A very spartan sort of living

I am seventy five years of age, and lived at number 36 Jubilee Street from 1917-1930, two doors from Shoesmith’s, the corn merchants, who stabled their horses under the steps, though there were flats above. Eight of us lived in the house; two sis­ters, two brothers, my niece, Mum and Dad and me. We had four bedrooms all par­titioned with wood; if ever there was a fire we would all have been burnt to death.

I can’t remember who our house belonged to, I think it belonged to Shoesmith’s. We had a little yard at the back, concrete of course, and in one corner a furnace copper that boiled the water to do the washing. In the opposite corner the toilet, then a sink where you were supposed to wash, but of course we used to bring it into the scullery.

There were no bathrooms; we went round the corner to the Public Baths in North Road, which was threepence; though when I was five or six I used to have a bath in a tin bath. I was about four I suppose when we first moved there, and I was about sixteen or so when we left. It was a very spartan sort of living. I used to go regularly every Monday morning as a boy to get half a bar of Sunlight soap, 21b of soda for Mum to do the washing and I had about a ha’porth of sweets, I think, out of sixpence.

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