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Our childhood experiences

(88 Posts)
maddyone Wed 07-Jun-23 17:31:56

Following on from another thread which meandered a bit from the original subject, I said I’ll start a thread about the above.
I was born in 1953. I was born at home, as many babies were in those days. My mother suffered from a retained placenta and although I was fine, we were rushed to hospital as she was bleeding to death. The GP who was attending my mother threatened the ambulance service that if they didn’t arrive soon, he would not be responsible for this woman’s death. Things don’t change there then! We lived in a two up, two down house that my parents bought. My father worked, my mother stayed at home and took care of us. I had one older sister. When I was born I was issued with a ration book as rationing was still in force then. I didn’t go to a nursery, I just went to school as a rising five. We had plenty of food but it wasn’t fancy. Every Sunday we had roast beef. Sunday tea was salad. I was sent to church and Sunday school and I had best clothes to wear on Sundays. When I was seven we moved to a lovely semi detached in a very leafy area with big gardens to play in, both front and back. We didn’t have a car till I was twelve. We had a seaside holiday every year, always two weeks. We holidayed at Blackpool, Wales, Great Yarmouth, Scarborough, and Christchurch in Hampshire. When I was twelve my mother took me for the day to London and we saw all the sights. We travelled by train. I remember the huge steam trains we travelled on. Every year we went into Manchester where my mother bought our clothes. School clothes, best clothes, and holiday clothes. She made some of our dresses and dressed my sister and I alike, like twins.
There’s loads more, but I’ll bore you all rigid.
Tell us about your childhood memories.

MayBee70 Wed 07-Jun-23 17:42:04

I drew pictures of horses in a book and had to decide which one to ride when I went to the corner shop to buy my mums Woodbines. And I played for hours in the communal brew house where I filled the sink with water and played with the animal figures I’d bought on a school trip to London Zoo. One year we had a real live donkey living in the school cloakroom that was going to be used in our Easter service. We then all appeared on tv with a different donkey.

Ashcombe Wed 07-Jun-23 17:50:18

I was born in 1950 in a nursing home where I was nearly strangled by the umbilical cord, causing an umbilical hernia. This was operated on in 1952 and my parents were not allowed to visit me for the whole two weeks I was a patient!! My older sister said I was very odd when I came home!

From then on, I would scream if ever Mum took me into a public toilet, presumably because the smell of disinfectant reminded me of hospital.

When I was five, we moved from Wiltshire to Surrey so days out in London to museums, galleries, etc were a regular feature. My favourite memories are trips to London theatres to see musicals like The Sound of Music, Oliver!, My Fair Lady, etc., which gave me a lifelong love of the performing arts, influencing my teaching career and leisure time and is still a source of great pleasure to me now I'm retired.

Mollygo Wed 07-Jun-23 19:22:40

My childhood memories are of seemingly endless hospital treatment and operations. Visitors were only allowed in occasionally as “they upset the children”.
At home, the fields behind our house were full of blackberries and some raspberry canes and gooseberry bushes that must have escaped from one of the neighbour’s gardens. We loved summer.

PamelaJ1 Wed 07-Jun-23 19:39:45

When I was 5 we moved from Barnsley to Ikeja I remember Father Christmas arriving by aeroplane at Lagos airport.
I also remember some insect laying her eggs under the skin of myself and my mum and my dad squeezing the little maggots out when they hatched.
Seeing Rome on our return to the U.K. in ladybird pyjamas - it was cold and they were the only warm things we had.
After that we moved to HK and life improved 😂

fancythat Wed 07-Jun-23 19:45:44

Not too difficult for me in some ways as relatives still live in the original family home.
I "go home" regularly.

Small village. Even village school is still there and open. Albeit with a couple more classrooms.
Grandkids of some of my former classmates now there.

