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  • Interviews and Storytelling: Florence Aykroyd

    [TRACK 1]

    I know I’ve asked you already, but for the camera, can you say your full name and where and when you were born?

    …Well I can’t tell you where I were born, no I can’t but I can tell you where I used to live – down Charlestown oh right you know, towards Hebden Bridge yes yes, and me father got killed on t’railway there oh did he? yes, he were a foreman platelayer I see and then me mother, we came a-living up Todmorden after that – we lived at Charlestown, you know yeh, I know and we came a-living up Todmorden because her mother lived at Knowle Wood I know it and you know, she said it were a lot better than living on her own because he left her with me and two more sisters and a baby in t’cradle really? hmm.

    How old was he when that happened?

    I’ve no idea.

    How old were you when that happened?

    …Well I can’t tell you really, no I can’t – I can’t tell you.

    Were you very small?

    I don’t know.

    You haven’t told me your name yet.

    Me name? Yeh. It’s Florence Alice Aykroyd.

    Can you remember when you were born?

    [pause] No.

    I went to work when I were twelve year old, half-time. I used to go to t’Shade School, Shade School, yes. and I went to work when I were half-time and then when I were thirteen, I went full-time, and I worked up at Dewsgate, up Bacup Road.

    What did you do there?

    I were a doffer.

    What’s that?

    Well they tek bobbins off t’weavers you know, when they’re full and put empty uns on. Right. [someone coming in bringing a drink] Where had I got to? Oh I know – we took full bobbins off t’weavers and put empty uns on, that were doffing.

    How long did you do that?

    Well till I were fourteen.
    And then what did you do?

    Well I went to work properly, I just forget what I did but – oh I were in ring. That’s summat same belonging to t’weavers you know. I went to Shade School and when I were fourteen we…I went full-time to t’school, I didn’t go to work, I went full-time. Did I? I can’t remember.

    Anyway, I were there when t’First World War were on, at school, at Shade School, and we had some evacuees came from France. Oh did they? Yes, and Belgium, and we had to learn their National Anthems before we started ‘God Save The King’ – every morning before we started us lessons, and I’ve never forgot t’French but I can only remember half of t’Belgian; I’ve missed half of it, so I know t’French in French, so do you want me to sing it for yer? Yes, that would be nice.

    I haven’t a right good voice you know – singing voice.

    [Florence sang the French National Anthem]

    Very good!

    I learnt that when I were fourteen year old and I’m a hundred now. Right – that’s a long time!

    Yes, and t’Belgian were –

    [Florence sang part of the Belgian National Anthem] – I’ve lost t’other part of it!

    How many were there – how many evacuees were there in your school?

    I’ve no idea.

    Did you make friends with any of them?

    Well, not really. They just treated ‘em like they were English you know.

    Can you remember any of your teachers from school?

    Well there were Mr Swaine, he were th’eadmaster and then there were – there were Miss Simpson and Miss….I can’t remember now.

    That’s very good. What were they like?

    They were alright, yes.

    Did you like school?

    Yer it were alright, I just…I lived at t’top o’ Butcher Hill if you know where that is.
    Butcher Hill? Yes. I’m not sure, no. Well you know where t’Shade is don’t you? I know where Shade is. Yes, well there’s a road that goes up past t’school behind it? Yes, well that’s where I used to live, at t’top of there. I don’t know where I were born, I’ve no idea, I’ve never heard me mother say, but you see when my dad got killed he left her wi’ this baby in t’cradle and I were the eldest and two more sisters, younger than me…yes. And me mother went a-living up Knowle Wood we lived at Charlestown then if you know where that is yes yes, well we went a-living up Knowle Wood then and I said ‘what have you come up here for mum?’ and she says ‘well me mother lives up here and me two sisters’ you see, so I lived up there till I were married.

    When did you get married?

    At Knowle Wood? Yes. If you know where Knowle Wood is.

    When – can you remember? When did you get married?

    Why did I get married?

    No, no not why – when?

    Oh I don’t know – it’s a long while since. I’ve only had one child.

    Was it a boy or a girl?

    It were a boy, and he’s called Colin. [sorting microphone out. Can I just move that for a minute, it’s getting stuck in that one. I’ll put it into that one if that’s okay] He’s called Colin Aykroyd.

