Reflections: People & Lifestyle

High Days & Holidays

New Year

Well, New Year's Day was better than Christmas actually, New Year's Day was better because Christmas was the end of an era, the end of the year and New Year was when you could build up new hopes and have new ideas and new aspirations for the coming year. What we used to do every New Year's Day was get up in the morning, have a little bit of breakfast or, when I say breakfast may be a round of toast or a bit of bread and jam - no cornflakes or eggs and bacon, nothing... there was nothing of that nature. And then when we went... we used to go out to the local shops that we used to trade with, all the local greengrocers and so on, we didn't.... say half a mile area of where you were and wished them a `Happy New Year' and they used to in turn used to wish you `Happy New Year' and give you an apple or an orange or a new penny with that date on for that particular year. So we always had plenty of fruit that day, odd coppers as well so the year had got off to a flying start! Every year was... New Year was brilliant, better than Christmas really and then you'd think. `Well this year will be better than it was last year.' So that was, you know, that was New Year.....
 
 ...sort of letting the New Year in anything that you were aware of as a child?
Definitely, definitely.
 
Where you allowed to stay up for it?
 Definitely we went to Grandma's. Well if we went New Year's Eve we always came back New Year's Eve, which we always went on New Year's Eve anyhow. When we come back my father always used to let us in and we always had the same piece of coal and the same piece of bread and there was always a drink. We always took coal and bread into the house.
 
I can understand the same piece of coal being preserved from one year to the next but a piece of bread...?
Well, always the same one. My father used to...
 
But it'd go mouldy...
Well it did, but he didn't care. He used to keep it in the same place and it was always the one. I don't know why. Whether he said it was a lucky piece or whatever I don't know. But he always had the same piece, it was mouldy, it was in a bag and it was mouldy but he would not part with it. And I've still got the same piece of coal that I've always had, not the same piece of bread - I'm not that wrapped in the idea but the coal definitely. It's in a little box up there.
 
So coal and bread and then what else would happen?
Well you... well we would get to the house and, of course, he'd of had a few drinks like and then we would all have to wait outside and my father would go in - we'd wait at the back door and he'd go in at the front door and then let us in then he would have a drink and something to eat and that was all that would happen but it was..

Would your mother be waiting outside with you or would she go in with your father?
Oh, no, no we'd all be outside, only my father went in and then, I can remember later on when.... years later on when somebody else let it in, they were having a party which... they weren't sort of party people but they were having a party this night and somebody else came to the door and my father had opened it before he had realised that it was New Year, he was furious, it was his own fault, he wasn't very happy but the year was alright though. But these superstitions are still there even in me and probably my children.

Shrove Tuesday

..... and then on Pancake Tuesday we used to go knocking on the doors and we used to say, `Are you makin'. Now if there were right side out they'd invite you in and make you a pancake. And if you hadn't already eaten one somewhere else they made another one you used to get your face sooted! You know that?
 
Why did they soot your face?
Now don't ask me why I don't know, I just remember. This brought back.... I'd forgotten about that.
 
This were on Pancake Day?
This were on Shrove Tuesday, yes, we used to go knocking on doors and we used to like going to some people called Wilsons, lived in.. I think it'd be roundabout where Mary Capstick lives, well they made Scotch pancakes, you see and we used to like them best. I bet they were pestered to death o' Shrove Tuesday!
We used to go round pancaking. You went to different houses and they’d each make you a pancake. At one house they’d put their hands up the chimney and then cover your face with soot and when you went home you’d get a smack for being dirty!

Easter

At Easter crowds of people descended on the town. They came by train from Blackburn and they walked from Accrington and Great Harwood, they came round the end of Pendle from Nelson and Colne. This was before there were busses. Literally thousands of people came to town and went down to Brungerley for the first holiday of the year. They’d go and sail in Tucker’s Fleet, the twenty or thirty rowing boats that he had and he had a motor boat too and there were slot machines, there were food stalls, there was a tea-room. It was a wonderful day.

Good Friday down at Brungerley there were thousands there. It was one of the highlights of the year. They used to walk over Pendle from Sabden and Barley and go down there. We used to call it Tuckers because Tuckers used to farm the land there. There were swings and Aunt Sally’s coconut shy. We never had no money, we used to go and watch everyone else playing around. The river was used for boating from the bridge to the coe (weir) and back. There was a hut there for cups of tea and things.

At Easter Burnley folk used to come over the hill to Brungerley. They all walked and there was Tucker’s Fleet and coconut shies and Aunt Sally’s. It was packed down Brungerley at Easter.

Easter Monday we had egg rolling and the favourite places for this were Knunk Knowles which is quite near to Brungerley and Salthill. The eggs were usually dyed but my mother used to wrap them in onion skins and that dyed them. They were hard boiled you see. But you could do them with cochineal and all kinds of other things.

We went pace egging at Good Friday. You went up a hill with your coloured boiled eggs and then you’d chase down after them and then eat them for your picnic. We used to paint them all different colours. To make them really brown, before there were so many brown eggs, you used to boil them in onion skin. You’d wrap an onion skin round the egg and then wrap it in a bit of cloth and boil it. The dye would come out of the onion skin and dye the egg brown.

Simnel Sunday was at Easter and you had a Simnel cake which was a rich cake, like a Christmas cake, with a layer of almond paste in the middle and just a layer of almond paste on the top. All round the edges you made little balls of almond paste and put them round like eggs. It’s a nice cake is Simnel cake.

At Easter you boiled your eggs and went up Salthill and rolled them. You wrapped them in onion skin before you boiled them so that they’d colour. Or you’d paint them with water paints, patterns or faces. You then went up Salthill and rolled them down until they broke and then you sat and ate them.

Whitsuntide

Whit parade

At Whitsuntide you all had your white frock and flowers. The Catholics used to walk on Whit Monday and the Church of England walked on the Tuesday. However after the First World War they all walked together. They were wonderful parades. The churches each had a banner with a religious picture on. 
At Whitsuntide the Catholics walked on one day and the Parish Church on another, Monday and Tuesday. Others walked like St. James’s but they’d just walk in their parish. Waterloo, where I used to go, they walked down to the big lamp in Waterloo. They paraded down behind the banner. They’d push the harmonium down and sing there on the first Sunday in May. You dressed in your best, whatever you had.

