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Childhood Memories

Radiorails

master brummie
Visiting a neighbour on Christmas Eve, who has young children, I noticed that all the presents were grouped around their Christmas tree. What caught my eye was the mince pie and carrot for Santa and his animals.
Now my family tradition was to put presents into socks/stockings and pillow cases which would be put at the foot of a childs bed (out of direct view) once they were fast asleep. That way Father Christmas came and left the surprise presents for them.
That was, after all, the magic of it all. Anticipation of him coming and what would he bring? Once the secret of Santa was exposed the magic went.
I was puzzled by the mince pie and carrot as it gave me the impression (I don't know what they had told their children) that Santa had been already with gifts, to be opened the next morning, and would have forgotten his pie or he might come back for it.
As a believing youngster (under eight I guess), before the excitement subsided and I fell asleep, I used to wonder where he was. My horizons were limited to a five miles or so distance from my home and I was able to imagine that he was somewhere along the Stratford Road heading south out of the city. I knew the city was a large place and would take priority over those who lived 'in the sticks' so as to speak. Usually it was in the Sparkhill area that my mind envisaged. I find it hard to agree with those who think a myth is not to be told to children and they should be given the "truth". Just another way of curtailing childhood in my view. Children grow up far too soon it seems. But with social media I guess times change.
I recall one of my sons, when young, creeping around when the presents were located downstairs. I heard him tell his younger brother "He's been"!. That was the year they managed to get us up at 5 am.
 

Nico

master brummie
We went Carol singing and the school stopped that in favour of an organised one as old folk got frightened even then that was the late 60's. We did go as a whole school year of us to sing at an OAP's home called Bevan Lodge. We had to make our own way there at night, on the bus and in our school uniform which was a pain. We gave them cards we made and a present each donated by the school. Some old folk were quite moved and never let go of your hand. Me and a lad Anthony were allotted to an old lady who looked like Miriam Margoyles and she was very deaf so it was hard going for us shy lads and she got very emotional and kept kissing our hands. We had named people to give presents to. My gift recipient was a Mrs Spurgeon. (what a memory) I was 11/12. We boys were made to dress up as babies and sing Jingle Bells which was awful and if your voice had not broken you had to do a solo. Thankfully mine had, well I said it had and I was tall and they believed me. The teachers assumed we had little siblings or nephews and nieces but as I didn't I artisticly cut up an old pillow slip corner for a bonnet, the rest for a bib and stuck some badges I got from a cracker on it.
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
As a child I remember the old trams as they rattled and swayed on the old streets of Brum. Number 6 Perry Barr trams were the ones I remember most and here is one passing James Watt Street on it's way to Martineau Street. I remember little Miss Barber and Everybody's magazine.
James Watt St tram.jpg

Children standing in the same place today would see the view below ...
JamesWattQueensway.jpg
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
They seemed antiquated in their day, but many is the time that I and my younger brother accompanied my mother on the No. 6 tram from the top of Martineau Street to the Bartons Arms, then a walk up Potters Hill, turn left into Bartons Bank, then a right turn and down a zig zag path to what was originally known as Bartons Place. But it had always been known to my mother as 2 back of 15 Bartons Bank. The house had a rather elegant front door, which was never used as we always entered via the back door into the kitchen, as did every other visitor. That front door would have opened into a hall, with stairs to the three upstairs bedrooms, and beneath the stairs, a door behind which were steps leading to the large cellar - our shelter from Hitler's bombs in the early part of WW2.

My grandmother's youngest son, Albert was still living with her at the time and in the early 1960s the place was torn down and they moved to Albert Road, Kings Heath. Forum member Eric Gibson would have made a similar journey as his grandmother lived in the same group of houses, yet we never knowingly met at that time. In the large living room was an upright walnut-veneered piano in excellent condition, though never played since my Uncle Stan moved out, first to Southampton to manufacture aircraft parts during the war, and some years later to Worcester. The piano later became mine, but many years later. In an alcove to the right of the fire grate was a sideboard and above that hung a large chiming pendulum clock. My grandmother's Singer sewing machine stood under the solitary window of that room, and next to that on a table was my uncle's radio. But she hated that radio as she was very deaf and to her it was just an annoyance!

