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Ruth Round

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This is the twentieth of the eleventh and we’re at Scout Road School and this is Morgan Spice.


Go ahead and ask your questions.


Did you enjoy home and why?


Yes I did enjoy my home. I enjoyed it because I lived in a row and there were children on either side of me, and we were all very good friends.

What was your school like and how many differences to our school was there?

It was Burnley Road School in Mytholmroyd that I went to, it was a very good school and I enjoyed it.

Where did you go on your holidays?

Well, in those days I used to go to Blackpool and to…..Bridlington.

Did you ever be a mummer and if you were, what was it like?

Do you mean mummer when the blacken their faces?


No I never did that, no.

Did you have any friends at school and what were their names?

Yes I did have lots of friends at school. Do you want their names?

Some of them.

Yes. Ann one of my friends was Ann. Sheila…and Stella.

Has Mytholmroyd changed much since you were little?

I don’t think a lot no, I don’t really think that much. It’s still basically the same.

What do you think about Hebden Bridge?

I like it, I like it very much, yes.

Did you go on holiday on Wakes week?

Yes, always.

And where did you go?

Well, I think I said Joe, Blackpool.


Yes….places like that.

Who was your best friend?

……’s hard to say, but I’d say Marjory.

Have the styles in clothes changed much since you were little?


How have they changed?

Well, I wore a gym slip when I was at school. Do you know what a gym slip is?

No, sorry.

A shirt underneath.

Did you enjoy work and why?

Oh yes I’ve always enjoyed my work. I enjoyed it because I worked with children.

Work life?


Work life.

Did I enjoy my work life? Yes, I did Molly, yes.

Did you have to work as a child?


What did you like to wear?

Well….I tried to be modern, even in those days and I liked wearing fashionable clothes.

Was there….did you have any like major changes, like moving house or things like that?

Not until I was sixteen.

So did you move house when you were sixteen?


Did you still live in Mytholmroyd?

No, we moved to Hebden Bridge.

Was Hebden Bridge a big, black smoky place?

It was really yes, it has improved greatly.

It’s nice, one of the main tourist places isn’t it of Calderdale.

It’s what love?

Now it’s one of the main tourist places.

Yes it is, it is yes.

And did you ever go to Halifax when you were little]?


Did you it?

Yes I did. Trips to Halifax, it was a big day out with my friend, yes.

Have it changed?

Changed? What?

Changed like from when you were young?

Oh well…that’s quite a hard question…..really I can’t answer that question.

Was there any major events, like… in your life?

Well one major event was I had to go to hospital because I had scarlet fever…..and I had to go to Todmorden to hospital….and I couldn’t have visitors for a month, so that was pretty hard. It was a major event in my life.

Were you quite young?


Was whooping cough..did any

I had whooping cough, yes. We all had whooping cough and we were quite ill. You didn’t have to go to hospital for that.

What are your hobbies?

Well I like reading, I like walking…….I go to yoga and I keep fit.

So what were your hobbies when you were young?

…..well I liked dancing, I used to go to dancing class, and I liked playing the piano, not very well I’m afraid, but tinkling.

Did you ever like make any clubs with your friends?

Yes I did, yes.

Have you got a name for them?

Well, we had a little house round the back of where I lived, and it was called Cillieban, and we used to go in their and have food in there, and play games….well we got that because when we were in the Brownies, we had to take a billie can to the Brownies and we changed that a little round, a little bit round to billie can…from billie can to cillie ban, and that’s how we named our little house.

So how old were when you went to Brownies?

….I think it was six or seven, I’m not awfully sure and when I came out I went to Guides.

Brownies still runs now.

Yes it does.

Do you think you do the same things as Brownies as you used to?

I would say so, yes.

I’ve heard from my leaders that it was quite strict back then, so you’d have to wear a very good uniform

Yes, always the uniform, yes and we were divided up into sections and I was in the Primrose section.

So were your sections the flowers?


Some sections used to be things like Pixies.

Yes they did, yes.

I used to go to an old-fashioned Brownies and I was in the Pixies.

Were you?


Did you have any pets?

No, because we lived on the main road and my mother said, you know, she was frightened that they might run into the road.

Did you ever share a room with anyone?

No. I was an only child.

Molly…or Jamie, have you got any more questions? Did you have any children?

I have two grown-up children, Elizabeth and Charles……….Molly you know my Lizzie don’t you? You were there last night weren’t you?


Did you enjoy Christmas?

Yes, very much indeed, but we didn’t get a lot of presents like you do now, just a few really.

Did you ever collect anything like dolls?

Yes I did, I did, yes.

Were you part of a big family?

….well I was an only child really, so…..but I had lots of aunties, uncles and cousins and we did in those days all get together.

Did you have a happy childhood?

Very happy indeed, yes.

And what was the mains that made your childhood happy?

I think having my friends so close by, what’s more they were nearly all boys so that made it specially good fun [laughing]

Did you have sleep-overs?

Yes, we did, yes.

Do you think the sleep-overs are the same as you would have now?

I dare say, yes.

What was the food like and did you have sweets?

