Lena Edmundson

Lena Edmundson

Interviewed on 24.11.2011

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[TRACK 1]

 

TONY WRIGHT:

Okay, 24th of November 2011. We’re talking to Lena Edmundson and it’s Riverside Year 5’s asking the questions.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

When about did you move here?

 

LENA EDMUNDSON:

…..where?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

When about did you move here?

 

LE:

Well I was born at Blackshaw Head…….do you know where that is?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Yeah. Do you like….do you like living where you live now at the moment in Blackshaw Head?

 

LE:

Well it’s……it’s easier now, because it’s lower down for one thing, but I came down after parents died you see and I was still working, and we’d no…..we only had about three shops at Blackshaw Head and there was nothing left, so I came down there to live. Yes it’s easier because there’s a bus at the end of the road and I always said I couldn’t live down in Hebden Bridge after living so high up before, so I always said I wanted…..where I could go on the bus or walk, so I used to walk down into Hebden Bridge and back up again, but I can’t walk up any more but I still walk down, and get the bus back.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What do you do in your spare time?

 

LE:

Oh well you see, I can’t see very well so I do….I get a lot of talking books. Do you know what they are?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Yeah.

 

LE:

From the library. I pass a lot of time with that, but I do all my own work and I do go out most days; I go….I go down Hebden Bridge on a Monday morning for my pension and some other shopping, and then Tuesday I do some work at home, and Wednesday I used to go….I usually go to Halifax, but I can see outside but I can’t see very well inside and I do most of my shopping in the market because they serve you; I can just see my notes but any change I have to hold a handful for them to take what they want, and I’m only there about an hour, then Thursday afternoon which I’m going this afternoon to have my hair done, and Friday afternoon I go to another lady for some different treatment, and Saturday I go to visit a friend on…..you’ll know where Midgehole Road is? And then on Sunday I go to Blackshaw Head…Sunday morning, somebody takes me there and back to church, and that’s more or less my routine, and then when I’m at home I watch television but it’s all blurred….it’s all, you know, wuzzy, but I do listen to my books a lot, in fact I’ve got one this morning and it’s about so thick, and she said…..what’s it…..cassette…..she said ‘this will keep you going for a while’

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What is your prized possession, so like your favourite object?

 

LE:

That I what….

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What’s your favourite object?

 

LE:

Oh I don’t know…….I don’t…..object…..

 

TW:

Maybe something that you keep to remind you of your family….or somebody like that?

 

LE:

……You know I just don’t know, that’s something I’ve never really thought about.

 

TW:

Okay.

 

LE:

Well I wouldn’t want to be without a television, or a telephone more important.

 

TW:

Right.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What was your favourite hobby when you were little?

 

LE:

When I was little? Oh well when we were children of course we could play outside in those days, and we used to play….whip and top….and marbles and we used to….where we lived at the farm, there wasn’t much traffic in those days and we had a building came up to the end of the farm, and they used to put chalk wickets for cricket, and we used to play cricket across the road and…..I’ve forgot what they called what we played now……but….oh and then we had a little hut that used to be for hens and I had it……me and some friends, we wallpapered it and we called it Glen Royd and we used to make ourselves tea in there, yes we did that a long time; we’d a lot of fun in there.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Do you have a favourite hobby now?

 

LE:

No, not really, because I can’t see to do things you see. I used to knit a lot at one time but I can’t see to do anything like that now.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Did you ever go to school when you were little?

 

LE:

Did I ever what?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Ever go to school when you were little?

 

LE:

Yes. Went from where we lived at the farm to Colden School, and it was about a mile each way but we had to walk there and walk back, and we used to go down Old Lane and when you got part way down there was some water running, and so we used to get over the wall into the field and one morning we were going down this field and when we got to the bottom, the farmer was there and said we shouldn’t use the field and we had to go back up the field, so we went back up the field but when we got out of sight of the farmer we got back in the field and down the field again! I don’t know how long it was before we could go on the bus, but you see from Blackshaw Head we lived out of the village itself and we had to walk down there, and it was a penny to go to school, but a penny in old money, so what would that be?.........It wouldn’t be anything hardly now would it?

 

TW:

It’s nothing now; it’s about one third of one penny now.

 

LE:

Yes.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

When you were young, did you have a job?

 

LE:

A job – we had to work on the farm….yes, oh we always had some jobs to do. We used to have to clean eggs; we had…..we had a right lot of hens and I had a brother older…..he was seven years older than me, and every night there were great big buckets about this big and this big, and there’d be five or six all lined up, because the hens was all outside then, they weren’t in batteries, and……we had those to do every night, and then sometimes we’d get a right dirty one, and we had a damp cloth and if there was one right dirty me brother used to tap it and say ‘oh that’s broken’ so we

hadn’t to clean it [chuckling]

 

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

If you had the decision to have a dream job, what would it be?

