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Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Web Page No 784

Firstly you will notice that I have opened a new section on the blog, ie school photo’s. I have put some there this week and I will add another one or so every week to complete the collection, at the moment I have 51 different pics from school days (not including the one of me with various young ladies!!!) so if you have any school pics to add to the list send them along so we can all share them. Also in the lower section are pics of the 60’s but not of school.





To us born in the 1940’s this was pre-decimalization money not the happy pills that the letters became associated with in the 60’s . A ha’penny was half a penny, good for 4 mojos or fruitsalads at the newsagent. Tu’pence was two penny's not a separate coin, but thru’pence was a thru’penny bit; thick, brass and with 12 sides. A silver sixpence was a tanner, a good choking size for Christmas puddings and for much of my young life the tooth fairies standard rate. 12 pennies made a shilling or bob. A half-crown was 2 shillings and sixpence, a big substantial coin and my weekly pocket money later. We knew about the half crown but we never saw a full crown. Notes started at 10 shillings or 10 bob note, these and postal orders for any amount are why my generation still shake their birthday cards when they open them. Posh stuff was priced in guineas, but I have no idea why. Everyone always mocks the eccentricity of 12 pennies to the shilling, 20 shillings to the pound but it was a very practical currency. 12 is a very sharing number, divisible by 2, 3, 4 & 6. Base 10 is great for mathematics but less useful for divvying up when small people have their hands out expectantly. The tables necessary to convert old pennies to new pence in the 70's were quite something. Mind you some old fashioned shop keepers for ages refused to use the new money and carried on pricing in LSD, even though that was.
Conker Season
Crazes would suddenly happen at school and in the streets, some sort of toy or game would suddenly become popular. Stilts might appear but I never knew anyone who bought stilts, they were universally made by Dad. Conkers, marbles, bubble gum cards would suddenly show up at school for no reason and dominate the playground as would yo-yo’s, marbles and toy cars. Conkers was a profit making season for me as the next door neighbour had an enormous Horse Chestnut tree in their garden and it shed most of its conkers in our garden and I made some extra pocket money selling them by the bag. Our Comics would do promotions every now and then when circulation flagged. They would give away a cheap free gift like a flash banger - a triangular fold of paper that would unfurl with a bang when flicked. I liked the plastic pop gun; powered with enough extra elastic bands you could get a pencil to almost penetrate a cornflake packet. The free submarine which worked on Baking Powder was popular; and what was the point of the cardboard thing with the cuts that allowed you to put a policeman’s head on a ballet dancer’s torso with a footballers legs? Clickers were another pointless freebie. a piece of metal stressed so it "clicked" when bent, oh the long winter evenings just flew by...

Comics always carried adverts for instant stamp collector kits.
Cereal manufactures would do the free gift promotions too. They would put stickers in the box, transfers that you rubbed a pen over to make them stick on a scene printed on the box, divers and underwater, a space scene, you could place your transfers anywhere you liked, and they got everywhere. You could also collect packet tops and send away for something big, made in Hong Kong.
We had uncles and grandparents who had seen war, some of them two. If they hadn't, then they'd done National Service where they'd seen foreign parts. There were tales to tell either way.

Some of my friends still had air raid shelters in the garden (ours was filled in), some were concrete, some corrugated iron. We played in them, and people grew rhubarb near them or raspberries up them. Us lads all wore short trousers of course, changing to long trousers was a right of passage to start the growing up process. Long trousers on a kid would wear out too fast; bare knees were self repairing, more or less.

Central heating at home meant the fireplace and you learned to keep the doors closed behind you. Carpets were definitely not wall to wall and a fireguard was placed up front to protect the rug and the cat from tumbling coals. There was a big concrete bunker in the back garden for storing the coal which was delivered by a bloke from the Co-op (Mum wanted her divi) in a Donkey Jacket hefting Hundredweight bags of coal d into the bunker. Coal came in canvas bags with a round metal seal on the top attached by wire, from the bunker coal was taken into the house in a scuttle that stood by the fire ready for a top up, putting more coal on was very manly to small boys. Fires had to be cleaned out and produced "clinkers", twisted and fused sculptures of ash and coal, smashed up gleefully with the poker.
The local Newsagent sold everything from shoelaces to Plasticine and Newspapers of course. It closed at 5pm and like everything else only opened a half day on Wednesdays. If you needed anything; from petrol to food, after 6pm you were out of luck. Only Off-licenses opened at night, Sunday of course everything was shuttered and closed. On the other hand, if you were sick, the doctor would come to visit you, at your own bedside, 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Furniture was a three piece suite and a sideboard and a pouffe if you were posh. Kids got the pouffe or the floor. The sideboard had everything crammed into it, booze in the cupboards, bills in the top drawer and knitting needles in the middle ones. On top was a fruit tray that never saw any fruit and a biscuit barrel.
A washing machine never appeared in our house in fact in her whole lifetime my mother never owned a washing machine. Washing was hung on the line and carrying the laundry basket and handing up clothes pegs was another kid duty. Wet shirts flapping into your face was one memory, synchronizing hands and walking together to fold sheets was another and
everything was ironed.

I loved getting guns; cap, spud or dried pea. Can you still buy caps? Newsagents and toy stores sold them, thin strips of paper with a tiny blob of gunpowder, they came in little round paper cases the size of a bottle top. Caps went bang on impact; either just for the noise in cap guns or to actually propel something like a piece of potato. Spud guns never lived up to your expectations. The black Lone Star spud gun looked like a revolver and had a side loading chamber into which you placed a small cartridge with potato embedded at one end and a cap at the other or as many caps as you could get in it. A catapult was the most offensive weapon available and some hardware stores actually sold catapult elastic by the foot, it must have been used for something else, but what?

Take Care


Martin Writes:-

That teacher in the photo in the gallery on the right with a question mark is Mr. Dennison......PE teacher.......cannot yet remember his first name.

ED : there will be more Highbury Memories next week

Connie Francis' hometown of Belleville, New Jersey will name the auditorium of Belleville High School, her old school, after her and will dedicate "Connie Francis Court," at the corner of Greylock Parkway and Forest Street where she lived for two years.


On 01/11/1960 the number one single was Only the Lonely - Roy Orbison and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Bootsie & Snudge (Granada) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions

On 01/11/1961 the number one single was Walkin' Back to Happiness - Helen Shapiro and the number one album was The Shadows - Shadows. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 01/11/1962 the number one single was Telstar - The Tornadoes and the number one album was Out of the Shadows - Shadows. The top rated TV show was The Royal Variety Performance (BBC) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 01/11/1963 the number one single was You'll Never Walk Alone - Gerry & the Pacemakers and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 01/11/1964 the number one single was (There's) Always Something There to Remind Me - Sandy Shaw and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions

On 01/11/1965 the number one single was Tears - Ken Dodd and the number one album was The Sound of Music Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was 7 die in UK hurricane-force winds.

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