Rosa Bell – ‘R.M Remembers.’
Can you imagine a wee fella just about 3ft tall and only 7 years old standing at the beside of his dying mum when she put out her hand and stroked his wee head and told him to be a fine man. Grow Up.
And that is what he grew up to be. I know
so well because he was my Dad. He had such an unhappy time after he lost his mother as his Dad [wed?] [Illegible sentence]. (1)
He was working down a coal mine. Opening a trap door at 9 years old. He never saw daylight in the winter time and wearing clogs much too big for his small feet and only getting six pence a day. He worked down the mine until he was 18 and saved every penny he could – was feared and laughed at for being so careful – but he hated working down there and was determined to do something with his life. Well by that time he d managed to save [save in bold] enough money to take him to a Boarding (2) School where he stayed for a year & a half and after that he was able to take a clerical job on the surface and I was so pleased to know he achieved so much.
He only had one sweetheart, who became my mum, [above text] and she was the village dressmaker with her own wee workroom. One lady used to take her outside to see Dad coming home in his daily clogs as she thought my mum was marrying beneath her but my mother told her he wouldn’t always (3) be like that, the only money Dad ever borrowed was £1 from mother and she said ‘I was so proud to lend it to him, for he was pure Gold.’
When they married they lived in a very small cottage at one shilling and six pence a week rent.
But [I am before my tale?] they used to sit opposite each other in the village Church Choir and in those days found true pleasure in just the simple things for there was nothing else.
I remember so many (4) little things about them both – our home was a home for so many. Dad was always there to bandage bruised knees and my mother was so kind, her left hand never knew was her right hand was doing. Anyone in trouble knew just where to come for help and sustenance.
I remember the old Fiddler who used to call and always played the old song, Down by the River Side. I [illegible] as mother loved the [illegible] so much. It was the favourite of (5) a dear sister who had died. He used to sit on the old seat in the yard with a [illegible] pit of tea and bread + jam and sometimes a bit of gingerbread.
Everyday when Dad came from work she always went into the wash house where he kept his bike and they had a little chat together for a few minutes. We never invaded their privacy for that was there quiet [scribbled out word] together and no one ever knew what they talked about. That was there own precious time (6) I think today they d call this a love in.
And she used to see him out of the door each morning at 5:30 am [5:30am above text] and always with a good breakfast inside him at four am.
I often wonder how she managed to get [2 illegible words] no fancy idiotic cookies or other gadgets only an old fashioned [illegible] place. Our oven was always warm and did the old angle nook was so cosy.
We never forgot those days when mother had the oven full of bricks (7) which she made hot and they were wrapped in flannel bags and put in our beds at night time.
To be continued
We were seven and I was the youngest. I came along many years after the other [crossed out word] and my mother used to call me her weekling.
I was so sensitive always so nervous and
afraid, just happy to roam the fields listening to the birds and finding
their nests and picking the wild flowers. One of my brothers who was teaching
in Manchester (8) told me that were were children there who d never seen a wild
flowers so I picked + I picked until the seat in the yard was covered and thought
they would all be posted on to him. I did not know until I grew up that mother
did not send them. She used to dump them in the Beck when it was in flood. She
did not want to hurt my feelings but in no way could she had afforded the
Even so I was the child who loved my parents more than any other member of (9) the family to stand beside my father in Church + sing with him the wonderful hymns. His favourites were when I [sang?] the Wonderous Cross, The King of Love
Sheppherd is and abide with me – the verse told thou thy cross before my closing eyes still means so much to me and I was so proud to sing with him.
Also I remember walking with my mother to the [leuten?] services and singing in the [illegible x2] Church the Beautiful Psalm.
Thou Shalt purge me with (10) [illegible] and I shall be clean. Thou shalt wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Yes there are so many moments I treasure with them Both. they tried so hard to teach us right from wrong.
I could listen for hours to my mother reading the stories from the Sunday Companion. We had a little Brass oil lamp on the table and she used to sit with her arms around it so that she got the benefit of its light.
She had dear soul (11) many many crosses to bear but still remained a caring mother.
[illegible] sweet grey-haired old lady who was so dear to me loving true + faithful not a selfish thought she had. I know she knelt each evening whispering a prayer for me asking with a feverernt heart that blessed I might be I may have been wayward sometimes and have queued her
But I always knew she was the one who saw the best in me who was she you ask of me I’ll never get another just mother, my mother. (12)
About – Jane
I feel I must tell you about Jane, however she kept so cheerful. I shall never know with an ailing husband + a large family she had to make a living somehow.
She went out washing for as little as a shilling a day and was always available to bring babies into the world as if mother used to say [2 illegible words] could always do the [illegible]. Whilst kept [illegible] [boiling?] to wash the babies etc.
[Gin?] house was the [illegible] for all other members of the (13) families. Whilst Jane carried on with the good work – one wee lass called out to her mum – mother is your [illegible] better. not knowing another wee soul had assured.
In Jane’s later years she got regular work sorting the coals on the [illegible] at the local mine and that to her was wonderful to have a regular income – but she still carried on delivering the babies. I’ve seen her come home from a days hard work strip off her blackened clothes and go off to d her midwifery. (14)
She came to [our?] house to decorate the little room where mother used to do her sewing. the wallpaper had blue roses on it, when Jane finished – there was no matching – she’d stuck it on quite well – but there were full roses + half roses some upside down – But Jane had one her best and we laughed about it many a time but there was no ill feeling. Mother would get [them?] to do it so that she could give her a shilling or two.
Jane also managed (15) to plant things in her garden and also kept a pig and she used to boil all the wee potatoes in the big (copper) set pot as we called it and that meant joy to all the children round about – we used to flock in to Janes washhouse with our little packets of salt and maybe a pack of butter + pick out the potatoes + [illegible] them in their skins, nothing in my lifetime has tasted so delicious.
Once a year we had a party give to us by
dedicated [man?] of whom I shall (16) write later, one Christmas I was ill and unable to go – but Jane looked after me – I can picture her still even now I am nearly [80?] years of age standing at my bedside with a bag of cakes and a doll for me. She brought up a wonderful family who made [them?] way so well even in those days when opportunities were so few.
