EDWARDIAN DAYS AND THROUGH THE KAISER'S WAR
from Martin Saul
This article was originally published in the December 2007 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society
The following article is an extract from a 15 page letter written by May Saul when she was 88. May was Martin’s great aunt and daughter of Henry & Emily Saul. This extract featured in a publication by the Warwickshire County Library in 1987 entitled ‘When They Were Young – Growing Up in Bygone Warwickshire.
I was born in Waterloo Street, Leamington Spa in 1898, went to school at 3 years old to Clapham Terrace, left at 13 years old ..."
On May Day I remember putting wild flowers round a hoop and stick and dancing round a maypole.
I left school to go to housework for 3 shillings a week. Went to Crown Hotel, and Warneford Hospital for dripping, Westminster Hotel for ld basin of soup, went to the Vicar for 6d grocers ticket.
Playing at my Dad's allotment I fell in a cess pit and was pulled out by the hair. Walked home on a hot summers day. Mother had been washing so had no more clothes to put on, she put me in a copper of chilled water and sent me to bed. It was July so clothes were ready for school next day. Never had new shoes till I was twenty years old…..
A few months before 1914 war went to work on munitions in Coventry. Got up at 5 o'clock in the morning. If not there by 8 o'clock you were out the whole day. Started all for 8 shillings a week. 3 Shillings the weekly train fare to Coventry. Lost ticket, so had to wait till mother could save another 3 shillings. Went to Coventry goods yard on night work. A man stole 2 kidney out of a sheep carcass and I saw him. Had to go to court to swear I saw him, he had 3 months in jail...
All poor people did washing for the gentry. Where I took ours was an old lady, who had a Pug dog sitting on a velvet cushion, how I wished I was a dog, she said go round to the back kitchen the house maid will give you some bits, jugged hare; a bit of bread and dripping. We were glad of it…….
My Dad one day brought white goose eggs home. He put them under a broody hen of a friend. They hatched out and Dad told Mother to look after them. They were only about a week old. It was in July and warm so mother put them in a bath of tepid water expecting them to swim, they fell over and nearly died. so she got them out and dried them in a towel then put them on a piece of flannel to warm in a warm kitchen oven. They came round before Dad got home so he never found out. Dad wanted to keep them for Christmas to raffle off………
The Baker's lad won one…..
Dad sold the others for 9 shilling and bought children shoes with the money. We ourselves had rabbit and beef for our Christmas dinner. Mum made a Christmas pudding before going to bed Christmas Eve and boiled it in the copper all night. I had my Christmas stocking put on the rail of the bed about 9 o'clock, in it 2 biscuits, 1 orange, 2 sweets a few nuts, all eaten by ten, the same night. One year Mum took empty jam jars back to Melias and got me a doll. Sawdust body with a waxed face. I sat by the fire on Christmas day got hot and the wax all melted the face away…………..
My mother went to the butcher on Saturday night and had a piece of brisket of beef for 1/6d and cooked it Sunday. We had jam roll or currant roll first so that you did not need so much other food. After dinner she would make 6 big rock cakes for tea with the dripping.
May SAUL is seated in the centre with her sisters Lillian and Eva on either side
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