Mother’s Day 2023

It is Mother’s Day here in England. I no longer have a mother to celebrate with. But Julie is my wife, and a mother of four children, so she has something to celebrate.

She is spending time with one of her daughters this evening, but I have no idea if the other three chidren will get involved.

So happy Mother’s Day to my wife, the mother of four children. She is also a great Mum to our dog, Ollie. He cherishes her.

I hope she has an enjoyable day.

What Kids Did Before The Internet

Being outside was a huge part of growing up. These kids, and their parents, knew how important that was. Wherever you lived, I am sure you will identify with this, as long as you are over forty!

Leap Frog.

Reading Comics.


Hoses in hot weather.

Riding bicycles.

Walking to and from school with a friend.

Hide and Seek.

Playing Jacks. (Or marbles)

Climbing unsupervised at the park or playground.

Pogo Sticks in the street.

‘Oranges and Lemons’.

Hopscotch in the road or school playground.


Children And Their Pets: Vintage Photos

I found these online. There were no dates given, but most of the photos appear to be very old. No individual photographers were credited, but they all come from a Pinterest site called ‘Vintage Everyday’.

The little boy looks sleepy.

Waiting for someone to come home?

Cats on a hat!

Happy child, happy dog.

A pet Lion! Not sure I would let a baby play with it.

Feeding her bunnes.

On her bike with her faithful dog.
(This appears to have been taken in Central Park, New York City.)

Another dangerous pet. An Alligator!

Feeding a lamb with milk.

A young clown with his pet pig!

A pet dog big enough to ride like a pony.

Her pet Chicken.

They both have to wear the same hat.

Some Random Cheerful Photos

It’s nice to smile at a photo occasionally, and I found quite a few old images online that served the purpose.

A little girl and her loyal old dog.

He is obviously a cat lover!

She likes her reflection so much, she is kissing it.

Learning from adults how to walk along the street.

This chubby little girl is delighted with her new roller skates.

Definitely not enjoying his open-air bath!

He is starting young!

The Priest is still a man!

And she was blissfully unaware that she created a photo-opportunity.

Another boy starting young.

The girl on the right is upset not to receive his kiss.

Guarding her brother while he pees up a wall.

Pegged out on the washing line.

Indoor tobogganing using a plastic box.

She had to stand on something to reach the telephone.

Handstands and stocking tops.

Children Playing: 1890-1979

I often post photos of children who suffered because of poverty and poor living conditions. By contrast, here are photos of children playing and having fun, taken during 1890-1980, and from all around the world.

1890. This lucky boy wheels his toy train past a shop window.

America, 1900. Leap-Frog is still popular today.

Europe, 1910. A set up photo to show a girl and her cat.

Edwardian children with their stilts. 1910.

America, 1920s.

Boys playing in old car tyres.

Sisters on their new tricycles.

Wartime Britain.

1950s Lamp-post swing in post-war Britain.

Play in the park.

American boys with a toy car and bike.

Hanging upside down is always popular.


Japanese children.

Walking the rails in rural America.

School break time.

Potentially dangerous inner-city play.


Russian children playing in snow.

New York City, still enjoying trying stilts.

Poor Children In Industrial England: 1881-1901

In the last two decades of the reign of Queen Victoria, large sections of the population of England still lived in abject poverty. This was especially true of the industrialised north of the country, where the increase in the population following people seeking work in factories caused overcrowding. This left orphaned children roaming the streets, and others left to fend for themselves by working parents.

Reformers, mostly wealthy people with social consciences, tried to do something about this and set up organised Chidren’s Homes and Care Homes For Children. They also employed photographers to document the condition of the children taken into care, and those still out on the streets. Most of the following photos were taken over a twenty-year period in and around the city of Liverpool. Some of the images are heartbreaking.

Young working girls at a cotton mill. Look at the expressions on their faces. No hope.

Three children taken into a home after being found wandering on the streets.

A girl found living alone in a loft in a deserted house. She had some kind of development issue, and had likely been abandoned.

A young girl singing and dancing on a pub table to earn money.

This child has malnutrition, and was close to death.

This boy was taken in a home after being constantly beaten by his parents.

Boys playing cricket in a main square in the city. They drew a crowd for their game.

Two brothers found living on the streets. They were taken into care.

Happier children posing on a large fountain in the city.

This girl was taken into care, and had to had her head shaved because the hair was crawling with lice.

Five children from the same family. The water in their home was unfit to drink, so they had been drinking Gin, and were all found drunk. They were taken away from their alcoholic mother and put in a home.

Children helping to sell all their family possessions in a street market.

A ‘Street Nursery’. Working women would pay the older girls to look after their children while they worked in factories. The girls had nowhere to take them, so they looked after them on the streets until their mothers collected them.

Children gather on the street to listen to a sermon from a religious missionary. They were hoping to be givem food after hearing what he had to say.