One was picked to go on Guard Duty at a Coronation but died on a Railway Station on his way to London – that was the (17) lad who was in love with my sister when they went to school together. Another [illegible] foned the police force. So I still think of Jane as one of the most wonderful people I have ever known. And I am sure she discovered a seat in Heaven. Surely our Good Lord would say when he saw her still smiling face + work worn hands will done thou good and faithful servant. (18)
Her home was [illegible] and what a character she was too we used to say she was only the [illegible] of three penny of coppers but was so full of spirit. Her first husband was brought home on a [Dool?] killed in a quarry. She had one boy and three weeks later gave birth to a second boy. and had to go into the workhouse as she was destitute so she like Jane was left to bring up her boys by doing whatever work she could find. (19) she used to make [Little Ben?] go to confinements [do gleaming?] in the [Hasnest?] Fields [illegible] turnips etc. (We had in our house a beautiful oak chest of drawers, corner cupboard + grandfather clock bought with her money. she’d made by [gleaning?] (gathering up the wheat after the corn
were taken away)
Well her 2 lads grew up and out of [their owned bus own farm?] I can remember my [brother?] telling me that when he went in to farm (20) service for the first time sending a message to say don’t worry about me the cats get more meat here than I got at Home. The other son went out to Canada and worked on Building the Rocky Mountain Railway. The second marriage was a bit of a disaster – my Grandfather was a wornderful stonemason but liked his Beer too well and she was always poor. He + the Village [Coiner? Goiner?] used to go to collect their Dues sound New Year Time + (21) naturally spent all the cash. I once heard someone say they’d put soap in the copper where the landlady was making soup.
My mother told me how they had to sleep on [Chaff?] beds – which were refilled every [refreshing?] time + there was a pig sty underneath. They grunted all night. But granny soldiered on + one of her brothers came over from America + brought her the first mangle in the Village + she used to do the mangling for Villages at one penny a time (22) The Village [Joiner?] told me that she [slept?] with him when he had a broken leg, she knew all about Herbal remedies – and the Doctor never missed calling to see her when in the village he said with her knowledge she saved him many journeys and the fact was she could neither read or write even though her father was a wonderful scholar and a [banker?] – But I suppose there were so many in the family he couldn’t cope with teaching them all.
I was only 9 when she (23) died but I still think of her kindly unselfish ways. She always had access to the Lady [Bountiful?] of the Village who lived in the Great Hall (I have heard that were are descended from those who once lived there) but if anyone was in need off Granny used to go take off her clogs and ask for help – which was always so gladly given – this good lady always sent a load of coals to each old person in the village + as I say always helped when there was need (24)
My Granny used to say I wish I had miss L’s purse, but they were good friends. Granny passed away in her sleep at 86 years of age and truly it was said of her as of the Lady [Bountiful?] I have mentioned they were [suenousus?] to many. (25)
He lived in our Village with his mother and took charge of our [temperance?] meeting. they’d call it a Youth Club now.
We used to meet once a month and only paid one penny – and how we looked forward to it for Johnny was such a great organiser and we all behaved so well,. [Sometimes?] kid arrange a magic [illegible] show and that was wonderful we looked forward to it for weeks. Sometimes we had a [concert?] (26) with such good songs + entertainers who came from a town not so far away and our own [Pollie?] who entertained with her Cumberland Dialect Sketches you mention applause well I have never heard anything like it – this was real joy at Xmas time. Johnny gave us a wonderful party – we called it a fruit feast. I know not why – he did not even forget me and as I mentioned before Jane delivered the goods.
When Johnny married and left our village how we (27) did miss him because he gave us so much pleasure and must have spent much of his own money many a time.
When he was killed in a [stage?] accident it is true to say the village folks were stunned and there was not anyone who was not touched by his passing.
I still think of him with great tenderness and of all the joy he brought into the lives of we [humble?] village people & he truly was a Remarkable man. [underlined remarkable man] (28)
On the Dole
Yes we did experience years on the Dole. I remember watching for my husband in a queue in Cumberland almost 1/2 a mile long all of them good honest men really wanting work all going to sign on some of them never had a job, some having been out of work for 11 years.
The [Browns?] in many cases suffered from malnutrition and so did their [mums?] + Dad’s, many died from tuberculosis and other related diseases. (29)
My husband without a job for 3 years, a man who d served a 6 years apprenticeship to engineering how how did we pass our time – most of the men took they old [illegible] bikes and went off to a
to pick small pieces of coal and one good farmer gave them a huge tree which they had [felled?] so OH they all the men [the men above text] went with saws of axes and we all had plenty of wood to keep our home fires Burning – my (30) husband used to come in almost famished but I had a good potato pot ready made with a penny worth of meat + a good [helping of?] Rice Pudding – then he d go off again until tea time.
Mushrooms were plentiful and sometimes we d go for a walk + pick some and call at the same good farmers house + they d sell us a huge can of milk for 2 pence so we got a good meal of stewed mushrooms (31)
But I must mention the kindly old man who came with us as he called it a Yule Log (he had nothing else to owe) bless him + I said to him how many Bairns have you [illegible x2] well he said I have 11 I should have made it the dozen shouldnt I. [illegible.]
My husband did many odd jobs – dont please mention it – but he repaired kettles, soldered milk [chains?] and mended flat
etc – + they had so (32) little to give him but the thoughts of the means still lingers in my mind. [Lingers in my mind scribbled out.]
I used to help a good lady to iron clothes and also carried dozens of buckets of cold water to wash the [Balter?] on [Churning Day?] and she was kind + gave me some small eggs + many a good meal. The Spirit of Friendship in those days was just wonderful + folks always shared what they had.
And we all had a (33) garden with potatoes and other vegetables.
I remember a wee lad who was supposed to be helping my husband – he’d an old handbag in which he d collected hundreds of worms he squeezed them in + took them up to show his mother who was ill in bed.
The [means test officer?] used to call – he wasn’t really a bad fellow but he had his job to do and I always hated the thought of it all.
So I got my husband (34) to take what savings we had + go off to [Doncaster?] for a month but he had no luck so we decided to have another [go?] – pay our [4/9?] rent for our cottage + gave a dear old lady in [Doncaster?] 9 [?] a week so that left us with about 10 shillings to feed both of us, but I was fortunate enough to meet someone for whom I’d worked and he soon got my husband a job – not at his trade but we were (35) so pleased to think we could be independent again – so we were allowed so much cash to move our few bits of furniture to Doncaster but it had to go the cheapest way possible (by Rail) but I can remember it being brought from the station on a cart + I had to help to lift them in myself – we also got an allowance of I think 10 shillings for 6 weeks – I can remember waiting (36) outside Doncaster Labour Exchange for my husband + the tears streaming down my face – tears of joy that we were to be free from the Dole Days – just to be let off the hook so to speak off the means test.
I should have mentioned the Cumberland folks who had a Green grocers shop in Doncaster – they used to say now don’t go short on a bite lass you are welcome here but I never asked (37) for anything – anyhow they said to me how have you managed this week – well I said to them in my native dialect well today we’ve had a twenty ta [Yan Jolie?] Pot (twenty
of potato to one of meat.) and have a penny left.
How well I remember the men from Scotland walking down South to find jobs + playing + singing on the streets to support themselves to pop a penny or 2 (38) in their caps was a great joy to me for some of them had almost no soles to their shoes and they were really trying.
I knew of men from Cumberland who went South on their Bikes + slept behind hedges as they had no money – but they did find work and did well down there.
