Ernie was born in 1924 and attended infants’ and elementary school in Grimethorpe, Yorkshire. Until the upper years of the elementary school he was not taught much history but then there were history lessons and they were taught about kings and queens and had regular tests after which they were beaten if their mark went down from week to week so all the pupils endeavoured never to do too well, because then their mark could only go down the following week. Ernie described his history master ‘Chuck’ Andrews in some detail. Andrews could often be distracted into talking about current events which his pupils enjoyed. He also taught them after school about the history of the Co-operative movement. The boys attended these lessons voluntarily as they knew at the end of the course they would get a slap-up tea at the Co-operative restaurant in Barnsley. The pupils all left the school at 14 and Ernie worked at the pit like most boys in the town, first down the mine and then on the surface. In his early 30s he moved into sales and worked for various companies until his retirement. Interviewed by Jenny Keating
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