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 Cheshire 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.”
Margery Dorman (b. 1915)
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.
Queens Road, Hinckley
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 Cheshire 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.