I must also mention during those years on the Dole I was so (39) blessed with loving and kindly parents and do not forget that once my husband thought he was likely to get a job with one of the wealthy landowners – so they came to the rescue + bought him tools + clothes to go to it them we were told the job had been taken so we had to learn to take things like that.
Our weekly treat in those days, one ounce of tobacco [scribbled out word] + a quarter of Home Boiled Ham (40)
So I hope you well enjoy reading this even though it is a bit muddled.
We did get by – we neither stole or robbed anyone + as I said before the closeness to each other and all the friendly feeling carried us along and we still had some happy days in the 1930s.
RmB. 1982 (41)
My husband died in 1981 but I still have his Tool Box + the tools my parents bought when he thought he’d got a job and also the Callipers he made as a Boy serving his apprenticeship. (42)
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Collecting Rents With my Father
How I used to look forward to going to the village where most of the small bungalows + houses which belonged to his employer were. Sometimes he’d go on his bicycle – and I was so disappointed I could not go with him but on other Saturdays he d say I’ll take you with me today and we’d walk the four miles together. In and out we went and some poor souls were so [poor, crossed out] badly off they really could not pay and that used to upset me (44) so much, but father used to say – they will pay when they can for they are all as honest as the day is light. I think the rents were only about 2 shillings and 8 pence weekly.
Sometimes father would leave me in a home where there were lots of children and the mother was so wonderful and I was made so welcome with a large mug of tea and door step sandwiches.
Some of the gals used to be getting ready to go out for the evening (45) to meet their boy friends and go to Charlies the Cinema [in the village, above text] believe me they were lovely girls in spite of their poverty they could make themselves look so beautiful – mind you some of their underwear was not a joy to behold – but the home made dresses covered up a lot and off they used to go [off, above] perhaps with just a shilling in their handbags, and they could enjoy going to the pictures a few sweeties and
pennyworth of fish + chips.
There was a wee shop (46) in the village and father used to buy me some toffee.
I used to have the kind ready wrapped as she was such a dirty old lady who owned the place, I’d never have been able to eat it otherwise.
The walk home with father never seemed
long enough even though my youthful legs got rather tired – because he knew so
much about nature he could keep me interested all the way.
There was always a good meal waiting for us and then (47) Father got down to counting up the cash he’d taken and if he was even one half penny short he’d search until he found it.
And there is something more I’d like to mention an old lady lived in one of the cottages who’d been kind to him when he was a boy and he paid her rent until she died – and I often wonder how he managed to do that little act of charity when he had his own family of seven to provide for. Once a year he had (48) to go to a remote small holding to collect their dues – two such dear old people lived there well in their eighties I’d say – but their sweet old faces were a joy to behold and they were so generous I was almost overwhelmed by their welcome…
I wonder so often now why people seem to be so discontent, when those I have mentioned travelled a very hard road, but kept on smiling and never heard them growsing or grumbling (49)
The Disaster at the Mine
I remember that sad day so vividly.
My father came home quite late and we hardly knew him – He’d grown old in just such a short time.
Seven good men were killed and one was his dearest friend and the shock had been too much for my father.
There was one young man there who proved himself a Hero and was helped to go to College by some of the men who were so grateful for what he did. (50) He became a Methodist minister and he wrote to mother and father on their Golden Wedding Day and said in this letter that he only had dried teacakes to eat the day he started to work under my father on the surface at the mine but nothing he’d ever had could have tasted so delicious.
The cause of that disaster even though it was only a small one was never known. But it was a great shock to everyone (51)
The Day the Stationmaster had to send for father
They used to have women working at the mine in those days screening the coal picking out all the pieces of stone and other waste.
They were canny lasses believe me.
This day they’d come by train from the Railway Station near the mine to their home station and for some reason had had some discussion with the stationmaster, they were (52) not bad ladies but were full of fun and a bit unruly at times.
Anyhow they locked the stationmaster in his Booking Office and he had to phone father to come along by the next train and get them to let him out.
One of them used to have hysterics and father was sent for so many times that he got fed up and made up his mind he’d administer a [cure?] – he did just that but it would not be (53) wise of me to tell you what it was.
How hard those women worked and the wages in those days were small but they were always bright and happy and always took time for laughter. (54)
What happened on New Years Eve
My husband went off to work at 6 am and told me not to give him much food as he ‘d be back at 12 noon. So we did quite look forward to having a nice time in the afternoon.
But he was still at work down the mine until getting on for midnight.
So there was I worrying myself that’s the poor man had nothing to (55) eat so I filled up the teapot and put it in a piece of old Blanket with food in the Basket and off I set to walk 4 miles in the Dark thinking I’d get all the way to the mine and (was I nervous I’ll say I was)
But just as I was passing over the little Bridge here he comes and was he delighted to see me. So we sat on the Bridge at midnight having hot tea (56) and sandwiches and hearing the Buggers Blowing at the mines and the Church Clock striking the last hour of the old year only one can possibly and [illegible] wondered what we were up to at just 10 minutes into another year. Anyhow my husband never had a better meal it tasted delicious. (57)
Another time I found myself setting off on a journey to the mine was at night time – this time the moon kept popping out from the clouds – and giving me a bit of light as I waded my way. You see the machinery there was in such a shocking state they had to spend so many hours – just making it hang together.
Anyhow this time I did actually get to the mine and met Ike the Electrician whom I knew quite well and I asked where Ken was Old Ike replied he’s still down below + we cant get a message to him so come in to the Electric House with me. What a character he was – so there I was spending my time watching Ike electrocuting mice if you please – he had 9 wires – put down a bit of bread + was popping them regardless – well I was there at top of the Pit Shaft until midnight.
When Ken came up in the cage and I’m sure had the manager [believe?] there he’d have got a telling (59) off. I thought it was awful to see those tired men coming out of that huge hole after so many hours.
Anyhow we called in Ike’s house on our way home and his wife was Baking and had the Bottom of her oven Red Hot and after that we had a 4 mile walk home + got there at 1 am so weary but so pleased to be back. [Underlined] (60)
Yes Ike was a real character – he used to be signing on the Dole the same time as Ken, my husband.
When his new wee son came along – the manager at the Labour Exchange said to them – now Ike have you filled in that form I gave you to get the Extra Cash and Ike replied you’ll have to give me time, for the poor little b—– hasn’t even got a stamp on his card yet.
He used to go to the Butchers to get the weekly ration it was a ration (61) for he could not afford much but he was trying to put it in the Pocket of his overcoat but found there was no pocket there + it fell out on the pavement – poor Ike his language was unmentionable dear me he said – that wife of mine is no bloomin good – I dressed my Bairns this morning Ken and I had to put 9 safety pins in their clothes.
But really he was good company + often came to visit us and he always made us laugh even though times were hard + my husband + he were on the Dole (62)
The Little Giant
We always called him Giant – why I do not know for he was only just over 5 feet tall.
