MY LIFE FROM BIRTH UNTIL 1941 BY ARCHIE MCARTHUR

 My story begins in a room and kitchen house situated at No. 138 Park Street, Kinning Park, Govan where I was born in the kitchen bed on the 22nd of February 1919. I was christened Archibald Mc Arthur in the White Memorial church at the corner of Sussex  Street and Paisley Road West, and at the time of my birth there were three other children in our family, Isabella Welsh Mc Arthur, born in 1912, Paul Mc Arthur, born in 1914, and Elizabeth Tait Mc Arthur born in 1917. My younger brother Charles was born on the 12th of July 1921 and this completed our family. My mother was named Isabella Smith Mc Arthur, and her maiden name was Welsh. My father was Angus Mc Arthur. Our house was on the first floor of a three storey tenement, and there were two other houses on this landing these three families shared a common toilet which was situated on the half-landing. Entering our house at the main door you would walk into the lobby and to your right there was the door to the kitchen. This kitchen was typical of hundreds of kitchens throughout Kinning Park, and the furniture was much the same as most of the families had who lived in the area. Entering the kitchen you would look on to the window with the black iron sink beneath it, and to the left of which there was a brass swan necked cold water pipe. On the left hand side of the door there was the set in bed where I was born, and there were two wooden chairs which sat in front of this bed. A large mahogany chest of drawers sat on the wall to the left of the bed where mother stored her linen and other things, In common with most other tenement houses there was a pond which covered the space under the bed, where a hamper, large zinc bath, and anything else that was not in daily use was stored. Next to the chest of drawers there was the half-range, where all the cooking and baking was done, and next to this fireplace there was the kitchen press where the pots and pans and groceries were kept, and behind the press door was the box which held the cooking salt. This brought you back to the sink, and to the right of the draining board, on the wall which went back to the door there was the coal bunker which could hold about four hundredweight of coal. Above the bunker and running the length of the kitchen there were two shelves on which the Jelly pan, candle sticks and best china and other ornaments were on display.  On the centre of the floor there was the kitchen table with four chairs around it, and the furnishing of the kitchen was complete with a wooden arm-chair used by my father. There were two drawers in the table, one of which held the cutlery and other cooking utensils, while the other held all the bobbins of thread, knitting needles and all the various junk that families gather together. This then was the room where my parents slept, and the family spent most of their waking hours. Re-entering the lobby you faced the bed-room door, and entering this door you were facing the window of the room, which was above   a little shop in the street known as Maggie Austin’s. As I remember this room there was a set in bed and a double bed. The girls slept in the set in bed and the boys in the double bed. There was a fire-place on the right hand wall and looking on to this fire-place, on its left was a cupboard which served as a wardrobe, and the shelf at the top of the cupboard was used to put hats or any bits and pieces that needed storing. To the right of the fire-place there was a chest of drawers which had two small and three large drawers and was used to store our clothes and bed linen. I can not remember when my father allowed a lodger named Alfred Hunter to come to our house, but to me it seemed that he was always there, and as I grew up to about a six year old I found that I and my brothers and sisters resented having a stranger in our house. When I was five years old I was taken by my Mother to Smith Street School, where I was to stay until I was twelve years old. For the first few weeks I remember mother bringing me a sandwich and hot tea at the playtime which was at eleven o’clock. At twelve thirty I would come home and get a bowl of soup and a piece of bread with margarine or dripping on it, before returning to school at one-thirty, and after the after-noon session was over at three o’clock I would walk home and play with my friends until tea time. I was fortunate that my grandma Mc Arthur lived in the next close to us, and as she had 13 children it meant that I had lots of cousins living at houses near by to play with, and lots of aunts and uncles to visit. One of my aunts who was known to  us children as aunt Cissie was very popular with all of the children as she often made tablet or toffee balls or toffee apples, and if we visited her we would be given whatever was in the house. As I grew up to be a boy of eight we played all the various games in their season kick the can, running with a gird and cleek, moshie with different coloured jorries, stookies, playing with a whip and