JB Breslauer

Scope and Content

Born June 1932 Northfields
Early school memories
Born June 1932 in nursing home in Fulham. Frist remembered home in Leyborne Ave Northfields. Mother had dress shop in Northfields Ave, Styled and Modes, upper crust for those days. She had a nanny who wheeled her up and down to the shop. She sat on the ground in the shop watching the alteration hands using machines, not electric, remembers seeing feet moving. Older brother 2 1/2 years older. Had a celluloid doll, brother persuaded her to put it in the fire. Details of incidents with brother. Nanny put pudding basin on her head to cut her hair. Happy childhood full of affection. When she was 4 she was sent to Carews Nursery School in Northfields Avenue. When 5 she went ot Lammas School. Still remembers outside toilets and smell of creosote and dark corridors. Left handed still am. Left hand tied behind back to try to get her to use her right hand. Prize was given each week for the best handwriting. She never got it, best writer was able to play the drums, as a consolation prize she was given the triangle to play. She was very ill with scarlet fever. Eventually won scholarship. War broke out. Brother, cousin and she sent away with gas masks and lunch box. They sat in a village hall waiting to be picked, couple who took them made them sit with their gas masks on. They were moved from place to place, one had a jug of water in the bedroom and they had to break the ice on top to use it. Taken home. Slept in cupboard under the stairs. Next door had a direct hit and house destroyed. Holidays - wonderful summers, always nanny went with them. Loved the water. She was born on her mother's birthday and her son was born on her birthday. Her mother had to close the shop when War started. Mother started to make leather shopping bags after war, went out touting for business, to Harrods among others. Had outworkers, father cut out designs on top of air raid shelter. A good business until plastic came in. They had a small shop which they gave up when the lease ran out. Moved to Popes Lane. Remembers Rupert books. She opened a library at school, charged 1 penny per week. Uniform at Lammas School was brown and yellow. Went to Notting Hill High, uniform was black and white with red crosses on blouses. Not allowed to eat when in uniform on the street. She left when she was 16, she wanted to be an actress or a journalist, only opportunities were for secretarial work or nurses. Went on a secretarial course which covered shorthand, typing, bookkeeping, Spanish, French and English. Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs ws the first film she remembers. Often went to Northfields Odeon. Brother took her to see a (then) hooro film 'The Face at the Window', had nightmares afterwards. She doesn't think the family ever went on outings. She listened to Children's Hour on the radio. Great reader, comics, Beano, Dandy, Rupert. Express Dairy on corner sold milk in glasses. Remembers family at end of garden named Mudge. Irish - details of them all. Jewish religion, aware very early of this. Synagogue every Saturday. Jewish Sunday School. Prayer books have English one side and Hebrew the other, she didn't learn much Hebrew. Because she was Jewish she didn't have to go into Assembly at school.