Leaving School

Esther Annenberg: Holdron’s

Esther, known as Etty, was born in 1909 in Upton Park in London. Etty went to Venetian Road Special School in Camberwell, London from the age of five, going on to an apprenticeship in dressmaking at Holdren's department store in Peckham. At the time of interview Etty was 104 years old.

Here Etty describes her apprenticeship at Holdron’s department store after school.

  • Esther Annenberg


We'd got this apprenticeship you see and then when after you served it, they didn't, say Holdron's wanted someone they put you in there, and we had to do Finework. Well say you tore your dress, and I had to patch it together, and it's got to look as though it's never been done, and I used to do all that. When I look back now and think, I can't do it now 'cos me eyes are no good, but I used to love it. I wonder what happened to all that now? If they go, taught girls still to do that. Shame if they didn't, because you could get a good living. Then my mum bought me a machine and I used to make me own dresses at home, and I used to make a load of them, but the thing was, my cousins always thought if I made a dress for them I shouldn't charge 'em, I said 'Look, I've gotta earn a living and this is my living.

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