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Lancashire Textile Project

TAPE 82 / HD / 02

Harold Duxbury

This page represents the second of six in depth interviews throughout which Harold Duxbury was asked about his recollections of the Lancashire Textile Project. The interviews were conducted by Stanley Graham and as such remain his property. At the bottom of the page containing the sixth session Mr. Graham invites anyone with a query to contact him. The pages are all interspaced with the time taken during the interview to give some idea of how in depth the interviews were, whilst the "R- " refers to the reply from Harold to a specific question.

Second Session

This Tape Has Been Recorded On The 22nd Of July 1982 At Banks Hill, Barnoldswick. The Informant Is Harold Duxbury And The Interviewer Is Stanley Graham.

 R-  I would think it would be ten pound because we used to get 20lb at once.

So the flour was in 20lb bags?

R - There was big white bags that held 20lb.

How often did she bake?

R - Every Thursday.

Did she bake cakes as well?

R-  Yes.

What kind?

R - Well, I would say the ordinary bun and she used to make them in the round, flat, tins off the same mix and then she would make straightforward currant loafs or fruit loafs and currant tea cakes which were marvellous.

Did she ever make seed cake?

R - Seed cake? Yes, she'd have a go at anything. She used to make pasties and pies, you know. Rhubarb pies apple pies, onion and potato pie and of course, potato pies and what we used to call 'broth' and you used to be able to buy then, a sheep head and the sheep head used to go in the pan and there's some lovely meat on a sheep head! I could eat it and enjoy it today although people turn their nose up at that sort of thing today.  There was the tongue and I can remember there was two pieces of meat which would be ½” thick to nothing, the size of the palm of your hand. I couldn't tell you where they were from but we used to do a dive for this kind of thing, you see. [sounds like cheek to me.  SG.] Of course, in the broth there’d be potatoes, carrots, onions and all the bag of tricks.

Did she make jam and marmalade?

R - Oh yes.


A - Yes.

How about home made wine or beer?

R - No, only herb beer. She used to make herb beer. If I remember rightly it was Mason's extract.

Ah, I seem to remember that name, Masons.

R - Of course it used to get kept in these stone bottles, earthenware bottles. They'd be gallon bottles.

Did she make any of her own medicines?

R - Not really in that sense of the word, although at Christmas we used to have a goose and all the fat would be kept and stored for rubbing your chest and called goose grease. I that's the only one that my mother made but my Grandmother Duxbury used to make a salve that had a wonderful healing quality and I think the ingredients, the only thing was that it was made from lard and ground ivy. That's a herb is ground ivy.

(5 min)

It had a wonderful healing quality and she used to make it and keep it in little glass bottles, Vaseline jars and that kind of thing and you know it would keep for years and it was used for years. I regret, really that I never got the full recipe of that because I think it had some wonderful healing qualities.

Oh yes, there s a lot in herbs. What did you usually have for breakfast, Harold?

R - Well, we kept hens but our breakfast would be porridge and maybe some bread and butter and if we were lucky there were eggs but there would only be half an egg each, they would be cut in two.


Boiled egg, cut in the middle for us lot.

What would be your normal Sunday dinner?

R - Well, a normal Sunday dinner, we usually had some kind of a joint, a roast and there’d be Yorkshire pudding and sometimes what they called a season pudding which was made like a Yorkshire pudding with onions and a bit of sage mixed in. It was really good, so we used to call it a season pudding. There'd be the usual vegetables, you see, all from the garden, no frozen peas or anything like that. If there were any peas they would be steeped, or as they call them today, mushy peas but they're still a lot better to me than...

That's one thing I find that stands out very clearly from this series of tapes is the fact that at one time vegetables were seasonal. For instance, it's possible now, to have a salad any day of the year. In those days, the days you're talking about, each thing had its season. The first tomatoes of the year were a real event.

R - But there were cabbages and turnips, even then, literally speacking all the year round because there was a Savoy cabbage which was a crinkly cabbage and they used to form a good heart and you could have them well on until the winter. Then of course, there was the Spring cabbage, turnips and swedes.

