More Childhood Memories In Photos

Free school milk.

To help combat vitamin deficiencies, school children were given free milk to drink at school. In 1968, the free milk for chidren over eleven was withdrawn, and in 1979, it was withdrawn from children over seven. To be the ‘milk monitor’ for the day was a prized job, as you could drink the extra milk declined by some of your classmates.

Sweet Shops.

Dedicated sweet shops could be found everywhere. You could buy sweets for as little as ‘4 for a Penny’, and the choice was huge. The sweets would be weighed, and put into little white paper bags. I still remember the wonderful smell inside those shops.

The Coalman.

When I was very young, our coal was delivered on a horse and cart. The arrival of the coalman was greeted with excitement by gardeners, as they would shovel up any horse manure for use in their back gardens. By the time I was around nine years old, the horses were being replaced by lorries that could hold a greater weight of coal.

The Milkman.

Home deliveries of milk were also done by horses, and that went on well into my youth. Once again, expectant gardeners would be waiting hopefully with their shovels and buckets.

Rag and Bone Man.

These men were also known as ‘Totters’. They used horses well into the 1980s, and some still do. They accepted any old clothes, rags, or pieces of cloth. Also animal bones. The rags would be sold to companies that recycled them into clothing, and the bones were sold to factories for use in fertilizers.

The Mangle.

Every household had a mangle, used to remove excess water from washed clothing and bedding before it was hung out to dry. I used to help my grandmother with hers, by turning the handle that operated the rollers. The one in this photo appears to have its own electric motor, as the lady is not turning a handle.

Two Balls Up The Wall.

In my childhood, this was the most popular game for a child that had nobody to play with, especially girls.

Tower Bridge ‘Beach’.

With London being so far from the coast, (around 55 miles) residents made the best of what was on offer, the banks of the River Thames at low tide. This old photo shows sand has been added to the riverbank, but most of the time it was just mud.

Cycling Safety.

Once you learned how to ride a bicycle, you could opt for Cycling Safety and Proficiency classes that were held in the school playground on certain days. The instructor was usually a local policeman.

71 thoughts on “More Childhood Memories In Photos

  1. This was delightful, Pete. What I find the most surprising is how many deliveries were done by horse when you were little. Even in the 50’s over here, most horses had been replaced by vehicles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Horses were cheap of course, and lived for many years. The men who used them were very local, and they did not travel far across London, not even outside one borough. The horses usually lived in courtyards behind their houses, and were always well cared-for.
      Best wishes, Pete,.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How fun to look back! I have many black and white photos too. Thank goodness for photographic evidence, as many of my memories would be lost entirely otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. (1) Would you call an albino monitor lizard a milk monitor?
    (2) Sweat shops are more numerous than sweet shops nowadays.
    (3) I once knew a coalman named Nat King.
    (4) Fun Fact: Had you skimmed the newspapers back then, you would have learned the whole truth, that only 2% of the milkmen had ever actually milked a cow.
    (5) Is it true that Rag and Bone men favored R&B music?
    (6) Mangle lore was once very popular in the port city of Mangalore, where local dogs were known to mangle foreigners. Political correctness prevails today, however, so don’t waste your time trying to squeeze anything out of tight-lipped Mangaloreans.
    (7) Harvey Wallbanger tells me that two balls up the wall is very painful.
    (8) Tower bridge: A card game once played by political prisoners in the Tower of London. It helped them pass the time…
    (9) When I was a kid, I got hooked on cutting bike trails out in the field. It never occurred to me that I should take a sickle safety course.

