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From Ireland to Nottingham

by nottinghamcsv

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
People in story: 
James Minns and Johnny O'Brien
Location of story: 
Ireland and Nottingham
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
06 September 2005

"This story was submitted to the People's War site by CSV/BBC Radio Nottingham on behalf of James Minns with his permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions."

My story starts in 1943 when I left Ireland aged 8. We lived in lodgings, me and my brother and 4 sisters in Bootle, Liverpool. We were looking for my father because he had gone missing. Very hard for a woman with 6 kids to find lodgings, so we ended up in a convent. We left there say a month later and moved to Nottingham and stayed with relatives in Hyson Green. We stayed with my Great-Grandma who was about 92! We lived there for about one year and then moved to Nottingham.
I settled down in a school called St.Edwards R.C. on Hunt Street, Nottingham. It was also a Francican Friary with monks as well as a school.
My first day at school. I was a strange kid in a strange town, different accent, I was bullied. I had a stron resolution and came over that.
In them days kids didn't get money from their parents you had to run errands. Before you got sweets you had to get thier cigarettes. I used to get the Dandy and Beano for a penny.
Fuel was hard to get, coal. Miners used to get it, but you used to get a monthly allowance. The ordinary housewife had to queue up for coke. I used to go all the way down to Basford (about 4 miles each way), with a little pram to get coke about 1/3d a quarter.
When I was about 10, during heavy snow we used to warm glass lemonade bottles by the fire to heat up, then put them in the beds to warm your feet up - a hot water bottle!
When VE day came me and my friend Johnny O'Brien made the biggest bonfires Nottingham ever had. We used to chop the trees down from the end of our road and drag the wood back and make a bonfire about 20ft high!
We would collect rags and empty bleach bottles getting 3d back on them.
I was knocked down by everything on the road as a kid, bike, motorbike car and lorry!

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