Harold My Dad

Harold Matthews was born on the 27th March 1940 and grew up in Moss Side during the war years.

My dad said that one of his jobs was to take the clean washing from the laundry to a local factory in a big wicker basket trolley with wheels on. He used to take a run and then jump into the basket guiding the trolley in through the factory gates. On one occasion he did this he went hurtling through the gates and ploughed into a group of directors knocking them into the coal pit covering them with soot. His Dad was a stocker (boiler) man working at the factory and he nearly lost his job through that.

He also said that he was messing about throwing snowballs at his mates one day and they pelted him with snowballs and a car he was standing next to. His mates ran off and he felt a huge hand grab him from behind, It was frank swifts car (the Manchester city player) he ordered my dad to clean the car and wash it. After he washed it frank said to my dad now clean the inside, my dad complained and said I will clean it but you will have to pay me. So frank let him clean the car inside and out, after he finished the car frank gave my dad half a crown. And my cheeky dad said he would clean it every week. So from then on my dad cleaned franks car once a week. And got half a crown. One day Frank took my dad to watch a football game at Main Road and he was sitting on the football team’s bench with all the other players.

There was also a cinema in moss side called the la trocadero my dad used to sneak into the cinema with all his mates. And get a free show. He got up to all sorts of mischief and on one occasion he ended up in trouble with the law and had to go to the magistrate’s court. Where the judge said that he was being influenced by a bad crowd and granted the permission to allow his mum and dad and gran and granddad Shaw to move to 7 Garthorpe Road Wythenshawe Manchester.

My dad saved the life of a man who was drowning in the sea at Southport when he was 11 years old about 1950 or 1951 in July or August and was mentioned in the wythenshawe recorder also in the Manchester evening chronicle. My dad said that he was on holiday with his mum and dad and was strolling on the beach when they saw a man drowning, there was a line of people trying to reach the man but could not get to him. So my dad swam out to the man who by this time was unconscious and he swam back to the shore with him he was then revived and my dad saved his life.

The following week when my dad got back home he was in the school playground of yew tree high and had a fight and ended up with a black eye. He was then sent to the nurse to get it treated when a pupil came to get him to go and see the head teacher in assembly. My dad was worried as he entered the room and was led to the front stage where the head teacher was waiting. But instead of being chastised the head teacher praised him for saving the mans life and everybody applauded him. But when the head teacher heard about the fight he gave my dad a week’s detention. The teacher said it would normally be two weeks but reduced it because of the heroism my dad had shown.

Extracted from “Harold Alan Matthews life story” by Andrew Alan Matthews. To read the full story, please click here.