A Compendium of "Memories" provided by members of the

Compiled and edited by Jeanagh Punter and Dave Dudley.

Going to School

I used to walk to school and home again by myself from the age of 5 - 7yrs from Cotterills Lane opposite Dancey's Farm (which is Cottlesfield Close on today's streetmap) to Alston Rd School. I've just measured it on the A-Z, about half a mile in each direction and I did that twice a day because I came home for lunch. So that was 2miles a day. I started school at 4yrs but went with a neighbour's daughter to start with who was 2yrs older and occasionally with Mom if she was well enough. That was when school started at 9am and finished at 4pm with lunch break 12 - 1.30pm. Children don't do that these days......Mary

I wonder if kids still get School Milk in those little bottles with the cream on top that often was sour when you drank it....Dave

In winter the teacher put our milk crates by the big pot bellied coke stove and the milk was just warm and tasted horrible, I preferred mine with the ice still on top......June

The little bottles (third of a pint) of free school milk disappeared in the 1970s when Margaret Thatcher was education minister. For years after the chant "Maggie Thatcher, milk snatcher" could be heard at political demonstrations on the TV news......Paul

I don't remember the 1940s but I do remember having laundry lessons at school where it took a triple lesson of 3hrs to wash, blue, starch, hangout and then iron a HANDKERCHIEF when I was 11....Mary

What about the blue, triangular bathing swimming 'trunks' at the Green Lane and Woodcock Street baths.

Those rotten woollen swimmers I almost drowned in them, I never did learn to swim properly

My knitted bathing costume hung round my knees too......Andrea

I also had knitted swimming costumes - Ugh! However I did learn to swim, Mother was a good swimmer and made sure I learned. I still hate jumping into the water and think the fear could be genetic - my daughter also will not jump into water and her daughter also has the same fear!

Then today I saw that the knitting pattern for the KNITTED SWIMSUIT was in Woman's Weekly in the olden days. Could our Mother's ALL have read Woman's Weekly?.......Jean

That got the mind wondering on to teeth (not Muffins, mine). No posh dentists when I was at school it was a trip to the school clinic in Sheep Street and then the promised bribe afterwards of a milkshake in Lewisís and then up to the roof garden on top of the store.......Mary

I can still remember my first day at school, crammed 52 in a classroom, with a huge rocking horse at the back. We learned to write with a slate pencil on an individual blackboard (or chalk if the pencils had been broken). We could all read and write and do mental arithmetic before we moved up to the junior school though......Jeanagh

King Kong

Speaking as a Birmingham child of the seventies, does anyone remember the King Kong statue near the Bull Ring and why on earth it was ever there?.......Andrea.

Yes,when I took my children into the Bull ring there it was. Probably didn't know what to do with him--what DID they do with it?.....Jean

King Kong was sold to a Car Sales company and then to one of the Scottish cities I think. There was some talk about having him back to sit on top of the Rotunda after the redoing the Bull Ring area but Scotland won't let him go. (He's still in existence and still working somewhere anyway)

This was another radio discussion of which I've only remembered a bit and it was very light - hearted so don't take this too seriously. One of the ladies on the radio phone in said it was her job to keep his feet clean, well she couldn't reach the rest of him. Another said that whilst he was outside the Car Salesroom someone dressed him up as Father Christmas I think other listers may have more accurate information.

HEY LOOK WHAT I HAVE JUST FOUND!! Click this website to see our KING KONG now in Edinburgh The page you wish to visit is: King Kong Statue at www.staffroom.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/king%20kong.htm Description: This statue of King Kong is now in Ingleston Market, Edinburgh, but used to stand in Manzoni Gardens, where the new Bull Ring is currently being built........Mary

Ailments & Medications

I can also remember like most of the kids being covered in Scabbies and having head lice..........Bernard
I got sugar sandwiches from my Nan when I had hurt myself......
I Remember the doses of Paraffin Oil, My Mother taking me to the nearest road works early in the morning to get a good breath of the freshly melted tar, It was supposed to ward of all ills and complaints......Roy

Waiting all day to be seen in Eye Hospital.......John

I have a vivid memory of having Mumps. No white bandage for me. It was the wooden darning mushroom covered with a cloth and periodically warmed up in front of the black - leaded grate in the living room.......

Oh how we loved getting a cough, because then the only remedy was butter and sugar mixed together in a little bowl.
This was supposed to stop us coughing. When older we graduated to a remedy I still use now. For bad colds and flu I always boil some lemonade at bedtime and take a couple of aspirins. For mumps you got a white bandage tied around your jaw-bone to hold up the lumps. Do you remember the mumps, chicken-pox and measles parties that were held? Any child with a disease had all the other children sent round to play with them. This ensured that you caught it and developed an immunity. I knew a young girl with TB who was nursed in her front parlour with all the kids of the neighbourhood popping in and out to keep her amused!
I think we were a whole lot healthier in those days. When you think of all the rubble and dirt around during and after the war and the flies and wasps crawling all over the bacon and cheese in the shops,it was a wonder that we survived. The muck probably inoculated us against disease. The old-fashioned remedies we grew up with have now been proved right. If you burned yourself, it went under the cold tap; a bunged-up nose, boil the kettle and get out the Friars Balsam; rheumatism, where's the wintergreen ointment?; a cut finger - got better if you sucked it.

