the, in the, it was a protest as far as I was concerned.
(PS1Y2) [358] Yeah.
(PS1Y3) [359] You know and we went and we booed and [laugh] er a lot got thrown out, cos he had his mobsters there you know.
[360] And er he were a bit rough with them and all.
[361] Ah.
(PS1Y2) [362] Was there a lot of trouble then?
(PS1Y3) [363] Wasn't a great deal of trouble in but th there was in the East End of London if you, if you we can read, can read about that.
[364] Er and in several places where he did go because he, he, his supporters were thugs really.
[365] You know there were no doubt about that, they were
(PS1Y2) [366] And how much, how much were your subs for the Labour Party, how much was your membership?
(PS1Y3) [367] Ooh er wasn't [...] er ... I can't remember now.
[368] I think it was er wasn't a great dea sixpence I think it was.
(PS1Y2) [369] And when did you join the Labour Party?
(PS1Y3) [370] Ooh ... I'd be ninetee er twent I'd be twenty so nineteen thirty three.
(PS1Y2) [371] And, and were there sort of like clubs and societies associated with the Labour Party that, that you got involv
(PS1Y3) [372] No, no, no, no.
[373] No, the Labour Party as far as I was concerned was just a meeting, a monthly meeting,in above the Co-op in Grove.
[374] Where the Co-op used to be, not the Co-op now.
[375] In that room up there, once a month, and at elections times and that was it, no more.
(PS1Y2) [376] I see.
[377] Now, now [cough] you were saying before [cough] your father er was unemployed quite a lot of the time during your childhood erm did he actually get any Unemployment Benefit while he was on the dole?
(PS1Y3) [378] Yes er, now what did [...] get?
[379] ... There were U A B, Unemployment Assistant Board and there was a means test at the time as well.
[380] Er ... when I was s I used to get eight shilling at one time Unemployment Benefit.
[381] ... And you'd got to go and look for work.
[382] And you, you'd got to tell them that you'd been, where you'd got, where you'd been.
[383] You know.
[384] Er ...
(PS1Y4) [385] Did you know how much your dad got?
(PS1Y3) [386] No.
[387] ... No [...] no no not can't remember now, not to be sure.
(PS1Y2) [388] Would the ... what exactly was the means test invo what did that involve?
[389] Did they come and visit your house?
(PS1Y3) [390] No you, you, you were called to, to the Labour Exchange.
[391] Er I think a court of referees I think they called it.
(PS1Y4) [392] Yeah. [...]
(PS1Y3) [393] Wasn't it?
(PS1Y4) [394] Ah.
[395] Yeah.
(PS1Y3) [396] That that just come to me now.
[397] Court of referees.
(PS1Y4) [398] You didn't get money did you?
[399] You got food, food tickets.
(PS1Y3) [400] Ah ye yeah [...] it, it depends how
(PS1Y4) [401] You didn't get money.
(PS1Y3) [402] how much er ... you'd got and how much you'd got coming in and how much you'd, you'd you know, your, what your erm ... commitments were and
(PS1Y2) [403] Right.
(PS1Y3) [404] you know.
[405] Er
(PS1Y2) [406] Did, did you at the time or in the thirties did you have any involvement with the Unemployment Claims Union or anything like that?
(PS1Y3) [407] I didn't.
[408] No
(PS1Y2) [409] No.
(PS1Y3) [410] not myself, no.
(PS1Y2) [411] Were [...] other people involved in [...] with it?
(PS1Y3) [412] Oh well there must have been.
[413] Must have been.
(PS1Y4) [414] Yeah, but er didn't you go to an Unemployment School?
(PS1Y3) [415] Eh?
(PS1Y4) [416] An Unemployment School.
(PS1Y3) [417] A club, an unemployment club.
(PS1Y2) [418] What, what was that?
(PS1Y3) [419] Well it was a place on Street, and it's still there, that one.
[420] It's above, above the shop, just above , up the stairs.
[421] And there was a big room and you and you could go there and, and make things out of wood.
[422] I've got a table somewhere I've made.
[423] Er or you could make anything and there was an instructor there showing you.
[424] You'd got the tools and [...] different things and show you how to use them.
[425] You, you [...] paid for it.
(PS1Y4) [426] Yeah, but didn't you have to go there to get your dole?
(PS1Y3) [427] Oh no, no, no that was [...]
(PS1Y4) [...]
(PS1Y3) [428] that was a school.
(PS1Y4) [429] Ah that's the one I'm thinking about.
(PS1Y3) [430] Ah that's Street.
[431] Now when we was between sixteen and eighteen if you was unemployed you'd got to go to school.
[432] Half day every day.
[433] ... One week you'd go in the mornings, the next day you'd go in the afternoon.
[434] This was at Street Lad's Club, still there.
[435] Now but we had teachers, the headmaster of Street School, he was the head teacher at the out of work school.
[436] And then we had a, a two one teacher who, who later was at School.
[437] , Mr , er and he'd give us sums, arithmetic, tell us stories, er historical events or something like that.
[438] But what we were keen about was football.
[439] One teacher, he used to say, well what we gonna do today?
[440] Oh come on, let's go down Lane and have a game of football.
[441] [...] you see.
[442] He used to play with us as well.
[443] We used to go, it's a nice day Mr , I [...] go down, football.
[444] Come on then, and we, we'd walk down to Lane and play our game of football.
