Margaret remembers Pea Soupers

Growing up with gran

Photo:Aged five, living in Harringay, North London

Aged five, living in Harringay, North London

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Photo:Sitting on an air raid shelter in Stoke on Trent

Sitting on an air raid shelter in Stoke on Trent

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

I'm working class, I grew up in my Nan's house we had two rooms, no sink, we lived in one room with a cooker and when we wanted to have a wash down everyone else had to go out of the room. I didn't even have my own bed, I slept with my Grandmother in her bed right into my teens.  The house was in Harringay North London - it was a slum running alive with mice. We used to have pea souper fogs. Buses used to creep along the road with a yellow fog light directed on the kerb so that they stayed on the road.

Kettle boiling

My Nan used to come and meet me from school with a big torch so that we could find our way home. When we got in my hair would be dripping down my face from the fog, she would give me a glass of wine to warm me up. There was a kitchen range in her back room with an oven, there was always a kettle boiling on the top. The coal cellar was under the stairs and the coalman used to have to bring the bags of coal through the house and shoot the coal under the stairs. He used to be given a sixpence as a tip (two and a half pence). The washing was boiled up in the copper in the corner of the scullery. My Nan used to use a washboard and rinse the washing with a reckits blue bag. She had white hair and she would use the blue bag to rinse her hair so that it had a blue tint.

So this is Christmas

We used to have a chicken on Christmas day. You had to pull the inside out yourself and sometimes there were eggs inside. It used to stink. We had Tizer on Christmas and holly paper on the table. We always sat down for dinner in time for the King's speech. Christmas was different then - no big sack of toys, only a stocking, they were not the good old days.

This page was added by Nicola Benge on 22/01/2008.
Comments about this page


If you'd like to reconnect with Harringay (including a number of members who lived here from 1923 on), you can join the neighbourhood website fro free - lots of old photos and memories.

We'd love to hear from you at

By Hugh
On 16/06/2009

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