I never knew my grandfather or my great grandfather as they passed away within a year of each other some 17 years before I was born. But his legacy was still there on my visits - both red and black currant bushes fruiting well, loganberries, and a large black Hamburg grape vine which, like the loganberries, was stil laden with fruit over 40 years later. But long gone was the goat and the angora rabbits that he apparently kept at one time. Of course the copper and the big old mangle were still in the large kitchen when we visited. Happy days. :)

Maurice :cool:
 

Nico

master brummie
Lovely vivid memories Maurice. Nan's neighbour had a treddle sewing machine she would mind me when Nan had to go out somewhere important. I never knew where though.
I know Martineau Sq is still there, I wonder if the other roads are.

I went on a tram in Blackpool festooned with lights for the 'lumintaions (nan again) with her and grandad and I was so disappointed as it was just a tram inside.

My uncle kept 2 big white fat buck rabbits in tiny cages in a shed with a flip up mesh door closing both. Somehow one got in to the other and ripped his ear off. They were my cousins' but they never looked after them.
Glad you got the piano.
 

Richarddye

master brummie
They seemed antiquated in their day, but many is the time that I and my younger brother accompanied my mother on the No. 6 tram from the top of Martineau Street to the Bartons Arms, then a walk up Potters Hill, turn left into Bartons Bank, then a right turn and down a zig zag path to what was originally known as Bartons Place. But it had always been known to my mother as 2 back of 15 Bartons Bank. The house had a rather elegant front door, which was never used as we always entered via the back door into the kitchen, as did every other visitor. That front door would have opened into a hall, with stairs to the three upstairs bedrooms, and beneath the stairs, a door behind which were steps leading to the large cellar - our shelter from Hitler's bombs in the early part of WW2.

My grandmother's youngest son, Albert was still living with her at the time and in the early 1960s the place was torn down and they moved to Albert Road, Kings Heath. Forum member Eric Gibson would have made a similar journey as his grandmother lived in the same group of houses, yet we never knowingly met at that time. In the large living room was an upright walnut-veneered piano in excellent condition, though never played since my Uncle Stan moved out, first to Southampton to manufacture aircraft parts during the war, and some years later to Worcester. The piano later became mine, but many years later. In an alcove to the right of the fire grate was a sideboard and above that hung a large chiming pendulum clock. My grandmother's Singer sewing machine stood under the solitary window of that room, and next to that on a table was my uncle's radio. But she hated that radio as she was very deaf and to her it was just an annoyance!

I never knew my grandfather or my great grandfather as they passed away within a year of each other some 17 years before I was born. But his legacy was still there on my visits - both red and black currant bushes fruiting well, loganberries, and a large black Hamburg grape vine which, like the loganberries, was stil laden with fruit over 40 years later. But long gone was the goat and the angora rabbits that he apparently kept at one time. Of course the copper and the big old mangle were still in the large kitchen when we visited. Happy days. :)

Maurice :cool:
Maurice, you have brought back many similar memories! My grandmothers copper and mangle in the kitchen. Her WC was outside next to the coal shed and her sewing machine along side the coal/coke fired stove. I don’t remember a wireless though.
Thank you again!
 

Eric Gibson

master brummie
Reading that Maurice reminded me of grandad's house, I remember them lighting the gas lights and the thick velvet tablecloth with tassels hanging down and the damned great Alsation dog that brushed around my knees as we had Sunday tea. :)
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Nico,

I had the piano for 11 years and spent many happy hours playing it and borrowing music from various Birmingham Libraries, but when I moved south in 1961, I couldn't take it with me. My mother tried to teach herself for a year or so, but arthritis was starting in her hands and she gave up too. She too moved to Dorset a few years later and sold it before she left Brum.

Richard,

I think my uncle acquired the radio shortly after he came out of the Army in 1946. At about the same time he bought a wooden shed and put it in the garden and ran an electric cable from the kitchen so that he had light, power and heat. He would listen to the radio until my grandmother started nagging him and then he would go out into the shed where all his "man things" were. He'd bought a Wolf electric drill with all the many attachments, including a very basic lathe. He'd do a bit of woodturning, or build little electric motors using the big old U-shaped magnets from old loudspeakers - anything that got him away from his boring job as an accounts clerk at Perry Pens.

