Coventry Teddy Girl

Judy Walker was born in Coventry in 1940 and grew up in the Hillfields area of the city. She left school aged fifteen and started work in the newly opened British Home Stores in Coventry’s new precinct area. She earned two pound thirteen and six in 1955. In the following excerpt Judy recalls buying her Teddy Girl outfit from local shops.

Length of audio clip: 2 mins. 16 secs.

“Two of the shops that I would use was Rosealea and Rosemary, ladies dress shops, both of them were sisters. One had a shop at one end and the other had it at the other end of Hillfields and that was where I would get my Teddy girl clothes from. And couldn’t afford to buy it outright so I think my mum used to pay something like a few shillings a week. And the first time, the first time I really took stock of myself was when the little half swing coat came in with the pointed collar and the little tie at the neck. And three buttons and half coat swing and in Adelaide Street we’d got a shop called Foster Brothers and they had the windows outside, so I used to [laughs] I used to when I’d got this little red coat, ah the times I used to walk up and down the street just so I could see myself in the full mirror. And ehm a straight black skirt and thought I was the bees knees and then as I lost more weight and went and got my teddy girl outfit which was black and white tweed with velvet collar, velvet cuffs and half moon pockets and the straight skirt, oh god I was in heaven it was wonderful and along with that when I was, I’d have to be fifteen, sixteen now working and, and going out to all the dances it would be, stiletto heels, your envelope handbag, your long umbrella and your beehive. My, the slits at the side of my eyes would meet my eyebrows and the look then was white lipstick or the palest of pink so on reflection I must have looked a zombie [laughs] walking around, ah dear me. But god they were good times.”

Responses

  1. Fantastic to have the audio clip alongside the testimony – really brings the memories to life!


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