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Author Topic: Growing up on the High Street  (Read 11531 times)

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Offline TonyYoung

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Re: Growing up on the High Street
« Reply #26 on: May 31, 2014, 09:22:41 »
This next bit is rather disjointed, just like my memories of the time but, here goes....

Part 5 – Christmas and holidays

Our Christmas’ were always a fairly big family ‘do’. Family include ‘Aunt’ Mue and ‘Uncle’ John and cousins, Grandma Wilson, Aunty Edith (Mum’s younger sister) and Uncle Harold (apparently I was a page boy at their wedding – dressed kilt and white shirt and jacket  - I have no memory of it at all – mother’s family has Scottish ancestry via the Gunn Clan). ‘Aunt’ Renee in Dover with her daughters and, of course, Tom and Doris and my two cousins and Nan in Frinsted.

It was always at one place or another (until Edith and Harold moved to Barnstaple in Devon)

When ‘the day’ was in Sittingbourne we commandeered the back office of the Coal Offices as it was a large room, two big desks and a good view out into the back garden – and it was only a short walk from the kitchen, with no stairs in the way. It also meant we could play with our toys in the living room upstairs and be out of the way of Mums cooking and Dads doing whatever they were told!

I remember I had some great toys (‘cool would be the adjective today!) and some other may have memories of similar stuff.

There was, of course, Meccano – never enough parts despite odd buying trips to Turvills – but started me on engineering skills.
Another was Bayko – a building kit which probably created many architects. It has been going for some 80 years now, and I loved it. Plastic bits of houses were slid between metal rods on a pre-set drilled base, the designs were amazing. Lots of fun. There is a website and a Wikipedia entry:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baykoand a shop on line
http://www.baykoshop.com/
I also got something called (I think) Buildit which consisted of plastic sticks of various lengths that could be fitted into cog-like units (about 1” in diameter) and structural units could be built – towers, etc. I cannot find anything like it on the web (at least not so basic).
Another construction toy (maybe mum and dad wanted me to be an engineer) was a set of plastic girders with connection studs and plastic roadway sections so that bridges could be built, curved sections also made road circuits possible.
And then I got a Tri-ang electric train set!! A circular track of plastic base sections, an 0-6-0 Engine and three rolling stock including Guards van. A friend of mine in Cairns currently has the remnants of that for his sons. I shipped a whole heap of old toys over from the UK a few years ago and found out that he (and two teenage sons) were train set addicts so they got the rest of the OO-gauge stuff that had survived the years.
The most amazing toy though came in 1960, I was really impressed with Scalextric and really, really wanted a set until dad showed me the circuit that a workmate of his had – a Wrenn Formula 152 layout. This was wow, up to six independently controlled cars on two tracks, and that Christmas I got a set, and it is still in the roof of mum’s house in Sittingbourne and next time I go back to the UK it is definitely coming back here with me. There is a fascinating ‘blog’ about them here and I have the set shown in the photograph, and the Cooper and the Ferrari:
http://www.slotforum.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=50414
Sadly as the blog tells, 1:52 scale 'toys' were so obscure the business died fairly quickly.

Okay so Christmas was fun and some great toys, but holidays with family were also regular.

The Norfolk Broads were very popular and apparently I went with mum and dad and ‘Aunt’ Mue and ‘Uncle’ John, Bob and Ken on a boat named Titus in 1955. My sister was deem too young and stayed with my Gran (mum’s mother – she will come out of the woodwork shortly). I have absolutely no recollection of that holiday at all!!!  I do, however, remember 1958 (I was 8, sister was 5) The same crowd as Titus (plus my sister, my Gran and ‘Aunt’ Mue’s mum – Granny Ghee) on a ten berth cruiser called Merlin 12. It was huge! One memory is cruising through Wroxham, dad on the wheel, ‘Uncle’ John says ‘Frank are you going slow enough, there is a speed limit’, ‘Its fine John’ says dad, ‘Look behind you’ says John, dad does so to see people jumping up from riverside lawns, grabbing towels, tablecloths, plates etc. as about 6 inches of wash waved over the grass. ‘Sorry’, as we slowed down to a real crawl.
Another well recalled event was at Ludham, up one of the side rivers in the system. We had all gone ashore to visit the village, which at the time had a model village which really took my attention, ‘Time to go!!’ came the cry from all the adults. ‘Okay’, but I still had a couple of model buildings to look at, and Christine and I, of course, took our time wandering back along the path to the riverside – some interesting plants, and a lizard – look! Oh my, there was Merlin 12 vanishing down the river!. Scream and yells eventually got a chap in a small boat to chase after them and we were ‘ rescued’. Everyone had told everyone else we were down in the cabin, but to this day I suspect cousin Ken, as his comment (at 9yrs old) was ‘Damn silly Youngs’.

