We had lots and lots of boxes of matches - enough to set Wallsend on fire I should think.
My grandparents had lived through the First World War. When war scares started in the mid-30s they got in sacks of dried peas and dried beans – in fact, anything that would keep. Luckily they had some nice dry outhouses. They lived on a smallholding. My grandad said that in the First World War the only thing that you couldn’t get was matches. So we had lots and lots of boxes – enough to set Wallsend on fire I should think. We really got prepared – it was in our nature. We’re still prepared. You can’t help it.
We’d only gone twenty years from the First World War and people had lived through the poor twenties, and thirties. Then the war came and people came off the unemployment. At the beginning of 1939 people started getting jobs – little fiddle jobs. Admittedly it wasn’t until the middle of the 1940s that we got full employment – but some of the men that went to war … well it was the first time they’d had proper meals and proper suits. And don’t forget that the culture was very different. If you didn’t have a job, it was a slur.