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#630995 - 30th Nov 2011 3:32am Was it really better ? *****
Elizabeth Offline
Veteran

Registered: 28th Jul 2011
Posts: 718
Loc: Prenton, Wirral
Reading through so many posts in the Wirral History section brings back so many happy memories of childhood, but I am thinking....were things really better back then or was it just because we were children and didn't know all the evil in the world? We had no internet or mobile phones to google things, plus you never watched the News anyway because it was boring. Once the magic roundabout was over you didn't wait to watch Robert Dougal reading the News.
People who were old when we were kids would talk of the good old days and say things were better back in their day.
Is it our memory that makes us think things were better and also what will todays children say when they're in their 40's and 50's about how their life was back in the 2000's?

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#630996 - 30th Nov 2011 3:35am Re: Was it really better ? [Re: Elizabeth]
chev_chelios Offline
Wiki Guide

Registered: 30th Jul 2009
Posts: 5948
Loc: the village of wallasey
im a 70s and 80s kid and it was great! Bmx,computers vhs recorders and other stuff lol.

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#630999 - 30th Nov 2011 5:48am Re: Was it really better ? [Re: Elizabeth]
cathcart Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 8th Jun 2010
Posts: 392
Loc: birkenhead
personally speaking i lived in birkenhead in the 50s and couldnt have had a better childhood.we had nothing so when christmas and birthdays came along it was special,even though we didnt get much.the problem these days is they get everything therefore things are just expected.i have a few dinky items and look at them with happy memories,what will todays kids do,look at old laptops and old mobiles.

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#631013 - 30th Nov 2011 7:48am Re: Was it really better ? [Re: cathcart]
fiftyfiver Offline
Newbeee

Registered: 19th May 2011
Posts: 13
Loc: Thornbury, South Glos.
Hi, thinking back to when i was young, now 76, i remember going to Thompsons Mission, and on leaving received a penny bun, at 14 worked in Birkenhead Market on a Saturday, my pay was Half a Crown, at 16 started an Apprenticeship, 46 hours a week, pay first year was nine pence farthing an hour, completed the time in 1956 on one shilling and two pence an hour, petrol was 4 shillings a gallon, then went up to 5 shillings because of the Suez Crisis, i don't think times were better.

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#631014 - 30th Nov 2011 7:53am Re: Was it really better ? [Re: Elizabeth]
rocks Offline

Wiki Guide

Registered: 2nd Apr 2011
Posts: 6623
Loc: 3/4 of the way there....
i was a kid of the 70s teenager of the 80s and it was better back then, ie i never knew what a paedo was i was just told not to take sweets from a stranger which i accepted and didnt question so i had nothing to worry about as a kid, it was my parents that shouldered any worry unlike todays kids they know too much/grow up too fast so it shortens their childhood
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#631063 - 30th Nov 2011 11:08am Re: Was it really better ? [Re: Elizabeth]
pablo42 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12th Dec 2009
Posts: 731
Loc: Wallasey
I think it's selective memory. I was battered as a child and we never had owt to eat. My dad was always in the Pub though. Back then that was considered normal. I never knew I was a battered kid when I was young, cos we all got the same. It was good back then, but today is a lot better

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#631075 - 30th Nov 2011 11:57am Re: Was it really better ? [Re: Elizabeth]
TheComputerLab Offline
Forum Addict

Registered: 18th May 2011
Posts: 1207
Loc: Wallasey
Short answer is yes, i think it was better, i cant go back as far as my childhood was in the 80's and early 90's. although the general living was probably worse and there where probably more people living in "poverty", the was generally a better neighborhood feeling, i never heard of anyone getting found beaten to a pulp etc for being in the wrong place, i grew up in egremont / seacombe way but i think that these days youths really have something to worry about. I used to get up and go out at 8am in school holidays and come home at as late as 9 10 at night, i would go to central park and all over. never had any issues... i think kids would have issues these days.

