Hazel H

Hazel H

Hazel was born in Sheffield on the 13th January 1929 and grew up on the Sutton Estate in Hillsborough.

Hazel is being interviewed by Mary Grover on the 9th May 2012.

One passage was cut from the recording and transcript.

hazel-hotchkiss-2

Mary Grover: Where were you born Hazel?

hazell-hotchkiss-1

Hazel H:      Oh Sheffield, I think I was born, no, I came to live on the Sutton Estate when I was two. Yes, I was two. I just don’t know where. My mum lived in West Don Street, it is all coming back to me. They had a shop, just a jumble shop that sold clothes and things like they did in them days. I think me mum were a bit ambitious and me dad was a traveller and I think he did that and run the shop as well. Same time. She put her name down for the Sutton Estate when it was being built because it was a modern estate in them days, with hot water and, you know, that sort of thing. That sort of thing that was important. We grew up on the Sutton Estate; we had a good childhood. Dad died when I was two, but we’d a good childhood, friendly, good neighbours and we lived on a little place, what do they call it, Dunella Place [Hillsborough]. There were a few houses and neighbours were good but they weren’t intrusive at all. They were very, you know, they came to the door and they knocked and they waited like. They just didn’t walk in or anything like that. And we lived there for quite some time until we grew up, there were four us, and we wanted an extra bedroom and that is when we moved into Laird Road at the bottom, bottom house, on the Sutton Estate.

MG:     That’s in Wadsley.

HH:      Wadsley, yes. And what do you want to know from there?! I went to Wisewood School and it had just opened. I think I was in the first year of it opening and I went at Easter time, my birthday was January, I went at Easter time and it was lovely. We loved school. It wasn’t a bit strict and things like that, it was lovely. Everybody wanted to go to school.

MG:     Was that junior school or senior?

HH:      Junior. mm, infants. Started at infants and the junior school was part of it. Then the senior school was the bit that they pulled down. Do you remember that? Do you know about that?

MG:     No.

HH:      You know where the post office is at Wisewood? Well there was a school across the road and their junior school was in Ben Lane next to the chapel. You know that building next to that?

MG:     Yes.

HH:      I think that’s down now int’it?

MG:     So you loved school?

HH:      Yes I loved it. There were no reason not to really because I think it was a new way of educating children. I don’t know but it weren’t strict and, mm, you did respect the teachers. That’s a fact, that. They didn’t lose that at all.

MG:     When were you born?

HH:      13.1.29

MG:     Thir – ?

HH:      Thirteen, one, twenty-nine.

MG:     So you went to Wisewood School in the thirties then? The middle of the 1930s.

HH:      1934 would it be? You went when you were five then didn’t you. I think that must be when I started.

MG:     Did you remember any books that were read to you at school?

HH:      I remember Enid Blyton a lot but I don’t think I was very clever. I didn’t pass me eleven plus. [Laughs]

MG:     So where did you go on to school when you were eleven?

HH:      At Wisewood Senior School.

MG:     Wisewood Senior School, yes, yes.

HH:      And then I left when I was, was it 14? Yes.

MG:     What did you do then?

HH:      I went to dressmaking.

MG:     Did you?

HH:      Yes. I like sewing. We had an interview at school and they asked us what we liked doing and of course I was shy and didn’t like saying anything. So me mum chipped in. She always did because I were always backward at coming forward. “Well she likes sewing”. So they said, “Oh well, they want somebody at the shirt factory.” Well I came home furious. I didn’t want to make shirts! Oh I came home and I were angry, you know, “I’m not going there”.  And there was an advert in the paper that night and it were for John Walsh’s. You don’t remember that do you? Well it’s a big shop, you know where the place is now you know, I think it is T J Hughes, it were there. This was a big old building on the corner and I went to work … No! I didn’t, I’m lying, because it was the Blitz and it got firebombed. No, that didn’t get a firebomb, it caught fire from a shop next door and it just went right through the building. And so this job was advertised and it were at Broomhill and I went there.

MG:     Making clothes.

