|Frank Venton, formerly of Wells Road, Bradley|
My father had the dreaded tuberculosis. He became so ill that they took him to Prestwood Sanatorium. He had to stop there for months but after a time, although far from well, he said he was coming home to look for work.
He took a job at the "poverty bonk" site in Loxdale Street, Bilston. The men worked digging and levelling the ground ready for development. It was a hard life. Father was only paid 1/6d. Even with our means test allowance we were on the bread line.
The strain took its toll on Father and he died. He was thirty nine. Me and my two younger sisters were left behind. We had already lost our Mother in 1928. She died in New Cross Hospital, from a blood disorder after having my youngest sister.
I was determined to do all I could to keep the family together, although I knew it was going to be difficult.
I asked some older relatives for their help. I wanted them to vouch for me when I tried to get the local means test assistance board to help us. It took a long time for them to decide to pay us a weekly allowance. In the end I got 7/6d for both of my sisters but they would not help us with our weekly rent, which was 8/4d. Once the rent was paid there would be almost nothing left.
We did manage to stay together as a family but I was thankful when the means test finally ended. Our lives began to improve towards the end of the thirties because the need for rearmament meant there was more factory work.
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