He had been a school teacher and was a Brilliant Scholar – but like so many clever people Drink became his master and he was tramping the Roads selling Buttons, Laces etc –
It did seem such a shame and we all liked him so much – he could make up a poem in just a few moments and whenever he called in at our house he’d recite (63) one for mother. He was a local man + knew the Dialect so well – I can remember him saying to mother – Elizabeth me lass get on wid thee wark (work) At half past five it’ll be quite Dark. A know thee [mudder?] sells Pot Dogs. And they won’t Bark.
He once entered a competition for Local Dialect and was given 2nd prize – a Yorkshireman was given first, but Giant even though he was almost destitute he would not accept – and I think he was right. (64)
I can remember him calling in at the Village School and our Schoolmaster thought we children were making fun of him and my word did we get a telling off after he left. The Schoolmaster told us he was one of the most Brilliant Scholars he’d ever met in fact he said he knows a great deal more than I do. (65)
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The Happy Days at MORNINGSIDE
Oh it was such a lovely old House it belonged to my mothers family for a long time. Her Grandfather lived there with his daughter who was an old maid as unmarried ladies were called in those days but I do believe she had a lover but gave up the thought of [what would?] no doubt have been a [strappy?] marriage to care for her father.
She was left this property when her Father died and it was left to Auntie Em and Uncle Ed as I used to call them – even though (67) they were no relation to me but they were so kind + generous that I shall always remember them.
But I must describe to you this beautiful place, the rooms were so cosy + in the Winter Time when the Thick Red Curtain was drawn across the Alcove + a lovely fire Glowing in the huge old Grate it seemed like Heaven to me + Auntie Em used to teach us to sing the Old Hyms like The King of Love my Shepherd is and Once in Royal David’s City (68)
There was an old pantry with Stone Slabs all round, and always it was so cool even in the hottest days of summer I used to watch Auntie Blowing gently to get the cream off the milk for her Butter making + there were Bowls of Fish Eggs + Game of all kinds as well.
Outside the Back door was the well and we used to Draw the coldest water I have ever had with a Bucket + Chain then up three well worn steps there was the old apple tree with its small red stupid apples (mother once told me her Granddad (69) called them Red Strokes) and that really was quote a good description and they did taste delicious, and the garden was so beautiful.
I can still imagine I can smell the scent of those old world roses and those old fashioned flowers, that apple Blossom in the springtime was a beautiful sight too.
And then there was the Huge Barn where we used to play for many Happy Hours.
At one end was a piece of sacking where more than one of the Hens laid them large Brown eggs – How (70) Ruthie (Auntie Ems Great niece) and I loved to go round collecting them after we came from school + after a wonderful tea in the little warm kitchen at the back of the house.
Then there was Fanny the little Brown Pony + Strawberry the Cow in the Field where we used to gather herbs for Auntie to make her herb Puddings and we’d make Daisy Chains. Auntie really was a marvellous person. She’d travelled the World as Lady’s [maid?] to a Doctors Wife and had been left by them (71) an income s that she was quite independent and along with her Brother able to rent Morning Side.
She could make such delicious Ginger Cakes – Breads, teacakes and the delicious Almond Essence from the Hawthorn Blossoms.
How sad to say that at the age of 91 she died, Blind and Poor as her income which came from Bonds in a Foreign Land had come to nothing.
She gave so much joy and did so many kind + generous things in her lifetime. I am sure that Heaven would be her Resting Place. (72)
Now there was a character for you.
He’d been a Detective on the Police Force in Liverpool and my mother in Law told me that many a time they tipped him up out of a Barrow at his back Door Drunk as could be.
You see the Boy who became my husband came to stay at Morningside when he was seven, my mother in law was (Uncle Ed’s niece) so I hope you can sort this one out.
What a Huge man Uncle Ed was well over 6 ft tall (73) and looked very slim and I’m sure Aunt Em must have had the patience of [love?] to deal with him at times.
He used to go off to market to take butter + eggs – I used to wonder if he ever saw the market for we children used to watch for him coming Home in the afternoon hanging on to the Rails, the little
beside him in the [illegible] and Fanny the wee Pony going as fast as she could as she seemed to know her way home so well + Uncle Ed was Drunk.
When my older sister (74) had her Baby, I can remember Uncle Ed coming to the gate and saying to me my word I hear you’ve got a Baby at your house now what do you think our little Fanny has got a foal too this morning.
Ken (who as I said before became my husband) was at Morningside for quite a time and a gentlemen in the Village Bought him a Rabbit for 6 pence + he had to go 2 miles to collect it so has he had not a Hutch to put it in + so he always stood in [awe?] (75) of Uncle. He hid it in one of the outbuildings + next morning Uncle found it and said to Aunt – I’ll tell you what we’ll have for dinner today – we’ll have stewed Rabbit – poor Ken was so upset as he was sure they were going to kill his Rabbit.
Even when he grew up he always visited Morningside perhaps it was to see me too anyway one weekend to see off [to go, above text] home on his Bike + it came ‘on an awful storm so he had to turn back and he was so wet (76) that he had to put on a pair of Uncle Ed’s trousers – Ken was about 5 ft 4 I’d say + as I mentioned before Uncle was well over 6ft tall and while he died he always laughed about the day he wore Uncle Ed’s trousers. (77)
Let the Truth be told at almost 80 I want someone to Know
There are times in our lives when we hear of all the gossip and unkind things people say. Do they even think that there is someone who has tried all her life to be patient and to [endure?] the [Gosses?] which have been laid upon her.
She tried so hard too to follow the teaching of our Good Lord who too endured so much.
For over half a Century she put up with, cruel vicious remarks and poverty – with a man who hated most of the (78) Human Beings with whom he came in Contact.
All those years until retirement came she was there fully an hour to get him to go to his work good breakfast ready – calling calling come on your going to be late and then one day he returns telling you he has a punctured tyre and next day you heard that the works door had been closed against him and he’d been late so many times.
Did any woman have such a pregnancy (79) I wonder, the time when only a few days before her son was born she had to walk on her own to a kind old ladies house to be examined by her good Doctor – it was a Sunday and no buses until after noon – and 3 miles to walk and when she arrived home he would not speak to her.
The Grass in the garden was over a foot high + she was there trying to cut it with sheers when a gentleman came and asked her if she’d like a lawnmower – oh yes (80) she would but how much did he want for it.
Nothing dear if it will help you.
She never knew a day what was to happen his Bosses were always at Fault – he’d come in and say I’ve got me Cards today or I’m fed up I’m changing my job.
After her son was Born it was awful – the language he used if he woke in the night, keeping a poor B—- awake when he had to go to work – she used to take her son into a cold (81) room + nurse him there where she caught a chill and when he was only 10 months old she had to be taken in to Hospital + was ill for a long time and had to have Fluid taken from her Lungs.
