Thomas Waddicor (b.1906): Habits, Culture and Belief – Writing Lives

Thomas Waddicor (b.1906): Habits, Culture and Belief

St Lukes Church. demolished

Overtime Thomas’s recreational time changes as described in the Leisure and New Experiences post. This blog post will investigate the different habits and beliefs the Waddicor family and more specifically Thomas had. Thomas’s life changed quite drastically when he moved to London, he was able to change his habits and was not required to work all hours of the day.

Thomas was one of eight and being one of the youngest four he was forced to attend Sunday school. He reveals ‘I don’t know what all this did for our souls – not much I fear – but it was certainly good for mother’s’ (pg. 8) This shows Thomas’s lack of religious beliefs and his church attendance was purely to satisfy his mother’s will. Thomas goes on to explain: ‘we four younger children were impelled (or compelled) towards congregational church every Sunday morning, noon and night.’ Instead of being encouraged Thomas and his siblings were obliged to attend (p.7). This becomes central to Thomas’s identity as it becomes a part him until he moves to London and he does not attend church or does not reveal if he did. This contrasts with his presence in church when he was in Hightown as he explains the job of the organ blowers: ‘anyone as regular in attendance (however unwilling) at morning and evening Church services as I, was an obvious candidate for a job almost as that of the organist himself – the organ blower’ (p.7).

Thomas’s priorities change over time due to his financial position. At the start of the memoir it is evident that his main concern is to earn money and support the family income. However, once he moves to London he finds he has more spare time and is able to indulge in more recreational and sporting activities. Thomas becomes part of an elite sporting group which only employees of the advertising company are able to access. This is a turning point in Thomas’s memoir, and life, as the reader is able to contrast the two points in Thomas’s life. The reader cannot help but be pleased for Thomas as his hard work has finally paid off. ‘One consequence of having to work in between school hours was the lack of ready opportunity to play games such as cricket and football’ (p.24) Thomas becomes exposed to a new life where he is able to enjoy fun activities and not over work himself. Thomas plays the sport with his company which attaches value and pride to the activity. He is able to relish in sports as opposed to the time when he had to work all the time.

After Thomas has moved home he has become part a new culture that when he goes back home his family notice a change in him: ‘The next time I visited home I was asked why I was talking so la di da.’ (P.24). Thomas clearly got rid of his Mancunian accent and adopted a whole new lifestyle and persona.


Works cited

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Waddicor, Thomas. ’Memories of Hightown and Beyond’, Burnett Archive of Working Class Autobiography. University of Brunel Library, Special Collection, 2:787 (2016). [image].

Dixon, D. (2016). St Luke’s Church Tower, Cheetham Hill (C) David Dixon :: Geograph Britain and Ireland. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Jan. 2016].

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