[445] ... [break in recording] But you'd got to go, and you'd got to mark your register and, and if you didn't go you'd lose a day's dole.
(PS1Y2) [446] At tha at this time in, in the twenties and early thirties was there a lot of people unemployed in, in Street and around there?
(PS1Y3) [447] Oh yeah, yeah.
[448] Oh yes.
[449] Er there were very very few that had a regular job, really.
[450] Er c c the density of, of the Street itself er cos you was nine terraces with twenty four houses in, in two hundred yards you've got a lot of people together haven't you?
[451] Er and, and the people that had a regular job, now there was one next door to us.
[452] He, he, he was er more or less well off, still in, in [...] Terrace but you know he was, they seemed to be well off and probably were.
[453] Cos he had good regular job at .
[454] But er now in, in, in our yard, on our, our side, there'd, there would be er ... one, two three, four ... only four out of the twelve or thirteen houses the, the men had a regular job.
[455] And that was pretty, it was, it'd vary in, in some cases but in som it was worse than that and some were better than that, but generally speaking there were a lot of unemployment.
(PS1Y4) [456] Tell him about .
(PS1Y3) [457] What ... [...]
(PS1Y4) [458] He'd come and borrow
(PS1Y3) [459] In, in, in, in one terrace and I'm not gonna mention names again because the, the family's still around, you know, and I don't want to embarrass them.
[460] But we'd to go down th one yard and, and in the middle of the yard there was a gap between the lavatories and, and the coal houses, just about er four foot s square.
[461] Well that's where we used to play cards, on top of the dustbin.
[462] A dustbin lid and put a board over it you know.
[463] And this man he was a regular dustbin, dustbin man and he'd been at it all his life and he used to play cards with us and his family, his sons, and, and as many else as got any money to play pontoon or brag.
[464] And because he wa he was really the only one that was in regular work in, in the yard, I'm sorry well there was another one but still, there wasn't many, everybody was short of something some day.
[465] And it would always come at weekends.
[466] And it would always come when we were playing cards.
[467] First one, Mrs so and so, me mam says, it was always me mam says, mam says can you lend her cup of sugar?
[468] Er mam said, can you tell her time please?
[469] Mam said, have you got a penny for the gas?
[470] Mam says, have you got a tub of vinegar?
[471] Or, or anything, you know so this er man one day he says, we were playing cards, he said, I'm bloody fed up with this.
[472] He said now what do they want?
[473] So me mam says [...] so he went in the house and says [...] his, his wife's name, he said, give me a pencil and paper.
[474] He got a sheet of paper about that long ... to all concerned we have no salt, pepper, mustard, vinegar, our clock does not keep good time, er
(PS1Y4) [475] Sugar.
(PS1Y3) [476] oh tea, sugar.
[477] He, he put all down and he, he pinned it on the [laughing] back on the back door []
(PS1Y2) [478] Did, did a lot of this helping of each other go on?
(PS1Y3) [479] Oh yes, yes.
[480] People er I mean th they couldn't help a lot because they'd got nothing themselves a lot of them but there was a lot of help done without any fuss or bother, I mean er er a bloke'd say er, have you got a fag?
[481] Er well I've only got Silk Cut.
[482] [...] okay.
[483] Now to get in a pub, that was another thing.
[484] Of many, in summertime we always used to stand at the top of the yards, you know, men and women.
[485] Men used to be down on haunches you know and the and the women stand there arms folded gassing, gassing away.
[486] Er and then somebody'd come along and say, are you [...] Jack?
[487] Can't.
[488] Why?
[489] I haven't got a lap latch lifter.
[490] Couldn't get in the pub because he hadn't got a latch lifter.
[491] Now a la latch lifter was thruppence, his first half pint.
[492] Now once he got in for his half, half pint in, in the in the passage he'd have, he'd have a good swig and, and it was about [...] when he'd got to bottom of the glass put it down.
[493] I say what did you do that for?
[494] Well it holding it in pawn, waiting for somebody to ask him to have a drink, and invariably somebody would but if they did ask him they'd always ask him back next time you know if they couldn't do it this time.
[495] That, that was the, you know there was that sort of spirit, there were very few scroungers er well there were scroungers of course but few people who er who didn't repay if, if they had a drink they bought one back.
[496] They'd say, are you coming in?
[497] No I can't buy you one back.
[498] That don't matter now.
[499] And they wouldn't go in if they couldn't buy one back.
[500] There were a lot of that sort of thing.
[501] Oh yeah. ... [break in recording]
(PS1Y2) [502] Right Mr could you tell me when and where you were born?
(PS1Y3) [503] When and where?
[504] I was born on June the eighth nineteen thirteen in an place called in Carmarthenshire, South Wales.
(PS1Y2) [505] And how big was the family at the time?
(PS1Y3) [506] Well my ... my mother had five children with her previous husband and my father met my mother while this fella was ill and he eventually died with T B and my father married my mother and took on these five children i in, in South Wales.
(PS1Y2) [507] And were you the first born?
(PS1Y3) [508] I was the first of the .
(PS1Y2) [509] And how large eventually did the family get to?
(PS1Y3) [510] Let's see there was er Nelly, Edna, Tommy, Edward, and Donald.
[511] Five er ten, ten eleven.
