More Mill Days Memories - And Friendship

Written by Anne Harvey in Memories on 09 Jan 2020 | Views: 73

More Mill Days Memories - And Friendship

In the past, I’ve blogged about my time working in the mill during the 1950s.

Now I’d like to introduce you to one of my dearest friends, Vera, whom I met when we were both working together in the mill (having asked her permission first). We’d be about 15 or 16 then. Her long fair hair, bubbly personality and ready smiles and laughter made her popular with everyone and as I was still of a shy nature, she sort of took me in hand.

Horwich, along with other Lancashire towns, had its own Wakes Weeks, when the Locomotive Works and the mills closed down for two weeks in the summer, usually the second week in July. Each year, Harry Stocker’s Temperance Bar on Winter Hey Lane, organised about three coaches to go to Butlin’s Holiday Camp at Pwhelli. In 1956, the year I was 17, I went along with Vera Yates and two of her friends.

Now I'd never stayed away from my parents before so it was a big shock for me and felt thoroughly miserable for most of the week. The trouble was, I was completely out of my depth, and couldn’t handle some of the things that were supposedly going on. Rumour had it, for instance, that some lads had already been thrown out of the camp for placing a French letter (a condom) on a light bulb. The camp was then made up of those flimsy looking wooden chalets and every night we had to lock our chalet windows. Even that didn’t stop gangs of boys going round the girls’ chalets and banging on the doors. I often quaked in fear at night even though there was what was called a Chalet Patrol which went round checking the chalets to see if anything was amiss.

Mid-way through the week, my companions, particularly Vera, sat me down and gave me a good talking to, the essence of which was that even if I wasn’t enjoying myself, I shouldn’t spoil their fun by being miserable. After that, I made more of an effort to join in and ended up actually enjoying it. One of the worst things had been having to share such a small chalet with three other girls but towards the end of the week, I began to see the funny side of it, especially when all of us were trying to get ready at the same time and having to share one tiny mirror. Those girls taught me a valuable lesson on that holiday that the more you put into life, the more you get out of it.

Vera became my best friend after that holiday. We went all over the place together, Bolton Palais de Dance, the Tudor Ballroom in Chorley, the Empress Ballroom in Wigan or more locally, Rivington Hall Barn, a 14th century tithe barn and organised every Saturday night. Being out in the country, there were special buses to and from the Crown pub. It was very popular with us locals, but people from further afield came too, so there was usually a good mix of the known and unknown

In 1957, Vera and I went on holiday again. We stayed in a boarding house in Blackpool and had a wonderful time, dancing in the Tower Ballroom or the Winter Gardens, trooping along the Golden Mile or visiting the Pleasure Beach, especially the Fun House with its laughing clown machine outside that you couldn’t help laughing along with. The beach at Blackpool, then, was so crowded that you were lucky if you could manage to find a spare few inches of sand yet, one sunny day, we actually managed it and still have the photograph to prove it (see above). I remember that we used to meet up with some Scottish lads in a café on Central Drive that later became the setting for the B&B café in my book Bitter Sweet Fellowship.

Although there was good money to be made in the mill, I never made a fortune out of my time there because I did not apply myself diligently enough and spent too much time day-dreaming. Several times I tried to get out, such as the time Vera and I wanted to join the WRAC (Women’s Royal Army Corps). In the end I had to go alone to Manchester for the interview because Vera’s Dad, who was very strict, said she couldn’t go. I was actually a bit relieved when I was turned down on account of my ears, which were deformed as a result of scarlet fever when I was two.

 After I left the mill and subsequently moved around a lot, we lost touch for many years. It was only after my parents moved back to Horwich and Mum started chatting to Vera on the bus one day that we got in touch again. There was much to catch up on! We’d both married (and I divorced!) had children, by then grown up but whereas I had moved around a lot, Vera had stayed in Horwich. We’ve never looked back since then and when we do go back to Horwich, every couple of years or so, the highlight of our visit is always the time we spend with Vera. We’ve been known to chat for hours and never run out of things to say.

