Black Country Muse



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Forum Home > Beliefs and other Oddities. > Holiday Memories. 1950s.

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Not many of our parents had much money to spare after the War, and the days of the packaged holidays were some way off yet. Those of a certain age, will remember, with a great deal of fondness, the good old British Seaside Holiday. To announce to the world, ( well at least your relatives ) that the weather was fine and you were having the time of your life required posting a card back home. But which sort to choose, that was the problem, for the age of the Saucy Post Card was upon us. Most shops along the sea front at Great Yarmouth, had two outside racks for cards. One held views of the town and fancy flower beds, the other was crammed with fat ladies, skimpy costumes, and double meanings, most of which were incomprehensible to a young lad like me. My parents always steered me away from the latter.

Donald McGill, was a well known producer of such cards, and at one stage, was prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act.

They seem a bit tame today, compared with what can be seen at the click of a mouse on any computer screen. McGill published thousands of these  humorous cards, which no doubt bought a chuckle to many an Aunt and Uncle, and found their way to many office and workshop notice boards.

Another famous publisher were Bamforths, and no holiday was complete without the sending of at least one of their cards.

One of my Aunts saved a great many over the years, they arrived from Blackpool, Western-Super Mare, Rhyl, Llandudno, Great Yarmouth, Margate, Torquay, in fact from every place that family and friends spent a fortnight in during the Summer Holidays. My Uncle was rather fond of the ones featuring large ladies, and of course, well endowed young ones.

The more modern ones were even more daring, and I have no doubt, many were selected for a past life lost, or one that the sender wished he could enjoy. I will leave to you have a browse through a few I have selected, maybe they will give you a chuckle, and maybe they will stir a few memories of more innocent times, spent building sandcastles and watching Punch and Judy.

And finally, the one that put poor Donald McGill in Court, and virtually wreaked his life.


A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

May 4, 2014 at 2:51 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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Not a lot of us, in the late 1940s, and 1950s, ever got to see the delights of the Seaside did we. Money was scarce, and rationing was still with us. What then did our parents do during the Holidays, and how did they keep us amused, and give us a breath of fresh-air in the long School breaks. They settled for several cheap options, a picnic in the local park, a day out with a long bus ride, or a trip to the river with a little cruise thrown in. There will be many reading this, who will have fond memories of the Clent Hills, and playing around the stones located on the top.I hope it will also bring back to those of a certain age, some happy memories of carefree days long gone.

There was Ice Cream and Pop to be had in the village, and you could enjoy some grand views across the region, while eating a few boiled egg and cress sandwiches. Yes, there would have been Cheese, Cucumber, Salmon spread, Spam, and whole lot more wierd concoctions, as I said, times then were very different from today. My grandparents, living as they did in Halesowen, were regular visitors to the hills, using the bus service provided by the Midland Red. They would have recognised the view in this next picture, which is dated 1907.

Sunday Schools organized many days out, Habberly Valley, near Kidderminster, was one, and you could run and play without fear of parents supervision.I am sad to say, we gave the poor teachers a right old run around.

The longer trips were taken on a Bus, usually a big red monster, that mainly arrived on time, but I suppose thats because there wern't all that many cars around. Within easy reach was the popular riverside town of Stourport, which has been entertaining visitors from the Black Country since Victorian times.

The view from Bridge Street hasn't changed that much since I was a nipper, although the little fairground seems to have got a bit bigger; and a little louder. A trip on the river was a highlight, and I'm glad to see that it remains a great attraction.

Up stream, and we used to spend many happy hours at Bewdley. A bit more up-market than Stourport, according to my Father, who restricted spending money in the place, except for a stick of Rock from Teddy Greys in Load Street.

It's got some lovely old Georgian buildings, and again, when the river levels were up, a river boat trip. My Uncle had a little wooden hut on the river bank at another place we used to go.

This was Holt Fleet, and after refreshments at the Pub, we set off down the path to his " chalet " where dinner was cooked on a paraffin stove. Usually Sausage, Eggs, and Bacon, as I said, times were hard in the early 1950s. Worcester was another favourite day out, there was so much to see as kids.

