When I lived in King Street in the 1930s, the area was full of what you might call ‘characters’; although that is rather a polite term for them. I remember a lady we used to call ‘Irish Kate’. She was a huge lady who used to lie in bed singing Irish songs; you could see her plainly through the front window. I never knew what she did for a living. She lived with another lady who was something of a shoplifter. She used to wear a long coat under which she hid all her ‘goodies’ when she went around the shops.
A philosophical drunk
There was a bake house two doors down from us, where we used to get Mum’s Christmas cake baked; they charged three pence for this service. Mr Thompson the baker was a large silver-haired, red faced Scot. His wife, who did all the worrying, was a little slip of a woman from Coventry. ‘Big Jock’ as he was known, exuded philosophy and alcohol; his drinking bouts were quite fearsome. He would come out of the pub and hang onto the nearest lamppost until his wife fetched him. It got so bad that she would lock him in the shop but when he ran out of booze in the house, he would try to escape over the wall.