The audio tracks are excerpts from oral history recordings.
A Story of Housework in the Forties
My mother was never off her feet there was always work to be done. She was upstairs, downstairs, constantly finding things to be done. When I think about it now how she managed I just don’t know. We did not have washing machines in those days so when it came to things like washing the blankets for the bed, she would fill the bath with water and sprinkle some soapflakes in it and put the blankets in then we kids would jump in the bath and trample the blankets which was great splashy fun and did a good job of the washing.
She could make doing housework interesting and at the same time keep us amused. I remember that when she would have to scrub the living room floor, which had a linoleum surround and a large rug in the middle, she would put the table in the middle of the room and sit us on it then she would get down on her hands and knees and start scrubbing. Of course there was foam while she scrubbed and we would shout down to her “draw a cat mummy, draw a dog mummy”. That kept us entertained and at the same time kept us out of the way of the work. Then when the floor had dried, she would put Mansion Polish on the lino and tied bits of rag to our feet and we would skate up and down to make the polish shine. All great fun and made a chore seem easy.
Memories of Bothwell as a Child
When we were kids we would play sometimes in the playfield across from Castle Square, it was only a small field, long and narrow and some people don’t remember it was there. It had a maypole, not many playfields had one and it had swings and chutes. We also played skipping ropes, beds and other games in the middle of Fallside Road, in those days there was very little traffic. As we got older we were allowed to go to Wooddean Park, a big field where we would roll our Easter eggs. In the field today there is a large tree, where it stands used to be a sandpit for kids to play in.
Next to the playfield was the miner’s welfare hall where they held dances and social nights. In it there was a billiard room and two baths that the miners could use because the miner’s rows did not have the luxury of a bath. Between the hall and the railway there was a tennis court with a pavilion.
Next to the welfare hall are still some cottages that were the railway worker’s homes and across the road from those is another cottage that was the mine manager’s home.
In February we had what came to be known as Snowdrop Sunday, when most of the village would go down to the Castle Grounds. The grounds had been opened especially for this day. We even had a Bluebell Sunday a little later in the year. On both days people just spent the day strolling in the grounds, there may have been an ice cream cart there but I can’t remember clearly. Another great Sunday out was to go down to Bothwell Bridge and the Lido. The Lido was a lovely area with flower beds, lawn and well maintained pathways. When the weather was good the place would be packed, parents sitting on the grass chatting while the kids played.
Even our Sunday school trips were organized in or close to the village. We would go down to Wooddean Park and then across the Ha’penny bridge to the Blantyre side of the river and then into Livingstone Memorial Gardens. We each had a picnic supplied by the Uddingston bakers, Tunnocks, in a small cardboard box. We all sat down on the grass and ate our picnics there.