People and places of Middleton
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A Facebook Chat Down Memory Lane

What follows is a Facebook interaction prompted by an initial general nostalgia post by a member of the Facebook group, "Old Middleton, New Middleton". If you have a Facebook account and you'd like to join in the fun there, then please 'ask to join'.

My mum used to cut chicken, chop eggs and spread butter on bread on the same cutting board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn't seem to get food poisoning.

Our school sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper in a brown paper bag, not in ice pack coolers, but I can't remember getting e. Coli

Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the lake or in the cut instead of a pristine pool (talk about boring).

We all took PE ....... And risked permanent injury with a pair of Dunlop pumps instead of having cross-training athletic shoes with air cushion soles and built in light reflectors that cost as much as a small car. I can't recall any injuries but they must have happened because they tell us how much safer we are now.

We got the cane for doing something wrong at school, they used to call it discipline yet we all grew up to accept the rules and to honour & respect those folk older than us.

We had 60 kids in our class and we all learned to read and write, do maths and spell almost all the words needed to write a grammatically correct letter......., FUNNY THAT!!

Staying in detention after school caught all sorts of negative attention usually from our parents.

I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was allowed to be proud of myself.

I just can't recall how bored we were without computers, Play Station, Nintendo, X-box or 270 digital TV cable stations. We weren't!!

Oh yeah .... And where was the Benadryl and sterilisation kit when I got that bee sting? I could have been killed!

We played King of the Castle on piles of gravel left on vacant construction sites and when we got hurt, mum pulled out the 2/6p bottle of Mercurochrome (kids liked it better because it didn't sting like Iodine did) and then we got our bum spanked.

Now it's a trip to the emergency room, followed by a 10 day dose of antibiotics and then mum calls the solicitor to sue the contractor for leaving a horribly vicious pile of gravel where it was such a threat.

To top it off, not a single person I knew had ever been told that they were from a dysfunctional family. How could we possibly have known that?

We never needed to get into group therapy and/or anger management classes.

We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills that we didn't even notice that the entire country wasn't taking Prozac!

How did we ever survive?


Cue Facebook group members

JH...Only problem is the wax paper, it would more likely have been the Daily Herald lol.

DC...Football Pink at ours lol

TO...You're absolutely right Derek, I don't even remember my Mam having a chopping board or even a fridge until I was about 9 or even older, we used to keep milk in a bowl of cold water in Summer and in Winter you didn't need a fridge in the house it was that cold, we only had a coal fire in the Living room to keep warm lol

JP...Electric fire us but only allowed to have one bar on !!

JH...Just coal us and if no fire no hot water lol. Weekly baths meant exactly that.

DC...Same here Teresa we had a small cupboard with a mesh door and a slab of marble inside that as our fridge didn't have to plug it in, mind you there was no where to plug anything in. Every thing was cooked on the open fire, big kettle on fire to boil water..

JH...I think we had two sockets in front room, one for radio and one for Telly. That was about it.

TO...I think I'm either a bit younger or more fortunate than you Derek, we had a gas cooker, I was about 5 or 6 when we got a telly, we used to listen to the wireless as it was called then lol

DC...You posh bugger JH, we didn't have telly and I can only remember one plug with the radio always plugged in...

DC...I think we progressed to a radiogram before a telly..

JH...I remember going with me mam to Beddoes(on Long St then) to rent first telly. Early 1957.

IW...I remember going to repair a TV in Oldham in the late 60s and the woman had her iron, one bar electric fire and the TV plugged into adapters plugged into the light fitting in the living room, as she ironed the bulb holder was swinging from left to right!

BJG...Mantles down stairs, candles up stairs.

BJG...Distemper for the walls.

AM...Coalfire with a backboiler, no heating upstairs, ice on the inside of the windows and that was in August, aye, it were cold in them days

JH...My aunty used to do that for ironing Iain. Then I started as apprentice electrician in 1959 and was horrified lol.

BJG...Electric ? I thought that was my uncle.

JH...But we still had me dads old Dads Army greatcoat to throw over the bed Andy McTighe lol.

