Family Life and Work Experience Before 1918

Source: Extract from interview with Helen Hanna, ‘C707/360/1-4, 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: Q: When you were young did you go to theatres or concerts, music halls?

A: No. I – I was away in service and my sister was in service – when we used to go to something in Queen Street. It was like a cinematograph, but it wasnae a cinematograph. It was pictures you know. I can’t –

Q: A sort of magic lantern show would it be?

A: It wasnae a magic lan – that was no the name of it, it has a name. Mm hm. There – there were a – a – a man – a couple that stayed – on the same landing as us , and he was a waiter some place, and he used to go to get these tickets, complimentary tickets, and – he gave them my sister and I went. My own sister, and we went to this thing in Queen Street. And – I canna mind what you called it.

Q: What sort of thing would the pictures be about?

A: Well Rudyard Kipling I mind was on reciting something, and there were – oh just a lot of nonsense, I – I – I can’t – a cart and oranges full and – and you would think they was coming nearer you, on the picture, oh we was quite fascinated with it. But I – – there’s a name. Somebody told me the name of that no long since, and I canna mind it. Be before the really pictures – houses came in.

Comments: Mrs Helen Hanna (1885-?) was born in Aberlady, East Lothian and moved to Albert Place in Edinburgh, with one older sister and two step-sisters. Her father was at Edinburgh gas works as a despatch clerk then inspector. She worked in service until she married in 1913. 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). It is unclear what sort of visual entertainment she is trying to recall (though there possibly a stereoscopic effect involved), nor what possible connection there could be with Rudyard Kipling. The memory seems to date from the early 1900s.