4. Local Work Opportunities
During his school years, Ken had part-time jobs with some of the local businesses:
“I used to do a paper-round in the evenin’, for Mr. Noyce which was a newspaper shop down Winchester Street; on a Saturday night I used to have to go down there with me father to get the football paper. Everybody queued up for this football paper that come out about seven o’clock. You didn’t have telly in the early days to get yer football results so you had to get this paper. In the morning I did the milk round, for Mr Maple, round in St. Edmund’s Church Street …. well there’s a milk bar in those days and a dairy at the back, Maple’s Dairy, and I used to do the milk round. I used to go out twice on me bike with a crate on the front of the bike. I quite enjoyed that except in the winter it was jolly cold with these milk bottles and one or two did slip out yer ‘and. ‘Oh dear. Damn.’ Then on a Saturday morning used to go round with Mr. Maple and we used to collect all the money”.
There were a lot of businesses in the local streets then:
“Me father…. worked up at the leather works, up Payne’s Hill….and me mother used to do the teas up there, she was in the canteen. Me father was in charge of all the maintenance. A very big cathedral-like building to a certain extent. Daniels, that run it. They had that family business there, and they had one in Northampton because there’s big shoe manufacturers in Northampton. And they had another one just round the back of Waterloo Station somewhere, ‘cos I know my father used to … go to London for weeks on end sometimes to this other factory to do maintenance work. They used to do the tanning there (at the Invicta Works), had these big pits where all these big sheets of leather.. cowshides, I s’pose, used to be sort of dipped in. Used to do a lot of crocodile up there. I remember that because me Dad used to get some …. when he went to Northampton, used to get the people up there to make the shoes and me mother always had nice crocodile shoes an’ handbags (The factory) was very smelly and dirty, but employed a lot of people.
You know there’s a lot of people employed all around that area. You ‘ad dairies up the back of Culver Street, which employed a lot of people, plus all the little businesses all around. And garages. At the top of Winchester Street we had Goddards which was the Austin people. Where the road and the bridge is now you ‘ad Collett’s garage before they moved back down into town”.
The photographs shown here depict just a handful of the businesses that existed in the St Edmund’s area.