Making a living

The effects of the war lingered for many years and rationing continued until 1954. People made their living the best way they could. One man converted an old Yorkshire fishing coble1 into a horse drawn wagon. He offered “boat” rides around the streets. The fare was a penny or a small bundle of rags.

Parents who had little money to spare could always find old clothes to part with to give their kids a rare treat.

Doris Day – ‘Secret Love’  1953
Once I had a secret love
That lived within the heart of me
All too soon my secret love
Became impatient to be free

So I told a friendly star
The way that dreamers often do
Just how wonderful you are
And why I am so in love with you

Mam and Grandma saved all our old clothes and periodically Tommy and I, and later Coral, borrowed Grandad’s barrow to take a load of rags and woollies to the recycle yard. The recycle yard was situated across the railway lines, ‘over the border’ in the shadow of the Transporter Bridge. The area was dangerous and unfamiliar and we never went there alone. Woollies always brought the best price and a shrewd eye was always kept on the scales as each bundle was weighed, pretending to be able to understand the weight so we wouldn’t get cheated.

The Transporter Bridge

Next: Winkles

Previous: Grandad’s garden

  1. A coble is an open traditional fishing boat, common in the north.