Monday, 3 July 2017

Back in 523 Barlow Moor Road in the summer of 1960

Now it is very easy to slip into some nostalgic view of our recent past.

We have all seen the adverts with the great old cooking range, throwing off heat and the smell of warm bread and yearn for that simpler age when doors could be left unlocked and there was still a proper grocer at the corner of the street.

All of that is true I remember it.  But then I also remember a house without central heating where the ice in winter formed on the inside of the windows, and where the coal was delivered once a fortnight and had to be brought up in a bucket from the coal cellar.

Likewise my memory of the local grocers shop was of a place where cheese came in just two types, white and red, where the only bread was white and sliced and sophisticated food came in a jar labelled meat paste.

So I tend to err on the side of being careful about the good old days.

And I was reminded of all of this when my friend Ann sent me some more pictures of 523 Barlow Moor Road as it was in the 1950s.

Each of the drawings had been done as art homework and Ann’s brief was to draw what she saw.

One that caught my attention was the electric kettle and it got me thinking about electrical appliances in the late 1940s and 50s.

The consumer age had arrived but had outstripped the often outdated wiring system.

Most houses had few electrical sockets.

 A fact which friends discovered to their cost when they bought an old terraced house beside the railway line in Ashton-Under-Lyne.

On the day they moved in they found that the power points on the upper floor of the house had merely been screwed onto the skirting board, were not connected to an electrical supply, and had been removed when the previous owner left.

So the lack of sockets was a real problem and was solved by that simple expedient of plugging some electrical appliances into the light fitting.

A two or even three way adaptor allowed you to run the light along with whatever appliance needed power.

Now as the years have passed I did begin to question this bit of my remembered childhood but others also tell me that their parents did the same.

It was the age before the fitted bathroom fitted kitchen of for that matter the fitted anything.

Most of us back then acquired stuff and fitted it in around what was already there and few I suspect would strip away perfectly good fittings just to achieve that a consistent appearance.

And so it was with 523 Barlow Moor Road which as Ann’s a picture show was still a mix of late 19th and early 20th century living existing beside the luxuries of the new consumer age.

Pictures; courtesy of Ann Love

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