‘Tattie holiday’ was hard work
SIR, – Regarding James Bream’s article on the “tattie holidays” (The Press and Journal, October 14).
As a Scot who has lived north and south of “the border” I had to laugh at his analysis of what tattie holidays mean to the north-east of Scotland.
Of course tattie holidays began when older schoolchildren were called on to help during the Second World War. Even farmers were affected by conscription as most of their workers went off to war.
Only the older pupils (I think over 11) were given permission to harvest the spuds. We were paid a shilling an hour, got a free lunch from the farmer’s wife and two 10-minute breaks during the day.
We had 10 days to do the work and the farmer signed a card
which we held to book the days we were required. It was backbreaking work – especially on the first day – but it helped our parents with the costs of warm clothing.
Today it would be referred to as slave labour.
As for Mr Bream’s suggestion of a cheap holiday during today’s “tattie holidays”, we didn’t have holidays in those days – no one but the rich could afford such pleasures.