Memories Of Years Gone By

I went to Redcliffe Junior School and then on to the eleven years. Our head mistress was Miss Grahame. She was very strict and we were afraid of her, if we were naughty she used to bring in her thick grey bloomers which she wore and if they had holes in them we had to mend them, which we didn’t like very much.
Also I had three sisters at school and mother was in bed having another baby, so she could not do any washing with the result we had to go to school without and pinafores which was against the rules. So Miss Grahame had the four of us out in front of the whole school which made us feel awful.
We lived near the docks, so when the locust and monkey nut boats came in to be unloaded my eldest sister and I used to put on our aprons with pockets in to see what we could get. So down we went to the docks and when some of the bags got broken they let us help ourselves. So when we got home we took some cups and went around to our friends and sold them for half a penny a cup and have all the money to our mum as times were hard then.

Then we used to get a reading book and cut out coloured pictures from magazines and put the pictures in the pages of the reading book and then go around shouting “Pin a pin, a poppy show, 2 goes a pin!” Then stitch the pins in the back of the book and take them home for mother, which she was very pleased with.
Polling Days were much different from now. All the kiddies use to get tin cans, pots and pans and parade around the streets banging and shouting “Vote, vote, vote for Mr. — — , turn old out the land. If I had a tuppeny jelly I would stick it on his — — — then he wouldn’t come to Bristol any more!” Then when we were older we would go to Baldwin Street to the Daily press offices and wait until 11 or 12 o’clock when they would give out the results and we would dance and sing (but no trouble).
When the Sunday School outing to Weston came around, we all had a bath and clean clothes to go. The Sunday School gave us 6 pence to spend, which we though was wonderful. That was the one outing a year and we had a lovely time.

We didn’t know what it was to have pocket money like the children of today. We were always happy playing games like Hop Scotch, five stones, skipping and “Knock Our Ginger’ and ball games like “One Two Three Halara” and see who would win.

Where the Mayor’s Arms pub is now it used to be the swimming baths called the Mayor’s Paddock and also they had laundries where our mother used to do the washing, and very often she would have to do it for better off people to make ends meet. It was really hard going in those days, especially as my Dad was in the navy and mother had six of us in steps.

Saturday nights in Castle Street was quite enjoyable, after my boy friend and I came out of the cinema at 9 o’clock you could buy meat and fish dirt cheap. Tea fish (toe rag) as people call it, you could buy a piece for about six pence what we would buy for a pound now. There were these con men selling watches and different things.

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