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Growing Up In Brum - Roy Blakey Inspired.

norfolk brummie

gone but not forgotten
In spite of post war austerity, there were lots of opportunities for young people in those days.

During the last period of my schooling, we would visit factories and business'. There was plenty of work, and visits meant that the factory management, were hoping that we would start our employment there. They were crying out for young people.

We would never be out of work for long......there was always another job around the corner. There was work for everyone in Birmingham...."The City of a Thousand Trades".

In January 1949 I commenced work in a music store.

The dreaded National Service was, upon reflection, a wonderful life for many young men. I never worried about going in the forces. I realised that it was inevitable, so my motto was "Lets get something out of this". In my basic training I saw a few young men talking about all sorts of ways of trying to get out. Pointless.

I actually put myself down for the army, Royal Corps of Signals, and achieved both. Not only that, but I applied to take the cypher course, which was a six month training course, and also achieved that, which threw me, a secondary school pupil, in with the ex.grammar school and University students. That in itself, changed me a great deal. I was very happy. Army life taught me a lot, comradeship, discipline, fitness and most certainly in my role in cyphers, responsibility. Having only ever played the drums, I learned a different trade (at 82 I still 'touch type'), and a chance to see some of the world. It was the first time that I ever left these shores.

After demobilisation, I returned to the music store in the daytime, played in bands some evenings, and also took "Evening Classes" at the old Birmingham School of Music. Loved every minute of my working life in Birmingham. Speaking professionally, we were all indeed fortunate, to have lived in those easier times of 'plenty of work available'.

To my older mind, I think that life today, for young people, means fewer jobs, but still some wonderful opportunities if one is prepared to fight for it, but it certainly is tougher. Even with a degree.

Eddie
 

Smudger

master brummie
I was looking through some of my old documents and found this which was handed out to all of us at school in 1946.
View attachment 103021
So much for the hopes of King George to establish world unity & peace. I wonder what was the longest period since 1945 without some sort of conflict going on in the world? Palestine, Malaya, Kenya, Korea, Suez, Cyprus & many more. Would it be any safer if women ruled the world? Maybe not if they were like Maggie. There was a song around in the 60`s which basically said that two little men in a flying saucer visited Earth. didn`t like what they saw & quickly flew away. Who knows, maybe one day aliens will invade & we`ll all join together to collectively kick their butts. (I must stop playing these arcade games).
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
image.png Summer season ( fun in the Sun ).
As this part of the season began to emerge children were able to reintroduce into their play and outdoor activities some of the advantages offered by this lovely warm period.
One of the advantages I recall was ( with our friends ) being able to sit out on the warm pavements and create our bits of " pavement art " with little pieces of chalk. If we were short of chalk we would do our little creations in a bit of compacted ground soil using a small stick as our drawing tool.
Then there was the concocting of our little " fishing nets ", on the end of a stick, whereby we would pop down to the nearest public parks pool, have a nice foot cooling " paddle " whilst we tried to catch a few " tiddlers " for our Jam Jar.
I recall how the metal " slides " provided by the public parks used to get a bit on the hot side on warm sunny days and we had to keep our knees tucked up as we came down the slide. Bit too hot on the back of your legs if you didn't do this.
It made for loads of fun if one of the gang could " sneak " a bowl of water out into the back yard so that we could all join in with a game of " Water Splashing " each other. This was normally brought to a halt when one of the " grown ups " became aware we were doing it.
Then there was always that mystery of the " optical illusion ", that one whereby when you were looking at a distant tar-mac road you would see it " shimmering" and it appeared to be totally wet. We never could work that one out.
Whenever we found ourselves in an area of trees and hedgerows it was always lovely , providing we kept quiet enough, to see the varieties of wild birds " to-ing and fro-ing " , feeding their chicks.
That was nice as well when a lot of the " grown ups " started to keep the outer kitchen doors open ( because of the warm weather ) and some of the lovely cooking smells wafted out to us as we played outside.
Typical kids. It never entered our thoughts as we enjoyed the fresh sunny air that we might be achieving that desirable " Sun Tan " look. Wasn't on our " wish for " list in any form.
Seemed a bit boring to us when we observed some of the adults " flopped out " in the back gardens, on a sunny day , trying to change their skin colour tone.
But, I suppose best of all, this season with it's longer daylight hours, enabled us kids to occassionally be allowed to " stop up " a bit later before having to go to bed.
A great season for all, but just a bit extra special for the kids I think.
 
