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formerly of Banfield Road, Wednesbury

Life was hard in the Wednesbury area during the twenties, thirties, and forties. Children often did chores to help supplement the money coming in each week. When I was eleven it was decided that I should take on the responsibility of picking up the collection of parcels that local neighbours wanted to pawn each coming week.

Very early on a Monday morning, before attending school, I had to call at certain houses in and around our home in Banfield Road. I pushed an old pram to pick up bundles of clothes and other household items. Lots of people welcomed the privacy of my weekly collection because it avoided the embarrassment of making a visit to the pawn shop in person.

After I had completed my Monday morning collections I would push the pram up Dangerfield Lane and along Pinfold Street to a small back to back house close to Darlaston town centre. This was the home of an elderly lady. I was too young to do the pledging so she would take the bundles to the pawn shop in Cramp Hill just of New Street.

The old lady would act on behalf of the donors. Once a price had been agreed and the pledge ticket was issued she would take a service charge for her bargaining skills. She was paid 3d for each bundle. My reward would be paid when I returned the rest of the pledge money to the housewives who had given me their parcels. I earned a penny from each household. Afterwards I had to make a mad dash to school.

On Fridays I would take the pledge tickets back to the old lady and she would redeem the clothing in good time for weekend use. I got paid another penny once I returned the clothes to the owners.

 Thankfully we don't have to do this anymore.

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