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  • Interviews and Storytelling: Mrs Gibbon

    [TRACK 1]

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Year 6 Colden School the 7th of July 2011.  We’re interviewing Mrs Gibbons.

     

    TONY WRIGHT:

    And who has the first question?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    How long have you lived in Colden?

     

    MRS GIBBON:

    I came about….wait a minute….when I was about twelve.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Have you lived anywhere else?

     

    MG:

    I’ve lived all over.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Whereabouts?

     

    MG:

    Well I was born at Preston, and I lived at Longton near Preston for two or three years, and then I went to live at Parbold that’s near Wigan. And then eventually the war broke out and my dad was a farm bailiff on a farm -  we’ve always lived on farms -  and the chap that owned the farm, he had a son that was due to go in the forces and so he wanted to have him to have my dad’s job to keep him out of the forces. But my dad wouldn’t agree to that, so he left – he finished. He wanted to put him down as a farm worker. And then we came to Luddendenfoot and he got a traveller’s job, and eventually that run out, they took all travellers off for war work, and we went to live up in Blackshaw Head then. Yeah, so I went up there about 19… what would it be….42 happen, yeah, and so I came here for about two years then I left here and started work when I was fourteen.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What did you do for work?

     

    MG:

    I was a tailoress.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What’s one of them?

     

    MG:

    I was an apprentice for five years, making men’s suits, ladies’ suits or whatever, so that’s what I did, yeah, until I got married in 1960.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Who was your husband?

     

    MG:

    Who was my husband?  He was Frank Gibbon, he was a farmer and he lived at Horsehold and that’s where I’ve lived ever since, since 1960…..and of course I’ve got….I had four children; this one is the second one…..no, my grandson sorry.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Have you noticed any changes about where you’ve lived?

     

    MG:

    Well there’s one or two houses gone up in Blackshaw Head; they’ve altered all the school by the way since I came.  I think this one was a classroom actually.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What…..who was the headteacher when you came to this school?

     

    MG:

    It was a Miss Sutcliffe, a Miss Lillian Sutcliffe. She was a bit of a terror.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Who was your favourite teacher when you came to this school?

     

    MG:

    Oh, I don’t know. I don’t think I had a favourite teacher. [laughing]

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Can you remember any of the classrooms?

     

    MG:

    The classrooms?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Yes.

     

    MG:

    Yeah, well this was a classroom, and at each end was….at that end was the boys’ cloakroom, and…..I don’t know…what is there now?  Is there still a cloakroom, the boys at the end?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    I think it is, yeah.

     

    MG:

    Yeah, and I do know during the war, they put some like shelving up and they made dinners here, and there was, I don’t know….sacks of flour, and I do know that somebody had been into one of these sacks of whatever it was up there, and….I don’t know, t’headmistress had us all sat there, you know, ‘Who’s done that?’ like, you know, nobody would admit to it. [chuckling]

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you ever get caned at school?

     

    MG:

    Yes, once I did.  That was at Luddendenfoot School……they told us we hadn’t to run round the middle where the coats were hanging, so me and somebody else started running around and the headmaster come round, so I got caned. Once, that’s only once!

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    When did you last go on holiday?

     

    MG:

    When what?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    When did you last go on holiday?

     

    MG:

    What, now?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Yes.

     

    MG:

    I went last year, didn’t I?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    I don’t know, did you?

     

    MG:

    Where did I go last year?.......Oh, I went on a cruise, down the Rhine.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Where did you used to go on holidays as a child?

     

    MG:

    Where did what, sorry?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Where did you go on holidays as a child?

     

    MG:

    In when?  When did I go on holiday when?

     

    CHILDREN:

    As a child.

     

    MG:

    As a child?  We didn’t used to go on holidays, no.  Well, when I lived at Parbold near Wigan we wasn’t too far from Southport, we just used to go for a day trip to Southport; apart from that we never went. We didn’t go away on holiday, apart from going maybe to visit grandparents, yeah.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    When and where was your first place visited abroad?

     

    MG:

    Abroad?......Oh, I went to Canada, didn’t I, a few years since with your granddad, and then we went to South Africa the year after…..Yeah. Oh, I’ve been to Majorca and Menorca and...

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Was life different here when you were a child?

