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Growing Up In Brum - Roy Blakey Inspired.

Roy Blakey

master brummie
I was musing recently with Kingstanding in mind. A memory or two came into mind. Firstly,as a nipper,I recall that on several occasions,with me mates,roaming down Rough Road and Banners Gate Road to the Chester Road area at Banners
Gate, Sutton Park. We where there because we had been told that ' Displaced Men ' where being accommodated just inside
the Park. What we found where many men having a walk along the Chester Road, taking a break from their ' Park Accommodation ' and obviously trying to make friendly contact with the local people. These men, if my memorie serves me
well enough, appeared to be mainly Czechoslovak's and Polish and seemed to be extremely friendly and wanting to make some sort of contact. After our first visit we started to take with us little scrap note books and pencils so that these men could draw pictures to achieve basic communication. I remember how many of them would draw simple sketches proudly
indicating their families and family names. Clearly no language was necessary to realise that these men where totally missing their loved ones back home. I would guess that this time frame would be somewhere around 1940 and I believe that the Park Camp had been set up for ' Displaced Persons' probably following ' Dunkirk '. Much later I remember the same
' Camp Area' being fenced with barbed wire and installed with high look-out towes and the ' Inmates' became German or Italian prisoners of war. At one stage during the war an area ( Just beyond Longmoor Pool ) became a huge Tank Testing and Exercise area and boy did we like to sneak onto this area ( when things where quiet ) and play our Soldier games.
My second ' Muse ' involved the memory of how well Kingstanding did with providing a huge accommodation for the American forces on the Pheasey Estate. Many friendships where struck up from this episode I believe.
PS : Sorry for this repeat Post. Pushed the buttons again at the wrong time.
 
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Roy Blakey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

THE MAYOR'S LOST PART OF HIS CHAIN OF OFFICE. ( approx 1937-1938 )
It was during one of the Kingstanding Summer Carnivals. We had watched the marching parade with teams of Red,Blue,Green and Yellow dressed young girls blowing their little Buzz Pipes and March / Dancing behind the Band. I think there may have been some simple ' Floats' involved too. We all followed the parade up to the Cooksey Lane Carnival ground where all the festivities where to take place. If my memory can still be trusted I believe the layout involved Stalls,a small Running Track and simple Children's fair ground type Round-abouts. I remember Dad and I where standing looking up at an Escapeologist,hanging upside down from a tower arrangement,struggling to release himself from his ropes and chains.
At this moment the Loud Speaker system broke in with the announcement that went something like " Would everyone keep an eye out whilst they're moving about the grounds because the visiting Lord Mayor has lost or mis-placed some part of his Chain of Office and this may have occurred earlier whilst he was touring the grounds " . I remember that we all seemed to spend the rest of the afternoon with eyes glued to the floor, in hope. I can't remember the final outcome but I assume that the Mayor got his lost bit back again.
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

1945-1946. A new sport comes to Birmingham.
Dirt track ' Cycle Speedway '. Following the end of WW2 Proffesional Speedway returned to the Birchfield Stadium, Perry Barr. Young lads soon took up this sport by ' copying ' the Proffesional's in their own way. These enthusiastic lads began to build their own ' Dirt Tracks' all around the Birmingham area,using a piece of spare ground wherever they could find it and using their own ' bikes ' and using similar rules to the Pro's, they quickly formed teams and a Competition Leaque.
Some of the earlier teams where I beleive as follows: Birmingham Monarchs, Handsworth Hammers, Bromfort Tigers,Hill Top Juniors, Perry Barr Juniors and The Roques.
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

SOUND BARRIER BROKEN ( Castle Bromwich Airfield).
This was an event that occurred at Castle Bromwich Airfield during an Annual Air Display (Around 1953 ).
I think the date could be challenged but I do remember that it was the same year that I had done a couple
of Barrage Balloon parachute jumps with the Airborne Territorials from Witton Barracks,Aston at this Airfield.
On this particular Display day, as part of the entertainment ,it was announced that an attempt would be made to ' break the sound barrier ' by a Canadian pilot flying ( I think they said ) an American Sabre Jet.
I remember the Cloud base was a blanket of Low to Medium clouds and the PA announcer told us that because of the cloud cover the Pilot would probably have difficulty directing his high altitude dive.
We,the crowd,all stood in silence waiting for something to happen.
BANG, BANG ,ground shook ( I think we did too ). Spot on. Great experience back then.
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

