As 1939 drew to a close
Tuesday, 29 December 2009
As the 30’s were coming to a close the threat of war looming. The first sign was the delivery of shaped corrugated iron sheets to the houses in our road, in turn workmen arrived,dug a large hole, bolted the parts together, covered it with soil and this was now an Anderson shelter. Plans were now afoot for the evacuation of all children under 14 to the countryside for safety and in late July two of my sisters and myself were evacuated to a small village called Flamstead in Hertfordshire.
This was a very sad day for the family and in a matter of weeks war was declared. This was to be the quiet before the storm. Even at the tender age of 10 music was influencing my life, being a great comforter on many a lonely evening as we listened to the radio in the parlour. Vera Lynn would bring a lump to my throat with her programme addressed to us evacuees with songs to suite, but the song that haunts me even to this day is “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” sung by Judy Garland.
Monday, 28 December 2009
As we moved on in the 30s’things were changing fast. The film industry was expanding and the new Odeon cinema was near completion at Dalston. This meant there were nine cinemas within walking distance of each other, plus the two music halls (Hackney Empire and Alexander palace).
This also heralded the start of the changeover of the tram to the new trolleybuses. It was an exciting time for us watching all the work progressing. As the first of the new buses appeared a new source of income emerged The typical road layout for the trams was 2 triple tracks (the centre one being a conductor via a slot in the middle). There was usually enough room between the tram and the pavement for a vehicle to pass,but getting on and off the tram could be a little hairy. The road surface on the local tram route was in two parts ,on either side of the tracks consisted of stone cobbles,and the tracks were set in treated bricksize hardwood blocks.
When the work to remove the tracks began the wood became scrap, and was fair game for me and my scavenging mates. These blocks had been impregnated with a flammable liquid and coated with a thick coating of bitumen. We would collect them by the armful dodging the workmen and then using my dad’s chopper to cut our “tarry blocks“ in half. The fact that they burnt fiercely on open fires made them good sellers.
Monday, 23 February 2009
For starters their was no school dinners so every lunchtime involved a trip home for our main meal. No fast foods then so all meals cooked fresh e.g. Steak&kidney pudding/pie, cottage pie rabbit or mutton stew, conger eel. sausage toad.As for sweet, this could be baked rice pudding , spotted dick, fresh or tinned fruit with custard.
Sunday was special, late Saturday afternoon mum would go to a small market called the "Kingsland Waste" where at the end of trading the local Butcher would sell off cheap any remaining meat enabling us to get our Sunday roast. What a feast!
In the afternoon you would hear the cry "Shrimps Winkles" and outside there was a man with an open barrow laden with seafood. A pint of Shrimps and a pint of Winkles became our tea.
Snacks for example, bread and margarine dipped in sugar, fish paste sandwich etc.
Breakfast was usually porridge and bread and jam.
Sunday boiled egg or "fry up". As our small gas cooker had no grill, toast was a winter luxury only obtainable when our living room fire was glowing enough to toast bread on an extended fork in front of it (toast has never tasted better).
We very seldom ate chicken as it was too expensive, all free range in them days.
Saturday morning was treat breakfast. A breakfast roll with real butter and a chocolate teacake.One treat was bread and "dripping" or "dripping" toast .When our roast Sunday dinner was finished the residue in the roasting dish was poured into a pudding dish and when set was used to spread on bread or toast .this mixture of lard and meat juices was our "dripping.
Saturday was another time for special meals, Kippers, Smoked Haddock,pie &mash,
Sunday, 22 February 2009
All my relatives lived (with one or two exceptions)within a 2 mile radius which was the norm in those days.
For a Sunday treat in the summer mum would make some banana sandwitches and a bottle of drink consisting of water and lemonade powder (sugar and lemon flavouring). We would catch a no.47 tram to London docks walk through to tower bridge and at low tide a flight of stair was lowered to a small beach .With the docks being so busy the raising of tower bridge was quite common.
The real big day out was a trip to Southend. A 49 tram to Liverpool street station and then a train ride . A special treat being a "Rossi" ice cream cornet on the front This being our main holiday about twice a year but "magic"