     

    MG:

    Yes, you do a lot more different things here than….than we did when I went to school.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What’s your favourite holiday destination?

     

    MG:

    Oh I don’t know, they’re all different.  I liked South Africa because it was so different you know. I liked the Amalfi coast in Italy, that’s nice.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Were they hot?

     

    MG:

    Yes, I like it warmish, yeah.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What are your views on pollution?

     

    MG:

    On what?  On pollution?.......I don’t know….pollution…..well, I don’t know…..people should pick their litter up shouldn’t they?  Look after the place…..yeah.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    ………are you worried about your global footprint?

     

    MG:

    Am I worried about what?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Your global footprint.

     

    MG:

    I’ve never thought about it. [laughing]

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What was your first job?

     

    MG:

    I’ve only ever had one job, and that was when I started tailoring and I was an apprentice.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you enjoy it?

     

    MG:

    Hm?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you enjoy it?

     

    MG:

    Well I must have done because I stuck at it from being fourteen to being thirty. [laughing]  There are bits you don’t like, but you’ve to put up with it, haven’t you?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What sort of clothes did you make?

     

    MG:

    Men’s suits – trousers, waistcoats, jackets……ladies’ costumes, jackets and skirts – it was mainly men’s suits that I made.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    As a child, what did you…..did you go out for meals at weekends?

     

    MG:

    Oh no, we couldn’t afford that, no.  My mother didn’t work, it was just my dad working, so…..no.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What did you do on the farm that entertained you?

     

    MG:

    What did I do on the farm that what?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Entertained you.

     

    MG:

    Well….I don’t know about entertaining……you mean what did I finally do on the farm?  Bottled milk.  We had two milk rounds, and before I retired I used to get up at six o’clock in a morning and fill bottles of milk with my sister-in-law; we filled about six hundred bottles, pint bottles, and then your granddad and his brother used to go round Hebden Bridge and deliver it.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you used to drive a tractor?

     

    MG:

    I’ve had a try once, but your granddad didn’t tell me to put my foot on the brake did he [laughter] so I just…..hit something and that was it, no!

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What job did your dad do?

     

    MG:

    My dad?  Well he was always a farmer, we always lived on farms….and then at the finish up, when the war started, he went... he did a… we came to Luddendenfoot and… he was selling cattle medicines, and then that fizzled out, and he got a job with West Riding County Council which is Calderdale now, working on the roads.  They used to give them a length of road to look after and he got the length of road up through Blackshaw from… Edge Hey Green right to t’bottom of Pole and he had that length of road to look after, and then… and then he retired.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Has your quality of life improved?

     

    MG:

    Has what?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Has your quality of life improved?

     

    MG:

    Has it improved?  Well I dare say it has.  I’m quite satisfied.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Can you remember your High School that you went to?

     

    MG:

    High School?  I never went to a High School.  This is the school that I finished at.  No, I didn’t go to High School.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Why didn’t you go to High School?

     

    MG:

    Well I think I was at Luddendenfoot and they sit for the…..O Levels don’t they, when you’re eleven, and I’d only just gone to that school and actually going from one school to another, sort of different courses that they do, and there was some at Luddendenfoot that I hadn’t done before, so that I missed getting into Sowerby Bridge Grammar School, so that’s why I didn’t go to Grammar School.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    So what did you do when you finished school?

     

    MG:

    I started work when I was fourteen.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Have you got any advice for children leaving school now?

     

    MG:

    Any advice?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    For children leaving school now.

     

    MG:

    Well I don’t know…..I really don’t know…….I don’t know. Everybody should get a job.  There’s a lot of people, youngsters, that haven’t got a job for some reason or other……

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    If you were going out for a meal somewhere round local, where would you go?

     

    MG:

    I don’t really know in particular.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Do you go out for meals often?

     

    MG:

    No.  Maybe once a year. [chuckling] No, I like having my family you see.  I had four children and then of course I’ve got eight grandchildren…..this is one, and brothers and sisters; I was the eldest of five of us but my brother died a year or two since, but….and they have families, and I like them to come to my house you see, and I have a big family gathering every now and again, so that’s what I do.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Have you got a big house?