    Does he still live around here?

    He lives up Lane Bottom, and he married a girl from Bacup, yes, and he’s just been to America to their house for six weeks and…yes, they got on with these girls – me son and his friend that lived up there, he were called Dennis Woodhead were this boy and they used to go every Wednesday to Bacup a-dancing, and they got on with these two girls, well our Colin’s wife were called Jean – I don’t know her last name, I’ve never known her last name, her maiden name I mean and this other girl were called Joan Woodhead and she married this Dennis Woodhead and she never changed her name, she’s still Mrs Woodhead, and they’ve been to their house for six weeks, yes.

    Wherabouts in America?

    Well it in’t just in America, it’s at t’top end of America – is it Canada? Yes. Yes, that’s where they’ve been.

    Can you remember the house in Charlestown? Can you remember what the house was like that you lived in?

    Well it were alright but it’s been pulled down since. Has it? Yes, it brings back memories when I go to Hebden Bridge you know – it’s at Charlestown, yeh there were two rows of houses on t’main road and we live at t’back facing t’railway you know, but this on t’front had a shop in t’middle.

    What kind of shop was that?

    Just…you could buy anything – bread or anything, you know, and then there were a pub at th’end, at th’end o’ these two streets.

    Was that The Woodman?

    I couldn’t tell yer, but I know there’s…there were a chapel…you know, I used to go to that chapel at Sunday, and me and me sister, we used to have to walk from there, all t’way down to…what do you call it…it’s like a what is it now…I can’t just explain it, but there’s a church up there, do you know where it is? I think I know where you mean, yes. Yes, before you go down into that road to Halifax in’t it? And we used to walk it from Charlestown to there every morning and then walk it back at tea-time. Good walk. Me and me sister, yes.

    Did you still go to Shade School once you moved to Charlestown?

    Oh no, no – that’s where we went to, that Church School up there, yes. Right – Mytholm School.

    Did you like that school?

    Well it were alright.

    When you started working, when you’d turned sixteen and you worked full-time, what job did you do then?

    I were a ring spinner, we used to make full bobbins for t’weavers.

    Did you do any other work there?

    No.

    And so you did that all your life?

    Yeh, I worked in t’mill all me life – well, I got married you know, and then I didn’t work you know – me husband were a window cleaner. Was he? Yes, he used to charge fivepence for a winder (window) Did he? Yes.

    Did he make a good living at that?

    Well [laughing]…I didn’t have a child till I’d been married five years.

    Was that because you couldn’t afford?

    No I don’t know – no I don’t know what it were, only…I went to Blackpool with me husband’s mother because she had a daughter lived there and it were ‘luminations and I went with her to ‘luminations and then when we came back, me father-in-law slept with me husband that night you know, and I slept with Jack’s mother because it were late when we got home, so t’night after when I went to me husband we had love – he said ‘I think I’ve done it this time Flo – I says ‘well if you have, you have’ and do you know, I’d only been…after about two days after that and I started with my periods and you would have thought it would have washed out what had gone in, wouldn’t you, but no – he’d made a good job of it… [laughing] and he’s seventy-five now is me son.

    Do you have grandchildren?

    Oh goodness – I don’t know how many great-children I have and grandchildren; I’ve only one grand-daughter among all ‘lot and she’s a carer is she?

    When you worked in the mill then, when it was Wakes Week, what did you do during Wakes Week, on your holidays?

    Well I used to go to me husband’s sister at Blackpool. Oh right, right – I see.

    Were you a church-goer then?

    Well I used to go to Knowle Wood Chapel, if you know where that is – I think they’ve pulled that down now but I’m not sure.

    So did you like going to church?

    Yeh, it were alright. I used to go to t’what’s it and then we used to come out and walk to t’chapel, it were only next door like.

    Was there a big social – a lot of social events with the church?

    Well we used to go and have social what-is-its, yes, and concerts you know.

    Was that just hymns or was it other kinds of music as well?

    Well there would be I expect.

    What did you used to do at Christmas?

    [pause] We used to put a stocking up, when we were young; me mother used to pin a stocking…we use to have like a mantelpiece you know, and it had a green velvet…green thing up at t’front and she used to pin us stockings on there.