 

LE:

……..I really do not know………because I’m not a good scholar.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

I mean when you were little.

 

LE:

When I was little? Well we had…in those days we had to do as we were told; we didn’t get….we didn’t get to choose anything, so we just did what our parents told us.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

But if you had the choice, what would it be?

 

LE:

I just don’t know…..because you see we didn’t have a mind of our own at all when we were little; you just did what your parents told you to do.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Do you like art?

 

LE:

No, not really. I’m no good at painting; at school they used to put a vase of flowers up and say ‘now paint that’ – well, no, I was no good at that…..music has been my best thing, but not when I was so little; I started learning the piano when I was eleven.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

When you were about middle-aged did you have a job?

 

LE:

Middle-aged? Where have we got to now?......Yes I would be….I’d be working in the mill I think then…...but when I left school, when we left school, we couldn’t choose what job we were having – we had to go where our parents sent us, and I went in a great big building in Hebden Bridge and they were…..it was called sewing shops in those days, and they were where they made trousers, all men’s clothes it was, mainly trousers, and I went there and….oh that was only 1939; the war was starting and we were just making khaki things for the war, and I was doing…..they were little…..what they call them…..epaulettes are they, for the shoulder? And flies on trousers, that’s all we were doing, and they did in those days, they called it piece work; you got paid by the work that they did, but I wasn’t there very long and my mother was poorly, and I stayed at home to look after me mother and then the war started, and I had two brothers and because they was with me dad on the farm, because there was three, one brother got called up, so then I was at home seven years altogether, and I was helping on the farm then. We got a milking machine and we used to put that on the cows to milk them, and we had to grow potatoes and swedes for the animals because they didn’t…..well it was, sort of thing, it was rationed like our food was rationed in those days….and then after that I worked in some of the….the weaving mills; do you know about those?.....Well I was a winder, and….we used to….I worked in….well, I worked at Jack Bridge which is next to…it was down from the school at Colden; I worked there a bit but I just can’t remember really what I did, so I’ll tell you about another one I went to. Do you know where the nursery is at Hebden Bridge, on the main road – what’s it called…….

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Crossley Mill?

 

LE:

Crossley Mill, well you see it used to be….on that side where the nursery is, there were a great big mill and that was weaving there, but on the other side we were winding, and there was a big, well they called it a gantry in those days; there was a big wood thing right high up that you could walk across from the mill into the winding place, and it got blown down one night a lot later on, and there, there was winding from there…..they were big…..no I think they were all little ones……and it was cotton on….I think they were more or less on cardboard, about so tall, and you put it down on a spike and then you’d to thread it all through, and you put this…..I think….well I don’t know…..later on they were called a purn, and that filled up; it moved up and down and they filled it with cotton, and then that went into the shuttle for weaving; do you know what a shuttle is?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

No I don’t.

 

LE:

Well it went…it goes across….in weaving, they have a warp which is a great big round thing like this, and looms can be so long; fits in the looms and then there’s some…..the cotton is split and it goes through some little….I don’t know – wire things with eyes in so it can go through, and then they put this shuttle, and they used to thread this shuttle, this….whatever it was called….I’ve forgotten the name again….it went in the shuttle, and they had to suck up a thread through a little hole and then they used to put that shuttle into the loom, and the warp was working up and down like that, and that was going across, and that made…..that made the cloth, but then I worked in another place….down below where we live I was about seventeen years, that was the last place I worked at, and that was winding but that was automatic, and what we did, there was four slots and they were called purns ….made of strong cardboard and it was a metal end, and we had to keep filling those, and they…..and then you got big cones they were called, like big cones, that was cotton, and they was up there and we had to thread it down onto these, and then it just used to….when it started it used to go round and make a….a few times, and then they moved up and down and filled these purns [sp] and all day long….and all these weft….these cones, they all had different numbers, they were different thicknesses and so you hadn’t to mix them up, and we used to have four on the top and then they did four of these purns [sp] and then we were filling these, and they dropped in a box and then you’d to carry this box into the proper box; you hadn’t to get them mixed up, and that was…..that was another kind of…….winding, and then in the end I worked up a mill at Pecket Well, and…..but that one was the opposite way round; we were winding off big…big…..I’ll call it a purn [sp] to make the big……the big cones you see, so I’ve done both of those.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Did you enjoy this job?

 

LE:

Yes I did, I really enjoyed it. I wouldn’t have wanted to be a weaver because it’s so noisy, well in fact at Pecket Well there was some looms where we worked, and I met a lady there and she’s ninety-five now, and she’s so deaf, and that was with working in the mill….but then later on you got something to put in your ears, but she’d worked there a long time and she’s really deaf because of working in the mill.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What’s your favourite colour?

 

LE:

My favourite?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Colour.

 

LE:

Oh well when I was little it was either blue or pink; I always used to wear blue or pink….but I wear any colour now I think.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Why was it your favourite colour, those two?

