Frederick George Haney (CSWig18)
CUMBRIA SPEAKS ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
13 WEST STREET,
TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW
2017 Cumbria Speaks Oral History Project
Respondent: Frederick George Haney
Date of birth: 21st May 1942
Date of Interview: 29/11/2017
Interviewer: Trevor Grahamslaw
Interview conducted at Freddy’s home.
TG Hello Freddy could you give me your full name please?
FH I am Fredric Haney, err I am seventy-five, I was born on the 21st May 1942 and I live at 6 Banks Crescent, Wigton
TG Do you have any brothers and sisters?
FH I am the youngest of ten and I had brothers and sisters, yea.
TG What did your mother and father do for work?
FH Well err, my father worked at Kirkbride, err I think it was, was for 14 MU, and, I think, I think my mother she used to do, I think, part time at Wigton Hall.
TG Right. Now you were born in Brookside Cottage
FH That’s right
TG What was the cottage like for a family of twelve?
FH Very, very small, very, very small, because we were, as such, on the ground floor and there was people on the upper floor, actually used to live above us.
They called them Mr and Mrs Whiteside, I think. So it was very small for us but I don’t think it ever, well it actually didn’t bother us. It was accepted and, err, it was a lovely old house and I, I remember my mam err, I was the youngest so I would probably get a lot more than the, the, the err older brothers and sisters.
But I remember her when she, she, she, she used to have the old piano and, err, she used to sit and sing the songs and I used to sit beside her. She used to say to me, she says Freddy, she says, when you sing you don’t stammer and I had a really, really bad stammer and err I had a bad stammer, I suppose, up to I was actually about twenty year old.
But when you say about Brookside, it was brilliant I was just about five or six years old but I thought it was a brilliant place to live and err we actually used to play at football on the front bit and sometimes the ball went down this lane and it used to go into the beck and if you weren’t quick enough you, you actually had to run all the way round to the Stampery for to pick it out.
TG That’s a long way.
FH Oh aye definitely was a long way and err, but we accepted it and every Sunday morning, I’ll never forget, there was an old feller, he used to stand up where Free For All is and he used to play, I don’t know whether it was an accordion or a melodeon, and he used to sing all about God and he was Jack McGee. And he was a character in Wigton, Wigton. A marvellous fellow, and he used to have a horse and cart and they actually used to say, I think they called his wife, I think it was Jane and they said that when he was on the horse and cart, she actually ran beside it. Now, that is what I heard, I never seen it, but err, he was a character, so,
TG There were other characters down there as well
FH Oh there was, yea. Err, the, the, there was, there was, I’m trying to think. Err
FH Oh Arnisons, now right opposite our house was the Arnison Works and every so often there actually used to be the Smiths crisps van, he used to come and they actually used to throw them, actually up into the loft and they were tin. So we used to sit between the van and Arnisons wall hoping and waiting for one to drop, and if it dropped we used to grab it and off with it, yea. Marvellous. Marvellous err.
TG He also kept err, Banties and…
FH That’s right err I think it was John, I think it was John Arnison, he, he actually used to keep the banties for show and after he had finished with them for showing he actually used to give them to me and I had this little pen and I actually used to look after them but he, he, but when you had finished with them he actually would not let you give them to anybody else because he used to keep them for show and he didn’t want anybody else to breed or anything like that, yea?
TG I see that Yea, Yea, you were right beside the auction mart there of course.
FH Yea , yea on the, don’t know whether it was on the Tuesday then or the Thursday but they were always, they, they were old , some were rotten cars then with the running boards and I remember my brother Frank, he often used to pull the handbrake off and it, it actually used to go down the hill and sometimes it would run into err, it was Pringles then , I isn’t quite sure and I used to hear my mam shout “Oh Frank”, she said “Franks pulled the handbrake off again” but it’s a fact of life and happened and he’s a lovely lad Frank and he still alive and he’s a brilliant brother. But when he was young he, he, he had that meningitis when he was six months old and it actually left him like that but he’s still a lovely man and I, I absolutely love him eh?
TG So when you were about five you moved to Kirkland Avenue?
FH Oh yea we moved to Kirkland Avenue and they’d only just been built and brand new houses and we used to get fun in actually flushing the toilet because we ‘d never seen a flush toilet and it was magic. How does that happen? You pull that handle down and me mam used to say “Will you stop flushing that toilet!” yea.
TG It must have still been quite cramped though
FH Well it was, but it was three bedrooms then and it was a lot better than the one that we lived in. but we used to actually sleep three at the top and three at the bottom but you never thought anything about it because it was accepted .