HH:      It was John Walsh’s, John, oh dear. John Walsh’s had a place at Broomhill and it was all where their buyers and senior staff lived and then they went down to the shop in town to work. Well when it was on fire during the Blitz, the senior staff had to go and get digs, I think John Walsh’s organised that but, a week, but the shop took this big building over. Do you know where it is?

MG:     I know Broomhill, whereabouts in Broomhill?

HH:      It used to be in Broomhill, Glossop Road, that was the address, Glossop Road and you know, a big side entrance and it was about …. you know where the King Edwards School is? Well the bottom gate down the front of John Walsh’s used to be like you came out of that and you could look up over onto King Edwards.

MG:     Yes, so when you were working at Walsh’s, did you enjoy your work?

HH:      Oh I loved it.

MG:     Did you?

HH:      Loved it every bit.

MG:     Did you get any time to read when you were working there?

HH:      No. We used to go dancing.

MG:     Dancing! Yes. [Laughs] So life is too much fun really to sit at home?

HH:      No, I didn’t sit at home because I met friends there. I had two good friends and we stayed friends right until we were 18 and they wanted to go in the Forces because that was a time, you know, when I remember it was just after the war, weren’t it? Something like that. They wanted to go in the Forces and I wouldn’t, couldn’t leave me mum. I couldn’t just leave her because she was a widow. Well I couldn’t do it, it didn’t seem right.

MG:     Did you have any brothers and sisters Hazel?

HH:      Yes. I had a brother younger than me, Crowther, was born after dad died, Bramble was two years older than me and Cynthia was two years older than him. So there were two years in all of us.

MG:     Right. So there was Cynthia and then your brothers and then you.

HH:      Yes, Cynthia.

MG:     And when you were children did you have any books in the house?

HH:      No, no … I think probably, I don’t really know why, but me dad died when we were young and me mum, there was no such things as pensions and things in them days. So she had to go on what was called public assistance. That was the next step to the workhouse so she had to try hard … It upsets me. She had to try hard to keep the wolf away from the door and to keep us, look after us and she did.

MG:     How did she do that? How did she look after you all?

HH:      Well, we’d got a good grandma on me dad’s side and she was very good to us. Just how good we shall never, ever know because she didn’t talk about what she did. But we used to go to grandma’s, one of us would go, usually Cynthia and I would go up and grandma would push some money in Cynthia’s hand and she’d say, “Sixpence towards your breakfast, sixpence …”[doorbell rings] … are you there Ernie? [Ernie answers the door]“ … Sixpence for insurance man,” because you’d to pay some insurance hadn’t you for death and things like that and da, da, da, da we never knew what last was … that was grandma. That was always what she did, put this money in our hand but I think she was an angel to her, an angel. And my dad had a brother and he was just as good to me mum, nothing in it, you know, just a really good brother-in-law to her.

MG:     So there was no money for books?

HH:      There were no books, no, no money for anything. [Inaudible] …. food either. I mean I don’t know what we’d do without me grandma.

MG:     So when did you start to find books for yourself?

HH:      I joined the library when I were a bit older, like probably, probably when Cynthia didn’t used to take me down. It might have been round about seven or eight or something like that. I just can’t remember that exactly, round about that time. I can’t remember the books that I read, there’s only Enid Blyton and that because I think it were probably the first. I know I remember reading Gone with the Wind and them sort of things, as I got older.

MG:     Where did you get Gone with the Wind from?

HH:      I think that was from‘t library.

MG:     The library, yes.

HH:      Yeah because we couldn’t, hadn’t money to buy books.

MG:     No.

HH:      We’d no money at all.

MG:     Do you think Gone with the Wind was one of the first grown up books you read?

HH:      Yes. I don’t know how old I was when I read that, probably, I was probably older than what I think, I don’t know. But I remember all these books, oh me mum bought us some books. Somebody came round to the door and she ordered these books and she paid for ‘em weekly. She did do well ’cus she didn’t have cash in them days. We had these books and there was a collection. I think there was about twelve in a box but some didn’t appeal to me because some were for boys and I remember more of these about poetry in ‘em. I remember them. I used to look at and read them because I could understand them better.