 

LE:

Well I don’t know, I just like it….yes I always liked blue.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Did your favourite colours ever change, or were they just always pink and blue?

 

LE:

No, we wore different things as well, yes. Women didn’t get any choice what we wore, you know, you went with your mum and you…..and if she said that was it, that was it. You don’t know how lucky you are now, do you?

 

TW:

Have you finished your questions?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Yeah.

 

TW:

Okay. I just wanna…..there’s a few more minutes yet; I just wondered if you could tell us a little bit about what it was like in your school that you went to…because you went to Colden and then was it Central Street you went to?

 

LE:

Yes.

 

TW:

Could you tell us what it was like in those schools?

 

LE:

Colden – well we had…..oh you’re going a long way back…..there was three classes; the oldest was in one class and then there was two others – there was one for the infants and one for the…..well we always used to call them the big boys in t’big class, and then one was sort of in between, and we all had a different….our own teacher then; you had one teacher all the time, and they used to get…..get the cane in those days, in the top class, and…..and some of the right big boys, they used to put a hair on their hand and it was supposed to break the cane, I don’t know whether it did or not….and there was a row of houses lived up behind the school, and in one of the rooms they had a little sweet shop and they had a big tin, like you get Cadbury’s Roses in now you know, and that was called the ha’penny tin, and you could buy all sorts of sweets - we went there nearly every day – we used to buy…..liquorice and….all kinds of things, something……I’ve forgotten what they were called…….we used to suck them and they kept changing colour……

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Were they like balls?

 

LE:

Yes, like a ball and we used to suck it and then keep looking and see what…..oh and there used to be….liquorice used to be kali, and you used to suck it up through this like a pipe.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Did you enjoy Central Street or Colden more?

 

LE:

Well I never liked school…..no, I never liked school, and when it was time to go, I always used to say I was sick and I wasn’t, but I still had to go, and then the other thing, I never like when it was sewing class; I still don’t, well I can’t see to sew now, but I’ve done a lot of knitting, but I never liked anything sewing, so again I used to say I was sick, and if you weren’t well they used to let you sit on the pipes in the cloakroom, so I’ve been a naughty girl, and they were nothing wrong with me [chuckling]

 

TW:

When did you move from Blackshaw down into Hebden

 

LE:

Oh 1972, so what’s that

 

TW:

When were you born?

 

LE:

1925.

 

TW:

……so you moved down in the 1970’s then?

 

LE:

Thereabouts.

 

TW:

What was it like in Hebden in the 1970’s?

 

LE:

Well a lot quieter than it is now….I mean…..oh it was very quiet in those days…..that’s thirty-four years since; I forget what happened….I mean the square was a square…..and I think, I know the shops……well I mean they were still all local shops like they are now, but of course everything was a lot cheaper in those days.

 

TW:

Are there any shops today, that are still here today that were here then?

 

LE:

Holts.

 

TW:

Right.

 

LE:

Still kept its name, Holts, yes…..I really can’t think of any….I mean the shops are still there but they’ve all altered and they’re all different things now you know…oh on Market Street there used to be a……Webster’s and a Duckworth’s, they were……you know, for flour, baking things and food, and there was a……oh what was that butcher’s called across…….can’t remember, but there was a……there was a few butchers in Hebden Bridge because there was one at t’top of Bridge Lanes when I was little, before I went to school, and we used to come down on the bus – we had buses then from Blackshaw, well the Hebble buses used to run through from Leeds to Burnley, and…..before I went to school I used to come down Hebden Bridge, only once a week, because in those days we had all…..we had two butchers that came with a horse and cart, we had a man with a horse and cart that came with greengrocery, and then we’d a man that….oh we’d a man came with a van from Burnley with a bakery, and then we’d a man walked from Todmorden selling all sewing things, and people came you know, round more in those days.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Do you enjoy living in Hebden Bridge or would you rather live somewhere else?

 

LE:

No, I’m quite happy where I am, yes, I’m quite happy where I am. Well I had a brother that lived further down the lane you see, that’s why I came there, but I hadn’t been there long and he died, but….yes, I’ve no regrets. I still go up every Sunday to the church; somebody takes me up and brings me back…….because I played the organ there for fifty-six years, and then I had to give up because I couldn’t see the music.

 

TW:

What’s your favourite hymn?

 

LE:

How Great Is Thy Faithfulness….and the other one is How Can It Be? Do you know that one…..either of ‘em?

 

TW:

I used to know them….okay, hang on a minute…I think the other people are starting to come now, so….are you coming to ask your questions?

 

PUPILS:

Yeah; Miss Patrick said those have to go back.

 

TW:

Okay, well I would just like to say thank you for taking part, and thank you for…..to Lena for letting us speak with her really, so thank you.

 

[END OF TRACK 1]

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