Annie Lord, born 1899: Transcript of ‘my life’

This copy of Annie Lord’s memoir, ‘My Life’, was transcribed by Writing Lives student Lydia Roberts, 2019

1973 (in left margin) probably indicates when the memoir was written

my life – by Annie LORD

1

Coming from a family of 15 life has Been very tough for me, as I was Born deaf in one ear, But was never found out those days till late in life, even at school I did not have a chance could never make any head way, all I can Remember that I use to sing and dance very well I use to have to go Round the class Rooms singing and showing them what to do, infact later about the age of 16 years I was taken for Gilbert and Sul[l]ivans chorus girls, But directly they found I was deaf, it was useless, So I had to carry on the Best I could th[r]ou[ugh]  life, I can Remember the time we have Been out carol signing and earn’t all our [Christ]xmas dinner and that[‘]s when oranges were 25 shilling[s] and go home eating a fish and chip supper ½ – ½, But we were very happy those days we had lots of friends and all use to help an’on’other every way we could, well I went throu[gh] life (like) this till I left school and that was 14 years those days, my first job was in service 10/- a week to start up at six in the morning and on the go {un}till ten at night sometimes Later, I use[d] to have to help the family at home, But we were very contented But really poor ill admit we use to have Rabbit and Pig’s head for [Christ]xmas dinner, mother use[d] to make a Big Plum Pudding her way and use[d] to have a good time dressing up making all our own amusement and Believe me we use[d] to tho[rough]ruly enhoy it thou[gh]

2

our dad was a Bit trying those days they use[d] to drink a lot, But he use[d] to get his con[c]sert[in]a (concertina)  out at times and help us out, anyway we use to make the Best of it and get on with it n o grumbling, anyway I had Plenty of jobs I lost some good ones owing to deafness, But that I had to take, I can Remember Walking all the way from stobe Newington in thick fog and air Raids on covered in candle fat left work at 5 o clock got home somewhere about 10-30 that was in 1914 War, I also worked for the Hornsey gas company in that war on the sulphur plants out in the open turning them over in all Weathers singing all the time and Happy, But the Best job I had Was when the 1914 soldiers use[d] to line up for there (their) dinners in the High Street Hornsey from the drill Hall Bottom of nightingale Lane they use to march opposite the compasses Hundreds at a time in the front Way and out the Back fast as one lot finished another lot would fall in with Plates and mugs, 200 meat puddings use to have to Be made Before 8 o clock in the morning to steam for there (their) dinners, But we use to see some life thou[gh] there was a war on, there was plenty of give and take I use[d] to live in there 15/- a Week, up at 6 o clock till 8 and 10 o clock Friday as it all had to Be cleaned up at the week end, great Big Black lead stoves Big shop to scrub out the Boards use to have to Be white those days

3

It was hard work But we got good food and that was the main thing those days, I can always Rem[em]ber the Boss saying, get it down you it’s the constitution you want But I still say it was tough going from there, I left to get married at the age of 25 years But then my troubles did not end, I was only married 2 years when I found out he was a cripple, from 1914 War an ex[-]service man mind you he Kept it most from me War wounds in Head and Leg troubles I think if I had not Been deaf I would never have run into it But there it Was he also turned out to Be very jealous nature and Real[l]y my life was a misery Beaten and Knocked about for nothing at all, by this time I all Ready had one child  and thought that he would change as he grew up But no I tried hard with him and forgave him lots of times to get him on the Right Road, But he use to drink very Heavy and very aggressive, Well anyway his leg got worse as time went by and he had to go into Roehamton Hospital for treatment, But it was not a success a he was made a worse cripple than ever and he never Walked without a stick after that and that made him worse still, so you see you just had to take it those days

4

days there was nothing I could do no money to get a separation so just had to take it How i[‘]ve got throu[gh] I don’t Know sometimes for as I said I had to Be the Bread Winner as he never had Regular job all his life Pushed and Sh0ved around and he only got £1,,0,,0 pension a Week those days, I had to take the children with me to Work and they use to have to Play in the ladies garden while I did the work 3 Hours 2/6 morning and afternoon an Hour then i[‘]ve had Blisters all over my hands Beating carpets if they were ill any time they use to have to stay in bed 38 stairs up and do what they were told and they did mind you they were well looked after always in Bed at a certain time as I sue to have to do the House work mine and Out the dinner on for the next day so I just carried on for the sake of the kids thinking he would [come] after But Know I did not Know what it was like to have a woman friend where he was. But there it [is] it[‘]s all true by the time the second war on I had got 4 children 3 boys one girl well I was just getting on my feet getting a bit of a Home together, when one after the other was called up for service, the Eldest was dispatch[ed] in Germany the other one was sent to India and the third one was called up Later But to[o] young to go abroad I think well I was left with the daughter

