• Welcome to this forum Guest. We are a worldwide group with a common interest in Birmingham and its history. While here, please follow a few simple rules. We ask that you respect other members, thank those who have helped you and please keep your contributions on-topic with the thread.

    We do hope you enjoy your visit. BHF Admin Team

Growing Up In Brum - Roy Blakey Inspired.

sheldontony

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

When I worked for GPO in the 60's I installed Party Lines. There was a metal earthing rod put into the garden outside the house to make up the circuit. If there was ever a problem one solution was to put a bucket of water over it to improve the connection.
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

What a Lovely Lady.
( Period around 1940 )
Because of damage caused somewhere during a previous night air-raid the water supply in parts of Kingstanding was
cut-off for a number of days.
A lady living in one house on the north side of Kings Road who found herself not affected by the water cut-off offered her kitchen water supply to anyone who needed water.
The word spread quickly to Mom's living in roads where the water supply had been cut-off. Mom's and Children gathered
and queued outside this ladies house waiting to enter her kitchen and fill up their ' vessel's ' with water. Bucket's and
Saucepans on trolley's or Prams were the carrying means.
I remember making a number of journey's ( for my Mom and some of our neighbours ) and this ladies kitchen floor eventually became a swill with spilled water. It did not deter this lady from continuing to offer her help.
I've often thought since " What a lovely Lady " that was and typical of the way people worked and helped one another
during this war-time period
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

A bit of creative inventiveness.
Kingstanding. ( 1947 ).
I think that I've now pieced together the story of this ' one - off ' event that was improvised by the local lads who made up
the " Hill Top Tigers " cycle speedway team. These lads built and raced on a dirt track on the top of the hill which would have been situated somewhere at the highest point of the now " Wideacre Drive ", Kingstanding,before the houses were built.
The lads were about to attempt emulating the ' flood lit ' professional speedway meetings that they had observed at the
Brummies stadium ( The Alexander Stadium, Perry Barr ).
They arrived on this particular night at the track just as it was getting dark and proceeded to place all around the inside line of their track spaced jam jars each one containing a Wax Candle.
Spectators ( those who had arrived on their own bikes ) joined in by providing extra illumination of the track by turning their bikes upside down and hand working their pedals which provided extra light from their fitted Dynamos whilst each race took place.
A perfectly successful 18 heat race meeting was carried out with Candles lit and Dynamos buzzing.
The lads have made claim over the years that this was the very first ' flood lit ' cycle speedway meeting to be held in the Country.
They may well be right , but never the less what an a excellent project they put together
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

SOUNDS of our City that have mostly drifted int History.
Its quite remarkable the way things slip away into the past without us hardly noticing it.
Just a little collection of some of the typical City sounds we hear no more :
(1) The factory ' Work Hooters ' sounding across the City calling the workforce to attend their jobs.
(2) The Sunday morning sound of the old ' hand pushed ' mower cutting the lawns.
(3) The town back garden Cockerels sounding off early each morning.
(4) The street sound of the ' Periwinkle man ' or the ' Rag - and - Bone man ' offering to trade his Goldfish for old clothes.
(5) The Sunday morning band tunes played by the ' Boys Brigade ' as they marched around the streets.
(6) The sound of steel on the ' Grinding Wheel 'by the visiting ' Knife and Shears ' sharpening man '.
(7) The sound of the Children chatting away merrily as they WALKED to or from School.
(8) The sound of ' clinking ' empty Milk bottles as they were put out on the the front doorstep ready for the Milkman to collect.
(9) The happy sound of the kids playing out in the safer parts of the streets.
(10) The sound of the horses ' clip clopping ' as the Bread and Milkmen made their street deliveries.
I believe most of these sounds carried a pleasant effect but the ' Monday morning ' call to work factory hooters were something else.
 

paul stacey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

I remember them all, including the early morning whine of the electric milk cart, together with its rattling crates and chinking milk bottles with the usual whistling, of the Wacaden milk man.paul
 

Jayell

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

Thanks Roy. The sounds you mentioned brought back many memories. The workers' hooters - every morning from Dennisons Watch Case factory which was just down the road. The cockerel crowing in our garden where we kept chickens. The bands that would march up Soho Road on a Sunday morning, and we kids would rush to watch them going past. The milkman, the rag & bone man etc.. you've just brought back my childhood!