(10 min)

You could have them all the year round because they'd keep, you see, under proper storage conditions. I don't mean fridges, there was no such thing. You used to find a cool place and maybe cover them up with soil and that kind of thing.

What recollection have you of keeping food?  When I say that, you know, we're so used to having fridges nowadays where you con keep milk five days and things like that and for instance, we were talking the other day about you delivering milk twice a day. Am I right in thinking that this was because at certain times of the year, the milk was going sour?

R - That's right, yes. Of course, it was never thought it was possible to keep.  It was twice a day including Saturdays and Sundays.

So things like butter and - well you tell me, there would be things that would be loosing their quality but would still be eaten probably things that nowadays would be considered to be off would just be considered to be ....

R - Well, for that kind of thing there was a tremendous lot of cellars and there was cold slabs, stone slabs and sometimes slate. Very often sandstone slabs and they'd be built up in the cellar and they used to cure their pigs and all that kind of thing on them. They'd rub the salt into the side of bacon and all that kind of thing you see but butter and all that kind of thing, it would keep.  Even today you can make potted meat and have a bit of fat on it and the fat comes to the top and it'll keep for months in a cool place because it's sealed and it's airtight and I should say that a lot of the old country folk, even today will stew a lot of meat and keep it like that in a bowl, various sizes of bowls and when company comes over bring one of them pots up, and slice off it.

What would your dinners be like during the week?

R-  Well, very often something, as we called it then, broth or stew, probably twice a week, you know, or something like that. Some form of cheap meat like sheep head or ...... Anyway, that kind of thing and particularly on baking day there’d be a big potato pie.


R - It had onions in, onions and meat, you see.  Meat wasn't very expensive in those days. I was always a terror for having a go at anything and Whitham who used to be the pork butcher on where Harwood had a shop.

Aye, on Church Street.

R - Aye, well it was Whitham that had it then. He went up in the quarry, he took on the quarry but he was a pork butcher and I remember buying a roll of bacon off him. I’d be early teens I suppose, at seven pence a lb.  But it was bacon you know, real stuff and maybe a lot of fat but we enjoyed fat in those days.


Of course that bacon would keep for months.

R - Oh yes, yes.

What would you usually have at tea-time?

R-  Well, I can remember there’d probably be syrup, golden syrup and you used to go to the store and I can remember going to the Co-op when it was at the bottom of Manchester Road. and they had syrup. You used to take your own tin and they had the tap and it run in, you see and this kind of thing, and sheep trotters, cowheel and what was better than anything else I can remember for tea pig foot stewed and on a big soup plate, bones and the lot and no seasoning. Well there'd be salt in them and that kind of thing but my word it was lovely!

Would you usually have any supper before bedtime?

R-  No. just occasionally we might get a drink of milk and one thing I remember particularly on a Sunday night, this would be in my teens, you see and we'd go for a long walk after the chapel and we’d come home and just the same as these Spanish onions are today there’d be an onion sandwich with some pepper and salt on.  My mother always used to relish an onion sandwich and so do I.  Well our kids, my brothers and sisters they all did, they'd relish onions. I remember our Nora, she'd been somewhere and she smelled of onions but she didn't care.

 What would, I don't know how to phrase this question really.  I haven't got a question in the questionnaire about it really. That was the attitude to what is now described as

'eating between meals'?  What I'm really getting at is this, would you ever dream of, in between meals, just walking into the house and going into the pantry and making yourself a sandwich or something like that?  What would your mother's attitude be to that?

R-  No. There was a meal time but I don't say that if we were hungry that we’d be refused something.  We would get something but it wasn't a practice of diving in when we got home from school.  We had to wait until tea time.

That's what I’m getting at. The fact that nowadays there's a very free and easy attitude towards children and food.  Perhaps it's the right attitude but I can remember when I was young I would never dream of making something for myself.  As you say, if I was really hungry and I asked, I could get something but usually it was, “You wait until your tea.''

R - Well that was the general attitude and there was a meal time and I could think, we being milk lads in those days, we would have to have our tea before we went with the milk which we had to do and I would say that if it had been severe weather or something like that there might have been something for us when we came in from the milk round, you see.