Whit parade 2

At Whit they used to walk from the Parish Church through the town along Castle Street and down Moor Lane to Whalley Road and then come back along Lowergate to the church.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May Day

We used to have a Maypole, a brush steel with two hoops. You had your wooden hoops and you used to get you dad to knock a nail through and you’d wrap them with tissue paper and make paper flowers. You all had a ribbon and you had your best frock on and you went from street to street dancing round the maypole and singing `All around the maypole merrily we go, Tripping, tripping lightly singing as we go, All the happy pastimes on the village green, Hurrah, hurrah for the May Queen’. We used to get a boy to sit on a little stool and hold the pole.

Mayday
All around the Maypole merrily we go,
Tripping, tripping lightly singing as we go,
All the merry pastimes on the village green.
Sporting in the sunshine - Hoorah for the Queen.
I'm the Queen, don't you see, just come from the meadow lea,
And if you wait a little while, I will dance you the Maypole style.
Can you dance the polka, yes I can, not with you but my young man,
First upon your heel, then upon your toe, that's the way the polka goes.
That's the way the polka goes.
Around this merry Maypole this live long summer's day,
For gentle Christine Lavinia Witt we crowned the Queen of May.
 
Mayday, yes. Well the horses and carts you see were decorated. But we used to... after school we used to often make a Maypole. We got the hoops from a butter barrel, you see. Go to the grocers and get hoops from the butter barrels. They were made of thick cane and you sort of intertwine them and decorate them and fasten them on top of a pole and you have paper streamers and you'd dress up - half the time they were just crepe paper skirts and that you put on but you'd choose one of your friends as a May Queen you see, and she'd have a bit of lace curtain on her head or something. Go round knocking at doors and dance outside the door and collect money.
 
Where would you learn the dance from?
Well, you just made it up as you went on. Around... you know the tune of God Bless the Prince of Wales? We used to sing that. Around this merry Maypole we dance the whole long day or something, you know a girls name was crowned the Queen of May and yes we used to... and we used to collect money and then I suppose we divided it up between us, you know, but you know.

Empire Day

Empire DayAt Empire we all had a little flag and we sang Jerusalem and the National Anthem. Some went to school with Union Jack tops on but it was mainly the fact that you were given this flag and you waved it as you sang during assembly. It was to show how great the Empire was, the fact that we had all these different parts of the Empire. In lessons that day we’d look at pictures of India and Africa and different parts of the Empire.
On Empire Day when we were at school we used to have to have a little bunch of daisies because this was the symbol of Empire Day. And there was this thing called baby ribbon which was red, white and blue and you had a bit of this tied round the daisies.
Yes there was... there was Empire Day which was kept... always kept up at school.
 
What happened then?
Well the lessons was all about the Empire and things like that you know, and decorations in each classroom with the Union Jacks and so forth and St. David's... St. George's Day was another Day and that was celebrated...
 
How was that celebrated?
 ...in school and well he was the... was he the patron saint or something and...
 
But how was it celebrated?
Only by talking about... about George and all like that you know, about the period and the time.
 
I've heard people say that Empire Day was a sort of a dressing up occasion?
A decorative occasion?
Yes. Yes, oh yes.
 
Tell me about that.
Well we still had an Empire and everybody was proud of it because you was taught at school, or brainwashed into being proud of this Empire. It never did us any good at all but it was only the Empire for the rich in my opinion. But we was really proud of it and we was proud of the history and the achievement that had been done in the past years, all at a terrible expense to the... to the poorer class in my opinion. And I know they were... there were a bit of a day that it was kept up and made a little bit of, made a little bit of and we had to sort of enjoy it. Not that it really meant... we did enjoy it at the time and we really believed everything we was being told as a child and we were proud of being allowed to go to a school that was in this...

But it was more simply a sort of a statement of rather than a sort of carnival, it was more special lessons and things like that?
Yes. It wasn't nothing like the end of the war or anything like that, no, no.
 
Because again I've heard that some of the children used to go in sort of well not fancy dress... well in fancy dress in sort of... somebody would go as an Indian and somebody would go as a Red Indian and somebody would go as a boomerang or something and somebody would you know and point up the Empire and that.
Oh I see what you mean. Oh yes, yes some of the church schools they did.
 
Did yours?
No, no, I know some of the church schools did and they used to dress as John Bull and the Welsh and an Indian and things like that, oh yes all sorts of things.
 
But this wasn't part of yours, yours was simply in effect speeches to hear about the value of the Empire?
That's right we kept it up at school but not to that extent, no
 
Empire day we used to have to when we went to school have a little bunch of daisies 'cos that's emblem for Empire Day. And there used to be some right ti... what we used to call baby ribbon, red, white and blue and you had a bit of red, white and blue ribbon you tied round you know, but Empire Day's gone hasn't it?

Harvest Time

Did most of the people of the village help out a other peoples harvest?
Oh most of them. Men when they worked in other jobs was always willing to give a farmer a hand at night when he'd finished his own work besides all the schoolchildren would try and get a job on a farm, either grab a rake and rake the spare straw up or help on the stacking jobs. All such things as that, nearly everybody'd give a hand in as was able to do.
 Harvest time
I believe you were always treated to harvest ale.
Oh there was unlimited ale you see it wasn't very strong. We used to neck it back like drinking water. It was only a cheap sort of beer. It was only a few shilling a barrel but it was very thirst quenching.
 
Has the Harvest Festival in the church changed much over the years?
No, bar I don't think they went to the pains that they did in those days, because there was always somebody who was willing to make a miniature stack. You'd have either a round one or else a shed as though it was packed with corn. And the women as did the decorating on the big church windows used to make a sort of valance on the bottom of the window, either wheat or whoats as we called them living in Budsworth in those days - that means oats. They were very clever at patterning, it's a pity it ever went out of fashion sort of thing. You never see it nowadays.