The place seemed to be full of old buildings, all with a long history, most of which I didn't really appreciate until I was older. if we were lucky, we caught another bus at Worcester, and went on the Malvern.

After climbing the steep hills, that humble picnic was like a banquet, for there's not much to beat eating out in the open, in a fresh breeze that blew in from the Bristol Channel. ( I jest ) I haven't mentioned the local park's much I know, but everyone will have a memory of a favourite place, one which dragged us all away from the grime of the place most of us lived in. Strangly, I only remember the sunny days. Away from the river, and there was a place just the other side of Stourbridge that my parents were especially fond of, Kinver.

Alighting from the Stourbridge bus, we first had a walk down the high street, which, I am pleased to say, is still as recognisable today, as it was a hundred years ago.

Kinver Edge, which was where we were headed for, has large open spaces where we could enjoy ourselves, and on the way up the lane, on the right hand side, was a Cafe. I hesitate to call it anything else, for the main sales seem to have been Pots of Tea, Pop, and Ice Cream. It had those penny in the slot machines on the walls, the ones where you flicked a lever and a metal ball shot around the inside until, if you were lucky, it landed in a metal cup and you won a few coppers back.

All of them were great days out in the 1950s, well thats how I remember them anyway. Cheap and cheerful is a good description, simple pleasures that today just wouldn't be enough for most modern folk. Ah, thats progress for you. I will end this article with a sight many will remember, for it brings back memories of anyother kind of day out we used to enjoy. The Lido at the Stewponey on the way to Kinver.


A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

May 23, 2014 at 12:00 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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Posts: 1409

On the Facebook page, I recently started a little tour around the region in pictures. Memories of places can come back at the oddest moments, and I posted some topics of day trips and sunny days out. There are a few postcards and other odds and ends I didn't use, so I will continue the theme. Stourport, a vital trade route for the industry of the Black Country, grew from a tiny village, into a very busy Town on the River Severn. Popular from Victorian times, it still attracts thousands of folk from the region, for it's still a very pleasent town to spend a sunny day. The river boat trips are still there, although a bit more up to date than the first picture, which depicts a proper Steamer.

There is nothing quite so relaxing, beer in hand, than leaning on the rail and watching the world, and the ever changing river bank, go by. They still have a Reggatta at Stourport, not of the same posh standard as at Henley-on-Thames, but a great day out for the family.

My Mother, and my Grandparents,used to love the walk along the Promanade, watching all the passing boats, and admiring the larger ones, moored on the river bank. Us kids however, loved the little amusement park, the Ice Cream parlour, and the Fish and Chip shop. We also used to spend many hours, watching the Narrow Boats and small river cruisers, entering and leaving the lock in the canal basin. Many of them, having hired a boat, had to endure a barrage of advice from the older generation of boatmen, who, having imbided a few pints in the Pub, lounged against the wall of the basin.

It could, and sometimes did, lead to an exchange of language I really didn't understand at the time. Oh happy days. I mentioned in a previous post, the pretty little village of Kinver, and I came across a few pictures that I haven't seen before.

One is a very early photograph of the High Street, with the dim outline of Saint Peters Church, perched on the cliff above. If you have been there, but never visited the Church, do have a look next time, for it's lovely inside, and some of the gravestones make interesting reading as well.

A man called Richard Jennings, who had a shop in the High Street back in the 1900s, took, and sold, a great many postcard views of the village and Kinver edge, his shop is very noticable in one of them, and he also took some pictures from the top of the Church.

Favourite postcards of the time, depicted the Cave Dwellers, and some the rock houses were still occupied in the 1950s. You couldn't miss them anyway, for the sandy lane that led on to Kinver Edge itself, passed the bottom of the gardens.

I'm glad to see that some have been preserved, otherwise, a way of living, would have passed into history, and been forgotten. There are several more in the " Faces from the Past Album " , two which I have never come across before.

Well, as my memory tells me, time to catch the bus back into Stourbridge, and find the good old Midland Red 130 service by the Station, and wend our weary way home to Blackheath. I enjoyed the summer day trips, and all the mystery tours we went on, for one thing was certain, somehow, we always ended up in a Pub.


A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

February 19, 2016 at 10:49 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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