MAKE DO and MEND / MAKING ENDS MEET.
( Back Then)
Do a bit of DARNING: Socks,Jumper Elbows etc.-----Leaking Taps: Nip out and get a couple of washers. Turn the water off,undue and fit your new washers------Loose Shirt Collars: Saved so much washing,just change the collars daily.-------Toilet Paper: Rip yesterday's newspaper into squares,tie with a bit of string and hang in the toilet.-------Sagging Armchair Seat: Replace cross binding support underneath the cushion.--------Shoe Repairs : Purchace a small piece of Leather, cut,nail and shear off surplus ( A shoe
Anvil is required but it can also come in handy as a door stop ).------- Broken Window : Measure up, have a walk down to the Glass Yard,get a new pane of glass cut to size and a lump of Putty. No problem. ------SHOPPING : Put the ' Bab ' in one end of the Pram and load the shopping into the other end. Plenty of local shops available. -------MEATS : Mainly OFFAL, select affordable cheap meats especially for the Stew.----- MEALS : Good stand-by. The Stew,can be kept on the go,just add bits as required.------ FITNESS CLUB : Not required, normal daily activities sufficient.
( TO-DAY )
Oh heck, all that sounds alright but how these days could we fit that lot in what with getting our daily fill of
the TELLY and our INTERNET time on Facebook and Twitter and how about our MOBILE PHONE chat time.
Besides that what could be possibly wrong with our Fast Food/ Micro habit. I mean, amongst other things ,
what would be left for the ' Dust-Bin Men 'to do if we didn't supply them with all our empty food boxes ,our
Plastic bottles and the remains of our ' Buy and Throw ' house and household articles.
? ? ? ?
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

Coming Down the Grapevine. 1942. Kingstanding.
Neighbours would ' tip each other off ' when the Greengrocer on the ' Circle' had a rare input of Oranges or Lemons ( very
scarse at the time ). Mom's would grab their eldest Son or Daughter, give them a few pence, then scoot round to the Shop
to-gether. They'd place themselves in the queue,a few people apart from one another,then try for a ' Double '.
Naughty but understandable at the time.
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

School Children's Wartime input.
People during WW2 where asked to buy ' National Savings Stamps ' to assist the war effort.
Our school joined in by ' adopting ' the ship HMS Birmingham.
For each stamp bought through the school points where awarded. Four Goups in the school competed against one another
to try and sell the most stamps and thereby gain the most points.
Around 1944 some of the HMS Birmingham crew came to our School ( Peckham Road School ) to thank everyone for their
' Saving Stamp ' efforts. They gave every pupil a couple of Bananas and a couple of Oranges. We thought at the time that
the ship had probably come home via some Banana growing country and that the crew had kindly thought to take on board a bit of ' Treat ' cargo for the kids of Brum. Very Nice.
Another small help out by the children ( 13 - 14 year olds ) was volunteering two weeks of their summer holiday to go to farms to do ' potatoe picking '.
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

Has anyone got any memories or views regarding some Birmingham kids wearing ' CLOG ' shoes ( Wooden soles with thin leather uppers ) sometime during the period of WW2. My own memory says it seemed that these clog shoes where only used by some of the kids over a short period of time and then there was a switch back to the normal ' all leather ' shoe.
i still wonder at what the reason(s) where for the introduction of the Clog at that time.
What brought the Clogs in?
A particular shortage of Leather at that time?
Clogs maybe requiring less ' Ration Coupons'?
Any thoughts.
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

FOR EXPORT ONLY / BUY BRTISH.
During early post WW2 years, Britain was still in the grips of huge debts largely brought about by the monetary cost
of fighting the war and then the costs of trying to change and re-build after the material damage effects of the war.
The Countries Targets became ( a ) To sell as many home manufactured goods as possible to other countries ( To bring in money) whilst ( b ) Trying to invite the British people to buy only British manufactured goods whenever possible ( Thereby
reducing the amount of money going out of the country ).
Many Birminham companies became involved in ' major ' export manufacturing. Their Despatch Departments would handle
far more outgoing goods marked up for export than those for the home market.
Around 1952. I remember one clear example of this policy. The major companies involved where AUSTIN and FISHER &
LUDLOW ( both being Birmingham companies ). The product was a car called ' The METROPOLITAN ' and was built exclusively for EXPORT ONLY and was for the American market. These cars where very modern and colourful to look at and would easily catch your eye as they where transported from Brum on the back of vehicle transporters or seen passing
on open railway wagon transporters on their way to the shipping docks. You might have desired one of these at the time but one thing was for sure, you couldn't have one, the whole lot was for EXPORT ONLY.
The main point though was, once again Birmingham and the Brummies had ' stepped up to the plate ' and produced the goods to help with the National debt.
BUY BRITISH was also kept in mind as people made their purchases .
I believe at this time there was still an atmosphere of people ' pulling to-gether 'and a Nationa consciousness that had developed amongst people during the war.
It was good to be amongst.