MG:     Can you remember any of the poems?

HH:      ‘Meg Merrilies’, she was gypsy, that stands out most and I used to say that. When we used to recite at school, we used to have to go on  … [inaudible, laughing] and I always used to say that one.

MG:     So you learnt a lot of poetry by heart at school?

HH:      Oh I did that, yes. Poetry. But that was as I say, these books that mum got us. As I say I never looked at others because they were boys’ books.

MG:     So there were no story books there, it was mostly poetry or boys’ books?

HH:      I don’t think I could get involved in a story, I don’t think I could have read a story. I don’t know, even that has gone from me. There’s a lot I can’t remember.

MG:     And when you left school did you go on using the library?

HH:      [Speaks almost in a whisper] No I went dancing.  I went to John Walsh’s and we went out dancing.

MG:     So reading sort of faded away a bit after that.

HH:      Yeah.

MG:     Did you ever get back to reading?

HH:      Umm, no not really because I had me children, didn’t I, when we came here. We got married in 1954 and then Julie were born in 1960 and, mm, they sort of like introduced me to a new world because you do everything you can for them. You live for them and do everything. You know, they didn’t go short of anything but it was … because Ernie were working then. Yeah, Ernie were working, married in 1954, Julie were born in ’60 and Ernie were working so we were like considerably better off. Don’t take that literally will you! [Laughing]  But, you know, we were. Did I tell you he used to work nights?

MG:     Yes.

HH:      Oh and that were a nightmare.

MG:     He worked at W H Smith as a night manager.

HH:      Yeah and that were a nightmare ‘cus he was in bed all day but he loved the kids and there weren’t anything that they were short of, so consequently, that used to be a lawn there, so consequently all the kids used to come round our back and play. Well you know what kids are when they play, because they were all little together and he never used to get any sleep! So he used to have to swap and he had to sleep in front bedroom and I stayed in back bedroom and that’s like it stayed ever since. That’s how your life gets structured.

MG:     It does, it does. Did you read to your children?

[cut]

MG:     So what with Ernest working at W H Smith, did he get any discount on books and newspapers?

HH:      Oh yes, he got a discount. We had a card. Yes, yes, he got some free papers, I think it were two free papers a day. We always had newspapers in the house but there again his dad worked with newspapers at Weston’s, I can remember that name. That was another, so Weston’s and W H Smith were like competing.

MG:     So did you ever buy books through W H Smith?

HH:      No, I can’t say I did that. No, I can’t.

MG:     Would you buy them now or not really?

HH:      Well I can’t concentrate long enough to read now, mm, so it’s … sometimes I’m talking to Ernie and I have to ask him again. He gets … he takes it all with a joke but it’s not funny.

MG:    It is hard isn’t it?  When you are watching television I suppose it is the same?

HH:      Oh aye, he watches … [speaking softly, inaudible] … I don’t like  … I like Coronation Street and I like Emmerdale. I like those two programmes because they deal with everybody’s problems. They are all acted out aren’t they in them series and that is what I like about them. It’s real life and then Ernie is on to cowboys and … things … and then so I have a code word book what I do. Um, you fill lines in and get letters, you fill lines and make the word right.

MG:     Like a word search?

HH:      Yes. Oh no, a word search is when you are looking for them in a line like, aren’t you? These are not that. You fill the letters in.

MG:     I know what you mean. You have a little clue, code word.

HH:      Code word. I do them and I have one at side of me bed and I always, when I go to bed, I’ve got me little cup of milk and I’m doing me code word and the next thing … the book’s there on t’other side …

MG:     And you’re away.

HH:      And I’m away. That’s my, what you call it where you have something to make you sleep? Sleeping tablet.

MG:     Sleeping tablets. Better for you. So when really the time you read most was when you were at school, is that right?

HH:      Yes. At school and I can’t remember what I read and I know me mum, we had these books what were bought and there were … and me sister used to read to me.

