Perhaps I had ambitions to be an MP - or an undertaker!

Friday, March 2, 2012



Chop your own wood, and it will warm you twice. (Henry Ford)



Cowgate, Kirkintilloch in 1910


This peaceful scene would have looked a great deal different earlier in the morning. The street would have been a mass of men and women in a hurry, responding to the first blast of the horn which warned that they had just five more minutes to get inside the foundry gates. Those who hadn’t arrived before the second blast would know that money would be docked from their pay.

Others, mainly women, would have been on the road earlier. These were the domestic servants facing the half-hour’s walk to the big private houses in Lenzie. One or two men would have been among them, gardeners, odd-job men, and perhaps a chauffeur, who later in the day would drive his employer to Glasgow.

An hour later the streets are still fairly busy with shop assistants and office workers on their way to begin the tasks of the day. Many of them are walking on the road for there’s very little traffic - perhaps the doctor’s car or a horse-driven van. Later still, more horses and carts will appear, all heading in different directions.

A good number of local people work in Glasgow and many travel by bus. There are two railways stations in the town, both within easy walking distance for most people.

It’s a dull day and the shops will need their gas lamps lit for some time yet. Looking at the goods displayed in a grocer’s window, we find eggs marked up at 1s a dozen, butter at 1s 2d for a pound, tea is 1s 6d a pound, cheese 6d a pound, sugar 3d a pound, lard 7d a pound, a loaf of bread costs tuppence ha’penny, a pound of bacon is 9d and a pound of onions a penny ha’penny. (For those of you who don’t remember “old money” - one shilling = 5p)

Children are beginning to appear on the main street on their way to school. Some have to walk quite a distance. Most of them are well-wrapped up against the cold, though not all. A few are poorly dressed and one wonders what kind of breakfast they had. They all have schoolbags on their back, containing their books and a “play piece” (something to eat at “play time.”) Those who live too far away to get home for lunch will have been given something extra to eat at lunch time. No school meals or milk in those days!

With the children off to school, most mothers are busy at home, cleaning the house, washing and ironing and attending to the many household chores - and all without the aid of modern gadgets!

Later in the day the opportunity will probably occur to go shopping. And when friends meet each other, what do they talk about? The cost of living, no doubt. One woman tells her friend that the Co-op butcher has meat at 10d a pound, and the other replies that at the fruiterer’s apples are 3d a pound.

But many are discussing last night “at the pictures.” This is of course BC - before cinemas, but every so often a travelling showman visits the town hall to present a programme of moving pictures. Presented by the OK Living Electric Pictures, the show had included the OK Gazette News of the World, two main films, some shorts - and “live acts.”

Many church people were reluctant to give their approval to that kind of entertainment, but they would have enjoyed the missionary night in the Baptist Church, where the visiting speaker showed pictures of Africa and Africans with his “Magic Lantern.”

For most folk it was a long working day, and especially in the winter time it would be great to get home in the evening and do what? Probably not much.

[This article originally appeared in my blog “When Our Parents were Young”]



Dutch Boats in a Gale
by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851)



by Joan Dixon

So many things
Everywhere things,
My things, your things,
On-the-shelves and in-drawers things,
Old things, new things,
Useful and trivial things,
Pretty and ugly things,
Treasured and forgotten things,
Not-need-now things,
One day come-in-handy things,
Will keep-for-grandchildren things,
Hate-to-throw-away things,
Oh! Too many things!
Time to shed the blooming things!!!



The denunciation of the young is a necessary part of the hygiene of older people,
and greatly assists the circulation of the blood. (Logan P. Smith)


Next post here Monday 5th March

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