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From an interview by Rae Drage with Mrs Hale on 16th April 2010. Transcribed by Jacky Lawrence
Bill Bailey

Well, I don’t really remember, I can’t say for sure just when they started the scrap yard but all my life I remember them having it. We came to live in Rushden when I was twelve and I know it had been going some time then. My grandfather and grandmother had eight, nine children, six sons and three daughters and although my grandfather was, well he was a business man first and foremost, but he was very, very proud of his family. Particularly his eldest daughter, Grace, who worked with him for many years until she went to South Africa to marry a Christopher Cook who lived at Higham. He went out earlier and she followed him out there which in those days was quite a big thing to do and he did miss her an awful lot. Then his sons, well my father, Archie, he was in the business as far as I know all his life other then the few years that he served in the 1916 war.

The eldest son (Tom Bailey) died during that war and my father then became the eldest one to work in the business and he worked in it all his life. But other sons did other jobs for times and then they started working in it. Granddad was a mixture, he was a very, very kind man and a very, very severe man. A lot of people were frightened of him but I loved him. Every Christmas he used to have a Christmas tree, one of the girls had to decorate it and all us grandchildren, there were six of us in my family, had to go down. We had to have tea and we had to have something from the Christmas tree and at that time it were usually a sugar bird in a sugar cage and if we were very lucky there would also be a chocolate something in there.

He very much followed what we did as we grew up until, unfortunately, he died before summer. Was sad really growing up, he was a man who did a terrific lot of reading and I remember him saying, when I was probably about thirteen, he was reading and he said. ‘This government ought to give money to people with children.’ And I thought well, how funny, why would anybody do that, but it’s done today isn’t it?

It seemed to me that he were a man who was born before his time in lots of ways. He was very interested in Rushden and all that went on. He was also very interested in what went on all over the world because he travelled quite a lot in Australia in his real younger days. And he did everything he could to sort of try and say what he thought should happen in Rushden. Some of the things I don’t think ever would or ever could but there you are.

Conservative Club
Conservative Club High Street South in 2011
He was a member of the Conservative Club and he gave them a massive picture of Sir Winston Churchill because he did very much admire Sir Winston Churchill. He thought that he was one of the greatest men that had ever lived for England and that we English people didn’t appreciate him enough and he, if ever he could come in a conversation he did.

Unfortunately, my grandmother died before he did so he was left; he was looked after by different ones in the family for a time until he died. He was born 29 June 1868 and he died 13 January 1952.

The three brothers took over 'til my dad died in 1968 and then, well, it sort of run down then because he was the one who was in charge of it, you know. I mean they didn’t go round selling, a lot of people think they went round selling rags and bones but hey never did. They were just scrap metal dealers although they did buy rags into the business but that’s all really you know. It gradually, it didn’t close right then in 1968 but it was hardly open. You know they couldn’t, they could only buy in, they couldn’t go round and just making machinery or anything like that.

Rushden Echo, 17th September 1909, transcribed by Peter Brown

HIGHEST PRICE Paid in Rushden, for all kinds of rags, bones, horse and cow hair, factory waste, rabbit skins, old machinery, scrap iron, and metals, by C A BAILEY and Co, Washbrook Road, Rushden.

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