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Frozen pipes and an outside loo

Whitehawk Road/Crescent
Image reproduced with kind permission of The Regency Society and The James Gray Collection

Just one coal fire

The winter months were always freezing in Whitehawk. The houses were not well insulated and it was quite common for the pipes to freeze and then burst, necessitating a visit from the plumber. Our only heating was from a coal fire in the lounge so there were frequent visits from the coal man who had to come through the kitchen to get to the coal cellar. Also the lavatory was outside and there was no lighting there. You just took a candle with you.

Showered with presents

Christmas was always a special time for me. I had lots of aunts and uncles, so I was literally showered with presents. It would be a grand gathering of the family with the adults playing cards into the early hours of the morning and me playing with my new ‘Meccano’ set. This was a time when very few people had a television and we made our own entertainment.  Also, Christmas was usually the only time of the year when you had chicken for dinner. A favourite food for most of the year would be rabbit.

Did you live in Whitehawk? Please share your memories by posting below.

My favourite radio shows

Most houses had a radio of course and there were certain programs that you looked forward to and would not want to miss. For me it was ‘Journey into Space’ at 7pm on Monday night. I can still remember that eerie music!  Then there was ‘Take it from Here’ on Thursday night with Jimmy Edwards and Ron and Eff.  Sunday lunchtime was the ‘Billy Cotton Band Show’  then ‘Educating Archie’, a ventriloquist on the radio but it did not seem odd somehow.

Comments about this page

  • All of the above that Ricky describes is my young life in the 40s and 50s living in Bennett Road. One cold tap in the kitchen and boil the kettle for any hot water. We did have a copper boiler in the kitchen but my dad in his wisdom knocked the thing down to make room for a spin drier or something else. If he had left the boiler in the kitchen it would have warmed the place up and also given plenty of steaming hot water. I wasn’t too wild about having  a bath on Sunday night as there was always more than a hint of being freezing bloody cold at some point especially if you were the last in the queue and the water was getting colder by the minute with the tin bath adding to it, (oh for that boiler). But even so I still look back with fondness at the time after the war as everybody was in the same boat. We made do, and repaired stuff instead of chucking it away. Our mums and dads must have had it difficult trying to make ends meet in those austere times. Today we have everything we want but still people moan at their lot. The outside loo was a joy to behold with the squares of newspaper hanging on the wall having been pierced by a length of string. Lovely times not easy forgotten.

    By Mick Peirson (16/03/2016)
  • Yes, I recall all those radio shows with affection, and also ITMA, and the wonderful Flying Doctor (Dick Bentley, and was it Alfie Bass?).

    By Stefan Bremner-Morris (17/03/2016)
  • Oh yes, I certainly remember burst pipes, Dad had to make a hole in the ceiling and the water poured down the stairs. The houses in the lower part of Whitehawk Avenue at least had inside loos and our coal cellar had a hatch from the outside, so no need to bring the sacks in through the kitchen.  Mick Pierson, do you have a sister called Pip?

    By Barbara Etherton (20/03/2016)
  • Does anyone remember ‘Bimbo’ (Lambert) who lived in Hervey Road – probably around 1930?

    By Dawn Parks (06/04/2016)
  • I previously asked if anyone remembers my Dad – Bimbo!  He may have also been known as Bimbo Burtenshaw (or Lambert).  I believe he was adopted by the Allen family and they lived in Hervey Road in the 1930’s.

    By Dawn Parks (28/04/2016)
  • Does anyone remember someone called Charles Judge?  I have just found out that my Dad’s Mum married him in the 1930s and they lived in Hervey Road.

    By Dawn Parks (18/07/2016)

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