At the time of my birth…..

At the time of my birth in late 1965, Pam was living in tiny flat, more of a bedsit, in a large terraced villa, close to the city. The houses remain today, large bay fronted , three or four storeys high, with small front gardens and several steps up to the front door. Being on the first floor and at the front of the building, the flat combined of a combined living / kitchen area and there was a small area off to one side, barely big enough to fit a small double bed and with a curtain across so as to serve as a ‘bedroom’.

Winter was freezing cold in the flat with only a small paraffin heater which would burn yours knees if you stood near it to try to get warm, whilst your back would remain frozen. Consequently, any time spent there required the wearing of an overcoat or resorting to getting into bed.

Very little cooking was ever attempted on the tiny, two burner stove and the need to constantly feed coins into the electricity meter meant that often, by the end of the week when money had ran out, evenings would be spent sat in the dark, or again getting into bed to combat the cold, loneliness and boredom. Luxuries were few, there was no television or telephone but some of the residents were fortunate enough to own a transistor radio.

The bathroom and toilet were shared by all the residents on the same floor and at times would result in a queue of crossed legs along the landing, especially in the mornings. As a result, it was necessary to keep an old fashioned chamber pot under the bed in case of emergencies!

A bath was allowed one per week per resident and it was hard luck if you missed your slot. Some of the residents, with their obvious lack of concern regarding any form of personal hygiene, made it possible for deals to be made, exchanging a ‘couple of fags’ or ‘two bob’ for them to give up their allotted bathroom slot.

As was normal at the time, the landlord or one of his ‘assistants’ would call each week to collect the rent, paid in cash and the appropriate entry made in the rent book. Inability to pay was met with very little sympathy and it was common to find somebody’s belongings thrown out onto the street, the lock to their flat already changed and  a new tenant already installed.


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