    What did you get in your stockings?

    Well, we’d have a little doll or summat from Woolworths you know, and a bit o’ chocolate and that you know.

    Did you have a tree?

    No, no – we weren’t well off then you know.

    Can you remember any of the floods – did it ever flood in Charlestown?

    Can’t remember, no.

    Did you ever see any of the mills on fire then, any of the fires?

    No.

    Can you remember anything about your family then, like your sisters – what did they do?

    Well they worked in t’mill like me, but me two sisters, they…when me dad died you know, and me mother died, me two sisters died an’ all and that baby in t’cradle really? Yes. oh that’s very sad. ‘Cos I’m th’only one left in t’family.

    Has it changed much then, around here – in Todmorden, Walsden and Hebden Bridge?

    Oh yes, it has.

    How has it changed?

    Well…I can’t just explain, but it has – it has changed, yes.

    In what kind of way?

    I can’t explain. I mean, since my hundredth birthday I can’t remember nothing, no I can’t remember anything, no I can’t.

    Can you remember any of the shops in Hebden Bridge, or in Charlestown, or in Todmorden?

    Oh yeh – there were lots o’ shops but I can’t remember a right lot in Charlestown and Hebden Bridge, but there were lots in Tod.

    Which ones can you remember?

    Well there were Johnnie Mittens at ‘top o’ Water Street and there were…Redmans up Knowle Wood – Redmans, and there were t’Spinners Pub and there were two lodging houses – yes, we lived facing a lodging house – Sparks’s Lodging House, you know.

    Has Todmorden changed a lot from those days?

    Well I think it has, yes I do.

    Do you think that’s good – do you think any of it’s been good, or some of it’s been bad?

    Well I think it’s been good, yes.

    Why?

    Well it’s more modern now, in’t it?

    Are the people in Todmorden still nice people then?

    Well I haven’t been out lately, since I’ve been like this, I’ve never been going out, I just – when I go home from Hebden Bridge you know, from day care, I lock me door and it’s never opened again while t’day after, while they come for me again. Course, if me son comes, he has a key you know.

    Where does he live?

    He lives up Lane Bottom.

    Right – so very close.

    Do you know where that is?

    Yes. What do you do when you’re at home then, now?

    Well I do nowt only sit and what-is-it, talk to my mysel [Florence said this instead of ‘myself’] and watch television ‘best way I can, and…no, I keep asking God every night to tek me but he doesn’t. I’m fed up of living.

    Can you remember any old sayings – like maybe your mother used to say; any old Yorkshire sayings?

    …no I can’t.

    They might just be regular things really – nothing special, just the way that she used to talk.

    We use to go on to t’park you know, on to Tod Park, and I haven’t been on there since me lost grandson got married, and it were raining that hard – t’photographer you know, he says ‘we won’t tek any photographs’ he says ‘we’ll wait while it’s a nice day’ and we all went to t’park and had us photographs tekken in t’park. They’ve had a little boy and he’s called A.J.

    Did you ever do mumming?

    Mumming? No.

    Did you ever do any maypole dancing?

    Oh yes, we used to do t’maypole, yes.

    Did you have special clothes for that?

    No. We used to go up like up Knowle Wood Road, you know – we didn’t used to go a long way away, we just used to…you know where we lived, you know.

    Was there a group of you then that did that?

    Hmmm.

    And where was the group from?

    Well they were round about, I couldn’t tell you who they were now – there were one called Carrie Lord, that’s all I know, and I don’t know whether it were her grandfather or her father that had this pub.

    Did you used to wear clogs?

    Clogs? Yes.

    Did you have the steel ones or the rubber ones?

    No they were leather, and they had wood soles and they had irons on, you know.

    Did you used to make sparks?

    Well you did if you went like that you know [demonstrated].

    Did you used to play in the woods at all?

    Well there weren’t any woods there.

    There were some up the back though.

    [pause]

    Did you ever watch the Pace Egg Play?

    I used to watch ‘em when they came, yeh, but I’ve forgotten what it were like now. My memory, it won’t tek me no farther than t’door and back now [laughing]

    Did you ever do any other things, like maybe – did you ever go swimming?

