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My mother had lost all her money and the coat too!

 

An incident I remember very well from the 1920s concerned a coat.  In those days all the women in our area wore shawls.  My mother had two, one for everyday and a nice light grey one for best.  Well, a new shop opened in Saville Street, selling ladies clothes and my mother went along to take a look.  It was a very smart shop opposite Woolworth’s and in the window was a lovely dark blue coat.  My mother had been longing to have one, so she went in to try it on.  Of course, she knew she couldn’t afford it, but she was persuaded by the shopkeeper to pay for it weekly.  So, she agreed to pay half a crown (two shillings and six pence) a week.  It was going to take two or three months, but it was worth it.

Finally, it was almost paid for; just one more payment and the coat would be hers.  She went along with her money that Saturday morning feeling very excited, but she received a shock, the shop had closed down, the window was empty and the shopkeeper had done a bunk.  My mother was terribly upset, she’d lost all her money and the coat too.  She wasn’t the only one, lots of women had been making weekly payments just like her and they were all conned.  The police couldn’t do much as they didn’t know where he had gone to, probably to another town to rob more poor people.

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