Cob Coaling

 Gunpowder Plot will never be forgot,
While old England stands on a rock,
Up a ladder, down a ladder,
Please can you spare a cob o' coal,
Or a box of matches, or a bunch of chips,
Guy Fawkes Guy, hit him in the eye,
Tie him to a lamp post and there let him die,
A penn'orth of cheese to choke him,
A jolly good fire to roast him
Guy Fawkes Guy.
 
I remember at... we used to go cob-coaling. You know what that is do you? And we used to dress up to go cob-coaling. Now two friends of mine they lived a bit further on, their father worked on the railway. They lived in those two cottages on Manchester Road and they kept rabbits. So and there were two boys used to play with us lived in one of those housed, they were called Rhodes, and one cob-coaling day we said let's change clothes and dress up. So we went in the rabbit... we went where they keep the rabbits and these boys... we were only nine then mind you... these boys changed into our clothes and we changed into theirs and put their jackets on and things. We never told our mothers of course. We went out and went cob-coaling. Now across the road where I lived there was an old woman used to keep and she kept wild cats in a cage, so we went round there singing we've come a cob-coaling and do you know what she did?
 
What? Go on what did she do?
Emptied the chamber pot on us. The worst of it was she'd teamed it on the boys which was us of course.
 
So what happened when you went home?
Well we had to go, I don't know I think we got a good hiding. They used to give us a good hiding in those days you know.
 
Pre Bonfire Night?
Yes.
Well that was when we used to go round singing the cob-coaling, we used to go cob-coaling and...
 
Just as you were?
Oh no, no. We used to blacken our faces, turn our caps inside out and our jackets inside out, roll your trousers up or put an old pair of your father's on rolled up at the bottom and anything to make you look a little bit silly like ragamuffins and that you know. And you used to knock at the doors `can I sing'. Sometimes you used to get a shout `bugger off' or `yes, come in lads'. Just depended you know which door it was.
 
You actually asked permission to sing?
Oh yes. Because we didn't stand outside they used to have us... we used to go in the house and you'd get permission `can we sing?', `yes'. Sometimes they might say `you're not coming in' and you'd have to do it outside, but invariably they'd say `right come in' and we'd perform either in front of the fire or over the back there and sing this `we come a cob-coaling for bonfire time and...
 
Can you remember it?
Oh yes.
 
How's it go?
We come a cob-coaling for bonfire time,
Your coal and your money I hope you enjoy,
Fol-a-day, fol-a-day fol-a-diddle-i-dum-day,
Down in yon cellar it's fair full of valour,
They've eaten mi' stockings and part of mi' clogs'
Fol-a-day, fol-a-day fol-a-diddle-i-dum-day,
Owd Roger is dead and lays in his grave,
Ee aye lays in his grave,
Owd Roger is dead and lays in his grave,
Ee aye lays in his grave.
And one of the lads used to lie down then, on the rug then you see and the next verse was
There was an apple tree grew over his head,
Ee aye over his head,
There was an old apple tree grew over his head,
Ee aye over his head.
And then somebody stands with their arms out like a tree and then the next one was
The apples geet ripe and all fell off,
Ee aye all fell off,
The apples geet ripe and all fell off,
Ee aye all fell off.
And they'd drop something like on the corpse. Oh and then you'd... then you'd sing... whichever area you were in... if you were in Beal Lane
Beal Lane lads are bonny, bonny lads,
And Beal Lane lads are bony,
And then you'd finish with the last line
 And that's as good as only.
 And that was it. They used to sing The King after that.
 
What? The National Anthem?
Mmm.
 
 So it was quite a little concert?
Oh yes.
 
What happened when you finished your concert so to speak?
Well they gave us a copper or two, you see and there was... oh we had a treasurer, somebody we could trust like, a little box and it was put in this box, but every street lamp nearly we were having a see how much were in so we couldn't be done. And then it all went to buy fireworks at the bonfire. It's surprising...

Bonfire Night

Please do remember the fifth of November,
When all the soldiers got shot, shot, shot,
Put your hand in your pocket and pull out your purse,
And give us a penny for singing this verse,
If you haven't got a penny a ha'penny will do,
If you haven't got a ha'penny a farthing will do,
If you haven't got a farthing God bless you,
God bless you, God bless you,
If you haven't got a farthing God bless you.

Bonfire, oh that was a... that was a special night, bonfire, because there were lots of cotton mills as you know during that time and you used to get bonfires as they couldn't have today. Because they used to give us the old packing cases that were beyond repair and the old skips that were beyond repair, and the skips were absolutely full of oil you know and I've seen our bonfire which was all for round Wren's Nest and that area. I've seen it stacked oh fifteen, twenty feet high with cases and everything. That were a beautiful sight and fireworks were very, very cheap at the time. You could buy... your mother and father bought you a box for a couple of bob or something like that, and the sparklers and treacle toffee, potato pie, roasted spuds.
 
Would this be the sort of street or each individual family with its own?
No, no this was er... streets.
 
You could go to a next door neighbours and have potato pie?
No, they'd bring it out
 
Yes I mean... but I mean it wouldn't be your mother and father who were providing it particularly for you?
Oh no, no, no, it would be the women who got together. They'd do it in one of the kitchens... it'd be done in a big washing-up bowl or something like that, you see.
That was bonfire night and what we used to do then was... well as soon as it went dark, November... it was like November the fifth so that see it'd be dark round about six o'clock. All the neighbours used to come out, take their chairs out of their house and sit on the doorstep or on a chair just... or on a stool just outside and they all joined in you know. Whoever had fireworks let them off you know and everybody joined in. It didn't matter who had the fireworks so everybody enjoyed them. But you was always... there was elder brothers and sisters... there was always coppers flying about where you could get ha'penny bangers and all these... this type of thing you know, so you had a few sparklers for the ones that were not too old you know. So and then you used to put potatoes on the fire and treacle toffee and that you know. We used to have... we used to hold little parties, street parties. In later years...
Oh yes the used to well... well we used to help make a guy and I don't think... I mean most kids went round with their own guy collecting, knocking at houses, flats, well they'd stand on the streets now collecting don't they but you used to push it round all the houses you see and collect money for the guy, and then they bought fireworks with what they got.
 