    Oh yes – I’ve swam in t’canal. Did you? Yes, and I’ve swam in t’Gaddings Dam if you know where that is. On the tops, yes. Yes, I’ve swam in there an’ all. [pause] ‘Cos I were in t’canal once – well we used to live down t’Shade when we were married, facing t’Shade School on that street and I got ready to swim in t’canal and I only had to just go across t’street and climb a little wall and go over t’railway and I were in t’canal, and I were swimming one day and somebody said ‘hey, there’s a rat at t‘back of you Florence, so I got out and I never went in no more! [laughing] Oh I used to like to go swimming…side stroke you know, and t’back stroke, and t’front stroke – oh I used to like to go swimming.

    Did you like to go dancing?

    No I never went dancing – no, me mother wouldn’t let me go dancing, but t’other two sisters could go, but I never went – I were th’eldest but she wouldn’t let me go.

    Why?

    I don’t know.

    What was your mother’s name?

    Clara Ellen.

    Was she from around here?

    Well she lived up Knowle Wood – Clare Ellen Holden – no was she? No, Clare Ellen Haigh – that were it, her maiden name were Holden weren’t it, yes, her name – Clare Ellen Holden when she got married, but she were Clare Ellen Haigh afore she got married.

    Did she ever work in the mills?

    Well she did, but you see I didn’t remember.

    Did she not talk about it at all?

    No.

    Did you used to go to the Co-op?

    Yes.

    Did you get a divvy from them?

    Yes.

    What was the divvy?

    It weren’t so much, I’ve forgetten now, but it weren’t so much.

    Do you see any young people these days – what do you think about young people these days?

    I never see a reet lot of ‘em.

    What about your grandchildren – what are they like?

    Well I never see ‘em – I’ve only one grand-daughter and among all ‘lot and she has three boys and I never see ‘em; I never see her because she’s a carer, you know that’s her job – she’s a carer, she goes round to…you know.

    Do you think times now are better or worse than they used to be?

    Well they’re better in a way, you know but I think people got on better in th’olden days.

    Do you think there was more of a community?

    Yes.

    Did you have good neighbours where you lived then?

    Oh yes.

    Did you do things together?

    …well I don’t know…’cos we never neighboured much you know, no we never neighboured much.

    Did you ever go back to work after your son got older?

    I can’t remember – I cannot remember, no.

    What do you like doing now then?

    Well I don’t do nowt only sit i’ th’house.

    When you come here, what do you like doing here?

    Well I like to listen to ‘em you know…

    Can you remember anything else about Shade School – did you have pals?

    Not really no, but we used to have games you know, and…we used to have skipping, you know, play skippings and that in t’school yard….I can’t tell yer.

    Did you used to go on Whit Walks at Whitsuntide?

    Oh no, I never went any day trips or owt, no I didn’t.

    You didn’t play the games then?

    No.

    Did you know anybody with any nicknames – were there any people that had nicknames?

    No I don’t think I do.

    Do you know any jokes?

    I haven’t had such an exciting life have I?

    No it sounds fine to me. It sounds like you worked very hard. [pause] Do you like it around Hebden Bridge and Todmorden?

    Yes it’s alright, yes.

    What do you like about it?

    Well I don’t know – just normal. I know once when I were married, I was…t’headmaster lived up Bacup Road, in a house up Bacup Road and me husband used to clean the windows, and his wife…I put a bit o’ weight on when I got married, and she said to him one day when he were cleaning t’windows, she says ‘has your wife got a baby yet?’ he says ‘well if she has, it isn’t mine!’ [laughing] That were t’schoolmaster’s wife, Mrs Swaine she were called. [getting comfortable and having a drink of tea]

    ANOTHER PERSON IN ROOM:

    When you were a hundred Florence last year – the children up at Mytholm made her a lovely book; they made her a scrapbook of the last hundred years as a project, it were lovely. Oh – very nice, very nice.

    FLORENCE:

    I know t’vicar came oh yes? t’vicar came – I don’t know where he were from, but he comes about every fortnight here at Friday you know and gives a bit of a sermon you know, but this day when it were me birthday, t’Mayor and t’Mayoress came and t’vicar came from…I don’t know where it were from, but he brought a lot o’ children and they did a you know – song for me and that you know – oh yes.

