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Birthday parties of your childhood

Vivienne14

Kentish Brummie
In the past birthday parties were simpler and cheaper gatherings than the over-the top, expensive affairs they became in the 1990s onwards. Don’t get me wrong, I was one of those parents who spent much time and effort in organising my own kids parties in the 90s and am the first to admit it was excessive.

But rewind to the 1940s, 50s ........ they seemed to me to be basically a few friends, round your house with jelly and cake. Having never had a birthday party as a child (as far as I can remember), my experience was of going to other friends.

The earliest ones I remember were sitting around a table tucking into sandwiches, followed by jelly and an iced cake with a ribbon and candles. Nothing fancy, all home made and exciting all the same.

As I grew older I remember going to parties where there was a buffet (late 1950s/early 60s style!) on which we grazed, followed by games. The games were ‘pass the parcel’, ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ and Nelson’s eye (blindfold poking your finger in an orange). If the house was big enough there’d be a few rounds of musical chairs too. Sometimes there were prizes.

Later and as a young teenager (pre-13) the parties developed into food and watching TV together ! I remember being at one where “The Monkeys” programme was the highlight of the party !

Aaah, simple pleasures.

Viv.

PS if you have photos please let’s see ‘em.
 
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Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
viv i think that our experiences as children can shape the people we become...such as as you say you cant recall having a birthday party yourself so for that reason you made sure that your children did...seems natural to me...

although 6 children in our house mom put on what she called "birthday teas" nothing over the top...spam and spread sarnies...jelly and fruit and blancmange..pop and some sweets..to us back that this was fine dining lol..

i recall a time when mom laid on one of her "teas" in our house for a friend of mine up the road..her mom was no longer around and dad was stuggling so much to raise 3 children alone...

its acts of kindness like this that you dont forget and as i said can shape the way we grow up...i had a friend in the late 80s who was finding it hard bringing up her 3 children by herself i had two children at this point so remembering what our mom had done we clubbed together to make sure her little girl had a nice little birthday party...

for myself my best memory of having a party was my 16th..reason being? for the first time ever boys of my own age were allowed in the house lol....not much money but what a happy childhood we all had

lyn
 

farmerdave

master brummie
The earliest ones I remember were sitting around a table tucking into sandwiches, followed by jelly and an iced cake with a ribbon and candles. Nothing fancy, all home made and exciting all the same.

Hi Viv. Looks as if people couldn't afford a table at this birthday party taken around 1950. Eight of us here guzzling ice cream, on the floor, at a friends house in Sarehole Road, Hall Green. Back Row: Me, Peter Radford, don't know, Rob Austin (it was his party). Front row: John Skinner, Christine Gatty, Angela Skinner and Joan Tuppenny. Peter Radford died over 20 years ago but I don't know where any of the others are now.
hjg3.jpg
 

Vivienne14

Kentish Brummie
Great photo Dave. The girls (or their mums) had made a special effort to put bows in their hair. You all look very tidy and clean for Rob’s special day. Viv.
 

Smudger

master brummie
I Can`t remember having a party but i do remember going to a mates. I was the sucker picked to take part in the game "Nelsons Eye". Nearly cacked my pants when i stuck my finger in the orange. Still, everyone had a good laugh.
 

sospiri

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
I nor my brother ever had a birthday party when we were kids - Mom had neither the time nor the money. I never even had a 21st because my grandmother was dying at her home half a dozen doors away, and my mother was far too busy taking care of her to worry about birthday parties. By the time all the hassle was over, I simply didn't want one and it seemed a bit pointless by then.

Nowadays there are these party providers who, for a substantial fee per head, put on a spread at their premises where they have a permanent bouncy castle and other attractions provided. My kids went to a few of those, and a couple at MacDonalds. But there are always a few who want something more extravagant and at the other end of the scale, the kids who has very few friends. All seems a bit "artificial" to me, but then I never enjoyed parties much anyway, unless one of my friends in the coffee bar era threw one when their parents were away on holiday! :)

Maurice :cool:
 

Richard Dye

master brummie
I Can`t remember having a party but i do remember going to a mates. I was the sucker picked to take part in the game "Nelsons Eye". Nearly cacked my pants when i stuck my finger in the orange. Still, everyone had a good laugh.
Smudge, I think you are one of many never having a party! I did go to a few where the big treat was blamonge (spell) and jelly.

I did have a great 21st, living in the US living a couple of colleagues, we shared a house. My mother decided she would not come, she was only a few miles away!
We have made up for It with our own two children :) .
The comments on this thread are very revealing, and frankly make me feel a little better about my childhood!

Thank you all!
 

Vivienne14

Kentish Brummie
Agree Richard. I felt my childhood wasn’t like others having often seen how my friends were at their homes with their families. Consequently, I felt ashamed of my home situation. I dont know what my friends thought of my situation. But I rarely had friends around to the house, never discussed it with anyone and quite honestly couldn’t have handled it. I feel sorry for my mum because she tried very hard to make things ‘normal’ but it never really was for me after the age of about 7 or 8 (or when I became aware of the fighting, arguing, lack of interest in the home etc). I rarely openly speak about it and it’s a comfort in some ways to know that I wasn’t alone. But the lasting effects for me, like you, are making sure I don’t put up with the same situation in my own life.

