Home Oral History Interview - Molly Carleton

Oral History Interview - Molly Carleton


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Recording of an Oral History Interview with a Molly Carleton (1910-2014).

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Carleton, Molly (Subject of)


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Photograph - copyright Arnau Oriel

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Interview summary:

[00:00:43] Introduces herself – background: Father clergyman from Ireland – married the rector’s daughter. 2 brothers and 1 sister. Grew up in Leicester. [00:01:56] Wooded School Boarding school: good explanation of how school made her feel inferior. [00:02:30] Home again: in 1930 begins studies for nursing and district nursing career – My father wanted me to be a doctor and I said no, I’d rather be a good nurse than a bad doctor”.

[00:03:55] WWII experiences as a nurse: From outset emergency maternity home in Peterborough for evacuee mothers. Good description of work in women’s ward in workhouse. Good description of work with Tuberculosis patients. Good description of work with VD patients…

[00:07:42] Political life: Good story of activity in local Communist Party “I used to be on a soap box in the market place, and my father was preaching in the Cathedral

[00:08:14] Post war: Move to London. Matron in South Eastern Gas Board looking after gas workers until retirement living in Hampstead.

[00:09:14] Move to Hackney Wick: Good story of getting on GLC housing list because of neighbours fierce dog “A friend said the GLC are building new flats in Hackney. Would you like to go there?” “I said yes I’d be prepared to look at anything”

[00:10:53] Good description of Trowbridge Estate: Her flat and surroundings just off the marshes. How the estate was nice at first but then changed for the worse. “The original flats were for old people… I was there for about 30 years.”

[00:12:46] Good and detailed story of her 40 years part time voluntary work after retirement, in Hackney with Gualtar at Prideaux House/ TOCH: At first struggled to find place. Eventually sent to volunteer at Prideaux House/TOCH by Social Services. “I thought I might as well try because there was nothing else…” “We’re dealing now with mostly the elderly

[00:17:14] Hackney Wick 2: Good and detailed impressions and reminiscences. “It was lonely unless you had friends, I felt very very isolated…

[00:22:04] Jumped at the opportunity to move to Well Street (South Hackney). “It’s a very very friendly area - you can’t go out without meeting somebody…”

[00:22:44] Changes she saw in Hackney Wick: 2 more tower blocks built (making 7 in all). And the towers being demolished.

[00:24:07] Good description of her 20 years working in the Prideaux House/TOCH charity shops in Well Street, Brooksby Road and Mare Street. “A lot of the people who became regular customers were the lonely people who wanted somebody to talk to. Some outlet, so we provided that. I think that was one of the best things…”

[00:26:44] Good description of how her work of Prideaux House/TOCH was a window on Hackney’s waves of migration. “We had one wave of migrants after another, and each lot, we tried to set up a centre for them…”

[00:28:02] Good explanation of change from all volunteer workers with Prideaux House/TOCH to all workers paid. “What we’ve lost today is this spirit of giving…”

[00:29:34] Good explanation of her opinion of Hackney: “It’s a lovely place to live in. Hackney… I think it’s friendly if you make it friendly…”

[00:32:53] Good explanation of how parking in Hackney became difficult in Hackney: Impact on work of Prideaux House/TOCH charity shops.

Copy Material Location: WAV copies held at Hackney Museum:
1 copy stored on a portable hard drive
1 copy stored on a DVD-R (Gold Archive Standard)