[512] [...] Nelly, Tommy, Nelly, Edna, Donald, Edward, Eunice ... that's seven isn't it?
(PS1Y2) [513] Mm.
(PS1Y3) [514] Twelve.
(PS1Y2) [515] Now ... could you tell us about ... how it came about that you moved to ?
(PS1Y3) [516] Mm.
[517] ... Oh after the war, the Fi First World War, my father was er sent home wounded in nineteen eighteen or nineteen nineteen.
[518] And he was a wounded pensioner er and he, he applied for a grant which you, which er a wounded soldier in the First World War could get if you had a pension he could get a grant of that pension to learn a trade.
[519] And he could also apply to go to and take a course of, of instruction on or a trade to learn a trade.
[520] And it [...] he went to College.
[521] And he did the course and after he'd finished the course he found a house up Road and er sent for the family.
[522] So my mother brought us all to on the train and er I was at that time about let's see nineteen thirty twenty I think I was eight years of age then.
(PS1Y2) [523] I see and how long did you live there up Road?
(PS1Y3) [524] Er not very long because he er he started a business and er and he didn't do ever so well cos [...] times were bad in the twenties you know as you know.
[525] And er the rent was twenty one shillings at that time which was rather a lot for a council house so we had, had an exchange down to Street in the where the rent was about seven and six which was a big difference.
(PS1Y2) [526] Now the has changed a lot recently Mr .
[527] Could you describe what it was like when you first moved there, the area itself?
(PS1Y3) [528] Yeah, well take er there were some good patches in the you know, there were some quite decent houses and some very nice people.
[529] But there were some like me I suppose on the other side.
[530] Er now t take, take a, take one street er we'll say Street.
[531] It were known as Park.
[532] Now that, that Street with, with, from two hundred yards of it there'd be nine, nine terraces each with twenty four houses in each terrace within this two hundred yards so there were a lot of people closely knit together and er there was quite a lot of unem unemployment, quite a lot of poverty.
[533] Yet people were friendly, you know.
[534] They'd do anything for you within reason you know.
[535] Er they'd help each other, if they were sick er well let's say quite a lot were unemployed down there and there were always someone that, I've seen men stand at top of yard and say, have you got a fag Jack?
[536] He say, well I've o I've only got two and he'd, he'd break a Woodbine in half and they'd have half each.
[537] And instead of having a few puffs and, and saving and throwing two dog ends away you didn't see that, they'd just break it in half and have half each.
(PS1Y2) [538] Now you were saying just then that erm parts of the were different than the other parts.
(PS1Y3) [539] Yeah.
(PS1Y2) [540] In what way?
(PS1Y3) [541] Well there seemed to be like er Grove, er ... Road, Road, it, it seemed a bit better off you know.
[542] They seemed to have more money.
[543] Er well I suppose it's the same nowadays you know isn't it?
[544] And on the estates sort of people, there were different ty types of people but Street would ha ha had a name.
[545] [laugh] Yeah there were a few characters down there.
[546] Er well I'm not gonna mention their names now but er quite a few characters, believe me.
[547] Er I were telling you about the pianos, in one particular terrace you could just imagine it in, what, nineteen er twenty si no [...] , twenty seven twenty eight, and you know things were bad, you talk about the thirties, the twenties were worse than that.
[548] I've seen th this fella came down and he was selling pianos and er he went down this particular terrace and he must have sold seven, eight, or nine or ten on, on both sides.
[549] At one and six a week.
[550] And the, the price was thirty nine pounds and as far as I know at the time the, the pianos went down that terrace I don't think anybody could play it properly.
[551] They'd, they'd all have a little bash, one or two fingers you know, I did even on, on, on one particular one.
[552] Er but nobody could really play the piano yet they all bought them.
[553] And eventually there was quite a few went back before they were paid for.
[554] Er at th
(PS1Y2) [555] M Mr er could you tell us about your sch where did you go to school?
(PS1Y3) [556] Road.
(PS1Y2) [557] And how old were you when you, when you first went?
(PS1Y3) [558] Road School, no sorry, Road.
[559] Road School I'd be ten I should think, nine or ten.
[560] Aye.
[561] I wasn't there very long cos I only went in one class in Road School.
[562] Then we moved to the and then I went to Road School, which I finished my time there, fourteen.
[563] I left at fourteen.
(PS1Y2) [564] Now can you remember what you were taught at school, the curriculum?
(PS1Y3) [565] Yes.
[566] Hist well it'd be first of all it was er an hour of religion, where the headmaster used to have us all together, all the classes together.
[567] And, and [...] sing hymns and maybe have er a lesson or two on one particular part of the bible.
[568] And after that you'd go to your own classes and you had a, a set ... er what did they call it?
[569] Set er programme where you had er maybe an hour's arithmetic.
[570] Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and so on, do so many sums a day, each lesson.
[571] And after that you'd maybe have er well be playtime then.
[572] And about ten minutes playtime running round the yard, come back and maybe have a history lesson.
[573] Er maybe half and hour history and half an hour geography and er science er ... but it were all ele very elementary stuff.
[574] Er [laugh] wasn't nothing technical, you know.
(PS1Y2) [575] Was the discipline very strong in the school?
(PS1Y3) [576] Oh yes, very strong.
[577] One man in particular er again I won't mention his name but anybody that went to Road School'll know who I, I mean when I say that if you did anything wrong he'd call you out and ask you something and if you, if you like [cough] pupils used to be a bit shy and, and not speak to him he'd slap you across the face.
