Graham Middleton describes his early life in Edge Hill

Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 2nd October 2014 by Jenny Porter

Graham describes growing up in Edge Hill living at number 38 Chatsworth St above the corner shop to which his grandmother was also the keyholder. The conditions were very cramped and when the shop owner decided to sell, his grandparents moved to number 25, sharing with Mrs Roberts. Mrs Roberts had no legs and used to frighten Graham as a child, even though she’s offered him sweets.

Interviewee: Graham Middleton

Interviewee Gender: Male

Date of Interview: 14th August 2014

Interview Transcript

Graham Stephen Middleton
Jenny: And where were you born, Graham?
Graham: I was born in the Royal Infirmary, here in Liverpool and I was told I was one of the last babies born there. They obviously had achieved perfection, [laughter] but according to my mum it wasn’t long after that that, you know, the maternity bit finished, that was in 1949.
Jenny: Oh yeah. And where did you live when you were growing up?
Graham: The first five or six years, we lived at number 38 Chatsworth Street which was above a shop on the corner of Chatsworth Street and Harbord Street and there was a pub on the other corner called the Neptune. And we lived, my mum, dad, me and then couple of years later my sister, lived in one room which was effectively a bedroom above the shop – corner-grocery shop.
Jenny: And do you remember the name of the shop?
Graham: Yes, it was owned by a Mrs Bessy Price and her husband Cyril. Um, they owned it, but my Nan, my grandma, she was the keyholder. She lived there. Now, I don’t know whether she lived there free of charge or whether she paid rent, but effectively, she had the living-accommodation but she opened the shop in the morning and close it at night at whatever time, eight o’clock at night when it closed. And this Bessy Price, or my auntie Bessy as I knew her – she was no relation – she would appear maybe, ten or eleven o’clock in the morning with her husband. He would drive her up, drop her off, she would then work in the shop and he’d go off somewhere. And I would say my Nan, Mrs Ruby Thorne was her name, and her husband, my granddad Harry, he, um, they lived there. And they lived there from, I think just after the Second World War until roundabout 1960 when Mrs Price, I assume she was retiring, but she decided to sell the business to the man who used to deliver the potatoes, his name was Boyd, and sold it to him. And my Nan and granddad were given, there was no right of tenancy I don’t think in those days, basically she was so rough, you know, on the other accommodation. And the only accommodation they could find at short notice were number 25 Chatsworth Street, which was across the road and a bit down to Wavertree Road. And in that house was an old lady, Mrs Roberts. She lived in the front parlour, the rest of the house was vacant. It wasn’t, it was really rough, but that was the only place they could get. And this old lady had no legs she had suffered from, she had an injury, got gangrene and her legs had been removed. And as children, when we visited my Nana and granddad who were living there – they had nothing to do with her – and she had this little room in the front, I mean she obviously couldn’t go anywhere she was confined to the room, and my grandfather carried on work until he retired from there. And when we as children were to visit my Nan, we had to, on our way out, because we had to pass that door, we had to go in to see Mrs Roberts who obviously held the world of us and we had to give her a kiss and she would give us a kiss, a big sloppy kiss. But, we were frightened of her, because we would just see this lady in bed and we couldn’t see her legs, because she didn’t have any. It was frightening for us as children. But, she was very, very kind, I mean she would, you know, give us an orange or sweets on the way out, um but that was the routine. And then, when she died and my grandfather died, I used to spend every weekend with my Nan, until I was about 15/16. I came down, so I so I know this area quite well. 

Tagged under: wavertree road, chatsworth street, harbord street, neptune pub

Categorised under: Shops & Shopping, Social Life

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By Eric Estlin on 11th January 2017

Children were born at home in my day (1938).
The midwife arrived on her bike, as did the district nurse when she had reason to call.

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