Well it was some time, and most of it was in the war time, and…we didn’t have such good food as we do now but we had sweets, and we had two ounces of sweets every week and that’s all we were allowed, and we had a ration book so they cut out a little coupon, a little number, and you got your two ounces of sweets.

So do you have any names of the sweets that you used to…

Did you have pear drops?


Was it pear drops?

That wasn’t my favourite. Tell you what I liked to do, I liked bag of fizzy stuff, what is that….and we stuck a spanish stick into it, licked it and stuck it in


Sherbet, sherbet – I loved those, yes.

So other than sweets, what was your favourite treat when you were young?

Well I used to like to go to the pictures with my mother occasionally, yes I did.

What kind of job did you have?

When I was a little girl do you mean?

No, sort of when you were coming on twenties?

Oh well, I worked in schools and I was a….nursery nurse.

So what kind of films did you see and do you know their names?

Well…..there was Shirley Temple films and one of the films that I particularly liked and ‘The Wizard of Oz’

Oh yes.

You’ll have seen that won’t you?

Still very popular.

It is isn’t it, yes, I saw that was coming.

They broadcast an old film a few weeks ago in the Picture House or something.

What did you see?

It was ‘The Wizard of Oz’ as they first made it.

Was it? Did you see that?

What kind of books did you read? Do you have any names of those?

Yes and do you know I liked Enid Blyton books very much indeed. There’s just been a film about Enid Blyton but…. yes, I did enjoy all those books, ‘The Schoolgirl’ and things like that.

Did you ever read Nancy Drew?

I don’t know about that, I can’t just think

Sort of like an adventurous read…

Tell you what I did like to do….great friends of mine lived in Mytholmroyd and they had – it was Tetlaw’s shop. They had a newsagent’s and I used to go across to their shop and read their comics. As long as I kept them neat and tidy, put them back just as I got them, that was my treat.

Did you go and sit down and read all the comics?


You were quite lucky weren’t you?

Yes, very lucky.

Because they tend to charge you now.

They certainly do.

They don’t mind you having a flick through but if you’re sitting down in detail looking at them

Yes…yes that was good.

What did you do for fun?

Well I liked playing out….we used to have dens and lots of lovely games playing out…and also we used to like playing indoors – snakes and ladders and all those kind of things.

Were you quite a girlie-girl or did you like climbing trees boy things?

Well I liked playing with the boys, so I guess I must have had a leaning towards being a bit of a tom-boy.

Did you have more fun then than nowadays?

Well it’s different. I still have fun you know, [laughing] I really do.

I’m sure you did have more fun then because you were a child weren’t you?

Oh I did, yes.

Did you celebrate events like Easter?

Yes, Easter eggs.

Did they have things like Cadbury then? What kind of chocolate

Yes they did, yes they did. And funny enough, I will just say this, I was a nanny at one stage of my life and I worked for the Cadbury firm, so we had loads of loads of chocolates and that was good

Did you have a happy childhood?

Yes I did Molly, as you have haven’t you? You’ve got a happy childhood.

Did you ever go….was there ever a flood when you were a child?

Yes, that was…it’s reminded me because of the floods up in Cumbria, and we lived on the main road and almost every year we were flooded. It had to come up three steps to the shop – we lived in a shop, behind the shop and it came – the last time…it came right the way through the house one metre high…..and my mother said ‘this is it, we’re moving to Hebden Bridge, so that was it, we moved because of the floods. It was dreadful. When it went down it left mud all over.

Yes because recently my drive got flooded and it left mud and leaves

Yes it does…and frightening.

In the middle of Hebden Bridge, were there any shops that used to be there and still the same?

Oh yes, Holts were there – quite a lot of shops actually.

Do you have any names of them?

……I’m just trying to think now…….things have changed a lot round there, I can’t just think now, I know that Holts was there and a lot of the shops were knocked down opposite Holts. There was a row of shops there – all been taken down, and coming round… the market was always there of course where it is now.

Have you ever heard of Silly Billy’s – was that there?

Yes, yes, now…that wasn’t there. It was there as a shop and I’ll tell you what it was…a tripe shop….tripe. Now do you know what tripe is?

Is tripe a type of fish?

Not fish, it’s from an animal….from sheep and cows, and it’s the inner body. It’s horrible, but we liked it, we did. I suppose you can still buy it now, I’m sure you will be able to. Yes, that was a tripe – I’m glad you’ve reminded me of that, and…Bridge Mill was a mill then, in those days people worked there.

So did you eat meat when you were a child?

Yes I did eat meat.

At the butcher’s did you have a favourite type of meat?

……well I think I liked all kinds of meat and I liked fish as well.

Were you allergic to meat?

No…no, I’ve become allergic as I’ve got older –dust and things like that and perfume and make-up, I just wear a little make-up.

Were any of your friends allergic to anything when you were a child?

No I don’t think so, no…not that I remember.

Any more questions?

All of mine have been answered.

Did you have pocket money then?

No, not really, we didn’t, but my mother was very good and if I needed something she’d give me the money to get it, but I was careful – we didn’t have a lot of money to spare so I was careful.

So did you….I can’t think of anything

I think you’ve done incredibly well, you’ve asked lots and lots of questions.

