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938, LO/293/244
Leicester Oral History Archive Collection

Speaker: Lewis, Mona, 1902 - , Interviewee, Female, Retail manager;
Speaker: Flawith, J, Interviewer, Female

Summary of interview item: Recalls Leicester in the early years of the 20th century. Mentions married women not being able to work. Details housework before modern domestic appliances. Recalls brother emigrating to Australia and traveling to Australia with her mother, where they had to stay for three years due to the First World War starting just after they arrived in Australia. Details journey home by ship via Durban and Cape Town, South Africa, under wartime conditions. Describes return to Leicester and finding accommodation after father had sold home. Describes life in Australia staying with relations and finding work. Describes different classes of travel and returns to give more detail of journey back to England in wartime. Gives a detailed account of the jobs she had in the retail trade, eventually becoming a Manageress and the problems of finding work in the 1920s. Mentions shops she worked for in Leicester including Herington's, Kirby and West and Joseph Johnson. Details how customers were treated. Mentions shop girls living accommodation, problems faced by women in reaching managerial posts and attitude to trade unions in shop work. Talks about Birstall where she lived as a child, the postal service, apprenticeships and courting. Refers to her parents separation, sex education and pocket money. Briefly mentions dancing, medical treatment, fashion and domestic service. Recalls the start of Second World War, bombing and American troops. Mentions returning to Australia in the 1960s.
Place of birth:
Marital Status: Single, Children:
Father's Occupation:
Mother's Occupation:
Location: County: Leicestershire
Location: Town/Place: Leicester
Periods Covered: 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s
Language: English

Recording Date: 3/7/1986
Playing time: 1hr 30 mins
Access Restrictions: Full clearance Item Copyright: EMOHA
Summary: Yes
Transcription: No
Copies: yes
Cross Reference:

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Last updated: 08/05/02
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