'I never did get paid to do that work....'

Elizabeth Court Reminisce About Leaving School And Their First Jobs

By Lu Pearson

Photo: Illustrative image for the ''I never did get paid to do that work....'' page

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Photo: Illustrative image for the ''I never did get paid to do that work....'' page

Photo from the WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Photo: Illustrative image for the ''I never did get paid to do that work....'' page

Photo from the WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Members of the group discuss their memories of leaving school and their first jobs.

'I left school at 15, I left school on a Friday and started a job on Monday in London Road Brighton in the Scottish Wool Shop. I had seen an advert in the shop window.  The manageress was very very strict she would check nails to make sure they were clean. We worked from 9 until 5.30 with an hour for dinner break and a tea break.  There always had to be someone on the shop floor.  When there were no customers in the shop she would always find something to do.  I was paid about one pound two shillings a week.  My wage packet went home to mum, but I kept the money for the bus fare and tights. I worked six days a week and I liked my job'.


'I left school at 15 as well, I was a baker boy delivering three days a week on a bicycle with one of those big basket on the front.  I remember one time that knocked a policeman off his bike!'


'My first job was working for the milliners. I worked from nine o'clock till six o'clock with an hour to lunch, it was just me as the assistant and the manager. We would close for a half day on Thursdays when he had to change their window dressing.  I received six shillings commission for every six I sold.  I only lasted there two weeks'.


'I left school at 13 and worked in a pub and B&B for fishermen.  It was a live-in job.  When I was 19 I was up in my room and there was a really big storm and some of the others said come down to the bar and have a drink, which was lucky during the storm a tree crashed into the bedroom where I would have been'.


'I left school around 14 in be a secretary but became epileptic, so unfortunately could not do the night school, so instead I started working at a groceries from 8.30 in the morning till 6 with an hour for lunch.  I would do the deliveries and had to provide my own bike. We were not allowed to stand still and not allowed to call each other by our Christian names'.


'I started work around the age of 16 doing hairdressing, my parents said that if I got myself qualified they would set me up in a business.  So I started working in a local salon to do my two years training, however, I became more interested in Jonathan Rapkey the owners son.  He would visit the salon about twice a week.  So I'm not really sure how much I learned about hairdressing as I would always be talking to Jonathan.  But the hairdressing exams were hard and I did pass them but by this time I had lost interest in hairdressing and having my own salon and instead became a civil secretary'.


'I left school when I was about 14, my father went into the office in Southwick and found me a job boat building - I worked there for about 3 months.  We had to carry 28 foot long planks I got fed up and so moved to a place in London, making hobbyhorse heads'.


'I left school at around 15 years old, at school I was good at art but all my mates went to work on building sites.  I found a job carrying plasterboard in Moulsecoomb, we had to work a week in hand and we worked really really hard, so hard.  I was falling asleep on the bus on the way home. On the Friday of the second week the boss didn't turn up, so I went home and my dad said 'No I'm not having this!' and he went to find him (the boss) but he'd done a runner and I never did get paid to do that work but can still see his face now'.


The Elizabeth Court Reminiscence sessions were facilitated by WRVS volunteers Rod Patterson and Lyn Strong.

This page was added by Lu Pearson on 08/05/2009.

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