[578] I mean slap not just sideways with his hand and then he'd give you the strap after that.
[579] Er one case I know [cough] he, he's so well known amongst the old lads er he used to give you so many sums to do each day and I think it was four or five long division.
[580] And when you're learning them, [...] you know it's alright now but when you're learning it's very difficult.
[581] It was to me.
[582] So you used to take these five sums out to be marked and he'd put right, tick, right, wrong, right, you know.
[583] And he said to me, he'd marked my, my sum and, and as it happened they was right, all of them.
[584] So whether he didn't believe that I, I'd [laughing] got them right or not I don't know but the answers were there [] .
[585] And then he picked one particular line out he said, where did you get this figure from?
[586] Now as you know when we used to do the sums we used to have a little bit of paper and, and work it out on this separate bit of paper, but he said to me out of the blue he said, where did it, how did you get that figure?
[587] Well at that particular time I couldn't tell him.
[588] I says er, I don't know Sir.
[589] [...] never went to me spare bit of paper probably eventually but he hadn't got time for that.
[590] So I said, I don't know, sir.
[591] He looked at me, he said, you've copied, haven't you?
[592] I said, no Sir.
[593] Because the bloke next to me used to give cakes to [laughing] to copy off me [] .
[594] Anyway er he says, you co I said, no sir.
[595] So he, he slapped me across the face.
[596] He said, you've copied, haven't you?
[597] I said, no sir.
[598] He said, [...] , he got the strap out of the desk, [...] about three or four, you must know what a strap is don't you?
[599] One, come on, hold it up, two, three on that hand, three on this hand.
[600] Six straps and a slap across the face and I hadn't copied.
[601] And when he'd s finished he said, you've copied, haven't you?
[602] I said, no sir.
[603] And he, he said, go on.
[604] Oh it was, it, if you did anything wrong especially with that fella you, you were, you were a [...] .
[605] Oh yes, there were no er there was no er no nonsense, I mean you wouldn't dare answer the teacher back like they did now and call them by their christian names.
[606] We wouldn't dare do that, we wouldn't think of doing that.
(PS1Y2) [607] Did you have any favourite subjects at school?
(PS1Y3) [608] Yeah, geography.
[609] Yeah, I was always well er in that particular class from that [...] I was always either the top of the second or the third at geography.
(PS1Y2) [610] Now did you want the s did you ever have the chance to stay on at school?
(PS1Y3) [611] No I didn't even get a chance to, to sit the eleven plus.
[612] I wasn't allowed to s sit for the eleven plus.
(PS1Y2) [613] Well why was that?
(PS1Y3) [614] My father said I'd got to leave school at fourteen.
(PS1Y2) [615] And would you have wanted to stay on?
(PS1Y3) [616] Mm I don't think so I, I wasn't er, I were all for looking for a, going to work, you know.
[617] I wanted to go to work, I [...] I didn't want to stay at school.
(PS1Y2) [618] Can you remember when you were at school what sort of games you used to play?
(PS1Y3) [619] Oh yeah, cricket, football, er sometimes rounders, swimming, snubs, rum-stick-a-bum, tin-lurky.
(PS1Y2) [620] Could you explain what those last three were?
[621] Snubs etcetera.
(PS1Y3) [622] Five stones they call it, you know.
[623] Snubs you know what I mean don't you?
[624] They had the five cubes and you chuck them on back of your hand and eight dobs, nine er nine flies, ten [...] and you know.
[625] Er rum- stick-a-bum
(PS1Y2) [626] What's that?
(PS1Y3) [627] Well that was one would stand against the wall and about four would get down like that and you had a team say of five.
[628] And you'd say, Rum- stick-a-bum here I come, and you'd run and hop onto and get on as far a onto these backs as you could.
[629] And you'd all got to get on, and stay on for a little while without touching the floor, then you could have another go.
[630] And then we'd tin-lurky er you, you, you'd get a tin, you don't, you know tin-lurky?
(PS1Y2) [631] Go on, go on.
(PS1Y3) [632] You, you get a tin er and whoever's sort of looking after the tin, er somebody kicks it, one'll kick the tin and then you all go and hide, and he has to find you before you can come back and kick the tin.
[633] So [laugh] while he's looking for you somebody could run out and kick the tin, there you go and fetch him, and if he'd caught anybody and when you kicked that tin the other, well you could all go and hide.
[634] You sort of released him to, to go and hide again.
[635] Er ... rounders which is er similar to er I dunno American baseball in, in a fashion isn't it?
[636] Well we used to play that in the street you see, have the lampposts, the top of the yard and there, there and have to set a good target [...] rounders.
[637] Of course there was football and cricket and swimming in the canals, jumping off the suspension bridge was a regular thing.
(PS1Y4) [...]
(PS1Y2) [638] Could you tell us about swimming in, in the canals Mr , what, what you used to do?
(PS1Y3) [639] Oh yeah, well that was where I learnt to swim in the canal on Road, er it's the bridge that goes over Lane, near, near .
[640] And there's a ledge on one side and I suppose the canal, it's still there, the canal is on only about what three or four yards wide.
