Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Call The Midwife  (Read 6489 times)


  • Joined Nov 2008
Call The Midwife
« on: February 20, 2013, 07:10:22 pm »
Watch this last night ( recorded ) found it not only upsetting but made me think more about what life was like for my gran who had  8 children and lived in a tenement building with a shared outside toilet. The sitting room come kitchen had two recess beds, then their was gran and granpa's bedroom. A front room with a bit curtained of that had a bed in it. Front room was kept for special occasions. I had lots of cousins and most Sundays we all ended up at grans. I remember lots of sing-songs parties, all my fathers family sang and played some sort of musical in-strutmeant. Life must have been so hard and how they managed with no washing machine just a wash house for the whole building. Kitchen bit was a cooker and a sink. I was 11 when My mother got her first washing machine and she got my aunt to bring over her washing so they could try it out. We do not know just how easy a life we have. By earning more we want more, maybe life was better when there was not so much stuff in the world that adverts tell you we cannot live without. You came home from  school to your mother who had time to listen to your day. Now kids are lucky if there is anyone to come home too. You did not talk back to your elders, try telling a child that today and see what you get. My mother did an amazing job with myself and my brothers on very little. I wonder if my kids think the same of me,who was always busy working to keep them in shoes, clothes and food while their dad gambled away our money.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 07:12:14 pm by sabrina »

Lesley Silvester

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: Call The Midwife
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2013, 09:07:38 pm »
It was harder then but I think people were more content with what they had.  I grew up in the 1950s and we didn't have much money.  I had one pair of shoes, wellies and plimsolls but that's all anyone else had so there was no pressure.  My granddaughters have their school shoes, their every day shoes,  trainers, boots and even party shoes.  We considered ourselves fortunate if we had party dresses.  In the summer, our winter shoes, which we would have grown out of by spring, were replaced by T-bar sandalls - more like shoes but with cut-out patterns in the leather.  By the end of the summer holidays they would be getting tight but it was too early to buy the winter shoes, so my dad would cut the toes out to allow a bit more growing room.

Yes, my mum was at home when we got back from school and would play with us until it was time for her to get tea.  My grandparents lived with us, although they had their own living room.  We had a lot more freedom then as well.  Weekends and holidays, my brothers and I would be off playing in the woods opposite our house.

If we wanted to make a phone call, we walked the half mile or so to the phone box.  One of our neighbours had a phone and would let us use it in an emergency but otherwise, it was the walk.  We treated adults with respect or we'd be in trouble, and boy did we get punished if we misbehaved or came in late.  My brother was often grounded for weeks at a time - he was stupid enough to be late home from school while grounded for being late from playing and then come up with stupid excuses.  My dad told him that if he ever came up with an excuse my dad hadn't used that, even though it wouldn't be believed, he would be allowed to get away with it.

If our parents took us out, it wasn't going round the shops on a Saturday.  Poor, yes, but happy?  Definitely.


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Call The Midwife
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2013, 09:34:13 pm »
I for one would prefer to keep the washing machine  :)

It seems more divided now - bigger divide between the haves and the have nothings.


  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: Call The Midwife
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2013, 11:11:25 pm »
I do think we had a better childhood, more freedom. Very little TV for a start. Mum grew some veg in the little garden we had with our council house. so did the neighbours. I remember having those sandals.

the great composto

  • Guest
Re: Call The Midwife
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2013, 11:20:29 pm »
Can somebody un-invent the mobile phone please


  • Joined Oct 2009
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2013, 11:26:18 pm »
That's me buggered then ! That's all that is keeping me in the 21st century .


  • Joined Jan 2012
Re: Call The Midwife
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2013, 07:42:43 am »
I grew up in the 50's as well, love call the midwife.....from what I remember about life, a lot of things were taboo......women did not have periods they had "women's problems" not sure about people sex life's but I know there was not much choice re contraception and as for the facts of life, well I guess we all got told by friends......I did, for years I thought when you wanted a baby you "do the deed" and I remember not actually knowing what the deed was!!   found that one out in time though!!!!
I remember mums boiler to wash our stuff in, it leaked all over the floor and our living/kitchen used to get steamed up, although I quite liked that. My mum never ventured out the door without her hair all done and a full set of make up.....she was a psychiatric nurse and worked shifts and my dad initially a self employed plumber then he worked for the water board.
I do remember uncomfortable clothing well, hand knittied itchy jumpers, fall down three quarter socks and baggy knickers that the elastic went in after a while., then our gabardine rain coats..I loved mine!!!  Every year, mum would get her providence check and do her Christmas shopping..I would also get a pretty party dress, not sure what my brother would have but he loved to look smart when we both went to the psychiatric hospitals Christmas party...that...was the highlight of the year....mind you I also got my hair done at the hospital hairdresses, with the patients and we both went to Saturday cinema there too.
My childhood was enjoyable, I often played in a world of my own or went to play out with friends....also we could go off more although we did  have a play park next to the cemetery and on the way to the psychiatric hospital, there were often flashers in the hedge...we took it as the norm!!!
We always had lodgers, they shared a bedroom, that all ended when I was a 11 as we moved and then I had my own bedroom, previous to that I had a single bed in my parents room.
We grew veg in the allotment behind our house and mum was a very good cook, dad made all sorts of things for the house, he was a good DIY'er life was simple, things change, not aways for the best but at least treatment for childhood killers and health and safety has improved!!!


  • Joined Apr 2013
  • Worcestershire
    • Its Baaath Time
    • Facebook
Re: Call The Midwife
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2013, 08:24:04 am »
Loving the series - read the books they were great.

