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1. The Art School, Ford Street, remembered by Liz Bayly
2. Schoolday memories of Pauline Bearcock
3. Little Park Street & Spon Street, by Mick Billings
4. Voyage on the Queen Mary with Cecilia Cargill
5. Schoolboy fun around town with Patrick Casey
6. Dunlop Rugby Union Club, by Lorraine Clarke
7. Pre-war memories of Norman Cohen
8. The Life of Riley, by Ron Critchlow
9. Wartime memories of Wyken, by Alan Edgson
10. War and Workplace memories of Mike Fitzpatrick
11. 1940s & 50s remembered, by Ken Giles
12. World War Two memories of James Hill
13. A selection of 1940s and 50s memories, by Rod Joyce
14. Pictures of a Coventry ancestry, by Lesleigh Kardolus
15. Innocence, by John Lane
16. A plane crash over Exhall, by John Lane
17. Post-War memories of Keith Longmore
18. Growing up in Willenhall, by Josie Lisowski-Love
19. The thoughts of a younger Coventrian, by Paul Martin
20. Growing up in Hillfields, by Jan Mayo
21. Winter before central-heating in Hillfields, by Jan Mayo
22. Viewing the Blitz from Birmingham, by Mavis Monk
23. Family memories of Eric Over
24. Early working days of Barry Page
25. Band life with Derick Parsons
26. Brian Porter, A Coventry Kid
27. Experiences of the Coventry Blitz, by Joan Powell
28. War-time memories of Brian Richards
29. War-time memories of Jeanne Richards
30. Coventry Remembered, by Andrew Ross
31. The Coventry outings of Brian Rowstron & family
32. Time Gentlemen Please! - Jo Shepherd's Family
33. The life experiences of Mike Spellacy
34. Humber Works photographs of Peter Thacker
35. Early Coventry memories of Lizzie Tomlinson
36. Post-war decades remembered, by Mike Tyzack
37. Fireman Frank Walduck, remembered by Peter Walduck
38. Early memories of Coventry, by Muriel Wells
39. Family memories of Burt West
 

Winter before central-heating in Hillfields, by Jan Mayo

Keeping warm in the 40s and 50s when I was growing up was a very different story to the way we take central heating for granted today. We only had a coal fire in the living room of our 3 up 3 down mid-terrace in Coronation Road. At Christmas Dad would light a fire in the front room and along with the bowls of fruit and nuts, Dad's Whisky and Mum's Sherry us kids were allowed to sit in there. Even so the room still felt cool as it was damp from rarely being used and the door opened straight out onto the street, nevertheless it was still a great treat for us as the room was always kept for best.

Jan

We used to keep a Goldfish on the sideboard, in a cut glass, large fruit bowl of Mum's. I think we won the fish at the fair. Now and again it would jump out of the bowl and we would find it floundering on the lino - I think the water was so cold it couldn't stand it.

Jan's Brother Alan Jan remembers having her older brother Alan's Air Force overcoat on top of various blankets and eiderdowns to help keep warm in bed.

If, as happened quite often, we ran out of coal, Mum used to light the paraffin heater. I recall getting up to go to school at Freddies on a bitterly cold Winter's morning, when our breath came out in a white mist in the bedroom, and running downstairs to huddle around the paraffin heater. My Sister Kate and I shared a double bed in the back bedroom and we would roll up pieces of newspaper and pretend they were cigarettes. As we blew out our breath looked just like smoke to us, that's how cold it was in our bedroom.

Going to the toilet was an experience in itself. The lavatory was outside and there was no light, so we had to take a torch. I would always leave the back door ajar and ask the family to listen for me as I was worried the bogey man would get me. We seemed to have so much snow then it seemed to me as if it was nearly up to the window sill and Mum had a job to find the dustbin in the garden in its white hat and overcoat. The icicles that hung from the windows and doors were like great big spears, we would break them off, if we could reach them, and suck on the glistening ice.

Jan's brother, TedJan's brother, Ted

I can't recall the snow ever stopping us from attending school, or keeping my Dad from going to work. There would be a coal fire burning in the class room and one day a stray dog that we called Mickey followed me into the class. The teacher let him stay and he snoozed in front of the fire until home time.

The little glass bottles that held our free school milk were kept outside in crates until after playtime and there would be ice in it. We would have to catch our breath as we drank it through a straw.... it was so cold.
The things us kids liked about Winter was being able to have snowball fights, making a snowman, and most of all making an ice patch to slide on. It's a wonder we had any bottoms left on our shoes as we scuffed them along the hard packed snow to make our own ice rink. The best one we made was on the slope of the side road that went of Coronation Road. We really thought we were skaters as we skimmed along one leg in the air. No matter how cold it was we were still outside having a whale of a time.

Christmas party A Christmas party, possibly at the Drill Hall. Jan is on the left - with droopy drawers!

Dad used to have a problem with the pipes freezing - the cold water pipe and the outside lavatory - but he always managed to thaw them out somehow.

I can picture him getting the coal fire going in the living room; he would hold a sheet of newspaper in front of it until it started to scorch. Sometimes it caught fire and he quickly threw it on the coals. One day he came home from work with a large metal cover, a foreigner, as he called them. He had put a handle on it and he replaced the newspaper with his foreigner and it soon got the fire going brightly. I have wondered since how he smuggled that out of work, it definitely wouldn't have fitted down his trouser leg as some of his foreigners did.

Jan

I can still taste and smell toast made on an open coal fire, with a toasting fork.... delicious and real best butter or pork dripping, makes my mouth water thinking about it.

Somehow it doesn't have the same effect when it pops up from my toaster.... happy days never to be forgotten.


 
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