|Memories of Fazeley, written by Joseph T. Hunter in August 2008 when he was 88 years old.
Childhood pleasure and my Friday Night pennyAs a child of 9 or 10 my only pocket money was my Friday night penny which I received from my Aunt Rose, my mother's sister who lived across the road from us in Lichfield Street. I had a cousin Gladys and she had a penny from my mother. To supplement my pocket money I ran errands for people but Saturday mornings were our best opportunities. The timber wharf sold off cuts, blocks and logs and had about six handcarts with shafts, so I had to go early to get one, such was the demand for wood for burning on open fires for heating and cooking. The carts had a capacity of a large wheelbarrow at sixpence for a load. We had a kitty of sixpence, so off we would go, myself in the shafts and Gladys pushing. All three canal bridges in Fazeley were hump backed and at times of snow and ice it was a struggle to get up the bridge. We used to be given tips of a penny or twopence and one lady gave us threepence. Another lady who shall be nameless invariably had no change !! so that was the source of my well earned pocket money.
In the summer we would play football in the street, sometimes windows would be broken and in the winter we played around the lighted gas lamps. The operator, Mr Baker, cycled on his round with a large rod and hook putting the lights on.
When the roads were dug up for repairs, there would be a nightwatchman with a cabin and coke brazier to keep warm. Our local one was Dennis Lorenzo Brown who lived in our street. He was one of four men in the village who had lost limbs in the Great War. We would put lighted lamps out for him to save him walking, they didn't use many barricades or road signs in those days and there were few cars or lorries to light up the roadworks. His faithful dog would sit with him all night and our gang would sit around the fire with locally gathered chestnuts and small potatoes roasting. What could be nicer on a cold winters night outside.
Mr Brown had had a colourful life and would regale us with stories. Another interest I had as a child was watching men weave baskets and a few yards away was a farrier shoeing horses. His name was Charlie Lunn and I would pump the bellows for him as the coke fire intensified and he thrust the steel in. He did not employ a striker like the farrier at the Hockley turn did.
In Mill Lane opposite there was an abattoir and standing on a ledge beneath the window, we could see cattle, sheep and pigs slaughtered. The pigs bladders were eagerly sought and would be blowed up while still warm and used for a game of football.