(20 min)

Where did you, and I realise that to you this will sound a very strange question, but it won't I promise you to a lot of people who listen to these tapes.  Where did you have your meals?


R - In the living room.

Yes, and how did you have them?

R - Sat up to the table with all our own places. It was an extension table and we had the wood chairs and we'd to sit there and I used to have a habit to rock back on the chair on the back legs but I suppose all lads do but I soon got stopped o' that.

How did your mother prepare the table for the meal?  Did she, as we say, ‘lay the table’?

R - Yes. There'd be a big plate full of bread and butter and there might have been a bit of cake or there might have been what we called 'sad cake' but the proper name is Eccles cake and that kind of thing. Something that was satisfying and none of these fancy vanillas.  We never saw anything of that description and there was never any bought cakes at our house.

Was there a tablecloth?

R - Yes, a leather tablecloth. Leather cloth. It would probably be white or a pastel colour and it could be wiped down, you see.

Is that what we used to call ‘American Cloth’?

R-  You could call it American cloth, yes.  When the table was washed down and cleaned there'd be a chenille cloth put on the top of it.  When we got married we had a beautiful cloth to put on the table and oh it was a lot of money! I don't know what happened to it but it were a marvellous cloth.  She gave quite a lot of money for it because since I've grown up, if I've bought anything I've always wanted the best.

Well it lasted longest didn't it.

R - Well, I remember the fellow who said it to me and it was Hartley Edmondson. That's Edmondson and Co at Fernbank.  He said, “Harold, the best is always the cheapest in the long run.” He worked on that principle.

You've already told me that you used to sit at the table. Did you know any families where the children used to stand for their meals?

R-  No.

Did the family have a garden or an allotment?

R-  Yes.

That's when you were at the Croft?

R - Yes.

Where was the garden?

R - On Butts Fields. You know where our works are?


R - Further on there, you fork, there's one goes right along the beck side and there's one bears left and comes out into Hollins Road.  Well, that triangle there, we had that triangle which is a little park, now. There were several hen pens all where the Gospel Hall is now.

(25 main)

We had several of those areas split up into hen pens and we had a big portion in the triangle just on the top of the rise as a garden and you used to be able to turn to the right and go down what's Harper Street now and there was a beck on the bottom. You used to have to go across a little beck there but it's drained now but this was long before Parkhurst's shop was in existence, the joiners shop.  It came out about there, you see, before the road was made up and that kind of thing and it came out into Gisburn Road from there.  Well of course you can remember old Monkroyd.


Who looked after the garden?

R - Well, it was supposed to be my father's garden but I did a lot, I had to do. Wilfred and me, we had to do. The family needed - and of course my father, the joiners shop on the croft, you see and he was probably working all hours that God sent. Well we had to do the garden but he told us what to do. There was a fellow that used to come and help us and I wouldn't say that he taught me a lot about gardening but he taught me a lot how to use a spade. One push, no bumping, put your foot on the shovel, on the spade and down it goes - full depth, no second pushes. That was Billy Roberts, Billy Pudding. That was his by-name. The same fellow, he had the horses, the lorries. He had two lorries like flat carts, you know, four wheeled and he used to cart for the mills and they stabled down in Butts yard.

Was that those brick built buildings?

R - That's right, yes. He stabled down in the bottom and if he'd nothing much to do he’d come up into the joiners shop and help and he was very pally with my father but I'm going to tell you now his history. He lived up the top of Park Road and he had a family, they're all dead now. Yes, he's one or two grandchildren that’s left. He was a terrible drinker:  The Station used to be, you know where he was.  He used to come past the Railway Hotel, and this is quite true, and there'd be a pint there waiting for him on the counter.  He caught his horse, he came out at the front door and caught his horse at the other door. Going up Coates Hill before the new bridge was built he used to take a skip off, a skip of weft and carry it on his back over the hill to lighten the horse.

Over the old canal bridge?

R - Over the old canal bridge. That's true. He was a strong fellow. Anyhow, the landlady of the Railway Hotel gave him a good talking to about this drinking - the landlady!