But do no more than arrive at a door with the guy, knock on the door and simply ask for money?
Knock on the door and 'a penny for the guy Mrs. please' you know and she'd either give them something or not.

Christmas


Christmas Eve would be the great expectation time and then the following morning was the dawning of excitement, great excitement, that's when you got your presents wasn't it? You couldn't get downstairs quick enough to see what you'd got.
 
Where would they be?
Well, as we've talked about the old fashioned fire-places, there always used to be a mantlepiece above the old fire, the old fashioned fire-place. And generally there was either two lines of cord across to take undies and things like that to get them dry or two brass rods. Well we had two brass rods and my pillow-case was hung there. There was always a pillowcase not a stocking and ..... because books won't go in stockings. And you couldn't get down... you couldn't get down quick enough. I remember one time I went down, very, very cold it was, you couldn't afford 'jamas and things like that, you used to sleep in your shirt and I was in the cold reading the `Chatterbox' and I was chattering myself it was that cold... until my mother got up and made me go back and get dressed. They put.... everybody seemed to, someway or other put a good Christmas dinner on and there was always decorations from somewhere. 'Course these were saved up year after year.
 
When would they go up?
Well, they went up before Christmas. Maybe a week or a fortnight before.
 
Would there be a Christmas tree?
Er... I had one. It was an imitation Christmas tree and it was one that they used to fold up, all the branches used to fold up like so that was used year after year. And I always like the live ones better than the other type but my mother wouldn't have one on account of the needles dropping all over the place. And you got your presents and chocolate, orange, apples, things like that and tree decorated in the corner with all these little baubles which, again, was put carefully back in cotton-wool in shoe boxes in the top shelf in the cupboard, like, for next year. They were all saved.
 
Would relatives or anybody come round at Christmas?
Yes.
 
Or did you visit?
Both. Now I think my family was typical of most families. There was a great bond between the relatives. There was a lot of visitation. Used to er.... they used to come to your house for tea, things like that, you'd go to theirs. The children would mingle which was another good thing, get to know each other properly. The art of conversation was er... at its height I should think at that time. And it were very pleasant. Pleasant to me.
 
When they came on Christmas would they come for what was called traditional Christmas dinner or would they come outside the meal time?
No, they would come... they would come for their er... for their dinner, and the old extension table would be pulled out and it'd be a... funnily enough it'd be fit for a king, in our eyes anyway, you know. Surprising what... what they can do.
 
Then on other years would you go to somebody else's house for Christmas?
Er... well it may be that Christmas Day they'd come to ours, Boxing Day we'd go to theirs. Something like that. We'd be.... it would be evened out someway and then during they year..I don't think Christmas was anymore different to possibly any other Sunday far as parties were concerned at home, A) parents didn't have anything or you always had that little toy that came from Father Christmas, I think that came from via Woolworths such as the old threepenny, sixpenny stores, probably a tanner box of paints...

How did it arrive?
That came in your Christmas stocking. You went to bed early.

Stocking?
In your Christmas stocking. That was er.... you went to bed early. You knew that Father Christmas was coming and if you didn't go to bed early he wouldn't come or if you lay wide awake he wouldn't come and visit you, he waited until you was fast asleep before he come down the chimney with his presents....

Who put the stocking up
Never found out but I would think at a guess it was probably my mother.
 
So you didn't?
No, we used to hang an empty stocking but my mother used to fill it.
 
Ah, that's what I mean. Where was it put?
On the foot of the bed, it was fastened to the foot of the bed. The stocking, it was one of your own stockings, it wasn't a stocking bought specially it was one of the stockings you normally wore, it was specially cleaned and darned for the occasion and that was put up, tied round the end of the bed. That, again, contained an apple, an orange, handful of nuts and a new penny and a little toy wrapped up in just ordinary common or garden tissue paper. That was lying underneath your stocking and that was your Christmas present, yes. Nothing elaborate but always well looked forward to.

Christmas dinner or anything like that?
Christmas dinner, well nothing.... I don't remember having a turkey or anything like that, I don't remember having chicken, probably we did have chicken.....
Oh, paper decoration, home-made paper decorations hung up, oh they were up but your paper decorations were home-made ones, um... go and buy several packs of er... crepe paper and cut them up with a little bit adhesive - which we made out of flour and water paste - stuck together and you know, pre-Christmas we'd sit around making these paper chains, and they were just different... various colours of strips of paper glued together to form a chain and they were festoons, that was your Christmas decorations. I think we had one or two glass balls about but these were sort of saved year after year but er...
 
Where did they go?
Well they were.... a lot of the Christmas... they had balls... they were probably fastened to your paper chains or some of the decorations we had, particularly the bird type of decorations, had a little clip foot so that you could sort of tag it to wherever you wanted, you know on your chenille curtains, round your fireplace of whatever. But I don't remember many of those about, but basically your main decoration was home-made paper chains made out of crepe paper which was stronger than tissue paper.
I never remember a Christmas tree in our house, never. Nor do I remember any Christmas lights. They used to have paper decorations they were a kind that you don't see very often now, you know the paper bells and the those decorations that festoon across the room in gaudy colours. Don't even remember a lot of Christmas cards. Not to the extent that we see today. No, no Christmas trees and the presents, you know there was no sort of mystery awaited the child - toys wrapped in gift paper and that. It was the next day that parents would give you a toy...

Still on the theme of Christmas what did you get as presents at Christmas?
Oh, well you hung your stocking up and you believed in Father Christmas and it was the same, and you will have heard it lots of times, you had a stocking and in the toe of the stocking you'd find an orange and an apple and my mother always like those tangerine oranges, so we got a tangerine, nuts, always a new penny, a handkerchief and a few sweets and sometimes a doll but we didn't all get a doll, er.... whatever we wanted, if somebody wanted a new pair of socks well a new pair of socks but that was all. And you trudged your father's sock around for a week with these things in. Oh it was a very happy time. But you hadn't to get up early and go through your stockings, there was a set time when you wakened up but, of course, we always wakened up early and crept down to the foot of the bed and felt, `Ah, he's been!.' Father Christmas has been. And it was a wonderful time.
 

