Family Life and Work Experience Before 1918

Source: Extract from interview with Anne Lillian Winifred Chambers, Thompson, P. and Lummis, T., Family Life and Work Experience Before 1918, 1870-1973 [computer file]. 7th Edition. Colchester, Essex: UK Data Archive [distributor], May 2009. SN: 2000,

Text: A: Oh yes, he’d do that. Oh yes, I’ve known him to do that. He was very capable. A very quiet – lovely character my father. Mother was a bit forceful with us but – never a harsh word from him. I had the slipper though from him when I was seventeen for being out late. I was only half an hour late but our time to be in was – half past nine. And I was – I had met my first husband you see then and used to go to the pictures and I kept saying I must be home by half past nine. Well this particular night there was a very nice picture on I thought, oh dear, I’m tired of saying I must be home by half past nine. I’ll wait until it’s finished. And I got home at ten o’clock. And we had the semi-basement, you know, the sort of London houses, they have the steps down to the – lower part of the house and step up to the front door. Well we had this meadow opposite and I found the house all in darkness, the door was bolted. Oh I was terrified. I went to the front, knocked on the front door. I stood there for some time and then my father opened the door, he said, where have you been to this time of night? I suppose mother had been on to him that he must be really cross, and he had this slipper. He said, where have you been? I said, to the pictures. Who have you been with? So I said, George Allard. He said, I’ll give you ten o’clock at night, get up those stairs, you go out no more this week and I was so surprised when he hit me with his slipper I turned round and got another one. I chased up stairs and the top of the house, of course that was the large bedroom and that went over the hall, you see so we had a doubled bed and a single bed, we three elder girls slept there and my sisters were absolutely killing themselves with laughter because I had the slipper. And I never went out for the rest of the week. That was my punishment.

Q: How did you feel about that incident?

A: Never forgotten, because it was so surprising that my father should hit – hit me.

Q: Were you upset?

A: I was rather because – very much in love with the boyfriend and I thought to stay in for the rest of the week – so I had to write to him and tell him that I was in trouble for being home late.

Comments: Anne Chambers was born in Norwood, London, in 1892. The incident described here occurred in 1909. She married George Allard in 1913; he was killed during the First World War. She was one of 444 people interviewed by Paul Thompson and his team as part of a study of the Edwardian era which resulted in Thompson’s book The Edwardians: The Remaking of British Society (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1975).