Orphaned and homeless

My mother died in childbirth when I was ten. She left three boys and three girls. My father coped for about a year  ………..


and then the family was split up. My mother’s family took the three girls and my father’s family took the three boys.

My oldest brother and I were brought up by my grandfather and uncle in Acton. They were strictly religious and I was about eleven when I came to live with them. One night I was out – when I should not have been – with a few middling boys from Acton. When I got home I got a thump about the ear and was told off. I didn’t like it and ran away and lived in a hay shed. I was there several nights when May Magill – who was my age – told her father, Eddie Magill. Eddie called down to the entry when the shed was, one day and told me I could go into a wee house he owned in Chapel Street. We agreed on a rent of 9d a week.

Now 9d a week was like a ‘fiver’ now. Anyway I went into that wee house and there was nothing in it – it was empty. But I slept there.

Well, things got worse – and things got better. I got something to lie on. I got boxes to sit on. I stole wood and stuff to make fires. Soon it became the house for the boys of the village. I left school. I didn’t have any schooling after twelve years of age. I got a little older and I went to work. 


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