Growing up in the 1940s/50s
A circle of good friends
I consider myself lucky to have grown up just after the war with rationing still in place, no TV, no video consoles or mobile phones, no designer labels but what we did have in abundance was a circle of good friends. Because there was nothing to keep us indoors apart from ‘Dick Barton’ and ‘Journey into Space’ on the radio, we were always out with each other, rain or shine. I lived in the Stanley Road/Shaftesbury Road area and as kids, Harris’s forecourt on the junction of these two roads was our meeting place.
Games of imagination
Depending on what we had seen at the ‘Dukes’(Duke of York’s cinema) recently, Harris’s would be a submarine, foreign legion fort, western town or such like. We would play ‘tabs’ and marbles, and enjoyed racing round the block formed by Stanley, Shaftesbury, Clyde and Lorne Roads on foot or bike. We would go out for the day, our favourites being Sweet Hill, where there was an old Bren gun carrier and Hollingbury ‘Roman camp’. They were building the Hollingbury estate at that time, so it was a good source of material for building our own camps.
Fun in Preston Park
We would usually be home very early because we’d eaten all our sandwiches, drunk all our pop and were hungry. We would go out to Preston Park to play cricket or football or maybe bunk into the cycle track when a meeting was on. When it rained we would visit Mr Bert the basket maker in Lorne Road, or race cigarette packet boats down the rain filled gutters of Stanley Road. Sure we had our squabbles but they were soon over and forgotten.