An Oral History of Hinckley

By Permission of Colin Hyde & Westfield Community Centre

4. Remembering Hinckley

Memories of World War One

The Hinckley Territorials, I can remember coming down and watching them coming out of the Palladium as was. There were rationing. I've known when I was up at six o'clock to go down to Aldridges, the fish monger -he used to sell rabbits as well - waiting for them to open to get anything, a rabbit or anything. By the time I got there there might be a big long queue. Many a time I've got right up within the last twelve or 14 and they've sold out so I've had to go home - nothing.

My father was in the First World War. He was a miner so he needn't have gone. He volunteered and was in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He used to buy me stacks of cigarette cards that he used to save off the people. He brought a German officer's field glasses back home with him when he was on leave, Of course I asked him how he got it, he says, 'Well I was that good to him, he come in he had frost bitten feet, and I got him whatever he wanted, I were looking at these glasses,.. and he said, 'You have 'em, and he showed them to me.'

He brought them home and could tell the time from Nuneaton, Tuttle Hill - it were high up Tuttle Hill - when the sun was on Hinckley church clock we could tell the time. I can't remember a big lot of celebration just bonfires and effigies of the Kaisers - we never had street parties like World War II... The Sunday School gave you a mug."

I can remember the outbreak of the First World War, definitely, it was August 4 and it was a very hot day and I certainly remember the Armistice because that was a wash day. During the First World War things were hard to come by, vegetables and that, word got round that there was a certain shop that'd got potatoes and I went up to get some 'cos they were valuable then. Of course, it made me late for school. We used to queue at the Co-op up Hill Street for tinned jam - the word went round that they'd got some... I'd go up there, you'd stand in a long queue you know. At the bottom of Priesthills Road, over the road was Clarendon Road, there was a big house there with a stone wall round it. On there was posted Kitchener with his finger pointing, 'Your country needs you'.

Remembering places of childhood

Queens Road, Hinckley
Queens Road, Hinckley

I was born while my father was in the forces in the First World War, I was six weeks old when he had to go abroad. He came home when I was two. 'Course my eldest sister died and my youngest sister did so there was only me to be brought up. I think that's why they smothered me, say, When he was taken prisoner he was in the trenches and the rim of his tin hat was round his neck and it affected his hearing, Apart from that I don't think he had any more injuries.

I was born in Trinity Lane. It wasn't too bad, all the kids all played together, you know. Take for instance when they had Guy Fawkes night. We used to have a big bonfire at the top of Chessher Street and then you'd perhaps go further down Trinity Lane and someone else'd have a fire then the police stopped it because it was dangerous.

It was very old, there was some lovely old cottages by the church, beautiful old cottages, and the Hinckley market, they had that still on a Saturday and a Monday and they had those kerosene lamps and everything, they weren't all lit up like they are now, and they went on until it was quite dark at night. We used to go on Monday and get various things that... you know, fish and meat and things like that you could buy on the market so much cheaper.

The policemen were very friendly, there was always someone around on the beat, If we were going home now, top of Ashby Road, from there that's the cemetery, you know, it were very lonely going home. We had to be in by ten o'clock at the latest, we were never allowed out after ten and the policemen would probably be changing their beat at ten and often they would walk down the end of Barwell Lane with us.

Our father used to allow us to go on a Saturday but if we were going to a dance we'd got to say exactly what time we were being home and he'd meet us,"

I was born in Queen's Road. It were pleasant, we'd got the Queens Park at the bottom of the garden. They were all terraced houses... there were an off-licence, four sweet-shops. My father was a master painter and decorator. He also ran a dance band, He taught the violin to people. He were always working - if it weren't in the decorating it were at the violin, you know, he used to take pupils in. I tried to learn the piano but I weren't very interested in it. We used to have lovely sing-songs around the piano and the violin. I remember him playing, having dances at the Co-op Hall in Burbage. I think there were about six of them altogether.

You could go out to play, not worry about anything. We used to go down Sketchley Brook, you know, you used to think that was a big thing. There used to be a band in the park every Sunday, in Queen's Park. It were nice, there were a bandstand in the park. In the summer, I don't suppose they did in the winter.

