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From Limerick to Bolton

by Alphonsus Jeremiah Joseph Kett

I was born on 7th May 1944, and christened Alphonsus Jeremiah Joseph Kett.

My mother, Bridget Delia (maiden name Barry), was from County Clare, and my Dad, also called Alphonsus, was from Limerick. In June 1960, aged 15, I moved from Limerick to the Isle of Man with my sister, and we worked in the Snaefell Hydro Hotel for 12 months. We returned to Ireland but there was no work. If there was you only got paid £2 a week. In Bolton the pay was £9 a week (basic), so in 1961 when I was 17, I came to Bolton with my sister who was then 19, and we stayed with Aunt Anna in Bartholomew Street, Great Lever. I started work at Barlow and Jones cotton mill in Bridge Street with my sister. The work involved battery filling, keeping looms going, and filling up machines. It was also shift work.


Me as a toddler
A little older!
A Young Man In Limerick
Dressed to kill in Blackpool

A few weeks after I started work I moved to Church Street into digs on full board, and my sister stayed with my Aunt. I left that job to work for Henry Whitehurst, who had a grain and flourmill in Bank Street. It meant unloading, packing, and going out to farms, and delivering. I stayed there about 4 years. My sister married in 1963. Next, I worked at Mather and Platt's Engineering Works, Bradley Fold, working as a semi-skilled driller. In 1970 I started work at British Gas, as a forklift truck driver, and I stayed there until 1994, when I was made redundant.

My Mum and Dad and brother came over from Ireland in 1980 and bought a house in Clarence Street with the money he got when he retired as a postman in Limerick. Later we moved to Halliwell. In 1981 I got married to Gloria Green. Her mother called her Gloria because she was watching a film with Gloria Swanson, while she was expecting. I started working for the town hall in 1998 and still work for Bolton Metro. My wife died in 2001.