Pace Egging / Mummers

Clitheroe Advertiser 1959

 Mummers snippitOh, yes, the Mummers. Is that what you mean? Oh well, that was dying out when I was a little girl and I wasn't actually allowed to sit up and see the Mummers but my uncles took part in it and it was always men who took part in this and they would go round the houses, in the village particularly, and it was a... a custom and they'd enact this play which was based, really, on St. George and the Dragon. And they'd be dressed up for it and the householder knew that the Mummers would be coming so they would have mince pies ready and the usual ale or whatever they had but my mother used to tell us about it and she used to recite some of the things they said. Because her brothers used to rehearse and they were in it. And I can just remember once looking through the floor of the bedroom in which we were sleeping at my Grandma's - it had wooded floors and there was a knot out and we would look down like that, you see? And they would knock on the door, and the doors had those snecks - you know what I mean by a sneck? - they'd knock on the door and the one who was narrating the story would say, `I lift the sneck and enter in, I hope the battle will soon begin, stir up the fire and make a light,' and he'd go forward and use the poker and make the fire, 'For in this house there'll be a fight, if you do not believe the words I say, Step in St. George and clear the way.' And in would come St. George then the other players and there'd be some argy-bargying and then there'd be a fight. And in the fight one of the main characters would be slain and he'd fall on the floor and the man who'd done this stabbing with his wooden sword would say, 'Oh, what's this I've done, I've killed my father's only son. My life for a doctor, all the world for a doctor.' And somebody would run out for the doctor you see. And then the narrator would say, `In come..... And then comes in old Doctor Brown, the best old doctor in the town, what made you the best old doctor?' `By my travels.' `Where have you travelled?' `England, Ireland, Scotland, three times there and back again in a day.' Then he would kneel down and examine the victim. And - this was the bit I always liked, he had a silk hat on and frock coat like doctors had and a black bag - but he went into his pocket in his coat and he'd say - pulled out a little bottle - he'd say, `I have a little bottle in my pocket called `eeky-peeky-pie-cock-hen' take a sniff and rise again.' And he'd put the bottle to the nose of the victim and the victim would get up hale and hearty. Then there'd be cheers - the resurrection! Then they'd sing a carol and bring it to a close and then they would er... have the mince pies and whatever was offered. Now I think they used to get a bit of money given to them but they always gave it to some charity like the Widows' and Orphans' Fund.

Here's one, two three jolly lads all in one line,
We're a-come a-pace egging and we hope you'll prove kind,
And I hope you'll prove kind with your eggs and strong beer,
And we'll come no more nigh you until the next year.
Foll-a-day, Foll-a-day, foll-a-diddle-di-dum-day
"I open the door, I enter in, I hope your favour we shall win,
Stir up the fire and strike a light, now watch mi merry lads act toneet.
Whether we stand or whether we fall, we'll do our best to please you all.
So room, room, brave fellies all, pray give us room to rhyme,
We've come to show you visions, this happy Easter time.
And if you don't believe what I say, step in St. George and clear the way."
"In comes I, Mother Courage bowd (bold),
With my broad axe and sword I won a crown o' gold.
I fought this fiery dragon and I drove him t'slaughter,
And by these means I won King o' Egypt's daughter.
Show me mon as bids me stand and I'll cut him down wi' mi right hand"
"In comes I, Turkish Knight, come from Turkish land to fight,
Come to fight St. George, this mon of courage bowd (bold),
And if his blood runs hot, I'll soon turn it cowd"
"Stand back, Slasher, and let no more be said,
For if I draw this sword, I'll surely break thee head.
Thou speakest bowd to such a mon as me,
I'll cut thee in small pieces and I'll bend thee at thee knee." 
"How con thee break mi head? Mi head is made of iron,
Mi body's made of steel,
Mi hands and feet is knuckle-bone, no mon can make me kneel." 
"Then draw thi sword and fight or thi person pay,
For life of payment-time I'll have, before I end this day." 
"No life of payment shalt thi have, for with sword thi head I'll cleave,
Then guard thi body, and mind thi head, for wi' mi sword I'll strike thi dead.
One shall live and t'other shall die, this is challenge I give thee."
 
(sounds of wooden-sword fight)
 
"Oh, cruel Christian what hast thee done, tha's wounded and slain mi only son." 
"He challenged me to deadly fight, and never shall St. George deny it."
"Oh, is there a doctor to be found, to cure this deep and deadly wound?
Doctor, Doctor where are'ti, mi son is wounded to the knee,
Doctor, Doctor play thi part, mi son is wounded to the heart.
I'll put down a thousand pound, if e're a Doctor can be found."
"Aye there is a Doctor to be found, to cure his deep and deadly wound.
I'm a Doctor, pure and good, so with my right hand I'll staunch his blood." 
"Where 'as'ti bin, and from where as'ti come?"
 "Italy, Sicily, Germany, France and Spain, three times round world and back again."
 "What can't thi do, what can't thi' cure?
 "All sorts of diseases, just what mi physic pleases.
The itch, the stitch, palsy and gout.
Rheumatics inside and pains without.
And if Devil's inside, I'll drive the bugger out.
I've got a little bottle by my side,
Its' fame has travelled far and wide.
The stuff in there is elecampane,
And it's bring poor Slasher to life again.
A drop on his head and a drop on his heart,
Get up bowd felly, and take thee part."
 
(Cheers)
 
"In comes I, that aint been in yet, with right big head and a little whip,
Mi head's so big and mi whip's so small, I'll dance a jig and please you all."
 (Jig music played on fiddle and tambourine.
 "In comes I, Beelzebub, o'er mi shoulder I carries a club,
In my hand a drippin' pon (pan), don't you think I'm a jolly old man?
 (Chorus of `no!')
 "In comes I, Johnny Jack, two or three young 'uns at mi back,
It's yer money we want, of your goodness crave,
Then we'll sing a song and tek our leave."
 