perrie, football, swapping cigarette cards, playing “put and take”, with a little brass knob which had five sides which were marked “take one” “put two”, “put two” and “take all” which we played for cigarette cards or matches. Sometimes we would go to the public park and run miles round its perimeter, or visit “The Plots” which lay at the back of Clifford Street to play football. I recall an incident happening to me and about seven or eight friends at these plots. The plots were entered from our local park and consisted of six or seven ash football pitches which stretched all the way to Gower Street. (The M8 motorway now runs over this site) Along the lane at the side of the pitches there were trees of different varieties and one of these trees was blooming (as we thought) with lovely pea pods. It was not long before we had climbed this tree and started to devour the peas. Within a very short time we were all being violently sick and in a few cases my mates were passing out. Luckily for us some adults came along and saw what had happened and the boys who had passed out were taken to the southern General Hospital. I was fortunate to have vomited most of the poison from the Laburnum tree pods out of my stomach and was able to go home. It was not long after this episode that a very traumatic thing happened to me. The index finger of my left hand started to grow a cyst at the bottom of the finger, and although it did not bother me for some time it eventually was becoming too big, and was forcing my tow fingers apart. I would be nine years old at this time and my father took me to the Victoria Infirmary. The surgeon that came to look at the cyst told my father that he would have to remove the finger, but my father insisted that the cyst and not the finger be removed. A few weeks later I was sitting in a room in the Victoria Infirmary with Doctor Simpson, and watching him removing the cyst. My hand was strapped to a wooden block and the doctor had a bottle of liquid which he squirted on to my hand. After a little while he started to cut my finger and I watched him saw and cut at the cyst for about an hour before he began to stitch the wound. During this operation I did not feel any pain and my mother took me home on the tram car. That night, and for many nights afterwards, in spite of having pain-killers to ease the pain, I suffered agony day after day, and being off school I was losing my chance of passing the qualifying examination which was fast approaching. When I was nearly eleven years old the cyst began to grow again and I had to return to the Infirmary to have another operation. This time was almost a replica of the first operation , the doctor strapped my hand to a block of wood and using the same method to freeze my finger, he started to bore a hole into the front of my finger and with small, very sharp tools he removed bone and other matter from this hole. He did not put stitches on the wound this time; I think that the sore would be allowed to knit together itself. After many more visits to the Infirmary and the local doctor I was finally cured of the cyst, and although I sometimes have a twinge of pain the cyst has not bothered me. When I sat the qualifying examination I did not get enough marks to let me in to the higher grade school, so I was sent to the secondary school where I was taught Joinery, History, Geography, English, Art and Poetry. I may have suffered by not being clever enough to gain entry to the higher grade school, but I was fortunate to find myself being taught by a teacher named Mr. Turnbull. This gentleman was in charge of a class of fifty pupils, and I do not remember that he had any problems keeping these pupils in order. Perhaps the three tongued leather strap had something to do with this but I believe that it was his attitude to his pupils that made him liked. On an occasional Thursday he would say that he intended to visit the City of Glasgow on Saturday and if any of the boys could get a penny and would like to come with him would they please meet him at Paisley Road Toll. Boys who could not get a penny and would like to come, then they too should be at the meeting place. At 9.a.m. we met at Paisley road Toll and Mr. Turnbull, (we never got to know our teachers name) would take the pennies from the boys who had one and take some pennies from his pocket to get a half-penny half for all the boys and we were then on our way to visit Glasgow by tram car.  