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 In 1968, the free milk for chidren over eleven was withdrawn, and in 1979, it was withdrawn from children over seven.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.