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Jobs we had as kids

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Danny M2Z08/09/2020 10:14:20
962 forum posts
1 photos

As a young bloke growing up in the East End of London, it seems that I always had a job of some sort either after school or on weekends.

The majority of my wages went to the family (6 brothers and sisters) but my parents never pressured me to seek the work, it just seemed the right thing to do.

So here is a list of the jobs that I did, some paid quite well.

Age 12-14 paper rounds. The tips of sixpence made it worthwhile as the wages were lousy.

Age 12-16 washing cars at the local pub each Sunday lunchtime opening. Made a few quid at that one.

Age 16. Spent school summer holidays humping coal up stairs in multi storey flats.The workout toughened me enough to sort out a few local bullies who were hassling my family. Pay was ok

Age 16-18, Glassworks in Homerton E9. Loading glasses into conveyor belts to go through fusing furnacxe or unloading after the transfers were fused. - Very hot work.

Age 17 School summer holidays full time at the 'Metal Box Factory' in Hackney. Wow, could those ladies solder, learned a lot there.

Age 15-18, Resident guru at the local second hand shop. If I fixed a broken item I got paid so electrical items were my favourites. Nickname was 'brains'. The owner was a survivor of the Nijmegen paratroop drop into Holland and had just lost his son (about my age) in a motorcycle accident so I finally figured out that I was replacement son. Finally gave that job away when I discovered that taxi driving mates were delivering dodgy goods (stolen goodsand pistols) .

A lathe was but a dream but I did manage to save enough to purchase a few model aeroplane engines and kits, usually from Henry J. Nicholls shop at 308 Holloway Road,.

Lol, a bit of a rant but that is what it was like in the 60's for a kid in London.

So how did the rest of you survive in the age of flower power and hippy culture?

* Danny M *

Nicholas Farr08/09/2020 10:33:15
3312 forum posts
1529 photos

Hi Danny M2Z, I had a job as a grocery delivery boy from 13-15 after school and all day on Saturday, but not on Wednesday, as that was half day closing them days, pay was OK with regards to school mates on early morning paper round, but I also used to get a large bag of fruit with my pay. Bought my first brand new push bike on HP at about a couple of bob a week from my pay, and was encouraged to start saving, but that didn't seem to happen much, but did start to buy some of my own clothes.  At 15 finished school and started a full time job in a Blacksmith's shop and moved on in 1970 to become a maintenance engineer.

Regards Nick.

Edited By Nicholas Farr on 08/09/2020 10:43:06

Stuart Bridger08/09/2020 10:34:58
538 forum posts
29 photos

Between leaving school and starting my apprenticeship, I spent the summer grading and packing eggs at a poultry farm. It took 10 years for me to be able to face eating another egg after that...

Neil Wyatt08/09/2020 10:41:56
18990 forum posts
734 photos
80 articles

I helped out in my dad's shop. Fitting batteries to ancient radios, taking tiny payments for TV rental, testing light bulbs before selling them.

Wages was usually to put something on the next Radiospares order.


Ady108/09/2020 10:47:02
5066 forum posts
734 photos

My first HP buy as a kid was an Abu 7000 which is still in good nick

Not much use for it now, all the fish are gone and most seagulls hang about in the High Street with the down and outs

Nicholas Farr08/09/2020 10:47:22
3312 forum posts
1529 photos

Hi Neil, I can remember them testing bulbs in Woolworths when anyone bought one. In fact one of my elder cousins girl friend/wife used to do it for a few years.

Regards Nick.

pgk pgk08/09/2020 11:04:23
2552 forum posts
293 photos

I was about 11 when my dad took an early retirement from the RAF and decided to build his own house (couldn't afford to buy a decent one) so a couple of years were spent helping out on that project. The most memorable was when he decided that the back of the plot of recovered land was lousy soil and intercepted some lorries that were carting topsoil away from a major project and talked the drivers into dumping it on our land instead of their longer journey. I donlt know how much each lorry load was perhaps 5-10 cu yds? Anyhow some 30+ of those got dumped on our plot and I had the job of shovelling it all level with shovel and barrow - took a while.

The house was in a small village so opportunities for work were few. I earned some pennies hauling a push lawn-mower round and offering my services.. enough to buy the materials for a first canvas kayak whch i later sold and added pennies to for a better second kayak build. I also had a job one summer (14/15 yr old) pruning tomato plants in large greenhouses... a 12 miles cycle ride to get there and the day spent sweating in the hothouses and getting covered in that itchy residue that comes off the leaves.

I suppose I was relatively privilleged that we had a car when many didn't and the family used to go abroad for a few weeks most summer holidays - on the cheap, camping around europe back when there were few camp sites.

I went to uni at 17 and was heavily involved in sports and some holidays involved training and travelling to competitions. We spent one summer (between commitments) working as cleaners which incuded scrubbing the walls and ceilings of the students union gym and scrubbing all the floors of the complex.

I also had one job working on a farm mostly unloading and carting feed or fertilizer bags 25Kg on each shoulder or throwing straw bales up for stacking..very little mechansiation there.

I did do a christmas stint at the London Brick Co...working a stamping machine or shovelling spoil that fell off conveyers - noisy, filthy mindless stuff that left me deaf for an hour or two at the end of every day. Just as well it was only a few weeks. H&S didn't figure much but i did turn down one job there when they wanted me to shovel out the furnaces and had no breathing equipment for the fine dust that kicked up just walking in there. Otherwise I'd have done it despite the bays each side being fired up and temps in the 40+C. between them.

The rest of my Uni career jobs were related to my profession - so seeing practice while dossing down in the cheapest digs i could find because while we had grants in those days the £13 a week term-time I just about managed on dropped to a mere £7 during holiday uni-related stuff. Sometimes i got lucky and the practices i worked with added some pocket-money or let me fill my car on their fuel account. £4.50p for B&B a week didn't leave much for food or fuel. My folks did help out when I got desperate but I hated to ask and did my best without which meant being more frugal than most during term time too.


steamdave08/09/2020 11:47:30
510 forum posts
44 photos

Does anyone remember Bob-a-Job week for the wolf cubs/boy scouts?

Some of the jobs were easy and I got paid more than the Bob. Others were darned hard and/or dirty work and I got paid just the Bob. One I remember was having to clean an old brass/copper gas geyser that provided hot water for the bath. The housewife kept checking up on me and pointing out all the areas I had missed or not done to her satisfaction. About an hour's work for the Bob. That was as a lad of maybe 10 years old.

The Emerald Isle

JA08/09/2020 11:57:59
1345 forum posts
80 photos
Posted by Danny M2Z on 08/09/2020 10:14:20:

A lathe was but a dream but I did manage to save enough to purchase a few model aeroplane engines and kits, usually from Henry J. Nicholls shop at 308 Holloway Road,.

That was a great shop. I guess that it closed long ago.


not done it yet08/09/2020 12:01:38
6734 forum posts
20 photos

Farm work. No monetary pay from age ‘not much’ to 15. All sorts from helping out, feeding cattle, etc to haymaking, ploughing and cultivating. Weekends only - cleaning out the cowshed.

At about 15, the next door farmer wanted all his hay bales in a 15 acre field stacking in eights (to be picked up with a Perry Loader). Five bob an hour. Easy work as the bales were much lighter than those from our Massey Harris 701.

Next year summer holiday was at another local farm where we were silaging and haymaking, mostly driving a Fergie TE20 and hand-balling hay bales. Paid for my secondhand Honda 50 sport/sprint motorcycle, plus a bit.

Back to the other farm in the summer of ‘67 where the farmer told two of us to ‘slow down’ as we were working too fast for him when off-loading bales from trailer to the hay rick, where he had the easiest job!

Martin Kyte08/09/2020 12:09:18
2725 forum posts
48 photos

Up to the age of 13, sawing logs and splitting kindling. Demolishing half a cottage. Cutting nettles in the orchard and picking apples up a ladder. 15+ Fly press work, drilling machine and a little lathe work. Electrical work with the maintainance crew during shutdowns in the local factory.

regards Martin

Perko708/09/2020 12:42:32
422 forum posts
33 photos

Spent about 6 months when I was about 16 working as an offsider to a milko (milk delivery truck) on Friday nights. Started about 10PM, finished about 6AM, Fascinating seeing the streets of my local area in the western suburbs of Brisbane during the small hours and witnessing some of the things that went on while most good folk were asleep. Pay was borderline on child slavery but usually managed to score a couple of flavoured milks at the end.

Spent about 12 months during first year of uni working 2 days/week at the Malleys factory in Buranda (inner southern suburbs of Brisbane) assembling oven doors and griller trays. Learnt about air tools (drills, screwdrivers, riveters etc) and assembly work in general. Also learnt the difference between dark grapes and black olives thanks to some of the migrants who I worked alongside and got to know. Pay was enough to buy my first car after 12 months which was a well-used 1949 Ford Prefect coupe ute (Aussie-built body) which in 1972 cost $120 from memory. Great little car, sometimes wish I still had it.

derek hall 108/09/2020 13:11:16
216 forum posts

At 16 (1974) having left school and before I started my marine engineering apprenticeship I had a part time job in a carpet warehouse operating a flypress cutting the hole in the corner of carpet samples. The carpet samples were then collated in the right order and the hole through each was used to fasten them together.....

Regards to all


Bazyle08/09/2020 13:18:16
6296 forum posts
222 photos

Danny's initial post illustrates the huge advantages city kids have over country kids. Currently in my village there is only one job for teenagers being 4 afternoons a week in the part time cafe. This was monopolised by one girl who has now gone to university so it is shared by 3 teenagers. All farm work is so mechanised there isn't even much for the farmer's son and gardening is the province of full time professionals - mostly redundant farm workers.

Howard Lewis08/09/2020 13:21:50
6021 forum posts
14 photos

Bob a Job! Some memories. Did similar for out church youth group, washing cars.

At Christmas time had a a week off school for postal deliuveires. Early starts, sometimes , if lucky was dropped off with three bulging bags. Two years was lucky enough to get my road as part of the "walk", so time for a wee, and cuppa before the Inspector came out in a van with another bag.

One night, on second delivery, at 6 pm found myself sitting on the kerb having to sort all my letters which escaped the office somehow. Can still remember my hand sticking to an iron gate one frosty morning.

Between school and starting Aprenticeship worked in a body shop. Did an awful lot of rubbing down, so had very few finger prints left, by the end. But did get my bike and mudguards painted in a very special colour scheme.

Also, use to borrow Dad's Britool socket set and earn a few quid de-coking or servicing local cars. Cycling home one night, clutching the socket set to the handlebars, the lid came open. Luckily very little traffic to worry me as i crawled along the gutter, looking for the sockets by the light from the lamposts!

Ah, to be young again!


KWIL08/09/2020 15:43:17
3549 forum posts
70 photos

On call for paper rounds, if someone did not come in, I was called, knew all the rounds and got paid double rates.

After 16, got summer job in local factory on electrical inspection,.

Howi08/09/2020 15:49:22
354 forum posts
19 photos

I was a delivery lad for the local butcher, 5 of us intotal, not bad for a small shop, my round needed a delivery bike with the basket on front, oh. happy days. Also worked in the shop on school holidays.

I also had two paper rounds, morniung and evening covering two areas, I soon cottoned on to using the butcher delivery bike to carry the poapers on the long round.

and for a short while a grocery delivery round, Alan Sugar in the making - don't know what went wrong!!!!!

Started real work at 17 straight from school as an apprentice for BT, and the rest is all history.

Tell the kids today and they don't believe you, (enter Monty Python Yorkshireman sketch).

leave school, go to Uni, expect a management job on 30K+ that they have been promised, oh! the irony

Pete White08/09/2020 18:06:21
162 forum posts
16 photos

Delivering fruit on friday night and a Sunday paper round at 14, plus doing other rounds when kids didn't turn up, good pay working 6 till 1, we used to actually collect the money in those days !

Holidays spent on egg and bacon farm, poultry and pigs, feeding and mending anything that was broken or falling apart.

As a 15 year old I was always at a small company that made electric fires, setting big presses and fly presses for the women and wiring three phase machines on my own, did get supervision when on guillotine work cutting panels.

I never had time to mess around on an x box even if they had been invented?

Oh.... and a worked part time at the local jewellers cleaning out the cuckoo clocks !!


Ady108/09/2020 18:08:23
5066 forum posts
734 photos

Aye them were days


Cornish Jack08/09/2020 18:36:21
1219 forum posts
171 photos

Bazyle's point is well made re. town versus country - village life in West Cornwall only offered NDIY's type of jobs. Generally unpaid except for potato picking (1 shilling an hour!) - back breaking, even for kids. Once went hop-picking in Hereford and can still remember the smell. Only regular income during school years was threepence a week for 'blowing' the church organ morning and evening on Sundays. Short period from school-leaving to joining the RAF, spent working on a mobile fish and chip bus (Smokey Joe's). Regular timetable visits lunchtime and evenings to the local villages. £1.50 for a 6 day week with free lunches. Joining the RAF reduced the pay to £1. 8 shillings for the first 6 months then, ... riches beyond compare, when we started flying ... £2 .2. 0 ... minus 'barrack damages' and compulsory savings. It's hardly surprising that we have difficulty understanding/sympathising with some of todays' moans!



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