Reminiscing a childhood visit

Anne Twitchett: Around 1964 to 1966, when I was about ten or eleven, I used to stop by the

Laundry with my school friend to visit her father on the way home at the end of the day. It was something we used to do fairly regularly, it definitely wasn’t an official visit though [Laughter]

We used to get home from school on our own in those days, so we’d catch the bus from Twerton on the west of the city where we went to school, and mooch about in town feeling all grown up, or stop off at the laundry before I had to catch my next bus; especially if it was cold.

Her father used to work in the Laundry, I think he was the engineer, the boiler engineer, and used to look after the plumbing equipment. We used to stop in and stay in his office, kind of like a pitstop on the way home. Especially in the winter, it was nice to have somewhere warm to stay for a little bit.

We used to go through the door and there was a large, light area and then there was the boiler room, but his office was off that main area. Which probably said boiler man or boiler, boiler supervisor or something. [Laughter]

It was a really busy place, and I remember it being, not you know, particularly tidy. Grubby. I would go in there thinking ‘gosh, things come in here and they come out clean!’ [Laughter]

But I was aware it was a kind of working environment, so we’d just go in and sit in his office, but it was a nice warm spot to be. We didn’t get to speak to him much. My friend would ask Mr Garner – that was her father’s name – if we could come in and we’d sit there. Mr Garner was always busy while we were there, so he’d often shoot off to do something. My father used to call him Mr Likewise Garner, because he’d always say ‘oh, likewise.’ [Laughter]

Sometimes we’d pick something up to eat along the way and eat in there, in that little office, until it was time for me to head off to catch my next bus. It was a convenient spot to stop, say goodbye and see you tomorrow sort of thing.

It wasn’t like the health and safety these days, obviously there were places we couldn’t go, but we could still pop in to visit with a friend type of thing.