News: “Over the graves of the Druids and under the wreck of Rome,
Rudely but surely they bedded the plinth of the days to come.
Behind the feet of the Legions and before the Norseman’s ire
Rudely but greatly begat they the framing of State and Shire
Rudely but deeply they laboured, and their labour stand till now.
If we trace on ancient headlands the twist of their eight-ox plough.”

-Rudyard Kipling
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Author Topic: Pee Cee's World  (Read 124684 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline peterchall

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3620
  • Appreciation 166
  • 25.06.1929 - 12.03.2016
Re: Pee Cee's World
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2014, 20:04:23 »
Many thanks for the compliments :)
I don't think I was a particularly good child - perhaps I just didn't get caught :)
But I do remember sometimes developing a severe tummy ache on the way to school, usually on a Monday morning, which  led to mum taking me home again. But that stopped when she realised that the tummy ache miraculously went after the time for school had passed!

It was about then that I was introduced to Dinky Toys and Meccano, and I had (or, more correctly, dad had!) a Hornby model of the SR 'Lord Nelson'. But it had only a few trucks and short lengths of rail that had to be assembled for each time of use and, being clockwork, it was difficult to control and didn't catch-on.

Another memory is of seeing a fire one morning on the way to school. It was in King Street and we were drawn to it by the column of smoke - it wasn't on my usual route to school - because the house was well alight and even the far away Gillingham Fire Brigade attended. Nearly everyone was late for school that morning. I don't suppose AFS Rochester would have any details?
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

Offline JohnWalker

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 658
  • Appreciation 55
Re: Pee Cee's World
« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2014, 17:21:53 »
Good stuff PC - really enjoying the read.  Although I grew up later, from the late 40's, many of your memories of home life have a parallel with mine.  I think I was in trouble a lot more than you though.  :)

busyglen

  • Guest
Re: Pee Cee's World
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2014, 16:51:20 »
Another interesting read PC.  :)

John38

  • Guest
Re: Pee Cee's World
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2014, 13:06:26 »
I recognise so much of this as if it were a few years ago, PC. 

Offline Sentinel S4

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1946
  • Appreciation 154
Re: Pee Cee's World
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2014, 11:19:25 »
I fully appreciate the desire not to be on a noisy footplate doing the ton on one of the mighty LMS or LNER Pacifics. I would like to have emulated the great Prince as well. I really do get 'it' Peterchall and you lived through an amazing era of transport developement, on that with the beauty of hindsight I envy....

S4.
A day without learning something is a day lost and my brain is hungry. Feed me please.

Offline peterchall

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3620
  • Appreciation 166
  • 25.06.1929 - 12.03.2016
Re: Pee Cee's World
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2014, 11:02:29 »
Part 2

So in April 1935 it was to a rented house at 54 Longley Road, Rochester, a 2 up/2 + kitchen down terraced property and for the first time in my life we had a garden:


 The downside was we had no electricity. Lighting was by gas lamp hanging from the middle of the ceiling – in my grandparents’ house the gas lamps were on the wall above the fireplace. The gentle hiss from them tended to make us dozy of an evening! Gas was also used for the street lights, which were turned on each evening and off each morning by the Lamplighter on his round.

Never one for street activity, most leisure time was spent at a friends house and he at mine – Bob Hazelton. It was about then that I learnt of Dad’s attitude to war, when Bob and I were playing rather enthusiastically at soldiers – “If you knew what it was like, you wouldn’t play at it” we were told. He saw his role as a soldier to be to prevent wars rather than fight them.

The main interaction with other boys at school was via exchange of cigarettes cards by various means – it was from them that I learnt that a Rolls-Royce car cost £1000. The only mixed sex activity that I can remember is that we all played chase together in the school playground. It was also then that the inviolable Saturday afternoons at the pictures with mum began and went on until well after the war – I eventually had to gently mention to mum that I would prefer to go out with my mates on Saturday afternoons.

