Mrs Banham recalls childhood days out

Interviewer: [00:00:01] Did you ever go on boat trips to Eccleston Ferry?

Mrs. Banham: [00:00:03] Oh, yes, yes. Always. That was a great treat on bank holidays. There were steamers, no motor boats then. There were steamers and they were lovely because there was no noise of the engines or anything. And Bithel’s, there were Bithel’s and Millingtons and you would get on. Didn’t cost very much, get, and they, you paid on when you got on, so they would come round with tickets. But there was always music because I can remember a lady and the gentleman used to get on, he used to come down Souter’s Lane. They must have come from somewhere else by train I think. And she played the harp and on one of these steamers there was a lovely little small piano which was a fixture. And so you’d have the piano harp playing and they would go around and have a collection. And then another couple with two brothers called the Massey Brothers, and I think one played a piccolo and they played music, anyhow. It was lovely. And you really did go to Eccleston Ferry.

Interviewer: [00:01:20] And you got off?

Mrs. Banham: [00:01:21] Yes. And you got off and er then you could go… And you got off on the side of Eccleston Ferry, where there, where you could buy tea, have teas and where there was.. But to come back you have to cross over to the other side. But you could come back on any steamer. Didn’t have to be the same one that you went on. And they had this, er, sort of like a platform which took you across the river and the man, it was on chains, you see, he’d turn the handle and everything horses and carts and everything. And that was built in Chester. That was the only way to get across the river.

Interviewer: [00:02:12] I suppose very often it was the only sort of outing a lot of people had.

Mrs. Banham: [00:02:16] Well, yes, it was. And I mean, we’d have a Sunday school outing up there and you’d run races just for a few sweets and things like that. Everything was very simple those days, but we loved it. And on the one side of Eccleston, there was a, it’s a big rock, and underneath it there was some people that had a trestle table and they sold erm pop, as we called it, and sweets and odds and ends. And it was a special favour given to them by the Duke for some, something they had done. No one else ever had it. And er, and there used to be an old man, played an organ, and it was a square organ on the top of a pole. And he turned the handle and we used to call him old Gary. I can remember him as vivid as anything. Yes.

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