I remember when we first had radio - my brother made it, cat's whisker they called it. We used to all get round with these headphones on and we thought it were marvellous. We had this great big pole at the bottom of the garden, yes I can remember that, it was so unusual.

She'd (Mum) been an invalid for years, she had dropsy, I don't suppose you know what that is - she used to fill up with water. Dreadful. You used to have to draw it away from her. I remember you used to put plugs in her body and it used to fill the bucket, daily, dreadful disease. We didn't realise life was hard you know, it didn't seem to make much difference to us, my dad had always got plenty of work you see. We enjoyed ourselves -went dancing every night. There weren't so much of it to spend money on was there really. We used to go to the cinema once a week and that was the highlight of the week.

In Canning Street we used to play. There was a great big piece of ground then, course its all been built on now, called the Orchard. We used to have the bonfires on there. There weren't no through road then, there were Brewin's farm and his orchard along the top of there and big high rails, top of Canning Street. You could only go so far up Chessher Street and then you got to Mill Hill and that was the same. I can remember there used to be a big gate and you could go through - it was a drive and we used to go up for the milk. To Brewin's farm, top of Mill Hill. That's all been knocked down now. Milk straight out of the old pail into your jug.

Brimstone treacle and stinging nettle tea

It was much about the same - except for the extra buildings (Burbage). We used to come all in the fields and that, we used to go right down to the Soar brook and play - we used to play for hours down there. Used to sit with tramps under the bridge and they wouldn't hurt you. If they'd got their sandwiches with them they'd open the paper and share them with us. Half past four they'd say, 'Now then boys and girls come on, your mams'll be looking for you, and don't stop on the way.' We were off all day - our mothers had no fear.

We had to do as we were told, you daren't cheek my dad neither but my mum were more so than my dad. I was always suffering from nerve trouble and that. They need to give us all sorts, Fennings powders, fever powder... every morning we used to have brimstone and treacle - for your blood. It weren't very nice but they used to give it to you, and they used to make us stinging nettle tea... we used to take it as pop.

Up by the station, you know where the new bridge is how there used to be a old bridge, used to go up the steps to it. There was a lot of stone steps up one side and down the other end. Youngsters used to go down there in their courting days. We used to play down there haymaking time, when they used to make the hay and that, we used to have hours on it. Did we help? We hindered! They'd stack it up and we used to go round and chuck it all about and they used to run after us and clout our ear holes if they got hold of us. We used to have some fun.

Lived in Castle Street at the outdoor beer licence. They had got a little room at the back called a cosy room - it was only a small room - and some of the old ladies used to go in there for a little drink but it wasn't classed as a pub exactly, you know. It's still there now, it's a butcher's shop in Castle Street, you walk right through to the other end, to the top of the hill... down that alleyway and the police station used to be straight opposite then.

When I was young it was church, church dances and G.F.S. - Girl's Friendly Society - my husband were in the Men's Fellowship.

Schooldays: few people stayed on after the age of 14. Most had to find a job and earn some money

Hinckley Grammar School (Now Mount Grace, viewed from Leicester Road)
Hinckley Grammar School (Now Mount Grace, viewed from Leicester Road)

I never did take to school life...I were glad to leave. They were very strict in those days you know, very strict. You know St. Mary's church, that's the school, near it. I was there 'til I was 13 then they moved us up to the council school. Today the children aren't frightened of the teachers are they, yet we were, we were scared to death! Whether it was because of nervous disposition or not, but they held us in place you know. There's not enough discipline today is there?

I first went to school, Trinity School, where the Leisure Centre is. That closed down and this (Westfield's) was built and we came here, 1933. Miss Brown downstairs in the Infant school, Miss Everett and Miss Jones. Up here was Miss Greenwood at the end, Miss Sharp, Miss Harris. Then she left and Mr Beazley came and Mr Simpkins. I loved it here, it was grand. I didn't like the council school for girls up Eleanor Road - too strict. Well, probably we deserved it - talking in class, standing in the corner, making a blot on your paper, I had the cane for that.