Owd Toss-Pot, Owd Toss-Pot, Owd Toss-Pot you see,
Wi' a bunch o' blue ribbons tied down to his knee,
He's a weary owd man and he wears a pig-tail,
And his only delight is in drinking old ale. 
Foll-a-day, Foll-a-day, foll-a-diddle-di-dum-day
Jack-the-Sailor kills his wife, cut her up wi' a carving knife,
Weep away, weep away, play the fiddles,
We're all so gay, we're all so gay, we're all so gay
Play the fiddle, we're all so gay.
Down in Bent's meadow there's plenty of bugs,
They jump in yer pockets and out o' yer lugs,
We'll get a sharp knife and cut their heads off,
And we'll have a good supper o' bugs head and broth.
Foll-a-day, Foll-a-day, foll-a-diddle-di-dum-day
 
The first as dost step in is our noble Fool,
And, lads, if you'll believe me, he's never bin to school. 
Rightful heir a-laddie, rightful heir a-laddie.
Next that dost step in is our noble George,
And, lads, if you'll believe me, he wears his mother's drawers!
ightful heir a-laddie, rightful heir a-laddie.
Next that dost step in is our noble Slasher,
And, lads, if you'll believe me, he makes a good egg smasher.
 
Rightful heir a-laddie, rightful heir a-laddie.
 
Next that dost step in is our Doctor Quack,
And, lads, if you'll believe me, he cured poor Slasher's back.
Rightful heir a-laddie, Rightful heir a-laddie.
Next that dost step in is our Beelzebub,
And, lads, if you'll believe me, he's ne'er seen washing tub.
Rightful heir a-laddie, rightful heir a-laddie.
Next that dost step in is our big-head gay,
And, lads, if you'll believe me, we're all goin' away.
Rightful heir a-laddie, rightful heir a-laddie.
Next that dost step in is our Johnny Jack,
And, lads, if you'll believe me, next year we're coming back.
Rightful heir a-laddie, rightful heir a-laddie.
Ladies and Gentlemen, our play is ended, our money box is recommended,
Five or six shillings won't do us any harm, gold or silver if you can.

Thank you.
 
(Fiddle and applause)
 END

Donkey Stoning


They used to donkey stone the steps and window bottoms and some of them even did the flags outside their front door. And inside the house it was all flag floors and you scrubbed that, donkey stoned it and then you washed it because donkey stone used to clean it. You’d donkey stone it with a cream donkey stone, not one of them horrible yellow ones, and then you washed that off and you’d a lovely clean floor. You got the donkey stones from the rag and bone man. You’d give him a bundle of rags and he’d either give you a donkey stone or he had a great big block of salt on the back of his cart and he’d cut you a bit of this off with a rusty old saw. If you were posh and had carpet you’d put salt on it and brush it off to clean it but my mother used to save the tea leaves and then scatter them on the carpet and brush them off. That was meant to clean the carpet.

 Washday


Monday was washday. You sorted all the washing out into piles because the whites were kept separate and underclothes were kept separate and towels. They all were done separately. You got the boiler going with the soap in. They all went in the dolly tub but the ones that were bad that needed scrubbing went in the slopstone because it was flat and you could scrub the collars and cuffs. Of course they were loose collars then, there weren’t many shirts with collars on. You had to starch the collars then. The whites went in the boiler then and you got on with the others. You then rinsed and rinsed the clothes to get the soap out and then put them through the mangle which had a great big handle on. You’d then hang them outside or put them on the maiden to dry. Then you ironed. It was generally a flat iron. There was a gas iron but it was a bit tricky because if you went too energetic at it the gas shot out at the front. It was lit, the light was underneath keeping it hot and if you went too fast this flame would shoot out at the front. The flat irons were warmed on the oven or in the fire and then you had this slipper, a tin thing that fitted over it so you didn’t dirty the clothes. It didn’t do many before it went cold again.

  

Whooping Cough


I remember whooping cough which was different from other illnesses because you had exciting cures for it. One of the cures was that you were taken up to Salthill. Mother would take tightly hold of your hand and then you’d to stand as near the limekilns as you possibly could and inhale the fumes. These were supposed to cure your whooping cough. If it didn’t succeed and you were still whooping and coughing the next time the tar sprayer went round the town you’d to follow that round and inhale the tar.

Tucker’s Fleet

At Easter crowds of people descended on the town. They came by train from Blackburn and they walked from Accrington and Great Harwood, they came round the end of Pendle from Nelson and Colne. This was before there were busses. Literally thousands of Tucker 1people came to town and went down to Brungerley for the first holiday of the year. They’d go and sail in Tucker’s Fleet, the twenty or thirty rowing boats that he had and he had a motor boat too and there were slot machines, there were food stalls, there was a tea-room. It was a wonderful day.

 Tucker 3

Tucker 4Tucker 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 Popa Parsons and his Seven Lancashire Lasses

Parsons family 1
There were three cinemas in Clitheroe and just occasionally, perhaps two or three times a year, we’d have a theatrical production either at the Co-op Hall, I remember an opera company coming there, or at the Grand Kinema. For several years Popa Parsons and his Seven Lancashire Lasses used to come. They used to present a revue and they were seven really lovely girls and I remember they used to lodge at the house down York Street and we boys were getting thirteen, fourteen or fifteen and we were conscious of the two sexes on the face of the earth and we’d walk past the house a hundred times hoping to catch a glimpse of these lovely girls

.

Occasionally we were successful but they were very well chaperoned and there were a number of broken hearts amongst the younger boys at the Grammar School at the time. I remember two more cinemas. There was the Queen’s Hall at the bottom of King Street which is now Dawson’s the ironmongers shop. I remember seeing my very first films there as well as music-hall. Then there were the Empire Buildings down near the Wesleyan Church where you’d to go up the steps and pay your tuppence to get in. Ignacious Cullen, who later became the manager of the Grand Kinema, he used to play the piano there.

 

 

Parsons family 2Parsons family 3

 

 

 

Article from Lancashire Evening Post 26-11-1957 Frank Dougdale

Football long ago - Lancs Eve Post 26-11-1957   A

Football long ago Lancs Eve Post   26-11-1957   B

 

 

 

Sixpence and a shilling

Original by Anon with ‘extensions by  Judy Driver, Steve Burke

Part One (Anon)

Back in the days of tanners and bobs,
When Mothers had patience and Fathers had jobs.
When football team families wore hand me down shoes,
And T.V gave only two channels to choose.

