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When I was born........

(121 Posts)
kittylester Tue 09-Jun-20 07:48:58

very few people had a tv (and the world was in black and white!) or a telephone. Now I can talk to my family (or anyone else!) in full technicolor (!!) on my tiny phone.

It freaked me out when I first thought about it.

What astounds you or freaks you out? grin

boat Thu 11-Jun-20 15:07:55

I was born in 1944 and grew up in a non-posh part of Islington in North London.

My home, a ground floor flat, was similar to many of those described here. Outdoor loo, no electricity, hot water and a coal range to cook on. We had gas lighting until I was about eight. We thought electric light was wonderful.

No boiler; we used the Bag Wash. Our dirty laundry went into a clean hessian sack stamped with our number which was taken to the Bag Wash shop and collected, still slightly damp, a week later.

Milk and bread were delivered by horse and cart. The bread came from a firm called Prices which was in the street next to us.

The bread was made on the ground floor and the horses went up a ramp to their stables on the first floor.

I remember my older brother Peter being brought home by a very apologetic bread cart driver who had accidentally run over him. He was just bruised.

After the driver left Peter was given a hiding for, "Causing so much bother".

In Summer the streets smelt of a glorious mix of tar and hay.

Witzend Thu 11-Jun-20 14:55:46

Loo paper - I remember the dreaded Bronco - in a freezing cold loo! I can still almost smell the Bronco.

A much nicer smell that took me way back only a couple of years ago, was coal-fire smoke coming from chimneys in my sister’s area of the Yorkshire Dales in December.
No such smell ever around here - outer SW London.

House prices - at a local history display near here someone produced a pre WW2 1930s newspaper ad for Tudor-style new houses - there were a lot of them. Prices ranged from £500 for the smallest 3 bed terrace to about £995 for a considerably larger 4 bed semi.
The ad also said, ‘A £5 deposit secures any house!’

The larger houses - many with kitchen extensions and loft conversions - are now routinely priced at £900k - £1m.

moggie57 Thu 11-Jun-20 13:44:52

we had no washing machine everything done by hand and hung out dripping wet.dont remember my mum having a spin dryer till the 1970's..remember she tried a twin tub(from the neighbour up the road who wheeled it round.) up to the day she died(1998)my mum done her washing by hand and a spin dryer. whereas today in the washing machine 15 mins on 40c and hey presto done and out on the washing lines to dry(communal)....wonderful...

Quilty Wed 10-Jun-20 10:28:54

I would ask the question 'was the world a safer place or is it that with modern communication we hear about everything?'

Grannynannywanny Wed 10-Jun-20 10:19:15

Oh dear that wasn’t good annsixty !

annsixty Wed 10-Jun-20 10:00:21

Several householdS on our road had shared phone lines and it was through this that we found out one of our neighbours was having an affair.
The one who shared a line with her could never use the phone between 4&5 pm.
This was when she got home from work and she and her lover talked for an hour while her H was still at work.
Her H left her when he found out.
He still lives locally, remarried and like me is now in his 80’s.
She just moved away.

Froglady Wed 10-Jun-20 09:43:29


The only person I knew to have izal toilet paper was my ex MIL I remember being absolutely disgusted with it and wouldn’t use the loo there! My memory is like many others here having a tin bath (front of fire every Thursday!) an outside loo and icicles in the winter inside the window as well as outside. I don’t have many good memories of grammar school most of the teachers ruled with an iron fist, looking back they were very Victorian in attitude. My DP’s were wonderful though and I miss them both every day even though they died in the early/mid eighties.

I remember thinking that we were now rich as Mum had bought soft toilet paper, after having the dreaded Izal for years.

Brunette10 Wed 10-Jun-20 09:42:21

I remember the 'rag and bone' man and used to love when I heard him shout. Begged my mum to give me something so I could take it to him for a ballon or mum always wanted clothes pegs, never understood why, I do now of course. We weren't well off so I suppose a ballon to clothes pegs well for mum there was no question. However one day she said she didn't have anything for me to take to him so I gave him my newly knitted cardigan. Boy did I take some row for that. She promptly found him in another street and got my cardigan back grin

Froglady Wed 10-Jun-20 09:40:40


Did anyone have a shared phone line? We had a shared line with our neighbour with our first phone in the 60’s because it made the phone rental a bit cheaper. Only one household could use it at a time. If you lifted the phone and heard the neighbour in mid conversation you said sorry and quickly hung up.

It worked fine till our neighbours moved and their replacements were nosey Parkers. Mid conversation it wasn’t unusual to hear them lifting their phone and staying on to eavesdrop!

Yes, I had forgotten that. We shared with a family down the road; that was in 1964.

Grammaretto Wed 10-Jun-20 09:19:52

Witzend I used to love to pet the milkman's horse.
I adored horses and met a few despite living in London from the age of about 10.

More recently while helping with RDA I met a woman whose father drove the baker's van in Airdrie. She was taught to drive the horse and had to be very careful not to break any meringues or she would be in trouble.

The Rag and Bone man drove a horse drawn cart, and he really did shout "Any old iron"

Witzend Wed 10-Jun-20 08:42:39

It still sometimes amazes me that I can lie in bed, idly think I fancy reading such-and-such a book, and within seconds have it whooshing into my Kindle.

No matter how often anyone more scientifically-minded (e.g. dh) tries to explain any such thing to me - ditto photos and little vids whooshing to phone or iPad - I still can’t get my head around how such a thing can be possible.