We never had school uniforms - we couldn't afford it if we had. If you paid and went to the Grammar School you had the uniform or private schools but otherwise no. And you always had to have your hands inspected every morning to see if your nails were clean - turn them over - if you didn't you'd have a rap on the knuckles, shoes clean. I don't know, I think it learnt you respect, take care of yourself.

Making a mess with ink wells

Trinity School was one big room divided into three classes with a screen. The first thing you did - we had these square sand trays to play with. As far as I know there was Miss Stafford and Miss Abbott, I used to walk home with Miss Abbott, of course they had long skirts then, hanging onto her skirt, I was only four mind you, I can remember that very clearly.

A dress, possibly a calico type material, a white pinafore always, and a piece of rag pinned to your pinafore, that was your handkerchief. You used to take some bread and lard possibly, or dripping, wrapped in newspaper, that was your lunch. They'd be your ordinary dress, you couldn't afford extras. We had basic needlework classes when we were at St Mary's school, we used to have to go up to the council school for cookery, the boys would go to woodwork, and we also did laundry up there. Not a lot. I know, for instance, I took a baby's dress once, handkerchiefs, only small things and they were washed and we had to learn how to iron them properly.

The pen then was a pen with a nib that you could pull out and put another one in... you dipped it in the ink well you see to get your ink on, oh yes, it made a mess. I know I wore black stockings at that time and I used to wipe the nib on the stockings. You weren't supposed to but I did. One pupil would be detailed to fill the ink pots. Boys and girls sat separately you know - same room but separately. When we got to St Mary's we didn't use slates did we? Only in the infants. I liked arithmetic and English composition, I would have liked to go into an office but it wasn't as easy in those days, there was no help. I just missed getting to the grammar school and that was it.

Short trousers, a jersey serge type of material, not cottony things. The most uncomfortable thing I wore as a lad was a collar - celluloid collar, I used to hate it. One was celluloid collar another one was a starch collar, separate, of course, all collars were separate in those days. The three R's mainly, reading, writing and arithmetic. You had to do what they called copybook writing, you know, really nice writing. When I was at the infants school, I'm left handed and everything I did naturally was left-handed but when I started to write left-handed that was knocked out of me, I was made to write right-handed. If you had the cane for anything, if you went back home and said that you'd had the cane, 'Why?' and you'd done something wrong you'd probably get another one.

I went to Miss Wrigley's school in Hill Street, it was a private school - two Miss Wrigleys, two sisters. Seven I started going there. The private school was quite good really, I learnt French and all the rest of it. The only trouble was with my father's ill health they couldn't afford to keep me there, I had to go to the council school.

I'm afraid it was a bit of a stark awakening when I went to the council school. There's one thing they did teach you at the private school, I learnt a lot more there than I did at the council school - for one thing, I could write and when I say write I mean write. I was back at the council school, of course I get me paper, starts writing. The teacher says, 'You can't do that, you must do the same as the others.' I had to go back to printing. I thought it was a bit stupid but there you are. I never really settled in because everything was so strange to me, you know. It's a lot different... from a small school of about 30 to a big council place, I was really lost. I was only there for 18 months... we moved to Barwell so I had to go to Barwell school. It was a very nice school, small, and I got on very well there.

When you were on your last term they'd take you round the different factories to show you what they done. Just when I were leaving school they started night school and the technical college were just built and I learnt the overlocking there.

Most of the girls went in the hosiery factories and I did and I enjoyed it. There weren't no choice. The first one was down Station Road at Hood & Masons - it's gone now, the building's there. Stockings. I enjoyed it really, we hadn't got the discipline we had at school. I mean, we were thrust into the adult world immediately. I always enjoyed needlework and I went in as a mender, with a needle, you know.

Weren't many things as careers. No - you didn't get any desires like that. The first thing was that you'd got to go to work and earn some money.

Whether you went to church or chapel the 'treats' were one of the highlights of the year

We went to the Baptist Chapel. My husband went all his life until being 16 and he went round with these banners at the Sunday School treats and some of the men at work seen him, of course he were loving it with the banner at 16, they pulled his leg - he never went to chapel no more.