Back in the days of three penny bits,
when schools employed nurses to search for your nits.
When snowballs were harmless; ice slides were permitted
and all of your jumpers were warm and hand knitted.

Back in the days of hot ginger beers,
when children remained so for more than six years.
When children respected what older folks said,
and pot was a thing you kept under your bed.

Back in the days of Listen with Mother,
when neighbours were friendly and talked to each other.
When cars were so rare you could play in the street.
When Doctors made house calls and Police walked the beat.

Back in the days of Milligan's Goons,
when butter was butter and songs all had tunes.
It was dumplings for dinner and trifle for tea,
and your annual break was a day by the sea.

Back in the days of Dixon's Dock Green,
Crackerjack pens and Lyons ice cream.
When children could freely wear National Health glasses,
and teachers all stood at the FRONT of their classes.

Back in the days of rocking and reeling,
when mobiles were things that you hung from the ceiling.

When woodwork and pottery got taught in schools,
and everyone dreamed of a win on the pools.

Back in the days when I was a lad,
I can't help but smile for the fun that I had.
Hopscotch and roller skates; snowballs to lob.
Back in the days of tanners and bobs.

Part Two ( Judy Driver)


Yes back in the days of no central heat,
When hot water bottles would warm up your feet.
When bottles of milk were given in class
And children weren’t wrapped up and treated like glass.
 
When trees were for climbing and dens were a joy
And kids knew their gender - a girl or a boy.
If somebody shouted a horrible name,
You turned round and answered - with some of the same.
 
You didn’t go whingeing and being a wuss,
You got on with life without making a fuss.
 

Part Three ( Steve Burke)
 
Aye, Back in the day – a’fore we were teens,
We had ‘Mischief Night’ – and not Halloween!
A thrupny Cannon’d lift your neighbour’s bin lid
As you tied each  door handle, knocked, ran and then hid.
 
We’d start ‘plotting’ (in Yorkshire) in the long holiday,
Collecting old rags - to make Guy’s pennies to pay.  
Old ladders, shed doors, backyard loo’s fanlight,
Owt that’d burn  was fair game  fo’ Plot Night.
 
And on that night,  there’d be Parkin, Plot toffee  - and more,
Guitars, Harmonicas,  songs from old shows and the wars.
At the end of these nights, when the plot was just embers  
Your mill band was done - but so much to remember.
 
These ingrained memories, and the  flash-back reminiscence,
A great store to be drawn on and to see  be-yond t’present.
 

TBC???

Simple pleasures remembered from Whiteacre Lane Barrow 
Tea on a blanket in front of the house,
On a lawn pocket handkerchief size.
A picnic! Exciting! And so close to home
With a menu, that was no surprise.

My favourite, egg ‘buts’, followed by homemade cake,
A tumbler  of pop or a bun.
Mrs.  Wilson, next door would come out for a chat
And we all had such jolly good fun

Watching cricket on Sundays,  a walk up the lane,
Cricket whites didn’t stay white for long.
Dodging the cow claps was part of the sport
It was that or else suffer the ‘pong’!

The mobile ice cream van was part of our treat,
We’d no fridge to keep it ice cold 
A bit like fish and chips, it’s best eaten out,
I still think so now, truth be told.

Remember the meadows all full of wild flowers?
We were never permitted to pick.
If we trampled the grass there was trouble in store,
We were scared of the farmers big stick!

Yes, back in the days when we were all kids,
Expectations were simple and few
Some progress is great, but some of it’s not
Good or bad, we will have to make do!

 

Holidays past

With what’s happening at the moment with coronavirus and the time of year I thought I‘d find some memories of holidays past. I came across something I did some years ago for an exhibition. Sorry there are no names attached to the clips but without going through many, many hours of recordings I can’t find them – Andrew Schofield

Where would you go to stay?

Well we were in various... well we used to go to... only places near home like Morecambe and Blackpool and St. Annes. Those were the three best places really.

And when you got there what sort of place would you stay in?

Well we stayed in a boarding house then. A boarding house that let the rooms off. You took your own food and you kind of... well mind you it was only 4/6 then but I mean you took your own food and they generally found you a little cupboard in the sideboard and you put all your things in there and then, as I say, when you came back to a meal, before you set off in the morning you'd generally go to the shops and get a bit of meat and some vegetables - she generally provided potatoes - and you'd come back with your meat and then you'd go out and enjoy yourself 'til the lady of the house were cooking your meal. And then you came back and it would be ready for you kind of thing. And if you needed bread and butter you did that yourself.

You cut it and buttered it yourself?

And buttered it yourself, you see, - out of your cupboard. And then as I say, you'd get your meal. It'd be meat and vegetables and potatoes she'd provided and then you... for the finish you'd get a plate of rice pudding. Now that might be 3d for a plate of rice pudding. Very watery you know, not very good. But still that'd be your meal. And then you'd pay perhaps sixpence for the cruet for the week that might be, or a shilling. And that was the boarding house business.

What sort of sleeping accommodation would you have?

Oh decent sleeping accommodation as a rule. You'd have booked the room and she'd... you'd say well there's four of us - two girls, two boys and mother and dad kind of thing. Well she'd find you a room perhaps with three beds in it then - one for the girls, one for boys and mother and dad.

So you'd all be in the same room?

Yes, generally. Although when you got a bit bigger, of course, we always used to have one... that the boys had their room and the girls the other. Very good as a rule and that was Blackpool.

Would you go to any entertainments while you were in Blackpool?

Well, perhaps one show a week. Something, you know, really good. But other times... oh and sometimes we'd go on the pier. There was generally a good one on the pier. But otherwise there were plenty of entertainments in those days with pierrots on the sands. So, of course, we spent some time on the sands listening to the pierrots and it was surprising... I were very interested in singing and that and it was surprising what a lot of songs I knew from these pierrots. And then there was a lot of entertainment with a music stand. They'd be selling copies of music up to well, getting nearly married, I used to go and listen to those.

How do you mean there would be entertainment in selling a piece... sheet... sheet of music?