    That sounds very nice.

    It was nice, yes it was. And me house, it were full o’ folk – I lived on Sunvale Avenue then, in a bungalow – I’ve lived by myself for years and years, and it were full o’ folk, yes it were but I never got any presents, but they all brought a card – I’ve ninety-odd cards under me bed you know, I’ve one of them beds that has a cupboard underneath, a single bed you know – well me daughter-in-law, she took all these…I’ve never seem ‘em, she took all these birthday cards and put ‘em in a carrier bag and put ‘em under me bed, and I’ve never seem ‘em haven’t you? No I haven’t.

    Oh well – you should try to get them out and have a look at them.

    I should, shouldn’t I? I keep forgetting. Well she’s about sixty-six now, is me daughter-in-law you know, and she married me son – well he’s seventy-four.

    Did you get a telegram?

    No but I got a photograph o’ t’Queen, yes I’ve got a photograph of her – she sent me that.

    That’s very nice. When you were little, did you have any toys?

    No, we couldn’t afford ‘em.

    Did nobody make any then?

    No, when it were Christmas we used to have sixpenny package from Woolworths – you know, sixpenny toys from Woolworths, that’s what we had.

    Can you remember some of the things you got?

    Well I mean, I had a doll for sixpence and I don’t know what me other sisters had, but I had a doll for sixpence, yes I did.

    What did you call the doll – did you give it a name?

    No [laughing]

    Did you make any clothes for it?

    No. It’s such a long time since I’ve forgotten.

    That’s alright. Did you ever know your grandparents?

    Oh yes I can remember me…well yes I can remember me…and I had an uncle that were in t’First World War, well he got killed and he were called Colonel James and when he went to register to go to t’war you know, they said ‘well you’re a Colonel before you’re a Private’ you see, yes and he got killed, yes.

    Can you remember your grandparents at all?

    Oh yeh I can remember ‘em yeh.

    What were they like?

    They were alright, yes.

    What did they do?

    Well they were old you know, they were too old for work.

    I know, what work had they done before?

    I’ve no idea, no I haven’t, I haven’t the foggiest idea.

    Can you remember your first wage when you left school and you started working – can you remember how much you got paid, your first wage?

    No I don’t, but it weren’t so much I know. I didn’t used to get much spends you know out of it.

    Did you give it to your mother?

    Oh yes I gave it to her, yes I did. I think she used to give me about a shilling back you know, for spends.

    What did you buy with your shilling?

    Well I used to go to t’pictures you know – t’matinee at th’ipperdrome down Halifax Road.

    What kind of films did you like best?

    Well it didn’t matter so long as it were a film [laughing] – I weren’t reet fussy.

    You know when you were a doffer, what other jobs were there – not the ones what you did, but what other jobs were there in the mill?

    Well there were rovers, and slubbers.

    What did slubbers do?

    Well they took you know…them what t’rovers had, we made bobbins for t’rovers, you know fill these bobbins and then they took ‘em for t’slubbers.

    So the rovers took the bobbins?

    Yes.

    And gave them to the slubbers?

    Yes.

    And what did the slubbers do with them?

    Oh I don’t know what they did with ‘em [laughing] – I mean it’s a long time is a hundred years to remember in’t it?

    It is, I must admit it is, yes – I just thought you maybe you might remember some of it.

    Were there any weavers in your family?

    No.

    Were there any sewing shops…did any of them do any sewing?

    No, they didn’t, no they worked in t’mill like me.

    When you got married, what was special about your husband then, why did you pick him?

    Well he were a window cleaner.

    But that isn’t why you married him – why did you marry him? What was special about him?

    Well he were a nice man – it were a shame for him to go through what he had to go through, you know when he died – he started with this, what is it?…pain and it were here [Florence demonstrated] and it pushed his heart – it were a cancer on his lung and it pushed his heart from his left side to his right, and I’d been sat up all night with him and I said to him…I’d been sat up all night with him and I said ‘will it be alright if I go down and make myself a cup of tea Jack?’ he were called John William but I called him Jack – and he says ‘course it will’ so I went down and made this cup o’ tea and I thought ‘oh I’ll light t’fire while I’m down’ because they were coal fires in them days you know, so I lit t’fire and when I went back he’d died.

