Tim Cunningham outside No. 2 St. Johns Square

Mrs. Kirby

A protestant lived in our house.

We rented the place downstairs,

She had a room on top.

I knew she was different


Because people said she was a protestant

As if she has measles

Or came from the North Pole.

Once when we giggled in church,


The woman behind said

That I was as bad as a protestant.

On Christmas day when I was six,

A game of rings


And a huge bar of Bournville chocolate-

I remember that because it tasted

Different to a sixpenny Cadbury’s-

Were slipped under the door.


My mother said they came for Mrs. Kirby.

At last I knew what a protestant was

Thought I had always thought

That Father Christmas was one of us.


– Tim Cunningham

Photographs by Natalie Woociker: