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Pub Life - The Jolly Waggoner

by Hazel Morgan

I was born on 27th March 1934 at the Jolly Waggoner on Deane Road. My mum and dad were the managers, and stayed there 38 years. They had young girls staying as cleaners and barmaids usually from Billinge. Alice Walsh and her sister Nellie were two I can remember. Nellie married Dennis Gladdening who was a barman I was born on his birthday.

In the pub the was a woman's kitchen, Tap Koom, and a parlour, were husbands and wives would sit at the weekends and make their own entertainment. Alice Roberts would play the Tomahawk, and her husband would beat away on a stool, while someone else would have a comb and paper.

Men played cards, dominoes and darts in the taproom, in the vault it was men only, saw dust was spread on the floor near the counter were there was flags and spittoons were also filled with saw dust. On the counter was a brass gnome with a flame to light cigarettes and pipes with, and a brass stand for the spill. The tables and the chairs were all Iron frame and black leaded. The fireplaces were also black-leaded.

Old Mrs Warburton was always the first in the women kitchen, and used to put a poker in the fire to put in her calmed stout, they were a happy crowd and I used to sing and dance on the tables for them.

When the war came everyone helped one another. Tom Roberts lived next door. He worked at Steele's Diamond buildings and we would go in their warehouse when the sirens went.

Albert and Lilly Pasqual, who was my God mother, were the bookies runners. Uncle Albert would stand at the end of the back street collecting bets until the cops came. I can see him now being taken into the gent's toilets (he only had one leg and a crutch) the cops would take all the bet money off him. My mam would always have a bet on the horses. I can remember men playing push pennies on a Sunday afternoon when the pub closed. They were on the railways and in the back street on the lookout for the cops.

My dad had a slate, and those who owed him would come and pay up and by Monday they were back on the slate again if not before. I used to look after Iris Topp in the kitchen while her mum and dad had a drink, as children were not allowed in the pub. I was very small and once mum and dad were very busy and I tried to make a butty. I went into the pub to ask Mrs Warburton to fold it for me, a detective came in and shouted at me I was always afraid of the police after that, well for a long time after anyway.

Ria Lever Would pass in her clogs every morning and all the people in Balshaw Street knew the time. The pocket also had a knocker-up. My Grand Mother was the midwife in the area and she once told me that she had brought the knocker-up man into the world.

I would go to Fowlers for my clothes and school shoes, as we had to have coupons. I used to love my clogs from Sopforths Cloggers. I also loved the happy Charabanc outings to Blackpool, when the children would gather round and there would be a collection for us.

Kath Lever was the conductor on the trams and she would stop the tram on a trip down Deane Road and call at my dad's with the change.

While asleep one night the chimney came through the roof and everyone thought I was hurt. Another time my brother Bill was lighting a fire in the clubroom and my mam was having a party. His foot went through the ceiling and the men below had plaster floating in the beer and his leg was dangling through the hole.

One night a week one pub had to close, as there wasn't enough beer to go round, that was the only time we were allowed to close in licensing hours. Then came the rebuilding, and the tarpaulin went round the pub. Although the Pocket was supposed to be rough there was no need to shut the doors and lock them.

As time went on I served behind the bar. It was very rare that dad stopped anyone's tap, but one time he stopped Jerry Wilson's' I can't remember the reason why but come Sunday dinner Eric Lomax would be taking his pint outside were he would be merrily drinking away. Dad told him to come inside; they were great lads to mam and me when dad was ill.

When I got married I had a bridesmaid called Midge who was a chimp. She belonged to Phylis and Edgar Charlton who kept a pet shop in Derby Street. She loved a smoke-and a gin and tonic. My husband David Harrison worked for them, one night as we slept in the pub we were wakened by the sound of screeching brakes and shouting. Midge had escaped and found her way down to Deane road. A lorry driver thought he was seeing things. I love the pub life and have missed it and I have missed not having a pub of my own, but it was not to be. But still they were very happy memories.