[641] And what we used to do to begin with the canal used to dip in the middle, you know there was bike wheels and dead cats and everything in it, and it used to dip and, and there was a sludge and, and the barges used to go up and down with a horse pulling them, and in the middle there was a, so you couldn't bottom it in the middle, so when I learnt to swim I used to dive off this ledge and go under the water so far and I, I could reach the bottom when I got to the other side.
[642] And hang onto the ledge.
[643] And I gradually began to swim like that.
[644] Well we used to go in the dinner hour, [...] from Road School.
[645] And then at nighttime we used to come down to the , if we, if we didn't go in Baths which was smashing, it was absolutely great, had two piers and a, a diving board, er and a deep end and a, and a shallow end for kids.
[646] It were lovely, in the , opposite the paddling pool now.
[647] And then the other favourite place was the suspension bridge.
[648] Cos there was a lot of sand and gravel just under the sus sus suspension bridge on the right hand side then, and it would go sl gradually sloping towards the middle without being too deep.
[649] You know only right in the middle and we used to jump off the Suspension Bridge regular, some used to dive, but I never did dive there.
[650] I used to jump off the middle of the Suspension Bridge.
(PS1Y2) [651] Now going, going back to your actual home environment Mr erm if there was always, could you actually describe how the house was built?
(PS1Y3) [652] My
(PS1Y2) [653] The make up of the house in Street.
(PS1Y3) [654] Well it we it was a terrace and, and one side of the ter the front doors were facing each other and there was twelve or thirteen houses on each side.
[655] The front doors facing each other.
[656] One side of Terrace had a little garden, a little postage stamp, no [laugh] ever so small.
[657] Some used to keep them quite nice as well, but they were that tiny.
[658] Now the other side we didn't have one at all, we did, it were just the path down.
[659] Now the, round the backyard, used to go down the yard, and on the left hand side of the yard there was a, a, a, a toilet and a coal house.
[660] Everybody had a coal house, not many had coal in.
[661] [laughing] Much coal in anyway [] .
[662] Some did, some had them full and some didn't and er there was a toilet and a ... a toilet and a coal house across the yard and then we used to go in the back door and there was a tiny little kitchen.
[663] I suppose about one and a half yards, perhaps not that, square and in the corner there was what they called, what we had the copper for boiling the clothes, make it with small coal and, and coal and wood and paper and boil the water and, and my mother used to do the washing there and we had a big old mangle with wooden rollers out in the back yard, that was always out in the back yard.
[664] And on the top of that we used to keep a sink-bath.
[665] Er not, not the long one, we didn't have a long one we had a rou oval one.
[666] And we used to keep that on top of the mangle.
[667] And then at the side of the copper there was a gas stove, and there was some shelves where we used to put silver spoons.
[668] And round to the left to the copper was a sink, a stone sink, just cold water.
[669] Then the kitchen, there were the living room was er about three by, three by three I should think, maybe three and a half by three.
[670] Now we had a coal fire, on one side there was the er hot water boiler and on the other side there was the oven.
[671] Er the copper, the, the hot water boiler we, we had a top on and, and you fill it up and then when the water was hot take it out.
[672] Well [laugh] this all had coal and, and the, the chimneys want wanted sweeping and if you didn't sweep your chimney regular the soot used to come down onto this water [laugh] into, into this er boiler.
[673] We were, were very often washing with er sooty water. [laugh]
(PS1Y2) [674] And how many bedrooms did it have?
(PS1Y3) [675] Two.
(PS1Y2) [676] Now er if there was ... twelve of you
(PS1Y3) [677] Ah well not, there wasn't twelve to all together.
[678] Er because me sis me sister, two of me sisters went in service, er there was me, at this time, me, me brother, two sisters, no, two brothers, five, six, well I, I have, we have at one time me mother and father slept downstairs in the front room.
[679] Er ... me and me brother and two sisters slept in one bed, two at the bottom, two at the top.
[680] And then the other room was for the bigger, the elder ones.
[681] Er I think there was just Elsie at home then.
[682] Yeah, she's dead now.
(PS1Y4) [683] Cassie's older than Elsie.
(PS1Y3) [684] Ah but Cassie wasn't at home then.
(PS1Y4) [685] Oh.
(PS1Y3) [686] She was in service.
[687] So you know, we had back room for the, the elder and the youngsters into, to, well we were only kids you know then.
[688] Talking about twelve and er eleven or twelve, thirteen.
(PS1Y2) [689] Now ... erm ... did you say your father got a pension from the Army?
(PS1Y3) [690] A what?
(PS1Y2) [691] Did you say your father got a pension from the Army?
(PS1Y3) [692] Yeah, yeah.
(PS1Y2) [693] W was it a decent, well I mean was it a living wage
(PS1Y3) [694] Yeah I, I, I think, I think it was about by the time he, he'd had this allowance from ... you know going to College, I, I think it left him with about twenty seven bob a week, which wasn't bad you know.
[695] Because a, a, a labourer w was only earning thirty shilling a week.
[696] A porter on a railway was only on er I think it was twenty seven to thirty bob a week.
[697] A skilled man at at that time was earning one and tuppence an hour.
[698] For forty eight hours, and the labourer was on tenpence ha'p tenpence ha'penny an hour.
[699] So you know it wasn't a bad little pension was it?
(PS1Y2) [700] Er ... erm
(PS1Y4) [701] [whispering] Smoky [] .
(PS1Y2) [702] could, could you tell us about the ways in which you as a child used to try and ... get some money for yourself and the family?
