Being a Londoner

Chat about different cultures and customs of other parts of the world here. Tell us more about your own country and what it’s like living there.
Aitch

Being a Londoner

Post by Aitch »

I was born in London during WWII during the period known as The Lull, which is why my mother had returned to the capital.
I have a lot on right now but I will be back to add about being born a Londoner.
Aitch

RE: Being a Londoner

Post by Aitch »

My earliest memories start at around 2yrs of age and as my paternal grandfather was a publican, it was in and around one of his licenced establishments being a Londoner started to be impressed into me who I was. My father did not make old bones after de-mob so my paternal grandparents were influential in my learning processes. One pub suffered from the Luftwaffe so the other gave me shelter on & off until I was 10 when we moved to outer London, but those first 10yrs in Notting Hill Kensington taught me many things including what part of London you hailed from made some difference, although to be born a Londoner was most important.
Notting Hill was West London (W10) and up until the time we moved out to Middlesex (Outer London) all those in Notting Hill were quite close knit and I would describe as self policed in that you would not do to others what you would not like done to you, or in other words community ties was as good as family ties and everyone looked out for everyone else in the area. Crime did exist but the perpetrators were from other areas so generally speaking Police had a somewhat easy time in the neighbourhood. 
Obviously, English was our language, but to avoid 'outsiders' eavesdropping on conversations, rhyming slang was added into sentences to confuse the outsiders listening in - e.g. skin & blister = sister and such as along the frog (frog & toad = road) to the jack (jack horner = corner); there was also a whistling technique that I never did master as that was mainly between older men and as I mentioned before, we moved away when I was 10.
Various barrow trades used to trawl the roads/streets/mews' selling prepared food such as pies & muffins etc and on some corners the eel man used to sell cooked eels as well as pie & mash. I can still hear the hand bells of the various vendors in my head and each had their own distinct ring.
To be continued
Aitch

RE: Being a Londoner

Post by Aitch »

Part of London's culture was formed by the transport system and most of the road transport improved people's ability to stretch their horizons and also gave them more employment opportunities within easy reach.
Before my time was the horse drawn tram which was replaced by the powered tram. There were attempts to power them by steam and even compressed air, but the electric tramcars are the ones I saw, remember and rode upon. By the time I was taking notice and with an active mind, an interest in most things, the trams were being slowly replaced by the trolley bus and they were faster and also a lot quieter that the old trams.
With better transport came more chances to interact with the opposite sex and that lead to people working away from and even moving away from the London area to start a new family away from their old family roots and eventually the break up of the family unit as I and many other Londoners knew it.

To be continued
Aitch

RE: Being a Londoner

Post by Aitch »

Buses first appeared on London streets as horse drawn vehicles and in 1855 The London General Omnibus Company was formed, then in 1902 the buses became motorised via steam, then petrol (gasoline) and then diesel took over. The diesel buses linked the capital with outlying  towns and areas speedily enough to encourage more people to move out of London and travel in to work (commute) as did the trains, but the buses reached more places and contributed to changes in the way people lived and inevitably their culture, which of course included the growing me.
Trains (surface and hot + smelly underground) also contributed to the exodus of families as well as single people and these transport methods together with overcrowding gave people the will and method to move to suburbia which changed the culture even more.
Before people moved out of London, overcrowding was on the increase and it was common for several families to share rented accommodation, sometimes one family crowded into one room of a three floored house, where shared cooking and toilet facilities was common.
My great paternal great grandfather (I can just about remember him) was raised in Silchester Mews (no longer there) where according to the census he shared two rooms on one floor of three floored terraced mews style coach house with his brothers, sisters and his parents. According to my grandfather that mews house shared a yard placed 'privy' (toilet) with everyone in the house and another house adjoining. The only water supply was over a sink on each floor's landing area and for a bath it was a tin one used in front of a the open fire, so privacy in a family was rare.

I can also remember a tin bath in front of the fire episodes in the pub until we moved out to the suburbs where a proper bathroom was available in the house we moved to, but when I say a proper bathroom, do not think of the luxury type we know today. The bath received hot water from a gas fired 'geyser' which roared when in used and filled the user with frar until it was shut off . . I hated the things with a passion!!
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Spice
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RE: Being a Londoner

Post by Spice »

Thanks for sharing Aitch. It is interesting to read how places have changed.
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Skyon Archer
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RE: Being a Londoner

Post by Skyon Archer »

Yes, keep it coming!
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Pete
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RE: Being a Londoner

Post by Pete »

Image
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RE: Being a Londoner

Post by Skyon Archer »

:D  too funny, Pete
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Sandy
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RE: Being a Londoner

Post by Sandy »

My mum bless her was born in Kensington and was 6 years old when WW2 broke out, I remember her telling me one of the school childrens jobs at play time mid morning was to go out in the school grounds and pick up the tin foil the German bombers dropped during bombimg raids.. Apparently the tin foil  stopped the radar from picking up the bombers while they flew into London.. It must've been hard for kids of 6, 7 and 8 years of age to understand why a war was raging around them, I can understand why so many parents chose to send their childrem to live in the countryside during the war, the war years must've been tough in the bigger cities and London in particukar..
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RE: Being a Londoner

Post by Ellyfant »

Yes my mum and dad were born in London too - Ealing (well so was I but different era) and lived through the war years there.  Their parents couldn't bear to evacuate them so they stayed home and painted vivid pictures of the fear of air raids, sheltering in the underground train stations if they could get there in time or hiding under tables in the house if they couldn't. Memories also of houses, cities destroyed and playing in the rubble that remained. Food rationing made it hard for their parents to keep the family fed, but they became quite good at growing extras in the garden and substituting whatever they could get their hands on to prevent hunger.

My grandad was a fire warden and the stories he told would make your hair curl - so brave, he was my hero.
 
Writing this has made me realise that after me no-one will have memories of those terrible times that our families lived through. Maybe I should write it down so their experiences won't be forgotten...........it must have been so hard for them
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