Wednesday, 15 February 2017

One hundred years of one house in Chorlton part 78 ...... “never throw tin foil away” and other handy period hints

The continuing story of the house Joe and Mary Ann Scott lived in for over 50 years and the families that have lived here since.*

Now I just wonder what Joe and Mary Ann recycled.

The M.C.E.W box now a decoration
The question came to mind the other day when our Saul reflected “that in Poland you never throw tin foil away.”

I didn’t think to ask why but I guess it might have something to do with the past when certain products were scarce and were pressed back into service again and again.

In the same way Rosa never throws bread away or for that matter any food preferring to use it in something whether it is a soup or a casserole.  But then she grew up in Naples during the last war when food was in short supply and anything you could eat was to be used carefully.

It is of course just sensible to recycle and give a thing another use.  Dad stored all his odd screws, nails and hinges in those big tins which had once contained dried milk and lingered on as storage in our house long after the war had been forgotten.

And a decade before that Corporation dust bin vans carried the slogan “burn your rubbish” which made perfect sense given that most people still had open fires and quite a few still relied on solid fuel back burners to heat the water.

Burn your rubbush, 1938
In the same way Nana never threw away brown wrapping paper, and always undid the knots on string which came with parcels winding up the string  which then sat in that special draw with the button box, old collar studs and much more.

All of this made perfect sense, but then there were the things she did which still baffle me, like always buttering the end of the bread before cutting a slice from the loaf and adding cloves to apple sauce.

And here in the house more than a bit of that thrift rubbed off on me so that  for years we kept cereal boxes which could be made into all sorts of cardboard models from rocket ships to smiley figures.

Ministry of Food leaflet on gathering food , 1948
Somewhere there is still Ben’s space ship with the words “blist off” on the side, Saul’s United player he made and the red, yellow and black car constructed from a discarded washing up bottle and powered by a string activated propeller which Josh entered for a Brookburn competition.

Sadly Tina’s Roman gladiator costume made for Luca from pretty much everything in the house has been lost forever.

In the same way the odd objects Joe and Mary Ann kept and reused vanished when the house was sold in 1974.

That said I did come across an empty baked beans tin in the void under the dining room, which has no particular claim to fame other than it carried the label of Safeways and will have been bought from the supermarket when they were still in the precinct.

It is still under the floor boards in contrast to the M.C.E.W box which was only replaced in the 1980s and has pride od place on a shelf.

Location; Chorlton

Pictures; from the collection of Andrew Simpson

*The story of house,

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