Our Century

Bored? What's that?

Mavis Leech, Tettenhall,
Born 1921

Mavis Leech

My father, Wesley Cottrell, worked as a fireman on the Earl of Dudley's railway. Every August all the families of the employees were given a special ticket for a week of attractions at Himley Hall.

"We boarded the train at Round Oak. They were trucks with wooden seats, not carriages, but we felt so proud, my sisters Hilary and Doris and me, because everyone knew that our dad worked for the company.

"We always felt that we were privileged. The men always used to save an empty truck for us.

"At Himley Hall there were all sorts of things. We never went on holiday in those days, so we thought it was all absolutely wonderful. There were dancing displays, tap and ballet, races and a fishing contest.

"The pit ponies from Baggeridge pit were there. I think it was the only time in the year they saw daylight, and they were kept in blinkers.

"Her ladyship came out of the hall with a big tin of Bluebird toffees and threw them on the lawn for us children to scramble for.

"My daughter is a teacher and she thinks that sort of thing was terrible, but things were different then. It all ended with a grand concert on the Saturday with Gornal brass band.

"We lived in Pensnett and, looking back, it seems that between Easter and October every day was beautiful. We could play where we wanted and there was so much to do.

"Children today seem to miss such a lot. They talk about being bored. We didn't even known what the word meant."