(30 min)

He stopped drinking like that. He couldn't bide anybody that took drink at all. He went from one extreme to the other. I won't say he turned religious, although I dare say he might have gone to chapel occasionally.  All his family did go to St. Andrew’s, as it was then, Methodist Church but all his family went there. He was very bitter against drink.

Have you any idea, apart from the landlady talking to him, why he made that change?

R - No, I never got to know what the landlady said to him.

She must have made a great impression on him!

R - She made a great impression and I’m not sure of the name, I might be wrong with this but I would say it was a Mrs Sowerbutts.  Have you ever heard the name?  Used to be the landlords at the Railway Hotel. Oh he was a smart fellow and I


might be wrong but it definitely was the landlady of the Railway Hotel and the name I’m not sure of.

(30 min)

I remember the landlord in the 1914-18 war but I think it was before that. The landlord was called Sowerbutts then because one thing that makes me remember, I met Sowerbutts on - I met him in Dublin and it was on a bridge, Phoenix Bridge, I think it was. Anyway, that doesn't matter.

That would be when you were in Ireland with the RFC?  Anyway, the garden.  What  sort of fruit and vegetables did you grow in the garden?

R - Er well, potatoes, cabbages, turnips, peas, beans. I don't think we had anything of raspberries or anything like that. I can remember that my father sent me a parcel of peas, you know.

Did you eat all the stuff out of the garden or did you sell any?

R-  Oh we shouldn't sell any of the stuff, it would be given to neighbours. I remember we lived at No 1 Robert Street and there was Dan Derbyshire who had the fish and chip shop at the… just below the Cross Keys in the corner there just below where Catlow had his barbers shop.  Do you remember that?  Well, that was a fish and chip shop and his wife looked after the fish and chip shop while he went round with the cart selling his fish and chips.

(35 min)

He had a fire - a coal fire in this cart and went round selling his fish and chips. He lived next door did Dan Derbyshire.  Rawlinsons lived at the top house. Old Jim Rawlinson, George Rawlinson and Harold and Jackie Pomp and all that lot.

This is in Robert street?

R - Yes.

So you were living there while your father had the joiners shop on the Croft?

R- That’s right, yes.

Is that the house you were talking about when you said you had furniture in the front room?

R - Yes.  Well, you see, it was actually Commercial Street but Robert Street branches off Commercial Street.  Well all the gable end and the back door and gate was in Commercial Street but the official address was 1 Robert Street.

Did the family have any animals, you know, hens, pigs, geese or ducks?

R - Hens and that kind of thing. Hens and dogs and cats and all that kind of thing but we, literally speaking we had to have something that was productive, bringing something in, you see. Of course, my grandfather's on the farm and that kind of thing.   Although I don't think we ever had much advantage from that. I never remember ever having any advantage at all.

Have you any idea how much milk your family had each day?

R - I should think two quarts.

Like a quart either end of the day?

R - Yes.

Well, you've already said that your family used butter. Did your family ever use margarine?

R-  I don't think there was such a thing in them days.

It came in just at the beginning of the First World War didn't it.  A lot of people didn't really - they called it ‘Butterene’ at first, didn't they?


R I dare say so.

What about dripping?

R - Oh yes, dripping, yes. And the scraps. You see dripping, that's from the roast and we used to have dripping and bread and a bit of pepper and salt on and it was lovely: If there were a pig killed, you used to be able to get this sort of thing from the pork butchers and they used to cut all the waste fat up and skin and that kind of thing and pieces of fat and render it down and get the lard. There was crispy pieces of skin and remainder of fat. Then there was very little fat in but then, very often, we used to get a full meal from that kind of thing. There'd be, now we’d go into the pantry and our pantry was at the top of the cellar steps and there'd be a dish of this stuff and of course we'd put our hand in and get a scrap or two out and really enjoy them.  When I said we didn't get much advantage from the farm, but if they did kill a pig down there, then there'd be the black pudding and all that kind of thing.

(40 min)

They weren’t put in skins, they were made in a big enamel dish.  We used to have that kind of thing, you know and black puddings with vinegar and mustard on they were…!