.
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

I see that you also found yourself wearing ' Clogs ' Mike. What I'm trying to figure out is why where some of us wearing
them. I don't think that they would have been ' first choice ' by our parents so there must have been a specific reason.
I remember that all of the kids that found themselves wearing Clogs had to find a new way of walking and running.
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

SOUND BARRIER BROKEN ( Castle Bromwich Airfield).
This was an event that occurred at Castle Bromwich Airfield during an Annual Air Display (Around 1953 ).
I was at the Air Display at Castle Bromwich on 6th September 1952 and mentioned it in this thread Air Displays Castle Bromwich Airfield.
Went we went to an air display in those days and did not hear a sonic boom we were most disappointed.
Another fantastic air display was on the 29th July 1949 at Elmdon - fighter jets racing 500mph at low level - description in the Elmdon Airport thread.
 

Smudger

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

I see that you also found yourself wearing ' Clogs ' Mike. What I'm trying to figure out is why where some of us wearing
them. I don't think that they would have been ' first choice ' by our parents so there must have been a specific reason.
I remember that all of the kids that found themselves wearing Clogs had to find a new way of walking and running.
I think clogs may have been better than the hob-nail boots i had to put up with ( they made lovely sparks though)
 

brenda barr

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

l remember the clogs..loved to hear them clip clopping along the pavement...l always wanted a pair but mom said they were'nt good for your feet....so l had to be content with hand-me-down shoes a neighbour got in a goodwill package from a relative in Canada....but l was just as happy with hand-me-downs as if they were new well they were new to me....if l remember rightly one did.nt require coupons for clogs..Brenda
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Re: Birmingham History

Yes Brenda, you are right. From https://www.fashion-era.com/utility_clothing.htm#Clothing, Cloth And Footwear Rationing :

[h=3]Non Rationed Items[/h]
In addition to the items listed there were goods that could be bought without coupons such as small items for babies under 4 months old. Boiler suits, workmen's bib, brace and overalls, hats and caps, sewing thread, mending wool, mending silk, boot and shoe laces, tapes, braids, ribbons and other fabrics less than 3 inches in width, elastic, lace, lace net, sanitary towels, braces, suspenders, garters, hard haberdashery, clogs and black out dyed cloth were all ration free. Coupons were not needed for second hand articles.

Maybe that explains the popularity of Siren suits as well, as they were really only boiler suits (not on ration) . It was not really anything to do with Churchill's velvet one​
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

The ANDERSON,the VEGGIE PLOT and the XMAS dinner.
Kingstanding would have been an example of the movement of parts of the population of Birmingham around the 1930's.
Slum clearance and thinning out began to take place. New Council tenants came to Kingstanding from somewhat overcrowded other parts of the City. One of the things they all found had been provided for them was not only a bit of front garden but also a useful size back garden too. They could now have a bit of a lawn,a few Roses and other plants front and rear if they so wished. They took this opportunity and there is was, an estate with reasonably cultivated gardens
with arrays of grass and flowers in almost all of the front and rear areas.
Moving forward into the early 1940's.
The population where now facing Air Raids and Rationing. Each of those same back gardens now included an ' Anderson '
Air Raid shelter and in many, a couple of other spaces provided for, a small vegetable ' patch ' and a small ' Chicken Pen '.
Most of the Chickens would be ' brought up ' from ' chicks' acquired from either the ' Rag and Bone Man ' or bought as chicks from the open market stall in the Bull Ring. The Eggs produced from these little garden pens came in very useful
throughout the year..
Come Christmas ' Mom ' or ' Dad ' would visit the chicken pen with a view to select the best choice bird for the Xmas dinner table.
I remember this exercise never went down well with us kids because each chicken was one of our 'Pets' and each one had it's own name.
The grown ups always seemed to totally enjoy the ' dinner ' but us kids couldn't join in with the same enthusiasm.
We would have settled for a bit of ' Spam and a Dried Egg fry up '.
We enjoyed the Xmas Pudding though.
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

