Memories of slum housing


Memories of slum housing




Dorothy Oliver and Brenda & Ron Brewster recall slum housing in the St Nicholas area of Leicester in the 1950s.


East Midlands Oral History Archive


Interview with Dorothy Oliver and Brenda & Ron Brewster by the East Midlands Oral History Archive. Uncatalogued.


East Midlands Oral History Archive




Dorothy Oliver and Brenda & Ron Brewster


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Jenny Escritt


Dorothy Oliver and Brenda & Ron Brewster


Home address of Dorothy Oliver


That’s my only word for it, ‘horrendous’. What was it like? It was like a Dickens-day slum – yeah, it was – it was awful. It was damp, we had mice, it was – no lights upstairs – no, we had to take candles – never had lights upstairs – we’d got a gas light but my dad wouldn’t let us use it because that would cost money – so we had to take candles. So, cleaning the bedroom was, the first floor, you got rid of all the candle fat – and chewing gum that we used to stick at the back of the bed (?). Start upstairs, there was, you went up these wooden stairs and then you got to the top and there was a small landing and then there was a bedroom, which was Mum’s room, that had got two windows in, ‘cos one was in Thornton Lane and the other one overlooked St Nicholas Square, which overlooked the Roman Forum, which overlooked the railway – Central Street – Great Central Railway, so you’d got all that in front on that side. On this side you’d just got Thornton Lane. Then in our bedroom, which was the bedroom that was in Thornton Lane, it was just a bedroom, no lights – just a fireplace – cold, damp, fireplace, but the worst room was the back bedroom. It was awful. The window was always hanging out and the wallpaper was so damp, well, Ron will tell you, this is the honest God’s truth, Ron slept there one night and he wondered what was on him and the wallpaper had blowed off over him and he thought he’d got another blanket on, it had rolled off the wall over him, and he’ll tell you that, because he said, ‘I’ll never sleep here again’. It was awful. And when you came downstairs there wasn’t a door, but there was an old blanket to stop the drafts coming into the kitchen. And in the kitchen there was the most beautiful red tiled floor and that was the best part of that house - and it was scrubbed every week by me – then we had a gas stove, and then we had a sink, and that was it. You washed in that sink, you bathed in that sink, you cooked the vegetables, everything, washing was done in that… that was the only tap in the house.

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128 kbps

Time Summary

2 min 44 sec

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