A group of children wearing the rudimentary ‘uniform’ of a Children’s Home. They had all been found alone on the streets.

Female Fashion: Edwardian London, 1906

I found these photos by the keen amateur photographer Edward Linley Sambourne, who was also the chief cartoonist for Punch magazine. They are early examples of candid street photography, using a hand-held camera. He was obviously interested in the fashions of the day, and as you can see, most women were still wearing corsets and very long dresses or skirts at the time.

A ‘modern’ young lady, stepping out. She appears to be full of confidence.

Described by the photographer as a ‘Common shop-girl’, this lady is reading a book as she walks along. Much like people looking at their phones today.

A ‘progressive’ lady walking with her bicycle. She would have been making something of a ‘statement’, in 1906.

This lady is carrying a ‘modern’ handbag. The forerunner of today’s familiar female handbags.

Another ‘handbag and book’ lady.

Two elegant friends walking together. They are also carrying books and one has a letter in her hand, ready to post it.

And two more doing the same.

Some ladies at the time favoured black, or dark clothing. Sometimes this was to indicate modesty, or they may have been in mourning. Here are two of them. The first lady appears to have spotted the photographer.

A well-to-do older couple exiting their carriage in Central London.

Women and children wandering in a London Park. The children were dressed in very similar clothes to the adults.

Can you imagine wearing so much clothing in high Summer?

London, 1954: Kids Playing On The Streets

During the school summer holidays of 1954, photographer Thurston Hopkins went out with his camera to capture the antics of young children on the streets of the capital.

This boy is hiding in a drain access. He has removed the metal cover, and is standing on the step inside. Dressed as a red Indian, he is firing his cap gun at unsuspecting passersby.

A street, and an old piece of rope to use for skipping. All they needed to have fun.

This girl is chalking on a wall. She has even added her name and self-portrait to the artwork.

Playing ‘War’. The boy on the pavement is pretending to have been killed.

These boys have made home-made bows and arrows from garden canes and string. They are firing them at a street sign. Five years later, I was doing the same thing.

The little girl is content with her ice-lolly.

This well-dressed youngster is taking her nice dolly for a walk in its pram.

These girls have constructed a primitive ‘sun lounger’, using old crates.

Boys taking turns driving a metal pedal-car.

Friends playing on a derelict bomb-site from WW2. Something I did every year as a child.

Dirt, and a discarded wheelbarrow. Ideal playthings.

This boy is playing cricket, but he doesn’t have a proper bat. He is using a stick instead.

Who knew that pushing a cardboard box along the pavement could be so much fun?

Play Streets were closed to traffic at certain times of the day so that children would be safe.

A boy in a pedal car, wearing an oversized chauffeur’s hat.


Playing on a parked coal lorry.

These naughty boys are actually throwing gravel and small stones at passing cars!

Two boys on home-made wooden scooters. I had one just like those, which my dad made for me.

Reading comics. I used to be bought The Topper every week. One of the boys is reading that.

The First Of The Month

I just noticed it is the 1st of September today. As you can tell, I don’t pay much attention to the calendar since I retired.

That made me think of going into school as a child on the first day of any month. I would be alert and ready, determined to get in first before the scramble began. As soon as we were inside the playground waiting to assemble to go into school, the pinching and punching of arms would commence.

Everyone would be shouting, “Pinch, punch, first day of the month. And no returns!”

Adding “No returns” was important, as that meant you could not do the same to the person who had just pinched and punched your arm.

Do you remember this tradition? Or do you have to be as old as me to recall it?

‘A pinch and a punch for the first of the month. (Britain, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa) Said on the first day of a new month, while pinching and punching someone as a prank (especially by children).’

The Beetley Meadows Wasps

The long dry summer has brought a new hazard to our regular dog-walks. Underground wasp nests.

A couple of weeks ago, Toby the Jack Russell Terrier was chasing his ball into the long grass when he screamed in pain and ran back onto the path. He seemed agitated and unwell, so his owners took him straight to the Vet, concerned he may have been bitten by an Adder, a poisonous snake. However, it turned out he had been stung several times by wasps. He was given some treatment, and made a good recovery.

His owners went back to check the area where he had been stung, and found a series of holes covered in wasps entering and leaving. They notified the Parish Council, who arranged for a pest controller to come and destroy the nest.

Then yesterday, in a completely different area of Beetley Meadows, a family group were making their way down to the river when they were attacked by a large number of wasps close to the main path. The wasps appeared from holes in the ground inside the long grass nearby, and a child and her mother were stung. The mother was stung 12 times as she attempted to shield her child.

Today, a sign has been erected warning people to avoid the area. Hopefully, someone will advise the Parish Council tomorrow.

I know they are valuable pollinators, but we can’t have openly aggressive wasps stinging small children and dogs on a family-friendly recreation area.