     

    MG:

    Well yes, I’m the only one in it and I’ve got three bedrooms, a big sitting room and a big kitchen….yes, it’s biggish.  I don’t want to live in a little house so I don’t know what I’d do if I had to go in a one up one down; I’m stopping where I am.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Have you any hobbies?

     

    MG:

    Hobbies?  I do quite a bit of embroidery…..and when the kids bring their mending….yes, I do the mending. Oh, I go dancing every fortnight to Heptonstall.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What kind of dancing do you do?

     

    MG:

    Old time. Oh, I don’t jig up and down like you lot do!

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Do you sell your embroidery?

     

    MG:

    Is what, sorry?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Do you sell your embroidery?

     

    MG:

    Do I…?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Sell it.

     

    MG:

    Sell it – oh no I don’t sell it, oh no no no.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Have you got a collection?

     

    MG:

    Well yes.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Where do you keep it?

     

    MG:

    I don’t know – stuffed in drawers! [laughing] Or whatever. Well, tablecloths, I use them, and actually I’ve done two tapestries, two big tapestries, and my two eldest grandchildren are both going to be twenty-one shortly, so I’m giving them one each.  One’s... like of a lady, and the other’s a couple of parrots, so… I could have brought them but they’re too big and heavy to bring to show you.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Do you think Colden is a safer place than it used to be?

     

    MG:

    Is it what?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Do you think it’s a safer place than it used to be?

     

    MG:

    What, Colden?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Yes.

     

    MG:

    I think it’s fairly safe isn’t it?......yeah…..yeah……and where I live up at Horsehold, it’s quite safe up there.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Have you got a favourite place in Colden that you go to?

     

    MG:

    In Colden?  No, not particularly, no.  I used to live up at Blackshaw Head, at Davey Hall at the top of Davey Lane……that’s where I used to live.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Do you go to church or not?

     

    MG:

    Every now and again. Well I belong to t’Church Women’s Guild actually, that’s every month…

     

    TW:

    Have you finished your questions?

     

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Yes we have, yes.

     

    TW:

    Well there are one or two I would like to ask, and if any of you want to jump in and ask other questions, then feel free to do that.  One of the last things you said was you lived at Davey Lane and you had a….a dairy farm as well.  Did you know Mrs Clegg?

     

    MG:

    Yes I remember Mrs Clegg.  She lived down Davey Lane.

     

    TW:

    She had a milk farm as well didn’t she?

     

    MG:

    She delivered milk.  She’d get it from the dairies.

     

    TW:

    Oh right.

     

    MG:

    Yeah.

     

    TW:

    I see.

     

    MG:

    I didn’t…..we didn’t…..we wasn’t living at Davey Hall, t’top of Davey Lane when they were delivering milk. I lived at Horsehold; that’s where I went to live when I got married you see, yeah.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    How did you deliver the milk?  Did you deliver it in...

     

    MG:

    How did I what?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    How did you deliver the milk?

     

    MG:

    We had a Land Rover, and then eventually we had a pick-up….yeah.

     

    TW:

    Did you not have a horse and cart at some point?

     

    MG:

    They had horses and carts before I got married, and then I remember the last horse that they got, but they sold it and got a Land Rover….yeah.

     

    TW:

    You said that you used to fill six hundred pints of milk each morning.  How many cows did you have to get that much milk?

     

    MG:

    …..roughly about fifty or so……they’d be milked…..yeah.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you have a favourite cow?

     

    MG:

    No I didn’t, I didn’t bother much with the cows at all.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you name them?

     

    MG:

    No they didn’t have names, no.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you have any pets?

     

    MG:

    Pets?  We always had a dog or a cat, yeah.  I like Border Collie dogs, they’re lovely.  Very intelligent… very one man dogs as well… yeah.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Do you have any pets now?

     

    MG:

    No……no.  My dog was about twenty-one but she was poorly so I had to have her put down and then my cat eventually died…..no.  I’d like a dog but I set off a bit too much.  You can’t leave a dog so much, you know, so that’s why I haven’t got one, but if I was having one it’d be a Border Collie.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you have anything else on the farm, animal wise?

     

    MG:

    What, beside cows?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Yes.

     

    MG:

    We’ve had pigs and….hens.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you sell the eggs or keep them?

     

    MG:

    Was what?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you sell the eggs or keep them?

