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Thanks for posting that photo. I've only just seen it on the forum and it reminded me of my own youth in the 50's. Mostly we had shoes but there were no bottoms to them! We had to stuff bits of cardboard in them so that our feet were not on bare ground. Mum had the chance to get some army hob-nail boots for me but they nearly caused me to lose a leg. You can read about it here, https://www.birminghamhistory.co.uk/?article=misc/holidays/main
hi graham...i was thankfully never in that situation even though the eldest of 6 children...money of course was tight but this was in the 50s and things were not so bad...but it does bring it home to you and i could cry at looking at some of the children.....hope you had a nice brithday yesterday.....thanks for the links i will go and have a look at them
graham..ive just read about your hop picking days...brillient stuff..wish i had had the chance to do that...i was just thinking back and i remember our mom like so many others had to join clubs like blundells and the provvy like we had decent clothes and shoes...on many occasions i recall having to hide in the back room when they came to collect the payments as mom hadnt always got it.....but thats another story...at the moment i am trying to get my childhood memories sent off to carl chinn like he can publish them in a future issue...but just like your hop picking story i too could go on forever so i keep taking bits out to try to shorten it a little.....will get there in the end
Thanks for reading my hop-picking story, it was Rod that spotted it and asked me if he could add it to the main site.
Your reply reminded me of my mum and I having to hide behind the cupboard to dodge the Provy and insurance man. And seeing as I kept growing like a beanstalk mum made me go alone to Foster Bros on the Stratford Road with a Provy cheque for some pants and a jacket, one of the few times that they weren't 'hand-downs'. I was so embarrassed having to pay with a Provy cheque, the salesman looked at me as if I was a piece of s**t.
For a time in the 60's I was an insurance agent myself working for Wesleyan & General with a large 'beat' around the Bristol Road area. On my rounds I saw many hiding behind cupboards; full circle?
lol graham...thankfully we were not one of your hiders on the bristol road...thinking back its amazing the things we and our parents did to make ends meet...nothing badly illegal as such but just little things...i have recalled some in my childhood memories to go to carl chinn so i wont say to much now but i bet we wernt the only ones....
I'm sure that this is not 'off topic' and I'll tell you a little anecdote from my Bristol Road days. There was one call I had to make each week on an old woman that lay all alone dying in her front room. I would call each week and the front door was never locked so after knocking I would enter. In a dark corner, there was never any light, the woman stretched out her thin bony finger towards a cupboard where her life insurance money always lay. I would pick up the money and mark her book. After a few weeks I couldn't take it anymore so I paid her insurance out of my own pocket and marked it 'paid'.
One day I was called into the head office and asked why this woman was still paying for her life insurance as she had been dead for some time! She had been found dead and the neighbours had handed her insurance book into the office. Needless to say her insurance was paid out in full, but I never stopped to think that she must have been worried that her payments were in arrears.
ahh graham... how sad.. but you see its something most of us would not have thought of....in your eyes you were doing her a kindness...and of course you were..that was a very sad situation to find yourself in...
No matter the era there are always rich and poor. I now view the affluence as being every bit as obscene as the poverty, and it is the same virtually everywhere; contrast the slaves with the slave owners.
There were a few pioneers who reached out to help; usually in those Dickensian days in Britain they were Christians of one hue or another. Every generation spawns poverty of one or more type and also generousity and caring too.
The cold mud on bare feet is exactly the same in Birmingham England as in Birmingham Alabama. The poor will always with us.