Tuesday, 3 January 2012

In Conversation with Maureen Doyle L1 Oral History Chinatown 2005 Moira Kenny

M. Can you tell me how you set up the Co-Op Housing with Frank Carroll?

MD. I am Maureen Doyle and I came down to this area in 1960 to a flat in Great Georges Street. I didn’t like it. I was out of my own area it took me a long time to settle in. Then it was great at first I had two girls and me and my husband in a two bedroomed flat and then we had a boy and we were overcrowded. I worked, I didn’t go socialising around but my husband did and he used to drink in a pub called The Horse Shoe just around the corner from here and Frank Carroll used to go in there and Roger O Hara and they were in the Communist Party, and Frank was a Communist candidate for this area. 

I knew them briefly then but I didn’t socialise with them and as the kids got a bit older and I was able to go out and go around to the pub at the weekend, we started to have little discussion groups talking about this and that and everything else and it was nice and we were all dead dissatisfied really the way we were living in the flats and we couldn’t get anywhere with the Council to move us anywhere bigger or that and most of the people who went in there lived in flats.

Frank then was born in this area and was an altar boy and went to St Vincent’s school but he moved up towards the Dingle around Mill Street and he used to come and drink and we had started a community council in 1981, I was on it, Frank was on it, Roger, two of the Doctor’s and it was in Prince Albert Gardens Dinner Centre, they had a Dinner Centre for St Vincent’s school underneath it. The Tenements were on top of it and we used to meet every couple of weeks trying to put the world to rights and trying to get things done for the residents and that.

We just started talking one night about the situation we were in with the Housing and everything and Roger O’Hara said ‘Why don’t we form a Co-Op?’ Well, we were horrified because we were Catholics and we all thought ‘Oh no Communists and Co-Ops’ Well I did think that  anyway!

But he said ‘No, no that’s not what it’s about’ he said it was about getting together and in fact ‘I can put you in touch someone who can tell you better about it’ So he put us in touch with Paul Lusk who worked for CDS they had only just started out CDS a development service in Bold Street.  Anyway, Paul Lusk had a good talk with us and that and we started to going to meetings in Bold Street and joined this registered society or something fifty pence a week, every week. They put us through a bit of education about it and everything else and that is how it started. I didn’t get on it at the beginning because my husband didn’t tell me they were doing this and it was only about six months after and Herby Rankin said ‘Maureen, why aren’t you joining this?’ and I said ‘Joining what?’ ‘This housing Co-Op?’  Well I said ‘I don’t know nothing about it’ because by then I thought it must of fell through because I didn’t go out much. ‘Tommy didn’t tell you?’ So I said ‘Put my name down and put me mams name down as well’ because she lived over me. We were one of the first Co-Ops to be set up in Liverpool.