Interview with Peter and Anne Daunton, St Anne's, March 19, 2014
Peter "the Fishman" Daunton (born 1947) served fresh fish to the people of Greenbank for his whole working life. Although he never lived in Greenbank, he knows the neighbourhood and the local residents inside out. Together with his wife Anne, he reminisces in this sequence about how the locals used to congregate in the streets and the local shops. This leads on to a much broader reflection on the changes of the local community in the second half of the twentieth century.
-Peter: You used to get to know all the people. Cutherfords was another man who had his business there. He was a milkman and his son also took up a business, I think that was in Camerford Road, that was a post office. So that was another meeting place, which is just off of Greenbank Road. I think it was Camerford Road, or Camerton. Always, you know, very busy shops there.
-Anne: People used to go to the shops and they used to congregate in the shops years ago. That was the sort of main thing, was it? Because they used to go shopping every day.
-Peter: Yeah, they’d shop every day.
-Marcel Thomas: It sounds like there used to be a bit more of a close-knit, much more personal, intimate community?
-Peter: Yeah, people were more friendly then. Of course, years ago people would be outside sweeping the front and washing the front down, that was done regularly, polishing the brass outside on the step as you went into the house. And all the women would be doing it, so they’d be chatting outside about I suppose about their kids, their mother, father. So it was always perhaps two or three women out talking, next-door neighbours. Always, but not now.
-Marcel: I think it is probably... I mean, it seems like a lot of people... People used to stay in this area, people used to live there, work there, shop there, and now it seems that over the years this has kind of expanded.
-Peter: People spread out, yeah. Because people, years ago, when they got married, they wouldn’t go to the district, they would be local. Perhaps a couple of streets round, or perhaps down towards Stapleton Road, but not miles and miles away. All within perhaps walking distance.
-Anne: But it all has to do with motor vehicles, isn’t it?, and transport. Whereas years ago there wasn’t the motor vehicle, you couldn’t... you either had to walk or have a bike to go to work. Whereas now you got the motor cars, so you can go further afield to work. But there was always factories or businesses in the district where you could get jobs, whereas people go out of the district now to find jobs.
-Peter: The Co-op had quite a big place down there. Mivart Street, which is just off Greenbank Road, all types in... I think it was a laundry down there. But it was dotted about with lots of small industries. And people, as I say, they worked in there. The chocolate factory took a lot of people to work there. And when you think of this, I do think that... you lived a couple of streets away, you get up in the morning, you walk to work, you walk back home, go home at dinner time.
-Anne: It was almost like little villages in towns, isn’t it?
-Peter: Whereas now...
-Anne: The district, that’s the only way you can describe it.