Sunday, 11 December 2016

One hundred years of one house in Well Hall part 16 ........... the plays wot mum wrote

This is the continuing story of one house in Well Hall Road and of the people who lived there including our family.*

Well Hall Road, 2014
For as long as I can remember our mum wrote plays, short stories and worked on a novel about life in south east London.

She had begun writing in the RAF during the last war when as a typist she had all that a writer could need ........ spare time, a typewriter, and paper.

All of which were the building blocks to give full vent to her vivid imagination.

On those long quiet moments on an RAF station in Lincolnshire she wrote about what she experienced including the loss of life and the fears and triumphs of the air crews and supporting teams.

Mum and friend circa 1942
Later as we were growing up she tried her hand at writing plays discovering there was a market for the three act play which was aimed specifically at women’s groups.

The basic requirement was that most of the parts had to be for women, and while the plot could be anything from a comedy to a murder there had to be opportunities for women of all ages.

I can’t now remember how many she produced but I know it was a fair few, although sadly none of the published plays have survived and as yet I can’t find any reference to them anywhere.

But we do have the manuscript of the book she was writing on along with some short stories.

Looking back we never thought it was unusual and yet here was a woman whose formal education had ended at 14, and who had spoken only German until she was three years old.

She began work in a local silk factory and went onto have a succession of jobs until the war swept her up and deposited her in “bomber county.”

Later after moving to London she began writing again, using at first a battered old typewriter before acquiring a slick “Oliveti” model.

And as someone who uses a computer all the time I marvel at those who wrote using a typewriter which doesn’t allow the instant use of the delete button, the facility to cut and paste, or either a word or spell check.

Mun in 1949
On the other hand it has left me with a collection of paper copies of her literary output.

The manuscripts maybe on flimsy paper, now are over laden with a musty smell and tinged with yellow but they offer up a link to mum, more powerful than an electronic text.

That said the computer and social media have offered up a huge opportunity for people to record and share  their memories, and publish both photographs and paintings which might otherwise never have seen the light of day.

All of which demonstrates the amount of talent there is out there and by extension just how much of that talent in the past never saw the light of day.

By contrast on facebook and other sites people regularly post fine photographs which are as good as any “art work” and write in the most vivid and direct way about growing up and the places that mean so much too them.

And yes I am sure that if mum were still writing today she would have embraced them all.

Location; Well Hall

Pictures; 294, courtesy of Chrissy Rose, 2015, and mum from the collection of Andrew Simpson

*One hundred years of one house on Well Hall Road,

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