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18 June 2014
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Legacies - Tyne

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work at 21
Your Story: Joan Parker

Everybody's lifestyle had totally changed from hiding in air raid shelters listening to bombs dropping from german aircraft wondering if you were going to live or die.It was Rock and Roll in the Miners Welfare Hall.Everyone was happy to be alive and have freedom to do whatever you wanted within reason. There were no drugs. We went to ice cream shops to socialise. If we had enough money we would have a knickerbocker Glory (which cost two shillings and sixpence), which was the Ultimate or a milk shake or lemonade with an ice cream in it. We were fortunate enough to have three picture houses so that we could see a different film every night of the week. Them all of the village teenagers would congregate on the "Terrace", which was one street of shops. There was only homour, no fights, no-one arguing. There was one policemnan who would patrol up and down the Terrace, who everyone respected.

I enjoyed sport and so did my husband who was then my boyfriend. We were one of the first couples or possibly the fist couple to have a car in the large village of Murton, Seaham County Durham. I played tennis and Billy played Football, we were part of the first athletic club formed by an ex footballer, called Jim Anderson who had his football stopped because of the war, but he was playing with professionals in the airforce. The athletic club had competitions with the other villages and towns, apparently I had lifted the equivalent to the British Champion of the time at one of the weight lifting competitions. There was lots of top class competition. Billy played against the Busby babes before the Munich air disaster. He played for Hartlepool United at the time. He was working at the pit at that time, earning £21 per week. Professionals fottballers were not earning as much as the amateur footballers. Billy played for Bishop Auckland, the best amateur side in the country and earned £6 a game. The older players got more. After the Munich air disaster players from Bishop Auckland helped Manchester United as they were short of players.

Although my grandmother went to grammar school, she was not allowed to work as her mother was in need of help, so her father said I had to stay at home, being the only daughter. The only money my grandmother earned was from beauty competitions. She started further education classes and became a keep fit teacher and earned money in the evenings. When her father came home from work and he worked from 7am to 7pm as foreman joiner at South Hetton Colliery and that was seven days a week, with two weeks holiday per year, up to 1955 everyone at the pit had only one week holiday per year.

Words: Liam John Nelson Parker

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