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No wonder many bookmakers opted for the euphemism "turf accountant".Inside, the betting shops of the 1960s were no brighter than their front windows.The other source of the reluctance was Rab Butler's insistence that betting shops should have "dead windows", blacked-out or shuttered with no visible enticements to prospective punters.Butler noted in his memoirs that "the House of Commons was so intent on making betting shops as sad as possible, in order not to deprave the young, that they ended up more like undertakers' premises". My father worked for English Electric in Liverpool, a vast factory on the East Lancashire Road that in the late Fifties/early Sixties employed around 15,000 workers.
He left me in the car for a moment as he went inside, carrying a small bag. Moments later, a scene reminiscent of the Keystone Cops ensued, as men fled from the pub, with many of them jumping out of windows.
The fact that one of dad's best friends at the factory left to set up two betting shops, and for whom he went to work as a settler (the person who works out the winnings of a bet) on Saturdays, convinced me that they had been in cahoots as runners inside English Electric.