TG So, you’re going to school to St Cuthbert’s?
FH We went to St Cuthbert’s school yea , a brilliant school and I actually, I actually loved it but it was a bit harder for me err, because I had a bad stammer and you know what, kids are kids, I didn’t used to talk much and I used to stand in the corner a lot but err, and me mam used to go down and say well err So and so has took, took the mick out of Freddie and, but kids are kids, and now I accept it now but when you’re a kid yourself it was hard and there was magic teacher, Sister Aquinas, she was magic and I remember when err we were once doing the, the woodwork now, we did, Sister Aquinas actually used to take it all, she used to do the woodwork, the football, she was a marvellous , marvellous lady and I was into music then I suppose cos I actually made this little wooden guitar and it was out of balsa wood and I stuck it and then then when she came along the line she said “What have you been making Freddy?” I said “I’ve been making this guitar sister.” She said “Guitar, I’d didn’t tell you to make that!” and I said” It’s great, look at it” Oh she says yea and she picked it up and smashed it over my head. I’ll never forget her.
It was just balsa wood so it, it didn’t hurt but what a lovely, lovely woman and brilliant for Wigton.
TG You also told me that that she once smacked you round the lug, didn’t she?
FH Oh yea Oh yea. We were in class and err I don’t know what I was doing I think I was tapping a pen all the time and she came up and she said stop tapping that pen and she , she smacked me over the head and I said I think you’ve burst me eardrum Oh she says have I? And she went bang on the other side and said I’ll burst the other one for you. Oh marvellous woman and I respected her and I loved her.
TG So but you were going on there cos you had a lack of confidence with the stammer you didn’t read in class.
FH Yea, that’s true.
TG But you conquered that you told me how hard you used to, you tried.
FH Well, I had, my, it was hard up till I, I was twenty, I don’t know maybe all of twenty because I remember when a man and his wife used to send me for twenty cigarettes err, err, and I used to come back with box of chocolates and she used to say what’s the box of chocolates Freddy . Well I says I couldn’t say it and but Oh that’s stammering isn’t it?
TG Well you can hardly tell now. When you were at School did you also, How did you play cos. you said you joined the army cadets. Yea
FH Yea I, I actually joined them with a wonderful friend of mine which is Leo Holden. A really wonderful friend and a really talented lad cos he was definitely was a great artist at school and he could draw anything and I used to keep at first because he used draw my Father Christmas’s at Christmas. But after that we ended up really good friends. We used to go for walks and talk about the world and he was a really lovely guy.
TG When you were in the cadets did Leo join the Cadets as well?
FH Yea and we actually decided to join the Army Cadets and actually was in the Wigton drill hall then and it was brilliant. It was really, really good because they used to train you like the, well I suppose like the army soldiers and they used to show you how to take all these guns to bits and put them together and it was really interesting
TG And you had away days too?
FH Yea we once went to Rhyll and it was brilliant. And I really enjoyed it.
TG When you weren’t at the cadets what other entertainments did you get up to in Wigton? Did you go to the baths?
FH Well no, then I was getting to about fifteen or sixteen and I then, I started to get the bigger interest in music and err when I got to about sixteen or seventeen, it would be probably eighteen as well we actually used to go in the Lion and Lamb and it was me and our David and he played the guitar and we actually used to sing as a duo and it was brilliant and on a Friday night in the Wigton Market Hall there always was a big band on. I remember this band and it used to come from Scotland called the Clyde Valley Stompers and there was this lad that used to come with them and he used to do the intervals and he used to sing all the Elvis Presley songs. They actually called him Alex Harvey and, not then, but he ended up as the sensational Alex Harvey Band and I think he was a billionaire but he used to sit with us in Lion and Lamb and we used to have a pint together and we used to just talk about music.
He gave me his photograph of him, and I kept it for years, but I don’t know where it is now and he actually was a marvellous entertainer at Elvis Presley songs. Really brilliant at it. So,
TG You learnt a lot from him.
FH I learnt a lot from him, yea, because we used to listen to him and he was very, very good.
TG By now you’ve been noticed.
FH Yea, err, the manager out of the Throstles Nest, which was a John Kirkbride asked us if we’d sing in his pub Fridays, Saturday and Sunday and it was great, oh yea, yea.
We went in there and I think we were there for about two years. Err, I’ll always remember we did, hes a lovely man John and he actually used to stand like Brian Epstein. Eh?
As if we were the Beatles and………
TG What sort of music did you sing in the Throstle?
