Lola Gwen Allsopp was born on 9 May 1931 at the Bungalow Private Hospital in Murray Street, Tamworth. The Bungalow lay between the current day (2016) underpass and Peel Street.
Lola explained to me “It was run by Mrs Weaver and at the time of my birth my family was living at Somerton, a small village about 22 miles from Tamworth. My father worked for Messers. J. F & S. Vickery.”
One bright spring morning in September of 2015, as Lola and I sat at the kitchen table drinking a cup of tea, she went on to tell me all about her early years.
“I was baptised in the parish of Manilla on 26 Jul 1931 at the Church of England Church and I had no Godparents.”
“My father was then shifted to “Bective Station” still working for Mr Vickery in about 1935, and I grew up playing with my four older brothers – Francis (Mick), Alan, Donald and Gordon (Pop). At the age of 4 years I fell off the veranda of our house, splitting my forehead open just above my left eye I was taken to the Tamworth Hospital and had my forehead stitched and was allowed to go home. The next day my face and forehead were very red and swollen so Mum and Dad took me back to see the doctor. When he took the bandage off the stitches were on the bandage. I had an infection in the wound which eventually left a scar over my eye. The scar is still there to this day”.
“I started school at the age of six. My brother Gordon had to double me to school on his push bike. We went to Bective School which was approximately 3 miles from our home. Our teachers were Mr Bendeich and his wife. Mrs Bendeich mainly taught the girls sewing. When Gordon left Bective School I had to ride an old horse named Maudie to school. To finish primary school I had to go to Byamee Public School and whilst there my girlfriend Lola Campbell brought some cigarettes to school. We climbed a tree and each had a few puffs, but I didn’t like it. During my time at Byamee School we played a fair bit of sport ie: ball games, running and high jumps. I was pretty good at running and high jumping but Lola Campbell was always a bit better. I remember getting the cane whilst I was as Byamee school, but I don’t remember why I got it – must have been very naughty though. It was the only time I ever got the cane”.
“From there I moved on to Tamworth High School. At that time the high school was situated where East Tamworth Primary School is today – at the corner of Upper and Brisbane Streets (2016). I attended high school until the end of 3rd year when I was 14 1/2 years old, leaving in 1946 because I disliked school so very much. My best subjects were science and religion (believe it or not!) and I also liked home duties and sport – especially running and hockey in the back position. I didn’t get my leaving certificate. I remember wagging school one day with a couple of friends and we went to the movies. I wrote my own absence note the next day and handed it in to the headmaster. A couple of days later some other kid went to the headmaster and dobbed us in. The headmaster made us go home and tell our parents and mum had to write a note to confirm what we had done that day. I don’t actually remember being punished for this though”.
“Upon leaving school I stayed home to help my mother until I was about 15 years old. We had a big home and a large family to look after. The chores included housekeeping, tending to the large vegetable and flower gardens and orchard, and cooking”.
“At that age I started attending Tamworth Technical College to learn dressmaking and tailoring. The Tech College used to be near where the Council building is today in Peel Street (2016). I did well with my dressmaking but failed my tailoring exam. I made a white linen suit for my tailoring exam and the teacher made me line it with muslin. I was told I failed the exam simply because of the muslin, which should never have been used. After the exam I took the lining out and was able to wear the suit. I was roughly 18 1/2 years old when I finished Tech”.