The McElroy brothers talk about the pranks they got up to, one involving a gallows!

Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 1st August 2011 by Liam Physick

David and Steve McElroy talk about the pranks and mishaps in which they were involved. Notably, David, inspired a Western he had seen, constructed a gallows and attempted to hang a small boy from their street! Luckily, the gallows was poorly constructed and collapsed. Albert Pierrepoint would probably have not been too impressed! Also mentioned is an incident when Steve cracked his head, and another when their brother Peter caused a dreadful injury to a girl while playing rounders.

Interviewee: David and Steve McElroy

Interviewee Gender: Male

Date of Interview: 25th March 2011

Interview Transcript

David: Good job we didn’t do into some of the, the, sort of, naughtier things we got up to but (Jenny laughs) that (sic) for another occasion.

Steve: I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m sure Jenny would like you to tell her about your nefarious activities when you were a kid. (Jenny laughs)

David: When did we say the statue (sic) of limitations . . . (Jenny laughs) One – it just shows you, we did go beyond the point occasionally. We’d been to the pictures on, I think, probably Saturday morning (Jenny laughs), cos there were two picture houses . . .

Jenny: Oh, yeah.

David: . . . one just over there . . .

Jenny: Yeah.

David: . . . the, the Tunnel . . .

Jenny: The Tunny.

Steve: The Tunny was across the road, there, yeah.

David: . . . and then, the other one was on Overton Street . . .


David: . . . Capitol?

Steve: Capitol.

David: So, we’d go to one or other or sometimes both and it was, a lot of cowboy pictures and so on, so, of course, kinds being kids, they’d come and start re-enacting . . .

Jenny: (laughing) Oh, yeah, yeah!

David: . . . the, the films. One of them, you know, gruesome as they were, was about somebody being hung . . .

Jenny: Oh, yeah.

David: . . . you know, sort of, so, myself and . . . I can’t remember, it may have been Robert, my (indecipherable), but certainly, two or three of us decided to make a, a gallows (Jenny laughs) from timber, that was, sort of, lying around, got hammer and some nails and actually constructed a makeshift gallows, so, found a piece of rope, and, so, put the rope on . . .

Steve: You know what’s coming next, don’t you? (he and Jenny laugh)

David: . . . so, we thought, “What can we do with our gallows”, so, we, we got one of the little kids (Jenny laughs) in, in the street (now laughing himself) whose name was Will O’Woozy (he and Steve burst out laughing), we stood him on a box . . .

Jenny: No!

David: . . . and kicked the box out! (bursts out laughing again) Fortunately, the gallows was not well-constructed, and collapsed in a heap!

Jenny: Oh, God! (can hardly breathe for laughing)

David: So, yes, we . . . this poor little innocent (laughs) . . . well he wasn’t really . . .

Steve: That, that was when you were going through your Clint Eastwood phase, wasn’t it?

Jenny: Yeah! (laughs all round)

David: But, no we . . . another memory – where is it?

Jenny: Scar!

Steve: He, he, he was supposed to be looking after me! (Jenny laughs)

David: Out, coming out of pictures on Overton Street . . .

Steve: Capitol, yeah.

David: . . . can’t remember what picture we saw, but, I, I was supposed to be in charge of him, he and some of the other smaller ones, then started playing on the walls and railings of what were then a series of offices, I think . . .

Steve: A series of offices, yeah.

David: . . . yeah, adjacent to the . . . he fell over the railings onto the wall, you know, a substantial brick wall . . .

Jenny: Oh! (sounds horrified)

David: . . . and made a rather large hole in his head (Jenny laughs), so, it was off to the hospital with . . . oh, I had to take him home first, explain the situation . . .

Jenny: Yeah.

David: . . . then it was off to, off to hospital, so he’s still got a . . . so, how old were you then?

Steve: Five.

David: Five. (Jenny laughs) So, yes, so we have a, a number of abiding memories, and, oh, another one, before we left . . . what was it? When Martin decided to get himself run over?

Steve: No, that was in Norris Green.

David: It wasn’t, it was in Kensington! The, I don’t know how he got there, bit it was (Jenny laughs) . . . honestly!

Steve: No!

David: Yes!

Steve: No! (Jenny laughs) No, no, no, no, no.

David: Not one I remember.

Jenny: I’m surprised you didn’t get more injuries from the, the Bombed Hollows.

Steve: No, they’re, they’re, they’re actually quite, they were quite safe places to, to play, and, you know, there, there wasn’t much traffic. The, the, the injuries that you would get would be . . . you’d get the odd one, like, you know, throwing stones, I mean, there, there was certainly a lot of that that went on, but I saw . . . one of the most horrific injuries, apart from those visited on myself through lack of supervision from older siblings (Jenny and David laugh) was, was, they, they used to, every summer, it seemed, they played, a million kids would congregate on the Hollow, for a game of rounders (Jenny laughs), and there’s one horrific injury that a, a girl got, and it was a result of our, one of our younger brothers, Peter, we were playing . . .

Jenny: Yeah.

Steve: . . . playing rounders in the street, and it was just, like a, like a makeshift bat, and the, the game was, that, you know, standing game of rounders, you’d run around in anti-clockwise direction (Jenny laughs), and our Peter is, is ambidextrous, likes sports, sports, he’s, he’s very, very sporty, good footballer and all that kind of thing and here, he, he put the bat in his, in his, in his left hand to hit this one, and he wacked it, and then threw the bat . . .

David: Bat, yeah.

Steve: to start running, because that’s what you’d do . . .

David: That’s, yeah.

Steve: . . . and he caught this girl . . .

Jenny: (sounds horrified) Oh!

Steve: . . . right in the middle of there, and she was bleeding like a stuck pig as well . . .

David: Yeah.

Steve: . . . her mother was not best pleased! (Jenny laughs)

David: No, I’d, I’d, I’d . . .

Steve: That caused a riot, that. (Jenny and David laugh)

Tagged under: bombed hollows, kensington, capitol picture house, rounders, overton street, gallows, pranks, tunnel picture house

Categorised under: Social Life

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