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Joe Scarborough


Falling in love with Audrey, 1965

Colour photograph of the head and shoulders of Audrey Scarborough.
Audrey Scarborough © Joe Scarborough


Joe Scarborough met his Canadian wife whilst working in Sheffield. In the sound clip he describes how she came to England and their courtship began.

This sound clip lasts for 3 minutes and 10 seconds.

Was your wife, was she a Pitsmoor girl as well?

No she was Canadian. I met her when I was...things weren't going very well and I hadn't sold anything for ages so I took a job as a park keeper in Longley Park. That was nine pounds a week I think it was, and I met her there. That's her up there. [points at a photograph on the wall]

What a beautiful photograph.

She's a corker isn't she? I'd a beard at the time, I had a peak cap, moustache, beard, hair down here nearly to my shoulders, what a...I've seen photographs just lately and how she fell for me, I haven't a clue. I always say it was the uniform. You know dungarees and a cap. [laugh] and she was stunning. She never demanded anything. As I say, she was born in Alberta, father lived in Attercliffe, went over there and he went over making moonshine during the recession, and one night these Revenue officers came down in their Oldsmobile with their bright boards and 'owt like that, and kicked the stills over, started taking names, somebody from Poland, somebody from this and they got to her father and they said 'Name?' And he said 'Frank Persal' 'Where are you from?' 'Sheffield' 'That'll be Alabama?' He said 'No, Yorkshire!' So this Revenue officer thinking, 'Oh my God, an alien, all that paper work!' so he puts his hands on his shoulders, turns him round, points him north, this was in a place called Billings in Montana, and he said, 'You walk for three days, follow that star, and then you'll be in Canada and it's nowt to do with us any more!' And he went there, took a land grant of CPR and started a little farm, and Audrey was born, sent for her mother, all like that. Out of Whitworth Lane, Attercliffe, not bad eh!

And back here again?

Yeah, I courted Audrey for purely mercenary purposes, because every month she'd take me out for a bit to eat, these new Chinese restaurants that were opening up, you know, it's lovely being a kept man , its great! She had these big greasy dollars, wow, she's wealthy. What's she doing working in a children's home when she's all this money? And of course it was the last disappearing money from the Corn Stock that was held over for her father, and she'd get these dollars from Thomas Cooks every month. Although it soon ran out, so painting had to be a job. So the word 'artist' went out of the window and the proper word 'painter' came in, and it's been magic since then!

Extract from an interview with Joe Scarborough by Gaby Spinks for the Burngreave Voices oral history archive, July 2006.