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farmerdave

master brummie
Can I echo Smudger's reply. It's very good to see you back Roy. With regards to adding a picture, I click on "upload a file", to the right of the "post reply" button and that seems to lead me to a browser and my saved jpg pictures. Hope that works for you. Dave.
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Thanks ' Smudger ' . Felt good to get back into contact.
Thanks ' farmerdave ' . Just tried your " add photo " suggestion. Great. Worked a treat.
 

oldbrit

OldBrit in Exile
Happy summer days with mycycling mates some taken in the back of my home on Moat Lane.Yardey Brum. Does not seem possible that I am 83 today and many of my mates are long gone.GOD BLESS EM ALL. John Crump003.jpg
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
image.png It's 1942 ish. It's Kingstanding. It's the Kings Road near the junction with Harringay Road.
It's night time. It's wartime and the ' blackout ' is fully operational.
It was a small wooden hut type building that stood just off the main road. It invited anyone in for a chat and a cup of tea. It had a small black curtained entrance space at it's front and a further blackout curtain to the main room which solved any problems of escaping light.
It's main room was set out with a few tables and chairs with a small kitchen to the rear.
If I recall it correct, this little hut had some Christian religious affiliation and it had a name
(I can't recall what either was, but I do remember that they were nice enough people that put their time in and ran it ).
The American soldiers had just recently taken over many of the houses on the newly built
Pheasey Estate ( which was about one mile further up the Kings Road, passed the Kingstanding Circle ).
We were just a bunch of young kids.
At night time the pavement in front of the wooden hut became a natural social magnet for us kids ( little groups, from the roads around could meet up on these dark nights for a chat and a get-together ).
A fair number of the newly arrived GI's would pass as they used their free off-time periods to walk the length of the Kings Road as a means to explore and make friends with the local people. To this end some of them would ' pop in ' to the little hut to see what was going on.
The kids, hanging about outside would be pretty quick to get into conversation with these soldier men from the country where the Cowboys came from and where Laurel and Hardy lived.
I recall, bar none, all these soldiers were very friendly and would tell us interesting stories about their way of life back in America prior to coming to Birmingham.
I guess the icing on the cake came when they shared with us kids their ' candy ' or their lovely
chewing gum.
These memories came to light yesterday whilst I was browsing " Google Maps " on the Internet
and used the App to view up and down the " Kings Road " looking at some of our old haunts that we frequented as kids.
I came upon the spot where the old wooden hut used to stand but I see now that in it's original position
there now stands a brick building which looks to be of a slightly larger size but still appears to be used as a religious site.
 
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Roy Blakey

master brummie
image.png image.png
Photo appertaining to the previous post : Where the old hut used to stand and the pavement area where the kids used to meet up for their chats and get-togethers.
 

norfolk brummie

gone but not forgotten
For many obvious reasons, No real summer seaside holidays between 1940 & 1945. From 1942 till 1945, my summer holiday was reversed. Boarded away in the countryside I was allowed home for the Easter holiday, Summer holiday and Christmas holiday. So I would return from the country side to the city for my summer holiday, and I really enjoyed being 'back in Brum'.
Meeting old school friends. Our summer holiday consisted of train spotting at Small Heath, Snow Hill, or New Street station. A trip to Small Heath or Swanhurst Park boating lake, or catching 'tiddlers', with cane rod & jam jar, a trip on the No. 11 Outer Circle, a trip to the cinema to see Robin Hood, Hop Along Cassidy. I recall my father being home on a short leave, and he took us to see Beyond The Blue Horizon. Playing cricket (chalk wickets on the wall), on the bombed playground at Montgomery Street School. Indeed, playing on bombed sites. Swimming in the Grand Union Canal (yes, we did).Bow & Arrow games. A tram trip to the Lickeys. Beano & Dandy comics.

A real treat was summer strawberries, and real ice cream...not your 'all the year round' stuff. A bottle of Masons 'pop'......lemonade.

To be back home, playing in the city, was my idea of heaven. Lots & lots of memories.
However did we manage without cars, TV, even wireless, no telephone, electronic games, very little money, not much in the way of clothes, or food, and many more things??? Easy, we made our own fun.

Manage we did, and in our own way, most of us lived a full, and enjoyable childhood.

You know what? In spite of a world war going on around us, we felt safer being out in the fresh air, playing in the different streets, roads or parks, than kids do today.


