Clubs and tickmen

From Harry Foy's Book  'Growing up in Portadown in the Thirties and Forties'

Clubs were a great goer when we were growing up. People ran clubs, photo clubs and clothes clubs. The housewife paid a shilling a week for twenty or thirty weeks to a collector until she had saved up enough to have her hair permed or to buy a new dress. All the families lived on tick. Men called each week to collect on clothing that had been sold on credit. Some weeks the tick man had to go without because the man of the house had not been working. Insurance men took as little as two or three pence a week in life insurance. It was the only way to guard against debt if there was a death in the family.

A man's good suit was always a great luxury in a family as it could be pawned in Boston's in Woodhouse Street. Sometimes it stayed there and was only redeemed for funerals and weddings. The pawn tickets were stamped with a value and could be sold when the owner was in need of money. Tiddley-wink clubs were popular too. After paying a shilling a week for thirty weeks you drew a number from 1 to 30 and then you got your shilling in the week shown on your draw ticket. Money lenders (nearly always of the Jewish community) were also a necessary part of life but their interest rates were exorbitant to say the least. 

Clothes were precious commodities. In big families items of clothing were passed from one child to the next. Nearly every family had a last on which boots and shoes were repaired. You could get a new pair of soles in Woolworths for sixpence. Although people were poor they didn't discuss debts with the neighbours. People skipped into the pawnshop when no one was looking or sent one of the children. Many parents went without to provide for their children.
Market Day in Portadown.

Street gangs and fogging orchards.

The wee shops.

Colourful vendors.

The Canon's trip.

The Butterfly.

Greenaway's ghost.

Summer on the Bann.

The Great Lemonade Robbery.

My first day at school.

The packman.

Even the dog understood the language.


Our House.

A long throw since skittles game was born.

The Gas Man Cometh.

In tune with the band.

Donald Campbell Had nothing on us.

The Obinsville Cowboys.

Singing in the streets.

Such good sports.

The days of the sand quays.

The magic of Christmas.

Bombs - not sandwiches.

Skipping, football and cigarette cards.

Escape to the movies.

My first taste of plays.

Smuggling knew no borders.

The tale of the pigs.

Three brass balls.

Thanks for the memories.

First class show!.

Who could forget Mary Ann!.

Health remedies.

Fondly Remembered.

Going To The Dogs.


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