5

one night 14 killed 3 doors away But we all helped one another the Best we could I can Remember having to call the Boy home from India Because I was having such a terrible time with my Husband so you see its been all my life But I stuck by my Kids they have all turned out Wonderful and have never Been a disgrace to me they have always helped there selves Well the War ended I think it Leaves there mark on them in some way or other as they got older But they have Been throu[gh] it like me, Well we jogged along for years But the uproars at times were just terrible I Real[l]y think he got je[a]lous of the children too But still I had it the Roughest Keeping the Home going and Keeping quiet at the same time, Well as time went by one after the other got married But they are all hard workers up till this day and have leanrt themselves practically everything and they never had the Education that they get today, I myself am 74 years and still got to Work, I wonder what some of the generation Would do today with all the help they get there never satisfied, well on my own now

6

so I say some have it very hard but as they say you can[‘]t have you Health and everything. But that Breaks up at times I think I would sooner have a few pounds to take it easy as my Health is not so good now at 74 years, well I wonder sometimes I[‘]ve got so far But am still active for my age can cook wash do Pract[ica[l]ly anything, But its deafness that has Been my draw Back, all my life i[‘]ve tried Hard have always helped myself But it[‘]s no use grumbling so long as I get by another Part of my life 38 stairs up or everything 9 years I had all of that and Valy in the Pram to with it till I got council House, and stayed there 40 years, my mother[‘]s mother lives in old Hornsey church and my mother was Born in new Road crouch end so, we were a very family, well having lost my Husband 14 months ago the atmosphere got on my nerves and was not eating or sleeping I could feel myself going down to mothers, so I had to change over my House and get another Room to Live with a son and his have got my own Room and have not got the worry I had on my own Records Bills so I think myself luck sometime

7

though I still have to go to Work, as I pay the £5 out of my pension £6,,10,, for my Keep I could not let them do it otherwise for the Rent is £13 alone I get £3 for my job so I put along i[‘]ve got a Roof over my Head and cup of tea and warmth so I only hope that I shall Be able to carry on and have a few years peace I know you must think me silly in writing this But I only wish that id have had a Better education, Real[l]y I think if I could have had some help How to Put it together properly I don’t think you have the patience when you are getting old, and still there is a lot left out you need someone to help you and talk it out you give them the true feeling, Well am settled in But it[‘]s not like Your own Place so you just have to take it again in another way after all I could not go on as I was so someone had to do something perhaps it[‘]s all for the Best hope so I don’t suppose i[‘]m the only one there[‘s] plenty worse off than me

8

under the circumstances its goes Back to the deafness in a long Run Being drive to this could not get any coal in stand at the Windows Hours on end to stay on my own But to no good I had to do something Before the winter set in, He was the only one to offer to take me, so am trying to make the Best of it in my own way I help round the House and cook the dinner sometimes which helps as they Both go to Work full time,  they have one boy 10 years and you know what children are today just spoilt, they just like to go there way and mine and hope to get throu[gh] another winter anyway have just over 3 illnesses on top of the other, But am on the mend now first illness I had apart from a cold so I suppose i[‘]m lucky there.

Before I married

1

age about 15 years went to Belgium with my mistress as I was in the service at the time, got out there, her mother was Belgiun and he[r] Husband was german I did not find out till I had Been out there sometime, he was just awfull to Be left with, so I had to pack up and come home I could not stand it in the short time I was out there I saved my fare 20040 franks to get home and I don’t know how I made it, got Back in England after a terrible journey home and Back to no where to live so had to go into lodgings well I was there about a month pretty comfortable was quite Happy as I had known the woman a friend of my mothers, But I went to the Wood grem Empire me Saturday night 3d up in the gods they use[d] to call it those days well got home about 17-30 to ½ – ½ fish supper in with me up 3 storeys got down to eat my supper when the cat started to play Hell, flying around could not make it out what was up well I sat there trying to get it down But could not Rest so I thought I would go an investigate, opened her Bedroom door and was confronted with (drunken man, possibly caused a fire) so I just had to use my wits, I got the

2

Kitchen stove Burnt all my Hands doing it well I went and informed the people downstairs and they were just shocked to think I[‘]d put the fire out on my own anyways I could not stay there after that so I was Walking the streets at 1 o clock in the morning trying to find somewhere to sleep until I Run into a Poilce-man I always Remember what he says, what you doing out this time of a night when I explained he said you[‘]r[e] a Brave girl, But there I had to find somewhere to go so I had to go back to my mothers which was not far away, But no Room But I had to manage with sleeping in the Lavatory that night for safety so you see things were just as hard then as they today Regards Housing, Well I got fed up pushed and shoved around had to try and joined the Land away for a spell , digging potatoes and picking tomatoes  stayed there quite a long time often air life, But we were Billeted out and they only gave 5/- after our billet was paid, so we could not Buy much thou[gh] 5/- went a long way then

2:486 LORD, Annie, ‘My Life’, MS, pp.12 (c.2,750 words). Brunel University Library.

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