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Olive Thompson’s Memories

During the air raids, we used to use the culvert

I was born in Sandyford in 1933 and went to Sandyford  School from age 5 to 14 years.

The year after I left school the school leaving age was increased to 15 years,  I was pleased they didn’t put the leaving age up before I left because I hated school; no reason I just hated it.

I had 2 sisters and 5 brothers I also had plenty of friends and we used to play outside.  During the air raids, we used to use the culvert.  This was a big underground air-raid shelter and it went under the Ouseburn; you entered it from Starbeck Avenue.

When I left school, I went to work in the Co-op Shoe department in Newgate Street, Newcastle. I was there for 2 years then sadly my mother died and my youngest brother was only 5 years old, so I left the Co-op to work in Walker Swimming Baths. It was shift work and this meant I could help my father to take care of my younger brothers and sisters.

My father was a proud and wonderful man; he received no help from anyone and made a good job of raising us all; we are still a very close knit family.

I met my husband at Walker baths; he worked there as well. We started courting; I wasn’t one for the pictures, but we used to go dancing at the local hops.  When we got married, I had to leave the baths because it was a rule that married couples could not work at the same place. I got a job doing pub lunches, that was the first time I had a ride in a car  I had to work Sundays but there were no buses, so they used to come and pick me up.

We moved to Benton with my dad and the family.  I started work for Rediffusion as a collector then as an accounts inspector; that was the best job I ever had.

I had 2 children, a boy and a girl. Unfortunately, I was widowed at the age of 46. I have had a good life and had never been in hospital until 2 years ago.

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