The Netmaker

"The Netmaker" the story follows four families who are all linked in some way to the Wilkinsons Lemonade Factory that was bombed during WW2. This is a tribute to the 107 people who lost their lives on 3rd May 1941

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May 3rd 1941 was like any other Monday morning; people went to work and the shops opened as usual.

May Johnson made here way to Hogg’s the chemists said good morning to customers who she knew along the way. Tom Richardson stood on the market in the gut waiting until his boss told him to stack the boxes onto the trolley with cast iron wheels with a long handle at the front. He placed the boxes neatly so that they wouldn’t topple over then with a heave the trolley began to move. He turned the handle bar then steered the trolley through the gates and then turned left towards the store.

The noise that came from the iron wheels as he pulled the cart along echoed in his ears as they went over the cobbles in the road. Seagulls flew overhead in the hope that a box would fall off and they would swoop down and take a fish before they were picked up. However, the fish was covered with a shovel of ice and were expertly stacked by Tom.

One outside he unloaded the cart and placed ten boxes at each filleting station then the lads set to work.

The ice made the fish cold to handle as they were placed in the trough ready to be made into what was called sides.’ Tom liked filleting big cod because not only was it easier work being that the cod was easier to handle but the number of fish in each box was less then it would be if they were filleting haddock or whiting.

Four huge cod to a box meant they could get through fifty boxes in no time at all. There was four of them in the store hands with knifes went like fiddlers elbows as each fish was neatly cut into two large fillets then placed into a polystyrene box then fresh ice added one it had been weighed. Then the name of the shop or place was stuck on the lid and it was stacked ready for a van or lorry to come and take away.

The offal filled the barrels quickly and they got two bob for each barrel once they were taken to the guano works to be made into fertiliser. By lunch time Tom had finished all the cod and he drove the popper lorry with the barrels full of cod carcases once the cod cheeks were removed. He was the youngest in the store so it was his job to take the barrels up to the plant which no one including him liked doing. The place reeked of the worst smell known to man. Tom covered his mouth with a scarf when he entered and tried to breathe as little of the putrid air as possible. The lads gave him ten bob each a week for taking the offal away for them which meant several journeys per day. The money came in handy at the end of the week so he endured.

Upon his return the lads then asked him to go to the “Scotch café at the top of the stairs by Irving’s wholesale boat repair store.

The lads gave him a list of the food they wanted. Fried egg sandwiches, fried spam, and the odd beef burger were asked for.

He put the kettle on whilst he was away and then ran all the way up to the top of the stairs before the queue reached the bottom and he would have at least fifteen minutes to wait and sometime they sold out very quickly.

 

 

 

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