Another bite sized chunk of Blantyre History
At the end of these buildings stood a church in its own grounds, this would also be on the corner of Herbertson Street. (Burleigh Church)
Opposite corner was the Co-op. Our co-op number was 2587 never forgot it. And another number that is forever riveted into my mind, is our Ration Book number, our identification number as it was called. My own was SHBJ-445. The SHBJ-44 was the identity of the family and where they lived, the 5 identified me as the fifth oldest in the family, this number was used extensively, much more so than your name during the period 1939-1950, or until you were conscripted in to the forces where they gave you an other number. They even number your lair, but who cares then, I at least won’t have the bother to remember that one.
The co-op was the largest row of shops in Blantyre, everyone at some time or other shopped at the co-op. We had the Tailors, the butchers, the grocers, the hardware, the fancy goods, the millinery and a huge bakery, which daily sold every known loaf of bread, biscuits and yummy cakes. I can taste those treacle scones one of my favourites, they were gooooooddd! I can remember a lot of us lads used to queue up on a Monday morning first thing so we would be in line for the broken biscuits (all cookies to us were called biscuits) which you purchased at probably a 20th of the original price. I some times wonder why! why! would we boys queue up for broken biscuits, I must tell you that they were one of the items rationed during and shortly after the war years.
Your ration book consisted of different coloured stamps which depending on the type of purchase you made were extracted from one or two of your ration books in the family, each stamp had a particular value allotted to it, only on paper, you always had to pay a monetary cost for the item.
Father and mother had books which had greater amount of stamps in them than the teenage children, the young children about ten and under had a different type of book, the stamps within their books allowed their parents to purchase items like Bananas, Orange Juice, Cod liver oil and Malt. These were all considered as necessary for the nutritional and physical being of the child. I must admit it never did me any harm and as I am still here, some good. My little mum made sure we had our dose of something every day. There of course was a thriving black market in Ration Books.
I think our love or want for the broken biscuits was in fact a want for the sweetness, which we were deprived of. I sure did love those broken chocolate ones. Anything that contained sugar in its manufacturing was rationed.
Around the side entrance in Herbertson Street was the Co-op entrance to the Dance hall. This was held every Wednesday, 7-11pm, Friday night was late night 7-1AM, and Saturday 7-11.30pm. In those days we were having a Rear teer on the fleer, un cuttin a rugg. With an occasional punch-up.
Continuing the conversation between Thomas Dunsmuir Hartman in Chicago, formerly Logan Street, (known as TDH or Drapadew) and Margaret in Queensland Australia on TalkingScot.
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