Good stuff.  What sort of fruit do you think you had most often?

R - Well just occasionally we’d get an orange and apples that sort of thing but you see apples, then, I can remember you could get apples at ld or 1/2d a lb - English apples. We used to go out collecting blackberries and yes, apples from these that were almost wild apple trees. Crab apples. We’d make blackberry and apple jam.

Was that a fairly common thing, Harold, going out and. gathering stuff from the hedgerows? You know, going out for a walk and coming back with blackberries.  Was that a very common thing?

R - Oh yes, yes.  Particularly amongst people like us who had been brought up in the country.  We used to know the places to go.  We knew the fields to gather mushrooms and that kind of thing.  We knew where to get them.  Water cress and that kind of thing, we knew where it was.  We’d no need to waste a lot of time, we knew you see because the fathers and uncles, we'd gone with them and we’d followed on, you see.

I'll just read you one or two different foods and just tell me if you ever had them or how often you had them. Bananas?

R - Hardly ever.


R - Yes, any amount of them.  We used to catch them.

Was that with the dog?

R - Oh yes, we used to go out rabbiting and we had ferrets and fox terrier dogs and nets.

Was that legal, Harold?

R - Well, it was legal because it was on my grandfather's farm, you see.

How about fried food?

R - Not a lot of fried food. We used to get trout from the beck.  We could catch trout alright with our hands, there was no nets.

Did you ever lime them?

A - Lime?

Lime, you know putting lime in.

R - Oh no, no, no.

Any other sort of fish?

R - No.

Did your mother buy any sort of fish?

(45 min)

R - Oh yes, after we came up into Barlick, of course.  I think that the fish that we would mainly have would be, is it garnet?  Well that was about the cheapest fish but it was quite good.

Did your mother buy it from a shop?

R - Not generally, no.  A fellow used to come around with a cart, Bob Hudson. Have you heard of him?

I’ve come across Bob before, yes.  With the cats following him?

R-  Aye all the cats in the neighbourhood.

Tell me, Harold, how did that fish come into the town?

R - It'd come on the rail.

When you think what a perishable commodity fish was, there was really a very efficient network for distributing fish wasn’t there?

R - Oh yes.

Fish coming in from Fleetwood.  I often think that the fish we got then was a lot fresher than the fish we get now.

R - Could be.

Cheese, did you eat much cheese?

R - Well, not a lot but we did have cheese, yes.

You've already mentioned cow heel and trotters and black pudding but how about tripe? Did you eat much tripe?

R-  Tripe, oh yes.

Eggs, yes, you've mentioned eggs. Tomatoes?

R-  Well not so often.

Did your father grow any tomatoes?

R - No.


R-  Oh no, I don't think there was such a thing.

Sheep’s head of course you've mentioned. How about your mother and tinned food? Did you ever buy tinned food?

R - Well, as we got to be in our teens, yes.  Not a lot but I can remember in my teens we'd come home and there'd


be a peach, half a peach out of a tin, you see, which was a real luxury, but that just raises another point.  I told you I’d lost a brother who was five years old.

What was his name again?

R - Cecil.  We used to have to walk to the Gill and my mother used to go to Gill cemetery every week and it would be over forty years that she did that and when she went to Gill, some of the family would go with her but I always tried to have the tea ready when they came home.  It was no small job making the tea for eight you see, six children and father and mother and I used to try to do that.  I wouldn’t say I did it every time but very often I made the tea.

How about tinned salmon?

R - That was a real luxury. There was John West tinned salmon then. I think it was John West. That was a real luxury and if I could get hold of the bones, we used to call them cheeses in those days, we didn't know it was the backbone. They all went down.

Can you ever remember tinned food being bad?

R-  No.

What did your family drink?  We’ve already mentioned herb beer, how about tea?

R-  Oh yes.


R - Not very much.


R - Never


R - No, I don't ever remember drinking coffee.

You've already mentioned sheep's head but can I ask you if you had a favourite food?

(50 min)

R - You'll laugh when I tell you - pig feet.

