Tag Archives: Ada Lightfoot

Ada: new letters poem up for comments



How I begin to know you through these letters.

In 1923 she was away from home, your girlie,

leaving behind three clumsy boys

and two baby daughters to plague you.


That winter was so harsh

the wind blew the pictures off the wall

and your cough gusted through the house,

your chest creaked like old floorboards

and you wrote of everything you did,

saving scraps of gossip about secret weddings

to piece together with the oppression

of household chores, the perils

of ironing with a badly-cut thumb,

the days it took the washing to dry

and little Dorothy going worse naughty,

smashing all the plates, while namesake Ada

screamed and yowled because she did not know

like older ones, how to write a letter.


The house must have quietened at night

while the boys laboured over their letters;

my father’s carefully neat, Vincent’s scrawled,

not yet master of his pen, and you’re exhausted

but no power can stop you writing page after page

in your carefully flowing script. For doesn’t

a mother cat cry when a kitty is lost.

Ada, grandmother, how alike we are

two mothers looking out for our dear ones.



1 Comment

Filed under poetry, The Inspirational Old Letters

a bucket with the bottom knocked out would carry all the love Grandma could spare

19 Russell Street



November 29th

Dear Frances

Quarter to ten. Just got little ones to bed. There seems to be no chance for anything with one thing ot another keeping coming forward to be done. I have had to be giving Ada an extra special wash (there was no bath this week) I didn’t think any of them were well enough but a paper came for her to be examined at school. Of course she is quite delighted about it but I am not. Can you fancy me off with our Dorothy by ten o’clock weather like this today till 12 o’clock and then tackle coming home with the lot to start getting dinner with our Willie sat waiting his face would be sure to be a mile long. Peter was examined yesterday and I did not go the doctor said he is alright. I think it is all bunkum so they will be able to keep their good jobs but I am fed up. The hospital business sickened me so I shall sneak off this journey. Peter said there wasn’t many mothers there. I don’t wonder neither they think we are at their beck and call with nothing to do but they will have to learn different. Well how are you getting on I hope you are doing well. We were very pleased to have your letter. Willie wrote an was going to post it but I said never mind I will put it in mine but I have been longer in writing than I expected. You see we had a fortnight’s wash and it was a lot it was.10.30 on Tuesday when I finished then Wednesday drying all day and some I left on the rail till dinner time today. Willie mangled for me after dinner and I have been ironing all afternoon. I tidied up before I started so I finished nicely by teatime. Dad and Peter and Vincent have been to a lecture of animals etc. in the dining room at Gossages they have just come home of course it was fine. Peter and Vincent also was at the Coop concert and lecture the other night. I expect it would be like the one you went to the other night. Mona says she will write to you she says she cannot understand how it is that you did not get the other but she tells fibs I am sure. She knows as well as I know it has never been posted. Have you had any letters from Elsie Moffat yet? Mona says she saw her the other night but not to speak to. I am very lonely now I have no-one to talk to now the days are very dreary this bad weather. Our Dorothy is talking very nicely now. She can say lots of things now. Mrs Ducker gave her a penny today and Willie said to her what did you do with the penny off Mrs Ducker she said buy tottie as plain as you or I could. She went to Jones herself and got it too. I have bought her a jersey she likes it so much that she makes me dress her before she will have even a drink and you know how hungry she always is in a morning. I got her a blue one and Ada a red one they seemed so cold and I am going to save a bit of washing. I have got coms and bloomers and a navy blue kilt for Ada and they are both nice and warm. I have got a hug me tight for me. Auntie Sally, Uncle Harry’s mammy knitted it. It was rather dear but it has kept me alive this week. I would like it better only it is heliotrope and it is a colour I mortally hate. I am sorry Auntie Polly could not get a house. She is on a big expense with this one simply waste. I hope she is better of her cough but if she is like me she won’t be for this weather is awful for coughs. Grandma sends her love you. She did not mention a bucket with the bottom knocked out but I guess that would carry all the love Grandma could spare anyone. Anyway she asks after you every week so you can see you are not forgotten. Mrs Mabel was asking of you today and Mrs Grant asks all your concerns when she comes. I have not seen any of your friends because I have not been out since you went away only 3 Saturday afternoons to do the bit of shopping and on the bus at that. Dad came with me twice. Dad saw Maud and her boy tonight when he was coming home. Well I have no more to say this time as it is getting late and my eyes keep going shut. We are all thinking of you dear we all miss you and are all send fond love and kisses x x x x x x x x so good night and God bless you your loving Mam and Dad Lightfoot xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Vincent and Peter are going to write xxxx

Ada Lightfoot 1882-1933


Filed under The Inspirational Old Letters

Gossip in Farnworth: Letter from Ada to her daughter Frances

By the postmark, this letter was written in 1923, by my paternal grandmother to her daughter Frances who was then living in Manchester.It is hard to read as it is written in pencil, Ada having cut her thumb badly. All the gossip in the letter is amusing and touching, as Ada does not approve of it, yet she does it a little herself. Most of it is to do with people marrying. The Jim mentioned must be Jim Fenny, a friend of William’s mentioned in several of these lost letters. It would be interesting to find out a little more about this man. He clearly wanted to marry a girl his parents did not approve of, and I wonder whether it was over religion, like my parents’ marriage. It is hard to think now of the huge chasm between Catholics and Protestants at the time. Thank goodness we are more open-minded in the 21st century.

19 Russell Street


Nov 2nd

Dear Frances

We were pleased to have your letter on Monday and to hear what a good time you are having. I won’t be able to write much. I have cut my thumb badly and had to iron after. It is very painful. The heat of the iron made it hurt very bad. The reason ironing was late the drying has been very slow. I have no news only Jim’s wedding did not come off his parents found out and stopped it. Mona has not been here this week. Edna Davies had a peep instead.

Gertie Gee and Clarence were married on Thursday last week nobody knew and Birketts and the regular gosspers were awfully dissapointed when the news got out. Ester nearly cried to our Willie. Ester never even spoke to the girls. Excuse ?? I cannot manage a pen today with love from your loving Mam.

Dear Frances

Dad was going to write in this but he has not come and you will be late and waiting for a letter so I am posting it he will write again

With love xxxxxxxxxxxxx


Filed under The Inspirational Old Letters