Other holidays were to Barnstaple in Devon and Aunty Edith and Uncle Harold and Grandma Wilson (mum’s mother – here she is). She was Grand in every sense of the word. My grandfather had died at the end of the war, killed by what was apparently the last V2 bomb of the war, in Sidcup. Gran though was into everything, Grandad had worked for the railways and Grandma has a pass which meant she travelled everywhere by train and paid next to nothing. She would come over from Devon, pick up Christine and I and on the train via Victoria, the Underground and Paddington take us to Barnstaple. I learnt how to play Cribbage and Whist on those journeys – she loved her card games. In Barnstaple we were shown where we could go (that included the café where Aunty Edith worked) and my sister and I had our first ‘Spider’. Not having a clue we ate the ice-cream and drank the fizz out of the bottle, we found out later that we should have poured the fizz in the ice-cream (ho-hum).
North Devon was a fun place with locations like Westward Ho, Saunton Sands – even more exciting when the army was running around in tanks there!

Other holidays that I have heard that I went on, but have no memory:
I was in a box on wheels behind mum and dad to the Isle of Wight – they together with Mue and John and another ‘Aunt’ Dorrie and ‘Uncle’ Pete went on Tandems to a caravan park for 10 days. I have no memory of that at all – apparently in 1953 before we left Dover! Would not see parents doing that with children these days
Dad’s trusty Morris 8 took me at 4years old and mum to Ringwood in/near to the New Forest (1year old sister was left with Grandma). Apparently the car broke down several times and a 1 week holiday ended up with two days in Ringwood – the rest of the time in laybys while Dad fixed the car.

Oh well, the next part will see me moving up though Junior School and dancing!
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Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: Growing up on the High Street
« Reply #25 on: May 14, 2014, 10:12:31 »
I'll be around the back of the Bike Sheds during break time, tanner a look, 2 bob to buy.....................  :) :) :) :) :)

s2 (younger S4).
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Offline oobydooby

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Re: Growing up on the High Street
« Reply #24 on: May 14, 2014, 09:35:08 »
But they were so innocent in comparison to mags of today, so I have been told. :)
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Minsterboy

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Re: Growing up on the High Street
« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2014, 11:51:27 »
Fantastic stuff TonyYoung.
I remember the H&E magazines well. When I was around 10 or 11, I somehow found a way into the storeroom of a local newsagents next to the Mechanics Arms in Sheerness. I took several of the H & E magazines to school the next day for my friends and ended up getting the cane from my school master.

Offline Lyn L

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Re: Growing up on the High Street
« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2014, 11:31:36 »
Ooh snap  :) that's a pic of my first bike too, I had the blue one (girl's!!) should have been red as that was my favourite colour. I remember well, Dad running along side, and he did just what PC said, I don't remember falling off at all :)

I shall look forward to the next instalment , Thanks TonyYoung.
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Offline peterchall

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Re: Growing up on the High Street
« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2014, 11:01:46 »
Your experience of learning to ride a bike echoes mine. Dad used to run with me, holding the saddle, then let go and stop, when I promptly fell off. The problem was eventually solved by him letting go of the saddle but still running alongside, so that I thought he was still holding on.

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Offline TonyYoung

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Re: Growing up on the High Street
« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2014, 09:18:29 »
Thanks YoungNan I stand corrected. Rag,Tag and Bobtail were my favourites and I always had an interest in wildlife - probably why I run the local wildlife rescue group out here in N. Queensland.