That's what you said before. I like pig's feet myself. I'll tell you what I do like and you were saying about pig killing and the thing that I always remember about pig killing.  I used to know a man up to a year or two back who still killed his own pigs for bacon and of course it's slightly different in these days of deep freezes but it was a job to keep all the pig meat. You used to get pig meat from really well grown bacon pigs and I used to love that. It's different altogether than pork isn't it?

R - Oh yes.

You know what I mean. It's different meat all together than the sort of pale pork we buy nowadays from young pigs that have never grown. I can understand the pigs feet bit.

R - It's a thing I never eat is pork. It makes my wife ill. I never craved for it.

Where there times when the family was perhaps not as well off as usual? If so, was there any change in the diet then? Did the meals change?

R - I never remember that it did.


Aye, that's interesting.  Did your father come home for his meals?

R - Yes.  Not when we were down here.

When you were living at Carr’s House.

R -  When we were living at Carr’s House, no.  When we were living opposite the joiners shop, yes.

When you were living at Carr’s House did you used to take food to work for him?

R-  Oh yes.

Did you ever take him any food?

R - No. You see he was working up at York Street then which was a fair step from here and we were at Bracewell school and then when Gisburn Road school opened we were there.  My father used to take his dinner with him.

What did he take Harold?

R - Well, I don't know really. It would be sandwiches of some description, you know.

When you were at home did your father have the same food as the rest of the family or did he have something special?

R-  No, my father always and mother and the children all had alike.

Do you think your mother ever went short of food to feed you?

R-  No, I don't think so.  I don't think she ever went short.  Mother would sacrifice to make sure that we had what was necessary but I don't think she went short of food. This is one thing that I've always been very conscious of ever since I can remember. All my life I've always been very conscious of this, that anybody I had to do with, if there was any sharing out they always got a full share. I remember one time when i joined up there was a loaf of bread and the big long tables and the loaf of bread went in at one end and it was passed around the table and by the time it got to me, I didn't get any. This was going to happen again.

(55 min)

So the fellow opposite me, I says, “Eh, give me half of that.”  “Oh no!” I said, “You're for it if you don't!”  We were only kids, only seventeen when we joined up but you know you fancy yourself at that age. I know one fellow that they used to go short and there'd be two chops and they had some children but the children didn't come home for dinner but the father had two chops and the woman got none. That has always influenced me more than ever.


This lady had 6d and she'd three children and her husband and she'd 6d and she didn't know what to get for dinner.

Your mother?

R-  I know what my mother would have got. This woman she didn't know what to get for dinner and she got two meat pies. The father had one and the other were divided, a quarter a piece for t’others.

This is of course the reason why I asked you the question.  What you're describing to me, I don't think was uncommon. In your family, would I be right in saying that the attitude was that what there was was shared and everybody got their share.

R-  Absolutely, yes.

This is a difficult question and it's probably a matter of opinion. Would your impression be that that was the usual thing?  Was it usual for such inequality in families?

R -In the majority of families, yes. There was the odd ones.

That really leads on to another question that I always ask people. it's a good time to ask it you. Looking back, what would you think that, well for a start off describe to me what your mother’s position was.  What sort of a life do you think that your mother had?  I’m thinking in terms of equality and opportunity, you know.  What sort of position do you think your mother had?

R- Well, my mother was a wonderful person.  She'd a wonderful personality and a wonderful character.  I think that to some extent, my mother was ambitious.

(1 hour)

My father wasn't. He was content to go on. He was a good craftsman but my mother's responsibility, I think that she felt that her responsibility was to bring up a family to be good citizens and she always wanted to live in a bungalow but she never got to. She were satisfied that her children were making some kind of headway. She once said to me, she says, “I’m proud of my family”.  Well, I think she certainly left her mark in the neighbourhood at any rate.  She mothered everybody round and about the area.  All these old girls used to come and talk to her you know and she took them under her wing and that kind of thing.

The impression you're giving me is that she was really a very strong character and perhaps - would you say perhaps she was slightly unusual for her day?

