Ruth Cox (1890): Habits, Culture and Belief Part II

‘Her Majesty visited Ashton and we all saw her’ (White Knobs Row, p.3)

Ruth, as I mentioned in the first blog post on Habits, Culture and Belief, sought out fun and entertainment wherever she could. She writes of a time when she was ‘six years of age’ when in 1897, she went to see Queen Victoria at a procession celebrating her Golden Jubilee year.

This is important contextually as it shows the importance that the royal family had on families back in the late 19th century. The monarchy was something in which most families had a keen interest. Ruth writes ‘She was riding in a landau, dressed in black and white. We stood in Stamford Street, Ashton and crowds of people stood on either side as she passed, we waved and we waved our flags’. This event has huge significance for Ruth; this significance can be seen through the immense detail that Ruth recalls this event. It is clear the Royal Family had a much huge impact on Ruth and her family.

She writes that the children were even given ‘a day’s holiday to go and see the Queen’ from school and the following day in school the children were taken to the Old Hall Chapel and ‘sang Rule Britannia and God Save the Queen and various hymns’ (3)

She also recounts how she socialised as a young adult, writing ‘As I grew older, Father allowed us to go dancing. We all went with our friends usually to Manchester’ (5).

She writes about catching the train or tram to Manchester, the nearest major city for Ruth with her pals Jessie Kirkland and Minnie Bunting. Nights out dancing in Manchester presumably gave Ruth a break from the working week and gave Ruth a chance to unwind and let her hair down. Having times like these to look forward to with your friends I imagine helped Ruth to alleviate the monotony and stress of working in the factory full time. Ruth writes that ‘Inside were white gloves and each lad and lass took a pair of white gloves to wear whilst dancing and after the dance was over we replaced the gloves’ (6). This was to be expected from the old dancing clubs, dancing was something that both the men and women took great pride in and looked forward to displaying their latest moves in order to impress one another!

A traditional dance hall like the one Ruth would have frequented, this one is in Bolton

After her days dancing in Manchester however, Ruth does not write much more about her socialising and adventures with her friends, instead writes about the role her family then took in her life. With George being away in the war for years on end Ruth, presumably could not find the adequate time to take a break from looking after Wilfred, working and looking after the family home.




Cox, Ruth, ‘White Knob Row’,1:184 TS, pp.11 (c.4,000 words). Brunel University Library.

Image: Queen Victoria Procession

Dancing Photo:



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