Jane Bruder

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EXCERPT:

Q: Where are you from Jane?

A: I was born up the Wicklow Mountains, we were farmers.

Q: You came to England in 1920?

A: That's right.

Q: Did you come to London?

A: No. I wanted to get away from home because all it was at home

was hard work and no money.

Q: What was the hard work at home?

A:  Horses and cattle and sheep _ not sheep I was nothing to do with sheep but I had to work on the farm and I was outdoors so I was like a boy and Bob and Bill were away during the war so it meant that Jim who was only a year older than me was head of the  house.

Q: And how old were you then?

A: I was born in 1900, so that's easy.  I wanted to get away from home because there was so much work for me to do and no relief and no money. I mean the boys, we girls worked in the yard and fed the horses and cleaned out the stables when they were out hunting and we were never, we girls were never allowed to hunt. For one reason was we had no _ if you get on a horse you must be perfectly _ must have a perfect outfit, my mother couldn't afford  an outfit for us.   That was bird and I.

Q: But did she afford one for the boys?

A: Oh yes.  They were dressed to the waist but they were on the best horses.

Q: You said earlier that one of your sisters went into the confectionary business.

A: Oh yes she was the oldest, Babs. She was no horsewoman. There were only three of us that was Bird and Sarah and myself.  

Q: And you said when she went into the confectionary business your mother had to pay a fee or something, can you tell me a little bit about that?

A: Well very little, only she had to pay thirty pounds fee and she had to keep her for two years in Bowls of Richmond Street in Dublin.

Q: Did you want to go into that business as well?

A: Well I wanted to get away from home, so how did I manage it? Well it was a Whit Monday, all the farmers went to (name) waterfall where we met the relations from Dublin and friends from Dublin and we had met them there and we had plenty to eat, there was a big marquee and plenty to eat and dancing and music, there was brass bands, military brass bands in Lord Perscot's place.

Q: Is that the same place that nowadays people go and visit and  look at the waterfalls.

A:  Yes that's the same place, same place but no Perscots there now, they've gone.  And I met a distant cousin of ours, Biddy Wilson and she was matron of the Richmond Asylum in Dublin.  So she said 'how are you getting on Jane?' I said I'm just peppering to get away from home, I must get away.  She said 'what are you thinking of doing?' 'I'll do anything, I'd just do anything'. So I knew a niece of hers May Short, she was in this nursing in the Richmond Asylum and she used to come and stay with us and she was a great sport and very friendly but we knew nothing about the background of Richmond Asylum.  Jesus that was a dreadful place.

Q: Did you go and work there?

A: Yeah as a nurse.  Well so, I said Biddy could you make room for me in your stablishment? Oh she said Jane you wouldn't like it, oh no you would not like it. Yes I guarantee you wouldnd't like it. Well I said I'll chance it if you'll take me, and she said I'll send a form to your mother and fill in the form and  all the rest so the form came and (break in sound) _ the parish priest and the other was Major Wensley _ so I went on horseback.

Q: Sorry you went on horseback to the Richmond Hospital?

A: No.  To see Major Wensley first and tell him that I _ ask him if he would be a reference, so he said yes rather. He said I'll give you a good reference for a horsewoman, and so he said I  don't think you'll like it, so I said I'm going anyway. If I can get in I'm going.

Q: What you just felt it would be better to take anything and get away?

A: Yeah, and so I went to Father (name) and he said similar, you won't like it.  But Biddy Wilson will do out the best she can for you I know that. He said I know you won't like it, so that was that. Well anyway I was accepted. Mother came with me and the entrance there was a gate and a man at the gate and in uniform and all lovely flowers, lovely trees, lovely lawns, oh it looked lovely and Biddy was expecting us and she had tea for us and she and mother talked quite a bit and anyway mother left and I cried day and night for three weeks.

Q: Can you remember what year this was?

A:  1919.

Q: What was it like?

A: Mad as hell. Oh Christ.  It was mad, it was a mad house and it was as mad as hell. They were all as mad and there was no drugs of any description.

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This page was added by Jacob Stevens on 06/02/2013.