R - I would say that my mother was outstanding character and she had within her at any rate, I think somewhere in the past she was a re-mould and I couldn't say exactly from gentry but from a bit better than the ordinary working class.  Now my grandmother Gill, she did give you the impression that she was a lady!  I can't say that she was or anything but as I remember her, sat in her fancy black blouse and that kind of thing you know and ruling the roost.  Maybe I think that probably if I went far enough back there could be some trait - well some er throwback.  I don't know.

It sounds to me as if your father made a very good choice, anyway.

R - There's no doubt about it.

Who usually did the shopping for the family, Harold?

R - We used to get a list and go and get it, these kids.

So the children would go and get it?

R - Yes.

How often did you do the shopping?

R - Generally, once a week and very often we’d have to pop on for a bit of something, you know, some of us. You see there were six of us.

Where did your mother usually buy her vegetables?

(1hr 5min)

R - Very often from Sam Yates or Sam Wallace.  Sam Yates had a shop in Church Street next to Harry Tinner's that's now called Colne Building Society. 

Who’s there? Is it a little cafe now?  Halfway House, they call it now.

R - That's right and Sam Wallace was in Newtown where Taylforth is now.

Where did your mother buy her meat?

R -  Well, I had an uncle who was a butcher, my father's eldest brother was a butcher and he had the shop up Park Road.

Oh Yes.


R - At the bottom of Beech Street.

Yes, that one that used to be..  [Ned Anderson in the 1950s.]

A - Simpson.

Yes, yes, that's it, aye. Simpson at the bottom of Beech Street, that's right, yes.  Where did your mother buy the groceries usually?

R - I would say very often at the Co-op or from Roy Townson’s.

Where was Roy Townson's?

R -  Well, it was where the 'British and Argentine Meat Company' was.  That's just at the end of where Savages is.  [On Church Street]

Yes, I can remember, it became Dewhurst’s eventually didn't it?  Between Savages and the end shop.  That’s right, I know where you mean.  What would you say people's attitude was towards Argentinean meat, you know, frozen meat?

R - Oh, no, we’d never look at it.  We wouldn't consider it at all.

Why was that?

R - Well, we didn't think it could be good.

It was considered low quality?

R - That's right, yes.

Was there a market in Barnoldswick?

R-  No, there used to be bits of stalls set up on the street round and about Jepp Hill. Yes, probably Seven Stars and going down Butts a bit.

[Harold doesn’t mention it but I’ve seen pictures of Westgate or Church Street as it was and there were stalls around where the church was. ]

Yes, I’ve heard that before and those stalls used to stay open and the shops used to stay open very late.

R - Yes, and there used to be bits of stalls beside the Conservative Club between there and the Railway.


R-  You know. There could have been a bit of an effort where the Post Office is now and where Steele's office is.  There could have been a bit of an effort there and the fairground used to come there where the Post Office is particularly, you know, hobby horses and that kind of thing.

(550)(1 hour 10 min)

Yes, I think Ernie Roberts once told me that he remembered… Was it Ernie Roberts or Mrs. Clark?  Once told me, she can remember a portable theatre being put up there at one time. Can you remember it?

R - Where the Post Office is?


R - Oh yes, there was that sort of thing.  It would be in the form of a tent sort of effort.

Yes, I remember Emma telling me about that. Well obviously if your mother shopped at the Co-op, she was a Co-oper, she was a member of the Co-op?

R - Yes, our number was 201. They used to pay 3/- in the pound divi then.

Aye, I can remember the Co-op paying divi. Would you say there was any difference in prices and service and quality? You know, a local street corner shop and the ones in the middle of the town?

R - No, I would say that the Co-op in those days, literally speaking were priced on the same level as the ordinary shop and there was the divi on top. There was the divi like as I say, was 3/- in the pound!  Which was a lot of money then and of course would be today. Of course it got a bit out of hand everybody milking it, you know same as a lot of these things are.

Did some shops used to give credit then?

R - Yes but they didn't stop in business long. You see there was just a certain type of people that went to these shops.

Did your mother ever use credit?

R - No.

Can you remember whether pawnshops did a good business when you were young?

R - Whether what?