Would you like to


Yes I have a few. The first one is a sort of a formal question and it’s – could you tell us your full name and where and when you were born?

Yes. Ruth Mary Greenwood in those days…..and I was…where I was born…on 5 Burnley Road, Mytholmroyd…..and I was born in 1932.

And what kind of house was 5 Burnley Road?

Well we had a shop, it was my uncle’s shop and my mother managed the shop, and it was an electrical shop selling electrical goods, of course washing machines and they were one of the first things to sell there you know, the washing machines and all the things like that. We lived behind the shop and above the shop…….My father had another job, so that was my mother’s job.

What did your father do?

My father worked in a sewing shop as a cutter….in Hebden Bridge.

Which…mill was he in?

Well he worked actually in various mills…just trying to think…..I can’t just think of the name of the mill in those days, but he moved about a little bit.

Was Caldene Avenue called Caldene Avenue?

Yes it was.

So have many of the street names changed?

Well I don’t think so quite honestly, no. There are new ones, new houses and new streets but the old ones, no they’re still the same.

Have Brownies and the uniforms changed very much?

The Brownies? Well I’m not sure – you tell me!

The Brownie uniform, it’s just kind of a T-shirt that says Brownies on

No we didn’t have a T-shirt.

And then striped sleeves that are yellow and white

Ah no, plain brown uniform and a little brown hat, and like a little neckerchief.

Was that the neckerchiefs? And now we have these brown trousers that are quite warm

Oh do you?

There’s leggings, skirts and trousers.

Right – ours was just a dress with a belt on.

Do you like – did any – did your daughter go to Brownies as a child?

She did when she was a little girl, yes she did, Hebden Bridge Brownies.

When you moved to Hebden Bridge, where did you move to?

Albert Street in Hebden Bridge, number twenty-two Albert Street and we exchanged houses with my cousin and his family; they came to live at the Mytholmroyd house and we exchanged, and they had to put up with the floods then you see, but they were younger than my mother and so they coped.

Did they work in the shop then?


And what did your mum do then?

My mother – there was a Hebden Bridge shop to do with the electrical shop and she helped in the [pet?] shop in Hebden Bridge, yes, part-time.

Were there any sort of characters, like unusual….you know eccentric sort of…you know people about that you can remember?

Are you speaking particularly of Mytholmroyd? Yes, yes, yes – Mytholmroyd – that just reminds me of one incident. We used to have a little….my friends, when we lived in Mytholmroyd, we had a little table out every now and again, every year, and we’d get – try to get – sell things to get money for the Brownies or the church, and on day – we had all these things spread out – one day a funny little man came, he had a horse and cart and he was a bit of an odd character. He came and he said ‘oh what have you got here?’ Right and he found a rather funny fork, it was a pickle fork really, perhaps you won’t know what that is, he said ‘and I think I’ll have this and this little knife that goes with it’ and we thought ‘well I wonder what he’s going to do with that’ and he said it was for cleaning his toe nails [laughter]….he was an odd ball!

Can you remember – did you know his name?

Dick…I can’t remember, now then it’s funny…no I can’t remember……no, no


Did you have cars then?

Well we were lucky; my dad had a car, a small car, an Austin 7.

Did you know anybody who had an old-fashioned Mini them?


Because I’ve heard they’re nice because my brother’s aunty had one and my mum used to be so excited when she got a ride in it.

No I didn’t know anyone with a Mini, no.


You being a Greenwood, did you have a bye-name or a nickname?

Well, I didn’t but my grandfather’s name in the past, he was called, my great-grandfather, he was called Israel and so, in fact we were the Israel-Greenwoods that came down through that line, yes.


Did you lose any family in the war?

No, my father actually was in the First World War….and he was shot in the leg, so he didn’t have to go into the Second World War…..that was a story, a very interesting story really. He was in France and….it was on the Somme, there’s been a lot of stories about the Somme, and he was shot in his leg and he was five days in a trench with no help, so…

He did quite well then…

He was lucky to survive really, wasn’t he? And eventually some…two soldiers came to pick him up and because there was yet more shelling as they were carrying him on his stretcher, they dropped him and ran and there he was on the floor, on a stretcher.

Very kind of them!

Very kind indeed! With a hole in his leg! And…but eventually of course he got to a hospital and he survived, and did well. In fact, he lived to be a hundred.

That’s quite good.

It’s pretty good isn’t it? I’m hoping to do the same.

Did you get a letter from the Queen?

He did, yes, yes he did.

So did the Queen….how do they do it?


How does the Queen know when you’re a hundred?

Well I think I had to write and tell them, yes I think you have to write and tell them; I’m almost sure I did, yes.

So did you ever get – did you have teddies?

Yes I did. Edward Bear. Passed that down to my son, yes.

Do you have any grand-children?

No, sadly not, no.

What kind of toys did you have?

I had a pram, a doll’s pram, and I loved my dolls……I liked games; I used to play snakes and ladders and all those games – drafts, and all the games like that. We did lots of things like that.

Yeah they’re still very popular.

Yes they are.

Did you have a TV when you were young?