Only 2 months later he decided on taking another job + went to work [at?] a Well Known Electrical Firm – He used to come home at Weekends – but had so little money to give her after paying for his Lodgings that the child and her were almost starving (82) She begged of him to try and get a house finally he took quite a big place and again she had to pack up and go – always keeping in her mind that the promise made that marriage was a Contract [illegible] death us do part.
Anyhow she asked him if he’d stay up until the few [stacks?] of furniture were put in the House. She knew he was on night shift – but he could have gone to his bed after 9 30 am as the little lad + his mum were going by train. (83) When she arrived the furnature van was still outside – they had not seen her husband so off she had to go with her son in her arms to get him out of Bed and he was so indignant – what else could she do.
She’d never seen the House what an enormous dingy place it was, she stayed up all night and repapered the living room to brighten it a bit a wallpaper at 4 1/4d a Roll. He’d only been working there for a few weeks when just before Xmas he got his Cards (84) as he termed it once more so out of work again + she had to manage somehow.
She’d like here to mention all the kindness shown by so many people. She had no means of repaying any of them – but throughout the years she still blesses all their names.
The Lady who used to Bake such wonderful Cakes for her even roasted a Pheasant for her + set her off when I moved with a Huge Box of goodies – [illegible] 2 good neighbours, who brought in her lunch each day (85)
When she was taken ill after her confinement – the Milkman who even sent Cream to the Hospital, Dear Old
who cared for her and told her husband he never deserved a wife like her. The unknown gentleman who brought her home from hospital in his car.
The Milkman when she moved to another town who gave her a dozen eggs when she could not afford them. The Fishmonger who’d call on his way back so that he could find a small plaice for her wee lad (He used to call [illegible] and confide in [him?] and tell her about how (86) much he loved Mollie the Barmaid, at the Hotel he was a widower and she did admire his choice. She was a lovely lady + I think they made a match in the End.
You see the Gentleman for whom [illegible] worked got my husband a job twice and [I felt?] so ashamed when she heard complaints about him but even so she still tried to see the Best in him and stay loyal – even so she had to go many times to the Doctor with [illegible] nerves and they used to ask what her trouble was but in the (87) end she had to tell just to relieve her feelings or as she felt so many times she’d just go and end it all she could go on and on for there is so much she have still left untold but she’d like to say how much she admires the young people today who will not put up with having their lives spoilt but seek divorce.
Good luck to them.
Why does she go out + enjoy herself – well it is so nice to be free her life for almost 53 years was Hell and she tried to do her Best. (88)
I am almost 80 – From 1911
In those days how did we pass our time, you would no doubt say – well it must have been awful – no tellies – no discos – no going away on Holidays, no money in your pockets perhaps sometimes we only had a copper or two, yes it was wonderful to be given a Silver sixpence.
With that amount we could really have a great deal of pleasure – Walking 2 miles to the Cinema – and getting a bag of Toffees and eating our packet of Chips when walking the 2 miles back (89) Home. We roamed the fields knew all the [Bird Nests?] and never thought of Robbing them – (there were I am sorry to say) one or 2 who would take the eggs. But I think this will amuse you – for I could not find my sugar long as I searched everywhere + found them finally in a pocket belonging to my own son he’d been making his egg collection + had found them very useful for taking just one egg at a time.
But back again to more of our own young
days we had a [roap?, misspelled.] tied around (90) the Branch of a Tree –
where we spent many Happy swinging hours – I was so nervous that no one ever
pushed me up very High how I envied those who were so much Braver than I.
Dancing – going on Roundabouts at the Fair were no good at all to me – I always
longed so much to be good at all these things – but I have always been like a
grey sparrow + never made the [grade?] in anything again. Back to those days
when a lovely Summer Time we’d pick the wild (91) Strawberries + have them for
tea with the lovely cream from the top of the Jersey Cow’s milk and go for
Blackberries and back home to such wonderful Home Baked Bread with Fresh
We picked the [illegible] in the autumn time and they were put away in a Drawers until Christmas by then they were [illegible] and quite delicious.
At Christmas Time we went out running all around the Houses but people had little (92) to give us – at one Big Farmhouse we were invited in and were given a mincepie each and some coppers. Was our joy great it really was. We shared out the money so honestly – then off to the Village Shop – most of us bought [1d?] jellies the kind to make a [illegible] jelly – but we found they were a better buy than sweeties – they went further.
We always had a good fat Goose at Xmas I remember going with my parents to collect (93) ours from a remote Farm with my parents – my father insisted he knew a quicker way across the fields – but we only had a Lantern with a Candle to light the way + got terribly lost and mother got so indignant + she told Dad that come what way we’d go home by the Road. Anyhow we finally arrived at the Farm + collected the live Goose in a Bag + set off on our long journey home + the (94) Goose making such terrible noises – my mother + Dad had to leave me with it for a few moments they dumped it on the Road and there was I with the Goose wriggling about and was scared.
Next day my Dad had to kill the Goose – but I dare not be there to watch him as I thought it was an awful Deed – Mother used to sit in the Wash house + pluck it – I could watch her take out its innards + she’d tell me the use of all the various bits (95) + pieces. I’d say + whats that for mother + she used to say – well that’s the thing it shouts with + after all it did taste delicious when Cooked in the old coal oven – why is it I wonder that things did taste so good then was it because every thing was fed naturally or was it because we were young + had such wonderful appetites.
We got little in our stockings at Xmas perhaps a three penny piece a few nuts and an apple (96) and an orange. – my sister who was older than me bought me some decorations for a Xmas tree 12 for one shilling – [Lucifer?] was ever prouder than I our Christmas Tree was a Holly Bush – we could not afford a proper Fir Tree. Still our eyes shone like stars on Xmas morning we were thankful for what we had.
And when we were old enough – the lovely early Communion Service and the morning Service where I for one always (97) felt that God was there in the midst of us.
There my wonderful Faith came in to my heart + it has been with me through all my suffering my sorrows and not least the joys I have had. (98)
Our Beloved Doctor
He was truly beloved by all this patients never sparing himself – always available at any hour night or day.
Just to see him made one feel better – as a small child I used to be sure he was the Good Lord himself.
I can remember him being with my sister all night when her Baby was born – she had a difficult time and he was so patient and kind – coming downstairs and having endless cups (99) of tea – but never a complaint – how tired he must have been but he’d be going his rounds next day as usual.
I can remember when I was a young dressmaking apprentice over sixty five years ago – Id had toothache all day – so I went to the Dentist + found the door locked – so the pain was so bad I called in at the Doctors surgery, he was so busy and when I told him my toothache was so bad – he said to me well dear you know I’m (100) not really supposed to do extractions now have you been to the Dentist. I told him I had but had found the Place closed. Well dear he said just sit and wait until my surgery is over and I’ll see what I can do – and he took out my aching tooth + I did not feel any pain and went on my way so grateful.