     

    MG:

    Oh, they sold them on the milk round. Oh, and then…..I started making butter….yeah…..so home-made butter as well.

     

    TW:

    Did you do that by hand?

     

    MG:

    Mm [yes]

     

    TW:

    How did you do that then?

     

    MG:

    Well we had…..a butter churn, actually that was….it had a motor on it, yeah, so we didn’t have to turn it, but…..but the rest of it was done by hand, and rolling it, you know, all that.  You put your cream in the butter churn and it goes round and round and round until it curdles, and then you pour the whey off it, and then you put clean water in it, wash it until it runs clean, and then put it on like a…..a big board with a roller on and roll it until you’ve rolled all the water out of it, then pack it up.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you sell the butter?

     

    MG:

    Did we?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you sell all the butter that you made?

     

    MG:

    Did I what?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you sell the butter?

     

    ANOTHER PERSON:

    Did you sell it?

     

    MG:

    Sell it?  Oh yeah, they sold it on the milk round.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Can you remember how long it took?

     

    MG:

    How long it took?  What?  To make some butter?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Yes.

     

    MG:

    Oh, you could be at it a couple of hours.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Was it tiring?

     

    MG:

    Just depended like how…..maybe how thick the cream was, you know, as to how long it took to go. Like I mean if you buy some cream in the supermarket and you want to whip it, it just depends how long you whip it before it starts curdling and then it’s gone to butter then. Like I think Christopher, I mean Nathaniel, did that last week…Yeah, he was whipping some cream and it went to butter, didn’t it?

     

    NATHANIEL:

    Yeah.

     

    MG:

    Yes. [chuckling]

     

    TW:

    I wanted to ask about when you were a seamstress.

     

    MG:

    When I was what?

     

    TW:

    A seamstress.

     

    MG:

    Oh yes.

     

    TW:

    Did you make a whole suit or did you just make parts of it?  How...

     

    MG:

    Oh no I made a whole suit, but the chap that I worked for, he cut it out; he did all the cutting, and then it was just given to us and…..you made the whole suit, oh yeah.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    Was that in Hebden?

     

    MG:

    Oh yes.  I don’t know whether you remember… well I don’t think you would, because it’s, it’s sixty years since I lived there; I worked there after I’d say…Wheelhouse and Fletcher’s. It’s a jeweller’s shop now, by the pedestrian crossing in the middle of Market Street, just before you go round to Central Street School. It was a tailor’s shop was that, Wheelhouse and Fletcher’s.

     

    TW:

    Oh right.

     

    MG:

    Yeah.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    How many other people did you work with?

     

    MG:

    Well when I started, there had been other people there but they’d had to go on war work. This was…..in ’44 you see, the end of the war really ,when I started work. So there was one, just an elderly lady, and she started, I started with her…….and then one or two of them came back from war; there were no more than about four of us, and then at t’finish up, for t’last year or couple of years, I worked on my own because they all left.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    So when you worked at that shop, where did you live then?

     

    MG:

    I lived at Blackshaw.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    And how did you get to work?

     

    MG:

    On the bus in the morning.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    There was a bus then?

     

    MG:

    Yes…..half past eight bus in a morning….what was it……what were it….about fourpence ha’penny return, [laughing] whatever that is in new money! [laughing]

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    If you hadn’t have done that job, would you have…what job would you have done?

     

    MG:

    …..I don’t know because I liked sewing you see, that was about…..the lot. But then my younger sister, she started nursing and I thought, ‘Oh, I could have done that,’ you know... but my first choice was for sewing.

     

    TW:

    Can you remember what your first wage was?

     

    MG:

    Yes I can.  Twelve and sixpence a week for the first year; twelve and six, so I don’t know, you can reckon that up in pence or whatever it is now, and then it went to……That were twelve and six; my second year was…..were it thirteen and sixpence? My third year was about fifteen shillings; and my fourth year was just short of a pound; and my fifth year……was it….did I go to two pound fifty? And that was it…..yeah. You see that was from 1944 to….for five years…..yeah, but I mean it was t’going rate then. Oh well I don’t know, for apprentices it was, but….I think it’s a lot more now isn’t it?

     

    TW:

    When you say you were an apprentice, who taught you the skills that you learnt, how to...

