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The saga of the Norwich Road Paperboy

by Action Desk, BBC Radio Suffolk

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
Action Desk, BBC Radio Suffolk
People in story: 
David Routh Bell's Newsagents
Location of story: 
Norwich Road Ipswich
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
26 August 2005

This story was collected at Christchurch Mansion. It has been submitted to the website by Maddy Rhodes, a volunteer with Radio Suffolk, on behalf of Mr. David Routh. Mr. Routh has given permission for it to be added to the site, and fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

During the war I was a paperboy for Bell’s Newsagent in Norwich Road, Ipswich.
Sometimes if there had been bombings in London we didn’t get the morning papers until about 4 o’clock in the afternoon, so we had to deliver the morning and evening papers together. In those days, papers only consisted of four pages, because of the shortage of paper. There were not many ads. either — but I remember the Bovril and OXO ones. Sometimes if there was an air raid the wardens would force us to stop the deliveries and go down the shelters, but we really wanted to get the job done. So we discovered routes that avoided the wardens’ posts.

Boys of 12,13,14 could always find ways of earning pocket money. We ran errands for the Barrage Balloon RAF personnel. Going to fetch their fish and chips would earn you 2d. or a few chips. Paper rounds were 6d. a round. That was good money and we could often pick up extra rounds when boys were evacuated.

Then there were the campaigns to collect jam jars. People were always collecting something! I remember collecting jam jars and taking them to school. The person who took the most would win a small reward — something like a jar of jam. Well, we discovered a shop that would buy jam jars from us. School didn’t get many after that!

We kept and bred rabbits and sold them to Juby, the butcher in Fore Street. They made 5 — 6 shillings each. People were short of meat you see.

Several of my friends belonged to the ATC ( Air Training Corps) and they visited the local American bases. They returned with all manner of goodies — sweets, chocolate, cigarettes, food and flares, which we let off in the undergrowth on Broomhill Park. The police never caught us — there were too many exits!

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