A Suitable Young Man by Anne Harvey

Vera and me at Horwich Heritage

A few years ago, I was invited to speak to Horwich Heritage, a civic society that preserves the industrial history of Horwich, about my first book, A Suitable Young Man, set in Horwich. It was entirely appropriate that Vera, herself a member of the society, was by my side supporting me.

Thank you, Vera, for 65 years of treasured friendship. Yes, 65 years!

Lead image is Vera (on the left) and me on Blackpool Beach.

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Isn't it amazing what can happen as the result of a chance conversation? 

By Cathie Hartigan | 24 Nov 2019

Synopsis And Readers Reviews Of A Long Dark Rainbow By Michael Tappenden

Synopsis And Readers Reviews Of A Long Dark Rainbow By Michael Tappenden

Philippa Iliffe of The Book Guild Ltd very kindly sent out copies of The Long Dark Rainbow to reviewers. Author Michael Tappenden starts off with a synopsis.

By Jan Rosser | 02 Nov 2019

A Birthday Treat Visit To Llangrannog!

A Birthday Treat Visit To Llangrannog!

Where would you like to go for your birthday said Derek? Somewhere I’ve not been to before was my reply. So……

By Jan Rosser | 07 Mar 2020

We'll Meet Again By Helen Vereker Singers

We'll Meet Again By Helen Vereker Singers

Do listen to We'll Meet Again and join in!

By Jan Rosser | 08 May 2020

Film Stars, Hair-Dos And Reminiscences

Film Stars, Hair-Dos And Reminiscences

One of the most interesting aspects of writing about the immediate past has been the research involved, especially the cover. 

By Anne Harvey | 15 Aug 2019

A Youthful Revolution?

A Youthful Revolution?

In preparation for an up-coming author talk, I’ve been giving much thought to that time between 1954 and 1960 when a momentous change seemed to be taking place.

By Anne Harvey | 02 Aug 2019

Washday

Washday

When our kitchens are full of shiny white goods taking much of the labour out of domestic chores, it is easy to forget how recently most of those chores were done by hand.

By Douglas J Lindsay | 23 Feb 2020

Walking For Health - Discussing The Benefits Of A Daily Stroll

Walking For Health - Discussing The Benefits Of A Daily Stroll

The Walking for Health Scheme was the brainchild of Doctor Bird who was a GP in Berkshire. He felt strongly that so many of his patients could enjoy better health if only they took more exercise.

By Kelly Florentia | 26 Mar 2020

War Time Experiences Of My Mum Kathleen Cox nee Tirrell (in her own words)

War Time Experiences Of My Mum Kathleen Cox nee Tirrell (in her own words)

Good friend Sheila Khan has sent me this article written by her mother about her many experinces in WW2.

By Jan Rosser | 10 May 2020

Reviewing My Memories Of My 1965 Pop Concert To See The Beatles!

Reviewing My Memories Of My 1965 Pop Concert To See The Beatles!

Mary Burns writes about her memories of this fabulous concert in 1965.

By Jan Rosser | 16 Jan 2019

The Lost Generation.  Is This The End Of The Photo Album?

The Lost Generation. Is This The End Of The Photo Album?

When was the last time saw an album of someone’s family photos and, more importantly, when was the last time you looked – yes really looked  – at your own family photographs?  

By Di Castle | 21 Sep 2019

Taking The Old - Time Tram

Taking The Old - Time Tram

Do you remember taking the tram to school?  

By Douglas J Lindsay | 20 Feb 2020

My Visit To Graceland

My Visit To Graceland

Since the age of 13, in 1959, I have been an ardent fan of the wonderful singer Elvis Presley.

By Rosemary Ann Smith | 06 Jan 2020

My Choice Of Desert Island Discs

My Choice Of Desert Island Discs

I have listened to Desert Island Discs since I was a teenager. How hard it is to choose 8 discs to take to a desert island!

By Jan Rosser | 05 Apr 2020

A Diary Of My Travels From The Quokkas Perspective Day 8

A Diary Of My Travels From The Quokkas Perspective Day 8

Today was going to be a wonderful lunch cruise from Circular Quay in Sydney Harbour,

By Adrienne Laverick | 08 May 2020

Cruising - Life Aboard the World Famous Mauritania Ship

Cruising - Life Aboard the World Famous Mauritania Ship

After working on the Queen Mary as a hairdresser for three and a half years, I was transferred to the Mauretania.