He always took time to call in to see us when he was in the village even though he had not been called – my mother (101) always used to put him a home made brown loaf in his car. He always called to tell her how much he’d enjoyed it.
So many of his patients were so poor but he looked after them just the same – I do not think he ever sent them a Bill.
We were never afraid to contact him – he was like a father to us – I could go on forever telling you about all the wonderful things he performed.
He came in one (102) Sunday morning as my mother needed a small lump removed and he did the operation no fuss or bother was needed. But as I have said before he was so wonderful.
Was I right in thinking as I did when a Child that he was the Good, Lord Himself. (103)
(What we do with our spare time)
What did we do with our time.
We seemed to fill it up so well and were never bored.
We had our [Temperance?] meetings organised by our Good Johnny whom I mentioned before.
Also our Girls Friendly Society meetings – in the lovely drawing Room at the [Rectory?]. O picture it in my mind so well today – with the beautiful Red + Blue Carpet the glowing fire and most of all the Beautiful lady playing those old Hymns on the Grand Piano.
Oh she was so lovely with her white hair topped (104) by a lovely lace cap and a face which just beamed with kindness she seemed to like me too and used to take me into her Garden. I used to help her sometimes + was sent home to my delight with a bunch of flowers and some plants for my own Garden.
Then on Sundays, I did take my own Sunday School Class in the mornings and afternoons and then go to Miss C’s Bible Class in her sitting room at 5:30pm and then to evening service in our Church.
So Sundays were happily full days – so full of joy and (105) contentment.
Then our [Canon?] – who took so much interest in our welfare – any of us who were keen to have help with their education were taken for lessons at the Rectory.
We were taught in what he called his School Room a beautiful Room. It was with an enormous Fire Place and a long table where he used to teach us French + Algebra. I was so very interested in all the things he taught me and he was so keen that I should go to a Grammar School (106) as I won a Bursary at the Village School but my parents were unable to give the Financial help needed in those days [fares?] books had all to be paid for. So I was so disappointed and also lost my interesting in becoming a better Scholar.
Then there was the great pleasure of joining the Choir and going to the Choir Practice. I used to sit behind the organ when I was only four years of age. I think we would be called probationers today but how I always loved (107) to sing – and to get into the Church Halls was just great and there were some wonderful singers believe me. I think especially of Tom – my my what a Tenor voice he had – I used to be so thrilled to hear him going to Communion where one felt so much the Presence of Jesus kneeling there with us – singing the lovely Hymns at Harvest Time and the Carols at Christmas.
These were truly my joys the Lord indeed was my (108) Shepherd, and is still holding my hand in all my joys and my tribulations. When I am down in the depths he is there to comfort me and when life is going well I can lift up mine eyes to the Hills and know he is over there. (109)
The Cricket Club
One of my brothers was Secretary and he was probably a good one to but he used to say, I can’t play Cricket for nuts.
We had many a happy hours just watching them as the field was quite near our house.
Any casualties and the lad a six [footer?] was across the field and over our Garden Wall for bandages etc
Our house as I think I mentioned before was [illegible x2] surgery – and my Dad was always so pleased when (110) he could help.
Sometimes on Saturdays the Cricket teams used to go and play in other villages most of the time no transport they used to walk many miles.
I can remember my Brother coming home just laughing his head off (and he could laugh) to hear him was a real force. Anyhow they’d been away somewhere and one of the members (the village [joiner?]) got drunk and my brother and another member had to help him home and (111) he must have felt quite unwell because he kept saying Oh George lad let me lie down I want to Die like poor Captain Scott.
Most of the members have now past on but I remember them so well and especially brother George who was quite a good and popular
but the only thing he ever got on the Cricket field was a Duck. (112)
Spring Cleaning in days gone by
Yes my word it was cleaning each room was scrubbed + polished to perfection.
No vacuum cleaner in those days, all bedding Feather Beds, Straw Mattresses also were aired and put out in the Sunshine (Carpets.) Those who had any were hung out on the line and beaten with a carpet beater made of cane.
I can remember watching (113) the staff at the Big House Beating away at the lovely carpets I used to sit there on the Wall and thinking to myself how nice it would be if we could have some just like them.
The only parts of carpets we had I think were called [druggating?] I think thats what mother called them a cross between Felt and Carpet.
Sometimes folks managed to have a room papered out – no stripping the (114) walls. They simply put new wallpaper on top. I have stripped walls who already had six wallpapers one on top of the other. They never paid more than 4 1/2p a Roll and sometimes even less.
The House seemed to be in Turmoil until everything had been cleaned up.
The [set?] Pot (copper) was going early in the morning. I’ve known my mother lighting up the fire at 5am – putting in buckets of water from the Barrels of Rain Water which were (115) stored in the yard. Then blankets, hand made quilts, pillow cases, Curtains – mostly lace curtains which had to be pulled stretched + Ironed so carefully – and after that all the brush handles had to be scrubbed.
Yes and after all that mother would strip off in the Warm Washhouse and had herself a Spring Clean Bath.
Then there was all the kitchen where the huge pieces of iron were heated (116) and then popped in to a sort of container + we kept on ironing away for hours. Some folks used what were called flat irons, they used to have bath brick to [scrape?] off the soot and make the surface smooth.
And the Pans were also Spring cleaned as they were made of iron and were used on a Sooty fire place – they did need attention. I’ve seen my mother working away with a cloth dipped in Wet sand and a knife until the caked (117) on Soot was cleaned off.
We even had to get down on our knees to take out all the weeds between the paving stones in the yard.
Besides having to carry most of the water [needed?] ¼ of a mile when the Rain Water ran out.
Even the Water Barrels were cleaned out – it was amazing the dirt that used to collect in their bottoms, so they were tipped up when most of the water had been used and how mother used to long for (118) the Rain to come + fill them up again.
Yes it was a time of turmoil in the home but oh it was so nice to have a nice clean house and a nice clean bed to rest in.
How did they get their bed Sheets Bleached in those days – no fancy liquids or Powders to do it for you. Well mother used to say dear me those Sheets are a Bad colour so in the winter when Frost was on the ground they (119) were wetted well soaped and laid out overnight in the Field opposite our House + they were beautifully white after that treatment.
My poor Auntie [M?] once put some out in the Field in the Summer time and cows ate them. (120)
The Old House
Someone else lives there now. But how sad I feel at times because I loved it so much – it was such a cosy place – there was always that feeling of belonging there –
I picture the lovely landing with the old Grandfather Clock ticking away and the old fashioned Bedding Box – where I used to put the beautiful bowl of Spring Flowers – how I still find joy in picking them even though I am over 80 now – dear me (121) I cannot help shedding my tears when I think of all those wonderful hours. The kitchen too with its Grandfather Clock, the Round Table + the old Rocking Chair where I often rocked my little cares away.