Well I mean there would be two men, perhaps a comedian, and another man or a lady and a piano on the sands, many a time, or on the prom in some secluded part and they'd say now this is Feldman's - that was a very well known firm - Feldman's Music Stall and they're playing so-and-so. And they'd all the popular songs that year - and I've a lot of copies in the music box there. Feldman's and Theatre Land and all such like as that and Florrie Ford, you know, what she sang. Oh, `Show Me the Way To Go Home' and er.... oh tons of them. All popular songs. And then you'd come back home and you'd know that song. And you thought you were everything because you knew it and nobody else did - they hadn't been away.

 
oooOooo

 Holidays
Was Blackpool the place where...

Blackpool was the place then, yes.

Was it fairly cheap to go on holiday there?

When we went it was... you had what you called... you kept yourself. You went into a boarding house and you paid for your bed 3/6 in the old money some were 4/6 weren't they, better establishments. And then you would pay what they called cruet money which was 1/6 a week which was for the use of the salt, pepper and the cruet on the table. And then I think these boarding house keepers did a wonderful job really. They... it fascinates me when I think about it now because probably in these boarding houses there were about twenty, sometimes twenty odd people and they were all split into twos, threes and fours, you know, and what they used... what you used to do you used to give them your eggs for your breakfast and your ham and same for your dinner your steak or whatever you were having for your dinner and they used to cook that for you and serve it and that was all for 3/6 wasn't it, 3/6 and of course your bed as well for 3/6, you know. You must bear in mind that when we're talking about then that was 3/6 don't forget that our wages were only £1 you know.

 oooOooo

 
Did you go paddling or swimming at all when you were...?

Oh yes paddling yes, and as we got older swimming.

What would be the sort of wear when you went...?

 Well we had ordinary cotton, navy blue cotton swimsuits at one time and that was it kind of thing, you know nearly down to your ankles and one thing and another. And then a fashion came in that you knit your own with proper wool - wool bathing costumes. And I remember I didn't knit one because as I say mother said we'd enough. I mean we'd one or two cotton ones with different coloured bands on the bottom so she said `No I'm not going to... you're not going to knit one it's not right' and I'm very glad we didn't because my two friends they knit one and when they went into the... it were a lovely fit, nice round neck and so and so, but when they went into the water and they got it wet it was heavy and it dropped and what should have been up at the neck were down here then. So they weren't fit to come out of the sea until somebody went in and brought them out with a towel. So I mean we were very glad we didn't knit a bathing costume.

 oooOooo

 What about holidays?


I never... the only time I remember going away onnus holidays was when we went away on one of these home things, what do they call... I forget what they call it. I remember they used to send you away to this place for... you know poor kids and I can remember we went and stayed at St. Annes it was and whenever I see a picture of the concentration camps it always strikes me of this place. There was wooden huts and there was a railway run near it and you might go out about once every three days they'd take you out, you know, and you'd go to a... some amusement park or something like that, but otherwise you were just stuck in this place and there was barbed wire round it and you just stuck around this sort of concentration camp. I couldn't say I enjoyed it.

 
Were you left to amuse yourselves otherwise?

Yes. There wasn't enough staff to... not really, you were just left to do your own thing and now and again they'd take a crowd of you out to an amusement park.

Did you wear your own clothes?

Yes. Just like being in the army you used to queue up for your meals there and they'd dish it out as you went to the table and then you'd go and sit down and they provided you with knife and fork and plate and that, but I haven't got a good memory of it myself.

 
Do you know how long you went for?


I think it were a fortnight I think we were there.


And that's the only holiday you can remember?

 
Yes that's the only holiday I remember going away for.

 
And was this just a one... one off or did you go several times?

 
No once, I only went once. I wasn't keen to go again. If they had offered I wouldn't have gone again I don't think.

 
oooOooo

 
... family holidays? Did you have them?

Yes, occasionally. It was generally Southport, and it was always the one same place - 64A East Bank Street. And you used to take a lot of your own food you know. And your mother'd have a big bag of sugar, tea and things like that. Buy bread there. And at the er.. the boarding house you would pay for bed and cruet and you did your own cooking. So if you were the last up in the morning you were the last to get breakfast. But you paid a little something for the stove and you did your own. So all you had to pay was just bed and breakfast.... er just bed rather and cruet. And it would be about what? I think it were about one and six a night or a shilling a night.

 
What - for the bed?

 
Yes. That'd be a double bed - man and his wife...

 
Would you... where would you be?

 
I'd be in a single bed.

 
In the same room?

 
In the same room, yes, oh yes.

 
What about washing facilities?

 
Well they used to er... oh you mean hand washing and things like that? Well there was generally, in the bedroom there was a stand... what we used to call... used to call a washstand and it was like a small sideboard effect. Some had a marble top, some had had a tiled top and some had just an ordinary wooden top and on there was a big... like a big dish. It was a pot bowl, very ornate too, and in it was a big jug and every morning that was filled with cold water and that's... used to pour your cold water into this big ornate dish and wash you...

 
... no chance of warming it?

 
No, no chance whatever.

 

What would you do in Southport?

 
Well mostly walk, sand and there's plenty of it - sand. And there was always some nice bands on Lord Street and then there was a very nice band stand there and forms and that round. There was a lot to visit. There's... surprising there's plenty to do. And if you had a copper or two there was the little boating lake you could use.

 


Shows and things like that? Where they part of it?

 
You might do one in the week, you might, and you may not. It just depended how the money went. You might do. But there was always the free shows in those days. Free shows. They used to sell... they used to sell music on the sea front and they used to be like wooden huts and the side dropped down... well half of it and the other half went up and it made a stage, and there was a piano in there and there was a pianist and a singer, and he'd be in a blazer probably and a straw hat and he'd be singing these songs of the day. The pianist would be playing to him and then after he'd finished the song they'd be going round, one fellow'd be going round with a sheaf of song papers, and selling them - sixpence each. Which in those days paid for these people and it was a real good entertainment, because there would be Feldman's and there would be Horace Wright's as well so you were sure of two daily shows. There's invariably the Salvation Army Band, used to come on the... on the sands and play you know. There was always something going on, something that didn't need money spending on, you know.

 
oooOooo