Vera tells of how she used to pull the bell rope at St. Dunstan’s Church

Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 16th September 2011 by Liam Physick

Vera talks about her involvement with St. Dunstan’s Church, where she was christened, but which she did not begin attending until 1981. She has played a role in functions organised by the Church, and notably pulled the bell rope, something no one else managed to do. Vera has also helped Michael raise money for the Liverpool Sands, a charity concerned with stillbirths and neo-natal deaths (deaths occurring within 28 days of birth), enabling it to create a memorial garden to dead babies

Interviewee: Vera

Interviewee Gender: Female

Interview Transcript

Ian: Tell me a little bit about, about St. Dunstan’s, because there’s obviously, you know, some beautiful churches in neighbourhood, but obviously a few of them sadly, well, aren’t either here any more or St. Cyprian’s is, is closed . . .

Vera: Yes.

Michael: St. Cyprian’s was demolished.

Ian: . . . St. Catherine’s was demolished . . .

Vera: Yes.

Ian: . . . yeah, but, tell me a little bit about St. Dunstan’s Church.

Vera: Well, I was born there . . . born, says I, I was christened there . . .

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: . . . and I could tell you when I was christened as well.

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: I was born, christened, 29th September, five weeks (indecipherable) after me birthday. That was it, I didn’t really come to church, not to St. Dunstan’s til nineteen seven . . . 81 . . .

Ian: Right

Vera: . . . and then, well, I’ve been quite involved with the church, haven’t I?

Ian: Is there a lot going on there?

Vera: Well, there was at the time, you know, I got involved with, with eventually doing, pulling the bell rope . . .

Ian: Great.

Michael: Pushing that until the bell snapped, so Vera’s no longer able to do that.

Vera: Yeah, but I did do it a bit before, and you, Michael, as well, cos . . .

Michael: Yeah, it, it just snapped in half. But you wrote a little history, Vera’s looked at the history of the church . . .

Vera: Oh, yes.

Michael: . . . and knows quite a bit about that.

Vera: The history, yes, well, what, what happened there . . .

Ian: What road is it on, just for the listeners, St. Dunstan’s Church?

Vera: Well, it’s between Freeman Street and Fernside Street . . .

Ian: Right. And it’s off . . . ?

Michael: Earle Road.

Ian: Earle Road, really, yes.

Michael: It’s on Earle Road.

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: Well, it looks, overlooks Earle Road, doesn’t it?

Ian: Yeah.

Michael: Yeah, it’s on that, yes.

Ian: We can see it from here, actually.

Michael: Yeah.

Vera: Yeah.

Ian: From the, from the, from the . . .

Vera: You will do.

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: Yeah, well, I mean, all right, I came to church on, I say, 1981, cos I just . . . I don’t know, something (indecipherable) I wanted to go to church, and I did go up to St. Mary’s a couple of times, but that wasn’t . . . well the, the, the minster took over area . . .

Ian: Yeah

Vera: . . . wouldn’t go . . .

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: . . . in the winter cos I was going in the evening, found out the morning service down here, and I went. All right, I went . . . I’d only go two or three weeks and miss one maybe at first, but then, after the new year, cos it was New Year, Christmas, when I first started going regular actually, and, after the new year, I went, and, well, eventually got involved cos they used to have summer fairs and, and Christmas fairs, used to do a bit of that. And . . . course, there’s . . . actually, I don’t know, one of the wards, not at the time, the, one of the them had been up sort, doing something with the bell, and they were trying to pull it one Sunday morning when I come in . . .

Ian: Right.

Vera: . . . and I said, you know, I saying, “Good morning” to them, and I said, “What have you been, what are you doing”, sort of thing, cos they had the rope and they said, “Well, pulling it”, so I says, “Can I have a go?”, and they just showed me how to hold it, and I pulled, and it worked! (laughs) Which it wasn’t for them!

Michael: (inaudible) I couldn’t get a squeak out of it, but Vera really had that technique, it was like a flick.

Ian: And was Michael at the church, when you, when you first started, started going?

Vera: No.

Ian: No?

Vera: No.

Michael: No, no.

Ian: Who was there, then?

Vera: The vicar was there when I first went, his name was Ray Hutchinson . . .

Ian: Right. And how long’s Michael been there?

Vera: Since in . . .

Michael: 48, 98.

Vera: That’s right.

Ian: 98?

Vera: Yes. But after, Ray Hutchinson was there til eight . . . what was it . . .

Michael: I don’t know.

Vera: . . . eighty, eighties, after 89, wouldn’t it be?

Michael: Don’t know, I wasn’t . . .

Vera: I’ve got a bit mixed up with that, because it was, see, Ray left, and then Russell Jones came as the vicar, and he was there til eventually Michael and . . . yeah.

Ian: Well, it sounds like you’ve had a really happy life round Edge Hill, Vera. Is that fair, is that a fair comment?

Vera: Well, yeah, I mean, I’ve enjoyed me life . . . I’ve . . . as much on me own, because I’ve done, I mean, I’ve done things round the area, I mean, I’ve even, what, I’ve even went to help in, Michael, your, a while back, didn’t I, with the, the fundraising for the, for the Sands.

Michael: The women’s hospital, we’re, we’re trying to create a memorial garden for babies, and Vera came in May and, and shook the tins in Liverpool One . . .

Ian: Great.

Michael: . . . and she got much, she got more than anyone.

Ian: I bet she did . . .

Michael: (coughs) She’s out there!

Ian: . . . you’ve got a great, you’ve got a great personality (Vera giggles), lots of energy.

Michael: She said, “Don’t, don’t stand there, get out”, and she, she was racking them and she, I think Vera made twice as much as all the other people put together, and there was four or five other people.

Ian: Brilliant.

Michael: A real energy, it was brilliant.

Vera: Well, I was, what they were doing, they were standing round the table thing that they had there, and I was going, I could see that there was people, sometimes, Michael, you seen them, didn’t you . . . ?

Michael: Yeah.

Vera: . . . you’d go forward, but I’d go forward and I’d say, I would, I’d say to the, you know, “Would you like to help?”, and I’d just showed the tin for them to read, you know, and they’d, more often that not, they’d put something in.

Tagged under: earle road, fernside street, freeman street, bell rope, liverpool sands, liverpool one, st. mary's church, st. dunstan's church, st. cyprian's church, st. catherine's church

Categorised under: Social Life

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By Graham Middleton on 28th November 2011

Hi there.  For years I have been trying to find information/ photographs of the Chatsworth Street area of Edgehill and came across your site by accident.  I lived on Chatsworth Street until I was about seven but carried on visiting every weekend until I was sixteen and staying with my Nan.  For the first seven years of my life we lived above the corner shop (no 38)  on the corner of Chatsworth Street and Harbord Street.  My Nan managed the shop. On the opposite corner was a pub called the Neptune.  I spent many an hour lying on my bed watching my father in the bar! My memories of that area are very numerous and clear and I would be happy to share them. Does anyone remember the shop?  It was owned by a woman called Bessie Price.  My Nan’s name was Ruby Thorn. Do you know of anywhere on this site or elsewhere where I can get more information?

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