John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Family History — various notes

Family history

My Mum’s family in South Shore, Blackpool were not well off. Grandad Paine worked for a firm of tailors, or worked for a tailor, then set up in business on his own. He built up a loyal clientèle. Then the war came, when one had to be in “gainful employment”; and after the war, some of the older clients had died off, and the new soft suits came into fashion as opposed to the “costumes” Grandad used to make. So Grandad got a job as night watchman for the Tower company.
My Dad’s family was better off: Grandad Cooper was a foreman for the cutlery manufacturers Joseph Rodgers & Sons in Sheffield. For example, they regularly ate chicken, which was more expensive than beef then. Then Nanny and Grandad Cooper, and my Dad, moved to Napier Avenue, South Shore, Blackpool, where they ran a boarding house.
In 1939 there was the Blackout Club, upstairs above the Lido swimming pool in South Shore, and that’s where Dad met Mum. He didn’t like her at first, but she was a good dancing partner. My Mum and Dad were part of a group or gang of about a dozen, who used to hang around together, go for walks, etc. Among them, and the only ones they kept in touch with, were “Uncle” Roland and “Auntie” Connie Gray.[1] (He has died now.) Dad recalled that what attracted him to Mum was her walk. When they all went out in a group, the girls would walk on ahead and the boys behind. That’s when he noticed. Mum’s father was a tailor and made suits for her, but insisted on suitable poise and walk from her when she wore them. Dad went out with her, then they split up, then they went together again.
[1] “Uncle” Roland and “Auntie” Connie Gray: They are mentioned in I am christened.
Mum never liked Grandad Cooper. For when she was staying at Napier Avenue, she’d been to the loo, and there he was at the top of the stairs, saying, “Are you going to give me a Christmas kiss, then?”

Sources: The Cooper Diaries, Tuesday 12th December 1995, Saturday 8th June 1996, Wednesday 28th May 2008

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