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Running 'messages'

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scrutiny
coventry
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1 of 12  Tue 11th Dec 2012 5:05pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2010  Total posts:644

I do not know if this has been mentioned before, did anyone run messages? I cannot remember when I started running messages but Ii think I was about 11 yrs old. Arriving home from school I would change into play clothes then shoot out of the house and run up Vine Street. If a front door was open you would go inside and find a shopping bag on the table with a list of things to get from the shop. The list being the "message". Along with this would be some money. You would take the money, bag and list and go to the grocers or wherever, get everything on the list and then take the shopping back to the house. Plonking everything back on the table you would take "thrupence" for your time and trouble out of the change. If it involved going to two shops,ie, grocers and butchers, that was a double "message" so you would take a "tanner". The reason "run" comes into it is because the faster you ran, the more "messages" you could do before someone else got there before you. My sister, who is five years older than me, had never heard of it but my mother-in-law who lived in Silverstone ran "messages" the same way before the war. Did anyone else do so? Bit different to now, as nobody would leave their front door open, let alone trust a stranger by leaving money on the table!!! Wink Prob take the table as well. Lol
Running 'messages'
Rootes66
Dunfermline
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2 of 12  Wed 12th Dec 2012 3:52pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2012  Total posts:88

That's interesting as I can't remember hearing about "messages" all the 20 years being brought up in Coventry. In 1970 I came to Scotland to work in the Hewlett-Packard factory at South Queensferry near Edinburgh. I would sometimes meet some of the factory workers in the village on Saturday morning. "Is that you away oot for yer messages, son?" Didn't know what they were talking about at first. The shopping list is "yer message line" and the shopping bag is "yer message bag, for tae put yer messages in". Och Aye, Hugh
Hugh

Running 'messages'
Tricia
Bedworth
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3 of 12  Wed 12th Dec 2012 6:28pm  
Member: Joined Jun 2011  Total posts:545

My parents were Scottish and lived in Coventry over 60 years, they used to send me for the messages. It was my job to go to the butchers and greengrocers on a Saturday. I smiled when I read Rootes 66 comment, I used to take a 'message bag' with me. Oh my Unlike Mattash I didn't get paid!! Thumbs up
Running 'messages'
morgana
the secret garden
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4 of 12  Wed 12th Dec 2012 10:30pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2011  Total posts:2215

I use to run errands for neighbours, we would get 1d, 3d or 6d knock the doors to get some pocket money, also for mum and dad, mum sent me and my friend Michael Miles over Jubilee Crescent when we were around 6 to get some sausages from Palethorpes butchers, we ate most of them raw too, before getting back home, I went through the back door, gave mum the sausages, she unwrapped the paper they were wrapped in, seen the few that were left, asking where are the rest, I confessed we had eaten them, I got a good hiding Oh my and was sent back over to get more without being paid for the errand. Sad
Running 'messages'
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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5 of 12  Thu 13th Dec 2012 3:12am  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:3211

Yes Morgana, that was a treat given the chance. I would suck the end and leave the skins though. I wouldn't dream of it now. Mind you they probably tasted better then. Regarding the messages, I use to take a ladies daily bread to her house and she gave the 3 pence. That was when mum looked after the grocer's shop and she had to make up orders in boxes but they were delivered by an adult. I wish the young mums of today could go back in time and see how times have changed. Roll eyes
Running 'messages'
covgirl
wiltshire
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6 of 12  Tue 10th Jul 2018 7:53pm  
Member: Joined Jun 2015  Total posts:63

I used to run errands for our elderly neighbour in St Michael's Rd. I'd either go to one of the shops on Ball Hill or the Co-op. If I was lucky I'd get 1d for my trouble or maybe a square of chocolate. My father was Scottish and certainly my cousins "up north" still use the phrase, so it seems possible it's a Scottish phrase, ye ken?
Running 'messages'
Slim
Another Coventry kid
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7 of 12  Wed 11th Jul 2018 10:18am  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:520

In Spon End as a little girl, my mum used to earn the odd copper for taking bits of folded up paper with money in them, to certain addresses. This was for placing bets, at a time when gambling was illegal. She also used to run errands to "Uncle's", i.e. the pawn shop for neighbours.
Running 'messages'
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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8 of 12  Wed 11th Jul 2018 10:26am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:2532

Years ago we called it 'being neighbourly' during the war it increased to everyone doing just that and more, especially if people got the dreaded Telegram.
Running 'messages'
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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9 of 12  Wed 11th Jul 2018 10:54am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:2532

I'm sorry if that sounds a bit priggish, but it was the done thing. I mean, when a baby was due it was the neighbours that took over, boys chopped wood, fetched coal, girls went to the chemist and places - "take the money out of my purse" was the usual cry when we went errands for old ladies. We thought nothing of it, it was the system, it was what we grew up in. Oh gosh, that sounds worse.
Running 'messages'
Helen F
Warrington
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10 of 12  Wed 11th Jul 2018 6:18pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:1252

It doesn't sound priggish but it was a different world. Society has changed at all levels. In some ways for the good, in some ways not. We need different things from our neighbours than we used to and haven't necessarily learned how to adapt to the new normal. Loneliness is probably the saddest change but not impossible to solve.
Running 'messages'
Slim
Another Coventry kid
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11 of 12  Thu 12th Jul 2018 8:26am  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:520

Agreed. A lot of things have improved (too many to list). But values and respect have declined. It was normal in Coundon to go to the shops and leave the back door unlocked. I'm talking 50s and 60s. Yobbism was unheard of. So was hearing of old ladies being savagely beaten up for the contents of their purses. We had deterrents then, i.e. punishments. You didn't want to make an enemy of the police. Now, we hear of the police not being a force but a service. A vicious thug, armed with lethal knives is stopped with a car load of drugs he is selling to the public, and the police refer to him as "the gentleman". All in the name of political correctness gone mad. Same with the newspapers. Criminals were referred to by surname only. "Bloggson was found guilty of armed robbery and sentenced to 15 years in prison." Now, it's Mr Bloggson. Roll eyes
Running 'messages'
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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12 of 12  Thu 12th Jul 2018 9:45am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:2532

Scrutiny. It was always done in Coventry, people helped each other and I go back to the thirties, but it became something more during the war. We kids split the street up to the ones we liked, who we did jobs for without pay, like fetching coke from the gas works, bone meal from the bone mill, both over a mile away, the girls did the local shopping, we would stand and queue for their rations etc. but most of all we did messages for for fire-fighters, home guards, etc. But the daddy of us all was the fourteen year old boy that when the phones went down during the Blitz at Hales Street fire station, a fireman's son rode through the raid, the rubble, the noise, on his bike, taking messages to fire crews - in all the books on the Blitz little is said of his bravery.
Running 'messages'

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