‘THE CANDLE FACTORY GIRL‘ by TANIA CROSSE
A Friday Morning In June 1932
‘Blooming heck, Hillie! Can’t you wait for us?’
As she neared the corner of the street, Hilda Hardwick heard the hurrying footfall of her lifelong friend scurrying up behind her, and she slowed her own step. She turned round, and though she itched with exasperation, she couldn’t help but smile. Gert was rushing towards her, pulling on her old, frayed cardigan over her work dress as she went. Hillie could see that one of her hastily tied shoelaces had already come undone and was threatening to trip her up.
To complete the chaotic image, Gert’s naturally frizzy auburn hair stood around her head in a blazing halo, flying about her shoulders in a fiery cloud. She always reminded Hillie of one of the Titian paintings they had admired together on a trip to the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. It was 1932 and members of the fairer sex had been cutting their hair short for nearly two decades. However, these two factory girls from the backstreets of London’s Battersea had yet to catch up with the fashion.
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