No, not at all, but we’d a radio; we loved the radio….and we had a wind-up…record player, and it had a trumpet like this, and it had a little dog on – I can’t remember the name of that particular type of thing, but you had to wind it up and then we’d dance round up in the attic to this music [laughing].

Very famous, its in quite a few films sometimes that you see an old-fashioned

Yes you see it don’t you, yes, I know, yes.


When you moved from Mytholmroyd to Hebden Bridge, was the accent different at all?


The people

I don’t think so, no, ooh no I don’t think so; we were all the same, we were always..back and forth, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, all through my younger years. My relatives lived in Hebden Bridge so we were there and they were down here. No, I don’t see any difference whatsoever in the accent, no.

Did you do the monkey run?

[laughing] Well really that was more in my mother’s day. They talked about the monkey run, but we did actually on a Sunday afternoon, walk down there, we used to with the girls and our friends and yeah I guess, but on the whole that was in my mother’s day before.

Can you explain to the children what the monkey run was?

Yes but why did they call it monkey? I don’t know why it was called a monkey, do you.

No I don’t.

Well, particularly, we’ll say in my mother’s day, they used to set off from Hebden Bridge, a group of girls, and they’d be walking down the main road, the footpath, main road, and they would hope to meet some boys coming up from Mytholmroyd, and then they’d stop and chat….and do a little bit of flirting, you know what I mean don’t you, and maybe chat to people and maybe arrange to meet them perhaps the following Sunday. This was mainly on a Sunday afternoon that they did that. Yes when I was a girl we did a little bit of that, just walking back and forth to Mytholmroyd. Friends lived in Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge so we did a bit of..back and forth walking.


So were you quite….like energetic as a child?

Yes I was, yes, and in fact once when it was a deep snow in Mytholmroyd, I’d worked so hard in the snow that I collapsed with exhaustion [chuckling] and my mother had to send for the doctor and he said ‘don’t worry’ he says ‘she’s just been working too hard in the snow’

How deep was the snow?

I think it was very, very deep…I think it was 1947. On the Heights Road – do you know the Heights Road going over the top – and I think, I would say, it was cut out, you see I could have brought photographs of that. Cut out, and it was higher than me, and you know, on either side it was very, very high.

It’s not like that now.

It isn’t is it? Just a little bit of snow, and the people down the south scream when they get a little bit don’t they, they can’t cope [laughter]

Yeah I’ve walked in the mountains and we were just walking on flat snow for a few minutes, and my best friend on this mountain, it’s called Pen-Y-Ghent, and it was in winter, and I was with my mum and my best friend, and we were just walking on flat snow and I walked to the right to let someone come past, and he just fell down all of a sudden in soft snow and it’s about up to my waist

Did it? Yes it’s dangerous

And I came down the mountain with purple ankles because they were so cold; I didn’t have socks on and my shoes got broken on the way up.

Gosh!....You weren’t equipped for it were you?

Just kind of walking and then ….

Do you have any memorable moments of your childhood?

………well……lots of memories really. One of my neighbours was a boy…and he begged me to let him borrow my doll and pram, so I did let him and it was a doll with a pottery face, you know

They scare me

Yeah they are a bit creepy when you think about it aren’t they? But anyway, he put this doll in the pram, off he set, she tumbled out, smashed all her face. My mother said ‘well never mind, she’ll be going to the angels’ and I waited and I waited and I waited for her to get better, but she never came back.

Were you very upset?

Yes I was.

You just didn’t want to trust him again did you?

No, never again, no.

What kind of jewellery did your mother wear?

What kind of what love?

What kind of jewellery did your mother wear? Was it very different to the jewellery which we have now?

Yes, I don’t think they wore much jewellery in those days. I can’t remember my mother wearing jewellery. She’d have a wedding ring of course and an engagement ring, but I don’t remember her wearing jewellery.

Did your mother have her ears pierced?

Ooh no, no, no, no, definitely not. Have you got yours pierced?


I never wanted my daughter to have her ears pierced, and she’s never done it, she’s never had it done. Did you have yours pierced Molly, your ears? Or yours?

It’s quite popular for girls around my age to have their ears pierced

It is – I know it’s very popular now, yes.

All the girls in my year have got their ears pierced

Yes. Did it hurt?

Not as much as you’d think. Cos they have these machines and it just looks like a gun, and they just shoot your ear in front of you so I think it doesn’t hurt as much because you’re kind of happy at the same time you’ve got it done.

That’s right, and you can have such pretty earrings can’t you?

Cos there was my aunty had her nose pierced and first time she had it done with a little gun thing

Did she?

And she cried [laughing] softy!

Did she?

And the second time she had it done with a needle, and it was even worse. Nearing her little nose

Well the nose is very tender really isn’t it?

Yes. My other relative has got everything pierced – chin, nose eyebrows

Has she?

I saw this old woman at a museum in London – I went to London recently with my family – and there was this old, there was this elderly woman, she looked about fifty, and she had piercings, and she had about forty dog tooth earrings in each ear, and she had about six hoops, eyebrows – scary, a woman with grey hair walking past, she looked like a bull! [laughter] It was like…and this woman she just scowled at me for ages and I said ‘sorry’ and just walked past

Mind you, you would have a good look at her

And then she walked past with this man, I don’t know if he was her husband, and he was in a tie and he was in a suit

Quite normal

And then she’s…just a punk, very scary actually! It was quite startling.

