Maureen Hunt remembers how her family coped after her father was killed in the Second World War

Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 12th September 2011 by Liam Physick

Maureen Hunt describes how her father joined the army in the Second World War, and was killed when she was 12. Without a male breadwinner, the children would steal coal and food from the Edge Hill goods yard in order to survive. They also stole the wooden cobbles in Smithdown Road to make a fire, and during winter, when water was frozen, had to travel to Spekeland Road or to the station in order to collect some. Their mother worked in Parry’s, a shop on Wavertree Road that made curtains and carpets, and would sometimes bring her leftovers home to sew a carpet for the family - they would be the only family in the area with a carpet!

Interviewee: Maureen Hunt

Interviewee Gender: Female

Interview Transcript

Maureen: Yeah, I was brought up in Chalmers Street. My first recollection was after, was when the War, when we were all evacuated, and not for long, the whole family went . . .

Jenny: Oh, yeah.

Maureen: . . . me dad went in the army, me Uncle Bernie Berry went in the army, so I met me mam, four kids, my Auntie Sarah, and her lad, all went over to Aldersey.

Jenny: And did, did you leave from this station to go there?

Maureen: No, we went by bus.

Jenny: You went by bus?

Maureen: Cham, cham. Me dad left here, from here, to go to the army.

Pat: Yeah, the soldiers did, didn’t they, yeah.

Jenny: To go to war?

Maureen: Yeah. He went from here, me mam seen him off from here, Edge Hill, and she never seen him then til the, the, the Isle of Man, when he was in blues (Jenny tuts sympathetically), he got wounded . . .

Jenny: Aw!

Maureen: . . . and he was shipped home, she never seen him. But I remember him coming home, I was, what, about eight, and he was ill, and he died when I was 12, with the shrapnel in his back.

Jenny: Oh!

Maureen: But as I said before, me mam never got a pension, so we were rough, we, we had to work, and we used to come over with bags, go over the wall (Jenny laughs), and wait for the coal wagons to come in, pinch the coal, fill that bag, pass it on, fill that bag, pass it on (Jenny laughs). Same with the fruit and veg. I’m not ashamed to saying it, we went and pinched the fruit and veg!

Pat: For survival, yeah.

Maureen: Yeah. We even, the wooden cobbles in Smithdown Road, we even carted them home, because they were full of tar and they burnt lovely . . .

Jenny: Oh, really!

Maureen: . . . to keep a fire going.

Pat: Yeah.

Maureen: Now when the water went off over there during the winter, we’d either go to the garage in Stapper, in Spekeland Street (sic), or come here, for me cart, buckets of water home in the ice and the snow.

Pat: Slipping and sliding, yeah.

Maureen: Yeah. Many times, by the time we got home, we fainted, with the cold . . .

Jenny: (sounds shocked) Aw!

Maureen: . . . and we weren’t well nourished, even though me mam did her best, she used to make scouse on a Saturday, Sunday, you had scouse pie . . .

Pat: With the crust and . . .

Maureen: . . . Monday, Monday, you had fry-up! (she and Jenny laugh) And then Tuesday, she used to get her pension, and that’s . . . well, her money, and she had to work as well, she was, she used to be in . . . a shop in Wavertree Road . . .

Jenny: Oh, yeah.

Maureen: . . . I do remember the name of it but I can’t think of it now, which did carpets and curtains, and she used to sit on the floor and sew the carpets, cos they were all hand-sewn then, and she’d bring the work home with her as well. Well, we were the only house in the area that had a carpet, but it was all pieces left over.

Pat: The sample book . . .

Maureen: And she’s . . .

Pat: . . . yeah!

Maureen: . . . and . . .

Pat: You used to have to whip them together!

Maureen: No, no, no, pieces she cut off . . .

Pat: Yeah.

Maureen: . . . when she cut, you know, when she had to fit them into the recesses . . .

Pat: Yeah.

Maureen: . . . there’d be pieces left over, so she’d bring back. I’ve still got a pair of curtains from Lord Derby’s . . .

Jenny: really?

Maureen: . . . cut-offs, yeah, yeah, I’ve still got them, I washed them not that long ago, but they didn’t wash very well, cos they’re dry-cleaning stuff . . .

Jenny: Yeah.

Pat: Yeah.

Maureen: . . . but they’ve, I still use them, and that’s going back, what . . .

Jenny: And that was cut off from . . .

Pat: Yeah.

Jenny: From going to the . . .

Maureen: Lord Derby estate, yeah, yeah, Parry’s, the shop was called Parry’s . . .

Jenny: Parry’s, on Wavertree Road?

Maureen: Off Wavertree Road, yeah, and she used to work there, but me mam died about 30 years ago.

Tagged under: edge hill station, wavertree road, wagons, edge hill goods yard, trucks, buses, coal, spekeland road, second world war, smithdown road

Categorised under: Social Life

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