People, being hard up, loved to see the gasman coming.
The gasman was a very welcome visitor when he came around.
In those days everyone had a slot gas meter which took pennies and was emptied at regular intervals. Because we only had gas in our house our meter was emptied more often than other people’s. Sometimes we even had to call the gasman out as we couldn’t get the money in, it was so full.
He would go to the meter in the cupboard under the stairs, unlock the metal box holding the money, bring it through and empty it onto the kitchen table (already cleared ready by my mam). He would start counting the pennies, putting them into strong paper tubes. Each one held five shillings (25 pence in today’s money) and there was always quite a few.
He then did some calculations, gave my mam a receipt, put most of the money into his strong leather satchel and left, leaving some of the money on the table. This was ‘the rebate’ as it was called, a percentage of the money given back. My mam always gave us a treat with it and off we would dash to the shops to spend it. People, being hard up, loved to see the gasman coming.