The point in time when I worked out my childhood wasnt quite the same as others was when I went to big school. Only 3 of us could not swim. That was an eye opener. And one classmate had their own swimming pool! Unheard of where I grew up.

blossom14 Wed 07-Jun-23 19:48:49

I was born in a Nursing Home in 1941 ( Dad in the army in India) My mother nearly died fom post partum haemorrage. We were taken to a Stately home/nursing for 3 months for her to recover.
My first memory of home was around 2 years old when we moved into a 'walk up' flat in a very deprived council estate. It was a regular occurence to see homes being sealed and fumigated.
My Mum told me later the first night there the bugs were coming out of the walls.
We moved to a new council house in 1949 and I was fortunate enough to pass 11 plus and get into a great Grammer School in 1951.

Redhead56 Wed 07-Jun-23 20:25:53

I was brought up with my sisters and brothers eight of us. We lived in our grans inner city house it was a rather big house but my gran was a tenant. In the 1960s we moved to a big council house outskirts of Liverpool surrounded by farmland. It was heaven to us wide eyed children as it was green and gorgeous with big gardens.

We were always sent to Sunday school in our little wooden purpose built church. Our school wasn’t built until six months later so we had a very long summer playing in wheat fields surrounding our house. Our parents both worked but at times life was a struggle because of all the strikes. We were happy and looked after well but we had to leave school to get jobs.

Our mum cooked every meal and dad helped at the weekend. We had some cooked breakfast or salt fish on Sundays a roast and salad and cake for tea. I still live in the same area but ten mins away it has meant a lot to me it’s home.

Primrose53 Wed 07-Jun-23 20:30:52

I was born at home in 53. 2nd of 3 children. Mum said she had no pain relief except a towel twisted around the iron bedstead which she squeezed and twisted as the pains worsened. I think I weighed just under 8lbs and I had thick, dark hair.

It was a tiny rented cottage in a pretty seaside village and we had nice neighbours. We had just a cold tap inside and an outside toilet. No bathroom. My Dad had to cycle about 7 miles to work every day at an old army camp and cycle home again. The road had no shelter and the icy winds came straight off the North Sea.

I started school just a month before my 5th birthday. There was no playgroup and no nursery so I was at home with Mum until then and I remember being loved, being warm and doing nice things. The village school had just 3 classrooms and was a happy place. I had some lovely friends and excelled at reading, writing, sports and art but not so keen on Maths. In the summer we were allowed to play in the plantation next door rather than in the playground and it was just wonderful.

Around the age of 7 my parents were allocated a council house in the village with 3 bedrooms, a huge garden, big lounge and kitchen and hot and cold water and a bathroom. The toilet was not quite inside, but in what we called the wash house but it felt so luxurious after tripping up the garden path for years!

I was lucky enough to pass my 11+ exam and went on to grammar school about 14 miles away which I also loved. I believe I had the best childhood even though we didn’t have much money as Dad was only on low, rural wages.

That little cottage I was born in sold recently for £650,000 with just a teeny triangle of “garden” which fits just a tiny table and 2 chairs.

LRavenscroft Wed 07-Jun-23 20:34:11

When I was about 4 I found a dead bird in the garden and I remember picking up the 'phone and pushing a few buttons and a man answered. I asked him to tell my daddy at work that the little bird was dead. So, he said he would tell my dad. When my dad got home from work and I told him about it, he said the man had told him. How nice of two gents to play along with a little girl's story. I never knew who the nice man was and my dad never really got the message but pretended to please me.

FannyCornforth Wed 07-Jun-23 20:40:51

I was born at home in 1972, which I’m lead to believe was unusual at the time.
I was an only child, but shared my childhood home with owls.
I lost my mom when I was 25 and she was 50, and I still miss her like mad.
I’m so lucky that I still have my dad, and that we are so close.
My feelings and thoughts about my childhood and adulthood are intertwined and interchangeable

Maywalk Wed 07-Jun-23 20:58:51

I was born during the Great Depression of 1930. Unemployment was rife and I was the youngest of four.

Unfortunately I had Double Pneumonia that affected my eyes and my parents could not afford the fee to keep me in hospital so being a Catholic she asked the Sisters-of-Mercy to look after me until my father managed to get employment again .

