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Cecilia 'Cissy' Brine


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Audio Interview with Cecilia 'Cissy' Brine.

Cecilia ('Cissy') Brine was born in Homerton in 1915 the youngest of ten children. She never met her two eldest brothers as they were killed in World War I during her infancy. In this interview she discusses childhood memories of Hackney, employment (factories), Hackney in the Second World War and the V-1 flying bomb (doodlebug).

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Brine, Cecilia Ethel (Mrs) (Subject of [term no longer used for interview subjects, see Ownership])


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I was born 43 Marlow Road, off of Birch Road, Homerton E9. My birthday is the 20th of the 4th 1915. Well, my mother, she had ten children. I was the last one born. She lost two sons in the First World War…two brothers, I never knew them, but they sent for the brothers when I was born cause my mother was taken very ill. She was 43 when she had me, the last child. And…all I can remember is, I never knew them brothers, they got killed, both got killed in the war. And my mother used to sit and tell me all the stories, about the brothers, in the war. But I can remember, at 43 Marlow Road, we had a beautiful garden and at the back of our garden there was a church called the Wesleyan Chapel and that was in a street called Sydney Road. And in that chapel they used to have what they called a Goose Club, and my mother used to pay thruppence or sixpence a week, so that Christmas time they got all their fruit, their food and their turkeys. And it was a pleasure, but one Christmas there was a girl next door to where we lived, her name was…forgot their name…Bare- not Barefield…anyway, she had, they called it rheumatism in those days, and she couldn’t walk. Well in where we lived, our toilets were outside in the garden and my brother put us a light out there, you know, but…this Christmas, this young girl, they took her out before Christimas, the week before Christmas, to go to the toilet. They sat her on the toilet and…they’d fetched all the stuff into the Wesleyan Chapel for the people to get all their Christmas goods and the burglars had got in there, and they’d thrown all the food and that over into my mother’s garden, over the wall, and to this little girl’s garden, next door, she was about 14, and she saw the men, and she screamed, and that made her walk…made her walk, she got off of the toilet and walked. And that was, you know, a sort of a sensation, and, you know, our mothers, well my mother, she was sort of an invalid, you know, those days they called in rheumatism, not arthritis, it was rheumatism, and she had a doctor called Dr Jelley, he lived in High Street Homerton, and everybody used to, every used to come down what they called those days a charabanc, not coaches, an old charabanc, or his three-wheeled bike. And people used to throw apples and that at him along the world. He was such a marvellous doctor, and one day, I was a little girl, he made my mother walk. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this word, but he used to say to my mother, “Come on Ebba, stop waddling your arse... Walk, stop waddling your arse, walk across the room!’ And he made my mother actually walk. And one day she couldn’t speak. We sent for this Dr Jelley, he came, and he says to me, ‘Cissy’, you run up to my surgery and I’ll give you a halfpenny when you come back. You run up to my surgery, hand this in and get this', it wasn’t a tablet, it was like some sort of powder. I come back with it, he put it on my mother’s tongue, and within half an hour my mother could speak. He was absolutely marvellous.