Favourite comic was Mickey Mouse Weekly. I took a great interest in the competition which was going on at the time between the LMS and LNER for the fastest times from London to Scotland but, while a certain KHF member will find this hard to understand, I never wanted to be an engine driver; Prince Bira of Siam was at the height of his career as a racing driver, so I did want to emulate him; Sir Malcolm Campbell was breaking land speed records; there was fierce competition for the Blue Riband – the prize for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic by sea; aircraft were developing rapidly, although they were rare enough for us to go outside to look, if we heard one. It was a great time for a boy interested in technical stuff.

A regular outing during school holidays was a boat trip from Sun Pier to Upnor, or a Sunday afternoon walk to Upnor for a pint in the pub (for Dad that is – it was a stout for Mum and lemonade for me), then the bus home. Another popular outing was the bus to the Strand. Holidays away from home were never even thought of – apart from the cost, it was not until 1938 that one week’s paid holiday per year became a statutory right for hourly paid workers. Any time away from home was usually spent visiting relatives. Dad and my maternal grandad used to go out each Friday evening with 1/- (5p) each, enough to buy a couple of pints each (Dad always advised me to carry a penknife, a piece of string and 4d. The 4d was for a pint of beer, but I’ve no idea what the knife and string were for)

We had a cat until mum, having been putting up some curtains, trod on its head when getting down off the chair she’d been standing on – another of those experiences which taught me that life was not always pleasant!

In those days it seemed that the remedy for dental problems was to have all your teeth out to be replaced by dentures – another unpleasant memory is of dad going through the process. Mum and both my grandparents had ‘full-sets’ but I don’t remember them getting them, only the ritual of taking them out to put in a glass of water each night. Another more-or-less routine op was for kids to have their tonsils and adenoids removed, and I was ‘done’ at St Bart’s Hospital. I had the usual childhood illnesses of mumps, measles and chicken-pox, but escaped whooping-cough and scarlet fever, all accepted as the norm.

There was no NHS and, unless one belonged to a Friendly Society, medical treatment had to be paid for (or overlooked to some extent by many GPs, in the case of poorer families). There were many Friendly Societies which, in return for subscriptions, paid for medical treatment up to a degree – my family belonged to the ‘Oddfellows’ (No comments, please :)); a bit out of sequence here but I recall the later experience of being ‘sworn in’ at a certain age and undertaking obligations long forgotten. Hospital treatment was paid for by putting money into a ‘Hospital Box’ which was emptied at intervals by someone from the hospital – St Barts in our case, so presumably available only at that hospital. I believe each case was ‘means tested’ by the hospital Bursar, who decided how much the patient could afford. My younger uncle was seriously ill with appendicitis and in hospital for several weeks - my grandparents weren’t rich but didn’t end up in the poor house, so it was paid for somehow.

There was a 999 call system, but very few working class homes had phones and call boxes were few and far between, so calling the emergency services wasn’t easy and the first resort was often the local doctor. In the case of my uncle mentioned above, he collapsed at home one morning after having been in pain all night; and my grandfather walked to the doctors and asked her to call, which she did after her morning surgery and diagnosed acute appendicitis. I don’t know how my uncle got into hospital – whether by ambulance or if she took him in her car – but it was an immediate operation and he was placed on the ‘Danger List’ for some time. Being on the Danger List meant you could receive daily visits, whereas normally visiting was Wednesday and Sunday afternoons only. The doctor concerned was Dr Anne Duigood (aptly pronounced ‘Do Good’), known to us as ‘Dr Anne’ to distinguish her from brother ‘Dr William’, and they had no appointment system – you just arrived and took your turn. They dispensed most of their own medicines, which were put on a shelf in the waiting room for collection – probably little more than coloured water anyway! A common question of hers when mum took me to her, or she visited, was “How are his bells?” – mum had to explain to me that she was asking about my bowels!

