Payday Memories

Did you have a part-time Saturday job? Do you remember your first wage packet? How much of it were you allowed to keep?

Whether you worked part-time at Woolworth’s or as an apprentice for five days a week, no feeling could compare to being handed a brown envelope each Friday evening. But how much of it – if any – were you allowed to keep?

Generally, paying your mother for housekeeping was an agreed condition. The rest of the money would have been splashed on clothes, records, beer, petrol and (quite a few) nights out.

The Spring Chicken Facebook community have been sharing their memories of their first wage packet:

‘In 1964 I gave my mum £1 for keep and kept £2/12/6d for clothes and bus fare. I also saved 5 shilling a week in the bank. You would walk in on a Saturday morning and it would be packed with young people paying their savings in or drawing money out.’

‘My first pay was £4.10s. I gave half to my mum. At the time, fags were 1 shilling for 20, beer was 27p a pint and a gallon of fuel was 3 shillings and sixpence.’

‘I got to keep all of my £1.50 as an apprentice hairdresser. From that I paid my train fare to work (weekly ticket was 65p), my lunches and clothes!’

For a few Spring Chicken members, paying board was definitely worthwhile…

‘I got £14.50 and gave my mum £5.00 a week for keep. What I didn’t know was that she had opened a bank account and saved it every week, then she gave it to me when I bought my first house!’

Some feel that getting paid straight into the bank account doesn’t quite hold the same sentiment. What do you think?

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5 Comments

  • I remember working at woolworths Green St Enfield I was 13 when I first started and you needed to be 14 but they let me start as it was October and I was 14 in January my first pay was £6.02 I went in to be on the record counter which I loved and then made supervisor I loved this job even though it was two bus rides to get there.

  • i worked as a saturday boy at tesco home n wear foregate street chester in 1971-72. all day saturday and 2 hours weekdays after college £3.50 wages. mr bell the manager put me off working for tesco for ever. i had to price up items on the shop floor with a dymo label printer( no barcodes in those days). i also had to take out and kill the mice that were dying from being poisoned in the warehouse and canteen. good fun watching the girls screaming and running away when i had a few poor mice squirming on my shovel though.

  • I started a Saturday job in my local Woolworths as soon as I was 15 (& 3 Months!). I know I started at 9/-d (that’s 9 shillings to those who only know decimal – now 45p). I don’t recall whether my mother took anything from me. In the school holidays when I earned more I believe I did hand over some. I stayed with Woollies through my last year at school and through two years at college and I loved almost every moment of my days with ‘grownups’ and a variety of chores. I was very good at mental arithmetic so I was usually on one of the counters made multiple purchases such as grocery or sweets! We had no calculators or computers to add up the bill, pencil and paper or your brain were your aids..

  • I worked in a market in London and it was freezing cold It was on a stall selling socks and tights but i was told off for not shouting out my wares as i was too shy only a school kid Had to give my mum most of wages too as i was from a large family

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