And yet on the few occasions when I’ve told someone that my mother was sometimes (proven to be) acutely telepathic over long distances, people who unquestioningly accept modern technology will scoff and say it was imagination/coincidence, even though the human brain is so very complex, and they still don’t know what every part of it does, or can do.

Eloethan Tue 09-Jun-20 23:25:16

What astounds - and saddens - me is that the human race has the brains to discover and invent so many things but we don't seem to have the brains to look after our planet and many of the people living on it.

Scrappydo Tue 09-Jun-20 21:28:52

My son was shocked after seeing a photo of me in a pram outside our house by the railings on the pavement where I was left to get some fresh air alone for hours daily. Now you can’t take your eyes off children.

Grannynannywanny Tue 09-Jun-20 20:38:44

Framilode that must have been very tough not to see your parents for so long.

Framilode Tue 09-Jun-20 19:53:00

My childhood in the 50's was different from most on here as my father was in the Colonial Service and I was brought up, in some luxury, in Africa. My parents had live in staff and as far as I can remember my mother never did much but drink gin and ring for service.
As children we had a very free life and could roam far and wide in a wonderful climate. However, at the age of 9 I was sent back to boarding school and only saw my parents every couple of years. That was a very unhappy time.

Deedaa Tue 09-Jun-20 19:44:21

When we were teenagers only one of my three friends had a phone. If we wanted to arrange an outing the rest of us would go to the nearest phone box to ring her and make our suggestions. then we would have to ring her back to find out what everyone else had said. This would have to be repeated several times before we all reached an agreement! Now I can pick up my smart phone and as well as phoning friends I can send a message across the Atlantic, play some music, or check on the dates of Civil War battles.

Dinahmo Tue 09-Jun-20 19:37:48

Another friend moved to Woodbridge in Suffolk after finishing teachers' training college, with her husband. This was around 1970. They had a bathroom in their house but she remembers the night soil man collecting from the other side of the street, which wasn't yet on main drainage.

Dinahmo Tue 09-Jun-20 19:29:52

Back in the late sixties I had a friend who came from Grimsby. Her father was a fish filleter. She used to talk about her life and how Friday night was bath night - a tub in front of the fire. The coalman used to come on Friday evenings and had to walk through the room with the tub. It was only when she was 16 that her mum put a stop to it. My friend coould have been joking.

Jane43 Tue 09-Jun-20 19:11:10

Coal fires are a nice, romantic idea but I remember my Dad often struggling to light the fire, sometimes the room would fill with smoke. Then there was making sure there was enough coal to keep it going. When the ‘coal man‘ came Mum would rush out to the back garden to check that the correct number of bags were going into the coal house. The nice side of a coal fire was making toast over the fire with a toasting fork and roasting chestnuts underneath. Best of all was Mum warming my vest and pants so they would be nice and warm for me to put on when the mornings were cold.

Witzend Tue 09-Jun-20 18:37:58

My dds found it absolutely hysterical when I first told them that when I was little, the milkman came with a horse. ‘Back in the really olden days, when you were young, Mum...’.
That would have been early/mid 1950s.
I have a hazy memory of a baker coming with a horse, too.

Urmstongran Tue 09-Jun-20 18:25:44

I think the house we bought in 1964 was around £2500, a new three bedroomed semi. Amazing to think of now.

Ah, the good of days eh Froglady ... but in 1964 when my parents bought their first semi (for a similar price) my mum earned £8 p.w. for full time work on the factory floor. She told me the mortgage was £32 p.m. she and dad thought that was do-able. I daresay his wages did ‘everything else’.

Grannynannywanny Tue 09-Jun-20 18:24:35

allule I remember my Mum encouraging me to hold my little ones over the sink and running tap for a wee before the fresh nappy went on. And I must admit it did often work.

Your comment about reacting to running water reminded me of a story years ago when those musical potties were around. When the baby wee’d the potty played the tune.

A mother said it had all gone well till an ice cream van started visiting their street playing the same jingles long after the toddler was potty trained!

allule Tue 09-Jun-20 18:10:07

I wish I had kept the book my parents used to bring me up in 1940...called "The Training of the Child". I gather it was based on rigid four hourly feeding; no picking up between feeds; put out in pram every day regardless of weather; and toilet training from birth!
I'm sure the last was worth the effort with no washing machines or even hot water, but part of the technique was to run water to encourage me, and I still react to running water!

Musicgirl Tue 09-Jun-20 18:01:59

I was born twenty years after the end of the second world war and we still had pre-decimal currency. Thankfully, l never had to use it as we went decimal shortly after my sixth birthday. We always lived in modern homes so l always had indoor toilets and bathrooms. We had a black and white TV until l was eleven and my mother had a single tub washing machine and spin dryer then later a twin tub. I was about twelve before we had a freezer and automatic washing machine. I had a happy childhood, lucky enough to have private piano lessons and, later, to learn the violin in school. I was in the brownies then guides and we still had a lot of freedom. Even as a small child l was allowed to play in the field behind the house and down the lane with the "big" children and later my friend and I would cycle all round the Norfolk countryside. We would have been ten.

Trisha57 Tue 09-Jun-20 18:00:27

Anyone else have a "scullery" in their house? We didn't have a kitchen as such, just a back room with a butler sink, gas cooker, water boiler (no running hot water downstairs) and one of those cabinets with the pull down bit to do any chopping, rolling out of pastry etc. There was a meat safe built into an outside wall with wire to stop the rodents eating it. Milk was kept in a bucket of water on the tiled bit under the bulter sink. Not sure where we kept the cheese and butter though!