Viv.
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
(What a good idea for a thread, Viv).

Not my party, but my elder sister's. She was nine years older than I. This is probably her eighth birthday party in July 1935. She is second right and I possibly COULD name some of the guests but perhaps it wouldn't be very relevant after all these years! I have still to appear on the scene and so all is serene.

SRAPartyPool1934or5.jpg

Behind the group is what is probably the best birthday present a little girl has ever had. Dad had laboured for many weeks previously to build what was described to her as a workshop – and so she took little interest in it. But eventually it was unveiled and it was a Wendy House. Brick construction, tiled, ceilinged. Complete with six curtained windows with "leaded lights", a front door, a working fireplace and chimney and various bits of home-made furniture within. This is it, possibly on the day of unveiling.

SAWendyHouseDarkieca1935GCM.jpg

And again, with my sister half buried in a sea of catmint. It was part of my childhood too. Perhaps it is still there, although by now it will no doubt have UPVC double glazing....

SAWindyridgegardenca1935img.jpg

We were very lucky with our parents and the home life they gave us, on birthdays and the other 364 days of the year.

Chris
 
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Richard Dye

master brummie
Agree Richard. I felt my childhood wasn’t like others having often seen how my friends were at their homes with their families. Consequently, I felt ashamed of my home situation. I dont know what my friends thought of my situation. But I rarely had friends around to the house, never discussed it with anyone and quite honestly couldn’t have handled it. I feel sorry for my mum because she tried very hard to make things ‘normal’ but it never really was for me after the age of about 7 or 8 (or when I became aware of the fighting, arguing, lack of interest in the home etc). I rarely openly speak about it and it’s a comfort in some ways to know that I wasn’t alone. But the lasting effects for me, like you, are making sure I don’t put up with the same situation in my own life.

Viv.
Great words Viv! I think there are more like us than we might expect. Its behind us now and we are living OUR life, it does help not being alone!
 

Richard Dye

master brummie
(What a good idea for a thread, Viv).

Not my party, but my elder sister's. She was nine years older than I. This is probably her eighth birthday party in July 1935. She is second right and I possibly COULD name some of the guests but perhaps it wouldn't be very relevant after all these years! I have still to appear on the scene and so all is serene.

View attachment 152307

Behind the group is what is probably the best birthday present a little girl has ever had. Dad had laboured for many weeks previously to build what was described to her as a workshop – and so she took little interest in it. But eventually it was unveiled and it was a Wendy House. Brick construction, tiled, ceilinged. Complete with six curtained windows with "leaded lights", a front door, a working fireplace and chimney and various bits of home-made furniture within. This is it, possibly on the day of unveiling.

View attachment 152308

And again, with my sister half buried in a sea of catmint. It was part of my childhood too. Perhaps it is still there, although by now it will no doubt have UPVC double glazing....

View attachment 152309

We were very lucky with our parents and the home life they gave us, on birthdays and the other 364 days of the year.

Chris
Chris, what a wonderful day for a little girl! memories that will go on.

We celebrate for our children & Grand children. My wives family are (were) first generation Italian. Very well educated celebrated EVERYONES birthday with their special meal, something very new to me. We are keeping that tradition alive & well!
 

brummy-lad

master brummie
My 6th birthday party at No. 7 Parliament Street, jam tarts, iced cake, jelly & ice cream, trifle, things I still love 65 years later. The two girls sitting opposite each other were relatives from the USA, I think they originally lived at the posh end of Parliament Street and had their own garden (what luxury). Happy days, looked like somebody gave me a boat as a present.
 

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Morturn

Super Moderator
Staff member
That really is a super photo, love it. Iconic of the 50s’ and 60’s kids party’s. Jelly, trifle, jam tarts and brad and butter cut diagonally of course. Those waxed paper trifle dishes says it all.

Just looking around the room with the net curtain halfway up the sash window, the heavy draw curtains and patterned wallpaper.
 

Vivienne14

Kentish Brummie
Found this party photo of me at a neighbour’s birthday party. (I’m the one with the closed eye. Must have been because of the camera flash - remember those?). We all lived in Atlantic Road Kingstanding. This would have been taken in the back room of their house with French (Crittall) doors leading to the garden. Lots of food on the table. There might have been a few Austrian Kuchen on the table as the mother was Austrian. Would have been taken in late 1950s. Me wearing a peach polka dot dress and a cardigan knitted by Mum. Hair scraped back, all very neat and tidy, and doubtless sporting a matching ribbon. Everyone wore their best clothes of course. Viv.

6DA25AB5-3179-4CEC-AA8D-FCD5FEFA7413.jpeg
 
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