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Growing Up In Brum - Roy Blakey Inspired.

Roy Blakey

master brummie
I recall a period during WW2 when we kids started experimenting with " invisible ink messages ".
I think we were imagining ourselves as some sort of boy and girl " spies ".
At the time the nation was getting pretty conscious of such things as " espionage ".
Posters and Notice Boards all around Brum displayed the slogan " Careless talk costs lives ".
So for us kids I guess that spelt that there were " enemy spies " around somewhere.
Some bright spark, up our end, created a number of invisible ink secret notes and brought them to one of our street gatherings and passed them around.
He suggested to us to take the notes home and hold them over some sort of heat source
We gave it a go.
I think most of us used the kitchen gas stove burners to bring the " message " on the note to life.
After a few burnt notes and burnt fingers we eventually got the technique sorted out and decided we could all have a bit of fun with this new " game on the block ".
So for a while " invisible ink " messages were passed between us.
Can't remember the general contents but they would have been of the best " secrets " that we could think up at the time.
If I recall it right we used some sort of baking powder, mixed with water, as our invisible ink.
Mostly worked okay.
The main thing was that the " enemy " we're not going to know what was in our secret messages.
Probably helped our spelling a bit as well.
Good fun anyway.
 
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farmerdave

master brummie
Chemistry sets would often contain cobalt chloride. A solution of this in water could be used as an invisible ink. Once the "ink" had dried then any heat source would enable the writing, in blue, to be seen. Dave.
 

norfolk brummie

gone but not forgotten
Another simple 'code' that we used as children, and during the wartime period as told by Roy, was to reverse the alphabet. A =Z, B = Y, C = X etcetera. I often played with this very simple code, little realising that, one day,I would be enciphering/deciphering messages for real.

Eddie
 

devonjim

master brummie
There was a craze in late 40's of a type of spoken "patois". Each word would have the initial letter moved to the end of the word and then an "a" would be added. So my forum name "devon jim" would become "evonda imja". Some lads became fluent, others like me struggled,but then I was never good at languages, maybe there was a link.
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
There was a craze in late 40's of a type of spoken "patois". Each word would have the initial letter moved to the end of the word and then an "a" would be added. So my forum name "devon jim" would become "evonda imja". Some lads became fluent, others like me struggled,but then I was never good at languages, maybe there was a link.
We used to call it 'backslang', very useful if you want to talk privately in front of english speaking foreigners. Used it occasionally in business meetings, it was not easy and we had to practice and usually talk slowly but it worked.
 
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Radiorails

master brummie
It was known as 'backslang', as the initial letters were placed at then end of the word plus the 'a' that Jim mentions.
I never had any interest in it, it seemed vulgar, so I preferred to learn languages that could be put to better use. ;)
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
It was known as 'backslang', as the initial letters were placed at then end of the word plus the 'a' that Jim mentions.
I never had any interest in it, it seemed vulgar, so I preferred to learn languages that could be put to better use. ;)
heta nlyoa oreignfa anguagela I verea earnedla aswa ermanga ... :D
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
Es war bekannt als 'backslang', da die Anfangsbuchstaben am Ende des Wortes plus das 'a', das Jim erwähnt, platziert wurden.
Ich hatte nie Interesse daran, es schien vulgär, also habe ich es vorgezogen, Sprachen zu lernen, die besser genutzt werden könnten.
;)
'Google Translate' would have been useful at school when we were growing up in Brum ... it does a reasonable job see above ... ;)
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
In the coffee bar era of the late 1950s and particularly in "The Jungle" just a little way down Snow Hill, our crowd met up with a group of what can best be described as petty car thieves from the Jewellery Quarter. Rough diamonds, but we got along famously and we were never involved in any of their nefarious activities and some good laughs were had. They knew and used all the swear words, but never in the presence of our ladies. If girls were present they would resort to saying the word backwards, so an illegitimate child would be a dratsab, etc. Both groups knew what they meant, but it didn't upset anyone.

Maurice
 

farmerdave

master brummie
Didn't the Americans in WW2 resort to the very clever technique of using the languages of native-Indians e.g. Comanche, Navajo, which it was realised that very few people outside these tribes would understand? I believe the native-Indians were recruited to collect and transmit information to each other, which could then be easily translated by them into English. This was faster than having to go through a complicated code-decode process. Dave.
 

