Margaret Cropper gives more memories about working at Lime Street

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

Margaret Cropper provides more recollections of her days working on the switchboards at Lime Street station. She married a man from the Parcel Office, and she remembers how he would play Frank Sinatra to her down the phone! She also mentions how her colleagues Irene Kinder and Doreen Barrett would talk on the phone for a very long time, and how once Vera Scout spilt a drink on her switchboard when the supervisor was in the office! Margaret wonders where the switchboard may be now, and remembers how supervision was tightened up when they switch from a two-position to a four-position board, so it was not as fun, and how workers in the Telegraph Office would man the board at night

Interviewee: Margaret Cropper

Interviewee Gender: Female

Date of Interview: 24th November 2011

Interview Transcript

Jenny: Do you have any, what is your strongest memory of working on the railway?

Margaret: I don’t really know! (she and Jenny laugh) I suppose, that I got married!

Jenny: Yeah.

Margaret: You know, from somebody who worked in the Parcel Office, and of course they used to be on shift work as well, and I know that when I was on early shift work and he would be at home, he used to play, he was, Frank Sinatra was his favourite artist, singing artist, and he would, he used to play the music to me down the phone when I was there early, you know, so that was, that was a lovely moment, not one of my best moments at the moment, but still! (Jenny laughs) Yeah, and again, that’s how Irene Kinder I told you about, Doreen Barrett . . .

Jenny: Yeah.

Margaret: . . . you see, they would ring whoever they were talking to at the time, and it would just go on and on and on, and so, they calls came through and then they’d, they’d just, you’d just have them hanging on (Jenny laughs), they’d answered the call but you’d still be on the call, you know, to whoever you’re talking to, but there was nobody there to tell you not to do it.

Jenny: Yeah.

Margaret: The only thing you weren’t supposed to do was eat or drink on the switchboard, and I think at one time, I don’t know what happened, I think that the supervisor must have come, and Vera was having a drink, and it spilt (both laugh), and I know she got into trouble over that, but, you know, we, we used to have food and that while we were working. Oh, it was good, I did enjoy it, being on that switchboard, and then when we went to the other place on platform one, I don’t know whether, is the switchboard still there, I don’t know . . .

Jenny: I don’t know.

Margaret: . . . it must be somewhere, I mean, it’s like when I was upstairs in that attic place, nobody would know where the switchboard was and I don’t know where it is now, whether it’s still in that same place, you know, platform one’s here, and there’s like, a wall here, isn’t there, and there’s doors, that we went in, and there’s still doors, so maybe, it’s still in the same place, I would be interested to know if it is or not, you know, and how big the board is now . . .

Jenny: Yeah.

Margaret: . . . cos it was a four-position board when they moved us there, you know, so it was all new, and the supervisor was there quite a lot, you know, so we did have some kind of somebody looking after us (laughs), to make sure that we were working hard.

Jenny: Not as good fun?

Margaret: No. (both laugh) And the telegraph people, now they were underneath, so they might be still there as well, I don’t know.

Jenny: Oh, yeah. So they were typing . . .

Margaret: The telegraph, I don’t know what they did . . .

Jenny: Yeah.

Margaret: . . . but we just called the Telegraph Office . . .

Jenny: Oh, yeah.

Margaret: . . . yeah, we just used, we just used to come up and, you know, take, one of them used to come up of a night, whoever it was, they’d have a rota like we did, and they would man the board at night time . . .

Jenny: Oh.

Margaret: . . . because we had to be somebody there all the time.

Tagged under: railway workers, liverpool lime street station, switchboards, telephonists, frank sinatra, parcel office, telegraph office

Categorised under: Work & Industry

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