Michael recalls how the school fees were paid for.
Heather: Quite a musical family then. How was it all financed for you guys? Because it’s—Because there is— 3 kids at weekend school. And then your mum was a full time student. How was all that financed? Because that’s quite expensive!
Michael: Yes, it was. My… mother after the war, 47’, she was paid for by her mother.
And her mother had worked through the war and had saved all wages or as much as she could because there was no grant. There wasn’t— There just wasn’t a grant. Whether there wasn’t a grand if you didn’t go to university I don’t know and in any case I don’t think my mother would’ve wanted to go to university although she did go in later life. But in any case she went to the Northern and nana paid the bills which I seen then in a region of about 16 pounds a term, 16 guineas a term which was a sizeable amount because she was only earning herself somewhere in the region of 3 or 4 pounds a week which is an awful lot. I mean it’s a king’s ransom because really it’s—it’s 4 weeks wages which 4 weeks wages now would be 1600 quid. In fact, it might have been more than that, I don’t know. But it was a lot of money but she paid it and, you know, she had to find all the books, 2 buses, it was… it was… 4 pence from Middleton to Manchester and a penny ha’penny out here. So five fours is a 20, and what else 1 and 8, 3-4 pence on the Manchester-Rochdale bus and… 10 lots of penny ha’pennies, 1 and 3. So what did I say, 3 and 4, 4 or 7 pence which was again a sizeable amount of money a week for bus fares. And then anything else if she needed a dress, you know, things were still on the rations.
So she had to make her own stuff. So yeah, it was—it was that kind of thing. We were all paid for by mum and I think that possibly we might not have bought the whole package. There probably could have been other things that we might have had but she paid 6 guineas a term and I noticed when I was looking through Manchester digital archive that that fee never altered.
They said between 6 and 10 guineas a term so presumably how much you had or what you partook of was that, you know. So that was paid for out of earnings and yeah. It was— I think it was probably quite dear, you know, because I think you can still probably get a piano lesson for half a crown. When I was a kid so yeah. It was a sizeable amount. But it stuck to us, yeah, it was a good thing.
Part of the #NSM2020 project "A 20/20 Legacy: the centenary of the Northern School of Music" supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.