The Old Kettle beside the oven nook – it was always so nice to see it sit there and to hear the Sound of the Kettle as it Boiled + let off its steam. The lovely plates of Blackened Toast for tea – Baking Day the smell of Home made cakes – Bread and teacakes (122) mother standing there frying the Herrings dipped in oatmeal and we ate them as fast as she fried them. We could buy 24 for a shilling in those days.
In yet a still older part of the House we used to have what we called the Back Kitchen – with its low Roof and small paned window – and a ladder which lead to a funny old room above – mother used to light a fire there in the winter time what an old fashioned but how we liked (123) playing there – lots of friends used to join us there – we had no toys but its surprising to think of all the fun we had.
My mother used to tell us that she went to a Religious meeting there when she was a small child so it must have been a very old building.
My mother always made what she called a
made from oatmeal to feed the Birds in winter time and we children used to Pop the middle over it and prop it up with (124) a stick – have a long string tied to it + then through the Back Kitchen window and when the Birds came to feed we pulled the string and could catch many Birds – oh it was such fun – of course we always released them after a white. We would never have thought of harming them. (125)
How thrifty the women were – never anything was wasted. All the old Clothes were washed clean and cut into strips to make what was called Hooky and Prodded Rugs they had a [frame?] with [Hessian?] stretched over it and a sort of large [crocket?] hook and they would work hour after hour pushing it through and back and in the end they had a very hard wearing rug – [illegible] so proud to put it near the fireside.
My mother once bought (126) one but how I hated it. It was so dark and dingy not many bright clothes worn then and I used to think what a difference a few bright coloured bits would have made.
They made quilts by hand too, I had one very pretty one made by my mother in law nearly 100 years ago – of course now it is time to pass things to members of the family, but I do not think they value things as we used to do.
They did such beautiful crochet work and lace (127) making and never had an idle moment they used to go off to the woods to collect the fallen sticks, oh a sticking day was really fun the laughter amongst those happy ladies was a joy to hear. one of them had an old barrow which was soon filled up with bags of sticks. my mother always joined them even though she had no need as my father being a boss at the mine had always cash loads of ready chopped sticks sent to him but she (128) did enjoy herself so much and found so much pleasure in the Company of her kind and good neighbours.
They all used to wear what they called Clooth Bonnets (Cloth Bonnets) they used to look so sweet – sometimes made from the remains of a pinafore – all gathered + tucked with a piece of Cane drawn through at the front + strings to make the under the chin.
I can remember a nice old gentleman – who walked 4 miles to sell his wares – Clooth Bonnets at nine pennies each (129) mother sometimes bought one which was kept for very special occasions. (130)
BLANK PAGE (131)
The Village School
It had been built through the generosity of a village Boy who went to sea at an early age and became a Captain in the merchant navy. It was said of him that he once vowed he’d build a school on the place where he [settled?] himself badly as a child and also that he’d made his money by Piracy. What wicked things folks do say.
But be that true or not he was a great Benefactor to the village and also left a Bursary (132) so that any child who was clever enough could be sent to a Grammar school. I was one of them but my parents could not at that time afford the extra cash needed for Books, Railway Fares etc.
I think it amounted to £9 a year + £5 to anyone wanting to serve an apprentice.
My brothers and my cousins both became Pupil teachers there and went on to College – my brother Robert told me that one boy who attended the school (133) who had to walk 4 miles there + 4 miles back Home became Prime minister of New [Zealand?]
We had a wonderful Schoolmaster – tough but a good teacher – he was so interested in me and after had me out in front of the class to read to them. And I had a [dictation?] Book kept at the School with only one mistake. I have here a prize given to me in 1914 – the Book I found little interest in until now – it is called Jane Eyre. (134)
The Lady who became my Sister-in-law was our Headmistress, another wonderful teacher, there was a huge fire in the Schoolroom + she used to put all the wet clothes round belonging to the Children who had come such a long way to school on many mornings there of course was a huge iron fire guard around which so useful.
She used to bring a piece of cake or a biscuit to have with a cup of tea whilst we were out at playtime – but very (135) often I have known her to give to one of the family we were so desperately poor and had had no breakfast.
I can remember how we used to shake in our shoes when the Inspectors came, the sweet old faced Gentlemen [illegible] who took Scripture Exam – who once said of me that Girl with the frizzy hair is the sharpest of them all.
(my my old gal you did not get very far in your life did you I say to myself. What a dreadful failure I have been) (136)
I was told my sister [Nan?] who was such a lively character once locked the Schoolmaster in because he had refused the Scholars a half day holiday on Ash Wednesday. It is just the kind of thing she would do for she was such a [tricker?] I heard she was also forgiven, I think
knew it was only done (for fun) she had no evil in her makeup. How sad it seemed to me when the Schoolmaster became so ill. I think he must have had some sort of diabetes [spelt diabetas] (137) as I was the one who went so many times a day to get flasks of water for him.
I have in my possession the wonderful testimony given to my brother not (typed of course) in his own handwriting when he went to College in 1904. In spite of the fact I have seen him with 7 or 8 naughty Boys laid across the Desk getting a real good thrashing I still think of him as a good teacher and a good + honest man. (138)
Going to the Well
Yes all the Water for drinking had to be carried. The Well in the village supplied us all.
The Well itself was surrounded by high railings – the water ran all day into two troughts where all the cattle from the village came to drink.
It was always such a mystery where all the water came from – its source of course was a spring but never (139) once could anyone remember it drying up.
And the water was so cool and refreshing. It was one [spelled on] of my tasks from an early age to carry the water in two buckets with a rope string over my shoulders and a clasp of some sort attached to the Bucket handles, my my it was hard work. I had to rest many times as it must have been ¼ of a mile. My father used to give me three pence a week which I used to save (140) up diligently to buy gifts for other members of my family.
I can remember sending to Manchester for my mother a vest + small shawl which cost two shillings + three pence and buying my brother George a nine penny sandwich cake and picking wild Rasps for his Birthday all from Cash saved by my Water Carrying.
I also went down by the Well each day as I could see from there my beloved Father coming along the (141) Lane on his Bike – as soon as I saw him I was off to join him and he’d walk down the village with me – sometimes he’d have a wee bit of cake left from his lunch which he’d give me – it must have been very dry but did taste so delicious to me.
How that wonderful Well is filled in after I would say hundreds of years but it truly did a wonderful service to our community. (142)
Were I tell you that in spite of many happy hours I had so many many hours when I felt so troubled I sometimes even then thought of ending it all.
I had so many hours ill through one member of my family – unkind folks in the village used to convey to me all the tales of his escapades and I did not want to trouble my parents by telling them. I kept worrying so much and was so ill that I could not attend school and (143) [Poe?] used to frighten me and threaten me + tell me what he would do to me if I told my parents, it used to become so bad that the kindly Doctor had to be sent for – he did understand so well when my legs used to shake under me whenever our Black Sheep came my way. I could never understand his waywardness for he was such a Brilliant Scholar and had a good home – do I say rightly that he was the cause of much of my shy + nervous ways why I have failed so much (144)
When my sister came home again after a broken marriage – I had to find work away from home where I was so happy and had so many good friends. My dad wanted me to stay but it seem to me that it was so unfair that he should keep two of us.
