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Roots - TRL-style

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#1 JohnM

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 11:02 AM

My late father, grandfather and grandmother used to live in Burnley in the 1910s. How they survived I never knew... granddad used to make Stradivarius violins..buy a cheap violin and stick a fake sticker inside..Hundreds of thousands of violins have been made which copy the Stradivarius design and bear labels that read "Stradivarius."


When they finally flitted to Manchester, they borrowed a cart pulled by a horse that had been trained to tiptoe past the landlords house...... finally ended up running a theatrical boarding house in Leamington Street Oxford Road in Manchester with grandma singing in the Carl Rosa Opera Company. During the war, Adolf dropped a huge landmine that buried itself in the cellar of a nearby house and they were evacuated ..to Burnley.  Grandad ended up working at Gerrards on Pendlebury Road where he lost three fingers in a circular saw. On posh occasions he wore gloves stuffed with bits of wood as fingers.


the good old days?

#2 Wolford6

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 11:04 AM

That's as good as it's ever got in Burnley.


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#3 Exiled Townie

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 12:11 PM

if we're talking about grandparents, one grandad and his two brothers went off to WW1.  One brother was killed, one wounded and my grandad was gassed.  I was only little when he died, lung problems brought about by being gassed at 18, but I remember him as an 'old man' sitting in the corner, smoking his pipe, have a coughing bout then spitting large gobs of phlegm into the coal fire that sparked and sizzled.  Apart from the war, he worked continuously at the steel works from he was 14 until he was 65.

Grandad number two lived in a village outside of Workington and was known as 'big John'.  My mother remembers that on many occasions there would be a knock on the door and there would be a woman and her children - many different ones, and  she would ask if John could come and sort their husbands out as they had come home drunk and started hitting her and the kids.  Grandad would go along, throw the man out and let his wife and kids back in to the house.   Once again, a man who started work at 14 down the pits, then changed to the steelworks in his 30's because they offered a set wage and it was not dependant on how much coal you produced to get your money. 


The good old days?

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#4 Ackroman

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 12:22 PM

We only had a hole to live in with a tarpaulin for a roof etc

#5 Old Frightful

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 02:00 PM

Of course, we 'ad it tough...

          NO BUTS IT'S GOT TO BE BUTTER......                                 Z1N2MybzplQR6XBrwB9egniMH8xqYQ5s.jpg                                                                                                                     

#6 l'angelo mysterioso

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 02:51 PM

We only had a hole to live in with a tarpaulin for a roof etc



We only had a hole to live in with a tarpaulin for a roof etc

you were lucky

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#7 Saint Billinge

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 03:06 PM

My grandad worked at Pilkington Brothers backing on to our terraced house. We used to attach some string to his billy can filled with tea and lower it down over the fence. He wasn't a bad person, but never would we dare wake him up when having a snooze in his rocking chair. Grandad was the head of the house, no question about it. On getting his Guinness on a Saturday from the pub outdoor, he would put a hot poker into it. 


Grandma once made me watch whilst skinning a rabbit. She was an avid wrestling fan and would often wrestle me for fun as a young lad. Two lovely people. 

Edited by Saint Billinge, 10 April 2013 - 03:08 PM.

#8 Wolford6

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:15 PM

When I was a kid, I regularly went to stay the weekend with my Nan and Grandfather (like many grandfathers in our valley we referred to him as Bamp). One thing i really liked was that I could have my dinner on my plate. This was beause my grandparents had plates of several different patterns whereas we had a dinner set of matching plates ... or actually two sets-of-four of the same pattern bought from the Co-op.


I didn't realise until my early teens that this was because they had plates that had been handed on or bought second hand. Actually, by that time, they could have afforded a proper set but obviously weren't bothered.


These days, I collect old plates (hand-painted crockery is working class art I reckon) and commonly select from about twenty big and twenty small plates for my meals.


My grandkids, just like I used to, enjoy choosing their own plate when they come to see me for their dinner or tea.

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#9 Futtocks

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 12:38 PM

I remember journeying to visit my Grandparents on my Dad's side being quite hard work. Being active in the Salvation Army, they were posted somewhere new every few years, so in those pre-satnav and mobile phone days, we regularly had to locate their house in an unfamiliar city. It was great when we got there, though.

A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it isn’t open. Frank Zappa (1940 - 1993)

#10 Matt J

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 03:29 PM

Hang on... ill go find it all out...

Cummins Out.

#11 Saint Billinge

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 03:50 PM

you were lucky


Chris, I just love the story about your grandad and sawing down the rugby posts! 

#12 Phil

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 05:27 PM

Dad's from Derry, Mom's from Mayo. Mom came over in 1947 to work as housemaid to the priest at Queensbury (will you have a cup of tea Father? Gwan! You will you will!). She'd never seen snow of any great depth before and spent all her time crying because she thought the winter of '47 with its 20 foot snowdrifts was the norm! Dad met her when he walked through the snow from Halifax to fix the boiler because they had no heating on.

"Freedom without socialism is privilege and injustice, socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality" - Mikhail Bakunin

#13 l'angelo mysterioso

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 06:39 PM

Chris, I just love the story about your grandad and sawing down the rugby posts!

Aye the quiet ones are the ones you have to watch
That was certainly true of old Josiah
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#14 Bostik Bailey

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 07:16 PM

Not my granddad but a mate of mine told me this gem.

His granddad had a farm around Kendal, and come Saturday night he'd hitch up the horse to a farm cart a traipse off around the other farms picking up his mates. Into the Main Street of town, tie the horse up, give it a bag of oats and of a merrymaking they would go. At the end of the night they'd all jump into the cart, un hitch the horse and giddy up off it went. Every one would drop off to sleep, but not only did the horse know the route home it would stop at everyone's farm give a neigh to wake everyone up so you could jump off and home you got.

#15 Wolford6

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 07:35 PM

1. Big Pit at Blaenavon was a very big coal mine. (now a World Heritage Site and a museum where you can go down the shaft to a face ... at no cost, museums are free in Wales)


The working shafts were very hot to work in and, at the end of a shift, miners would commonly walk up an air shaft or drift to the surface and walk back across the surface to the minehead ... commonly half a mile or so's distance.


The pit ponies' stable was at the base of the mine, so the miners would uncouple the ponies from their drams and tap them on the backside. The horses always found their way back to the stable in absolute pitch blackness, generally via more than one driven shaft.


2. As a schoolboy and student during the early years of the last war , my dad had to do shepherding on the mountain  and had a retired pit pony to ride. The mountaintops on our valley have outcrops of rock. He had to concentrate on where he was going  because the horse, after being down the mine, didn't instinctively go round the rocks ... it  just kept going in a straight line and climbed over them.

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