MG:     Did she, did she?

HH:      Yes, we used to sleep together. Yes.

MG:     Can you remember anything Cynthia read to you?

HH:      No, I think she’d read to me and I think I would be asleep before she knew. You know, it were like a sleeping tablet. She were kind to us.

MG:     Is she? Is she still a reader, Cynthia?

HH:      Cynthia died in … she’s four years older than me. So Cynthia died, I think she were about 85 when she died, could have been 86, I don’t know.

MG:     Did she go on enjoying books when she was an adult?

HH:      No, because she got into dancing and that sort of thing. It was a different era.

MG:     What about the war, too? Did that not leave you much leisure time?

HH:      Mm, how old was I in the war?

MG:     You were ten when it started so yes, you were at school then, so you were … .

HH:      That were involved with the eleven plus weren’t it?

MG:     That’s right.

HH:      I didn’t pass.

MG:     So is there any one book that stands out, Hazel, in your life, that you remember?

HH:      I just remember Gone with the Wind, I don’t know why but I know I saw that film as well. I think it was the talk of the day then, weren’t it probably, you know. Everybody probably went to see it.

MG:     Did you go to a lot of films?

HH:     No, we didn’t have the money.

MG:    No. Was dancing cheaper?

HH:     Yes and it were more fun.

MG:     Fun yes, so you loved dancing?

HH:      Yes, we had to push hard to get that last tram, to get that last bus, the Worrall bus that used to start at the bottom of Dykes Hall Road because we lived on the Sutton Estate.

MG:     Where did you dance then?

HH:      City Hall…[inaudible]. Yes City Hall. We were all of us, we weren’t, I don’t know how to put the word … common. That’s what me mum would use I think. We weren’t common we were like still sedate, still, don’t know, we weren’t let loose or anything like that. We used to rush out for that bus, you know, that tram and get on that and nip in house, because we lived in Laird Road.

MG:     You never missed that tram or that bus?

HH:      Oohh no! You left early enough to get you out. You’d be running like but … !

MG:     Did you meet Ernest at a dance?

HH:      Oh no! He’s not a dancer. If he was in here you know what he’d say, “Oh no I always walk like that.” That’s Ernest, you always get that joke with him. No, how did I meet Ernie? Well he was me brother’s friend and they were at school together and he used to come up ont’ common here, scrumping, and they’d go home with shorts full a apples. One day a local bobby caught ‘em and said, “What you doing there, lads?” They saw him coming so they got down the tree. “What you doing there?”, so he says, “Oh nothing, we just …” and so he said, “And what’s that then?” with his truncheon, “And what’s that then?” and of course the apples smashed on me brother [laughing]. They took ‘im home, not by the scruff of his neck like … [interruption]

MG:     …  Yes, so they took him home?

HH:      They took him home and of course me mum was angry because you know to get into trouble with the police, it were … and that’s the only trouble he’s been in. He didn’t get any … that were the only thing he ever did wrong. And the thing was, Ernie’s granddad was a police sergeant and he lived in Shropshire and when they promoted him to sergeant, they had to move him. So they sent him to Sheffield, and I think that were to sort Mooney Gang and that out. Mooney Gang, you don’t know them, do you? You’ve heard of ‘em?

MG:     Heard of them, don’t know much about them?

HH:      I think they were to sort all that out and of course he met a Sheffield girl and he married and that’s Ernie’s side of the story but you didn’t come to hear that. What did I tell you that for?

MG:     How you met Ernest, whether it was to do with dancing?

HH:      Through the bobby. And Ernest’s granddad was very strict but nice, you know. He had a lot of influence on his family like. So that’s kept him out of trouble. There were a lot; he could easily have gone ‘t wrong way.

MG:     Well Hazel thank you very much. That is very interesting.

 

 

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Val’s Reading Journey: Word Games

Another instalment of my reading journey, in which I confess my affection for dictionaries and grammar books.

