‘Tat­tie hol­i­day’ was hard work

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - AGENDA -

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.

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