FH It actually was the sixties, err, a lot of the Everly brothers which we, well people said that we were brilliant at. The arm and they said “What were the sixties like? Johnnie Be Good and all the rock and roll songs. It used to get packed, it was marvellous nights. Really packed out Friday Saturday and Sunday. they used to come from Workington, from Carlisle and then, err, we decided that we were actually have to move on and so we, when we actually in the Throstle the actually called us The Shells but then we decided to be a group and we actually got this drummer called Michael Charters. Brilliant lad and a brilliant drummer and then we got, I think, it was Joe Cowell in on the keyboards .And now we went on the road and we tried to think of this name and then we thought of Freddie and the Breadcrumbs and it was a magic name, eh, cos we actually used to sing all over Workington, sing over Whitehaven , we even used to travel up to Bishop Auckland and Middlesbrough and we used work under an agent then and I’ll never forget when we, I think it was Middlesbrough, and it was snowing . And we went into this club and we finished our gig and when we came out all the windscreen was out.
And, err, we said “how are we going to get home?” and it was Raymond that was driving. They call him Ray Greenhow and he says “Aye we’ll drive it home.” But I said we’ll actually have to ring the police cos there actually was glass all over the place. Anyways the Police come and one of the lads said” They’ve smashed our windscreen”. “Aye” he said “yea” he said “it happens eh” but he says, “I wouldn’t mind but they’ve even pinched your tax disc!” and I looked and I said “It’s not taxed eh”. Shh! So we, I can remember, it was a cold night and we drove home and all the snow was blowing into the van. We stopped at this Coffee bar and it was full of truckers and they says till us “Where you come from?”
We said Middlesbrough. they said You have drove that van like that all the … yea and they actually gave these his old grey , I think they were army coats. And it was a lot better cos, eh they didn’t have keep you warm eh.
And then we actually used to do a hell of a lot of private doos we were actually doing one at the Swiss Court which is in Carlisle, now right opposite Swiss Court I think it was on the top floor I think is Black Friars street, and we used to park the van in Black Friars street anyways after we had played I went to pick the van up for to bring it over the road for to pack the gear in and when I was just getting in to the van I heard “aye aye” and it was a policeman and he said to me “where have you been and what have you been doing”? Well I actually had a stammer then I started stammering and he said “have you been drinking” well he said you actually sound slurred I said “Ive been slurred for over 20 year eh, ha ha”, he thought I was trying to be funny with him eh eh.
He said “are you trying to be funny with me” it’s true so anyways be then I think it was Michael came over he came over and explained till him eh, oh allsorts and erm, we were once coming back from Ellenborough Club and er and somebody decided that they actually wanted fish and chips, so as were coming down the hill from the Ellenborough Club somebody says” are we getting any fish & chips”? and it was er, it was er, I think Michael was driving and he swung the van up street and he said “we will take a short cut” and we ran into a grittee and all the bloody grit went all over the top and everybody was blaming Michael and he said “don’t blame me blame the one who actually wanted the fish and chips”!
So, but it was great I often, I only wish I could back for a day eh coz it was truthfully we never made any money eh, but it was brilliant. That’s Freddy and the Breadcrumbs.
What pubs did you used to play in at Wigton then as Freddy and the Breadcrumbs?
You’ve played the Market Hall, erm we used to play in the Legion now I think it was just the Legion? I think, I think it was just the Legion? Or it could have been the Kings Arms as well? But I don’t think we actually played as Freddy and the Breadcrumbs actually in the Throstle’s nest we maybe did but erm, Oh we used to play at Harraby all over West Cumbria unbelievable the clubs that we got through eh. Great lads!
So you met your wife Gleniece where was that?
Ye it was actually at the county ballroom erm, because they used to have it erm they used to have it every Saturday night and I said till her once “I says why did you pick me “she says “well it actually wasn’t you it was yer shoes” because I always use to wear, I always had these fancy shoes eh and I use to struggle, I used to struggle to pay for them but I always had fancy shoes she said “ I, I, it actually wasn’t you I actually liked yer shoes eh” she we obviously started courting for a bit then we had to decide to get married, and our wedding reception was at Mid winters Caf which is in, in I think it was in Botchergate you know and everybody seemed to go to Mid Winters Caf and I can erm remember the bills for my wedding, I think there was about 85 there? And I think the bill was £17. 17 &6 and the taxis was £7and 6, 7 and 7 and 6 and the flowers were 7 & 6 how much would that cost you now? Ye it’s unbelievable! Ye weddings!