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#631151 - 30th Nov 2011 3:36pm Re: Was it really better ? [Re: Elizabeth]
FiremanFil Offline
Smartchild

Registered: 17th Sep 2011
Posts: 574
Loc: Wirral
Personally, I think things were much better in the fifties and sixties. People looked after each other. You knew who your neighbours were by their first names. You could borrow a cup of sugar or a pint of milk if you were short without fear of being looked down on. You lent the same in return. Kids got clipped round the ear by the bobby (who's name you knew!!) The worst thing the bobby could say to you was "I'll tell your Dad!! Kids played outside and got fit. Money was tight, but you had each other. Teachers wore suits and ties and we stood up when they came into class. You got caned if you behaved like an arse. Parents supported teachers as long as they didn't overstep the mark. Going to New Brighton on a Sunday with the family was an adventure-especially if you came from Liverpool on the ferry (which cost buttons!!) People laughed a lot more. Yep. I'm glad I was young then. Jobs were plentiful and, although money was tight, you could go out on a Friday night with ten shillings (50p) and come back with change after a night at the pictures or a danc hall. I'd hate to be a youngster growing up now. Most of 'em are like zombies permanently attention-glued to some technostuff like an ipod or an MP3 player or a mobile phone. I think all newborn babies will have earplugs already fitted soon!! Kids txt now instead of speaking to each other. Facebook has become an animal where diseased people feel the need to tell the world useless information like "I'm in the Pub" or "I'm having a poo on the loo" Aldous Huxley was right. It's a brave new world, isn't it? Nostalgia ain't what it used to be.
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#631154 - 30th Nov 2011 3:40pm Re: Was it really better ? [Re: FiremanFil]
Tombraider Offline
Wiki Addict

Registered: 18th Jul 2011
Posts: 7600
Loc: Peace
Originally Posted By: FiremanFil
Personally, I think things were much better in the fifties and sixties. People looked after each other. You knew who your neighbours were by their first names. You could borrow a cup of sugar or a pint of milk if you were short without fear of being looked down on. You lent the same in return. Kids got clipped round the ear by the bobby (who's name you knew!!) The worst thing the bobby could say to you was "I'll tell your Dad!! Kids played outside and got fit. Money was tight, but you had each other. Teachers wore suits and ties and we stood up when they came into class. You got caned if you behaved like an arse. Parents supported teachers as long as they didn't overstep the mark. Going to New Brighton on a Sunday with the family was an adventure-especially if you came from Liverpool on the ferry (which cost buttons!!) People laughed a lot more. Yep. I'm glad I was young then. Jobs were plentiful and, although money was tight, you could go out on a Friday night with ten shillings (50p) and come back with change after a night at the pictures or a danc hall. I'd hate to be a youngster growing up now. Most of 'em are like zombies permanently attention-glued to some technostuff like an ipod or an MP3 player or a mobile phone. I think all newborn babies will have earplugs already fitted soon!! Kids txt now instead of speaking to each other. Facebook has become an animal where diseased people feel the need to tell the world useless information like "I'm in the pub" or "I'm having a poo on the loo" Aldous Huxley was right. It's a brave new world, isn't it? Nostalgia ain't what it used to be.
Its all down to respect phil, and being nice to one another as well.And you find some nasty poeple thease days.
and probally would be nice in thease days as you say.
thanks for sharing this with us xx


Edited by Tombraider (30th Nov 2011 3:44pm)
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#631172 - 30th Nov 2011 4:17pm Re: Was it really better ? [Re: Tombraider]
Helles Offline
Wise One

Registered: 28th May 2010
Posts: 887
Loc: Wirral
In some ways it was better. You more or less knew the price of everything and it didn't fluctuate (go up) as prices do now. I can remember the outcry if the price of beer fags or a loaf went up by a hapenny.

We certainly knew how to amuse ourselves without the benefit of television and spent most of our time running the streets playing games and not vandalising all and sundry. We were fitter and I don't remember too many fat kids. We ate everything and anything because we had nowt and would have gone hungry if we didn't. No one said salt, fat, or any of the other "hazards" were bad for us. We even smeared dripping on our butties because as we oldies know Cholestoral wasn't invented then.

Bad things: Sundays especially in the winter were dire. Only the occasional shop open and that was limited by what it could sell. Most families would have the wireless on listening to the most mind numbing rubbish such as sing something simple. I bet there are a few on here who could give you the whole schedule for a Sunday still. Sunday school for those unfortunates amongst us so mum and dad could do their thing in peace.

Money extremely tight although being from New Brighton there was always a way of getting a few pennies either from the arcades, down grids or under the pier. If you were lucky enough to find a ten bob note which I did once then your mum took it off you because she needed it more.

Living conditions were pretty poor in a lot of households with outside toilets and most with no bath apart from a tin one. In the depths of winter ice formed on the inside of the windows and quite a lot of us had overcoat "eiderdowns" (quilts to the young).