Maurice :cool:
 

Robert Ensor (bob)

master brummie
Nico,

I had the piano for 11 years and spent many happy hours playing it and borrowing music from various Birmingham Libraries, but when I moved south in 1961, I couldn't take it with me. My mother tried to teach herself for a year or so, but arthritis was starting in her hands and she gave up too. She too moved to Dorset a few years later and sold it before she left Brum.

Richard,

I think my uncle acquired the radio shortly after he came out of the Army in 1946. At about the same time he bought a wooden shed and put it in the garden and ran an electric cable from the kitchen so that he had light, power and heat. He would listen to the radio until my grandmother started nagging him and then he would go out into the shed where all his "man things" were. He'd bought a Wolf electric drill with all the many attachments, including a very basic lathe. He'd do a bit of woodturning, or build little electric motors using the big old U-shaped magnets from old loudspeakers - anything that got him away from his boring job as an accounts clerk at Perry Pens.

Maurice :cool:
The garden shed a early "man cave" now I am rethinking the whole Allotments deal,
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Eric,

I guessed you'd add your memories and probably the only reason we didn't meet up was because we never visited on a Sunday. Dad worked a five & a half day week at first - making packing cases for a pittance - and my mother would be a tote operator at the greyhound tracks on Wednesday & Saturday evenings, split between Hall Green and Kings Heath, so Sunday was our only family day. That was generally a choice of a ride around the Outer Circle (only a walk up the road to Addison Road), Cannon Hill Park, Botanical Gardens, Earlswood Lakes (on the train), or the Lickeys on the tram. When Dad was still alive we would sometimes on a Saturday afternoon go fishing in the canal at Alcester Lanes End while Mom was working. I vaguely remember that dog, though didn't come into close contact with it.

Pete,

Never salmon AND cucumber sandwiches, just salmon. Mom would sometimes make a big dish of cucmber and onion sliced up and put into vinegar, water and sugar. That was a bad move for me because I adored drinking Sarsons Vinegar staright out of the bottle, when no one was about. Mixing it with sugared water was sacrilege to me, but that was how Mom liked it. Other alternatives were chocolate sandwiches, or sardine & tomato paste sandwiches (I still like the latter now). I hated Battenburg cake too. And it was made to last two or three days and the cake would go dry. Yuk, I'm not really a cake man and never have been.

Maurice :cool:
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Bob,

The dad of one of my mates, Ronnie Bridgewater, had one of the allotments in Knowle Road that went right down to the River Cole. We'd frequently go down there just to reach a different part of the River Cole, where it was quite fast flowing. Our favourite trick was to try and dam it, or at the very least form a sort of waterfall - never very successful I might add. If we'd been down to the old claypits at Greet, it was quite often a place to wash the clay off of our shoes before Mom spotted us. Not that successful either at times, because the Knowle Road entrance to the allotments was almost opposite our house. As we were always late back for tea, she was generally out looking for us and she didn't need Specsavers! The only thing in our favour was that we could run faster than she could! Who'd be a parent? I know because I had four of my own. :)

Maurice :cool:
 

mw0njm.

Brummie Dude
Pete,

Never salmon AND cucumber sandwiches, just salmon. Mom would sometimes make a big dish of cucumber and onion sliced up and put into vinegar, water and sugar. That was a bad move for me because I adored drinking Sarsons Vinegar straight out of the bottle when no one was about. Mixing it with sugared water was sacrilege to me, but that was how Mom liked it. Other alternatives were chocolate sandwiches, or sardine & tomato paste sandwiches (I still like the latter now). I hated the Battenburg cake too. And it was made to last two or three days and the cake would go dry. Yuk, I'm not really a cake man and never have been.

Maurice :cool:
1578153348850.png
mom did cucumber and viginer it was loverly on a sarnie. but no sugar in it.yuk..... Some times it was cheese fingers and treacle tart. now that was worth going to aunties for.
 

Robert Ensor (bob)

master brummie
Vinegar and cucumber salad my pop calls it a " wet " salad one of his favorite things

The river Rea ran at the back of our house and yes just like every kid we would build a dam.

The allotments were at the top of our cul de sac but we could get to them from the field at the rear of the house, we would pick and eat the goosegogs and blackberries through the fence.
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Well, if you drink enough of it , Bob, it certainly wouldn't help the lining of your stomach, but blood?

Maurice :cool:
 
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