Top Picture:Demolished over forty years ago Widley Street on the north side of the Havant Road at Coham stands abandoned ready for the bulldozers.
Bottom Picture:Did your front room look like this at home? I know that there are some elements of the picture I recognise.
Fields, Circus’ and Chimneys.
I was passing the King George V playing fields the other evening and I started to remember firstly the estate of prefabs that sprung up there during the war (I don’t remember them being built!!!) and then I remembered standing by the playing fields in June 1953 as the Queen drove by on her Coronation tour. I vaguely remember that when the prefabs were flattened the area was turned into a rubbish tip for a while as some of the bomb holes etc were filled in; this resulted in the whole area being flattened by tractors with its attendant flock of seagulls. Of course after this the area was flattened to provide the playing fields and later, in the southwest corner, the building for the use of the Income Tax Offices, Lynx House. At least once the circus came to town and set up the Big Top on the field. Billy Smarts Circus actually paraded through Cosham High street all the way to the field and the lasting memory of this was the line of elephants all holding the one in fronts tail and ‘the Gov’ner’ riding along in a flash, white, open topped American car. The following day I was taken to see the Menagerie tent where one of the elephants trumpeted and scared me to death.
One of the things from the days of coal and coke fires that are almost a distant memory are those dreaded Chimney fires. One could smell the distinctive smell of burning soot streets away and it was a well known phrase to see someone sniff and then hear them say “someone’s got a chimney fire”. A chimney fire is definitely something that a householder did not want, not only because of the mess it made in the grate, on the hearth rug and the carpet BUT if the fire brigade were called and they attended, they doused the flames with a hose pipe up the chimney making even more mess. On top of all this they then would send the home owner a bill for attending. I can only ever remember us having one chimney fire at home which was promptly dealt with by my father who quickly marshalled us all out of the room and then stuffed wet sacks (where did they come from?) up the chimney to cut off the air supply and successfully putting out the fire and reducing the amount of mess that followed. These days of open fires certainly made sure that our parents either swept the chimney regularly themselves or, as they put it, ‘get the sweep in’.
My folks never attempted to sweep the chimney themselves as some parents did, they always relied on a man in a sooty black van and a large vacuum cleaner type machine and a set of brushes. We always knew when the sweep was coming as mother always pushed all the movable furniture as far away from the grate as possible and then covered everything she could with, dust sheets, old curtains, old sheets and the like. I remember it was a fascination for us kids to see the way he sealed the hearth and then started pushing rods up the chimney and asking us to go outside and let him know when the brush came out of the chimney pot. It never dawned on us that this was a ploy just to keep us out of the way, he must have known when the brush was clear through the change in resistance he felt in the chimney, but as I said, it kept us out of the way. But we were pleased to do it because, especially in December, because this meant that Father Christmas had a nice clean chimney to come down. When the chimney sweep had finished I often wondered, as he made his way back to his van with his bag of soot, what did he do with all the soot he collected?
I also remember something called a Chimney Imp which was a very volatile product that was supposed to burn off the soot within the chimney, but I know my father never trusted this and so never used it.
This talk of open fires opens up a completely new area of memory. The coalman, cutting fire wood to light the fire, making spills out of newspaper etc but I have dealt with all of these subjects on earlier in earlier postings.
Ah well back to today,
Keep in touch
Nothing this week!
News and Views:
Engelbert Humperdinck was inducted into the Walk of Fame in Leicester, on Sunday April 25th.
On this day 18th June 1960-1965.
On 18/06/1960 the number one single was Cathy's Clown - Everly Brothers and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Sunday Night at the London Palladium (ATV) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Arnold Palmer wins US Golf Open.
On 18/06/1961 the number one single was Surrender - Elvis Presley and the number one album was GI Blues - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was No Hiding Place (AR) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 18/06/1962 the number one single was Good Luck Charm - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 18/06/1963 the number one single was From Me To You - The Beatles and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Conservative Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Cassius Clay defeats Henry Cooper in London.
On 18/06/1964 the number one single was You're My World - Cilla Black and the number one album was Rolling Stones - The Rolling Stones. 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 Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 18/06/1965 the number one single was Crying in the Chapel - Elvis Presley 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 Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was UK drink-drive alcohol limit to be introduced.