Skip Navigation To Main content

Me with ma first bornNancy Tipping Born: 1921 Bellshill, Lanarkshire

My dad was a miner at Mossend, Bellshill. MaMy mum didnae did not work but she was strict. By God she looked after you. We were always well fed. There were a lot of strikes in they days, but she always had a pot of soup on. I got too much of it though, am I am no a soup hand noonow. I had a brother William, and four sisters, Nicolas (that name goes back hundreds of years in our family, all females, all had red hair), Susan, Jeanie and Elizabeth who died at 2 years. I had a happy enough life. Where a wiswas, it was a single end, with two set in beds and the water tap and sink at the window, we had no hot water though. There was a curtain across the beds. Willie slept in the pullout bed that came from under the big bed. We had a big open fire with a wee rangesmall cooker using the heat from the fire at the bottom to hold your pots.

I went to Mossend public school, it was a new school then. I wasn't that hot a scholar. I learned my three r's, reading, writing, and arithmetic. I had one teacher, a Miss Walker, she was a bissom. She seemed to pick on the ones whose father's were miners. She thought she was above you. To think what they had to go doon taedown too the bowels of the earth taeto! The two oldest sisters left to go to Canada when I was about 8 years old, so we moved to Bellshill. I still went to Mossend School, so I had to get the tram there. You got a penny for the tram but it was tempting to spend it on sweeties. I done it but not too often. When I got home from school I had to take my school clothes off. MaMy mother always liked to see us spotless at school. Then I got mamy dinner, then we went out to play. There used to be a pit but it was stopped and we used to find anything we could to sit on and slide doondown the thing. I used to take mice into the hoosehouse. I felt sorry for them. MaMy mother used to chuck them ootout. We had hens in the back yard of our other house at Calder Road in Mossend. It was just for a short time cause mamy sister widnaewould not eat the eggs. She saw where they came from, and it put her off.

My father was very musical. He played the flute. He used to teach at the Conservative Flute Band, and he could read music. He took them to contests. There was always a lot of music around us. Any laddie.boy man could play the moothiemoouth organr (Harmonica).

Religion was terrible then. There was a lot of sectarianism. We were in the heart of it. We lived near the Catholic school so they thought I was Catholic. I got on well with everybody though. I went to Sunday school with my Sunday clothes on.

I left school when I was 14. We had to because we hadnae did not have the money. I worked in hosiery in Bellshill making jumpers. I got 5 shillingsIn 2005 this would be worth about £7.18p a week. That wasn’t bad but I had to hand over every penny to mamy mother. If a’ needed picture money a‘ got it. I went into service at Rothesay when I was seventeen. We were all called into the dining room one day, and they turned on the wireless and we heard Churchhill announce the start of the war. Churchill said ‘We are now at War’. Then you heard the guns going off. I worked at the Craigmore Hotel in Rothesay, which was near the harbour and we used to see the battleships coming in.

A lot of evacuees (children) came into Rothesay from Clydebank. You got coupons to get clothes, and I had just got maselfmyself a new coat. I was at the pictures with my new husband and the sirens went off. We tried to get to a shelter, and I heard the whistling of the bombs. Our spitfires were having a dog fight wiwith the Germans, and the next thing a piece of shrapnel had torn down the back of mamy new coat and ripped it. I kept that piece of shrapnel for years.

I went back to Bellshill and worked in the munitions factory. I was 18 years old. I was there during the Clydebank blitz. We got it hard that night. They were after the munitions works, but they were a bit off target. When I worked at the munitions I used to think what were we there for, to kill folk. I didnae did not like that. The dogs and the cats would start howlin’ during the bombing. My cat would always run to its basket before we heard the bombing, and my father used to say right get ready. My father was an Air Raid Patrol Warden (ARP). He patrolled the streets and got the people into the shelters. If he saw any lights on he would bang on the doors. He had his ARP helmet on. Everybody always carried their gas masks with them to work, school, everywhere. It was an offence not to have it.

If miners tried to join up they were told to get back to the pit. If they didnae did not they were threatened with prison. Women used to work at the pit head yae ken you know , separating and bagging the coal. They looked after ponies and made sure the men's lamps were working. During the war the Bevan boys came. They went doondown the pit after training cause they were desperate for coal. They were desperate for miners. Some went doondown for one day and never went back. They were between 14 and 17.

Robert and MeWe went to the BarrasA market area in Glasgow where everything is available to buy or sell for entertainment taeto. It was an interesting place to go.It was surprising what you saw. You could get everything at the BarrasA market area in Glasgow where everything is available to buy or sell. The women of ill repute would get stuff from the sailors and flog it at the BarrasA market area in Glasgow where everything is available to buy or sell, and that’s where people got fancy tablecloths and dishes. MaMy father was always there getting sheet music.

I met mamy husband Robert at the dancing. He stayed at the Palis at Bothwell Haugh. It’s under water now. It was flooded in the 60s. Bothwell Haugh is now in the middle of the Strathclyde Park Lake. I went dancing at the weekend, or when I could afford it. It was not love at first sight wi'with Robert. There was a gang of us that all went together. It was just friendship but I also fancied his pal Rab Anderson. My pal was Margaret Turley. Robert and I got engaged and got married in April 1940 in the West End Church in Bellshill. We couldnae could not afford a honeymoon. We went between mine and his parents for a weesmall while, then we got a weesmall single end.

That's aw' a kind mind hen ma memory's no the sameThat is all I can remember your a nice girl but my memory is not as good as it used to be.

 

Nancy

Back to top

information for screen reader users or keyboard users.To return to navigation please press F5 key

Adapted by Iain Tait