While in that home as I got older at the age of four and a half I was unable to see properly because the illness left me with one eye that was not working properly so I had to have the good one covered up to make the lazy eye work.
I was put to work at that age to scrub the long coridoors of the home and with not being able to see properly I missed wiping up some water. I was beaten with a broom handle and thrown in a tiny dark cupboard. I wasn't the only child who was illtreated by these so called Sisters-of-Mercy and my family finally got me back home by the time I was in my seventh year.
I was home for around two years when WW2 started in 1939.My mother was taking us hop -picking because being Londoners it was a holiday to get out into the country although it was very hard tiring work.
Anyway in the third week of the war an enemy plane got through our defences such as they were and he started using us as target practice. Thankfully a Spitfire came to our aid and shot the enemy plane down.
We went all through the London Blitz and were bombed out twice and finally got evacuated in 1941 to the Midlands.
I am more than lucky to still be here at the age of 93 to relate stories from those years to many who love history.

Joseann Wed 07-Jun-23 21:03:49

We lived in a largish house in London, my father lived and worked overseas in Houston, Texas, which was unusual to be without one parent in the 60s. My mother let out rooms and Keith of the New/Old Seekers was a tenant. I remember listening to the band rehearsing in our lounge.
I kept guinea pigs in the garden shed. My early years were spent travelling on the buses and on the tube to dance classes and competitions.

dustyangel Wed 07-Jun-23 21:04:21

I was born ten years before maddyone. Still during the war but of course I wasn’t aware of that. My mother made the journey from London to Yorkshire for my birth as her friend a nursing sister lived there. She journeyed back again with me and six year old sister when I was three weeks old.
I went to school when I was four but although so young somehow I could already read, I can remember hating the nun who taught me to write. I once lost the ration books! I know I was being allowed to carry them in a string bag but the trauma must have been awful for my mother as I can remember the fallout.
We moved from a (large to me) London flat to a nearby semidetached when I was six. I thought it was miles away and have only realised how close it was since seeing it on Google maps.
In my memory we always had a car, although I can remember plenty of bus trips, and went on holiday for a two week holiday every summer.First of all to boarding houses and then cottages by the coast. I can still remember the excitement of getting up in the early hours to travel to Cornwall for our holiday. Mum of course still doing the cooking.
After I left home she rebelled or they could by then afford it and my parents drove to a hotel in Dorset for their holiday.
With two small children and living in the south of England and our holiday was camping nearby.

dustyangel Wed 07-Jun-23 21:11:05

Maywalk my sister had a ‘lazy’ eye and later on my son. I think that I was very lucky in that despite having a catholic education, I don’t remember any. unkindness by any of the nuns. I know I was lucky in that I remember one in particular was very sarcastic and terrified one small girl.

Maywalk Wed 07-Jun-23 21:31:43


Maywalk my sister had a ‘lazy’ eye and later on my son. I think that I was very lucky in that despite having a catholic education, I don’t remember any. unkindness by any of the nuns. I know I was lucky in that I remember one in particular was very sarcastic and terrified one small girl.

When my booklet was published dusty angel I had many folk coming back to me telling me that they too had had the same treatment from many of the nuns, but their tales were more into the 50s era.

Not all of the nuns were bad but there were more distressing tales than good ones.

What year were you taught by them dusty angel. ?

Hellogirl1 Wed 07-Jun-23 22:10:58

I was born in 1943, my mother was a single parent because my father, who was in the RAF, was killed 6 months before I was born. We lived with my grandma and auntie at Hoyland till I was 3, when my mother married again, and we moved to my stepfather`s house at Elsecar. He was a coal miner, so we got cheaper coal, dumped at the gate from a lorry, and we had to shovel it into buckets and take it to the coal shed round the back. We kids saved all the pieces of shale to use for chalking out hopscotch pitches.
My favourite treats were a stick of rhubarb and a paper cone of sugar to dip in, or a paper cone filled with a mixture of cocoa and sugar, we didn`t get many sweets. And my mother would keep us quiet for hours with half a pomegranate and a pin!
Favourite games were skipping, whip and top, and marbles.
I didn`t get on with my stepfather, and consequently, not with my mother either, and when I was almost 13, instead of going on the school bus one day, I got on one going the other way, to Barnsley, and caught the bus to Manchester, arrived at my paternal grandmother`s house, and remained there till I got married at the age of 20.