Me and my sister went to the Weslyans because we were near to it and didn't have to cross no roads. We used to go twice on a Sunday and then we got old enough we had to go to chapel. We had to in our day, there was no getting away - your mother wouldn't let you put your best things on if you didn't go to chapel or church.

St Peter's School Treat, Hinckley, July 17th 1920 Salvation Army collecting
St Peter's School Treat, Hinckley, July 17th 1920 (top/left) - Salvation Army collecting (bottom/right)

It was the Congregational - it's called the Reform Church in the Borough, I think at that time it was the biggest chapel there was in Hinckley. Then there were different groups as they had in the chapels such as the Good Templars juniors, you'd go one night there for a couple of hours, you know, and the Christian Endeavour... your parents were glad of you going.

Treats drummer walking before procession along Regent Street Leading the procession
Treats drummer walking before procession along Regent Street (top/left) - Leading the procession (bottom/right)

New dresses and flowers and decorated prams

St Mary's is obviously the main church. Holy Trinity was built in 1909 - where the leisure centre is - that's where it was originally. That was like a big hall with a gallery round and it was always said that the architect had plans at the same time for a theatre somewhere and he got the plans mixed up and that's why it was such a big hall with the gallery round - now what truth's in it I don't know but that's what we've always been told.

I can remember Hurrell, when we were youngsters. Hurrell was here during the First World War, and Griffiths was at Holy Trinity. They were both in the parishes during the war. I always remember Griffiths, when I was in the choir, listening to him reading out the list of casualties that had happened, Griffiths was quite a gentle, kind man. In fact, he was his own worst enemy in many ways because he was always helping people, in those days there was no keeping of accounts in the church, the vicar had the money. Whatever money came in and he used the money, I don't mean he used it fraudulently - he used a lot of it particularly during that war to help families, and it wasn't until after that that they called a parish council to attend to those sort of affairs.

St Mary's Sunday School used to go up to where the John Cleveland is now, up Butts Lane, and in some fields...they would do more or less the same sort of thing. Once a year and then you'd have what they called a Christmas Sunday School treat. In which you'd go to the hall, you took your own mug for your tea and then again you'd have bread and jam and a piece of cake. Then after you'd finished your tea you'd take your mug back home and then you went back for games. You imagine doing that now.

In those days the treats, as they were called, were the main attraction annually. The free church treats were a big day. They were always the first Saturday in July and each chapel would have a tableau, a huge lorry or something with a biblical tableau on it and there was quite a bit of competition, and ill-feeling unfortunately, between the chapels over these because they were judged. All the little girls used to have a new dress for that day and they'd have garlands of flowers, they used to go round the houses collecting flowers to make them -and perhaps young mothers would have a baby in a pram and that would all be decorated...anything was decorated. It was very competitive.

We used to meet at what was the parish hall then, at the bottom of Trinity Lane and we'd march to the top of what is now Hollycroft, singing 'Onward Christian Soldiers' more often than not, and then Pickerings vans would come and we'd all get in the back and be taken to Wykin, into some farmer's fields and that was it. There'd be a sweet stall and then you'd have your tea which consisted mainly of a bit of bread and butter or bread and jam and a piece of cake and we played some games.

There was the Co-op gala. That was on a Saturday once in the summer and you'd meet in Castle Street and be given a bag with your tea in it - quite a substantial one from them - and we used to go out of the town walking, of course. I don't know where we finished up, some field somewhere, have organised games, races, that sort of thing. That was quite a thing.

August 26 was the big day - the Horsefair. All the shops were boarded up and they used to run the horses up and down in what is Lancaster Road and up towards Station Road. One horse was run up and down and it was bought and when it got to the top of Clarendon Road it collapsed and that was had been too much.

Tinkers used to bring them you see, brush tinkers and people like that. I know some of the lads up Priesthills Road used to have a whip, they were some of the better off ones, they just played with it, it was really quite a was quite an event. That's why that bit from Station Road down to Lancaster Road is called The Horsefair.

