Terry Williams remembers how he raised the money needed to see films

Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 24th February 2012 by Liam Physick

Terry Williams recalls how, in order to raise the money he needed to go to the cinema, he would collect jam jars. He would also go to the house of an old widow, Mrs. Much, and take her vegetables to market: in return, she would pay him. Sometimes, she would encourage Terry to take Guiness bottles to the outdoor pub on Tunnel Road in exchange for the deposit, which could also earn him the money he needed. Another means of raising money was to take discarded crates used to deliver fish (with the consent of Keynyon’s fish shop), and sell them for firewood

Interviewee: Terry and Sandra Williams

Date of Interview: 22nd November 2011

Interview Transcript

Sandra: You’d go and take the jam jars back, wouldn’t you?

Terry: Yeah, yeah, yeah . . .

Sandra: Yeah.

Terry: . . . you, you, you’d collect jam jars . . .

Sandra: Milk bottles (laughs)

Terry: . . . so, a, a one, a one-pound jam jar . . .

Sandra: A halfpenny.

Terry: . . . you got, you got less than, obviously, for a two-pound jam jar, so you’d get a penny for, or a halfpenny, for a small jar, a penny for the larger jar, and I used to go to an old woman, Mrs. Much who lived in Oldham Street, and she was the old Mary Ellen type, you’ve heard of the Mary Ellen, where they were all in black, she had a black crochet shawl and long black dress, she’s about five foot nothing, little dumpy thing (Jodie laughs), and I used to, on a, a weekend, I used to go to her house on the Friday, and she used to have her vegetables in a big basket and she had them wrapped up in wet newspapers, ready for the Saturday . . .

Sandra: To go to market.

Terry: . . . and on the Saturday, I would go round to the house, and would take all the, the veg, and it was lettuce, you know, salad stuff, nothing too, too big or heavy, and put it in the basket and then I used to carry it for her, and would walk down, and if she was in a good mood and she had the money, I used to jump on a, a tram up to Kensington, and then later on, obviously, the buses, and I’d always get off at the top bit that goes into Kenny and it was turn left as if you were going into town, and the second road on the right, we used to stand on the corner there, I used to carry it there, put it down, and she used to give me 5p, five old pennies . . .

Jodie: Yeah.

Sandra: Yeah.

Terry: . . . which was a Hell of a lot then . . .

Jodie: Yeah.

Terry: . . . it was enough to, near enough to go to the pictures on a Saturday. (Jodie and Sandra laugh) And that’s how, how you, you earned your money.

Jodie: Yeah. What was that, was that, she was selling the, selling the (indecipherable)

Terry: Yeah . . .

Sandra: Yes.

Terry: . . . obviously, she’s a, she was a widow, Mrs. Much her name was, who lived in Oldham Street, and wherever she’d got the veg from, I don’t know, because at, when you’re a kid all’s you’re all interested in is doing, doing a job, and getting . . .

Jodie: Yeah.

Sandra: Getting what have you . . .

Terry: . . . a couple of coppers.

Sandra: . . . yes.

Terry: But if she didn’t have the money to give me then, she used to say, “Go in the cupboard” and the, the old fireplaces used to have two cupboards at the side, and she liked the Guinness (Jodie laughs), and it was full of empty Guinness bottles, and she’d say, “Take four of them”, and we used to get a penny back on the tobacco, so you used to have to take ‘em back to the outdoor pub . . .

Jodie: Oh, yeah.

Terry: . . . yeah, the outdoor used to be on Tunnel Road . . .

Jodie: Yeah.

Terry: . . . and we’d get the, the deposit back which, as I said, was a penny, and that would enable us to go the pictures, so, things like that . . . opposite the outdoor pub was, on the corner of Tunnel Road was Kenyons, the fish market, fish dealer, it wasn’t a fish shop . . .

Sandra: Yes, yeah.

Terry: . . . and they used to throw all the boxes out on the front, which the fish used to delivered in, and we used to go and ask could we have them, they used to give you them, and then we’d take them home, break them up . . .

Sandra: And use it for fire.

Terry: . . . and tie ‘em up in bundles (Sandra coughs), and sell them as firewood . . .

Jodie: Oh!

Terry: . . . stinking of fish! (Jodie and Sandra laugh) Again, just, just to make a penny or two . . .

Sandra: Yes.

Jodie: Yeah.

Terry: . . . to enable us to go to the, the pictures, because I think, I used to get a penny in pocket money . . .

Jodie: Yeah.

Terry: . . . and that, the, the most I ever got was three (Jodie laughs), three, threepence . . .

Jodie: So it sounds like you were a little entrepreneur when you were (she and Sandra laugh) growing up!

Terry: Well, you know what . . .

Sandra: Well, you just . . .

Terry: . . . I wasn’t the exception, it was certainly common.

Jodie: Yeah . . .

Sandra: . . . everybody done it . . .

Jodie: . . . it was just, yeah, everyone done it, yeah.

Sandra: . . . you know, yeah, yeah.

Jodie: Yeah.

Tagged under: tunnel road, buses, cinemas, pubs, trams, kensington, jam jars, oldham street, fish shops, kenyons fish shop

Categorised under: Change & Communities

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