One typical visit was to the magnificent Glasgow Cathedral where we would hear our teacher tell us when, why and how it was built, and how, because the Masons and other tradesmen required houses to live in, shops to supply them with the necessities of life such as food, furniture, clothing and all the other things men and women need, in short how Glasgow grew up around the Cathedral to become the second City of the British empire. Another time we would visit the Glasgow green and our teacher would tell us the story of Templeton’s carpet factory, and how it was a replica of the Doge’s Palace in Venice, or we may visit the People’s Palace where he would tell us the story of Thomas Lipton of tea fame, and the tale of the sailing ships that bore the name of “Shamrock” which sailed so many seas, bringing honour to their crews and country. The pupils of Mr. Turnbull’s class certainly left school with a knowledge of Glasgow history that few other children had. I was greatly influenced by this teacher and throughout a long life I have continued to increase my knowledge of, and have given lectures on the history of my native City. Sometimes when we were in the City the wind would have blown the endless clouds of smoke from the factory chimneys away, and Mr. Turnbull would point out to us, and tell us stories of the warlocks and witches of the Campsie hills, and of the standing stones in these hills. These stories led me to seek out these stones and hear and read more tales of the history of our countryside, and so in a few years I became a hiker, and through all of my life, from my teens till I married, and Nancy and I began our family, I have walked most of the Scottish countryside. During whatever subject he was teaching us he would punctuate his points by saying, “And Robert Burns said this or Robert Burns wrote a lyric about this or that”. Again, he began my  interest in our Scottish Bard, and when the “Daily Express” of 1936 or 37 published a complete Kilmarnock edition of Burns works I saved my pennies and three-penny bits until I had enough money to purchase a copy of this book, and it still sits, a lot more used than most books on my bookshelf. I know that times change and that we must move on from the past, but I firmly believe that men like Mr. Turnbull in today’s schools, would give a striking example of how to keep discipline in the class-room and have our children of today loving to learn. At the age of eleven I was given a milk boys job by the owner of a dairy which had an adjoining wall with our kitchen in Sussex Street. Mr Samson did all his baking on the premises and was well known for his excellent morning rolls and cakes. This meant that I was out of bed about 5-45a.m. and carrying cans of milk and bags of rolls to the customers living in the many tenements around our area. The cans held either a pint or two pints of milk and had long steel handles which I hung on the customers door handle, knocked hard on the door and went up to the next landing to repeat this task.  I did this seven mornings a week until I was fourteen for the miserly sum of two shillings and sixpence. On Sunday morning I was given a bag with an egg, an apple tart, and a potato scone. I made friends with quite a few other milk boys and one of them, George Fowler, was in my class at school, and he will come into my story later on. At the time we flitted to Sussex Street, my brother Paul had joined the “Life Boys” in the white Memorial church, and I followed Paul and became a Life boy. We met on a Tuesday evening and I enjoyed the various things that the company did, the church parades where we all wore our jerseys with the Life boy badge sewn on to the left breast side, our short trousers and knee-length socks. We would line up on the street and be ordered to form lines, and then the bugle band would lead us along to the church. When I was twelve I joined the 53rd Company of the “Boys Brigade” and one of our officers was John Samson, the son of my previous employer. Sam Maxwell, my brother Paul and my future brother-in-law Stephen Milton were all his fellow officers. Belonging to this Company was a pleasure, it had a bugle band and a pipe band and I participated in most of the companies activities. Captain Johnston who owned a large grocers shop on Paisley Road West was a wonderful leader, teaching us gymnastics on the parallel bars and the proper way to vault over the buck. I remember we were marched to the Glasgow green for a massive parade in the 1930s when many hundreds of boys were inspected by the King. A very sad day came when our Captain died and the various young people who belonged to the church organisations paraded in Sussex street, and led by the pipe and bugle bands we slow marched the 2 to 3 miles to Craigton Cemetery. When I first began to go out into the countryside I would take the tram car to the terminus at the place where the Antionine- wall crosses the main Milngavie road, and walk through Milngavie to the Mugdock Bank reservoir to spend a pleasant day in and around its woods, enjoying a picnic before returning home. The fellowship found among hikers in these early thirties was wonderful, and I was soon to meet young men and women on the road and learn from their experience what to do and what not to do on the road.  