And then after that we had got married we lived in Carlisle for about a couple of year and I didn’t really like Carlisle nothing against it but I was a Wigtonian eh and I didn’t like Ca.. so I think it was in the paper somebody wanted an exchange it was Throstle Avenue and they wanted to exchange from Throstle Avenue to Carlisle somewhere and we, we actually put in for it. And we got the house in Throstle Avenue and we exchanged, and erm I don’t know who fetched our stuff through it was one of my mates eh good lad and he actually helped us out but erm I’ve never looked back, same as Gleniece she’s actually from Carlisle but she classes herself actually as a Wigtonian eh. Well she’ll have been, coz she’ll have been erm, I’m trying to think I’m trying to think how long we’ve been married, Er 55year so she’s been in Wigton a long, long, long time and she classes herself as a Wigtonian now and erm she used to come with us with the group then eh and er her and er I think it was couple of the other lads wives and they used to have erm brilliant times.
We used to travel to Barrow, erm we once went to a club I think it was Bootle, Bootle village hall and a fellow came it was early on and erm and he paid us which was great, and then another fellow came at the end of the night and he paid us (Laugh) and we looked at the money, and erm anyways we put all the gear in the van and I says mind they bound to have twigged and the lad says get in the van or we will never be coming back here again eh, that’s he paid us twice it was brilliant.
No erm if you could back, then as I say then the group split up through one thing and, and we were all still the best of friends.
I was sitting in the Legion one night and there was a singer on and he was living up here, up in the Lake District because he had actually had a heart attack and he was recuperating I think he was singing in, and I think he was a professional singer he used to sing Jim Reeves songs he was brilliant, and I was sitting in the club and I says, he hadn’t a guitar and I says where’s the backing coming from? And at the interval I says I’m going for a craic with him and I says “that’s marvellous” and he says “what’s marvellous”? I said “all that music coming out of the speakers” and he said “it’s all on that tape” and it’s on the tape and I actually sing to it. And they called it backing tracks and I said “that’s marvellous” he said “it’s just an ordinary tape but instead of putting the singing on its just the backing oh I said “I will have to get onto this” and I went to see my friend called Steve Viney, and a marvellous guy he would be.
I said “Steve would you be able to make me some if these backing tracks”? and he hadn’t actually heard of them he said “I’ll definitely play it and he played all the tape for es and I actually started again all on my own eh, and then after that it progressed to mini discs where you could put about 50 or 60 songs on so it was brilliant.
And what sort of places did you used to sing then? Same ?
Well I used to sing, erm I used to sing at the same clubs which was great for me I actually didn’t have to share, eh, eh, I didn’t have to share the money eh which was absolutely brilliant.
Oh I used to sing, I used to go to Bishop Auckland all on my… mind I’ve been in some really rough places but truthfully they never harmed me because they always like 60’s music and truthfully I’ve never been paid off and I’ve been singing about nearly 56 year I think about the same time as Rue and the Rockets? Maybe even earlier than them? But erm I’ve never been paid off and ive always enjoyed it and ive been in some really, really rough places.
But erm and erm, I was singing on my own, when I was singing through an agency I was travelling all over, when you were coming home at 1’s and 2’s o’clock in the morning, its far too late and I actually once fell asleep at the wheel and I went up onto the grass verge, if it hadn’t of been bumping I would have went right through the dyke eh! And it actually woke es up and I said I’ve got to have a stop at this so then I actually used to do the locals, I don’t do a hell of a lot now but erm I still sing I can never stop singing and I don’t think I ever will. I do the odd bookings but erm well I’m at the Free Masons lodge on erm on New Years Eve, I’m not a free mason mind but I’m singing for them eh.
No I could never stop singing it’s been my life!
Because with the singing you were also full time employed and when you were in Carlisle you also had a job at Carr’s? That’s right ha ha. How did that go?
I didn’t like Carr’s and erm I was singing on a Sunday night and I wasn’t going in on the Monday, I actually got the sack and I’ll never forget the woman who was actually the personnel officer, They called her Miss Spence and she looked like a fella (Laugh) she looked like a fella and erm she said “Freddy you either work on a Monday all week or I’ll have to finish you” well I said “ I really don’t like the place” and Miss Spence she said “well I think you’ve answered it yourself”
And shortly after that you moved to Wigton anyway? Ye, and where did you work in Wigton?
When I first moved to Wigton I was on the ash cart, everybody seemed to think that working on the ash cart well, I really really enjoyed it. I worked with a man called Nony Tiffen and he was marvellous marvellous little fella and we and I think it was on a Tuesday and we used to pick all the old apples up from erm Henry Sharpe’s and we used to empty them into the skip and ive seen Nony pick one up and eat it and I said look at him and he says get yourself a apple Freddy there’s nowt wrong with them.