tanith Wed 07-Jun-23 22:29:06

Born 1948 at home I was the 4th girl of 5 the fifth one being my younger brother. There were 4 and 5 yr gaps between us all not sure how they managed that in those days. We lived on the 2nd floor of a big Victorian house all us children sharing one room. I really remember my Mum carrying buckets of coal up 2 flights of stairs and the old lady on the ground floor giving us sugar and sandwiches and home made toffee apples. A tin bath hung on the stairs and I remember scrubbing them on a Saturday morning. We had days out I don’t remember going on holidays.

overthehill Wed 07-Jun-23 23:07:52

I had a difficult childhood my mother had narcissistic personality disorder so I never had the best life. My dad thankfully was a nice man. At 7 I took myself to school over 3 main roads and was sent shopping for her sanitary towels among other things. I realized at age 7 that if I didn't look after myself no one else would. I wished I had a brother or sister to take the pressure off but sadly didn't. My treatment affected my life and when I had my children, I thought what my mother did to me and did the opposite with them. Mind you it made me tough.

maddyone Wed 07-Jun-23 23:30:26

Oh it’s so lovely to read all your stories, all very different and very interesting. I hope more posters come on here tomorrow and tell us about how they started life.

Maywalk what happened to your eye is interesting. When I was nine months old I was very ill with pneumonia, like you, and I was taken into hospital. I was treated with antibiotics and I recovered. Then it appeared I had a problem with my eye and so my mother took me to the Manchester Eye Hospital, where it was discovered that I had suffered a haemorrhage at the back of one of my eyes. It was put down to the antibiotics, but reading what happened to you, makes me wonder. Maybe the pneumonia caused it. Anyway I had to have two operations on my eye. Obviously I’m partially sighted in that eye, in fact not much sight at all, but the other eye is good, and it hasn’t affected me too much. I do have some trouble with 3D vision, but I cope as I’ve never known anything different. I can drive because as long as one eye is good, you get a license. I’m rubbish at parking though, and I think that’s down to the poor 3D vision.

Marthjolly1 Wed 07-Jun-23 23:45:58

I was born in 1950. My dad had a motorbike with sidecar. I can remember Sunday outings with my big sister on the back of the bike, arms round dad, I was in the sidecar with my mum. No seat belts or helmets. We always had roast beef and Yorkshire pudding which was cooked in large tray, on Sundays. After was the remainder of the Yorkshire pudding, jam spread on the bottom served with custard. Mum always cooked a pudding every night, spotted dick, syrup sponge, tapioca, semolina, rhubarb crumble, bread puddings, all with lots of custard. (Except the tapioca and semolina) Always fish on Friday, sausages on Saturday. On Sunday morning dad would polish everyone's shoes and we would put on our best clothes for church, which was full to standing room only for the latecomers. And the small round corrugated dustbin, which took all the household rubbish, was collected by the dustman, who came round to the back of the house lifted the bin onto his shoulders, carried it to the lorry to empty it before returning it to the back of the house. Then there was the rag and bone man who came periodically in cart and horse. Late fifties we had a car and went to Clacton for a weeks holiday. Later it was Billy Butlins holiday camp. Oh the memories..........

Marthjolly1 Wed 07-Jun-23 23:58:06

Oh and I can't forget the outside lavvy. With squares of cut newspaper threaded onto string and hung on the back of the door. Not sure if that was worse than Izal, at least it was absorbent grin

Litterpicker Thu 08-Jun-23 00:01:41

I was born in 1951, at home. My mother was 35. I was a breech birth, bottom first and was delivered by our GP, I think. My sister arrived two years and 7 months later.