Judy
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

1930,s - 1940,s. Getting this new ' fangled ' electricity worked out.
Do you remember seeing that piece of electric wiring that was attached to the bedroom ceiling light , then suspended above the bed and hanging on a bit of string with a little switch dangling just behind the bed headboard ?
This was a popular early DIY introduction by Dad's during this period as they started to explore this ' new fangled ' electricity and it allowed Dad or Mom to be able to switch the bedroom light on or off whilst they still lay in bed.
It was a relatively simple job to do with an eight foot piece of electric wiring, a simple ' pop across ' switch and a bit of string.
Doesn't sound much to-day but what a luxury back then. Dad was proud of it and Mom loved it.
 

paul stacey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

I remember the brown 2 way gadget that fitted into the light socket so mom could iron and still have the light on.
 

brenda barr

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

My father was a electrical fitter at George Ellisons and he would set up different things around the house, one l remember was everytime one opened the cellar door the light would come on..and of course would go off when it was closed .....l thought it was magic....it was many years later that l found out different....dad also put lights on the on the walls they were shell shaped and l thought we were we so posh...i am talking late 30s and 40s....Brenda
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

1950,s - 1960,s. Comical on Reflection.
Ballroom dancing had become very popular by way of TV programmes that showed us top level Ballroom Dancing Competitions. Ballroom Dance Schools were getting more popular by the month. All the big Birmingham venues that put
on their Big Band Ballroom Dances were packed.
The Ballroom dancers revelled in the large dance floor spaces provided by the big dance halls. The couples Waltzed, Slow
Foxtrotted and Tangoed, moving amongst and between other couples with great flow and dexterity.
FLY IN THE OINTMENT .
What's this intrusion beginning to occur whenever a Quick Step is being played ?
The Dance floor in front of the Band is being taken up by these ' Jive ' and ' Bee-Bop ' people
As the months pass more and more of them are taking up our Ballroom ' floor space '.
It's not good enough.
The battle was more or less lost. The ' Jivers ' became more and more,in came the ' twist' and then
' Rock - n - Roll '.
Indignation by the Ballroom Dancers came to nothing.
If you can't beat them how's about joining them. Some of the serious ' Ballroom only ' couples stayed true to their way of dancing others joined in and were able to enjoy both types of dancing.
On reflection though I have to smile at the initial indignation of the ' Ballroom dancing only' supporters.
As things have turned out over-time, I think it's fair to say it's another ' All's well that ends well '.
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

A Schoolboys Story ( 1944 ).
Just a little story that on reflection I still have a smile about.
The period is 1944 and I am approaching my final year at Peckham Road School, ( Kingstanding ). The school is putting
to-gether it's new seasons senior Football Team. One of my greatest wishes was to be selected to play in the team.
The schools PT and Sports Coach ( Mr Pritchard ) is lining us all up at the schools sports ground and is asking us to form groups in the team positions we might want to play in. Having had many tennis ball kick-abouts in the school playground during normal play times I had noticed that very few of the lads were very proficient with their left foots so I joined a small group on this ' selection ' day that would be trying to be part of the ' left hand side ' of the team. I was'nt a natural left footed player but I thought this might be my best chance of making it into the team, it worked a treat and I got selected to play ' Left Half ' for the school team.
Now I could'nt wait to get home and tell Dad that I was going to play in the team.
Only problem now was that I did'nt own a pair of Football Boots and I was going to have to ask me Dad if he could see his way to buying me a pair of boots. Dad took me out the next week-end to see if we could get a pair. At the Shoe Shop we found out that they didn't have my size in Football Boots, the nearest size that they had available was a couple of sizes larger, since things were pretty scarce at this time Dad agreed to buy one of these larger pair with the comment to me that went something like " Put a bit of Cotton Wool in the Toes for the time being Son, these will last you a few years if you look after them and eventually you'll grow into them anyway ".
JEEZ, when I first put them on and ran around a bit I felt like was wearing a pair of ' Circus Clown Boots'.
Never-the-less I was in the School Colours and I was proud of it. I new that I was never likely to be a Stanley Mathews or a Georgie Cummings anyway.
The School Team finished in the bottom two of that years performance league and even to-day I refuse to take any blame for that.
There used to be an old saying that went something like " Don't get too big for your boots ".
With those boots ? No chance.
Oh Yeh. PS : During this period I was called upon at one time to take part in a trial for the " Aston Schoolboys" team.
Went onto the pitch for about THREE minutes play and was then whipped off pretty smartly. Must have got me Cotton
Wool packing in me boots wrong that day. Loved it all though.
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