At this time I had got myself a Bergan rucksack and a pair of clinker boots, and had bought puttees and ground sheets and a one pole silk tent from the old army and navy stores, which enabled me to stay overnight where-ever I was. The year before I left school I decided to visit Oban, the town where my grandfather was born. The bus to Balloch left Buchanan street station and I arrived at Balloch about 10a.m. and began what turned out to be a mammoth task, three and nearly four days walking, and sleeping whenever I felt too tired to continue. In retrospect I enjoyed every minute and I remember finding an old quarry where I erected my tent, made myself a small fry up, and sat looking around the quarry. About twenty feet from where I had erected the tent there were several large bushes, and as I was looking at them I realised that the bushes were aglow with various coloured points. I walked over to see what this was and remembered being told about glow worms, and here, for the first time I was seeing them in all their beauty. From the cliff face of the quarry I now noticed that bats were flying with unerring accuracy to and from their chosen nesting places, and a very pleasant hour past before I decided that sleepy times had arrived. In the morning I was awakened by what I thought was someone trying to get into the tent, so I sat up and watched the laces of the tent being undone and the face of a man coming through the opening and saying “You’re on your own, come on over we have a breakfast ready for you”. I got out of my sleeping bag, put on my kilt and went out to see that a large cottage tent had been erected about twelve feet away from my tent, and a big frying pan was on a fire frying steak, eggs, sausages, ham and bread. I had never seen such an array of food, steak was something my father got on an odd occasion, but here before my eyes was a banquet. I introduced myself to Fred, George, Jimmy and I have forgotten the fourth mans name. In a short time I was tucking into a large plate of food such as I had never had before meeting these men, and finding out they were Glaswegians who left Glasgow every year about the end of April, and at various sea resorts would play the accordion, trumpet, guitar, and drum and the holiday makers would dance on the promenade in the evenings, while George, who had an arm blown of in the great war, would go round with a hat and take whatever money the dancers gave him.  I spent three days and nights in the company  of these buskers and I learned that they made enough money to live well while away from home and sent enough home for there families to live in reasonable comfort. In order not to return to this story at a latter time, I will relate what happened some eight years latter. I had married my wife Nancy I 1941 and I had told her the story of my meeting with the four men. On a Saturday afternoon we were walking under the Highlanders Umbrella when we both heard a voice shouting Archie. We stopped and around, but seeing no one we knew we walked on. Again the voice came over loud and clear, Archie. So again we stopped and again we saw no one we knew. Walking on we heard the voice for the third time and when I looked round I saw a man with an accordion crossing the road and coming towards us I said to Nancy “ I will now introduce you to Fred, My friend from Oban”. Some seven or eight years since we were last  together, and yet Fred recognised me and told Nancy how the five of us had got on so well in Oban. The year after the Oban episode , my last year at school, I decide to take the whole seven weeks holiday and see how far I could get in a walk through Scotland. Setting off with a pack full of what I felt would do me for the weeks ahead; I again took the bus to Balloch and began a memorable holiday. Cars and busses were few and far between on the roads in these days, but the odd car or lorry would sometimes give a hiker a lift, and on that first evening I found myself just below the falls of Falloch, and I slept there that night. The rest of this trip was brilliant, I made my slow way through Ardlui and on to Crianlarich, Tyndrum, Bridge of Orchy and Ballachulish. Today you cross a bridge to get to Fort William, in the thirties you walked up Loch Leven to Kinlochleven and down the other side of the loch to get to Fort William. From here I walked along a road where a car would dodge a ditch and hit a boulder, along to Kinlocheil, Glenfinnan and Morar to Mallaig. A ferry took me over to Skye and I stopped there for a few days. I stopped off at Broadford to buy a few groceries and the little old lady who sat behind the counter had to call on her grand-daughter to find out what I wanted, she only spoke Gaelic. On to Portree, and while I would have loved to stay on in this area I decided to retrace my steps and take the ferry over the Kyles to Glenelg. I made my way down to the A87 and travelled this road to Invergarry. Here I joined the A82 and got down to Spean Bridge and so on to Fort William. Passing through the magnificence of Glencoe to the Bridge of Orchy, down to Crianlarich. I again entered that Beautiful area of Loch Lomond, a pleasant walk down the Loch to Balloch, and home to Glasgow. At this late date, some seventy years later, I cannot remember all the folks I met, or all the lifts I got from kind motorists or lorry drivers, but I can say hat this was an experience I would not have missed.  