My Dad grew up in the East End, born in 1942. The house he grew up in was shared with other families so they lived in 2 rooms and shared bathroom etc. They hung the washing across the street and scrubbed their doorsteps as that was a mark of how clean the family inside was!
My aunt was conceived during grandads trip home on leave from the war - My nan did tell me how it affected her and that she'd tried a hot bath and gin  :(   She struggled enough to just feed her son, my Dad. But they managed.
Dad relived all his stories of this lifestyle to my 11 year old when she was learning about WW2 and had to interview a relative  :)
Smallholding in Worcestershire, making goats milk soap for and mum to 4 girls,  goats, sheep, chickens, dog, cat and garden snails...


  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Call The Midwife
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2013, 08:33:39 am »
I grew up in the 50's. We were always allowed out to play and we played on the bomb sites. I didn't realise then that it meant bombs had fallen there. Anyhow, we made swings out bits of ropes strung over tree branches, collected broken plates to make pretty pictures and had a great time.
We lived with my nan and grandad in a rented property, we had the upstairs. There was a small room that was the lounge/kitchen and us 3 kids shared a bedroom. We had an outside loo and there was often newspaper instead of toilet paper. I can remember helping mum with the wash and using the mangle in the kitchen.
There wasn't much money and we didn't have a TV but on high days and holidays someone played the piano that was in nans lounge and we all sang.
We didn't have much but they were happy days.
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits


  • Joined Jan 2012
Re: Call The Midwife
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2013, 09:19:19 am »
Arh the Mangle...used to love that but often trapped my fingers!!! I would love a mangle now but they are very expensive, my mum and dad bought one of the first automatic twin tubs, Rolls Rapide and we had Cyril Loyd carpet!!   :innocent:
we only had the outside loo, then of course we had a pottie or gozunder that went under the bed!!
Funny how we had so little space but were happy with it?

Fowgill Farm

  • Joined Feb 2009
Re: Call The Midwife
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2013, 09:35:15 am »
My childhood was in the early seventies, i shared a bedroom with 2 younger sisters, we never had a phone until the eighties and a black & white tv, can remember the power cuts of the seventies and having to put money in the lec meter, mum would 'borrow' from our money boxes until dad got paid, she never worked and we always had proper home cooked meals. Her best friend had 8 children so we always lived in their hand me downs clotheswise as she had daughters who were older than us three girls. A big treat was to be taken to 'Young Yorkshire' for a party frock by our paternal gran.
I lived most of the time at my maternal Nan's as i got older as my mum suffered with ferocious PMT (i do too though it wasn't really known about then, womens troubles was the phrase!) and the more we got older the horrider she seemed to get. I'm thankful that these days women can get help with 'womens troubles'. Saying that i remember my childhood fondly we played out all hours and we had day trips to the nearby seaside in our old morris minor called Phyllis.
Mandy :pig:   

the great composto

  • Guest
Re: Call The Midwife
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2013, 10:41:27 am »
Arh the Mangle...used to love that but often trapped my fingers!!!
Oooh er that brings back memories - when I was about 7 i was leaning on one in the queue to get a drink - it was electric and someone turned it on - my thumb went in and nobody knew how to release the rollers so it had to be manually unrolled out.   
Lots of blood and distress.   
I have my thumb still but it is disfigured and has a lovely seam where it was stitched back together.   :gloomy:


  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: Call The Midwife
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2013, 12:28:34 pm »
Having lots of cousins clothes were passed down but one of my aunts was a great dressmaker and her party dresses were lovely. She made all her girls clothes even their wedding dresses. I always felt well dressed in those hand me downs. I hate how people have to answer their Mobil phones everywhere. There is no escape from them. I always felt safe as a child, its so sad that kids today do not have that. As for the facts of life, well that was something my mother could not talk about. Her own mother died when mum was 15 but she had been living with her gran for a while during her mum's illness so knew nothing when she got married. I got my 1st period at school and thought I was dying, I was only 11 so mum thought she had plenty of time to get round to talking about such things. We are a close family now but bringing up my brothers after my father left us must have been so hard for her. Boys need a dad I think. Both went into the army which to me was a good thing for them but mum was then on her own for a while before she met and married my stepfather. They say life makes you what you are so thanks to my mother I have a kind heart, willing to help others and strive to be a decent person.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Call The Midwife
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2013, 08:07:58 pm »
I was brought up by my grandmother and regaled with tales of how once a week she and her two older sisters had to bath the other 12 children first then bathed themselves last - in the same bathwater.  In the evenings they would go along the kerb at the local street market and pick up discarded cabbage leaves and other vegetables and take them home to put in the stewpot.  She was sent out to work at scrubbing doorsteps at the age of six and passed her school examination to allow her to begin full-time work when she was 12.  She could remember her mother screaming as she gave birth in the bedroom upstairs while one of her younger siblings was laid out in the parlour below.  Not-so-Good Old Days?

Lesley Silvester

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: Call The Midwife
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2013, 10:12:53 pm »
Yes, I wouldn't want to go back quite that far.

I remember being taught the 'facts of life' at school when I was about 13 or 14.  Our biology teacher was called Mrs McLelland.  She had had an operation to remove her knee cap and she used to bring it in to school in a jar to show us.  Sex education consisted of learning all about fish and their mating habits.  We were then taught about the mating habits of birds.  On the very last day of term she said, "Well, girls, I've taught you how fish mate and how birds mate.  Well, that's how humans do it."  And that was it.

For years I wondered it I was supposed to do it under water or in the air.   :roflanim:


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