     

    MG:

    This…..this elderly woman and then some of the other workers that came back, yeah.  There wasn’t anybody in particular that was teaching you.

     

    TW:

    Oh right.

     

    MG:

    No.

     

    TW:

    Did you get small jobs and then build up to larger jobs if you...

     

    MG:

    Mm. [yes] I think I started on making button holes….I think that was what I started on.

     

    TW:

    Did you work to patterns then, or could you be a bit creative in how your sewing went?

     

    MG:

    No, no, my boss cut the…..suits out and I just made them up.

     

    TW:

    Right.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    After you finished your apprenticeship did you get a wage?

     

    MG:

    Yes, I think…..yeah, I think I started about two pound fifty, but then I think when I left….when I left work in ……in 1960…..I don’t know, I wasn’t getting a right lot then…..even then….it’s a long time since is that, isn’t it?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    When you were working, did you have anybody in the house, looking after the house?

     

    MG:

    My house?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Yes.

     

    MG:

    Well I lived with my mum and dad….yeah, and my brothers and sisters.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    How old were you when you left then, to go in another house?

     

    MG:

    When I got married?  I was thirty…..and then I didn’t go back to work after that….I had jobs to do up on the farm, like, you know, bottling and washing up, washing all the dairy tackle.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What jobs did your brothers and sisters do?

     

    MG:

    What jobs did what?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Your brothers and sisters do?

     

    MG:

    My brother, he worked on a farm higher up the road from…..from Davey Hall at Blackshaw, on a farm, and then he set himself up on….selling eggs….hens in battery cages they were then, and he died, maybe five or six years since, and he’d sold them all, and he finished up with fifteen thousand hens, you know, sold ‘em to t’packers, that’s what he did, that was my eldest brother.  My other brother is a joiner. One sister, well she came to work with me but didn’t last so long, and then she worked in different shops, shop assistant, and then my younger sister, she was a nurse.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Were you happy to do the farm work after…you said.

     

    MG:

    Oh yes, yes.

     

    TW:

    Did you like it more than the sewing?

     

    MG:

    No, no, I liked it just as well……yeah…..you see I don’t…..when I was born, we lived at Longton near Preston. Well I don’t remember living there, you know, we’d moved maybe when I were two or three year old, and then we moved to another little farm at Parbold near Wigan, and I went to school from there, to my first school when I was five……and then we moved to another farm, a bigger farm, [incomp] until we moved over to Luddendenfoot, so I’ve been to five schools.

     

    TW:

    Do you consider yourself Lancashire or Yorkshire then?

     

    MG:

    Oh well I prefer to be Lancashire don’t I? [chuckling]

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What was the farm called?

     

    MG:

    Well the last one was called Parbold Hall, there was a big hall up there…..and….and the one before that was called Gillibrand……and I don’t remember what the other ones was called.

     

    TW:

    Is it still a dairy at Horsehold now?

     

    MG:

    No, it’s gone.

     

    TW:

    Has it?

     

    MG:

    Yeah.  My husband – well my husband died, and his brother added it onto his brother’s son that all the milk round went. They just have a few beef cattle, that’s all, that’s all they have.

     

    TW:

    So is there just them that live there now?

     

    MG:

    Just what sorry?

     

    TW:

    Is it just them?

     

    MG:

    Yeah.

     

    TW:

    Yeah?

     

    MG:

    Yeah.

     

    ANOTHER PERSON:

    Can you tell us about living up here in the winter times, those years ago?

     

    MG:

    Can I tell you about living what?

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    Up here in the winters.

     

    MG:

    Oh….1947….I walked to work, was it for about six weeks?  Oh it were terrible, yeah.  Walked down, and down the fields, and come out at Jack Bridge and then go down Radley.  Me dad said ,‘It’s not safe to go down t’steeps,’ you know, because it had blown in. So that’s the way we always walked down and walked back again. Oh, you were walking over snow drifts. It was so….solid. Oh yeah, oh yeah. And then, if I was quarter of an hour late for work, getting into work for quarter past eight instead of eight o’clock and he happened to be there, he’d say, ‘What’s this?  Half time?’  That’s what I got after….and he only lived in Hebden Bridge, yeah, and I’d walked from Blackshaw, and did it for six weeks.