The first holiday...the first time I saw the sea was when I was 14 and that was because someone took us out, some organisation, and I think it were the Co-op, organised a trip. They took us all in buses...that was Skegness. You wondered what the devil it were - just amazed at all that water. We'd never been, you couldn't go any further than Hinckley, because you couldn't afford it.

People remember the shops, cinemas and dancehalls of Hinckley

The population of Hinckley when I remember it was about 11,000, it was just a small - well it isn't a big town now - but it was a really small market town then. Where the police station is now there was a big manor house and it stood quite a way back... it was really a sanatorium, TB, things like that. People used to be afraid to walk by... there were all sorts of stories about the place... well the people there, as though it was their fault they were there - well it wasn't obviously.

You'd play in the streets. You see the streets weren't very wide. You'd get an old shoe polish tin and you'd get a bit of lead and put it in and hammer the corners down and you used to throw it - called tin-high hockey. Queen's Park - that was about the nearest and then the one opposite the old gas works... Rugby Road. There were a huge tank there from the First World War that kids used to play in. Course at the top of Mansion Street, in Mill Hill, there was the skating rink. Now that was the finest skating rink in Leicestershire because under that floor was a rubber base. That, unfortunately, got burnt down. As I say, you couldn't afford to go and do these things, you could only go and sort of gaze and look at them.

Watercolour of St. George Ballroom. George Hotel First World War Tank in Queens Park
Watercolour of St. George Ballroom. George Hotel (top/left) - First World War Tank in Queens Park (bottom/right)

Half slices of pig hung up in the pub entrance

Castle Street, from the bottom
Castle Street, from the bottom

I think it was better than what it is now. You'd got more shops to go in, as I'd got more grocery shops, you got... Winnie Ballards at the bottom of Castle Street. She'd got two shops there. You'd got the 50 bob (£2.50) tailors, you'd got Burton's, you'd go in and get measured for a suit and if you hadn't got the money they used to pay so much a week until it was paid for. Same as the old pawn shop that used to be there.- take your things in on a Monday, fetch them back on a Friday.

There was Hall's where we used to get the clothes from - that was a gent's outfit and they made ladies as well there was Gilders, that was a tailor's. Pridmores at the bottom of Castle with all the old-fashioned bottles in the window - a chemist... The Maypole, you'd got Currys, you'd got Caves - that was a fruit and veg and they sold seeds there. Yoxall's cake shop - that was two windows. Used to have a policeman on duty at the bottom of Castle Street. It used to be packed years ago if you wanted to go into Woolworth's, you couldn't get in the door. You could buy anything you wanted - screws, nails, hair clips.

You used to watch what was in Winnie Ballard's window, you know, this was the fashion shop. I remember an orange dress I had, it was beautiful. It was square neck and it'd got a brown sash with it. Oh and it was nice. I used to go to the dance in that.

Whistling Willie, I don't know what his proper name was. He was a little man and he always used to whistle, and he lived in the Outwoods. There was Squeaker - he'd got a squeaky voice. It was him that came into the air-raid shelter with us and there was a lady in there, a Mrs. Payne, kept the paper shop, and he sat down - he was scruffy oh yes, - 'Oh dear, I don't want you against me' - that sort of thing, and he turned round and he took his shoes and socks off and he said, 'Missus, I'm as clean underneath as what you are. My clothes might be dirty but I'm as clean as what you are!' Oh, she didn't know where to put her face.

Then there was a man, I can't remember what they call him, he used to sell the papers at the bottom of Castle Street, sit on a chair, and he, when he died, he'd got no end of money in the house, and Squeaker had. He used to live in one of the dug-outs that they had on the golf-course. They used to have the guards there, you know, with a little slot for the gun, not that I could see them going down there, but they did. He furnished it inside, had a bed in there.

You used to have the man outside Simpkins and James that was selling carpets and lino and stuff like this, oh you know, 'What am I bid for this?'

