Monday, 23 April 2012

closed Christmas day

On Wednesday I ran my first workshop session of the new project 'working memories'. Age UK Bakewell hosted the session, a great day full of laughter, cups of tea and memories that will inspire artwork on another day. The starting point for our conversations was 'our 1st days at work.' Flora, Herbert, Cynth and Madge share their reminiscences here:


Flora: My first job got 14 Shillings and 7 pence. The bus fair was a penny each way, so you weren’t so bad off. And 6 pence at the cinema for the cheaper seats. I graded eggs at an egg packing station. At that time they were rationed. Ashford to Bakewell threepence return, tuppence each way- return ticket you saved a penny. Were allowed a dozen a week to take home.

Herbert: My spending money was about 6 pence when I started work- a tanner- my mother gave me.
Seven shillings in old money the very first week, I showed that much promise they gave me an extra shilling the 2nd week. I were proud of that, made a good impression. Manufacturing mirrors for Ellis Pearson's in Sheffield on Corporation Street 1945.

Cynth: Working in an office aged 15, mother kept the first wage packet.  D.P Battery they made submarine batteries. Two bombs dropped right behind them during the war. They also made batteries for tractors, lorries…
Joan: Came from Coventry, went into office work when I left school, I didn’t know what I’d want to do. Mother said it would be a nice safe job, but I found it boring. Lucky if you got 6 pence out of your first wage packet. After I had my children, decided I’d go to University and become a teacher, and that’s what I did.

Some parents didn’t push the children for a scholarship, they were waiting for the children to work.

Flora: When a man had been to work, came home and that was that. Now they come home and help with the cooking. He’d fetch up the coal when he got home, then wash and shave, then down the pub! Everybody’s husbands did the same. Fridays it was darts and dominos, Saturdays as the years went on they started to take the wife- two glasses of cider and we thought we were well away.

Sometimes it was who you knew who got you into Grammar school, if you hadn’t got anything they’d knock you further down.

I went for short hand classes at night, I was still at school about 13, I came to the town hall- I never put it to use though.

Madge: Parents had a shop, a grocers shop, worked all hours in there. I delivered papers when I was 7 years old, before I went to school- went by foot, did half the village before school. A bit of breakfast before I went out. I didn’t get paid, it was part of life till I left school. After the school day, I went round with ‘The Star at Night’. A bag on my shoulder, with 20 or 30 papers, the Sheffield Telegraph or Sheffield Star on the bag. As we got older would deliver food in a big blue box on the front of a three wheeler bike, bread and all sorts in it.

Widdowson Grocers Shop, John Revel Widdowson, me father, everything in there, made the lolly pops in little egg cups, a tray with them in. Newspapers, Magazines, stationary, vegetables, shoelaces, everything you wanted to buy. Father made teacakes as well, and bake the bread. It never shut for lunch, we went to Church on a Sunday, but the shop was open. Only closed Christmas day.

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