I have found some more background on 117 from Kelly's 1934. Phillip H. Bishop was registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages then - following on from the Jacksons. My mother also thinks that Honeyball and Son (Coal Merchants) may have been there at some time as their ornate door sign was in the cellar when we moved in. I have found them at 27 High Street and also a Honeyball Walk in Teynham. Does anyone else have any more information?

Mother also told me my sister was born at Buckland Hospital and not Whitfield as I said in my Part 1.

Hopefully I can get this posted this time - I tried last night but something glitched and I lost the minor corrections I had made after reading the preview.

so here goes.....

Part 4 – late 1950s

The early fifties in the High Street really revolved around ‘the flat’, simply because I was too young to be allowed out into the streets. Starting school allowed a whole new area to explore. The High Street in Sittingbourne back then was very busy and well used (unlike today)

Parking was on alternate sides of the street on alternate days, and signs were changed each morning to let drivers know. Wednesday was early closing day and just about nothing was open on Sunday.

Near my home the fishmonger across the road had fresh fish delivered daily and nearby the Maypole store had fresh vegetables brought in. Along from us on our side of the street – to the east – Denny’s flower shop received fresh flowers, and almost next door to them was a grocery store, again with fresh produce – and deliveries from the Corona truck of fizzy drinks! Further to the east was a shoe shop, an estate agent and the Congregational Church. Across Central Avenue, which was just a car park then – and I think the library was on the site of the current post office –on past the Town Hall, Brenchley House and then down the hill past a furniture store where I worked in the 60’s when it was Linnett’s, The Bull Inn and yard, another couple of shops and then a fairly grand building with bay windows and a wide stairway to the entrance where the dentist was located. I guess something was where Pelosi’s milk bar was (can’t imagine that being there in the 50’s) and is now T&K's Café & Restaurant, The George pub, Mackett’s pharmacy and eventually the lane up to The Queens Cinema. Going on down were Blundells, Turvill's Toy Shop and across the road the imposing St Michael’s Church, next to which, on the corner was The Odeon cinema.
 
When I started at Ufton Lane school mum and dad let me go to Saturday Morning pictures, which was always a problem of choices – which cinema had the more exciting movie to see, Queens or Odeon? – or were we involved in the serial showing at one or the other – and then – did you pay thruppence to sit downstairs (and get an expensive ice cream at the interval) or a tanner to sit upstairs! So many decisions to make at that age!
 
Other places I would go were to the other side of the railway lines – Prince’s Street was a dirt road (where Eurolink Way - what a boring name - now goes) and went past the brickfields. I used to watch the men digging out the clay and shovelling it into the wagons that were then connected to the ropeway and dragged up a ramp and off somewhere into the brickworks.  Then carry on down to Crown Quay (Cranky) Lane and into the marshes to look for lizards and slow-worms, and, if you had a jar with you, collect tadpoles  - poor bloody things – never did get any to turn into frogs but our back garden did have a healthy lizard and slow-worm community!  I remember sneaking a lizard in a small box into a coat pocket when I and my sister when to a birthday party in Milton – it was a girl friend of my sister and so the guests were mainly girls, the boys and I decided to look at the lizard that promptly jumped out of the box in the corner of the living room – little girls screaming and running everywhere – great fun, but a bit of a whack from dad when I got home!

The other place to play at weekends was the cattle market in Bull Yard behind the Bull Inn  (sadly closed and looking bad last time I was home). The pens and holding areas were a great place for hide and seek – especially when the local copper tried to chase us away. Saturday afternoons were usually spent here until half-time at the soccer ground when it was free to get in to see Sittingbourne beaten again by some unknown town side.

When I was 8 I got a push bike – a beauty – a Hercules with a blue frame and a Hercules Jeep with three speed hub gear system. There is a picture of an 18” model here…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikegerrish/4031794409/in/set-72157622633388334/

Dad taught me to ride it using the car park in Central Avenue. I was fine while he held the saddle but when I realized he had let go – panic and crash!! The bike gears also needed you to pedal backwards when you changed gear as everything was done inside the rear wheel hub – no multi-cog wheels with moving chains – none of that modern stuff – and I have never been able to get the hang of Derailleur gears. However, this meant I could travel further afield.

