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Timmy’s Blog: Memories of Pram Town

Lifestyle / Sun 29th Dec 2013 at 01:57pm

Blogpost: By Timmy O’Connell

MY PARENTS came here from Doneraile in County Cork in Ireland, doing what most did when they came over here which was look for, and hopefully get work to look after their family.

I’ve been told over the years that he worked in London, first building the tower blocks as the workers over here didn’t want to or refused to work on them. How true this is I have no real idea. Perhaps it’s a little like the American Indians working on the sky scrapers over there. I also believe the Indians were fearless and the construction companies took advantage of this and many of those Indians lost their lives doing what the invaders to their country wouldn’t and work at such great heights in such dangerous situations.

Anyway so back to the fifties and my dad.

So at around that time, the country had started to build new towns outside of London in the hope that people would move out from the over crowded cities into them. In those days they offered people housing with certain jobs so I believe my dad then got a job working for Key Glass and with it, got a property here in Harlow he could finally house his family in.

So it is almost like nowadays where we have a lot of Polish and eastern European settlers coming here doing exactly the same as my dad had done sixty years ago and I dare say the grief that some of those get today, my dad and mum and all those who came over from Ireland at the time also got. I remember there being Irish clubs in the town which perhaps is a sign as to how many came over. A little perhaps like now as in most shopping centres there is always a Polish shop selling foods and other things they probably miss from back home I guess?

I remember my mum being quite hush hush about being kids of Irish descent which maybe also reveals just how hard it was for them back in those days, and again i dare say as some Europeans have coming here today. I for one have no problem with any who come here as I myself are a son of a immigrants if you like.

I remember one story of a night out my dad and some of his mates were chased and though I think my dad got home safely, others ended up in hospital. So for sure it was never easy in those early days over here, but I myself cannot remember any of it, as I was so young at the time and of course losing my dad to Blood Cancer if you like when I was only nine and he was 39 so most of my memories were always lovely and if there were any hardships we never knew about them.

Great parenting I guess right? My schooling days through to leaving it in 1981 only now it really sinks in that a massive number of kids in my catholic schools were indeed of Irish parenting like myself if I look back and go through the surnames on the register: Sullivan, O’Reilly, Connolly, O’Connell and many many more.

They were great days to be children in and Harlow back in those days was certainly a better place than it is now but it is the town of my birth and the town I still live so I would change nothing at all. Spashing about in the paddling pools up the town park or many side shows we used to have during the summer up there is something we no longer really see here anymore and it makes my memories of a new born town back then, very special and I think most my age would agree with me.

Now I think the town is nothing like it was back then and will probably never be again. We were young once and over ftimmyifty years I do not think we have done that bad a job.

Timmy O’Connell

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