(PS1Y3) [703] What the boy the lads?
(PS1Y2) [704] Yeah.
(PS1Y3) [705] Oh yeah.
[706] Well there was a ... it was such a job at that time ... you couldn't get work and we, we used to genuinely look for work every day, but it was just a waste of time.
[707] So we had to go to pictures ... and we had to have a few [...] or whatever.
[708] So one of the ways was, at that time the Co-op used to have a horse and cart coming round the streets, fruits and, and they used to sell rabbits.
[709] Well the, the lads used to skin the rabbits for the customers and throw the skin ov over the top of this cart, horse and cart.
[710] So we'd jump up an get one of these rabbit skins and then we'd take it back to wholesale fruiter in Street, and get fourpence for it.
[711] Well that would enable us to go to pic one of us to go to pictures and get a penny bag of sweets, or a pennyworth of [...] fruits, or a pennyworth of stale buns.
[712] You see we were never hungry, although you know [laughing] er times were bad and all that [] , you were never short of money either.
[713] Because another one was er we come down the houses in here, empty houses and in, in the summer they used to grow flowers, Marguerites, and we used to go in the backyard, we weren't supposed to, er and cut these flowers and make them into bunches and, and sell them for tuppence and thruppence a bunch.
[714] Nice big bunches you know and, and wonderful value for the people. [laugh]
(PS1Y2) [715] And was there any other ways you used to, is there any other things you used
(PS1Y3) [...]
(PS1Y2) [716] to do?
(PS1Y3) [717] Er minding motors outside the Arms and the Bridge Hotel every night, maybe only get sixpence or sevenpence cos there wasn't that many cars about at the time.
[718] And, and we used to say to them, er can I mind your car sir?
[719] Aye, keep your eye in it my lad.
[720] And he'd come out maybe at ten o'clock, just gone and give you tuppence or some would give you a penny.
[721] Er and then another one was er bottles, we used to go round the back of er er [...] and get a bottle or two bottles and get tuppence, penny on the pint and tuppence on the quart bottles.
[722] And take them back into the shop or send somebody else with them and er get our picture money that way.
[723] And then er we'd maybe get thruppence between us and let one go and pay to g to in the pictures and open the, lift the bar up, the emergency exit, and get in on our hands and knees behind the curtain. [laugh]
(PS1Y2) [724] Was this quite a common thing for the lads in the to do things like this?
(PS1Y3) [725] Oh yes, yeah, we all did it.
[726] We all did it.
(PS1Y4) [727] They still do it actually.
(PS1Y3) [728] Do they?
[729] I don't know.
(PS1Y4) [730] I reckon our David's done it.
(PS1Y3) [731] There were different gangs you see, there was, there was er my, say our, our gang, we'd be er thirteen to fifteen.
[732] And then there was another gang fifteen to eighteen, and then another gang eighteen to twenty three.
[733] There was three different gangs.
(PS1Y2) [734] And were they based on areas as well, did you have like a different gang for different streets sort of thing?
(PS1Y3) [735] Oh yes, we used to meet at top of the yard.
[736] Er you see er no we were, we were all together.
[737] Sometimes all the lot of us would play there, marbles was another favourite game.
[738] I mean I, I, I, I've had as many as a thousand marbles in a bag.
[739] All for taking lawyers.
[740] Er if, if you, if you had, you had to dig a little hole in, in the, in the, by the wall on the, on the pavement like that to hold about sixty four marbles say, and you'd start off and say, give or give or take ... give or take as a lawyer, I used to have four marbles, and whoever was taken that was a lawyer of four marbles, I don't know why.
[741] And whoever took this four marb eight marbles had chucked them in this hole and if a even number come out it was mine, if a odd number came out then he'd take the eight.
[742] Then you'd have eighter, or sixteener, a thirty twoer until you'd got sixty four marbles you know and chuck them in this hole and if odd or even come out [...] .
[743] Of course it was gambling.
[744] Martin they used to call it, pitch and toss, er till the policeman used to come round and used to, what you on with?
[745] Ah just sitting here.
(PS1Y2) [746] Did, was there a lot of gambling, did, er [...] in the area?
(PS1Y3) [747] Well we did in, in this particular, in, in Terrace.
[748] Every weekend.
[749] Some men and, and some lads.
[750] We'd play pontoon and brag, ha'penny, farthings [...] farthings.
[751] We've even played for fags. [cough]
(PS1Y2) [752] Now ... could you tell us about erm ... like you, the general health of the family, how was that taken care of?
(PS1Y3) [753] Fortunate I can't remember too much er ordinary er illnesses like er, we'd have a cold and, and you know er and that but no, I can't remember chicken pox and er
(PS1Y4) [754] Measles.
(PS1Y3) [755] scarlet fever and that sort of thing.
[756] There was a lot, lot had it er I don't know how they used to go on really er I know some somebody in a, a movement called Rachobites er what were the other one?
(PS1Y4) [757] I can't remember.
(PS1Y3) [758] Eh?
(PS1Y4) [759] I can't remember.
(PS1Y3) [760] There were some sort, some sort of er ... some like an insurance, now maybe only pay tuppence a tuppence
(PS1Y4) [761] Tuppence a week.
(PS1Y3) [762] Yeah.
[763] Er and that, and that cou would get you get you to a doctor then.