I hope he liked it.


Did you ever know any skipping rhymes?

Oh yes we used to do a lot of skipping and…..oh I’m just trying to think….I wish I knew all these things before I came, I could have thought….

All in together girls,

This fine weather girls,

When I count twenty,

The rope must be empty.

That was one of them.

You know that one. Can you remind me of any that you know?


Isn’t there the teddy bear one?

Oh yes…

Teddy bear, teddy bear

Say your prayers

Climb upstairs and all these things, you know you’d to do it while you were skipping hadn’t you and climbing up the stairs, yes.

Did you ever play two ball as a child? That’s where you did two balls, a bit like juggling.

Yes we did a little bit of that, yes we did.

Do you remember any poems or songs that you did

Not to that particular one, no, but I’ll tell you what I used to like doing – going up, we used to say ‘up to the wall’. We’d do a handstand with our feet against the wall and then – do you do that? And then we’d climb down the wall with our feet and form a crab, we called it a crab

Yeah that’s what we call a crab. Some of the younger children who were in Year 4 from my old school, they don’t know what we’re on about when we call it that, they don’t – it’s a bridge, definitely a bridge, they don’t know what we’re talking about.

We said the crab, and funny enough, where I lived on Burnley Road, because my mother and everybody…we had workmen walking through the house and into the shop, my mother had a brown – we’d call it leatherette – wallpaper put at the edge of the door, and that was perfect for me for doing handstands because my feet were on the leatherette wallpaper, I didn’t dirty it you see.

Did you ever do things like – did you do cartwheels?

Yes, oh yes.

Did you play Polo? Like it’s…it’s like – called Polo – it’s not like the water polo, it’s something different.

No I don’t think I know that game.

Would you like me to explain it to you?


It’s where one person….well there needs to be two walls somehow, and there’s one person in the middle of the two walls, and they say subjects like food or….a colour or clothing, and hopefully there’s more children playing, and they’re at one side of the wall, and then the person who’s in the middle chooses a messenger. She tells - the person in the middle tells them what the subject is – and they ask all the other people, and then they come back and they tell the answers to the person in the middle, and the person says out loud one of the answers, and then they have to run saying ‘p o l o’ which spells polo, and the first person back is in the middle.

Oh right. No, I’ve never played that game. Have you Molly? No, I haven’t played that game.

Was your school quite large or small?

Do you know Burnley Road School?


Yes, you know it then don’t you? I thought it was quite large. I think – well my infant teacher was called Miss Lithermore and I rather think we had a Miss Lithermore here. There were three sisters who taught in our area and I think one was here, one at Burnley Road and one in Hebden Bridge at Central Street, and they lived in Tuel Lane. Yes, they were all infant teachers.

Did you go to Calder High or…

Well before Calder High it was the Grammar School in Hebden Bridge, and then from Hebden Bridge they came to Calder High.

Was that Riverside?

Yes, yes, yeah.

Did you ride a bike when you were a little fgirl?

Yes, yes.

Did you enjoy it?

Very much indeed. I didn’t have a new one. It was a second-hand one and I remember my father gave nine pounds for it. I thought that was a lot of money.

You would be quite lucky to get one for that much now

Yes I was…well yes, you wouldn’t get one for that now, it was somewhere for sale.

Recently I grew out of my bike and I’ve got like one of an adult sized bike now, cos that’s what fits it and I used to have a little bike, and the bike I’ve got now was a hundred pounds and they gave my little bike and they said ‘that’s worth about sixty’ ]cos my aunty, my mum, we’ve never really, my mum moved everything on to my mum’s family with any of my mum’s family, my mum’s traced them through some RAFor something, and cos she’s missed all her birthdays, she spoils me rotten, she bought my bike – it’s kind of unreal actually, I’m not used to it. I went to London to visit her cos she lives in Hitchin outside London, she says ‘here’s twenty pounds to go on with’, I thought that’ll be a start! I thought ‘oh my God’ – it was the first time I’d ever got twenty pounds.

Yes, a lot of money isn’t it?

How old were you when you got five pounds – were you quite old?

When I got five pounds……..well funny enough….well when I….I’m just trying to think really…..I was training to be a nursery nurse but I had to work in a school for part of that time and I think my wage was three pounds fifty in those days. I got that money to be helping me along through the training.

So would that be classed as a lot of money?

No I thought it was just the average money…..When I became a nanny I got five pounds a week, yes, and I was kept then you know

Instead of children these days get pocket money of that – I get three pound pocket money

Yes but you see people weren’t earning very much in those days were they?

How much would your food be, like…if you ever bought a loaf of bread, do you know how much it would be?

Can’t remember – two and a half pence or something like that I imagine. I had to get the bread from Pinder’s – do you know, no that won’t be there now; it’s over New Bridge, over the new road, there was a shop there, a baker’s shop, and that’s where I had to get the bread.

