Oldham Historical Research Group

'Oldham Stories'

     'Oldham Stories'
by Mary Dickinson

'Filling a Tick'

Perhaps it seems funny to hear those words but when I was little it was a job that all the family used to share. The bed tick was a sort of mattress, which was filled with woollen flocks. My mother would pick a very hot day and lay a cover on the bedroom floor and empty all the flocks onto it. Then she would wash the bag and dry it in the sun. All the children would come in to help. My mother used to shake powder into the flocks, I suppose it was to keep away the fleas, and the children would use their hands or shovels to put the flocks back in the tick. When they were all back in she would sew it up, give it a good shake and put it back on the bed. She would repeat this process till all the beds were done. This happened in all the families in our neighbourhood during the hot weather.

The ticks were very comfortable and you could mould them to your own body shape. My mother lived with me when she was old and she used to say, "I wish we had the old bed ticks, they were a lot more comfortable than these hard mattresses."

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