Living Histories

Snapshots of Memories

Margaret Leahy b.1920

Growing up

I grew up on a farm. The farmhouse had a big kitchen with an open fire to cook on. There were four bedrooms. My chore was to bring in the turf from the back yard for the fire. I used to cook the Sunday lunch for all the family. My mum and I used to milk the cows before we went to church.

George Robertson  b. 1924

Growing up

My mother worked as a nanny in London before she got married. She would tell me about Piccadilly Circus and I thought it was a circus with animals.

Earliest memory

I remember sticking my hand on a newly plastered wall near where we lived. I think I must have been two. I remember that someone was quite annoyed. And I remember taking pictures from a box camera when I was about three. I liked winding the film.

I remember going into the forests outside Musselburgh and going down to the rivers seeing, all the fishes leaping out of the water. We  used to go running up and down the street, my dad made a board with four wheels on it and I’d jump on it and go flying down the hill.

George Robertson b. 1924


A group of us went cycling all round Britain staying at youth hostels. I was about 17 or 18 at the time.  My worst holiday was going to the Lake District. It rained heavily all the time. We couldn’t get into the hostel so we had to knock on doors till someone lent us a tent.

Earliest memory

Is walking to Joppa with my mum and dad.  I remember the day trips to Portobello and Port Seton.  We  often went over the Firth of Forth to Aberdour, to  Kirkaldy, Aberdeen and to the Clyde. They were building the Queen Mary there at the time. And, I can remember Rye – like something out of a story book. And going to Torquay and staying in a thatched cottage. I went abroad to Calais when I was 13 or 14.

And I went on a plane when I joined the ATC – we had flights at the weekend to a number of places in different kinds of planes.

In 1954 I came down from London to Inverness by motorcycle. I’d go all over the country on my motorbike. I’d to Wales in one day and back.

Margaret Leahy b.1920


My best holiday was in Bournemouth with my family. We went down there on the train. The worst holiday was when we did a tour of Ireland for three weeks  and it rained every day. I went with my hubby, my sister and my sister’s hubby.  .


Ivy Tilson b. 1934


I  remember my holidays in Southend, Eastbourne and Brighton with my mum and dad – when I went with mother she used to buy all new clothes.  Mu best holidays were spent in the Algarve with my husband, Denis – we stayed in 5* hotels.

Florence Mason b.1920


When I was fourteen years old I was allowed to go on a school journey to Wales. And I climbed the highest mountain in Wales – Snowdon.

Ada Rowan b.1923


I remember being six and catching the train down to Southend from Liverpool Street. We stayed in a boarding house, and weren’t allowed to go back till the evening meal was ready. We had to stay out in the rain all day. We didn’t know any different.

Edna Pache b.1922


I remember going to Cornwall and Devon with my husband, in the 1950s. We stayed in guest houses. We would start early, five or six, in the morning and motor down in our black Citroen saloon. It was so smooth. My husband used to say, ‘it’s so easy to drive.’

Our best holidays were in Italy. We went to Amalfi, Sorrento and Venice.  When we first went to Italy Edna we took the train. When we arrived in Italy a car picked us up and took us to the hotel. It was a long drive and very hilly. Neither of us wanted to fly but when we finally plucked up the courage to do it – we  liked it. Our worst holiday was in Spain in the late 1960s – it was too built up and not our cup of tea.

George Robertson b. 1924


I remember collapsing on my first day at school. I, suddenly, went unconscious in the playground. I can’t remember what happened. I thinks it was because I was taken to school that first day and just left there.


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