R ~ Yes, I would say that they did. Quite a good business. There used to be a pawnshop about next door but one to Greenwood's, you know, Greenwood's clothiers, next door but one. Then of course, there was Isaac Levi did a bit of money lending down at Lamb Hill there. You know where I mean don't you? Where - er or is it Walmsgate?


It was next door to where the butchers is now, is it?

R - It was at the end where they go through into the Parrock, next door to the furniture shop, you know.

That's it, right.

R - There's a graveyard and there's a way through there. It was next to the way through. Billy Blackburn er....

That’s it, Billy Blackburn lives there now.

R - And that were Isaac Levi and he’d do better than the pawnshop I think with his money lending.

(1 hr 15 min)

What do you think was the general attitude to pawnshops?

R - Well - er I don't think that in Barnoldswick I don't think there was a great deal of it done. I wouldn't think that people had a lot of stuff to pawn:

Did your mother ever use the pawnshop?

R-  No.

Er well, I was going to say did your neighbours use them but.....

R-  I don't know.

Was there anything that you used to eat when you were young that you can't get now?


R - I don't think so.

I always thought that a particularly difficult question. The only thing I can remember is you know liquorice root - the dried liquorice root?

R - Yes, yes.

I used to get that fresh.

 R - Yes, that's true. I can remember that. This Sam Yates used to sell that and I used to go in for a happorth of 'tree root'.  Liquorice, liquorice it was and we used to cut it off in about ½” and chew it and it was good, you see. Old Sam Yates always used to call me 'tree root'.

(1 hr 20 min)

You're not a bad advertisement for it, Harold, it never did you any harm. Have you any idea how much housekeeping money your mother would have for a week, you know, the family?

R – 35/-  [£1.75]

This would be about 1910 something like that? Was that before the First World War or after?

R - Oh yes.

Before the First World War

R - Yes, about 1910 or 1912

And so out of that your mother would provide the food, the clothing and presumably the coal as well?

R - Oh yes, and the rent!

And the rent as well? Do you know what the rent was?

R - Six bob.

Six shilling - that's a later question actually. Can you remember before you went away to the war, in the First World War. Can you remember there being any shortage of food?

R - What, in the family or nationally?


Well, either.

R - Well there was shortage of food in the First World War, there was no question about that but there was always sufficient of one thing or another.

Can you remember queuing for food?

R - Yes

Any in particular?

R - Well, literally speaking you'd to queue for meat or bacon and I don't think there was rationing in the First World War - was there?  There was, yes there was, I'm sorry.  Yes but you had to queue for butter and that kind of thing, yes.  Flour even, you queued for it.

Would you say that the First World War had any effect on the sort of level of nutrition. You know, were you better fed or worse fed? Did it have any effect at all?

R - I wouldn’t think so, only on the mind.

Yes, that's interesting. Yes, I think you're right there but there again I think it's a difficult question. Anyway I'm not going to go on to the next section because I think we've done very well this evening.

(1 hr 25 min)

It's very interesting to me. You'll have realised by now, these questions, a lot of them, I'm asking you what seem to be very naive questions but I want to know what your experience is. The food thing 'what sort of food did you eat' there's so many things that are different now.  Do you think we get a lot more variety of food these days?

R - Oh yes!

What do you think the reason for that is? Do you think there's a reason for it?

R - Well of course there's all these prepared and patented food and so forth.


Would you say that food's any better now than it was in your young days?

R - I don't think it's any better for nutrition.  It's more dolled up.

I often wonder about food. We have a lot more variety but you know...

R - Yes, but basically it's all from things that was in being then. There's new things, pineapple and all this kind of thing and other things that's imported that we hadn’t then.  Generally speaking we had some things that took - er that filled us then, whereas there's fancy things these days and all from the same, well from ‘Mother Earth’ shall we say?

The same basic foods, yes, yes. Yes, I know what you mean.

R - I'm putting it badly. You'll sort it out

No, you're not. Don't think that for one minute Harold because you're putting it in your own way and that's how the truth comes.  It doesn't come with being sorted out. Well thank you very much, Harold, I think you've done very well.

Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four Part Five Part Six

Copyright © Stanley Challenger Graham 1982