1940 Childhood 2

1940s Childhood Part Two


Mr. Maule had a small shop in the front room of his house, and we went there to buy penny sticks of liquorice root, aniseed balls, and barley sugar sticks. He was the only person we knew who had a fridge, and he sold homemade penny ice lollies which were very popular. He had several children and the boys would pick blackberries on Waldridge Fell during “Blackberry week” (October School holidays, also called tattie picking week) and come around the doors to sell them for 6d a large bag, Although we picked blackberries ourselves, my mother always bought a bag from them, as the boys were only about 8 to 10 years old and she said that she appreciated how long it must have taken to pick them.

When the council came to tarmac the front streets of Lawrence Street and Adelaide Street, the local boys would pinch a lump of pitch off the back of the wagon, then broke it up with a hammer, and all the children got a piece to suck. I quite liked the taste of it and everyone went around with a black mouth, teeth, and tongue. Today’s Health and Safety Brigade would have had a “dicky fit” – but we all survived!

 Citrone’s had an ice cream factory in Edward Street, and there was a Wafer Factory in Osborne Road. Citrone’s ice cream van came around the doors, but all the children waited until Tot Anderson’s van came, they liked him because he sold cornets with monkey’s blood on for only a penny (I think that he was related to the Citrone Family, so they still got the trade.)

Favourite Pastime

One of my favourite pastimes was playing with a cut out cardboard doll. It was bought in book form, and you pressed it out from the cardboard back and slotted the stand together. Inside were several pages of clothes, with tags on the shoulders and waist which fastened around the doll. Then using the dresses as template, you created your own designs, spending many hours making them and colouring them in.

Old Granny

I don’t remember this lady myself, but my mother recalls that a lady known as “Old Granny” came to the door every Saturday. She was a respectable lady who lived in Gateshead and carried a tray around her neck which contained haberdashery items. She sold buttons, tape, shirt buttons, bias binding, press studs, threads, hair ribbons etc. Even though she came every week my mother said there was always something on the tray which she needed. One day when Old Granny was ill, she sent her husband instead, but before setting out she lectured him that he must wear his good suit as he was going to Chester-le-Street!

Reminiscence by Bunty for the Friends of CLS Heritage Group March 2011