Lady Penelope

master brummie
Farmer Dave, There's a really good write up on Wiki for these code-talkers and a lot more sites which I shall look at later. A couple of tribes I hadn't heard of before and I didn't realise that Choctaw was a tribe (thought it was just a bridge) but the bit I liked said that two years before the war began, Hitler sent a team of anthropologists over to the USA to learn the Indian languages but the dialects were too difficult for them. Apparently the Indians had their own words for equipment such as 'pregnant airplane' for bomber and 'sewing machine' for machine gun. Hitler was 'crazy white man'. The Basque language was also used for codes. Fascinating!
 

norfolk brummie

gone but not forgotten
I believe that we still have a few 'code-talkers' in this country, even today.

I do not understand Welsh, broad Cockney slang, broad Geordie, Gaelic, broad Glaswegian, or Cornish.

Eddie
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
Bet your spell check had fun with this!
I'm still wandering Lady P ...:)
I typed and posted #1189 from an iPad and the predictive text tried to change the first word to 'heat' and the second word to 'nylon' !
I've just switched the Windows 10 'Narrator' on (Windows key + Ctrl + Enter) in my laptop and it spoke the line with no problems !
 

Roy Blakey

master brummie
image.jpeg Have been pondering with what might have been some of the greatest periods of " growing up in Brum "
I've been thinking that one of these periods must have been around the times that " Slum Clearances " were taking place, when some children suddenly found themselves living on their new council estate which had been created around the outskirts of Birmingham.
To find themselves away from the dingyness, the cramped and the closed in existence of the slum experience must have been an enormous change for the better.
For many of these kids they now had the country side virtually on their doorstep with all the outside adventures and fresh air that they could wish for.
They now had new updated schools in which to attend.
There were spacious parks and play areas in which to enjoy.
As a family they wold have had there own toilet, there own bathroom and their own front and rear garden.
Can't say that I fully experienced this childhood " slum " daily living but I can say that I was born in one of the " back to backs " at 99 Elkington Street, Aston and that whilst I was still in diapers that my father and mother were offered a house to rent ( which they gladly accepted ) on the newly built Kingstanding council estate.
What I can say is that as a young kid I often experienced the slum atmosphere whilst visiting relatives still living in their " back to backs " in Aston.
So, I guess that I was one of the lucky kids during that era.
So, yes, I believe that those slum clearance occassions would feature highly in considering some of the most influential periods of " growing up in Brum " for many children.
 
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Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
hello roy and a nice post from you...i was born in our nans back to back in paddington st then when my brother came along we had to move out when he was 2 because it was getting a bit cramped for our mom..dad and 2 kids to sleep in the attic..lovely happy days and although a back to back as with most people it was always kept spic and span and can only remember it being homely and very cosy..vivid memories of the smell of lavender polish..sunday dinner cooking and the archers on the radio but as i said time for us as a family to move on..nan stayed put until she was virtually thown out in the late 60s..she really did not want to move as she had been in that house for about 60 years...so away we went to villa st in 58 where 2 kids soon became 6..very happy childhood and although we never had much dad worked hard...of course the house was much bigger than our nans...2 bedrooms 1 attic..2 living rooms..an added on long kitchen with bathroom..small front garden and large back one and 2 very spooky cellars:eek:...outside lavvy still usuable as well...problem was the age of the property..along with brougham st those streets were cut round about 1850 ..the damp was the main problem which dad tried to sort out by using reams of pitch paper...villa st was mixture of all sorts of different houses including back to backs and lots of small businesses down entries and on the front of the street so it was a right old mish mash of a street which included some fine buildings built when the street was just fields they unfortunately were also demolished save for one..however the surrounding streets were cut much later (from the late 1870s) and so the houses were of much better quality and still stand today so i am very lucky really to be able to say that a lot of my playground is still there and i visit it quite often..we moved from the street in 1972 but it was not fully demolished until the 80s...have to be honest and say that myself and my brother were not happy to move because as the eldest ones all of of our childhood memories came from villa st...for mom and dad a welcome move...4 bedrooms 2 living rooms a proper bathroom with hot water..under floor central heating and no damp lol...happy days for me in villa st..would not swap them for all the tea in china

lyn
 
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