Sunday, 27 March 2016

One hundred years of one house in Well Hall part 6 ........... winter in 294

This is the continuing story  of one house in Well Hall Road and of the people who lived there including our family.*

Now I can’t remember which wintry scene this will have been but I am guessing it will be in the 1970s and because I don’t remember it being taken it might be after 1973.

I did  trawl through the “Monthly Weather Report of the Meteorological Office”** for evidence of snow in London which offered up the news that it had snowed on Christmas day 1970.

But there are a lot of years on either side of 1970 so I shall just leave it.

Instead the picture took me back to living in the house before dad put in central heating.

It was a cold house, that is to say while the gas fire in the back room and the oil stove in the front kept the downstairs warm there was no heating upstairs.

Not that I guess that was any different from many homes at the time and like countless generations before me, going to bed was a quick affair of stripping off and jumping under the covers followed by that frantic effort to heat the bed up by  thrashing around.

Now Dad did go round with hot water bottles but sometimes I missed out and was doomed to the fate of cold bedclothes.

And all the hot water bottles would not prevent the slow but inevitable spread of ice on the inside of the windows which in the really cold winters rarely seemed to budge during the day.

Of course back then that was what you came to expect and pretty much took it for granted.

A few decades earlier and the occupants of our house might just have lit coal fires in the upstairs rooms in the most severe of winters but by the time we moved in the hapless DIYers had taken them out or blocked them up a move which today seems the height of vandalism but back in the 1950s and 60s was the “cool thing” to do.

I doubt that dad would have had truck with the ideas that bedroom fires should only be lit when someone was ill, keeping warm was for him always very important.

So in the fullness of time we got central heating by which time I had gone, moving from one very cold student bed sit to another in the more shabby parts of Manchester where icy windows were but one of the problems.

Of course back then it was all an adventure and which pushed 294 well into the background and it has taken this picture to bring it all back.

It was taken from the small back bedroom which was where dad decided to locate the boiler and which gave a magnificent view of the woods.

But that is for another time.

Pictures; looking out to the woods, circa 1970, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Location;Well Hall, Eltham, London

*One hundred years of one house on Well Hall Road,   

**“Monthly Weather Report of the Metrological Office”

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