Working in the Black Ledgers in Liverpool by Norma Gebert

Norma Gerbert, her brother and baby sister at the orphanage on Woolton Road Liverpool. Photograph was supplied is used with the permission of her daughter, Linda Shaw

Norma Gerbert, her brother and baby sister at Liverpool Orphanage

Norma had been affected with poor hearing from an early learning having been stuck down with deafness at the age of 7. One day she was at home playing and she said to her mother “The clock has stopped.”
Her Mother checked and said “No it hasn’t.”
“Yes it has. I can’t hear it.”
Her Father took her to see the Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist and the hospital were able to restore some of her hearing in her right ear however she never regained hearing on her left side. Sadly her Father had died when she was seven in about 1938. Her mother was unable to obtain any family support to help her with her three young children so she could go out to work so she made the very hard decision to place them in Liverpool Orphanage, which was on Myrtle Street and then moved to a new site on Woolton Road, Childwell in 1934. Norma, her brother and sister stayed there until she started work. This included an evacuation to the Lake District. The children were  evacuated to the Lake Dsitrict in 1940. The girls went to Wanlass How at Ambleside and the boys to Hawse End. The orphanage stayed there until 1952. Norma started work at the cake shop (Black Ledgers) back in Liverpool in 1945 at the age of 14.

Memory contributed by Norma Gebert from Aberlour

Additional Information

Norma Gerbert bedspread close-upHere is a photograph of a beautiful bedspread she made recently even though she cannot see very well at all these days.

Norma Gerbert with her bedspread

Norma Gebert with her bedspread

bedspread made by Norma GerbertInformation about the Liverpool Orphange and its origins.Pictures of the Myrtle Street Liverpool Orphange buildings before they moved to a new site on Woolton Road, Childwell in 1934.

Hawse End is next to Derwent Water. There is a pier at the bottom of the hill. It is now an outdoor centre, which is why we borrow it in the holidays when it is shut over Christmas.

Wanlass How Orphanage (now Ambleside Park)
This is the place where Norma stayed in the Lake District from the age of seven (about 1938-45) . It is now called Ambleside Park Hotel and is part of the John Lewis Partnership. It appears to be a benefit for current and Retired John Lewis workers.

The National Archives have Wanlass How Orphanage files .There is a book written about the Liverpool Orphanage. It is called the House on the Hill Revisited by Glenda Walton.

Family information on the McIver family, Owners of Wanlass Howe.

Hawse End Orphanage (now an Outdoors Centre for Cumbria County Council)
The house was owned by a famous suffragette called Catherine Marshall and she lent it to Liverpool Council as an Orphanage. She went back to the house in 1956 to clear it ready to sell. She left boxes of records in the house it appears with the purpose of telling her view of the story of the suffragette movement. The Orphanage staff appear to have left records in there too when they left to return to Liverpool in 1952. Here is a list of the case files left in the house when it was sold to Cumberland County Council.
William Edge is Norma’s brother. His file is dated 1938-1944.


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