To watch the sun going down beneath the islands to the west of Mallaig is a sight I shall never forget, or watching it rise over the mountains in the morning, was well worth the times I had aching limbs. Some nights the sky would be alive with stars and I can never forget such beauty. Potatoes and Turnips, onions and rhubarb were all free to the hiker; it only took a moment to pick them from the side of the field. The freedom and beauty of the country side are things well worth cherishing, wakening in the morning after a good nights sleep and making breakfast over a wood fire is a wonderful feeling, meeting men some of whom were highly intelligent but preferred to live by walking the country side, men who were only to eager to share their knowledge of the best sleeping places, or short cuts over the moors they were the gentlemen of the road, and I am richer for passing a pleasant hour of the day with them.I have not said much about my home life, but while we lived in Park Street there is one incident that I do remember was getting a real leathering from my mother because she thought that I had stolen a half-penny. It was (at what I learned later) the time of the year when everyone spring cleaned, and the set in bed mattresses, which were made up of six two by two canvas squares filled with straw, were all taken down to the back court and burned. The children all gathered round to see this bon-fire and I noticed a half-penny just at the edge of the fire and as it was very hot I got a stick and eased it out from the ashes. I was not long in getting into Maggie Austin’s shop to buy a half-penny macaroon bar, which if it was pink inside you got a white one free, and it was my lucky day. With two macaroon bars I was the greatest until my mother called me up and told me that a boy had said that I had stolen his half-penny. I told her the story  of how I found the half-penny but she obviously didn’t believe me, and with a leather belt she struck me time after time until Mrs Mc Keefery, our next door neighbour came into our house to stop  her. I have never forgotten that beating nor the injustice of it, and I am still amazed that my mother believed before her own son. Our family were not a family who showed any love, and I believe that my father was the source of this behaviour. I can remember from my first understanding days, how he came home from his work in Princes Docks and mother would have his dinner on the table for him. He would lift the Evening Times and read this newspaper while he ate, and when he had finished then the children would be fed. He would wash and change his clothes and go out to the pub where he stayed till closing time. This was a routine that continued throughout his life, and at that time pubs closed at nine o’clock and we children were in bed before that time so that he was not disturbed. I think that my father was much the same as many other fathers of that time, a little bit of a sadist, a man who liked to wield a belt and hurt his children, and if I can be forgiven for jumping ahead it was not until I was fifteen years old and had done something to annoy him that he made his usual remark, “Go into the room and I’ll see you in a minute”. This meant that I was in for a belting, but this time I decided that if anyone was getting belted it was not going to be me. When he came into the room with the belt in his hand I told him that if he tried to use it I would take it from When he came into the room with the belt in his hand I told him that if he tried to use it I would take it from  him and belt him with it. He turned and walked out the door, and from that day on he never tried to use a belt on me. Because of the fact that I had lost a lot of  education during the two years when I was bothered with the cyst on my finger, I decided to take a night school course  learning marine engineering at Stow College in the Cowcaddens opposite Maitland Street, Tuesday and Thursday for two years learning the mysteries of Pythagoras, reciprocating engines and all other important information necessary for my future well being. I recall that at the entrance to the collage were two fossilised tree stumps one on either side of the door, remnants of the old Caledonian forest.Being brought up in this suburb of Govan I was very well aware of the chain and razor gangs. Fortunately in our area if you were not a member of the gang you were left alone, and our family and my cousins were never interfered with during the late twenties and early thirties. We knew the names of most of the gangs, the diehards, The Cheeky forty, The Billy Boys and numerous others. I still remember some of the names of the local gangsters Rough house Maguiness, Scone’y McWilliams and I vividly remember one night when two gangs met in Park Street and battled it out Just below our window, we had a grandstand view of men being cut with razors and ripped with bicycle chains until half a dozen policemen arrived and started to use their batons on the heads and arms of the gangsters. These people