I don’t know many shops round here because I’ve moved recently from Leeds

Oh have you

You should ask him, he’s been here – you’ve been here for a while haven’t you?

Have you lived here many years?

Six years actually.

Six years, yes.

What were you gonna say?

Was it maybe what is now the Evening Courier shop – is that what the baker shop was

Are you thinking of the Evening Courier shop in Mytholmroyd?


Tell me where it is – remind me.

Over the old bridge where the river goes under


When you come – if you’re walking across on the right hand side it’s just on your right, a newsagent’s, the first shop.

Yes I can’t just place it quite frankly. Well it would probably – isn’t there a greengrocer’s there as well?


That’s the other side of the bridge

Oh the other side of the bridge – oh I see, yes I know where you mean, yes. No, I can’t remember.


Did you ever get bon-bons when you were young?


Which was your favourite flavour?


They’re very popular now.

Are they? Just the same? With all the icing sugar around them?

Yeah me and my friend love them.

Do you?

You can get all the sweets, you can get lemon sherbets, you can get pear drops at the newsagent’s, it’s a big sweet shop.

I can’t think of any more questions.


Has anybody else got any other questions?

[children asking each other]


That’s about it then.

It’s been very good to talk to you. I enjoyed that – I didn’t know what to expect.


We’ve still got a little bit of time. Did you wear clogs then when you were little?

Some of the girls and boys did. I didn’t really, no, I didn’t have clogs but we had some – at Burnley Road School some of our big boys and girls did, and they had the clogs that sparked – they had a metal base on them and they could run and do this little flick with their foot, and it sparked. It was really good.


I’ve heard there’s a clog factory – it’s a new one – well they’ve moved, it was in Hebden,

Between Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd? Maude’s Clog Soles and they made all these clogs there, yes, in fact it’s not so long ago that they stopped making them. They still do make them in another area

It’s just up

Where is it?

If you go up – do you know where


Up Midgley Road it is.

Oh yes, yes.


They’ve got a sign saying ‘Clog Factory’

They still do some don’t they? They’re very good actually for your feet, they’re supposed to be very good. People wore clogs didn’t they in the mills…I think they were good for the feet.

Did you sing any songs or were there any rhymes or anything?


Things like Christmas or like on Plot Night or other times of the year?

I don’t think we sang on Plot Night, no. We always had a bonfire….and we had our bonfire – you know the doctor’s surgery – do you know where the doctor’s surgery is? That was where I played out, all around the back there..

Where was this house you were talking about?

That I lived in?


Burnley Road…..let me think…do you know Waites’s cake shop? Well we lived next door but one to Waites’s, yes. This way, towards Hebden Bridge and that was where I lived.

Did they have any major supermarkets then or were there just like grocers

Yes there was a grocer’s, then it was ours electrical shop, then it was a shoe shop…and then it was….where Waites’s is, cake shop, and it was a cake shop then….greengrocer’s and fish, wet fish and then we had a little haberdashery shop and a paint shop, decorating – painting and decorating, and that was the row of shops.

I think that’s a bit easier than big shops because you know what you’re looking for.

Exactly, yes you do, yes.

Cos these big shops make millions of pounds a day

And we were friends with all these people you see, we knew them so we were friendly with them and it was nice was that.

Did you ever get free sweets from anyone like

Well the only time I got…they were free sweets I suppose, but when we had our coupons in the war time and I was in Hebden Bridge, there was a shop in Hebden Bridge, it was Doris Stevenson’s, and it was next door to Holt’s, it was a beautiful, beautiful sweet shop and we’d spend our coupons – two ounces – and then on some occasions because, she must have thought I was a nice girl, and I could have the bottle bottoms, do you know what I mean by that? You know all the bits that break off from sweets – sugary, hard sweets – there was all the little bits broken off in the bottom or little bits of chocolate in some sweets, and she’d scoop them out and I’d have those as an extra, probably because I was trying to be nice [chuckling], so yes that was good.

What was it like in the war time?

….well you see in a way in our area we were quite lucky that we didn’t have any bombs or anything like that, but sad because my cousins had to go in – old cousins had to go in the war and then it was worrying if they were going to be alright, but it didn’t really affect my age group at all, we were lucky.

Did you like see any planes flying over?

Yes, we did, and we had the sirens going from time to time, and we’d to take our gas masks to school, now have you ever seen a gas mask?

Yes, on some programmes.

Well we had to take them, over our shoulder like a handbag, a shoulder bag, and we had to have practices, and we put these gas masks on – horrid really, a bit scary.

I’ve tried one on before.


I’ve tried one on before

Yes it’s horrid though isn’t it?

Cos when you can’t really breathe

I know but we could breathe, because obviously you had to be able to breathe.

It’s quite hot in there because I only went in one for about a minute, to try it on because I’d gone beetroot and….I’d gone bright red, it was so hot in there.

And we also had to choose a friend, someone that had come out of the district, not at – I was living quite close to school, in walking distance, and we had to choose someone who lived further away, and when the sirens went, we set off home and I had to take a friend, everyone had to take a friend to their house, to go underneath the stairs or wherever you had a cellar, in case there were bombs, because of the aeroplanes and the sirens going off and the aeroplanes flying over, but it was fun really, sitting under staircases.

