Lytham St.Annes Coat of Arms
Lytham St.Annes, Lancashire, England


Exchanging Eggs at Ansdell


Source of original article:

Contributed by 
BBC Wales Bus
People in story: 
Patricia Fitzpatrick
Location of story: 
Ansdell, Lytham St Annes, Blackpool
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
01 February 2006
My name is Patricia Canon Fitzpatrick and I was approximately 5 when the war started. We lived in London for a year or two during the war but my Father was with the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food and therefore they decided that even though he had to stay in central London for his work we were to to be moved.

We moved to a place called Ansdell which is in between Lytham St Anne's and Blackpool. We were fortunate enough to live right opposite the Lytham St Anne's golf course. Mother, my brother and myself. Mother was never in very good health so I think perhaps I grew up a little bit quicker than other kids of my age. I basically had to do things as Father was in London coming home perhaps once every four weeks for a weekend.

Our garden was dug up and we had all veg in the garden. I was in charge of all that. One day I went out into the front, I was about 7. I saw two men coming along carrying saws and I remember standing there with my hands on my hips saying, 'What are you going to do with those?' 'We're taking your railings love' he said. I said, 'What do you mean you're taking our railings? My mother won't let you take our railings', I said. 'Oh yes we've got to take them for the war effort.' 'Well', I said 'you can take them but you bring them back after the war'. And I remember the look on their faces!

Ansdell's junior 'Private Walker'

Besides having the garden full of veg we used to keep chickens. These chickens were on a plot of unused land next to a little row of shops. In those days it was wonderful to have fresh eggs. It was my job to go to the beach to collect shells which we'd bash up to put in with the potato peelings, and off I'd go on my bicycle to feed the chickens and pick up the eggs.

And this row of shops got used to me coming along after school with my bucket on my bicycle. I reckon I was the youngest you know Dad's Army, Walker I was the youngest Walker ever because at the age of 7-8 I would go pick up the eggs put them in my bucket and the third shop was a fish shop and he'd come out and talk to me and one day he asked, 'How many eggs have you got?'. And I said, 'quite a few' because we had a few chickens. 'I'd give anything for a fresh egg' he said so I said ok. I gave him two eggs and for those two eggs he gave me a piece of fish.

I cottoned on to this and two or three doors down was a grocer so I used to go down and talk to the grocer by the door there, 'I'll give you two eggs if you like'. So I gave him two eggs and I got some fruit in exchange. So I would be going out with a bucket of potato peelings and coming back with eggs, fish and fruit. So we did quite well.

When the Americans joined the war they came to Ansdell and they were very good to the children. I think they had bottomless pockets because whenever you saw an American they had their hands in their pockets ready to give you chewing gum. They were very good in the way that they used to give parties for the children at Easter and Christmas Parties. They were fantastic.

We had a little trick living opposite the Lytham St Anne's golf course. The Americans used to play on the golf course so we used to go we used to go over into the bushes and when they hit the balls over we would run out and pick up the balls come back into the bushes and then we'd say we found your ball. Well I had to be a child some times! They knew very well what we'd done but then they gave us chewing gum and I think they were very tolerant with us.

We'd go home with chewing gum and a favourite thing of my mother's was to say, 'Don't you dare eat that chewing gum, if you swallow it, it'll stick to your heart.' I know better now of course but we believed her then.


After that we had evacuees. I remember there was a hall at the end of the golf course where they were collected. I felt so sorry for them with their gas masks and their little buttoned up coats and little short trousers with tags on them and they were distributed around.

We weren't allowed to have any because there was only my mother who wasn't very well and us. Some people in our road did have them and the majority of them were very good but one lady had two boys and one day when she went out she came back in to find that her banisters had all been chopped up. They didn't stay there for very long!

We had a good time. For children generally the war years weren't bad years. People pulled together, there was no quarelling with neighbours, there was no fighting no stealing. You'd think with having chickens like we had them, on a piece of spare land away from the house where we couldn't see them, that one or two of them would have disappeared, but they didn't do those things in the war years. Everybody respected everybody else.

Moving to Wales

We came to Wales because my Father came to open the Ministry for Agriculture Food and Fisheries in the Trawsgoed mansion. He was the first one there and I played in that mansion. There were only six people working there and he came straight from London in 1946 to open that as a ministry department. I spent a marvellous childhood there. Well I could be a child there couldn't I whereas before everything was on me because mother was ill.