Eddie
 
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oldbrit

OldBrit in Exile
"Got any gum chum" That's what we said. The Yanks very friendly. US Army base was by Fillongley of the Cov rd. anyone remember it?. We would ride our bikes there, got badges. gum knives forks etc. Thinking back to those days. I would never have dreamt that I would be one day one of them bloody Yanks!! You never know where you may end up HUH!
 

wallyb71

master brummie
Reading through these posts brought back a lot of memories for me. We lived on the corner of Esher Rd in Kingstanding moved there from Vauxhall. From our front window we could see down Cooksey Lane almost to the bottom where Brockingtons store was. After an air-raid we would go around the streets looking for Shrapnel from the shells they fired at the German planes. I had quite a collection of it. I remember the Yanks being on the Pheasey Estate and they would come down Cooksey Lane on there way to the Kingstanding Circle where the Pub was and we would run over to them and say "Got any gum chum" and they would give us some. One of my wifes sisters married one of them and eventually she came to America with all the other Brides to be with her husband and some years later we came over with other members of the family to keep her company. That was back in 1953. Lots of Happy memories now I am 89. and living in California. Bless you all, Wallyb.
 

oldbrit

OldBrit in Exile
Reading through these posts brought back a lot of memories for me. We lived on the corner of Esher Rd in Kingstanding moved there from Vauxhall. From our front window we could see down Cooksey Lane almost to the bottom where Brockingtons store was. After an air-raid we would go around the streets looking for Shrapnel from the shells they fired at the German planes. I had quite a collection of it. I remember the Yanks being on the Pheasey Estate and they would come down Cooksey Lane on there way to the Kingstanding Circle where the Pub was and we would run over to them and say "Got any gum chum" and they would give us some. One of my wifes sisters married one of them and eventually she came to America with all the other Brides to be with her husband and some years later we came over with other members of the family to keep her company. That was back in 1953. Lots of Happy memories now I am 89. and living in California. Bless you all, Wallyb.
Where in California? Was in Paso Robles in April riding my bloody bike in Eroica Ca. John Crump
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
THE SCHOOL PERIOD MUSIC LESSON.
( 1942 ish ).
I don't know how other schools went about this lesson but I recall at our school each class had it's own music period once a week and it was held in the schools main hall.
The layout in the hall was set with rows of chairs in semi-circular pattern with each chair having one " Percussion " instrument allocated to it.
The instruments for this " orchestra " were limited to, the piano ( which was permanently positioned to the side of the main hall stage ), 8 Snare Drums ( with one drum stick only to each drum ), 8 Tambourines, 8 Castonets and 8 Triangles.
I recall that when the teacher opened the doors to the hall, to begin the lesson, that there was always a mad rush to try and get a chair with one of the drums as it's accompanying instrument.
There often followed a short period ( whilst the teacher proceeded to sort out the music sheets ) whereby drum sticks were shared and swapped around in order to attempt " drum rolls " using two sticks. The teacher would then call for silence to begin the lesson. Drum sticks were resorted back to one for each drum. FUN OVER.
We all sat there then, trying to follow the music sheets as the teacher led on the piano.
The beats to the bar and the music selected always seemed to come to the same thing. No matter what instrument you had, it always seemed you had to wait ages for the moment to give your instrument just one tap or one shake.
Non of your " Joe Loss " or " Ted Heath " with this lesson.
Heaven help us on the odd occassion when the teacher decided to try and sing to their own piano accompaniment.
BONUS : Wasn't totally negative though. After such a music lesson it always, in comparison, seemed that Maths and English lessons were not all that bad after all
 

farmerdave

master brummie
Hi Roy. Re: Music lessons. There were a lot of subjects that I learned at school e.g. maths, history, physics and chemistry and also a number of things that I picked up after I left school e.g. swimming and art/drawing. However, although I appreciate music, I have never made any headway in learning how to play a musical instrument. It sounds as if the classes at your school were very useful. The most I ever achieved was playing "Good King Wenceslas" on a recorder. I did buy a cheap ukulele a couple of years ago because I was told it was a relatively easy instrument to play. I could manage the first three notes of "three blind mice" but as soon as I had to move different fingers rapidly to hold down the strings in specific positions, I was lost. I think I'll stick to just listening to music. Best wishes. Dave.
 
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sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Dave,

When starting music later in life, I always suggest that someone tries a small keyboard such as the cheaper ranges by Yamaha & Casio. The Yamaha ones usually appear in Lidl just before Christmas for less than £100 complete with built in educators, books of tunes and a variety of sounds, in fact excellent value for money. You don't have to blow or learn to pitch a note and you can't play it out of tune to annoy the neighbours! In fact, beside the built in speakers, there's a headphone socket so that know one can even hear you. That's the place to start.

Maurice
 

farmerdave

master brummie
Dave,

When starting music later in life, I always suggest that someone tries a small keyboard such as the cheaper ranges by Yamaha & Casio. The Yamaha ones usually appear in Lidl just before Christmas for less than £100 complete with built in educators, books of tunes and a variety of sounds, in fact excellent value for money. You don't have to blow or learn to pitch a note and you can't play it out of tune to annoy the neighbours! In fact, beside the built in speakers, there's a headphone socket so that know one can even hear you. That's the place to start.

Maurice
Thanks Maurice. I might try that. Dave
 
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