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Looking Back by a 90 Year Old

The soldiers came out for fresh air, dressed in their hospital pale blue garb and sat on the wall in Preston Road.


Gone are the days when:-

  • there were back lanes – no gardens;
  • the coal man delivered bags of coal weighed on a scale on his horse-drawn cart;
  • the clothes prop man called up the lane in deep voice “Clothes Props”, props were used to prop-up the washing line in the lane;
  • the old soul who sold ‘Rubbing Stone’ calling “Rubbin Stane”, this to brighten the front door step;
  • the rag and bone man from whom a jam jar and a balloon was your prize;
  • the milkman with his churn on wheels ringing his bell and calling “Milk O”;
  • the cooper calling “Jobs for the Copper, tubs to mend”. The tubs were washing tubs where a “poss stick” was used to pound the clothes and the rubbing board for extra dirty garments.

So much for the back lane.

My school days during the first World War were only half-day education.  Most schools were taken over by the soldiers.  Thus, what buildings were left all the schools had to share.  We took it in turn’s month by month alternating morning or afternoon lessons.

Springtime saw the return of, for girls: skipping ropes, for boys: tops and whips and iron hoops to bowl along guided by a hook.

Preston Hospital, now demolished, was originally the Workhouse.  During the First World War wounded soldiers were treated there.  They used to come out for fresh air dressed in their hospital pale blue garb and sit on the wall in Preston Road and chat to passers-by.

Moor Park Hospital was the original local fever hospital.  Visitors were only allowed to stand at the gate and look through the railing where patients were lined up about 10/12 feet away to converse with one another.

Junior Church in those far off days was Sunday school where I received my spiritual grounding.  Here, I was taught the Ten Commandments, the Books of the Bible, the shorter Catechism etc, etc.  Although as a youngster I may not have understood these teachings they were committed to memory and have been a source of spiritual help throughout my life.

So much for by gone days.  I look back to an upbringing of joys and sorrows but much loving care.  This I believe has brought me to the good age of 90 years.

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