Graham Middleton remembers school
Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 2nd October 2014 by Jenny Porter
Graham Middleton remembers going to St Catherine’s infants school, with two classrooms and reading Janet and John books until he moved with his family due to over-crowding. He remembers the conditions he endured going to the toilet outside and his mother cooking on the open fire, getting soot on the spuds during bad weather. He also remembers the thick green fog called ‘pea-soupers’.
Interviewee: Graham Middleton
Interviewee Gender: Male
Date of Interview: 14th August 2014
Graham: I remember starting school and going to school not far from here called St. Catherine’s, not Chatsworth Street School but St. Catherine’s, primary or infant school. I remember going to that school, with two classrooms and they were reading Janet & John books it was a really old school. But, anyway that was connected with the church and we left when I was about six, I would say six or seven, because we were, the house was considered overcrowded and we, my mum got a council flat in Deysbrookway, West Derby. And she was amazed when she walked in at what she saw when she got the keys, because she’d never seen a window so big in her life – the window at the lounge – and it had an indoor toilet and bathroom. Because, the toilet that we had was a bucket in a corner. And there was an outside loo in the yard and that had a wooden bench, a round circle where the toilet panel was, but it wasn’t an enamel, it wasn’t like a vitreous enamel, it was a metal, white enamel pan, perfectly round. And you sat on the toilet on this bench, but over the years, it was almost bleached white, ‘cause it’d been scrubbed. And we didn’t have toilet paper that was newspaper, cut up into squares, hung up like on a butchers hook, or a nail. And while you sat on the loo, you could amuse yourself like picking at the whitewash that was just on the walls and it should come down in sheets, you weren’t too popular doing that, but it would pass your time while you were on the loo. And that was in the yard.
And we got re-housed because it was overcrowded, it was considered all overcrowded. My mum used to cook on the open fire and if it was bad weather, literally she would get, well she put a pan of something, potatoes, on the fireplace – she had a thing that sort of stuck out to support the pans, you could get up to three pans on there – and if it rains you get soot on the spuds, things like that. And I can remember what you call ‘peasoupers’, really thick, green fogs.
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