Tag Archives: 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

Willie says you will tell me off for Bad Spelling

Letter from Father 18 December 1923

Dear Frances

Just a few lines before i go to bed hopeing it finds you well and happy i expect you are getting ready for XMass we were very pleased to get your letters. I read them all for the Children last Night before they went to bed they said what a funny chip shop with a river under neath they were sorry for Uncle Tom because he could not eat meat and you haveing all them nice things in the house. Glad you enjoyed yourself at the party i hope it was a nice bottle of Cent. Willie said you would only get a paper cap so i said you would get a present he was thinking of them partys he as been to. well he does not (know?) everything. I am going to a Do on Wednesday a (hot pot) supper. But i will have to use a knife and fork. (But i would rather have a spoon) your Mam is not well at all the bad weather is makeing her Cough worse, Farnworth is just the same old place wet and Dirty. We are finishing work on Friday till the Thursday so i will come and see you on Saturday if it is convenient, and Ada as well so you must write and let me know one of my work mates is coming to Stalebridge so i will have some one to show me the road.  I think this is all your mum is going to write in the Morning so i will close with Good Night and God bless you hopeing to see you on Saturday

From your loveing Dad


P.S. Willie says you will tell me off for bad spelling if i have made any mistakes i am sure you will be able to make them out xxxxx

written probably 18 December 1923

Maria Walker has made an interesting piece of art from the sentence ‘I would rather have a spoon’, using five wooden spoons painted in crackle glaze and painted with the words. My grandfather loved his food and had a prodigious appetite, but always remained tall and skinny.

‘Willie’ mentioned in these letters is my Uncle Bill, as I knew him. All of us remember that he was always in his vest, quite shocking for us children. My nephew Steve once asked him if he was an athlete, with all the tact of small children. He sounds like he was a bit of a pain even then; I can’t say I ever liked him much. He always called my clarinet  my ‘liquorice stick’, which did make me smile, at least. Father’s written style takes little notice of full stops and he puts capital letters in random places, but his handwriting is beautiful. He seems quite defiant of Willie and his grammar school ideas. Uncle Bill died in 1976, the year of my wedding.

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Filed under Education, The Inspirational Old Letters

Heirlooms: poem based on the letters


For this family no precious objects,

collections to be loaned to museums

or passed down as heirlooms.

Scarce enough money sometimes

to put food on the scrubbed table

or buy corduroys for the boys

to cover their bare bums from trousers

worn too thin for decency.

Yet on the surprising tide

some treasure is brought to shore.

What strange waves brought to me

this package of well-thumbed letters?

Paper is worn to silk, envelopes torn

by eager fingers when they first arrived

bringing news from home.

Some are written on paper torn

from schoolbooks, or written on the backs

of things no longer needed:

no notepaper to speak of in the house.

I would welcome comments on this poem with constructive criticism. I want these poems to be as good as possible, partly because I always want that and partly because I want to do the letters justice and I want to produce work that can stand next to Maria Walker’s wonderful artwork and still hold up its head.


Filed under poetry, Poetry Collections, The Inspirational Old Letters

We have had enough of the Tory’s


Peter LIghtfoot 1880-1968


20 December 1923

Dear Frances

Just a few lines  hopeing it finds you well as it leaves me at present i have just came in from an election meeting we are in the thick of the fight and i hope Labour wins this time we have had about enough of the Tory’s it is a lovely Night and frosty and i am knowing about it this week my nose is as red as a berry with the Restu do you use it for washing with if not tell Aunt Sarah to get you some tell em it’s good. Because your Dad makes it so you argue about religion well i am sure you can hold your own with them. Spiritism is Demonic tell Aunt Polly i said so and so does the Bible. Mam as told you all the news so i have very little to write about i expect you are busy getting read for xmas i will try and come before then to see you it seems a very nice place from the Photo I think this is all now as it is geting late so with best love and xxxxx i will close

Good Night and God Bless you

From your loving Dad xxxxxx

My grandfather wrote this letter to his daughter. He worked at Gossages and Restu is a brand of soap made there.

We are still staunch Labour in the family, but I wonder what grandad would have made of some of the changes in his beloved party since he wrote this letter!

His points about religion are also interesting. He was a Protestant, and very much against other views. I think he has a point about Spiritualism, but it is a pity that my father turning Catholic caused so much strife. Frances must have been around 16 at the time, but he has every faith in her ability to argue her view.

Working at Gossage’s cannot have been good for him, but then he did live till he was 88.


Filed under Everything else, The Inspirational Old Letters

The Amazing Co-incidence of the Lightfoot Letters

The most wonderful and amazing thing happened to me this week. Maria Walker, the artist I have been collaborating with since July’s Zest for a Day, and I had a meeting at Castle Arts Centre in Frodsham where she had an exhibition. She was showing me work she had done using a series of letters she bought in an antique shop, when we made the astonishing realisation that these letters had been written to my father’s sister by his whole family, back in the 1920s. The bundle includes letters written by my father.

This is nothing short of a miracle. I feel as though I have been given my dad back. He died in 1978, at only 67, and I was only 24. I am writing new poems about all this and Maria is working at new art.


Filed under Everything else