What sort of planes were they? Were they like Spitfires?

Yeah, I think that was one of them, yeah. Yes it was quite scary, and in fact I think one did come down in Halifax, and one came down at Colden, yes it did. I remember people going up, picking up the pieces – lumps of….fusilage or whatever it was called in those days, yes.

Did you say you’d get two ounces of sweets?

Yes, two ounces. That’s not much is it?

So how much would it be? How many sweets did you get?

My mother gave me – this would be before the war when I was a very little girl. A ha’penny a day, one half pence a day, and I got a little bit of something, perhaps one piece from the sweet shop, a little bubbly gum or something like that, and I did like bubbly gum…blowing bubbles, I was quite good at it. I’ll have to try that again some time.

Yeah they still have lots of bubble gum everywhere

Do you? Can you blow bubbles?


And when they burst on your face it’s not nice is it?

I’m not the best bubble blower, I know someone who does a really monster one and they’re in the seats iin front of us and my friend blew a bubble and it was the size of the seat, the size of the cushions, then it burst

Yes, on your face

She couldn’t have it again because we’d just fallen over in a puddle and it had gone - she still had a muddy face and she said ‘I’m covered in mud now’ so she was really upset about that cos we were really hungry and my mum had promised – this was after we’d done Pen-Y-Ghen, we’d fallen in the puddle on the way down, and I made her promise to get a sweet for everyone at the sweet shop at the end, and we said ‘oh yes – bubble gum’ because I’d got something else, I got a chewy, something chewy, and she burst it – the first bubble she blew got burst on her face.

My grandma once blew a massive bubble and it popped, and it went all over her hair

That’s even worse isn’t it because it sticks in your hair

It really hurts

I don’t know how you’d get that out.


If you went to Burnley Road School in the thirties, can you remember Ted Hughes going there?

Well I did know Ted Hughes vaguely and he is a relative of course of Molly’s

Oh I didn’t know

Yes, yes they are relatives. And yes I knew the family, but I didn’t know – I don’t remember Ted being at school quite honestly when I was there. I think he was a bit older than me.


How many classes was there – was there just six?

One two…three…five I would say, five.

Were they in year groups?

It was just – no, infants, first class, second, third…the headmaster first of all was Mr Jackson and then a new one came – Mr Edridge, and he had a big golden-haired retriever dog and my friends used to be able to take it out at lunch times, through the wood – Redacre Wood, you know Redacre Wood?

Oh yes.

So we were a bit privileged.

Were you – did you like – class yourself as quite smart then, we you one of the smart ones?

[laughing] Not smart, but yeah, fairly, yes. You see if you’ve only one child – my mother and dad had just me

You can’t really compare much can you?

If there’s a gang of people it’s very hard to keep them

Did you go to paid school?

No – paid did you say?


No, no, I didn’t. But we’d to pay – we’d to pay for milk and that was two and a half p

[2 ½ pence], it was half a pence a day for milk and we never stayed for dinners cos I was too near, so whether they had to pay for dinners in those days I’m not sure. We did pay for milk.


Did you save in the penny bank?

Yes, yes, ooh yes of course, forgotten about that.

Could you explain that?

Well, we had a little book and…I suppose we didn’t just take a penny, we’d take whatever our mothers could afford, and bank it; they had a bank at school where you took your money and they wrote it down in this little bank book, and… started us on a saving spree, as you might say, and then my father took it on and he put two shillings and sixpence

Is that good? Was that much?

So what would that be? What are we saying now…..pardon?


Twelve and a half pence.

Twelve and a half pence yeah, and he put that in and so when I was married, I had a nice sum of money. It might have been a hundred or so


Twelve and a half pence?

Yeah, yeah, every week he put that in.

Well like did you get a pennence piece, or like did it look the same except

The penny was a bigger one, a bigger round one, about that big wasn’t it yes.

Did you have notes then?

We had pound notes, ten shilling notes yeah.

Did you play any musical instruments?

Well, in the first class, in the….infants’ class, we had a band and she brought these instruments out did Miss Lithermore, and she unfortunately gave me a triange and I was not happy with that, just pinging on this triangle. They were people with cymbals, drums and all kinds of things, so I said ‘I’m not very happy with this triangle – I don’t want a triangle’ and she said ‘What would you like?’ and I said ‘I’d like to be the conductor’, so she said ‘right, put that triangle down’ [laughing] so I had to conduct the band – I don’t know! Not knowing how to do it, but I was doing a bit of this you see and they didn’t know how to follow, so it was chaos!

You just liked the look of

I did like the idea – I didn’t want a triangle, I wouldn’t have minded a cymbal or a drum but a triangle was pathetic I thought.


Did you do maypole dancing at all?

….I don’t remember ever maypole dancing.


I used to do it in dance.

Did you? I mean we’ve done it in the past, we’ve done it at Warley Town School….lots of maypole dancing. I think a lot of that was spoilt with the war you know, I mean you know the Gala that they have now, the Mytholmroyd Gala, well all that was stopped in the war. I remember a little bit of it before the war

What was it like?