A popular place to go was Frinsted, where my Aunt Doris (Dad’s older sister) lived, married to Uncle Tom (Walter Tucker) the local Policeman. They lived in the Frinsted Police House along with my two cousins Rosemary and June and my Father’s mother – our Nan. Waaaay out in the country – well five miles from town at least.

Nan was blind having fallen of her bicycle, twice, just before or during the war and banged the back of her head. I remember Aunt Doris used to bring her to Sittingbourne shopping and Nan would sit in our kitchen and feel my sister and I all over our faces, a bit scary really. Then she would open her purse, feel the edges of coins and give us each a sixpence.

In the meantime, back in the countryside around Frinsted, I discovered foxes, moles. rabbits, hares – all sorts of flowers and plants – stinging nettles (and dock leaves), small chalk pits (which I now know to be of Roman origin), and Timbold Hill – the location of the Torry Hill Railway. Uncle Tom was a driver and I had many happy times out there when the Leigh-Pemberton family opened it up for the local kids, which happened several time a year.

Another fun place was Gleneagles Garage at Danaway – my school mate Danny lived there, his dad running the petrol station. There was a small wood (coppice) at the back of the Petrol Station that backed onto the Stockbury Golf club, I think it was the 9th hole. It was just below a rise coming from the tee so the green was hidden from the golfers teeing off and we could sneak out from the trees, pick up a ball, and be back in the trees before the golfers came over the rise. Trying to keep our laughter down while the hapless golfer hunted for his ball was great fun – and sometimes we would put all the balls in the hole – that caused a lot of discussion on the green.

The age of 8, though, meant leaving Ufton Lane and moving up a school to Barrow Grove – fortunately, everyone in my year at Ufton moved with me, including a certain filmer01, so no friends were lost.

The most confusing thing about the move, though, was that we didn’t go straight to Barrow Grove. We spent the first term in cabins in Johnson Gardens. Barrow Grove was built in 1953, but the demand for school space soon outstripped its capacity. A new first year block was being built when we left Ufton and it was not finished until our second term. It is interesting to see that 60 years on the cabins are still a learning centre!

But, we were the first kids to enter the new block at Barrow Grove. My teacher was Mr Watters in the first year (1 Yellow), but wow – what a school. Huge green playing fields, a big hall where we started the day, and only went back for PE, and another large hall just for eating in – is was the Dinner Hall – for lunch?

I did discover, however, that one of the ‘Dinner Ladies’ was ‘Aunt Lily, the wife of a driver with SeeBoard and they were friends with mum and dad – she used to serve a little extra of the good stuff for me (gypsy tart being at the top of the list!!). She and ‘Uncle’ Stan lived in Kent Avenue a very short distance from the school – which was lucky for me as the school was not quite 1 mile from home and I did not qualify for a cycle stand in the school cycle shed! So I still cycled to school and left the bike in ‘Aunt’ Lily’s back yard.

During this time dad had changed the Morris 8 car for a Morris 10cwt van and we travelled a lot more in this as there was lots of room. In particular we visited ‘Aunt’ Mue and ‘Uncle’ John (cf:Part 1) now at Roughway Paper Mill near Plaxtol. ‘Uncle ‘ John and family lived in the Engineer’s House on the mill site, right next to the mill pond on the River Bourne. For myself  and my two cousins, Bob (5 years older) and Ken (1 year older) this was an amazing playground, especially as the mill was closed at weekends. The mill buildings were extensive and full of passages, pipeways and storerooms. The company (Wiggins Teape at the time) used recycled paper and the storerooms had hundreds of magazines – including something called Health and Efficiency – I suspect some members may remember that one!

There were some dangers on the site including settling ponds and one day my sister (6 or 7 at the time) slipped into one – and was rescued by Bob – the hero. The mill pond also had a resident swan couple and – my sister always seemed to be the one in trouble as on one occasion  one of the swans bit her.