terrified the innocent citizens of many Glasgow districts in these days, until the authorities brought a policeman from the Sheffield Police to Glasgow, and he began to have those gangsters arrested and given sentences of so many years hard labour for a serious offence and six months hard labour making roads in the countryside for a lesser one. Another thing that anyone being brought up in the thirties will remember is the “Meth” drinkers. Men, who had reached the end of their tether, having suffered hunger and deprivation over a long period, took to drinking Methylated spirits to obliterate all thoughts of living from their minds, and for a few days they would forget the miserable lives they lived. Some men would take their bottle of meths and put the neck of the bottle on to the gas tube of the stair head light so that they would stay unconscious for longer. There was another madness in Glasgow which exists to this day, the animosity between Catholic and Protestant families. The twelfth of July was dreaded by the Catholics because the streets in those days were decorated with all kinds of King Billy slogans, bunting and flags. Blackburn street, McLean street and many other streets would have ropes carrying these flags up, strung from one side of the street to the other, and the flute and pipe bands would parade the streets playing anti Catholic songs for hour after hour. This event was supposed  to be a celebration of the battle of the Boyne, where the Catholic army was defeated by King William, but perhaps some of it was the resentment caused in the 1840s when many thousands of Catholics fled Ireland during the potato famine and landed mostly in Glasgow and Liverpool. I agree with those politicians who advocate that all children should attend the state school in the area where they live, and this would gradually eliminate the religious bigotry. On the second floor of 23 Sussex Street there lived a family named Smail, the father being Freddy, the mother Jessie and the two boys George and Ronald. Both our families mixed very well and Freddy played his accordion at local dances on weekend nights to supplement his rather low wages. He was employed as a turner in Dobbie Mc Innes and Clyde whose factory was in Broomloan road, Govan, about a mile from where we stayed. He was a clever man and interested me in trying to make a cat’s whisker radio set, which I did with no little success. It was he who told me that his factory was going to employ an apprentice and I immediately applied. I was fortunate in getting this job and started my apprenticeship in 1934, hoping to become a Scientific Instrument maker. My apprenticeship began in the usual manner by getting to know the names and uses of the various files and tools till one day I was told that Freddy would teach me to use the turning lathe and soon I was screw cutting and doing all the things an apprentice was supposed to do. I went on to learn to operate Cincinatti, Browne and Sharp and other types of machines and then I was put on a bench and taught fitting, sharpening tools, soldering, bending metals and many other skills necessary to become a tradesman. I recall an incident that occurred to George Smail. Jessie, his mother, came rushing down the stairs one day clutching young George in her arms, to tell my mother that George had been in a bad temper and had started to turn blue and was not breathing. My mother immediately got the large zinc bath from under the kitchen bed and poured the kettle of boiling water into it while she told Jessie to get a basin and fill it with cold water. Mother then took the baby and plunged him into the cold water and then the hot water and in a short time George was back to normal. I learned later that this kind of thing was not uncommon in the tenements, mothers and grandmothers acquired a vast amount of medical knowledge and as doctors were expensive to have to treat you, it was often a neighbour who came to the rescue. My grandma Welsh suffered from an ulcerated leg which gave her a lot of pain, and my mother changed her bandages once a week, and I was often taken with her to my grandma’s house in Langside Road. This was a great thing for me, this house had three bedrooms and a bathroom, and as mother’s brother, Uncle Adam was a manager in a butchers shop in the city centre, there was always butcher meat to be had when we visited. I would be about 5 or perhaps 6 years old when (in retrospect) a very sad thing happened to me. Kinning Park had its own Police force at this time, situated in Plantation Street. Mother was scrubbing the kitchen linoleum and said to me “go round to the Police station and ask the Sergeant to phone the Victoria infirmary and ask how Mrs Welsh is. In times of emergency it was common for someone to ask the desk Sergeant to phone a Hospital as no one that I remember had a phone in their house. The Sergeant phoned the Victoria Infirmary and told me that Mrs Welsh had passed away that morning. I had no idea what “Passed away” meant and cheerfully told my mother that Mrs. Welsh