Walton youngsters in the 1950s were not afraid of hard work if it resulted in a few shillings to spend on sweets and comics. One of our favourite ways of earning was ‘luggaging’.
This involved firstly making, with a bit of help from dad, a wheelbarrow large enough to hold a number of suitcases. Pram wheels were readily available and with some timber and a few screws and nails a suitable barrow soon took shape.
Armed with this single piece of equipment a large number of Walton boys would congregate every Saturday at the Railway Station eagerly waiting for the first trains to arrive with their cargo of holiday-makers. As soon as the unsuspecting visitors left the platform they were surrounded by the youths all demanding, “Carry your luggage, Sir?”
Seeing that the lads would clearly be less of a drain on their holiday spending money that the local Taxi driver, cases, bags and buckets and spades were soon loaded onto the boys’ barrows. “Where to Sir?” was the next question, and as the newcomers to the town usually didn’t know where their holiday-home location was, they were more than happy for the owner of the barrow to show them the way.
En route usually a cheery conversation was struck up with the family who were keeping a close eye on their possessions. The question, “How much will this cost?” always arose, to which the standard answer was, “We’re not allowed to charge, Sir– it’s entirely up to you”. This practice usually paid off although some of the meaner types would reluctantly hand over a shilling (five new pence) having had their luggage hauled from the Station to The Willow Camp at the Naze. Half a Crown (Twelve and a half new pence) was the desired amount with a day target of around a pound.
The more enterprising of the youngsters (and I like to include myself in this group) would try to arrange ‘an order’ to collect the cases the following week for the homeward journey to the Railway Station. This meant that the usual long walk back to the station with an empty barrow could instead become an earner. A small notebook filled with ‘orders’ would avoid the scuffles and even the odd fight between the boys waiting for the next train to arrive.
When I was offered a summer school holiday job to cycle around the Walton, Frinton and Kirby area collecting and delivering films for processing and printing by Putmans the photographers, I accepted it on the clear understanding that I would not work on Saturdays, as that was luggaging day.