     

    ANOTHER PERSON:

    And walking back as well.

     

    MG:

    Oh yes….oh, I know.  But there used to be all…..lots of people doing it you see. You know, you’d catch up with somebody else, yeah, you wouldn’t be on your own…..no. It was horrendous, yeah it was, and me dad worked for the County Council then, and they started…..they started digging out at Cross Lanes thirteen times and every night it blew it in and they’d to start again, because you see they didn’t have snow blowers; they had snow ploughs just on front of the wagons you know, just like that, and that was all. It was all hand shovel work, and they had a group of…..Italian prisoners of war helping out. But, you know, it were terrible, it really was, apart from winters, like, when it snowed.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    When you were a child, what did you get for Christmas?

     

    MG:

    Oh…..well as luck had it, my granny and granddad had a shop in Preston, a paper shop, and she used to get toys in for Christmas, so we generally got something from her, but I know when the war started there wasn’t anything much….and I think I got a packet of hankies, fancy hankies….you know, perhaps an orange and a few nuts….yeah.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    How old were you when the war started?

     

    MG:

    How old was I?  I was nine when it started in 1939, so I was nine.

     

    ANOTHER PERSON:

    Were you evacuated anywhere?

     

    MG:

    No, oh no….oh no, the evacuees came here from Brighton.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    You were here not in Wigan then?

     

    MG:

    I was over here then, yeah…..and the evacuees came over from Brighton, and do you know I’m going to see one next week.  I don’t know whether you know……well he was called Peter Middleston and he was in lodge with Mr and Mrs Feather at Old Edge on there, and do you know he’s kept in touch with them ever since, and this will be about t’third time I’m going down to see him with one of the daughters that he lodged with, and he’s kept in touch with her, and he’s a bit….well he left school about two years before I did

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    And some of the Brighton evacuees have been up here haven’t they?

     

    MG:

    Yes they was evacuated from Brighton up here.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    They came and visited recently haven’t they?

     

    MG:

    Oh yeah that’s right he did, I believe he did, yeah….yeah, that were Peter, so I’m going down to see him next week.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you ever have to go under or in an air raid shelter?

     

    MG:

    …..well, [chuckling] we were given an air raid shelter. Everybody was given an air raid shelter. But my dad said he wasn’t gonna put that up – ‘We’ll be safe under the cellar,’ in the cellar under the….so if there was anything like that, we had to go down in t’cellar.  Now then, I can remember when we lived at Luddendenfoot, looking through the bedroom window with my mum, and you could hear the Germans coming over, and…because they had a different tone of engine to what ours were, and they were going over to bomb Manchester and Liverpool and that way; we lived at Luddendenfoot then, and…..and then later on, we heard one coming over, it were one of the Doodlebugs, and it cut out somewhere over….Mytholmroyd and it dropped in Halifax didn’t it?.....yeah…..I remember hearing that….yeah….yeah.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Were you scared?

     

     

    Scared?  No not particularly I don’t think, no not really, because they didn’t…they didn’t get bombed round here did they?  No, they were going to bigger towns….yeah, so……yeah.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Were there ever any bombs dropped near where you lived?

     

    MG:

    Here?  Round here?  I don’t think so……no.  I think there was an aeroplane – did it crash somewhere….up toward Egypt….I think there was an aeroplane there weren’t there?  Was it ours?  I think it was.

     

    TW:

    I think it was one of ours, but I have spoken to somebody else who lived up this part of the Colden Blackshaw area and they were... they were milking the cow and they heard what they thought was hail; it was actually bullets on the tin roofs

     

    MG:

    Oh!

     

    TW:

    So it did happen at least once.

     

    MG:

    Yeah.

     

    TW:

    But not that much happened here really, I don’t think.

     

    MG:

    I don’t remember it coming down, but I know it did, but……

     

    TW:

    Were there a lot of evacuees then, were there like ten or twenty or were there loads?