had Passed away this morning, and when mother burst into tears I thought that I had done something very wrong. It would be just before we moved to Sussex Street that quite a strange event took place with a school chum of mine. Robert Brooks was one of the few quiet boys that I knew. He lived in Cornwall Street and one day he spoke to me about lead soldiers, and we discussed the various types you could buy in the shops, and this was when I found out that Bobby and I shared a boy’s hobby by having a lead soldier army. Next day Bobby asked me if I would like to come to his house for tea, and when I told my mother this she made me scrub myself down and put on my Life Boy jersey, as this was the best cover that I had. When I presented myself at Bobby’s door that evening it was opened by a coloured lady who turned out to be Bobby’s Aunt, and it was she who brought Bobby up. I had never been in the company of a coloured woman before. I played with Bobby’s army for about an hour and a half. Bobby will enter my story later on. A highlight of our year in Kinning Park was “Paddy Black’s Trip. In Tradeston Street Paddy Black owned a large warehouse, and if I remember correctly he also had a stable for horses. He was a man renowned for his charity work and each year he organised a trip to some park within the city. There would be some one hundred horses and carts at these trips, the horses being dressed up in all their finery, with their saddles hanging with bunting and their tails in flowery pleats. Long forms were attached to the decks of the lorries for the children to sit on, and when the procession was ready to move off the children would squeal with delight. Each child had a tinny with a lace or string tied to it and hung round their neck, and a tag with their name on it. I remember one year we were taken to Bellahouston Park and the sun shone from the time we left Tradeston Street till we returned in the early evening. We ran races of various kinds, played football, sang songs, had a tinny full of milk and a bag of buns, and generally had a great days fun, all thanks to Paddy Black. When I returned from my seven weeks holiday I got a job as a message boy in George mc Donald’s butchers shop which was on Paisley Road West, just round the corner from where we lived. At this time Mosspark housing scheme was being built on the farm lands of that area, and many people from Kinning Park and its surrounding areas were already re-housed there. My job in this shop was to deliver butcher meat ordered by the customer to where ever they lived, and to help in the making of Potted Head which I seldom ate after making it, but one thing I hated was when a customer phoned to the shop at a quarter past seven on Saturday night for a quarter of mince to be delivered that night, when I was desperate to get finished so that I could go to the pictures. Paul would be about eighteen when he developed a cyst on his back and was taken to the doctor who decided that it could easily be removed at home. His arms were tied to the brass bedstead, mother lay on his legs and I held his feet. The doctor sprayed the freezing liquid on to the area around the cyst, and after a pause of about five minutes he started to cut the cyst out. Like me with my cyst operation Paul did not feel any pain until later on in the day and then he had a day or two of pain. During the early years of the 1930’s the government brought out a new law which we called “The MEANS test”. If a family consisted of a father, mother and three children, and the oldest child say an eighteen year old, was the only person in that house who was working and earning a wage, then that wage was taken into account for the purpose of calculating what “Dole money” or “Parish benefits” the family would receive. Many young men and women had to leave home and lodge with someone who did not claim Dole money, so that their parents could claim Dole money and so stop the family from starving. If the “Means Test” man came to your door and found you had something of value that could be sold, he would tell you what he reckoned its value was, and that sum would be deducted from your next weeks money. In the tenements the women got to know who the Means Test men were, and arranged that one or two of them would be resting on their fore-arms at their windows, and when he appeared anyone who got Dole money and had something of value in the house, would quickly hand it into a non-dole house for safe keeping. Holidays were something that not every child received. Some families were so poor that the children got free meals at school, free clothes from the Parish, and an odd free holiday. These children were known as “Necessitous Children” and the clothes they received were of the coarsest of cloth. I can remember that after we had eaten our lunch at home, hurrying to the kitchen of the school, and if there had been a pudding and some was left over, the kitchen workers would hand a lump of dumpling or whatever other sweet was on the menu that day to us, and this was a real treat.