I went to Troy Town School:


The Infants, or whatever it was called in those days, was on the ground floor and the headmistress was a Miss Webb. One memory of my class teacher is that you got a rap over the knuckles with a rule if you got ink blots on your work, but the main one is of starting the day by chanting our times tables right through from “two times two is four” to “twelve times twelve is a hundred and forty four” and I have found that to have been useful all my life. The ‘Big School’ was on the upper floors, with boys and girls separated, and for some reason I dreaded going there.

Whether he got the job before or after leaving the army, I can’t remember, but dad’s first civvy job was as a cashier for the Chatham and District Traction Co, in their Military Road office, receiving cash from the bus conductors. Soon after, he was ‘promoted’ to conductor on the buses themselves.

http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=5113.0

It obviously entailed shift work with its mix of advantages and disadvantages, but an aspect that I don’t think would be acceptable today was the ‘split-shift’, entailing operating a bus during the morning peak for a few hours, then having to go back for a few hours for the afternoon peak. All peak hour extras for C&D were to/from the Dockyard. It was then that I learned that, as well as being birds, ‘sparrows’ were fares taken as passengers got off a crowded bus before tickets could be issued for them, hence no record of the cash taken – I wonder what happened to that?

Then dad got a job as labourer in Chatham Gun Wharf, an RAOC clothing depot, so was again in his ‘comfort zone’, working for the army if not actually in it, and his job became secure when he was ‘Established’ after a few months.

I think there was more interest in politics than there is today, and my mother’s family was staunch Labour. Dad, as befitted a soldier whose duty was to ‘do or die’, was apolitical. As a kid I knew little more than that my mum would like to do nasty things to certain Tory politicians, and that there had been fights in Chatham High Street between Communists and members of the British Union of Fascists. My younger uncle belonged to the Labour Party League of Youth, so I knew that MUST be the party to support..

The wider world was in some turmoil at the time – the Italian invasion of Abyssinia, the Japanese invasion of China, the Spanish Civil War (I remember newsreel reports of Spanish refugees arriving at Southampton); Germany under the Nazis was flexing her muscles and thoughts of possible war began to arise. Mum’s idea was to lock all the politicians in a room and let them fight it out among themselves.

Other more memorable events were the Silver Jubilee of King George V’s reign, his death and funeral, the abdication of Edward VII, and the Coronation of George VI and Queen Elizabeth, an unprecedented flurry of top level activity in just two years. For we school-kids, the Jubilee and Coronation were exciting because they meant school holidays and parties. There was no TV to watch it on, but we probably listened to it all on the ‘wireless’ (as it was called then) and certainly saw it on cinema newsreels. I still have the book ‘The King’s Grace’, given to us at the Jubilee and from which I learned much about what was then called ‘The Great War’.

Then in late 1937/early 1938 came another change of address when Dad was offered, or applied for and got, the job of Resident Foreman at Sheerness Gun Wharf.

To be continued……
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

Offline smiler

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 970
  • Appreciation 64
  • Far better to be screwed up than screwed down
Re: Pee Cee's World
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2014, 07:25:03 »
Very good pc and I can still smell my mums hair singeing when using her tongs

Offline peterchall

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3620
  • Appreciation 166
  • 25.06.1929 - 12.03.2016
Re: Pee Cee's World
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2014, 21:15:03 »
 :) :)
First to clarify the Napier Square photo. I got it during a visit to the Army Museum at Aldershot and it is of the opposite side of the square to where I lived and was taken during demolition. I have a recollection that the laundry block was in the middle of the square, so may have been demolished. But I don’t remember what it was like inside – I probably never went in it, laundry being a communal affair I was probably ‘baby-sat' while it was done. But I do remember the communal clothes lines supported by forked wooden props, probably kept in the laundry block.

I don’t remember much about the MQ at Shornecliffe but, like Aldershot, it had no outside space. The block at Aldershot backed directly on to Queen’s Avenue, the main road between Aldershot and Farnborough, and the one at Shornecliffe backed directly on to one of the barrack roads – there were no back doors.