    That must have been a shock.

    He were a grand lad, he weren’t deserving of what he got. He went somewhere in Yorkshire to be operated on but they wouldn’t do it.

    Was marriage like you expected then, when you were young and you got married, was it like you thought it would be, or was it different in any kind of way?

    I don’t know what you mean.

    Well, what was it like when you got married?

    Well it were alright – I lived with my husband’s mother and father for two year because we got a house down t’Shade and we went to Blackpool – he had a sister at Blackpool and we used to go there every holiday for a few days you know, and when we come home at night, it were full of cockroaches – all on t’floor – down t’Shade that were, facing t’Shade School, so we’d been after this house on Chapel Street up Walsden if you know where that is – do you know where it is? It’s near that bend isn’t it, near that bend, past the train station Yes, and so anyway this lady that had this house on Chapel Street, she’d just let it to somebody and she told us, she says – so when it were empty again, she come, she says ‘do you still want that house on Chapel Street?’ we says ‘Course we do’, so we went up on Chapel Street if you know where that is, just higher up na t‘Walsden Railway Station, yes, so we went and we lived in there for twenty years.

    Do you consider yourself Yorkshire or Lancashire?

    I don’t know, no I don’t – I’m not bothered, but I know we lived up there for twenty year and then my husband died you know there, yes he did. He were a grand lad were my husband.

    How did you meet him?

    Well down Burnley Road, walking t’what-is-it, you know.

    On the Monkey Run?

    Hmmm, and I’d lots o’ boyfriends but because they couldn’t have their own way wi’ me they used to sack me, if you know what I mean! [laughing] And I were a virgin when I got married. Well, that’s good. So there in’t so many like that is there?
    Well I don’t know, I don’t know – some are and some aren’t I think. But I know I were.

    Did they used to have Galas, Horticultural Shows, Festivals like that anywhere in Tod?

    No.

    Can you remember any characters – any people who were a bit unusual?

    No.

    Wasn’t there anybody like that at all?

    No.

    Did you ever go into pubs?

    Oh no, we never went into pubs, no – no, we never drank.

    Can you remember any other events that happened, like the Coronation – can you remember that?

    No.

    Is there anything that you’d like to tell me about that I haven’t asked about, anything that you can remember about that you can tell me about that I haven’t asked?

    About what?

    Anything, when you were younger.

    Well I used to go to th’ippodrome for t’matinee, you know – Tod Hippodrome if you know where that is, well it used to only be about three ha’pence and we used to sit right at t’back downstairs right at t’back you know, for three ha’pence ‘cos I didn’t get much spends.

    What do you think about what we’ve just been talking about then – what do you think about this?

    Well it’s the truth.

    I know it’s the truth. Do you think younger people will find it interesting – do you think it’s important that you share your experiences with other people?

    Well it were alright, yes it were alright…but I mean it’s such a long time sin’ I’ve forgotten about it you see.

    But you remembered a fair bit, you remembered a fair bit.

    I think I’ll probably stop now – are you alright to stop now?

    Hmmm.

    Okay…just the one last thing, I was going to ask about the house in Charlestown – can you remember what it was like – how many rooms it had?

    Oh no I can’t remember that, no, but I know there were this pub at th’end of t’street and it brings back memories now every time I go to Hebden Bridge, every day when I go down I pass this where these two rows of houses were and they’ve been pulled down, they’re all bushes now that’s growing now and trees you know – not trees but bushes you know, where these two rows of houses were.

    Did it have a number, your house?

    No I don’t know whether we did or not, I know there were some steps up t’side, you know to get to it and I know one day me mam says ‘go and look for your Aunty Gertie – go and sit on t’steps and look for your Aunty Gertie getting off t’bus’ – course I were a bit nosey; I came down these steps and I started waking, and I walked up to…I don’t know where it were now – somewhere up towards Tod and there’s a lot of arches you know, do you know where it is? Yeh, near Lumb Bank – no, Dobb Stables, that’s what’s there now – the horse riding’s there isn’t it? Well I walked there and a man came and he came to me and he says ‘who are you looking for love?’ I says ‘well I’m looking for my Aunty Gertie’ so he says ‘come on into our house’ so he took me in and he gave me me dinner, and I heard him say to his wife ‘this is Holden’s little lass, she just fathoms him’ – that were me dad, he were called Arthur Holden were me dad.

