- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Elsie Blackburn and Friends
- Location of story:
- Burnley Lancashire
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 31 July 2005
This story has been submitted to the People’s War website by Anne Wareing of the Lancashire Home Guard on behalf of Elsie Blackburn and has been added to the site with her permission….
When I was out at night mum insisted I took a flashlight, but I used to leave it in the front room, then sneak in and get it when I got back. Mum never found out. I did this because when you got to where you were going, what on earth were you going to do with a torch?
We were six teenage girls, about 16 who used to go out together, because there were no boys around. We used to go to dances together at the Weaver’s Institute. Then as we got older we went to the Empress in Burnley. We all lived in the Trafalgar area of Burnley.
We all met up and set off together to get there and back. I lived off St. Matthew St. furthest away, across the railway line, so I had to walk the last bit by myself. I was very cocky and brave and wasn’t at all frightened. But once, walking up St. Matthew St. about 11.30pm a man came walking up beside me. He said, ‘Hello darling.’ I didn’t answer, just carried on walking. He came up again but I still didn’t answer, so he said, ‘Oh, is it like that?’ we both carried on to Raglan Rd. where he turned off and I scurried home as fast as I could.
We used to go to the pictures about twice a week, Mondays and Wednesdays. There were lots of picture houses in Burnley and they changed the programme every Wednesday. Most of the images we had of the war were from newsreels at the cinema, because there wasn’t any telly.
We used to go roller- skating at the Empress during the week (Friday and Saturday it was dancing). Mr. Thompson was the M.C. and if you were lucky he would hold your hand and take you round with him.
Tuesdays you stayed in and washed your hair. We went out walking, probably on Good Friday, and made a day of it walking to Haworth. We called in at a farmhouse for lunch on the way. Ham, eggs, sausage and tomatoes with homemade bread and a big pot of tea — the highlight of the day.
When it was time to light up in the weaving shed, they had big blinds, which we pulled down. Every weaver was responsible for pulling their own blind down; then the manager would walk round to make sure all the blinds were in place. The factory was lit by gas and the tackler used to hurry along each aisle with a long taper, lighting all the gas lamps as fast as he could.
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