     

    MG:

    Yeah there was a few, yes, but some of ‘em didn’t last long you know, they went back again… yeah. There were one or two stopped, yeah….yeah…..not so many…..no.  They might be on those photos that you have…

     

    SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    We have some…

     

    MG:

    I have…..I have one of those booklets but it’s sort of all….fading and I couldn’t make out….I looked at it last night. I thought well it’s no good showing you them because I know that... because I know you have one here, because I’ve seen it. Oh yeah, we had a May Queen didn’t we. Yeah, well I’m one of them.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    We’ve got quite a few pictures in the archive box of the May Queens.

     

    MG:

    Yeahh…..yeah, oh well if you look on it I’m the third in on the back row – I’m the third one in…..[chuckling]

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What sort of clothes did you wear in the war?

     

    MG:

    In the war?  Well me mum used to make our clothes….yeah. Well I don’t know if we went to jumble sales, or, you know, make do and mend and all that sort of thing.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    How was the food?

     

    MG:

    How was what?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    The food.

     

     

    MG:

    Sorry, what did you say?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    The food that you ate in the war.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    What was the food like in the war?

     

    MG:

    Oh the food, sorry, food…….Well, me mum was very good at conjuring things up, you know, so we didn’t go short of anything. Oh, and then we had a garden, so me dad used to grow vegetables and potatoes and things. We never went short; we didn’t go short at all.

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What food didn’t you like in the war?

     

    MG:

    What did what?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What food didn’t you like in the war?

     

    MG:

    Didn’t like?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Yeah.

     

    MG:

    I can’t say that there wasn’t anything that I didn’t like but I can’t stick porridge… not from being little. Can I stick porridge? No, that’s the only thing I don’t like.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Why not?

     

    MG:

    I don’t know, I just don’t like porridge [laughing]

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    How did you feel when the war ended?

     

    MG:

    Well everybody were very happy and then we had street parties as well, yeah. So, yeah it were a good job. As luck had it my dad never went in the forces and he never knew why he was never called up, because he never was. Whether it was with moving quite a bit….he just wonders that, you know; but he never was. He joined the ARP, Air Raid, ARP, whatever it is, Air Raid Wardens……but apart from that…..

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    Do you remember where there were any air raid shelters in Hebden?

     

    MG:

    He was up at Blackshaw, at the chapel, they used to meet there…..yeah….but….apart from that…..no….no…..that’s all.

     

    TW:

    The firm that you worked for in Hebden Bridge, that sounds like quite a small firm.

     

    MG:

    It sounds like a what?

     

    TW:

    Quite small.

     

    MG:

    Oh yes, yes it was, it was a man on his own.  He was a Mr Wheelhouse and the Fletcher was his uncle but he were dead, so it finished up with Mr Wheelhouse, and actually, just after I left, he started being poorly and he didn’t last much longer than that, and so... Oh well, good job I left – I don’t know what I should have done if it had... because it shut, the shop shut then.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    Do you know where he’d have bought cloth from?

     

    MG;

    I don’t know.

     

    TW:

    Did you sew by hand or did you use a machine?

     

    MG:

    Oh both….oh quite a lot of hand sewing, oh yeah….oh yeah. Like if you turned something up, like a skirt bottom or something like that, it’s all hand done, oh yeah, buttonholes all hand done….oh yeah.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    Can you remember how much a suit would have cost in those days?

     

    MG:

    No, do you know, I was thinking that and I can’t remember. No, I don’t know whether I ever knew or not. No…..no….no I don’t know.

     

    TW:

    Did you ever get to wear any of your own clothes…..any of something that you made?

     

    MG:

    Oh…no, not that I made at work, no, but I used to make all my own clothes, oh yeah….yeah, and….I used to make all my brothers' and sisters’ clothes as well….yeah….yeah….and I’ve done quite a bit for grandchildren an’ all…..so, that’s it.

     

    TW:

    Right.  Well we’d like to say thank you very much for talking to us.

     

    MG: [laughing] Oh dear, I don’t know what you’ve learnt! [laughing]

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    Thank you.

     

    CHILDREN:

    Thank you very much.

     

    MG:

    That’s quite alright.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    We could keep going couldn’t we?

     

    MG::

    But I don’t know what else I could tell you.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    Lovely.

     

    MG:

    I haven’t had a right hectic life

     

    [END OF TRACK 1]

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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.

Get in touch

Pennine Heritage Ltd.
The Birchcliffe Centre
Hebden Bridge
HX7 8DG

Phone: 01422 844450
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