    Note: Great photos from a different era that seems far removed from today’s world.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When I returned to England to boarding school in 1962 having milk was wonderful. I loved the cream at the top. Did we have to collect the foil tops sometimes? For some sort of project? Maybe I am inventing that. My parents were not too pleased when my brother announced to them his ambition of becoming a rag and bone man. I have fond memories of all those horses. What a different world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A different world, but a simpler one. This was one charity that made money from recycling foil bottle tops. There were regular collections for many different charities.
      “The milkman would make doorstep deliveries each day in his electric milk float. Milk came in glass bottles with foil lids; after the bottle was empty it would be washed out and returned to the milkman to be used again. Many people will remember collecting the foil milk bottle tops and sending them in to the ‘Blue Peter’ Guide Dogs Appeal in 1964”.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Glad my memory is still working. I remember the sound of the electric milk float and the jangle of bottle knocking together. I remember my mum putting a note in a bottle saying what to leave next day but I think that was in Barbados. What was wrong with milk in bottles?. Too much trouble, too costly I suppose and not enough profit.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. The supermarkets killed them off, apparently. Too much trouble to send them back to the supplier I suppose. Your memory is fine, you just have to Google anything you are not sure about, like I did. 🙂
          Best wishes, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, gosh, this all seems like another era! My mother got her arm caught in the mangle up to her elbow when I was about 10 years old and it ballooned up dreadfully. Soon after we got a twin tub washing machine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My mum always took our washing to a laundrette when I was young. They were just opening up all over London and were all the rage…Then in 1967, she bought a front-loading washing machine! 🙂 (Much like the one I have now, in fact.)
      Best wishes, Pete. x


  6. My favourite game was ‘Two Balls up the Wall’. Owners of houses where I’d play would come out and shout at me and my friends for making too much noise. I remember the rag and bone man, Mum’s mangle, cycling proficiency lessons, staring at the sweet counter for ages before choosing, being a milk monitor, and the awful smell of the milk room (I would always drink one of the quarter pints of orange juice instead as drinking milk makes me nauseous). I don’t remember Tower Bridge beach or milk/coal being delivered by horse and cart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are that much younger than me that coal and milk were mainly on vehicles by then. My Nan’s house had a big side wall, and the ‘two-balls’ girls used to drive her crazy! 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I used to drive Mum and my neighbours crazy with that game. I can imagine now, 55 years later, how the noise must have irritated them. At my grandmother’s house in Bethnal Green I remember the ‘Winkle Man’ who came down the road pushing his barrow full of seafood. Nan would send me out with a jug to get a pint of winkles for Grandad’s tea. He would pick the winkles out with a pin and pour vinegar on them.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Where my Nan lived, the Winkle Man had a stall outside the pub on the corner. He also sold cockles, shrimps, crabs, and prawns. It was very traditional to have a ‘Shellfish Tea’ on Sunday evenings, when we would have already eaten the main meal of a roast dinner at 2pm.
          Best wishes, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. These are wonderful, Pete. I’m sure I remember a mangler from when we lived at my grandma’s when I was very young. Thanks for the nostalgia, even for memories that don’t belong to me. Have a wonderful week!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. We had pretty much the same things as you did as a child … we had a “Rags and Old Iron Man” … we had home milk and bread delivery, we never had anything free at school though …There were no horse and wagon deliveries was all lorries …we did use home delivered coal for heating and cooking …your youth and mine seem to have a lot of similarities. Great post, by the way .. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I remember the school milk for sure and when it got left out in the sun, you got a visit from the “sawdust man” (caretaker).
    Its now been replaced with coke & crisps.!!!
    The others I only seen on TV shows like Steptoe.

    Liked by 1 person

            1. Even in our local Tesco the fish is being sold at silly prices, especially Salmon fillets. I bet the fishermen and trawlermen aren’t seeing any of those increases. They blame it all on Brexit of course. x


  10. You’ve hit that spot again Pete, so many memories flooding back, I can relate to every photo (even the beach on the Thames) There was a shop in Christchurch before the earthquake on Colombo street that sold sweets the same way he also added up on the bag (had to watch him his Maths was sometimes lacking, strangely always in his favour)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we used to have the Corona Man in the late 1960s, but we had no bread delivery man where I lived in central London. Mum had to walk to the baker’s shop. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.


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