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Tuesday 17 October 2023

Didlum

In answering the question on Yorkshire Pudding's blog: "How much money have you got stashed away in your house and where exactly do you keep it?", I said none because my wife puts it in the didlum. Did anyone know what I was talking about? It's all right. I'm used to it.

When I was little, my mother paid each week into Nanna Fenwick's didlum. Nanna Fenwick (that's Fenwick with a voiced W) was a fearsome but trustworthy woman who lived across the back lane. Her didlum started each year around the beginning of February, and if you paid in, say, ten shillings a week, you would have about £20 when it paid out in time for Christmas. You only got back what you paid in, without interest, but it was safe from the temptation of a tin on the mantlepiece. I don't know how many people paid into her didlum, but I suppose Nanna Fenwick put it all in the Post Office and got a bit of interest herself for running it, not that there was much interest to be had anywhere then.

I guess they are too posh to have any didlums in Sheffield.

31 comments:

  1. We had didlums at the place I worked in the 80s, though they were run slightly differently. Each person drew a number 1 to 52, and you received the £52 collected (£1 per person) on your allotted week. It was never good to draw one of the early numbers.

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    1. Not heard of one like that before: a cross between a didlum and a raffle.

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  2. So is that a legitimate word or was it just made up by Nanna Fenwick?

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    1. Legitimate. A pun of course. They were once common in Northern England.

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  3. Sounds like a private Christmas club, the kind stores had so people could set aside money to spend there at Christmas.

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    1. Exactly, but run privately. With the store scheme you had to spend it at the one store.

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  4. Of course we have didlums in Sheffield and I am the trusted treasurer of one such scheme. How do you think we could afford to go on holiday to Sicily this summer?

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    1. Please send me your bank details so we can join.

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  5. Learned a new word today. Not sure I'll ever use it.

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    1. But it's such a good word. There must be a way you can use it.

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  6. Where I live in Lincolnshire it's called mutual aid.

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  7. I knew plenty of didlum experts. Still plenty around now.

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    1. We're you writing about them just the other day?

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  8. I've never heard of didlums - diddlers, yes!

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  9. I thought the electric slot meter was my money box.

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  10. Strikingly close to 'diddums' to! Christmas clubs were a thing of the past though there are special Xmas stores where you can save up for the festival.

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    1. And not spend it anywhere else but in that store.

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  11. I cannot imagine trusting a neighbor to hold my money for me and give it back a year later. There is a sweetness to that scenario that is missing from today's world.

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    1. Absolutely missing. Those were the days when, if you did keep money in a tin on the mantlepiece, and everyone knew it, you could leave your house unlocked and the money would still be there a year later.

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  12. I saw it is a defined word in google, and recognized the "savings club" business by the definition. There were such clubs around as I grew up, run by schools or businesses or even individuals. I never knew of any interesting name for them. And I don't see how didlum is a pun. Help, please.

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    1. I suppose word play rather than a pun: "Diddle Them". Northern humour that they weren't to be trusted.

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  13. I don‘t know about similar saving schemes in my area, but maybe they were there before I was born, or I simply never knew of them.
    At elementary school, our class teacher ran a pocket money saving scheme for the class. It was all official with little booklets where you could stick a sort of stamp in to prove you had given the teacher money for you to save, and follow your progress. I can‘t remember how much I ever paid in or took out, but it can‘t have been more than a few pennies, since my sister and I had very little pocket money.

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    1. Did you remember to draw it out? It might be worth a whole Euro now if you didn't.

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  14. Oh, you gave me a bright idea, Tasker: next year I will open up a "didlum" for the triplets. (And call it that way - they soak up English words like a sponge). Thus they learn to save a bt (though the "single" from the triplets - the others are twins - started to save in a penny bank (it plays "God Save the Queen"!) - she doesn't't need any help then :-)

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    1. It is clear from the comments that very few English speakers know the word "didlum". It is very northern. Good luck. I do hope you are not planning to diddle them.

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  15. Late to this, but related concept in Australia was https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starr-Bowkett_Society

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    1. Interesting, but it doesn't look quite the same thing. Didlums were amateur affairs.

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    2. You are right, though one bit that caught my attention was that Starr-Bowketts fell out of favour in England because there was a bit too much diddling going on. ("How much is too much?" you may well ask. - I guess rigging the draws for the loans.

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