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  “This is that state of man” part 1

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Tim of Aclea

Posts : 370
Join date : 2011-12-31

Post “This is that state of man” part 1

In 1949 food was still in short supply and rationed. I received the following letter from the TUC which rather showed the desperate state of Britain at that time.

The Trades Union Congress
Transport House
Smith Square

6th January 1949

Dear Mr Whittle,
American Food Parcel

You will be receiving notification from the Co-operative for American Remittances to Europe that you are to receive a food parcel from the United States. Your name has been forwarded to the organisation by this Office, and for your personal information, we were notified that the C.I.O. Community Service Committee have made available to us a certain number of parcels for distribution to trade unionists who are Social Science Students. I presume that the cost of the parcel has been contributed by the individual whose names are given on the delivery report.

I do not think we should have found so much difficulty in handling a large number of parcels for distribution as we have had in handling a small number – we should have liked to have included many more friends, so I am sure you will see the wisdom of keeping this matter to yourself.

With all good wishes.

Yours sincerely

HV Tewson
General Secretary

In 1949 we were able to move out of our rooms in Prospect St into quite nice house in Emmer Green, a district of Reading. I got a job in the education department of Harry Ferguson, the tractor manufacturer, which involved me moving to Coventry. However, with the housing shortage, I was unable to get any accommodation for my family and so in 1950 I applied for and got the position of Youth Employment Officer for Redhill and Reigate and the Oxted-Horley-Lingfield area in Surrey. I was again not able to get a house in Redhill but instead we moved nearer to my job living in a prefab in Wimbledon. Vera was not very happy about this as not only had we moved away from the rest of the family in Reading but also she had very much liked the house in Emmer Green. The prefab was cold in winter and hot in summer.

In 1951 Vera gave birth to our third and last child, a boy Timothy John. I did not agree with naming him Timothy and told Vera that he would not thank her for it when he was older but in fact he seems to have been quite happy with being called Tim. On the day he was born, I had taken Dorothy and Rosemary out for the day. When I got back a neighbour told me that Vera had gone into hospital and given birth to a boy; she gave me a look as if to suggest that I should have been with her rather than out for the day.

On Sunday, 24th May 1953 I was nearly killed while riding my Vellocet 192 motorcycle at 10:20 p.m. between Maidenhead and Slough. I was blinded by the headlights of an oncoming car which were on full beam and, as a result, crashed into the back of a parked car. I broke the left side of my jaw and suffered head injuries which caused me to have a stroke. I could not speak for 10 days and it took about 3 years before I could speak and write normally. For 7 months I was sick on full pay, three months and four months on half pay. I came down to my last pound. Early in January 1954 SCC sent my two cheques, one for £38 for pay and the other for £42 to help get establish me again.

For about a year I went to St. Thomas’s Hospital, London SE1 on Monday mornings and Thursday afternoons to teach me to speak again. I had to learn how to stop and start talking – to converse and not swear and curse and of course to write again. I had four staff, two women and two men, working for me in Redhill and they helped me quite a lot. Life for about three and a half years was hellish and I had to take prescriptions until 1956.
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