Well it was very similar to how we…how you have it now

Did they have rides and things?

No it was just the field. It was exactly where the field is now and there were tracks where the wagons bringing people on dressed up – themes….I remember one particular one was Red Riding Hood, Red Riding Hood, the wolf and all the people on this truck. Yeah we did that, we loved that. Marched, paraded, we paraded

Did you have like a Gala Queen?

Yes. And I was never it – they never chose me.

Did you want to be?


Were any of your friends chosen?

I think an odd one yes, yes.


Are you thinking of values or anything different, or the values that you were taught as a child – do you think that they’re different to the values that are taught today?

I think it’s different of course, yes…….I don’t know really, I can’t just explain how that would be, but…we expected a lot less. We never had all the…the things that the children of today have you see, we didn’t have television and all the computers and things like that. I think you’re very lucky living today in lots of ways


Well not really, we’re never lucky because children would be a lot more fitter than now

Well yes, we did a lot of walking

Because that would be so – even though like me and my friends walk to school every day and things like that; we live over the hill….usually the kind of thing you do is watch TV, you wouldn’t go out and play

Yes that’s true, and we were able to go out playing and our mothers knew we were okay. I would go from my house, Burnley Road, right through Redacre Wood, all up over the tops just playing as a little girl and my mother never worried. We were in little groups, little gangs and we did that from being sixish, yes, so I think it was a lot freer in those days.

Did like Burnley Road have the same sort of clubs that they might have today?

I don’t think we had clubs in those days; no I don’t think, I don’t remember clubs, being in any clubs.

When you were a teenager did they have like beer and drinks

No, no. The first time – ooh I don’t know if I should tell you this – the first time someone asked me to have a drink, and I’d no idea what to say, I didn’t know and I would be perhaps fifteen or sixteen, and I decided I’d have a port wine and that was because I was confirmed and I had a port wine when I went to communion at the church, so that’s why I chose a port wine – not really a good way to do it, but yeah, we didn’t drink, no, and I could never have gone in a pub. If our mothers and fathers had seen us or heard of us being in a pub…no, I don’t think I went in one till I was…twenty-one, twenty-one.

Did you ever have any like relationships with a boyfriend when you were a teenager?

Yes teenagers, but I wasn’t too mad on boys, only as friends, yeah. I wasn’t too keen. I changed later!

When you left school, when you left primary school, did you have like autograph books

Yes, we did, yes I did.

I’ve heard people used to write poems in them.


Did you enjoy any of the poems, because my mum’s got loads of poems and I’m just thinking of comparing

Well I can think of one, and this particular one though was in my mother’s so it’s even older…

In the parlour there were three:

The parlour maid, the lamp and he.

Two is company without a doubt

And so the parlour lamp went out.

Oh I should have brought my book, I’ve loads of those yes.

My mum’s got stuff that say like ‘Christine’ – she’s called Christine my mum:

When Christine was young it was toys, toys, toys,

And now she’s getting older it’s boys, boys, boys


If all the boys lived over the sea,

What a good swimmer Christine would be


And there’s things like two eyes

Oh yes, two eyes you are, two eyes you be, I see you are two wiser than me. Yes there’s all those, yes.

And by hook or by crook I’ll be last in this book

That’s it, yes, yes. Yes I’ve got all those in mine.

It’s quite interesting looking at my mum’s cos it’s all about her teenage years…

Although they do put little rudies in as well don’t they certainly. So do you have an autograph book yourself?

Well, not really, because we’ve not really left anywhere yet.

Well you don’t have to, do you? You could ask your friends to sign an autograph couldn’t you?

Well what we will do, is usually on the end when we’re in Year 6, such as me and William in Year 6 and my sister in Year 5, when we leave the school usually do sign autograph books

Do they?

And every friend can sign it.

Oh I didn’t know that, I didn’t realise that.

Did you see Jamie Oliver when he was in Hebden Bridge?

No I didn’t, I missed him, I missed him actually, yeah.

I saw him

Did you?

I was not long, my mum was getting bored. We’d to wait for about an hour before anything happened.

Yes. It was four o’clockish wasn’t it I think when he came, yes.

Also they had theses…like lines…what are they called? They’re like long tape

Like Police tape


Oh did they, to stop

It got burst about three times because people kept going – the minute – every time he showed himself it was like ‘hello people’ and they were all ‘aaaaagh’ screaming. One of the camera people told me and my friend Louis to snap one of the tapes so we could get through.

Did he? Well I hope that wasn’t my son because he works for the Courier and he’s a photographer, and he was doing some work there, that was my son.


I think we’re gonna have to finish now.

I think they’ve done incredibly well. I think it’s been a very good project this morning, and I think it’s important for the children to know what it was like in the past, and it’s been interesting for me to tell them and to hear what they have to say about their lives.


About Us

Wild Rose Heritage and Arts is a community group which takes it's name from the area in which we are located - the valley ("den") of the wild rose ("Heb") -  Hebden Bridge which is in Calderdale, West Yorkshire.

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Pennine Heritage Ltd.
The Birchcliffe Centre
Hebden Bridge

Phone: 01422 844450
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