Toilet paper was the Echo or if really unlucky Izal (sp?) which was originally a torture device used by the Japanese on our POW's. I might be stretching the truth there but you know what I mean!

Going on a bit sorry. I could write a book but so could most of us who were born in that era. Happy days? Sometimes!

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#631180 - 30th Nov 2011 4:42pm Re: Was it really better ? [Re: Helles]
snowshoes Online   content

Veteran

Registered: 16th Aug 2010
Posts: 697
Loc: ottawa canada ( formerly new b...
Good stuff everyone.
Yes, everything seemed fine, looking back, I'm sure my parents
had their problems ( which they kept from me ). My Dad had his vices ( don't we all ) But as he said many times "I'm a good man" and yes he was. Looking back I had a great childhood in NB. I miss it very much. But when I read what's
happening in my home town and country I am not very proud any more. I wish I could.

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#631203 - 30th Nov 2011 5:36pm Re: Was it really better ? [Re: Elizabeth]
PaulTaters Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 3rd Nov 2010
Posts: 177
Loc: Birkenhead
Oh dear, another rambling one... smile

I was born in '73 in St Caths. My first significant memories of Birkenhead were of the Silver Jubilee street parties of 1977, when I won a Pound note in the fancy dress competition, dressed as a bumble-bee.

Yes, even then in the late '70s/early '80s everyone still knew everyone else in the street and helped each other out. As a kid, I used to get shopping in for elderly neighbours etc.. I'll never forget when I was eventually told the sad News, "You don't need to go around to Mrs Poselthwaite's any more. She's fell off her perch". Things have changed a lot since then.

I remember a friend and I quite rightly getting told off by a policeman for playing with an abandoned shopping trolley. This was in the "temporary" car park between Grange Road and Borough Road, where the Pyramids shopping centre now stands. We were very young at the time, but I'm sure there were more bobbies on the beat back then!

I remember the day when a mate showed me the bins at the back of "Toy and Hobby" were they used to throw out loads of toys that had some minor fault, or perhaps just couldn't sell. We used to go there and see what we could find.

I used to get 25p a week pocket money back around 1980 or so, which was enough for two chocolate bars and you could get Mojo sweets for half a penny each with the change. Thing was although I was only about 7 years old, I could walk in to the shop and buy "20 three fives" (cigarettes) for my dad and it was completely legal and normal back then to do that. Also remember the big tins of "Party Seven" beer everyone used to buy at Christmas or New Year, although I was too young to drink at the time!

The buses were generally better then with more routes that don't exist today. Like in Birkenhead, you could get a direct bus to Parkgate and also a direct bus from Woodchurch Road (the town end) to New Brighton (the 11 or the 12) My dad sometimes used to take us there after work on long summer evenings and we would tie a mussel to a string and fish for crabs in the marine lake. Also remember the loads of buses along that road at the the back of the arcades in New Brighton, pratically a huge line of buses, the place was pretty bustling even then. (And more arcades back then too). Used to love playing the video games like Pole Position for 10p.

Bus fare to school in Rock Ferry was 5p when I started and 9p by the time I left. Although, one good thing though was after deregulation of the buses (26th October 1986), you could for the first time get a bus directly to Liverpool without having to change onto a train or ferry. Before then, getting to Liverpool used to take longer for many people, using public transport. Likewise going to Chester, I remember having to change on to the diesel train at Rock Ferry. But the good (or bad) thing was that kids could use the trains all day on a 30p Saveway without needing adult supervision.

Of course also remember the great classic local radio programs like Hold yer Plums and "Tune tonic" with Monty Lister. We always seemed to have the radio on on Sundays back then.

I also remember the Overchurch woods before the bypass was put in. (It's near where my nan lived).

I wouldn't say violence or anti-social behaviour didn't exist back then, it certainly did. Coming home from school, I was once punched so hard in the face (totally unrpovoked) walking through Victoria Park by a schoolkid, my face was bruised for weeks. Also I vaguely remember the fires of nearby petrol stations (top of street and bottom of street) during the unrest of summer 1981. Football hooliganism was also pretty bad. We were threatened by hooligans who were going to throw our suitcases out of the train window coming back from Butlins around 1981 IIRC. So have things got worse? Possibly, but it there's always been good and bad everywhere IMHO.

