1950's - Weekends and free time
A different kind of playtime, we made our own fun!
Looking back, it seem's that in the 50's, there was a desire to belong to 'things', especially if they were uniformed. I believ this would be often very much Parent led, who saw it as an extension of discipline, which was a lot stronger then.
The main choices of a Friday evening for under 12's was Cub Scouts, Boy's Brigade or possibly a Church 'Young Person's' Club.
I chose Scouting. My Father had told me how they had played a part in the two World War's and my personal need for outdoor acticities made this the best choice.
So, I'd come home from School and get ready to go, even if this did mean a return walk of about one and a half miles.
Before you went, you'd make sure that everything was straight; the cap badge smack bang in the middle of your face, the pointed piece of your neck scarf was also centre in the back / not too long, not too short, your sock garters were exactly to the side of each leg and your shoes were polished to a high shine.
You'd do all this yourself, the only help sometimes needed was the scarf.
I was a member of The Chevening Cub Pack which had probably around 30 boy's from, what was then, a small countryside village.
Everyone usually walked because either the parent's didn't have a car, or it was just natural to do so.
My first ever Camp was a weekend in a field at Sundridge, barely two miles from the Scout Hut, but to a six year old, it was like, not only another world, but seemed as far as a distant Planet away.
No Gas fires, no mamby pandy stuff from the Leaders, you got on with it. Although most of the food was prepared for you, there was that edge of self reliance.
Some of the lad's cried themselves to sleep the first night, but to be honest, I enjoyed the fact I was in someone elses hands for a couple of days and didn't want to go home!
The other highlight of the Year was the Christmas Party, where if you weren't sick afterwards, it was a failure!
Saturdays were more the play day when if there was a birthday party, it would be then.
The fact that this day was more the day of not having many 'specials' you'd find your own entertainment and go off in one of those completely fictional characters to win some famous battle, win a Gold Medal for your country - or just go to a Football Match with Grandpa!
He used to take me to watch Tonbridge Angels play at their old ground (Now a Supermarket). Although they were in the Southern League, upwards of three or four thousand people would attend. There weren't any seats, so us youngens would creep our way through grown ups for a front of the terrace view!
Strange, because it is a memory which seems black and white; the cloth caps and the huge cloud of cigarette smoke drifting over the football pitch.
After the game, or if you didn't go to one, you'd make sure you'd be at home for the football results on Radio or TV.
My Grandfathers Car
The Commentator would read out names of places which were further than five miles from your home. I seriously believed untill I was about 10 that Wolverhampton Wanderers were near Tunbridge Wells!
In the late 50's, it always seemed the football reports were followed by Richard Green playing 'Robin Hood' on the TV.
Sundays were more formal. If you were going to have to dress up, this was the day. The day of visitors, either Grandparents or Friend's
But, this was superceded by Sunday School.and I remember standing in the Coal Shed for some while hoping they may forget I was supposed to be going and I'd say they hadn't told me.
But, alas, I never got away with it!
My Sunday School was at Chipstead, in the Village Hall.
From seeing my Grandchildren at Sunday School, it hasn't changed much, except maybe 'the love' being connected to the 'for ye wages of sin is...' etc.
I outlived Sunday School and joined the Church Choir at Riverhead, where I (unbelievably) stayed until my late teens.
Sunday School at ChipsteadI
I should add that a lot of the reason was the borders from Walthamstow School for Girls used to come every Sunday morning and there was always one which caught my eye, even at that age. I'd dream I was going to marry them. Oh dear !!!
I preferred Even Song though, especially in the winter month's. There was always a certain feel about it with the colder darker evenings. Kind of 'at peace'.
During the summer,after the service, we'd sit on the Bank adjoining the A21 and see the cars coming back from Hastings on their way back to London.
Sunday evenings were quite dull, mainly for the expectation of going back to School the next day. They are dim in my memories and I can't recall one event which happened on a Sunday evening other than cleaning your shoes, again and preparing your Sachel with things you'd never use when you got there. The Sachel was used for putting things in which you wanted to show off to your friends.
Distant days, long ago!