Somewhere where Wilkinson's is now, The Victoria Hotel, the Vic as we used to call it. On the bar there used to be an iron rail all the way round and when I see these pictures of cowboys and they've got their foot up... I always think of the Vic. They used to chew twist. Although everybody smoked I can't remember a lot of smoke puffing about - probably because I smoked those days. So you didn't notice 'cos you did it. The George used to be the place to go. That's The Bounty now. In the entrance there they used to have half slices of pigs hanging up and hams, oh yes, all salted hanging up there, I mean, they dare n't today. It was a big entrance. Everything was salt-petred down to keep, there were no fridges or anything like that. You wash it well, leave it to soak for twenty four hours or something like that to get it all out.

In Mansion Street, there were a chip shop and they used to sell chips and faggots - that were one of the delicacies - you'd pay about 1d in them days - for a plate of those. You'd have to be rich to live like that! As lads we couldn't have any money because mother were that poor, so we used to go down... where the bank stands on the corner of Castle Street, right at the bottom... now on that corner used to be Wheatley's fish'n' chip shop and they used to have batter bits - the bits of batter that'd come off - they used to chuck them in the side there and us chaps we had to go and ask, 'Could we have some batter bits, please?' You'd get your ears cuffed and turned out of the shop but sometimes he'd take pity on you and give you some.

Just round the corner was Finches, that were an ironmongers shop, that were one of the best ironmongers in Hinckley. Behind the ironmongers shop was a yard or a walkway that went through by the public house and come out where Barclays bank is now and there was an iron urinal, just an iron sheet like that, and just a little trough for you to go wee in and that was there 'til more or less going up to the Second World War that was. There used to be one of those up in the Lawns by the Castle Tavern.

Watching the horses in Regent Street

Hinckley Liberal Club
Hinckley Liberal Club

Down in the Borough and at the bottom of Stockwell Head, all round that area, there were little shops, well they've all gone long since. Little shops that we enjoyed going to. Along Regent Street there were individual shops. There's a jitty up to Trinity Church and there was a little shop at the bottom there, Well's shop, little sweet and general shop. That's where 'Bindy' Wilber used to sit selling his newspapers. He lived up Hill Street and if you went in his house it was stacked out with newspapers... and all his money was under his mattresses, he reckoned he'd got no money But if anyone of any importance went in the house he'd make sure he was there.

The Co-op in Hill Street and then later the Co-op in Clarendon Road, which was built in 1923, there was a butchers there and the lad from the butchers used to come and get your order. At that time bread was delivered by horse and cart, milk was horse and cart, not in bottles, you'd have a basin for them to put the milk in. Used to come twice a day morning and evening 'cos there were no fridges in those days. You'd got greengrocery rounds so I mean you didn't always have to go up the street to get your food. Fish-men came round once a week, and the tripe-man...that was quite an event, you'd go out with your jug and get your tripe with all the gravy, that was lovely. I can remember the scissors sharpening man with his pedal thing to make the wheel go round. I remember having to follow the horse carts round, having to scoop up what they left behind - the manure for the gardens...! used to enjoy doing that, honestly!

Clarendon Road, Hinckley
Clarendon Road, Hinckley

In Regent Street, as you turn for Coventry, there used to be droves of horses all round there and a little way up Coventry Road to the Boot Inn. I can remember when I used to get up at six o'clock, sit on the railings where The Ritz is now in Regent Street, I'd sit there and watch all these horses all coming down. There used to be droves of them in rings, 20 or 30 to a ring and these here drovers used to go in amongst them if a buyer wanted one, he'd point it out to him, which one he wanted to see run up the street, and they used to run them up Regent Street and another fellow would be at the back with a flag, you know, flapping the flag, making it go. Not hitting it... he'd got it on a lasso sort of thing round its neck. It used to amaze me how they used to go amongst these droves and right in the middle to fetch out the horse what they wanted. That's where the Horsefair started.

The streets were more or less slabbed, not so much tarmacced... a lot of them were cobbled. Along Regent Street there used to be so many slabs and then cobbles to the kerb. There used to be trees along Regent Street. Since then its altered a lot, Hinckley has. There weren't so many buildings thatched. All I can remember is those thatched cottages up Church Walk. There were some others but I can't remember where.

