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Carran’s Working Diary 16: The Master (‘s) Key



The Master's Keys

The Master’s Keys

Yesterday I got the Master (‘s) key which means I can be trusted to let myself in and out. It has meant that I don’t need to worry about thieves when I go to the toilet or fetch some water or go to the office. This is a great relief to my mental health.

I have been studying porters as you will have seen if you read this. See a reference here

They pull a lot of power in an unassuming way and I would never cross a porter.

I like porters.

I have interviewed a porter from Birch Hill Hospital, Rochdale formerly the Dearnley Workhouse. His name is George Genesis, the first man, and he offers his interview with permission which I am currently using in my work here.

The activities associated with being a porter are as varied as the personalities who do it.

It involves unlocking and locking, watching CCTV, carrying trolley loads of chairs, signing visitors in and out, signing keys in and out, checking out rooms for loiterers, sitting, lots of sitting, assisting, lots of assisting and generally being as helpful as you can……more to be added here as I observe and experience:

telling jokes, telling anecdotes,

George’s jobs included perambulating patients, collecting bloods, delivering to the mortuary, checking on ghosts and drinking tea, delivering milk,

I think the porters in my working house are most pleasant, unlike some porters I have read about who seek favours from lady for a night’s accommodation. You can read about this in Mary Higgs’ Glimpses into the Abyss[1] one of the first books one of my visitors gave me to read when I first came here, and which has driven some of my work in this place. Unfortunately there is no index in this book so to find the exact reference would take me an age and reading is only one of my jobs here so please forgive me if I am imprecise.

I have been attending to many activities since my last entry (number 13).

I have:

  • sorted all files so I have all un-researched stuff and script stuff in one place
The Poor Theatres File

The Poor Theatres File

  • written blog entry
  • made an edit of the last interview with Jenny
  • got hold of a chair on wheels just for me!
  • arranged the room in traverse
  • found a way of working on the script without having to move about at the moment. I am writing!
  • merged the talk with the script and am now working on that. This involved creating a short film of Harvey archive moments eg all the baptisms and births from the direct line
  • realised I am relying on someone else’s tree for the Harveys going back to 1700s so may be unreliable that Richard and Eleanor are the distant ancestors and I don’t know if I have time to look that lot up.
  • want to find out more about Nana-in-hospital and St Audry’s (ancient spelling of this saint).
  • found deeper characters and new ones
  • worried about the visitor coming
  • did not need to worry
  • got on and tried not to get too hooked up with pyrotechnics.
  • made a magpie costume
  • Yoga

To do:

  • learn  a new song and record all voices for the paupers √
  • knitting √
  • refresh matron’s song √
  • learn the ditty – (rewrote so glad I didn’t learn)
  • more work with data √
  • find Nana? next Monday? √

What I have done since and what I need to do next is in my purple notebook. Purple is the colour code for my housework, it’s the working house’s colour and co-incidentally a colour I have used before when I fell on hard times.

I am a very organised person. I make lots of notes in both the purple book, here in this diary and in other documents which are secret because they contain what might be called “giveaways” for those people who read this and are coming to see the work when it is sort of finished: scheduled for November 4 and November 5

[1] Higgs, M. P.S. King & Son, London 1906

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