I read recently that they are going to remove all public phoneboxes from our streets. With them will go a link to my childhood and the childhoods of many of us who grew up in Ireland in the 1950s and 60’s.
We had no phone at home. Back then if you wanted to be connected to the telephone network, you had to pay for the poles that had to be purchased to bring the line to your house. That cost was beyond our means.
When we did eventually get a phone it was because the neighbours banded together to split the cost of the line.
In the meantime, I was familiar with the workings of the public phone. There were lots of public phones available, on streets, in public houses, and often in private house where the neighbours could come to make a call.
You came armed with a supply of coins. To contact the telephonist you merely lifted the receiver and waited. When she answered you told her the number you wanted to ring. She did all the work and rang you back when she had the other party on the line. It was all very slow, uncertain and labour intensive. Happy days!
It started with this. I posted it on Facebook last week and memories came thick and fast to some of our readers. Apparently it used to be known as Walsh’s Corner. That was back in the day when payment for goods was by cash and capsule and pulley system sent the payment to the shop’s office. If you have never seen this system in action, you’ve missed a treat. I remember the system well for they had it Cronin’s Stores in Kanturk as well as some of the big department stores in Cork.
Sales assistants didn’t deal with the money end of the business. There were no cards, Revolute or Google Pay or any of that caper. Cash was king. When you bought your goods, the sales assistant wrote out a docket with a description of what you had bought and he enclosed this with the cash you gave him in a little wooden cup. He screwed the cup into a holder on a wire. He pulled a pulley and the cup whizzed across the store to the office which was on a raised dais and visible to all. The cashier took the docket and cash, wrote up the sale and returned the receipt for your payment and your change in the cup.
Talk of Walsh’s Corner spurred me on to ask Vincent Carmody, our local historian to tell us something about Listowel’s Corners. I’ll bring you that tomorrow.
Water, Water Everywhere
This will no longer be the cry when our pipe system is replaced. The huge job of replacing all the town’s pipes is underway now. No more burst water mains
I found a memory key of stuff from 2015. In December of that year these lovely shops were flourishing in Church Street.