We came in 55 from the prefabs

What a lovely house!

Gardens, indoor toilets and stairs for the first time –

we ran up and down them all day long

But winter in Langley was freezing

No central heating

so I’d

warm my legs by a stove in the mornings

drinking a cup of tea while the family was still in bed.

We were all in the same boat

 

They were just starting to build Langley and there were

No doctors

No priests

No midwives

And the buses full of smoking men going to work in Manchester

only ran to the top of Wood Street

where the bus driver would shout

“Debtor’s Retreat!”

That’s until Ted Briscoe, the bus inspector, aka ‘Lord Mayor of Langley’,

organised our 121 Langley Flyer.

We were all in the same boat.

 

We had some really great times over the years

Not much money but there was a piano and a singsong

Entertainers in the Catholic Club

Church activities and trips back to where you’d come from

Lovely afternoons spent in Jubilee Park –

free sketched on a Sunday ’til it went dark

Dancing at the baths on the wooden floor put over the water and

marvelling at the Langley Festival elephant kept in the field near the motorway

With cinemas to choose from we could opt for

freezing feet at The Palace or

scratching at the Flea Pit.

We were all in the same boat.

 

Everybody knew everybody

And everybody got on so well

We were all struggling to make a better life for our children

We were all in the same boat.

 

A poem compiled from memories of participants in a reminiscence workshop at Langley Library, March 2008 from the book ‘The Folk on the Hill: Poems and Stories from Langley’.