It was announced about 2 months ago that scientists had found there was something in saliva that promotes faster healing. Amazing - I wonder how much that cost us, the public?........Jeanagh

And in the winter we had camphorated oil rubbed on our chests. Long hair wasn't allowed for fear of nits. We got them anyway, and the remedy was paraffin rubbed on our heads and then having to sit in the cold at the back of the room because it was dangerous by the fire......Sombra

Anyone for Delrosa Rose Hip Syrup?.......Chris

I used to love Virol - tasted like toffee, but I hated Scotts Emulsion which made me feel sick........Judy

Childhood medicines,I loved Parishes Food, Rosehip syrup and Lucozade which was only given in a small wine glass and had to sip it slowly as too much "was bad for you" (must have been expensive)
Hated Cod liver Oil, Syrup of Figs (perhaps that's why I don't like fig biscuits now) and Liquid Paraffin and most cough medicines. I could bear the smelly Vic rubs and being bright pink from dabbed-on Calamine Lotion....BUT - We are all still alive!
Whenever I was confined to bed with an illness I seem to be given a Pomegranite and told to eat the seeds by picking them out one by one with a pin, sucking the fleshy part off and discarding the pip. Was this just to keep me quiet and occupied? Perhaps the limiting of the Lucozade was to keep my energy levels low and stop me bouncing on the bed......Mary

This brings me memories of Castor Oil, and Cod liver Oil that we got a spoon full of daily in the war. Also a concoction made of Sulphur and I think Golden Syrup, that was a cure for colds and probably everything else........Dave

Ok ... I suppose I could jump on the bandwagon ... I was given a daily dose of Malt Extract, my hubby had Virol . I loved that stuff and eagerly awaited my dose. I also loved the sugar sandwiches, cocoa and sugar as a dip, fruit with evap. milk and bread and butter. All lovely memories ......Georgina

Does anyone remember a strait jacket? I admit to actually having been in one,admittedly when I was three years old, to stop me scratching an open wound after surgery......Jeanagh

How about Kaolin Poultices-I had long ringlets and when I caught diphtheria at age 10 before it was diagnosed on went the Kaolin Poultice round my throat. What a mess when I went into the fever hospital in Cottingham just outside Hull. Castle Hill is a big modern Hospital now ,I understand it is for heart cases /chest etc. Next door was the TB sanatorium. And how about that disgusting sulphur, make a cornet shape bag with no bottom in, spoonful of sulphur AND IF YOU BLOW BACK - WOEBETIDE YOU. I always did!!! wish I hadn't thought of that - sets your teeth funny.......Jean

The loneliness of being kept in bedupstairs, when ill. I hated it. We were given a small bell to ring if we needed something, but parent's level of need and mine were very different, and sometimes we were berated for ringing if we were just lonely. I can recall, when I had German measles at about 9yrs, my mother sitting with a shaded light beside my bed and letting down my summer dresses, I must have been " real sick". The memory of the loneliness stayed with me and my two were not kept in bed away from the family, a bed was made up on a old settee we had in the Dining Room, and family life went on around them......Helen

I remember being put to bed when I had measles when I was 4. When my own children had measles we made beds for them on the sofa. When they had chickenpox, they didn't suffer much, as they were soon up and about. We weren't though as both my husband and I caught it from them. I was 26, my husband 30! This was years ago, I don't recommend this - no fun at all.....Janet

Quotable Quotes

Just to add my two pennyworth regarding Birmingham Memories, I'm also translating for the FreeBMD website, 40,000 entries in the last 6 weeks and I also work full-time!!, but find the Birmingham memories a nice interruption.

Anyway, I work in the IT industry as an IT Trainer and you're supposed to have 5 minutes every hour away from the PC screen!! So why not look back on memories and share them with others!!
Life is too short to bicker... just enjoy the moment.
I feel better now, night night..........Maggs

I have enjoyed reading all he memories that started from a remark about pork pie & grapefruit for Christmas Day breakfast - never had this......Hilary

As I was born & bred in B'ham these recollections have bought back many happy memories of my childhood.

I was brought up on the Lichfield Rd in Aston, we were there right until the end, it was very strange and sad to see a whole community packed up and shipped out. All the "aunties and uncles" who I knew as a child disappeared off to live in the new wonderful high rise flats of Castle Vale. Oh how we envied them...little did we know they would end up being knocked down too......Jill

Hi, How nice to read about all the memories of B,ham and the old days -brings it all back to me.......Jack

I suppose Brummies all over the world are sitting with rapt expressions and glazed eyes as we remember our early lives......Jeanagh

I have recently joined the Birmingham list and have found it very nostalgic reading about sugar sandwiches, tinned fruit with evaporated milk and bread and butter......Margaret

Can I just say how much I've enjoyed all the "Bíham Memories" - as an "old" Brummie in exile I can relate to them all. Who can remember tyre bowling , collecting bomb fragments, double British Summertime and long, long sunny days [ did it ever rain when we were young ? ] Can any one remember the rhymes we used for "picking sides" - eg "one potato, two potato, three potato more -----------etc? Thanks for the memories........ Jack.

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