The Regent Cinema, Regent Street/Rugby Road
The Regent Cinema, Regent Street/Rugby Road

Before the war we didn't go in pubs much. Pubs in our time weren't like these. All the old men used to go in the tap room - with spittoons you know - and men didn't want women in the bar because they wanted to do as they like, use bad language, and play games and we were a nuisance you see. Women used to go in the best room, called the lounge now.

There were dance halls but a lot of them were just little hops. The Palladium was there when I was about 18, that was at the top of Castle Street. You never asked a boy for a dance, never, they always asked you. Well, you didn't if you were brought up properly, you didn't ask a boy to take you out, so you were more or less held back weren't you, you didn't get him if he weren't interested in you did you? Unless one of your girlfriends were cheeky enough to go and tell him. We done the quick step, the waltz, we did the tango in those days and the really old fashioned ones like the barn dance and the military two-step.

There was the Palladium, Regent, Odeon and Danilo, there were four. The Odeon was the favourite, the one where we used to go mostly. When the Regent and the Danilo opened the Palladium closed down because people didn't seem to go. That was right at the top of Castle Street in New Buildings. If we couldn't get in one we'd rush down to the other to get in there. You used to get the Pathe pictorial then a big film then a comic film like Laurel and Hardy - you were there two and a half hours. No theatres, only amateurs.

Watching the silent films

There were the Borough Cinema, that were called the Odeon in the end, and you used to go up - at the bottom of Mansion Street was Frisbee's butchers shop - and you used to go up the back of there to the back entrance of the theatre. That were a regular treat that was if you went there. The talkies come on late you see but in them days you used to go and there were silent films and you used to have Mr. Denton, who was an old Hinckleyan and Mr. Oldham who was playing the piano, and one stage when there were a cowboy film on, Denton and Mr. Oldham fell out you see. So Denton got up...he'd got the violin and hit him over the head with it and busted his violin, so they'd got no music then.

The dancing school... was in the Borough, a dance floor, it were over a shop. Oh yes, we went to The George -The George Hotel were at the front and the dance hall was at the back. They still use it, it's a big place, I think it's a night-club now. They used to have different orchestras.

On a Saturday night and a Sunday night in those days there'd be a parade up and down Castle Street and along Regent Street of people. Sunday you could see plenty of people walking round Burbage or wherever - a real parade. That was where a lot of the courting was done, up and down Castle Street, along Regent Street. You dressed in suits, you'd wear a Trilby probably; earlier still everybody wore a cap to go to work.

Taking her boyfriend home to meet her parents

I were about 18 then but I never took him (her husband) home 'til I were 21. They wouldn't let you in those days, you'd got to be growed up. They wouldn't agree with you. My dad wouldn't. Anyhow I told him, 'Dad,' I says, I'm going to bring a young man home today, I and he says, 'Oh no you're not.' I says, 'I am Dad 'cos I've told him. I He says, 'Bring him and we will see what we think about him.'

There was a lady at the top of the avenue...! always went to their house... she got them all outside. There weren't a soul when I went up the road to meet him, when I came down they'd all got their chairs out on the front! He'd got his silk hankie in his pocket like he were ever so smart, My mother took to him straight away and me dad liked him.

When I went to look at it (her first house) to see if I'd like it, his mother went with me and she says to me, well, if I had got a little house like this I'd think I was safe in the arms of Jesus. I looked up the chimney and I looked around and I thought, 'Safe in the arms of Jesus In this ruddy hole? But anyhow, we made a little house of it... and the chimney - there used to be a tin tray so far up the chimney - and they used to have to take that down, and one Sunday it was our eldest's birthday and I had a party for her... I'd got all the stuff laid out on a table and bang comes this tray, oh you've never seen anything like it.

I met my husband at the Hinckley Technical College. He used to go...he joined the Gas Board at 14 and he used to go lessons and I was on a commercial course for office work. Very strict, he (Dad) wouldn't allow us to have young men at all but eventually he had to give in of course. There were five girls of course. After he sort of got to know our boyfriends he was all right.