The Kitchen Maid

Location : Thetford

What were your parents' names?

Polly L… and Charley L….

What did they do?

My Dad … worked at Burrell's Works. My Mum stopped at home, looked after us children. I had 2 sisters and 1 brother. Annie the eldest, Eileen the second, I was the third Alice and Jack was the last. When I was 14 I left school and I worked in Vicarage Road, a poor little house girl, scrubbing the doorsteps and sleeping in. What you'd call a general all dog's body. … Poor little girl sent out to work. Domestic really.

How much were you paid?

5 and 4 pence a week … a week! … My sister Annie went to London, she worked in London, my brother worked at the post office in Thetford and my middle sister went like I did, down Croxton Road doin' housework.

What made you decide to go there?

I was sent there ‘cause a job come up and I'd gotta go to work.

What skills did you learn when you were there?

None.

What particular memories do you have?

Oh well I used to have friends and go out and I enjoyed my work though that was domestic I had to work. I had a nice young life. I went to Christian choir practice, Christian Endeavour and all sorts, Guides.

What was the bit that you didn't enjoy about work?

No I don't think I disliked it at all, that's what I had to do and I just got on with it. The hours, I had to be up at 6 in the morning, scrub the doorstep, take my cup of tea up in bed. Do the housework, some of the housework and get the dinner ready for evening, used to have evening meal. But I was happy doing it I suppose that was what I was brought up. You keep happy doing what you've always done. I was in the Methodist choir. Went out with my boyfriend, as you do. … Used to go out with my friends, swimming I used to love. Used to go down the swimming every day, every night. … Dancing … went to the Odd Fellow's Hall it was then, Earl Street next to the hospital. Guildhall we used to go dancing … and up Castle Street.

They were live bands were they?

Yer … My Dad used to play the piano, another man played the cornet and Mr Bowers did something else. But we used to have what they call 6 penny hops … they were like dancing and we paid 6 pence that was all it was to go in. … I've had a contented life, I mean ‘cause Mum and Dad, that's the main thing your home.

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