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Open Features: Family Life -Three - Whispering

...I had a very bad cold then which turned into laryngitis and for three month's I could only whisper, and looking back, the funny thing was, every one whispered back to me...

Lucy Oates, who grew up in the small Yorkshire town of Holmfirth, continues her life story.

Hilda had left school in 1925, going to Bottoms Mill to learn mending, that was repairing any faults in the weaving of cloth. When Alice was 14 she went to join Hilda. I must admit, she was unwilling but in those days you had to take anything you could get.

When my 14th birthday was coming up both my Father and Hilda and Alice were out of work, and due to an epidemic of Scarlet Fever the Sunday School was closed for two weeks, but we never heard of anyone else having it. It also meant that I could not go to Day School for two weeks and I was due to sit my 11 Plus exam, but fortunately I passed it. As Father and Hilda and Alice were working then I was told I had chance of working at Bamforth's Photographers for ten shillings a week, so as soon as I was fourteen I had to leave school and start work retouching negatives on the photography department. All the young girls were paid off after Christmas when the work fell off, then a new lot were set on again at Easter. I suppose it was an easy way of keeping costs down.

I had a very bad cold then which turned into laryngitis and for three month's I could only whisper, and looking back, the funny thing was, every one whispered back to me. I must not forget, after leaving Bamforths I went to work at a mill at Thongsbridge. We were supplied with white coats to work in as we were winding rabbit wool in white and pastel colours which hadn't to get soiled. However, after two weeks another girl and myself were paid off on Tuesday tea-time, and when I asked what we had done wrong the boss said 'nothing', but the following morning we got a letter asking for the return of the coat which had been brought home to wash. Father was annoyed so he just wrote on the bottom of the letter'' if you want it, fetch it''. I may add that it was cut down to make sports short's for my son when he went to grammar school, about thirty years later.

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