Posted: 05/10/2012 at 10:53
Root slicers in our neck of the woods had a big handle probably geared but it chopped the turnips easily.
Never saw a Lumber Jill, saw the handle of a cross cut saw though as we cut up wood the hard way.
British Restaurants were a godsend, when I started as an apprentice just before Christmas at a wage of 13/4 (thirteen shillings and four pence) the boss Arthur Brown told us lads we had to walk down to Alma Street and get a dinner in our one hour dinner break and gave us the money, four pence.
We would join the girls from the warehouse across the road and it was around seven minutes walk to St Johns Church Hall. The first time I went in was an eye opener being used to having school dinners I recognised the long tables and forms but the size of it took my breath away. A long counter with what seemed dozens of girl and women serving masses of workers from around the area. Twelve until one was workers only as most of the local firms did not have canteens and there were a lot of local firms on war work.
You would join a queue and in no time would be at the counter picking up a tray and cutlery, then it would be "Pie or Mince" Or Pie or Stew" you did get a choice but the pie would be either the mince or the stew with a crust on top then boiled potato's no time to mash, veg in season it was always fish on Fridays being on the coast had its advantages, and then the second choice, "Rice or steamed and custard" or "Pie and custard or Tapioca" there seemed to be no shortage of rice or tapioca, a pot of tea and you were off to a table. You were never asked what veg as it was just piled on and someone around would eat what you did not want, no problem with me I ate the lot. The noise was terrific as plates and cutlery rattled people talked music was played over the speaker system and it was all go, as fast as you cleared a plate the girls hovering whipped it away and then you were ushered out to let the next lot sit down. After the workers went then the public would be let in and although many closed some of those restaurants were still in business until the 1960's the one in the centre of Middlesbrough being one of them.
We handed over our fourpence being lads and the girls got to know us filling our plates, the men and women workers paid sixpence it was subsidised probably by the firms with no canteens. The food was plentifull and good and yes boiled onions or leeks were often served in winter although we did have plenty of cabbages and unlike today where the choice seems to be "white, Savoy, Red" we had a range of them and what we called winter greens so sprouts would figure a lot.
We had onions at home in the dark days of winter and Mother gave me strict instructions on cooking them. Peel skin off leaving top and tail, put in pan with water to cover bring to the boil leave a minute or so and empty out water, repeat this, now do it again but let onions simmer until soft, with a little bit of farmhouse butter they were delicious. Leeks went into puddings that were steamed or braised in stock, Dad would cut the head off a cabbage leaving the stalk and cut a cross on the top, that would grow our spring greens, same with sprouts.
We killed our own pigs on site and I never ever saw a policeman in attendance. We killed two a year and gave two to the Government, the pig club did the same. We had one local Bobby and a Sergeant would cycle in from Stockton a couple of times a week, they would both come and visit, a cup of tea some of mothers cake (we had butter and eggs so always had sugar from trading) and then leave with a bit of bacon in the pocket. That is how things were done in wartime and it seemed to run smoothly enough.
Norton was one big Market Garden serving the Towns around and I did see those big diggers they showed last night.