    So he knew your father?

    Yes he did, because he worked on t’railway an’ all you see, well in nineteen hundred and…were it nineteen hundred and eight or summat, eighteen…if my dad hadn’t have looked line there came a train off t’line – if he hadn’t have looked line he’d have got t’blame for it, and me mum said he used to have nightmares and dreams and all sorts, and I don’t think his mind were on his work when he got killed ‘cos it weren’t many weeks after…and he left her with three of us you know, and this baby in t’cradle, she were called Marie were that little girl and I had a sister called Gertrude and a sister called Dilly and I were called Florence Alice.

    Well I think I’ll stop now.

    Oh will yer?

    Unless – it’s five past three now nearly, unless you wanna carry on – we can carry on if you like.

    No, I might be going a-playing bingo.

    OTHER PERSON IN ROOM:

    Florence – you could tell Tony your Christmas rhyme before we finish, that’s a nice one.

    Christmas rhyme?

    OTHER PERSON: The one that you tell us at Christmas time; Dear Old Santa Claus.

    FLORENCE:
    Dear Old Santa Claus, turn your head this way
    Don’t you tell a single soul what I’m going to say.
    Christmas Eve is coming soon, are you dear old man?
    Whisper what you’re going to bring me, tell me if you can.
    When the clock is striking twelve and I am fast asleep
    Down the chimney broad and black with your sack you’ll creep.
    All the stockings you will find hanging in a row
    Mine will be the smallest one, you’ll be sure to know.
    Johnnie wants a rocking horse, Tom wants a bouncing ball,
    Nellie wants a story book, there’s something for them all.
    But as for me, what I’d like best I really do not know,
    I think the wisest plan would be to leave the choice to you.

    Is that what you meant?

    That’s good.

    I’ve done well to remember that all that time haven’t I?

    I’ve not heard that before.

    I’ll take this off now and just leave it there and we’ll fill these other two forms out if you don’t mind. One’s the release form. Is there anything that you talked about that you don’t want me to use, is there anything at all?

    [pause] No.

    I need to get you to sign this again.

    [Florence signed the sheets]

    Did I give you the right information about this – everything I explained earlier on, did you understand what I said?

    Yes.

    There weren’t any problems?

    No.

    Now these are just some of the things – basically just say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ really:

    Do you think it’ important that what we’ve done today is keeping a record for the future?

    I don’t know.

    Do you think it’s important that people talked about what’s important to them, like what you’ve talked about – is that important to you?

    Well I mean I don’t talk about owt like that.

    Did you feel like it was important today?

    Oh yes, oh that were alright, yes.

    Did you enjoy being involved in doing this?

    Hmm

    Do you think that sharing it, like taking it to the school children, sharing the knowledge, do you think that’s important too?

    Well I don’t know – I never see any of ‘em you see.

    But if I take this and take it into schools and they get to listen to how your life was, do you think that’s a good thing?

    It might interest ‘em, I don’t know.

    Did you enjoy doing something different?

    Hmm.

    Did it make you feel valued in any kind of way?

    Make me what?

    Like what you did was important?

    Not really no.

    Is there anything else you’d like to say about what we’ve done today?

    No.

    Thanks very much for taking part – I found it very interesting.

    I’ve missed my bingo lesson.

    OTHER PERSON: You know when Tony were asking you what you liked doing now – you love bingo; you won’t have missed it all Florence, I think they’ll have played your board for you.

    FLORENCE: I’m not bothered now. It’s five past four – they’ll have finished it nearly now.

    OTHER PERSON: It’s not five past four.

    It’s ten past three now.

    OTHER PERSON: It won’t have finished – you see, you weren’t going to tell him your Christmas rhyme were you?

    FLORENCE: What Christmas rhyme?

    OTHER PERSON: Your Christmas rhyme – Dear Old Santa Claus…

    Well I’ll let you get back to your bingo now, but thanks very much Florence for talking to me.

    It’s alright.

    [Florence leaves]

    OTHER PERSON: It’s bingo time!

    [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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