By June Tate | 30 Sep 2019

Readers Reviews Of Fabulous Books From Urbane Publications Part 2

Readers Reviews Of Fabulous Books From Urbane Publications Part 2

Following on from the very popular first article of authors publications, here are some more great readers reviews.

By Jan Rosser | 24 Aug 2018

Navy Blue Knickers, Gym Slips and School Dinners - A Review Of My Grammar School

Navy Blue Knickers, Gym Slips and School Dinners - A Review Of My Grammar School

It’s been a while since I posted a memoir-based blog (apart from last month’s ‘Stranded in New York City’), the last one being ‘Four Schools in One Term.’ 

By Anne Harvey | 21 Nov 2018

Reviewing Some Local Playgrounds - Why Are They Almost Always Empty?

Reviewing Some Local Playgrounds - Why Are They Almost Always Empty?

It is mid January and the weather is very mixed. 

By Jan Rosser | 16 Jan 2020

Is Bartering Still Popular In The 21st Century?

Is Bartering Still Popular In The 21st Century?

I have been having a bit of a de-clutter this week and like many of us, I have new  or nearly new items that I have bought over the years which I have  hardly or never used. 

By Jan Rosser | 30 Dec 2018

A Diary Of My Travels From The Quokkas Perspective Day 4

A Diary Of My Travels From The Quokkas Perspective Day 4

After dinner and a good nights rest, Queenie and Quentin decided on a walk down by the harbour to see what was going on in Cairns

By Adrienne Laverick | 22 Apr 2020

A Diary Of My Travels From The Quokkas Perspective

A Diary Of My Travels From The Quokkas Perspective

Whilst I was in Australia, I bought two soft toy Quokkas.

By Adrienne Laverick | 13 Apr 2020

Passionate About The Past - Challenging Times In 1962!

Passionate About The Past - Challenging Times In 1962!

By early 1962 when I was 23, I was still single, at a time when if you weren’t at least seriously ‘courting’ or engaged to be married, you were considered to be on the shelf.

 

By Anne Harvey | 06 Sep 2019

Whatever Happened To Manners And Respecting Your Elders?

Whatever Happened To Manners And Respecting Your Elders?

A crammed car park in the height of summer. We spot an area of scrub at the far end, pull in and park next to a van.

By Di Castle | 12 Sep 2019

The Lost Generation.  Is This The End Of The Photo Album?

The Lost Generation. Is This The End Of The Photo Album?

When was the last time saw an album of someone’s family photos and, more importantly, when was the last time you looked – yes really looked  – at your own family photographs?  

By Di Castle | 21 Sep 2019

Reviewing Some Local Playgrounds - Why Are They Almost Always Empty?

Reviewing Some Local Playgrounds - Why Are They Almost Always Empty?

It is mid January and the weather is very mixed. 

By Jan Rosser | 16 Jan 2020

Readers Reviews Of  A Ration Book Wedding By Jean Fullerton

Readers Reviews Of A Ration Book Wedding By Jean Fullerton

I am delighted to be featuring readers reviews of Jean Fullerton's latest novel.

By Jan Rosser | 13 May 2020

Herb Kingdom

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Clarity Voice Spray

Available in great tasting Elderberry or Honey and Lemon flavours.

Directions for use:

Shake before use. Spray into mouth. Use as often as required... Suitable for vegetarian use.

Ingredients:

Water, Glycerine, Aloe Vera, Flavour of choice (Elderberry Juice or Honey* Lemon juice)

Rose Cider Vinegar* and natural flavours* (extracts of liquorice, ginger, sage, thyme, rosehip, elderflower)

*organic ingredients used.

Made in the UK.

Give your voice clarity

Available to buy from Amazon in flavours Elderberry and Honey and Lemon

Creative Writing Student Handbook - Margaret James

Amazon review: a wonderful book, full of practical, useful tips.

If you're thinking about doing some creative writing this winter,

our 5* handbook will inspire you and give you confidence.

Available to buy from Amazon