Carolina, thank you for the photo post.
looking at it I think I can ' spot ' my old desk there ( the one with the ' wonky ' leg which one of us had to hold up with our
knee ). Only joking lass. Happy memories.
 

jennyann

master brummie
Staff member
Re: Birmingham History

Great story Roy. That you made the team was special I'm sure. It wasn't easy to get picked for sports teams at school I know.
 

jennyann

master brummie
Staff member
Re: Birmingham History

Great story Roy. That you made the team was special I'm sure. It wasn't easy to get picked for sports teams at school I know.
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

Popping back a bit ( Around Brum ).
Little things that used to occur around Birmingham, things that you do not see very much of now and things that we probably won't be seeing anymore.
(1) Before drinking mugs became popular the ' Cup and Saucer ' was the order of the day. Tea too hot to drink ? OK, pour
a little of the tea from the cup into the saucer ( cooled the tea rapidly ) and then drink the tea from the saucer. Not very
elegant to observe but practical when in a hurry.
(2) Making your own floor Rugs. These Rugs were produced from bits of cut-up old clothing and woven onto a canvas webbing with a ' hook ' tool.
(3) Cyclists tucking in right behind the Birmingham Double Decker buses to take advantage of the ' free drag ' from the moving bus.
(4) Sharpening the kitchen knives on the ' Back Step '.
(5) A phase in the 1960's - 1970's period. Collecting " Green Shield " stamps. Trying to amass a near sackful of these
stamps in order to get a free Suit Case Set or a Dry face Shaver or something of the likes.
(6) Damping ( with water ) a bit of a stale bread ' loaf ' and then heating it up in the oven for a couple of minutes to give it a bit of a revival.
(7) Essential to keep the car going. Car owners continually gave their car engine Spark Plugs a bit of Emery Cloth cleaning
and then carefully ' reset ' the gaps.
(8) The period in the 1940's when young ladies painted or stained their legs with all sorts of homemade concoctions in order to imitate nylon stockings.
(9) The period when it became a bit ' stylish " for young men to turn their vests back to front and with an open neck shirt
on top they hoped it gave them a bit of the ' Sailor ' look and therefore catch the eye of the girls.
(10) That delightful setting and the atmosphere of the " Old Birmingham Bull Ring " in the 1930's to 1950's.

Some of this seems a bit ' austere ' when I write it down and compare it with things of to-day, but somehow it was all good stuff and I bet the ' seniors ' of to-day would not have missed it for the worlds.
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Re: Birmingham History

THE CODE.
Kingstanding ( 1940 ). Mom's and Dad's gathered to make the decision regarding whether to allow their children to be evacuated or not. The decision in General was made to accept the evacuation.
My Dad suggested to me that when I sent any letter home that I use a simple ( me to him ) code. I think he was concerned that letters sent home by evacuees might be subjected to some sort of censorship. The simple code we agreed on was to draw a picture on the letter as follows : (1) An ' Anti-air craft gun if everything was OK or (2) A ' Spitfire ' if their was any problems.
The story then ran ( from my younger brothers and my own point of view )
Excitement at school on the evacuation day whilst we all waited for the Buses and Train to take us on this adventure.
We eventually arrived at our evacuation destination late in the afternoon and then we sat through to late evening in this strange school hall awaiting ' Selection '. After a very lengthy period my brother and I were eventually put with a local couple and taken to their home.
Things didn't go we'll right from the start. We were transferred to another couples house within the first eight days of the evacuation ( this was a nice couple but this overall situation was not going to be for us ).
I sent a letter home at this time which included the ' Spitfire' drawing code.
Mom and Dad arrived within a few days and brought us both back home. On arriving back in Brum there was a full scale
Air Raid in progress . No problem. Just glad to be back. No place like home.
Yet another successful mission accomplished by the old ' Spitfire '.
 
Top