Dorothy Moir

Dorothy Moir's grandmother and extended family. Wedding photograph, Wrigglesworth Street, New Cross, 1920

Growing up

"Gran was only round the corner you see, of course I was a bit spoilt there, because I was the first grandchild you see, I was the first grandchild. And when I was born my Gran wouldn't let my Mum bath me or anything. She used to come round everyday to bath me, and she used to feed me brains.

When Mum was expecting, of course nobody knew anything, we never noticed that anyone was expecting, not like today, they know everything. We just used to go to our aunt's, my oldest aunty, and she used to take us to Welling, to her house and look after us whilst Mum was having the baby. We didn't know that Mum was going to have a baby, and we'd come home, and in the passage was a bassinet pram. And of course that lasted for me, Joan and Norman."

Family life

"Mum and Dad had the downstairs, then Joan had a little bedroom upstairs, and we had the big front room as the bedroom, and we had the through room. There was a little room, and we had a little sitting room where we had our telly, a Bush telly later on. We had a little wireless to start with that my uncle bought me.

We had our little kitchen out the back you see. We lived with Mum and Dad for years. Then Joan met Ian at work and they lived downstairs, so we shared it, but we never intruded with each other a lot you know. They had their friends and we had ours. It's like when Mum lived downstairs, we always knocked at the door, or if the Rolling Stones was on, Mum used to bang up on the room, because she absolutely loved them, you know.. She'd bang on the ceiling to tell us to put it on!."

Daily Life


Dorothy Moir, Monson Road, 1939

"Mum used to pay off for things on your book, and at Christmas time you'd have enough to get something you see. And that's how we bought our furniture. We used to go to Colliers in Rye Lane and pay off on a book, and we'd just stopped paying for it when we got married you see.
It took us five years to save one hundred pounds! It was just an achievement to save a hundred pounds because you sort of lived from day to day you see, and we'd already bought our furniture, and that by paying on the book, and having it all.

The day we got married, we had a few presents, but not a lot. Mum paid for all the reception and everything, and she bought me a few bits and pieces. Arthur's mum bought me the cooking utensils and some basins. I had a Pyrex dish, two clocks, simple things you know. We didn't go in for flash things then you know. We had a kitchen cabinet, which we saved up for which one of my friends at work got me. Well, you had to save for things, therefore you appreciated it. That kitchen cabinet is still down the cellar taking all our provisions in it you know!

But that day we saved a hundred pounds, we went up the West End, then to Lyons Corner House. We went with Marge and Matt to the pictures, and we saw "Samson and Delilah" and Marge was expecting Jennifer, and she couldn't get out the seat!

I go bananas when I see all these trolleys with these young women, and it's full of all this Johnny-come-lately-quick-stuff that they shove in a microwave. They don't know how to cook, they've never been taught.

It was hard to make do on rations. We used to have powdered egg, but it was nice and we made do, and we made powdered egg and we made omelettes and made it on toast, but it was hard. You could get veg. I mean bananas were a bit short, and salad, I mean you only had that high days, holidays and bonfire nights! I think it did you good, it built your character."

Free time

"When I was a teenager, I had two real good friends, Phyllis and Eileen. We went to the Rowan School and they taught us ballroom dancing.

Our favourite little places for dancing was the New Cross Palais, it never had drinks licence or anything like that, and it's now The Venue painted black! At Laurie Grove Baths, they used to cover it over with a beautiful floor over the swimming pool, and there'd be a proper band. But New Cross Palais had the best band, because it was Art Tullock and his band and it was a beautiful dance floor. I can't remember how much it was, I think it was about two shillings.

We used to go to Greenwich Town Hall, and dance to records, it was a shilling on a Tuesday, and walk home. Go on the tram because you didn't want to get your hair all messed up, and walk home. Two shillings at the Palais, and Sunday it used to be Club Day only, but we used to go up and stand outside, and some of the lads would come up, and they'd sign us in you see, so we used to get in that's what we used to do.

We didn't do a lot of drinking in those days, only if the young lads from our youth club used to go up there. Hardly any of them could dance, but they used to suggest the three of us might go up the Marquis, and we'd have a lager and lime, and then go back to the dance thing. There wasn't a lot of money around in those days.

I used to belong to this youth club, which was in a church which was on the way to Peckham. It's been pulled down now. It was a scruffy old place really, but we all used to up there twice a week. It was a Methodist youth club, and you had to attend the Sunday service, just all of you in a little room, in order to go to the youth club. So we used to get in our Sunday Best and go to the Sunday Service.

After the service we used to have a debate on anything which was going you know, and that would end about half past ten, and that would be our Sunday out you see, because it wasn't expensive."

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