Saturday, 28 June 2014

A kind of nostalgia

In the indoor exhibition area of the National Coal Mining Museum there was this mock-up of the yard of a brick terraced house, with its coal shed (not the outside toilet!) and washing line. It reminded me very much of my grandad's house, though they also had a vegetable garden beyond the yard. Grandad lived in a tiny house by modern standards: compact little front room with a coal fire (miners got free coal), small and basic kitchen, a high-cisterned lavatory downstairs in a tiny closet just inside the back door. Upstairs there was a largish bedroom and a small one, and a little bathroom with a sink and bath - no toilet upstairs nor a shower. The small bedroom was where I occasionally stayed - and, oh bliss, the high bedstead actually had a feather mattress! I can remember sinking down into it and almost being buried in its softness. Happy memories, though I wouldn't want to go back to that sort of basic living. I can recall my great-aunt putting wet clothes through a hand-operated mangle to squeeze the water out. It was hard manual work.  When I was a baby we lived with my grandad, until my parents could afford a home of their own when I was about three.


  1. I remember this from visiting the NCM Museum - nice touch, the cricket bat. It's amazing how far we have come in such a short time. Makes you wonder what the next decade or four will bring.

  2. Yes in Northern England we use to have houses like that . . . . with outside toilets . . . . very cold in winter.

  3. Isn't it remarkable that in our own lifetimes we have moved from this kind of place (including the hand-operated mangle) to much bigger homes with most things automated. Are we happier?


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