[764] Er but if a, a doctor's visit I think they used to pay five shilling if, if you sent for the doctor.
[765] And you'd got to pay five shillings.
[766] Wasn't it five bob?
(PS1Y4) [767] Yeah, it was a lot of money in those days.
(PS1Y3) [768] Mm.
[769] I can, could apart from, from that, this operation I never had any illnesses, not when I was a kid you know, not until later on.
(PS1Y2) [770] Now ... you've just been describing to us Mr about er your leisure activities etcetera and it was sort of confined to the etcetera.
[771] Did you have much trouble with the police, involvement with them etcetera?
(PS1Y3) [772] No er ... not, not really because the only time I, I wa I was in trouble with the police was I was riding a bike without a light.
[773] And this policeman, I were coming down Lane off over the hump back bridge.
[774] And he eh said, where do you live?
[775] I said, twenty four Terrace.
[776] And he took me home, er he gave me a good talking to, and tell me dad, cos me, I nearly, I got a good hiding, was going to get a good hiding from me dad, until this policeman says, don't worry, he says er, you won't hear anything about it.
[777] And I got a summons.
[778] I had to go to court, to pay five bob, cos I were riding a bike without a light.
[779] I went to the Hall and the old man paid out.
[780] Er now if you broke a window, this was the sort o how we used to get into trouble we should play maybe football or rounders or cricket or something and we'd break somebody's window.
[781] And we'd got to pay for it which was usually another five bob.
[782] Er
(PS1Y2) [783] Were the lads you used to knock around with, were any of them in serious trouble with the
(PS1Y3) [784] Yeah.
(PS1Y2) [785] police?
(PS1Y3) [786] Yeah.
(PS1Y2) [787] Could you tell us about them?
(PS1Y3) [788] Two, two of them.
[789] Well I'm not gonna mention their names but they're still alive, one's still in and he's doing, he's done very well for himself.
[790] Three of them went into a shop, in a baker's shop, why I wasn't with them that day I don't know cos we was always together, our four.
[791] But this day I wasn't there anyway and er they went into this shop in the , er and they came out, or one of them took a, a fruit cake.
[792] They're about [...] I, I, I think the pri [sneeze] price was one and three.
[793] The three of them was involved.
[794] Well one got let off, one got a pro put on probation, for three years, and the other one got sent away to an approved school.
[795] And that one that got sent away he, he learnt a certain job which he's done in ever since and he's done very well at it.
(PS1Y2) [796] Were they picked on by the police, the people in the , cos that seems a pretty severe sentence.
(PS1Y3) [797] Well no the, the owner, the baker reported them to the police.
[798] But we knew the police and the police knew us.
[799] You know they di they knew us by name.
[800] I mean we were to come over Bridge here and there was a police station on Bridge at the time, police, you know opposite the T B I, and the sergeant used to stand there and he used to wait for us coming home.
[801] We had, we'd go to Park, be sent out of there by the keeper because [laughing] we co we weren't supposed to be in he said [] .
[802] And the girls used to say, these bri these lads are here again, and er, well he sent us out and when we'd come back we'd pass this sergeant and at, he'd, he'd talk to u where you been, what you been up to?
[803] I'd say, nothing, we've just been up there [...] , and he'd smack us across the chops with the er gloves, and say, go on, and don't let me see you here again.
[804] [laughing] You know [] . [cough]
(PS1Y2) [805] But wasn't it somewhat severe to, to get you know
(PS1Y3) [806] Wasn't it what?
(PS1Y2) [807] Wasn't it a bit severe to be put into er a detention centre for, for just nicking a cake?
(PS1Y3) [808] One and thruppenny fruit er fruit cake, yeah.
(PS1Y2) [809] Was that quite normal at the time?
(PS1Y3) [810] Er ... well it er it was normal because it was the only time I, I've heard it happen in Street anyway but there were, there was kids being sent away all the time to borstal and er for doing wrong things.
(PS1Y2) [811] And was the area itself er with the adults concerned, were the police often involved with them?
(PS1Y3) [812] No it, it wasn't so bad really.
[813] Er
(PS1Y4) [814] It was a bit rough, it wasn't
(PS1Y3) [815] It was rough but you know it, it w it was petty things that we was in trouble for, not, nothing sin I mean we would never think of mugging anybody or vandalizing things for the sake of vandalizing.
[816] Er we, we'd tie two doors together which, and then knock on them both, [laughing] and then run like hell [] .
[817] Er firework night now I ... we would get bangers, put them, get a dustbin lid and, and put the banger under the dustbin lid and the dustbin lid used to go up because they were big bangers then.
[818] But apart from that I mean we w I never knew any of our lot to put one through a letter box or anything like that, you know.
[819] We was all into mischief but it was never anything wrong, you know what I mean?
[820] Er I, I ... like bonfire night we'd, we'd maybe start collecting bonfire rubbish round about the end of August.
[821] We'd go to all the shops along our [...] and there was some shops, with bags hoping to get something else besides rubbish.
[822] And then stored it in somebody's coal house.
[823] And at that time nearly everybody had a bed with a mattress made of straw, and on top of this mattress, straw mattress they used to have what they call a tick, flock, flock tick.
[824] Well every bonfire night it was the time for most people to get rid of the fleas and the mattresses and er and bonfire night we used to come just right.
