Mrs Emily 'Stevie' Stephenson: And there was a many a pregnant [inadudible] that had no father, well, they had a father somewhere but maybe they didn’t know where the hell he was by that time.
Interviewer: [laughter] What would have happened to a baby born like that?
Mrs Stephenson: Well everybody talked about you, bad woman and all this. Sure blew over like everything else. Seems nothing, wasn’t nothing but
Interviewer: where the illegitimate babies ever adopted?
Mrs Stephenson: well, there were an awful lot of babies went up for adoption, yes there were.
Interviewer: how would the babies have been adopted?
Mrs Stephenson: Just the way you do now, you had to apply for them but then there was enough what you call baby farming in them days. Old dolls minding maybe a dozen kids, you know, but they were half laws, not properly looked after they put a stop to all that you see as things begin to get better a bit.
Interviewer: when would that have stopped?
Mrs Stephenson: oh. Between 40-81 they begin to stop all that you know. Right enough, it was terrible, in places it was far worse, you know, in some parts of town they had it harder than others, just as it is today, some parts are better than others, you know what I mean.
Interviewer: well, would those have been illegitimate babies or would those have been, would those have been the same with a lot of…
Mrs Stephenson: Anybody’s babies!
Interviewer: Anyboby’s babies?
Mrs Stephenson: Sure, half of those wee children was lost, they really were, you know what I mean. You think for yourself man, you’re a mother, but would you like to think your child about 6 years of age going to go down a bloody black pit about 300 feet below the earth, gatherin’ up the coal, going up behind those big waggons gatherin’ up the coal. That’s 6 years of age for a wee boy or a wee girl, sure, that’s no life. Even pregnant women worked down them pits until the mammies were ready to drop and they were brought to the top and just go home and be confined. And that was it really, it must have been, well we were bad here in Belfast but out in the collieries those people must have had an awful time of it. It must have been dreadful. We weren’t so bad.
Interviewer: were there baby farms in Belfast?
Mrs Stephenson: I never minded the baby farming but I do mind people minding three or four children. You would have paid that women half a crown a week for minding your children from six in the morning to six at night. Half a crown a week. And sometimes they were well enough looked after and sometimes they were just half lost, you know.