Coming back to the introduction of Cycle Speedway as a ' new sport ' that had come to Birmingham around 1946. I've found a ' link ' that supplies a bit more information on the subject. The link refers to one of the teams from Birmingham, namely, ' The Perry Barr Juniors '. This team was made up from a mix of young working lads and lads still attending Grammer School. A right bunch of ' jokers' I remember but a formidable team on the ' dirt '.
Then ' link ' photograph was taken in London after the team had just finished a race meeting against a West Ham team.
As a note, the jumpers worn by the team and shown in the photo where given to them by the pro Brummie Speedway Team ie, Tiger Hart, Stan Dell, Bob Lovell & co.
Link : www.cyclespeedwayhistory.org.uk/1565.shtml
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

It's Match Day again. ( 1943- 1950 ish)
Not many families at this time had a car so the football fans met up in their own roads and districts and made their way to the big stadiums in Brum by bus,walking or cycling.
Buses in general where regular and numerous at this period. In some cases buses where laid on as ' Football Specials '.
Cyclists arriving at the stadiums could usually find local residents around the football grounds who would offer up their rear gardens to park your bike, during the match, for a few pence.
Rosettes and Scarves where proudly worn by many supporters ( much the same as to-day ).
There was a difference in the home and away supporters reaction/response to one another at this time though. In the Football grounds ( which often got to full or near full capacity ) the home and away supporters often stood side-by-side on the terraces and on some occasions ' complements ' where exchanged between opposite supporters. A sort of example would be, say during a Villa vs Blackpool match " Your Georgie Cummings is certainly keeping Mathews quiet "....." That
centre forward Edwards looks awkward to handle, looks promising " ....." Your attack build ups are better than the Villa's,
second half should be interesting ".
Another nice thing about this period was that the away supporters ( not as many as there is to-day in all fairness ) could
leave the grounds at the end of the match, with and at the same time as the home supporters and would not be subjected
to ' abuse ' or ' herding ' as they made their way to their buses or trains.
All in all a nice afternoon.
Just a point of enquiry. For many years during this period the main ' stand ' at Villa Park had a large number of big packing cases stored at the back of the stand. There must have been quite a lot of seats lost due to this. Why or what where these storage cases there for ?
Anyone know what this was about ?
 

cookie273uk

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

Yes, I can remember being taken down Villa Park for the first time age 7 in Coronation year 1937 by my Dad an avid Villa fan, a local Derby with a gate of 70,000, home and away fans side by side and no trouble. lines of 3X trams down Witton road. We lived in Queens Rd, just 400 yards from Villa Park next door to Atkinsons Brewery. Later on in the 50's when trams were replaced by buses, they would be all lined up in Vicarage Road. Later still when more cars appeared, the kids would be saying 'mind your car sir ?' while the driver was at the match for a few pence, 6 pence if your were very lucky (and Villa had won !!) The Queens, The Avenue, both in Queens Road and the Holte in Witton Road (hence the Holte End) would be bursting at the seams on match day but no trouble with Blues and Villa fans drinking together, why we now have so much animosity and hate now I do not know, its only a game of football after all. Eric
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

Our Snow Stock. ( 1940 to 1945 ish ).
You know how kids love their SNOW and they like to make full use of it whilst it's around and then they find it all disappointing when it all turns to Slush and starts to disappear .
Do you remember as a kid playing out in the snow and that your hands where aching from wearing cold soaking wet wool gloves and the backs of your legs where sore from the tops of your ' Wellies' slapping against them.
You probably don't because you where having so much fun and you wanted to go on playing in this lovely stuff forever.
We where lucky because it so happened that Snow Clearance ( from roads and walkways ) carried out in Kingstanding was
' Dumped ' in numerous large piles on a section of the Kingstanding Road between ' The Circle ' and ' Hawthorn Road '
( near the Old Oscott Hill road ). This section at the time was a ' Single ' carriage way but had been originally planned as a
' Dual carriage way '. The large scale ' Snow dumping ' was possible because this section of the unbuilt dual carriage way provided an ideal space.
So there it was. Long after snow had melted and gone from other areas we still had lots of snow left to build our Snow Barricades, our Snow Shapes and have our Snowball Fights.
Lovely.
 

maypolebaz

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

Remember sitting in front of the fire, thawing out and getting Hot aches ?

Not forgetting chilblains !
 
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