We also had a homemade model yacht built by my dad which saw several cruises across the waters.

They were great times and it is sad to see that all of the mill at Roughway has apparently been demolished.

Next part will cover holidays with various family groups.
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YoungNan

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Re: Growing up on the High Street
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2014, 18:55:44 »




TV shows during the week closed at three pm after Watch with Mother on Monday, Andy Pandy on Tuesday, Flowerpot Men on Wednesday, Rag,Tag and Bobtail Thursday and the Woodentops (with the BIGGEST spotty dog in the world) on Friday.


Loving the story so far Tony, but as The Woodentops was my favourite as a child have to say it was the Biggest Spotty Dog you ever did see.        :)   :) 

Offline Bryn Clinch

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Re: Growing up on the High Street
« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2014, 19:50:35 »
Looking forward to your next post TonyYoung, we went to the same schools. Happy days at Ufton Lane school, but I was there a few years before you when the Headmistress was Miss Coombs, who scared the life out of us. I remember Miss Underdown (not Underwood) very well and also Miss Easton.

Miss Underdown`s classroom, early 1900s.
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=13812.msg112263#msg112263

Neither my wife nor I can recall Davis`s shop. Was it near Hogwoods the bakers or Holbrooks (famous for their crab sandwiches)? The pub was the Volunteer(s); the chemist, Drabbles; Barr`s sweet shop was previously the Arethusa (Arthur Edmonds).

Offline ann

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Re: Growing up on the High Street
« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2014, 13:09:25 »
  Probably neglect or abuse....... I too greensticked my left arm when I was four  S4. 
Sadly you might be right S4.  Not sure about quick to heal though.  Mine was my femur and I was in traction and in hospital for many, many weeks. Had to learn to walk again, and go for hospital checkups where they measured my leg to make sure it was growing properly.
(sorry going off topic).

Offline Lyn L

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Re: Growing up on the High Street
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2014, 12:41:27 »
I think they are still called Greenstick fractures. If you look at a medical site, they are only on soft bones and called that because it's a bend and partial break of bone, easily healing.
Bet they still hurt though  :)
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Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: Growing up on the High Street
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2014, 12:17:39 »
I too had a greenstick fracture when I was almost 3, what would they call it now anyone?

Probably neglect or abuse....... I too greensticked my left arm when I was four.

S4.
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Offline ann

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Re: Growing up on the High Street
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2014, 12:06:47 »
Loving your recall. Whilst I too am slightly older than you, the tv. programmes, radio etc are all so familiar and are bringing back really happy family memories.  I too had a greenstick fracture when I was almost 3, what would they call it now anyone?

Offline peterchall

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Re: Growing up on the High Street
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2014, 11:56:49 »
A lot of the memories up to leaving infant school seem to merge so sequences are probably wrong here.
One of the problems I found in writing my story was being able to remember WHAT happened but not WHEN. Many times I have got something ready to post then another thought has intruded to make me sit back and say ‘hang on, that can’t  have  happened then’. But no matter – the main thing is the memory of the events, even if the timing is not quite right.

I think you are right in your assumption about the Black and White Minstrels, one of the most popular shows of the times. It would be banned as racist today, of course.

Your list of TV shows brings back so many memories, not of my childhood, but of my children’s’ childhood.

Great stuff – keep it coming :)
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Minsterboy

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Re: Growing up on the High Street
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2014, 10:01:13 »
Wow, although I'm a bit ahead of you in age and coming from Sheerness, I'm loving your memories. The simple food, the radio and then TV programmes, the adventures on the walks to school, such valuable memories that I remember well.
Not going to school until c.5yrs was/is how it should be, none of this going to school/nursery at 2yrs as it is now - they'll have teachers waiting in the maternity wards soon!
As for allowing such a young child to walk to school on their own these days and learn about how to get to and from home and negotiate the hazards on the way - that rarely happens.

Carry on, I'm thoroughly enjoying it, the Life Stories on here have been a revelation.

 

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