A Night Out For Shilling

Three bob a week for spending brass, that’s 15 pence today

But way back in nineteen thirty eight, it went a long, long way, Three bob a week, that’s what I got when working on the screens, So I thought I’d seek some pleasure, now that I was in my teens,

Young Jimmy McConnell he was a pal, who worked on the screens like me,
And Jim said, “I’m going out tonight and am I to call for thee?
“I’m off to Wakefield Opera House, they’ve got Ted Loon on toneeght, “So if tha want’s to come with me, a will see thee at t’ bottom o’ t’ seat,”

We got on the bus at t’ Gardeners Arms and the conductor didn’t half stare.
We both asked for a three penny return, ‘cause that was the children’s fare,

And we got off the bus in Wakefield and much to our surprise, Conductor winked and said “ Now wipe t’ pit muck from yer eyes?”

We found a shop in Westgate and we bought five woodbines there,
And a penny worth of toffees, for we’d plenty of time to spare,
‘Cause the first half started at half past six, we had nothing else to do. We eventually got front seats on the balcony and we got a smashing view,

Three pence each it cost us to see a smashing show,
Ted Loon and other artists on the stage way down below, And when the show had ended, we filed out to the street, And Jim said “Let’s go to t’ chip oyl and get summat to eat,”

A lovely smell blew up the street, It made us smack our lips,
So we spent another three pence a piece, on buying fish and chips,
We walked up W estgate eating ‘em and we didn’ t make much of a fuss,
As we stood outside t’ old Corn Exchange and waited for the bus,

We travelled home, two teenage lads so happy and content,

And we sat on t’ bus and we reckoned up, just how much we’d spent, Three pence a piece for bus fares, and three pence for cigs and sweets, Another three pence for fish and chips and just three pence for’t Theatre seats,

Twelve pennies each it cost us and just to set things straight,
The year that all this happened was nineteen thirty eight,
There were two hundred and forty pennies then, made into every pound,
And I’ll bet you’ll find a lot of folk have still got some around,

So let’s put things in perspective, twelve pence is now 5p, And that’s what it cost Jimmy and me to go out on a spree, For bus fares, sweets and cigarettes and tickets to a show, Then fish and chips to finish off, But that was long ago.

From the book Wakefield Its Times And Its Peoples

By Charlie Walker. 

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