Sweet Pigs and Runaway Horses.

“We lived in Creekmouth until about 1930, when I was 11 or so and I can’t remember anyone having a car. We kept rabbits and a few chickens.  My dad, like a lot of people, had an allotment.  My grandfather Soper kept pigs.  He had pig styes out in the field.  They used to keep a jar of sweets, if you took food for the pigs, you would get a sweet!  There used to be horses on the field, who they belonged to, I don’t know, sometimes they come down from the field and run through the backways between the rows of cottages.”

gwen soper & friends

A young Gwen with her playmates, having a tea party

Gwen continues, “We had a gas stove in the house, but we did a lot of cooking in a big iron boiler – stews, meat pies and meat puddings.  On Good Friday we’d have boiled fish (traditional), I couldn’t stand it, and still don’t like it! Washing day was Monday of course – the copper, rubbing board and mangle.  I used to hate the washing smell!”

Keeping Warm

“We used to go down near the power station, where they would shoot out the waste coal. We’d collect sackfuls of the waste  for the fire. Mum used to clean the fender with emery paper to bring it up shiny.  Then the hearth was whitened with an old hearthstone”.

A Christmas Memory

“At Christmas we would have a stocking containing an apple, an orange and a special Christmas box called ‘Squirrels’ which had different types of sweets inside.

My two younger  brothers didn’t want to move away to Barking, it was hard for us to get used to living there.  We then moved to Rainham, before the war.  I liked it better there, as it was more like the country”.

Gwen Soper born 1919