Marc Riboud – A Lasting Moment

Another archive rescued by The Oral History Company

Boys playing cricket / Victoria Place

Tom McCory_1: Victoria Place, story of the trousers:
“The story of the trousers is: I know it’s all we had to wear at the time and they were probably someone else’s trousers held up with bits of string over me shoulders and me hands inside to keep them up there from falling down!”

Tom McCory_2:  Victoria Place, Tom’s house.
“The house itself, it was a large house, there was four or five families living there. The lady in the basement, the people on the first floor where there was a… a cooker on the first floor landing, and a cooker on the second floor landing. And we actually had an internal toilet, which I didn’t know was a loo at the time! It was a room I wasn’t allowed to go in! Until one day me mother took me into it. I remember seeing this large white object, with a wooden seat on and peering in. I realise now she flushed the loo, then she sat me on it and I really believed she was trying to flush me away or… it was quite fearsome me first time sitting on a WC, it really was my first toilet I’ve seen! It was quite remarkable! The house was an old house: we shared one room and one small room between five of us and we bathed in a tin bath, three of us at a time putting a flannel over our eyes and wondering why and suddenly warm water would come pouring down over your face, I do remember that.”

Kathy Banks_1b: Victoria Place, the local shops
“This is the bottom part of Victoria Place. I lived in Victoria Place as a child up to growing up and getting married. Running along the bottom of Victoria Place is Camp Road. There’s a little shop, fruit shop, on the left there, that I used to look out there for. The little Jewish lady, she liked bacon on a Saturday morning, and I used to watch out for her neighbours and friends in case they were coming round, and I’d run in and tell her and she’d open the windows and try to waft the smell of the bacon away and everything! And she used to give me a copper or an orange or something as a little treat for doing it!

And going along the other way to Camp Road, is a little drapers shop called Sophie’s. And we used to get all our bits and bats there: socks at Whitsuntide, and things like that. Me mum used to know them very well, we all knew everybody there. In that shop, it were surprising, the shop was full of little parcels, round parcels! Everything, tied with string. And you could say, ‘I want a pair o’ socks size so and so’ and she’d look about, and she’d just reach out, pull a bundle out an open it, and she knew every mortal thing in the shop, and it was all wrapped up in parcels!”

Ronnie Green_1: Victoria Place, brick conkers:
“Then we’d play: ‘brick conkers’. Whereas you use conkers on a piece of string, we would… it was full of house bricks all around the holla. We’d pick bricks up, find a good brick and slam it on top of another brick, and whichever broke, the one that didn’t break was a ‘King Brick’. Then that would go round breaking other bricks, like you would with a conker! You’d have a King Conker, we’d have a King Brick!”

Ronnie Green_2: Victoria Place, Sunday dinner:
“The main hub of the house was in the kitchen. We had three other rooms which three uncles with their wives and kids used to live in, and nobody went in to those rooms, they were all their private domain. But come dinnertime, which we called evening meal as dinner, all the kids would settle round the table in the kitchen and eat their dinner. Then when we’d finished, Nanna would say; ‘Right, get out and play,’ or, if it were raining; ‘Get in the cellar and play in the cellar’ which was huge. Then all the men, uncles…granddad, would come and have their dinner, then they would go off to their relevant rooms. Then all the aunties and Nanna, me mum, would sit down and have their meal. But come Sunday, the men would go off to the pub, have two or three pints, come back and all the whole lot of us would be sat round this huge table in the kitchen! And the highlight was, they’d put the rice pudding, Nanna would bring it out in a huge bowl, and the kids would say, ‘Can we have the skin’ ’cause there was nutmegs rubbed on it. That was one of the highlights of the week, was the Big Sunday Dinner!”

All Images – © Marc Riboud/Courtesy HackelBury Fine Art, London

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