First of all I was taken to a Big House to see a very wealthy young lady with her first Baby. How much she would have liked to have me as nanny to her Baby – but the [monthly?] (145) nurse still in charge thought I was much to young for the responsibility and then I went to another Big House to get my training to be a nanny as a nurse housemaid. My my up at 5 am cleaning out the grates laying fires + hearing the [Bugget?] blowing at my Dads mine + then the tears used to flow like Rain – to think of my sister lying in bed + myself slaving away did seem so wrong. Then it was taking early morning tea to bedroom + (144) collecting my lovely small charge bathing him + dressing him and then laying the breakfast table etc. [illegible x2] + I had so little time to ourselves ironing with Flat Irons until near midnight sometimes and only 1 half day free during the week.
Even so we had lots of good food and the master who was a Farmer and the mistress too were not unkind. The Boss used to go off to Sheep Sales + I always backed up the fire so that there was a (147) warm welcome for him when he got home in the early mornings + he was grateful.
I used to love to go round with wee John to feed the Poultry even though I was afraid of the Rats we used to see.
Oh yes I was sent to learn Dressmaking – but was never interesting, left home at 6.30am + got back home at 8pm at 14 ½ years of age + after an apprenticeship there were no jobs available. I have always wanted to do (148) one thing + that was to become a writer and would you who many read these lines – say I just became a Drifter who could not settle to anything.
Anyhow I did have a wonderful experience in one very Happy Home where the 2 children were so delightful and the Parents so good – where I really was one of the family. Where my boy friend was helped so much + was also found a job – how I think of those wonderful people and the Happy days they (149) gave me. It was the Happiest time of my life then to look after a mentally retarded Boy so sad to see him. I loved him very much because he could have had everything the family were wealthy and he had so many many lovely toys which gave him so much pleasure I used to think how wrong it seemed when I used to call at the home of one of the staff and saw the sheer poverty of that family all as bright as buttons and they had so little in (150) of toys or anything else Bless their hearts – mine used to Bleed for them.
But my Boss was a very kindly man it was so sad that strong Drink was his master + I saw him in tears because he felt it was the cause of his mentally disabled Son. I used to take the Boy to London for treatment but there was no hope for him but the mistress did spend so much to try and get help for him. I also stayed with him at a Private School in Surrey where (151) wealthy people used to send their Children when they were abroad – poor wee Budgie it was sad to see him too. I used to take him out on the Common and before I could say Jack Robinson he’d have climbed up a Telegraph Pole – but how I loved him – even though he wasn’t as I’d say all there. He seemed to understand when I was leaving + both he + I were in tears. My own charge + Budgie were indeed very very sweet.
But I must be careful (152) what I say but it was far from an ideal Place for Children. I saw much unkindness there and the fees that were being paid were very great. I used to travel up to London by train [3?] times weekly and go from Victoria Station to Marble Arch to take my charge for treatment by a wonderful [masseur?] in Park Lane – how nice and kind all the staff and the nurses were to me and always made me a cup of tea.
Very often I travelled (153) down to Surrey with such a friendly lady – she did show much interest and one night when I attended a function at a small theatre – she got up from her seat to wave to me. The friend with me asked how I knew her – I told her I often came down in the Train with her – well, I was put in my place – how on earth could a little lady want to have contact with a humble nanny. Another lady out gardening one day asked me if I’d like to go + see (154) her garden – oh it was a beautiful Terraced Garden and her son had an aviary with hundreds of lovely birds and I was able to spend many happy hours there.
So we should not always condemn the wealthy folks – some of them were kindly caring people. (155)
The day Alfy was killed
I do not think I have mentioned this before. Poor Alfy – I used to nurse him many a time as I did with most of Maggie’s bairns next door.
I was along seeing mum and Dad when I heard poor Maggie scream – my dad was old then and asked me to go to find out what was wrong and they told me Alfie had been killed in the mine crushed to death between two tubs full of Coal.
I asked the Doctor (156) who I knew so well if I could help – no Rosa he replied – we have sown him up in the Sheet – there is not a whole bone left in his body.
Oh dear it was so sad to see him lying there still with a steal of coal dust across his face. And he was only 18 years of age. (157)
Staying in London
I only had one free afternoon weekly when I used to travel down to see my Brother + his family. My brother George who worked as [Accountant?] in [Lombard?] Street and his wife Rose who was a Swiss lady their 2 children Margaret and Peter. Poor Peter who was such a nice boy, never thought they’d make him a soldier. But he went all through the African Campaign and then was killed at Arnhem. (158) But I liked staying in London. The Hotel was so comfortable and the meals wonderful too I used to spend much of my time in Kensington Gardens Listening to the [Arabs?] I think they were called the nannies from the embassies with their charges – I of course did not understand a word they were saying – but their chatter amused me greatly. I used to watch the [Riders?] in Rotten Row and the Guards on their parades in Hyde Park and also watch the yachts on the Round Pond (159) one man used to come in with a Boat he must have made himself. Just seemed a humble working chap and to watch his Boat was delightful my my did he draw the crowds.
The Changing of the Guard at The Palace. To Watch the Ladies coming to buy their lovely gowns at Bradleys. Yes and talking to the old man who sold balloons at the Palace gate + a visit to the zoo were all so marvellous for a country bumpkin like me.
Nowadays working folks (160) are able to enjoy all these things so easily. I am writing about the little things that gave me such joy over 60 years ago.
The Sunday School [Guting?]
After the Harvest was complete the Farmers used to clean out their carts but some clean straw in the Bottom and off we used to go in the Horses + Carts to the Seaside – oh it was such fun but a Bumpy ride. The Children were so good (161) + so full of fun. I remember once finding a tiny crab in my pocket – I just knew by their giggling they were up to something.
They were each given a Bag of Cakes + we took our Big Teapots + had them filled with Tea at the Church Hall – poor souls had not much cash to spend but the delightful memories have of their happy faces is still with me.
I think of the wee lass who sat on my knee and cried so much with Toothache. I tried to comfort her and (162) called at a Farm to get some Salt to rub on her gums – peace at last and she was able to enjoy the rest of the journey Home. Oh what Happiness what joy it gives me to think of those days. When I go into the Shop not far away one lady comes in and lets folks know in no certain manner that I used to teach her in Sunday School. (163)
Some Enchanted Evening
[Edie?] One day at a Time.
Closing 14th Dec
Start Again 11th Jan 83
1988 – 1935 = 49 – 4 = 45
1984 – 45 = 9
END OF TRANSCRIPT