And then we used to go to, oh we used to go all over the countryside erm till kirkbride, Anthorm it was a hard job then it was really hard eh because it was these metal bins and everybody as such had these erm coal fires and ash was really, really heavy and you had to be strong, and then I spoke to someone up street and they said why don’t you try the county council and I tried that and I went up to see at the Wigton depo, it was Mr Walsh a very, very stern man eh but I actually knew him because he actually used to go to the Catholic church I actually went into the office and he says hello Freddie, hello I says “I’m after a job erm Mr Walsh” he said “are you after work2? I says “ye” and I had a bit of a crack with him and he said you can start in 2 week, and then I was on the council for I think it was 15-16 or 17 year ye I enjoyed it.
“What did you do, what was the job”?
It was on the roads, it was actually on the roads and you have to actually cut edges, but the lad who was in charge was a marvellous lad and he was actually our foreman and he was called Jackie Bennett. A lovely man and he was a good foreman to es and erm he used to go to school, he actually used to go to school with me but I think I’m slightly older than Jackie, and we used to go to the swimming baths and when you went into the swimming baths it was Mr & Mrs Cook and after you had got changed you all had to stand along the edge so we were all standing and Mr Cook was coming along and erm he was just checking to see you actually had yer dookers on right and then he came to Jackie and Jackie had a scarf on and he says to Jackie “get that scarf off Bennett” he said “I cant” he said get that scarf off” he said “I cant” he said ive got a bad chest and my mother says I have to keep the scarf on eh. And he was actually gonna get in the baths with it on eh but marvellous and a marvellous guy Jackie Bennett.
So I think you’ve got the story of my life just about, yes but you moved on again to another job after that oh ye, ye, ye I was only on about £46 at the County Council then in the70’s and I went to do a job for Ted Winter I think he was actually a manager down there and he lived opposite the park in one of them big houses, he said “have you ever fancied the factory Freddie” and I said “well no” I said “truthfully I said I’ve never worked inside” and he said “if you fancy it come and see me.
Anyways we were working at, I think it was Oulton it was pouring down and I think we were putting kerbs in and we were soaking and I said to Blair one of the lads who I was working with and I said “oh im jacking this in “ he said “you’ll never jack this in Freddie you’ve worked outside all yer life and I went to see Ted and I was in the factory within 2 week and I enjoyed the factory theres some marvellous people in there erm and as long as you did yer job nobody bothered you.
“What was your job in the factory”
“It was erm sometimes it was on packing and then it was on strapping pallets and getting everything ready actually for putting it for the despatch for to transport eh.
“Apart from still singing Freddie I would say you are what I would call a musical family tree” It is because ethey used to call us the Osmonds of Wigton there was me, there was Lawrence, there was David, who actually was in the breadcrumbs with es and the marvellous Co-Co he actually is a hell of a good singer and there also was, and I think she’s a brilliant singer which is Donna, and how shes never got anywhere I honestly don’t know but, she used to say to me Freddy, I’m happy doing the clubs around here and then I can go home to my children and my husband, and I think that’s absolutely brilliant.
And all of them are still performing regularly? They’re all still performing regularly ye I’ve told you it was the Wigton Osmonds! With Donna as Marie? Ye.
Just getting on to what you think about Wigton today, and what you think about Wigton folk?
Well why I’ve always loved Wigton, because Wigton people theres a lot of them are always are always twining but you always know that its Wigton people because they always speak to you, and you know that its Wigton people. Now I remember that when they were actually wanting to move the fountain, that really really, upset me and I actually went to all the meetings, and I’m not like that really but I says they can’t move that, that’s Wigton, but obviously somebody somewhere wanted to move it and its exactly the same with the erm Wigton Legion entrance, why they took that beautiful art work down I will never know but I suppose you’ve got to move with the times, so that’s the disappointing thing really the changes but overall Wigton is Wigton.
Wigton is Wigton, and I do, I love the people in it and I love Wigton, well I actually have to finish now and I have to actually finish musically because it’s been all my life when erm when I was a little boy on a Saturday night when my dad went out for a pint, he used to come home with a few pints and he actually used to sing, he actually used to sing through the night and he always used to sing this song and I’ll never forget it never! And it’s my favourite song now and maybe all the people in Wigton will have heard this song? I’m actually gonna sing it for you it’s a brilliant song and It’s this;
Popping them into me
Popping them into me
Be help me Jimmy I’m stuck with pills
She’s always popping them down me gills
She never takes one herself
She’s frightened I will see
Yen at a time two at a time she’s popping them in to me!
“Thank you Freddie”