I had since lived down south for some years in the '90s and I still do very much like to travel around the country quite a bit. Whilst there are many places that are far more interseting e.g. London, I still feel very happy to live on the Wirral for the time being, but even in my time (and I'm only 38 now) it has changed so much. Just like the rest of the UK I suppose.

And you just don't get Val Doonican on the TV anymore. laugh


Edited by PaulTaters (30th Nov 2011 5:40pm)

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#631208 - 30th Nov 2011 5:40pm Re: Was it really better ? [Re: Elizabeth]
FiremanFil Offline
Smartchild

Registered: 17th Sep 2011
Posts: 574
Loc: Wirral
Ha!! I used to think that "Sing Something Simple" was the Irish National Anthem!! (you could tell jokes like that in those days without being pilloried as a racist!!)
_________________________
Keepsmilingworkswonders!

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#631219 - 30th Nov 2011 5:55pm Re: Was it really better ? [Re: Elizabeth]
philmch Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 27th Dec 2007
Posts: 322
Loc: Wirral
Hmmm. Nostalgia is certainly not what it used to be.

I became a teenager in the early 70s and can say quite indubitably that things were seriously grim in those days round Birkenhead.

We had scallies in those days but they were known as boneheads, bootboys, hooligans, or yobbos back then. Typical fashion for a young lad was a cardboard stiff denim Wrangler jacket, voluminous polyester trousers worn at half mast, and a shirt worn with the collar over the top of the jacket. Footwear was either bright red Dr Marten's boots or worse, platform shoes. To set off this classy ensemble, a football scarf was often worn tied around the wrist.

We also had paedophiles back then but they were called child molesters. Worryingly, Gary Glitter was enormously popular with the nation's children and Stefan Kiszco was disgracefully convicted for a crime he was later proven not to have committed.

Politically, the ineffective governments of Harold Wilson, Ted Heath, and Jim Callaghan led to the election of Margaret Thatcher. The unions held the country to ransom and power cuts were not uncommon. This was not because we didn't pay our bills but because the power workers went on strike and cut off the electric supply. Call this a recession ? More like a tea party if you ask me.

Musically, it was a great time if you were into northern soul, prog, heavy rock, reggae, or punk. Sadly the most popular band of this time was The Bay City Rollers; a talentless five piece who were heart-throbs for the girls. As a general rule we regarded Queen, Abba, and Elton John as naff music for our parents.

I was quite bright at junior school but neither I nor any of my friends were invited to sit the 11-plus and were thus deprived of any chance of a grammar school education. Bullying was rife in the comprehensives and the bullied were just expected to keep their heads down or fight their own corner.

In all fairness, I was never offered drugs and didn't know anyone who used them. Getting off one's head would involve a can or two of Woodpecker cider and ten Consulate cigarettes.

Everywhere seemed to have graffiti on it (WEBB, NEBB etc) and the council didn't come along and jet wash it off the next day.

In the style of the four Yorkshire men I shall finish by saying "try telling that to the young people today and they won't believe you".

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#631225 - 30th Nov 2011 6:10pm Re: Was it really better ? [Re: Elizabeth]
PaulTaters Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 3rd Nov 2010
Posts: 177
Loc: Birkenhead
I also remember renting our first VHS video recorder back in 1984. Virtually everyone else had one by then, we were quite late getting one.

The exictement of buying our first 2-hour blank tape for 8 from Martin Dawes (Probably about 20 in today's money). We'd gone over it that many times, practically wore the tape out. Funny thing is we now have loads of channels and crisp clear digital recording technology at our fingertips, yet I generally don't bother watching TV nowadays. Back then, everyone seemed to watch all the same programmes, due to the fewer number of channels and everyone talked about them at school. You'd probably feel left out if you hadn't watched "The Young Ones" the night before or if you hadn't seen the latest "red triangle" film on Channel 4.

And my dad sometimes used to rent poor quality copied tapes of Star Wars, Indiana Jones etc.. for 1 from the back of a van.

Dad (with pint glass in hand):- Adjust the tracking on that video Paul, it's not very clear.

Me: It's a pirated worn-out tape the tracking's not going to fix it. laugh

Also we used to go down to the film club at the gas works at Hind Street where they used to have a movie projector and show films on two or three reels with a break between each reel. Happy times. laugh


Edited by PaulTaters (30th Nov 2011 6:11pm)

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