Regarding coppers, there was a coal-fired like attachment 1 one in my grandparents’ kitchen at Queen Street and we had a gas-fired one like attachment 2 almost everywhere I lived after dad left the army until about 1960. My mother still had one in her flat on Corporation Street, Rochester, when she died in 1971:

Another memory is of my mother using curling tongs on her own hair. She heated them on the gas and tested them on a piece of paper. I think if they scorched it to a light brown they were at the right temperature. How she never got burns on her scalp, neck or ears , or didn’t set her hair alight, I’ll never know!
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

busyglen

  • Guest
Re: Pee Cee's World
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2014, 20:24:11 »
Great PC have only just had time to read this.  Very interesting. :)

Offline afsrochester

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 587
  • Appreciation 36
Re: Pee Cee's World
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2014, 19:27:10 »
Thank you PC! Most enjoyable! :)

Offline Lyn L

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1161
  • Appreciation 77
Re: Pee Cee's World
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2014, 17:28:39 »
Your post has blown away a few cobwebs here  :) The kitchen range, Mum heating the iron and the spit and hiss ! we did have an ironing board ( Dad made it, complete with asbestos pad to stand the iron on !) and was in use many years later when it passed to me on my marriage  :) The scullery, the mangle in the back yard , the tin bath hanging above it on a nail. I can even remember we had a rexene and velvet sofa in the usual brown colour . How it fitted in that small room with the range I have no idea. Gas mantles too . We did have a front room but it was never ever used ? as far as I can recall anyway.
Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life tryi

John38

  • Guest
Re: Pee Cee's World
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2014, 17:13:09 »
That's it, the fizz of the spit on the flat irons, a wipe on a bit of cloth in case there was ash....and then the kitchen table.

Offline Bryn Clinch

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 951
  • Appreciation 71
Re: Pee Cee's World
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2014, 16:56:18 »
That brought back some memories! Gas Mantles, the kitchen range, the flat irons, the blanket on the table and the scullery, walls `running` with condensation on Mondays and ten times worse when Mum steamed the Christmas pudding. Did you have a copper in the corner and a copper stick to hoist out the washing? Then came the mangling, etc..........

Offline peterchall

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3620
  • Appreciation 166
  • 25.06.1929 - 12.03.2016
Re: Pee Cee's World
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2014, 16:36:13 »
Ah, the blackleading of the stove - as far as I remember it was always immaculate, even when alight - perhaps a bit of ash round the grate, but no more!

Also memories of mum heating the iron - like the one in the photo - on the stove, and spitting on it to check if it was the right temperature. Nothing as posh as an ironing board, just a folded blanket on the table.

I'm sure the stove was the only means of heating and must have been kept alight night and day throughout the year - dad liked his cup of cha too much for it to have been allowed to go out. We did have another room with a sink and dresser etc that we called the scullery but I'm sure there was no gas stove there - actually the lavatory opened directly off that room!

Talking of cha, after 7 years in India such words were a natural part of dad's language. Burgoo = porridge, budgee = time (it was always "what's the budgee?" to dad), dhobi = laundry, wallah = person (hence 'cha wallah' and 'dhobi wallah'), bundook = rifle.

Regarding gas stoves, I spent much of my childhood in MQs or other government premises - as will be revealed later - and they always had that luxury that was uncommon in working class civvy houses - electricity. I don't know if it applied to all of them, but our bungalow in Chatham Gun Wharf  was 110 volts DC, presumably supplied from the Dockyard. (Sorry if I'm getting out of sequence, but I mention it while I think of it)
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

John38

  • Guest
Re: Pee Cee's World
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2014, 13:48:25 »
A great start PC. Thanks for sharing.

We had a stove exactly like that one, in Blue Town, the only time it went out was for my mother to blacklead it and brasso the brass label and handle!

My eldest granddaughter was born in Aldershot, her dad (my son) was in the RAF but on detachment there with the Paras.

Loved the photographs, they certainly bring things to life

 

BloQcs design by Bloc
SMF 2.0.11 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines