Fred Telford

Fred travelled to Thame from South Shields to look for work at the time of the Depression. He remembers the poor conditions in the North-East. Following war service in the Army, Fred worked for many years at the Chinnor Cement Works. He enjoyed ballroom dancing throughout his life.

This recording was made on 14th June 2007 when Fred was 93 years old

A South Shields grammar school boy from the mines – Fred relates his early life in South Shields, including three years at the local grammar school. At the time of the Depression there is little chance of getting a job. Fred hears on the grapevine that there is employment in Thame and comes down by train to look for work.

The first miners’ strike – The miners in South Shields are on strike for six months in 1926, and suffer badly. They have no income and rely on credit from the Co-op to survive.

Lodging with the Window Cleaner for £1 a week – Fred walks three miles across fields to the Crendon Tile Works and works for tens hours a day in poor conditions, for just £3 a week.

Being called up – Thirty men, all from different backgrounds and different parts of the country, meet when joining the Army. Fred is the smallest man, but is able to cope with the training.

The Dancer – Fred takes up ballroom dancing in South Shields at the age of 16, and has enjoyed dancing all through his life, both in Thame and nearby villages.

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