Forty years ago, I was a student at the University of Leeds, studying Latin and French. I was, then as now, rarely without a book in my hand and a spare in my bag: set texts and academic studies for my courses and novels for fun. With all that, it intrigues me that I have very clear memories of the reference books I used. I even feel affection for them.

The Parkinson Building

On most Saturday mornings back then, I would be found in the Brotherton Library. I used to climb the white stone steps into the Parkinson Building, cross the court to the library entrance with its creaky turnstiles, and walk into the main reading room. Turning sharp left, I went upstairs to the gallery, where Classics was shelved. The main undergraduate library was then the South Library, long renamed the Edward Boyle. But I always preferred the Brotherton, opened in 1936 and since 1950 peacefully hidden behind the Parkinson.

hic haec hoc
hunc hanc hoc
huius huius huius
huic huic huic
hoc hac hoc

I came to the Brotherton to work on my Latin prose. Every Friday we got a passage of English to turn into Latin – something philosophical, a political speech or maybe military history. Burke, Locke, Gibbon, Macaulay are the names that come to mind. I think there may also have been occasional old leaders from the Times. Writings by women never featured. Whoever the author was, I would in theory have done a rough draft at home on the Friday afternoon. Saturday morning in the Brotherton was for polishing, looking up words and phrases in Lewis and Short, and checking out, say, the optative subjunctive in Bradley’s Arnold or, if I was desperate, in the small print of Gildersleeve and Lodge. These are, respectively, a Latin dictionary and two grammar books. I have my copies still, shelved about six feet away from the sofa where I am typing this.

Written in 1867 by the grandly named Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve (1831-1924) and revised by him and Gonzalez Lodge (1863-1942) in 1895.

These books are always known not by their titles but by their authors. Our prose tutor never mentioned Bradley’s Arnold, quoting instead from Mountford. We were all mystified, and it was only by chance, halfway through the term, that we found out he meant Bradley’s Arnold all along. Theologian Thomas Kerchever Arnold (1800-1853) wrote it in 1839. Then, you see, George Granville Bradley (1821-1903), Master of Marlborough, later master of University College, Oxford and Dean of Westminster, revised it in 1885. Finally, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Liverpool, Sir James Mountford (1897-1979), revised it again in 1938. Impressive chaps.  

Mountford’s Bradley’s Arnold

Ut, Ne, Introducing a Noun Clause: One of the main difficulties in translating English into Latin is to know when to represent the English infinitive by a Latin infinitive, and when to use  a subordinate clause containing a finite verb. (Bradley’s Arnold, para. 117, p.83)

As well as these august publications, I found that I still relied on my school books: Latin Sentence and Idiom (1948) and Mentor (1938) by schoolmaster R A Colebourn. Comfortingly familiar, they were a gift from my Latin teacher when I left school. ‘In memoria temporum beatissimorum cum benigna tua magistra’ (‘remembering the happiest of times with your kind teacher’), she wrote inside the cover. Why I don’t have Civis Romanus, the companion book to Mentor, I just don’t understand. (Mem to self: check Abebooks).

Two more books on my shelves are Kennedy’s Revised Latin Primer (1888) and Meissner’s Latin Phrase Book. I never liked Kennedy much but it is the book perhaps most often associated with learning Latin. It turns out that it was not written by schoolmaster Benjamin Hall Kennedy (1804 – 1889) but by his daughters Marion and Julia and two of his former students. The Phrase Book is an English translation by H W Auden, a master at Fettes College, from the original German by Carl Meissner (1830-1900), and my battered copy dates from 1924. It helpfully runs from the philosophical to the practical.

Choice – Doubt – Scruple: unus mihi restat scrupulus (one thing still makes me hesitate) (p.83)

Victory – Triumph: victoria multo sanguine ac vulneribus stetit (the victory was very dearly bought) (p.269)

The king of all dictionaries was Lewis & Short, first published in 1879. I never knew until now that Short lived down to his name: he supplied only the letter A and Lewis did the other 25. At first I used one of the Brotherton’s copies but in 1981 I got my own. In a medieval Latin exam we were allowed to take in our dictionaries and, while the Latin of the Middle Ages is not difficult after you’ve done Cicero or Virgil, I carried in all 2.7 kg of my Lewis & Short, just for the pleasure of having it on the desk. ‘Really?’ said my Latin tutor, eyeing it up as we started. 

