Boys and Girls Clubs

Jean Eagles was born in 1946 and grew up in Myrtle House in the inner city of Liverpool. In the following extract she recalls the Rodney Rooms, a youth club for local children, that her and her 12 siblings used to frequent. The Rodney Rooms and another iconic Liverpool building Gerrard Gardens featured in the 1958 film Violent Playground originally written by James Kennaway.

length of audio clip 1 min 47 secs.

Jean: The Rodney Rooms, we used to call it the, it was called the Embow when we were kids, it was, it was a lovely building, it was next to the, the childrens’ hospital […] But, in the Embow, they had like all rooms all round and they’d have like art, and you’d do a bit of art, sewing, there was a boxing ring, like big nets, we all used to climb on these nets. It was like, you could climb into the nets you know, it was like an activity place and we had err, Davy Crocket came, what was his name? I can’t remember what he was called, we were introduced to him. They had loads of, and there was another feller, Sean, oh, a photographer, and he came, you know, showing us how to work a camera, use a camera. They had a lot of people that done voluntary work there you know, and then they’d have like a holiday in the summer and my mum used to say ‘Well you just can’t all go, we can’t afford for you’s all to go’, we used to take it in turns, you know, ‘you had it last year it’s her turn’, and you’d pay something like tuppence a week, subs we used to call it, we’d pay our subs and that and then we went off to Shropshire, and we had like a television camera crew came with us, the B-B-C, it was like under privileged children really you know, and but it was brilliant, we were all in like bell tents, you know, all the girls and like the lads was in a dormitory and that, we’d all sit round a camp fire and go to different places, and I think people knew, we weren’t aware of it but, I think they must have got in touch because you’d get there and there’d be food laid on for us and stuff like that. So that was good, that was something to look forward to every year, you know.

Terry Rimmer born in 1937 and lived in Sheardley Street in Liverpool. In the following extract listen to Terry talk about the boys’ club he used to go to:

length of audio clip: 1 min 48 secs

Terry: I never went dancing much cos I couldn’t dance, but I’d go to these dance places and I’d stand around or when it got really crowded and nobody could guess what you were doing, you’d get up on the floor then. But I used to hang around on street corners and that was a mode. I mean what they do now. Wasn’t unheard of then. There was boys clubs, a couple of boys clubs.

HY: Did you go to them?

TR: Yeah, there was one where you had to pay subs. I think it was tuppence, the subs were and they used to give you and you could ask for, I used to love it when I was thirteen and fourteen, go to this boys’ club. First time I learnt to play snooker and there was a guy there who used to come in and he did this mural on the wall of all the sports you know like a hurdle jumper, somebody with the pole vault and then a runner and I thought ‘Oh I’d love to be able to do that’. First time I’d actually seen art close up where somebody watching in the process of it being done and I was never there when he was actually painting it, but it was absolutely wonderful you know. I thought oh that’s a talent and the guy who ran it was a kindly man, an old man. Like, he looked like an ex-Army officer, but he was very kind and he, if you were nice to him, he was you know. I mean we all respected authority in those days and er you’d book a table and you’d go upstairs and you’d look after it, bring the cues down and everything you were loaned and you could buy a, I think it was a penny, hapenny or something, a big mug of boiling Oxo you know on a cold winter’s night you know.

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