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How many remember or heard the old Mill songs?
I remember the Spinners and Doffers in the 1950s coming out of "The Mill" at 6.00pm with linked arms,singing,
You might easy know a doffer
When she comes in the town
With her long yellow hair
And her pickers hanging down
With her rubber tied before her
And her scraper in her hand
You will easy know a doffer
For she'll always get a man
|: Oh, she'll always get a man :|
You will easy know a doffer
For she'll always get a man.
2. You might easy know a weaver
When she comes into town
With her old greasy hair
And her scissors hanging down
With a shawl around her shoulders
And a shuttle in her hand
You will easy know a weaver
For she'll never get a man
|: No, she'll never get a man :|
You will easy know a weaver
For she'll never get a man.
Those were the days
OK Donald! You guessed right. I couldn’t keep away. I should have more sensible and interesting things to do than write in here.But there y’ go. Im an oul eejit. I realise that if anybody from the town centre in the forties or fifties reads this, they may recognise me, but I hurt nobody intentionally, so - here goes: I started in Stewart’s at fourteen, putting bobbins of linen thread in cages. My wee mammy was a spinner. Barefoot and often pregnant, she managed a couple of sides, or frames. She had a square of leather on her hand attached by string to guard her tiny palms from the smack of the metal spindles as she stopped them to catch the broken wet flax, rub it into a thread, and reattach it to a hook on the spindle. The spinners too had those aprons that you mention,Donald, to protect them from water and oil; yes, oil; my face was rarely devoid of blackheads. All the carbolic soap in Lisburn couldn’t shift them. I used to sit on a wee box as I filled the cage, and will never forget one day when I saw some of the girls looking and laughing at me, having spotted a hole in the crutch of my jeans. Yes, those same jeans, mentioned on another thread, supplied by a kind neighbour. Underpants? I didn’t know they existed. Those who have known the coarsened older version of me could never imagine the awful feeling of shame and embarrassment which that incident caused me.
But I DID make a few friends there, and, at sixteen, even fell in love for the first time, though the poor girl probably never knew it; a sweet young lady from the reeling room. I was such a gauche wee thing! She was very, very nice, and went for a few long walks with me, and even let me kiss her on the lips.
Minnie, my dear Donald, lived in Linenhall Street. Her husband’’s name was Toby. She was the mother of Tommy, the wee boy that I chased home a few weeks before he died. Incidentally, old George, his granddad, in whose living room the open coffin was placed, had no objection to me kneeling and praying there. I say that because, as you will know if you ever met old George, you will agree that there was never a more staunch Protestant loyalist.
Times were tough. Have I previously written about the young neighbour who used to let us push our fingers into a cavity in his chest wall? Rickets, apparently.
Perhaps I’ll think of something more learned to write next time.
Welcome back, the best laid plans of mice and men, etc, etc. I remember the name Minnie and accompaning a Hilden chap McDermot once to her house in Linenhall St as he had to deliver a message from his Ma to her. I think she had a daughter he had a notion of.
Your ancedote about the jeans reminded me of a homely saying used ( not only ) in Hilden when speaking enviously about neighbours who had acquired some new item of furniture or clothing, " I remember them with not a knicker til their arse"
That daughter would be Jean, Donald. She would now be around sixty five years old.
Hello Donald and Dabbler,
Reading the verse of yours Donald and then Dabblers message brought back memories that dad used to relay to my brothers and myself.
He used to tell us how he went without shoes, like most children in those days. And how he collected jam jars and tinderwood so he could visit the films.
He recalled his dad coming home on pay day with a 'lump' of steak in one pocket and sweeties in the other and a little unsteady due to the fact he nipped into the pub for a wee quick one. When he was seven,dad lost his father and had to grow up even quicker and harder......
He went down south and joined a travelling fair. Came to his senses (his words) and went into the mill. He was given the grand job of working in the office, sorting out the mill workers personal problems, that didn't last long as he kept being embarressed at women telling him that they couldn't turn up for work as they were pregnant and informing him of how it occurred. poor man, he was only 14!
He then worked as a weaver till he joined the army, a year before he should of, and before the army realised it, he became of age.He did a total of 24 yrs. He always seemed to be demoted of rank around the 12 of July!
From the day he was a earner and till my gran died he sent money home to her every week without fail.I was 13 at the time she died.
My dad was an amazing man and Dabbler you come from the same background so you are included in my praise.
Sally, thanks for the kind thoughts. However, I must shamefacedly confess that, unlike your good father, I only sent money from time to time, and lost touch completely a few years after getting married. I worked for many years for seven days a week, including Christmas Day, to provide a living for my new family, and I regrettably admit that was all I could manage. I was never a ‘big earner’, so I would have had to deprive my children to continue attempting to support my brothers and sisters. I started to ‘make a few bob’ a long time after I had lost touch.
I still think you are sooooooooo very nice.
The verse is not from me, it can be read in " Picking up the Linen Threads". I only copied it. My two poems can be read on the site " Mill Workers" and " Death of a Village", both inspired from Hilden Village and Hilden Mill.
I thought you were trying to take away Dabbler's title that being "Poet Laureate" of the forum.Your reply to Sally sent me to read both poems on the site.
I was a mill worker as well as mentioned before, it was the "Island" that I started my working life and I have to say I enjoyed it very much, I learned a lot about life and the closeness of the people in my 2 1/2 years there. I remember well the Dept.heads, Sam Waring was the mill manager,Harry Scott(Reeling)Bobby Coard(spinning)Sam Jess(weaving)and Eddie McDowell(twisting)all very respectful to the workers as far as I can remember and all got the respect they deserved.Bobby Coard was my paticular favorite, he always took the time to share a joke with you even if you where a young "whipper snapper". Harry Scott was scoutmaster at Hillhall and could be a bit of a snob at times, he went on Have-a-go with Wilfred Pickles and when asked what his hobbies were he said scouting and birds, Wilfred asked him what kind of birds and Harry very sharply replied "Why feathered birds of course", Harry was soon sent on his way,obviously the feathered kind wasn't spicy enough for Wilfred.
On the subject of radio shows I am sure most of you remember,Hancock's half hour,Rays a laugh,Itma,Much binding in the marsh and many more........Help me out with some others.
my learned friends.........
my dad, in his last few months was trying to tell me a poem ref a clock.
It was about life and the clock went tick tock.
Does anyone know of this?
He couldn't explain himself as he had dementia but kept talking about the clock. I have only just remembered that he spoke about it.
I am relying on you Donald..........
Life with the Lyons, Workers Playtime, Childrens Hour, to mention but a few.
Could it have been " My Grandfather,s Clock"?
beginning - "My grandfather,s clock was too high for the shelf ,so it sat 90 years on the floor. Going, tick tock, tick tock". and ending, "Never to go again when the old man died."
Y’re a quare guegg!
It was ref life in general and as you got older the time went faster. Tick tock went the clock. I am searching the internet at the moment as its bugging me!
My grandfather’s clock was too tall for the shelf
So it stood ninety years on the floor
It was taller by far than the old man himself
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more
It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born
It was always his treasure and pride
But it stopped short, never to go again
When the old man died
And then there was the bit -
Ninety years without slumbering - tick, tock, tick tock
We do have fun don’t we?
Mind you, Dialectic Materialism can be a drag too!