Every boy’s dream a Meccano Set
The BSA Bantam, an underpowered, uncomfortable machine much beloved by the GPO for putting Telegram Boys on.
Firstly a big welcome to Richard from Craven Arms, he is not an old school mate but loves Nostalgia.
Play and Present
When we were kids there were two distinctive forms of play, In doors and Out doors and very often those friends that you played with in doors were different from the friends you played with out doors.
For us toys were something you got at Christmas and on your Birthday, possibly when you were ill or had done something really good or maybe when a relation came to stay and that was it. These presents were often treasured items, which you would carefully look after as if life itself depended on it!
As a lad I remember playing with toy soldiers or model cowboys. I would scrounge an old Corn Flakes Box from my Mum and cut out a few turrets and towers I would then stack cushions all around this homemade cardboard fort to represent hills and valleys and I would play like that for hour after hour.
Around the mid 1950's I was given my first Meccano Set as a Christmas present. I cannot remember the size or number set it was but I do know that it was a large enough to build a crane with working lifting gear and a bucket.
For Christmas one year I had a clockwork Hornby Train Set with two locomotives, one green and one black but both always seemed to go so fast they kept coming off the tracks. I also remember that someone, an uncle I think, at sometime bought me an electric train set that ran on batteries with screw terminals on the top of them. This set had a London Underground profile so that once the line was laid and working enormously elaborate tunnels made out of books had to be constructed.
I had a bay window to play in the front room at home. There was space enough between the sofa and window big enough for me to manoeuvre myself around in quite easily. This area kept me occupied for ages. It became my ship’s bridge, the cockpit of a spacecraft or an international space station or even a pirate ship sailing the Spanish Maine. Most of us around that period of time simply didn't have the distractions of the other things that are around today TV, electronic games etc, We had fewer toys but a lot more imagination!
Outdoors, whether it was your own garden, someone else’s or a piece of common land just down the road, consisted of an endless list of play things. The tree's in my own garden were about the best thing for me. They became houses, mountains, castle's and hideouts and dens. The other, most important, thing was that they became the supplier of twigs in the shape of a Colt revolver or a bow to fight off the nasty Sheriff of Nottingham's men, a stave for Little John, or even the basis for a catapult. Sometimes if we could find a piece of wood and some old rope we would make a swing! And there was always conkers, sticky buds and apples and pears to scrump.
Normal things became, by necessity something else; the wheelbarrow was the 31 bus to Brighton or a massive steam locomotive speeding it's way from Portsmouth to Plymouth. Yes, the wheelbarrow could be transformed into almost any thing!
As the 50's progressed I, and my contemporary’s ,started to get fewer and fewer smaller presents but these were swapped for a few 'larger presents'. My first bicycle being one. This was a Royal Enfield Bermuda which was purchased from the toy and bicycle shop run by Mr Wynn in Drayton. This was a prized possession and was something I cleaned once a week or got my ears clipped. This substituted the Wheelbarrow and before long the imaginary journey's of the garden were transferred to the pavement.
Every Christmas and Birthday wish was for quite some time was for something new to do with the aforementioned train set or bike although Airfix Kits were popular and I soon built up a collection of aircraft, ships, car and buildings.
The 1950's were hard years for our parents, we knew little of their struggles, they had come out of a War in which they lost some of the most important years of their life and it couldn't have been easy for them.
But, as we found out as kids if you couldn't find happiness in reality, you could in your imagination!
Keep in touch
To answer Keith's (actually his name was Chris, my mistake last week, Peter) question.........His name was William (Bill) Ternouth..........and Tin Tack was his nom de plume......he was well known by the the lads in Court Lane......any infringement he would haul us to the front of the class take an open palm hand in his left and bring down his right hand on it........at some point (when we all had Dinky Toy race cars in our pockets) we would cover our palm with 3 in one oil....Thought we had him........ but the oil only made the sting harder......and he sent us off to wash our hands..........Ken Milne hated him He actually was a good hearted soul....He drove and upright Green Ford Prefect and moved his wife and two kids into a new housing development off of Court Lane........as I recall that street was fairly close to Stephen Long's house..............Whenever we saw him out and about he would always say hello Vale and shake hands with my Mum and Dad........I had no idea dear old Florence lost it in her later years........I still have crystal clear visions of her walking around the school corridors and classrooms in the summer with our family pet cat (Rosalind) under her arm............Perhaps that was the writing on the wall........
News and Views:
A London judge ruled that Gary Glitter still poses a "significant danger to children here and abroad" and extended the ban on Gary travelling from England for another year. Gary was deported from Vietnam to England two years ago after serving three years in prison for child molestation.
On this day 2nd October 1960-1965.
On 02/10/1960 the number one single was Tell Laura I Love Her - Ricky Valance and the number one album was Down Drury Lane to Memory Lane - A Hundred and One Strings. The top rated TV show was No Hiding Place (AR) 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 02/10/1961 the number one single was Johnny Remember Me - John Leyton. 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 Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.The big news story of the day was Sunday Night at the London Palladium (ATV)".
On 02/10/1962 the number one single was She's Not You - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Best of Ball Barber & Bilk. 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 Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 02/10/1963 the number one single was She Loves You - The Beatles 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.The big news story of the day was US predicts Vietnam victory by 1965.
On 02/10/1964 the number one single was I'm Into Something Good - Herman's Hermits 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 02/10/1965 the number one single was Tears - Ken Dodd and the number one album was Help - The Beatles. 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.