Like Ashcombe I was in hospital around the age of 2. I still have two scars on my neck where apparently I was operated on for “poisoned glands”. Shortly after that I had my tonsils and adenoids removed by an eminent specialist from London who was visiting Glasgow. My mother once remarked that I was a “changed child” when I came home from hospital but she never elaborated - now I wonder why I didn’t ask. In the 70s I remember there was an organisation called NAWCH: The National Association for the Welfare of Children in Hospital. They campaigned for unrestricted visiting hours for parents.

I went to a state nursery school locally, for one term before starting school. My class at school had 48 children. I learned to read and loved school.

We had no car but living in a Glasgow suburb there were buses and trams - I loved the trams but felt sick on the bus.

I got a place in a selective school (fees relatively low because of the government ‘direct grant’). I had a hard time keeping up with a more challenging academic atmosphere and mysterious ‘rules’. I didn’t make friends for a long time so spent many lunchtimes reading my way through the class library.

My mother grew up in Bournemouth where she met my father who did his preliminary training for the RAF (ground crew), during the war. Hence all our holidays for my first 12 years were spent at my grandparents house in Bournemouth. We had a whole month there, though my father could only come for two weeks. We travelled on the train - steam in the early days.

At home we played outside when the weather allowed and gradually explored farther around our area which still had lots of undeveloped farmland and disused quarries to explore. Gradually I saw housing go up in our treasured pieces of ‘waste ground’ and a school and playing fields take over the remaining farmland. We played on several building sites on the long summer evenings. The sites weren’t fenced off so we used the scaffolding as a climbing frame and dared each other to walk across roof beams with no floors or ceilings in place to break our fall.

We were part of a lively church community and Sunday School, junior choir and brownies took up much of our out of school time.

What a long time ago it all seems!

Sara1954 Thu 08-Jun-23 06:45:05

Like many of you, I started life in a tiny cottage with mice and a block of outside lavatories at the end of the garden, but my parents were given a brand new council house when I was about a year old.
Every house had children, and we would all play outside in the street, some families I wasn’t supposed to mix with, but it was difficult not to.
My mother must have suffered with depression of some sort, because I spent a lot of time with my gran, and my dad at the weekends, who was very hands on for a dad of his time.
I had piano lessons, which I hated, but I always loved school. We went to Sunday school every Sunday, all dressed up in our best dresses.
When I was about five I spent a week in the cottage hospital having my tonsils out, I had a lovely time, four little girls sharing a room, it was like boarding school.
We never had a car till I was about ten, but my dad hired one every year, and we stayed at a boarding house in Devon.
A lot of even my youngest childhood was tainted by my poor relationship with my mother, but there was always someone else’s kindly mum around, and my auntie lived a few houses up.
I really disliked the food of the time, many a meal I didn’t eat at lunch was put back in front of me at dinner.
I really disliked meat, and we seemed to have it in some form everyday, and lots of soggy vegetables.
Looking back I think we must have been a bit of a strange family, all the women would sit outside chatting in the evenings watching the children playing, but my mother didn’t mix at all, and although my dad was more sociable, he was happier inside reading his book, than chatting to the other dads.
Mostly happy memories when I was little, but a rapidly deteriorating relationship with my mother made things more difficult as I grew up.

Katyj Thu 08-Jun-23 07:59:39

I was born in 1957. Mum had me at home. Apparently I was a very difficult baby and child. Reading between the lines I think mum suffered from PND she was always at the Drs with me were he suggested sending me to school at 3 years old.
It had to be private as there were no nurseries then. They could barely afford it but thought it was for the best. I hated it and remember mum leaving me sobbing. It felt very alien I joined half way through the year the rest of the children all knew what to do except me. We were taught to read and write. I was moved to infant school at six as they couldn’t afford it any longer.I was much happier .
I was an only child, but longed for a sibling. I was never allowed to play out until we moved house when I was ten, where I made a very good friend. Mum always worked part time. Dad passed away aged 80 after being disabled for 25 years, mum still here, still very anxious, which unfortunately has shaped her life and mine.