King's Cross Voices
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On 5th May, 2004 King's Cross Voices Oral Historian Alan Dein sat down with Derek Royall, his mother Lil Royall and his uncle, Charles Chilton. Derek was born on 17th February, 1936 in King's Cross. During the interview he recalled working for Rickett, Cockerell and Co., delivering coal by horse and cart around King's Cross in the 1950s.

Derek Royall
Derek Royall.
Photo Credit: Sarah Weal.

Duration: 2 minutes 44 Seconds. Size: 2.50mb

Alan Dein: Was it, because obviously it was rationed and it was ... was it a regular route you would take every time or did you ...?

Derek Royall: Yeah, yeah.

Alan Dein: So what was your route? Where would you go?

Derek Royall: Come out of there, turn left, go down Ossulston Street, stop at the bottom, there used to be a water trough there. It might still be there.

Charles Chilton: I think it is.

Derek Royall: There's a drink there, go up Mabledon Place, into Flaxman Terrace, that's on a Monday, so many there, and then into Burton Street. I used to finish there. I would do a load on Burton Street within an hour then back and get another load. And then I pick up from there and probably again Burton Place, couple in Cartwright Gardens, cross over into Leigh Street then down Sandwich Street.

Alan Dein: You did your own street then.

Derek Royall: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sandwich Street, couple in Hastings Street back up the two, up Leigh Street. No, Thanet Street, sorry, Thanet Street. Around into Judd Street, then I'd have an extra around oh, Crowndale Road and few along there. After that there'd be Saturday morning when I went out along there, Crowndale Road, Mornington Crescent up into Regent's Park, couple there.

Charles Chilton: And were all these standard orders?

Derek Royall: No, no.

Charles Chilton: You'd be selling in the street?

Derek Royall: Yes, selling, yeah.

Charles Chilton: What did you cry out?

Derek Royall: Coal.

Charles Chilton: Just coal.

Derek Royall: Yeah.

Alan Dein: Oh, you so you'd actually be selling things, ah, that's an interesting point.

Derek Royall: Only in the summer that was though not in the winter, only in the summer because .

Alan Dein: Sorry, you didn't have your orders. You had your regular orders.

Derek Royall: I knew the customers, I knew the customers, yeah.

Alan Dein: But you still had to shout coal did you?

Derek Royall: Only in the summer. It was hard to sell in the summer. They don't want coal in the summer. Only those who had coal cellars they would buy get in plenty for the winter but those who lived in the flats they hold about five hundredweight and it's full up, they wouldn't take no more. So about say from what, March, April its just falling down you have to start shoutin' then.

Alan Dein: Were you on any commission?

Derek Royall: No. Just wages and tips. Mind you that was a good round that was.

Lil Royall: What he used to do ...

Derek Royall: Especially in the flats.

Lil Royall: Go out in the flats, knock on their door, do you want coal? cause he wouldn't call out down the street ...

Derek Royall: That's when I first started. When it gets really summer, you can't really go out with coal, you can't sell it, so the firm would give you what they call big work, that goes to say Royal Hotel drop two ton, Imperial Hotel and all that.


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ай2004 King's Cross Voices Oral History Project