Dorothy Sneddon on her childhood home in Newton Stewart

Dorothy Sneddon, 68 years of age, interviewed by Kirsty Robertson on 4 June 2013, in Newton Stewart.

Interviewed: 4 June 2013.
Ref: DG10-15-1-2
© European Ethnological Research Centre, 2016.

Dorothy recalls the layout and uses of her childhood home in Newton Stewart.nbsp;

KR: You lived in Queen Street [Newton Stewart]. Can you tell us a wee bit about the house you were brought-up in?

DS: Ah was brought-up in, it was just 2, a kitchen that came off a big lobby because. Well, years before ah was eh, ma dad bought the house. It was where you used tae get horses shod. Through the, they went through the entry and into the shed out back. So, in the middle of the entry there was a door that took you into the living room, the kitchen. It was a kitchen-sitting room. An you went off into the main house, bit of the house, an it was a sitting-room/bedroom because there was a recess where the double bed went. But there was actually a front door into that because it was a four-contained house. The people in the front room come in the front door, an then you come in the lobby an ye come into the kitchen. But you could got up the stairs an then there wis families up stairs. Mr Starkey, they were both police, they lived up stairs.

KR: So how many families were in all together?

DS: There wis – ah forget the name o the man, the man that owned the place – he stayed in the kitchen. An then there was ma mum and dad and brother and maself. We were in the front room. An then there wis Mrs Starkey – eh, Alma Starkey. He wis a police inspector – ah forget what Mr Strakey’s name was. And there were, they had 2 boys, Laurel and – they’re down in Liverpool.

KR: So that was …

DS: But she kept lodgers. An up the stairs, up the stairs in the very attic there wis, the – ye know how it was a sloped roof? – she had actually beds in the side. When we went to do it all, cos after she moved out an she went to a nursing home in Stranraer (she got so bad), an – that was when ah wis about 9 or 12 or something – an ma dad an me, he wis a builder ma dad, so when he finished his work, at night he did all this, own adjustin o the house because by that time we had bought it.

KR: So that would be in the 40s an into the early-50s when house were really hard to get?

DS: 50s, aye. Aye but if ye’d been in it a long time, an ma father did all his own repairs an everythin.

KR: what wis it like in the kitchen? Did you have a, did you have a range or did you have a cooker, do you remember?

DS: Well, when ah, we had an old, ah think that the gas cooker that ma mother had is, was put into the museum at Newton Stewart. An we had gas mantles up on the wall. But when we needed the toilet we had tase get a cadle lit like Wee Wuillie Winkie and go outside. Cos there was 2, there was a toilet fir – they were joined together – but there was a toilet fir the downstair part, an there’s a toilet fir up the stair.

KR: Wis that at the bottom o the garden?

DS: NO, it was just, it wis adjoined to the actual house but it was outside.

KR: So what did you do for a bath?

DS: We had a tin bath an we had tae put it into boil the water in a whistling kettle an put it on the, in the tin bath. But ye couldnae use too much soap because the next buddy wis comin in after ye, you know. An eh, it was really quite … In them days nobody laughed at ye or anything like that. Ye just all, that iws bath-night because ma dad had just finished his, his work, his weeks work an he needed it so you had yer, a bath. And then maybe ma dad went in efter me you know? An that. It wis eh, an the kettle wis all boilin an that. Because we had the coal fire so we got an extra pot of boilin water if ma mother had the fire on. That could heat-up the water fir the …

KR: So where did you sleep when you were a wee girl?

DS: When ah wis a wee girl? Ah used tae sleep on a couch – it wis a bed-settee thing it wis in the kitchen. And ma mother and ma father selpt in the sitting room. But when the man that owned the house died, we got the 2 rooms you see. And ma mother and father slept in a bed recess in the sitting room that ye pulled a curtain. And ma brothers slept in a box-bed. You pulled it down.

KR: Where was it?

DS: It was in the sittin room.

KR: Oh right.

DS: And there wis 2 big leather chairs in the sittin room where the fire was. It was a lovely fire that ma dad put it, and the fireplace. An that wis for the sittin room, well, ye had that for when there was really special guests came. An you could pull the curtain where, there wis you couldnae see the bed wis there.

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