Illustrated memories of childhood from Eastbourne

Extracts from reminiscence groups Nov-Dec 2007

Group run by Gayle Brown and Jacqui Gadd

"On Fridays the groceries would arrive with an errand boy. He would have a bike with a basket on the front - I fell in love with the errand boy - when he went into long trousers it was dreadful!"

Photo:"He would have a bike with a basket on the front - I fell in love with the errand boy."

"He would have a bike with a basket on the front - I fell in love with the errand boy."

Illustration by Heather Hokey. From WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

"There were six of us in the family, four children, and we used to have a party. We had aitchbone of beef and the decorations all went up. I was 10 in 1922, and we had mostly beef. You were asked to go to different members of the family so it varied each year."

Photo:"We used to have a party. We had aitchbone of beef and the decorations all went up."

"We used to have a party. We had aitchbone of beef and the decorations all went up."

Illustration by Heather Hokey. From WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

"There was a church called St Anne's in Upperton Gardens and I was there from when I was 8 till 16 years of age. It was the end of the war, VE day, so I was about 12, 13, and my older sister (she was like a mother to me), she took me to my first dance at the Winter Garden. I borrowed one of her dresses and I can remember going to this dance. In those days you didn't go with a partner; you stood at the back wall in the Winter Garden and then the men came and asked you to dance and if they didn't, then you were a wallflower; and then you walked home afterwards. There were quite a few of those dances and we wore long dresses and gloves."

Photo:"The men came and asked you to dance and if they didn't, then you were a wallflower."

"The men came and asked you to dance and if they didn't, then you were a wallflower."

Illustration by Heather Hokey. From WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

"Granny took us to the pantomime on Boxing Day afternoon and all the men went to the football. We went to the Empire in Croydon. We used to get on the old tram up at Norwood junction and go all the way through to Croydon and walk to West Croydon station to the Empire. We'd be about six rows behind because they would throw sweets for the children and the sweets used to reach us. My brothers used to fight for them - they were rough, my brothers!"

Photo:"They used to throw sweets for the children and my brothers used to fight for them."

"They used to throw sweets for the children and my brothers used to fight for them."

Illustration by Heather Hokey. From WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

"I remember the little trolley things, you pulled it and it went to the cashier - the shopkeeper had this wire that was rigged up that went from the assistant to the cashier's desk and they pulled it across the ceiling - they put it (the money) in a little brass pot as well, and the cashier would deal with it. I longed to do that! ... and the change would come back."

Photo:"I remember the little trolley things, you pulled it and it went to the cashier."

"I remember the little trolley things, you pulled it and it went to the cashier."

Illustration by Heather Hokey. From WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

"The next session was the Isolation Hospital for scarlet fever, which was up at Cherry Gardens and there was a diphtheria hospital at the bottom. Those of us who'd had scarlet fever, we had a horror that we would have to go down (to the other hospital): we'd heard such tales about 'the diphtheria' (hospital). I can vividly remember these mugs of something that was like mustard and sulphur that we had to drink every day - it was horrible, that's what they dished us out there. We weren't allowed visitors; our parents only looked through the window there."

Photo:"We weren't allowed visitors."

"We weren't allowed visitors."

Illustration by Heather Hokey. From WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

"I remember my elder brother, they called the doctor in and he had appendicitis, so the doctor said he had to get him to hospital as soon as possible. So Dad got the pony and gig out, Mum got William ready for hospital (that was St Andrew's College Hospital) and that must have been five or six miles away, so by the time they got him to the hospital, he had a burst appendix and that in those days was very serious. So as a little boy, I hated the doctor. I hated doctors! I hated the doctor because he took my best friend, my brother, away. Every time that doctor came to the farm, I used to run. In those days, the doctors were all black-suited, black coat, black hats and a black bag. It was scary I think, for a little boy. If I saw his car coming, I used to run. If I saw it about half a mile away, I was off. I'd go through the kitchen, through the dairy, across the stable yard, over by the shed, across the farmyard through the stacks of hay and the corn, over the wall by the dyke and I used to run about a quarter of a mile into the woods - and I used to hide there until the doctor left - and he'd never know this thing. We wore boots - you have to be well booted in the country, no such thing as shoes."

Photo:"If I saw the doctor's car coming, I used to run."

"If I saw the doctor's car coming, I used to run."

Illustration by Heather Hokey. From WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

"And I can remember my Grandmother having gas mantles. As a treat I was stood on the table and allowed to pull it. It was in the middle of the ceiling with the dining table underneath. They used to let me stand on the table."

Photo:"As a treat I was stood on the table and allowed to pull on the gas mantle."

"As a treat I was stood on the table and allowed to pull on the gas mantle."

Illusration by Heather Hokey. From the Heritage Plus archive

This page was added by Kirsty Henshall on 09/09/2008.

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