The Brotherton Library naturally had a set of Loebs, those blessed books with the Latin or Greek text and the English translation side by side. Red covers for Latin and green for Greek. The translations were often pedestrian but so very useful when you got stuck. The older editions of the naughtier poets are said to have passages translated into French, rather than English, presumably on the grounds that if you understand French, you must be pretty immoral anyway. 

Unbound – and hard to keep in good condition

Being happiest with dead languages, I also studied Old French and Old English. In Old French, it’s really the texts I remember: unbound and uncut editions of the Arthurian romances of Chrétien de Troyes from the French publisher Champion. ‘The idea,’ said my supervisor, ‘is that you get them bound yourself.’ A pause. ‘I always have my own books bound in episcopal purple.’

Cil qui fist d’Erec et d’Enide,
Et les comandements d’Ovide
Et l’art d’amors an roman mist
Et le mors de l’espaule fist
Del roi Marc et d’Yseut la blonde
Et de la hupe et de l’aronde
Et del rossignol la muance,
Un novel conte rancomance
(Cligès by Chrétien de Troyes, ll. 1-8)[i]

(I did have to look up a couple of words in my Larousse Dictionnaire d’Ancien Français to translate this quotation just now.)

For Old English, it’s all about Sweet’s Anglo-Saxon Primer and his Anglo-Saxon Reader. Henry Sweet (1845-1912) was a philologist said to have been an inspiration for Bernard Shaw’s Henry Higgins.

Ælfred kyning hateð gretan Wǣrferð biscep his wordum luflice ond freondlice; ond ðe cyðan hate ðǣt me com swiðe oft on gemynd, hwelce wiotan iu wǣron giond Angelcynn, ǣgðer ge godcundra hada ge woruldcundra… (King Alfred, On the State of Learning in England, Anglo-Saxon Reader, p. 4)[ii]

I also have a little book, An Outline of Old English Grammar (1976), especially written for Leeds’ English students. ‘Old English is a fairly fully inflected language,’ it starts. Quite.

Eth, thorn and ash – letters lost between the Anglo-Saxons and us

I don’t know if Sweet, Kennedy, Bradley’s Arnold and the rest are still standard texts. Perhaps they are somewhere. Dead languages don’t change. But the way of teaching them may well have. Mountford, Sweet and the rest are, well, a little dry and can seem almost as old as the texts they teach. The books I relied on may therefore by now have been carried down into the Brotherton’s stacks. Forty years ago, for me they unlocked epics, romances, speeches, philosophy and histories.

A few years ago, when I needed access to a university library, I travelled back to Leeds, to the Brotherton, to get a graduate library membership. I walked from the railway station, along Park Row, across the Headrow, past the Town Hall and the Central Library on the left, and up Woodhouse Lane to the university. Then up the Parkinson steps, across the court and into the reading room. I could see many differences. In my day, there was usually a porter on duty at the turnstiles, and now of course there were computer terminals everywhere, and they seemed to have moved the Classics books. But much was as I remembered: the huge circular room with wooden tables radiating outwards like spokes, the dome supported by green marble columns and, at the centre, wonderful Art Deco lighting known, I learn, as an electrolier. As I arranged my ticket, I mentioned to the librarian that I used to do my Latin prose in the Brotherton most Saturday mornings. ‘Welcome home,’ she said to me, as she handed me my new ticket.

Image by Cavie78, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Share Alike

[i] He who wrote of Erec and Enide, he who translated the commands of Ovid and the Art of Love, he who wrote of the shoulder bite. of King Mark and the fair Yseult and of the transformation of the hoopoe, the swallow and the nightingale, he is starting a new story…

[ii] King Alfred orders greetings to Bishop Waerferth with his words in love and friendship. I want you to know that very often I think what wise men there used to be throughout England, both in the church and out in the world…

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