[825] Well I know in one terrace alone in Street, Street used to have three big bonfires in this two hundred yards and I've known one terrace, Terrace to have as many as twenty mattresses you know piled on the street ready for, and the big lad the bigger lads used to, to get the props get somebody's prop and stoke the fire up and put the mattresses on.
[826] And then you'd got the fleas and, if you hadn't got fleas at home you certainly would have them [laughing] after bonfire night [] .
(PS1Y2) [827] Mr could, could you tell us was, was there a pawnbrokers near you?
(PS1Y3) [828] [laugh] Yes.
[829] Now ... there was er , he had two shops on Street.
[830] He had one er just on Street there and the other one was near Street.
[831] And there was also another one a little bit further on.
[832] There were three on Street between Bridge and Station.
[833] About that time everybody had indigo suit, you know what indigo blue is don't you?
[834] Well this, this indigo suit whether it was brown, blue, or black, it was still indigo.
[835] Cos it was indigo on Monday as [laughing] out it go on Saturday, if you were lucky [] .
[836] Er ... everybody or nearly everybody used to go to the pawnshop.
[837] But nobody wanted other people to know about it, [...] be embarrassed.
[838] We went, I went regular.
[839] And so did a good many people who I, I thought would never go.
[840] Cos I used to see them there.
[841] [laughing] You see, they [...] , they can't deny it [] .
[842] But I, my mother used to send me and er with my father's suit and er she used to say er, now you're going t to pawnshop, take your dad's suit.
[843] I says, aye, aye.
[844] And I used to get a penny or tuppence sometimes to take it in.
[845] And then on a Saturday she'd say, [...] go fetch your dad's suit.
[846] I said, well, I said, I'm, I'm [...] someone had seen me last week.
[847] Cos it instead of it wasn't wrapped up you see, it was wrapped up in a cloth.
[848] Well [...] if you've got a cloth er parcel with, with, wrapped in cloth you know everybody knew where you were going and I didn't like people to know I was going to, been to the pawnshop.
[849] So we started another thing then the, if you paid fourpence you, you could have your suit wrapped up and it were new paper with string.
[850] And it looked as though you'd bought something rather than been to the pawnshop.
[851] I used to say, well let me have a fourpenny wrapper and then I, I, and fourpence was a lot of money then.
[852] So anyway I used to get this fourpenny wrapper and er walk down Street.
[853] And everybo [laughing] still everybody knew, it didn't matter [] .
(PS1Y2) [854] Was, was everybody embarrassed about going to the pawnbrokers or didn't didn't some people
(PS1Y3) [855] [...] [...] quite a lot.
[856] It was very useful for people, because it was the only way they could get the bit of money on a Monday.
[857] I mean they used to take things er the wedding ring, the jewellery if they'd got any, towels, sheets, er suits, shoes, er didn't didn't want to sell them, didn't want to get rid of them, they just wanted to borrow money on those, and he used to charge you interest and ticket money when you took it in, and then you'd got to pay interest when you took it out as well so it was, they were on a good thing.
[858] Yeah.
[859] And then people used to er maybe wedding rings or sovereign used to pawn that and then they used to either they couldn't afford to get it out, to, to redeem it so er the pawnbroker would sell it then, after a time.
[860] They was on making a good living and still do I think.
[861] They're coming back again pawnshops aren't they?
(PS1Y2) [862] And
(PS1Y3) [...]
(PS1Y2) [863] and was it the suit that was the thing you always used to pawn?
(PS1Y3) [864] Ooh my dad's suit was definitely the thing every week.
[865] [laugh] [laughing] I don't know why he brought it out on, on the weekend for it [] .
[866] [laugh] There's another story about me dad that most of [...] used to borrow we had moneylenders in, in the streets, there was quite a few moneylenders in the .
[867] And they used to charge, maybe lend you half a crown, not a pawnshop but your ordinary women, used to lend you half a crown and maybe charge you sixpence for it or something like that you see.
[868] And my father s he er he used to go in the Plum Tree and one of the landlords there he'd say er, Tom lend us a quid.
[869] And he used to lend me dad a pound and he always used to give him it back on a Wednesday, on his pension day.
[870] And then borrow it again on a Friday or a Saturday and this went on for so long er he'd eventually Tom said, by the way Jack, he said, whose pound note, whose pound is this?
[871] So he said, why?
[872] He said I don't know whether it's mine or whether it's your bugger.
[873] He said, I tell you what, he said, you keep it we we we'll call it straight.
[874] [laugh] So I don't know whose pound it was.
(PS1Y2) [875] Did these people who used to lend money get a bit heavy if they weren't repaid?
[876] What did they used to do?
(PS1Y3) [877] If they didn't get paid, well, er there wasn't official moneylenders so they couldn't er they couldn't sue you I'd think.
[878] They weren't supposed to do it anyway, it was illegal.
[879] No i er I don't know people didn't go out of their depth I don't think, they, it was half a crown or five bob and, and they used to pay, maybe pay it back in bits and bobs.
[880] And then the woman that would lend them money'd say, well you're not having any more, so you'd got to try and find somebody else who'd lend you money.
[881] But
(PS1Y2) [882] But you've never heard of people getting beat up
(PS1Y3) [883] Oh no, no, no.
(PS1Y2) [884] cos they hadn't paid or anything.
(PS1Y3) [885] No, no.