TO...We rented our telly from Beddoes as well Jim, when it broke down, they refused to fix it so my Mam got it down to Beddoes and left it outside the shop lol

DC...Bloody hell its all coming back now , flag floors covered with( oilcloth), easy to mop and if you came home from school and your mam was parroting you went a**e over tit..

BJG...Yep Jim, coats on bed.

AM...Aye Jim there were four of us, one in each pocket and mam and dad with an arm each

BJG...4 to a bed, I slept in deep end.

TO...I remember when my Mam got her 1st electric iron, she had a fear about anything electric and she would plug it in until it was hot then unplug it before she started ironing lol

DC...Got our radiogram from Beddoes Jim..

AM...Flock pillows and woollen army blankets

DC...Itchy grey blankets..

AM...That's right Derek they were so itchy the bed bugs couldn't stand 'em

DC...Cast iron shelves out oven at side of fire for bed warmer..

JH...We used those Itchy grey blankets for years after I joined up, Army issue for Singlies or Married Qtrs lol.

IW...In the winter my dad used to take a shovel full of burning coals from the fire and carry them upstairs to the bedroom fireplace!

AM...Hot water bottles for us, we were all sophisticated like

BJG...Horse hair couch, with springs.

TO...Very, Andy lol

IW...^^^ sticking through? lol!

JH...You couldn't afford a horse hair couch these days.

BJG...We couldnt then Jim, we borrowed it at weekends.

JH...Anyone else remember the old reddifusion "radios" on the windowsill. Actually wire fed with about 4 channels.

IW...JH, Originally it was run by Middleton Relay from their shop on Manchester Old Rd, if you peered through the window you could see all the racks of valves glowing.

TO...The way things are going these days we'll be using all these not just remembering them lol

BJG...eeeeeeeee bring back the good days.

JH...They were bloody 'orrible lol, but we were happy. WHY?

DC...As we progressed we started using the stone bottles when we had drunk all the ginger beer, STANTONS I think the company was.

BJG...Cos we didn't really need nowt JH.

JH...Bloody good job cos thats exactly what we had,

AM...Because we didn't know any better JH.

BJG...True AM

TO...We appreciated things more.

MO...I remember ice, "on the inside of the windows" in winter. But funnily enough don't ever remember being "freezing".

AM...The thing is we were poor, but we didn't know we were poor

BJG...We knew no better

JH...Pink Specs off please. we did know, just couldn't do owt about it.

TO...That's true Andy and we all helped each other

BJG...I didnt JH I thought that was it, thats how people lived every where.

AM...We used to be jealous of someone having sweets never mind a bloody I-phone

BJG...Hard working parents but had nothing.

BJG...Still cant understand that

MO...They didn't use credit like today brian, people still haven't got money, just debt.

AM...There's a whole generation BJG that wouldn't understand that phrase 'hard working parents'

BJG...True MO.

BGJ...My mam and Dad had no life just work.

JH...Missed Andy McTighe's reference to flock pillows above( this is all going to fast for an old man lol) but we had Flock Eiderdowns as well. Soaked up sweat like blotting paper. My Auntie Nellie Mounford dragged me upstairs once to empty one out and break the flock up by hand. Jesus I would have been better off in Strangeways sewing mailbags.

AM...there was always at least one big piece of flock sticking in the side of your head

AM...like a bag of stones

JH...And one big bolster pillow on a double bed. Fighting your two brothers for a fair share.

DC...Them wert days when you never had to lock your doors and people just popped in for a chat..

JH...Cos there was nowt to pinch lol.

AM...If anyone broke in ours they'd have left us some money

DC - Derek Clewes

JH - Jim Hilton

TO - Teresa Ostasz

BJG - Brian Joseph Green

JP - Jeffrey Pye

IW - Iain Wrethman

AM - Andy McTighe

MO - Mark Offski

PS For those unfamiliar with Facebook jargon, 'LOL' means ‘laugh out loud’.

Submitted by Jim Hilton. December 2013.

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