Growing up in the 1950s

My childhood in Shildon, A Railway Town

Growing up in the 1950s

Trouble seemed to follow me around, as kids we were always looking for adventures. This inevitably meant trouble with parents, neighbours, teachers, and sometimes the local Bobby. Our street had a purpose built police house at the entrance, on reflection that suggests they had decided to contain us kids to one area, but that must have been just a coincidence.

The policeman who lived there had a few sons around the same age as me, who A were great friends of mine, and B led me into more trouble than I could get into by myself. Their dad, usually in full uniform, regularly knocked on our door to explain to my parents that I had transgressed again, I didn’t even know what transgressing was but I knew it meant a clip round the ear and being kept in for a few days. Referred nowadays to being grounded but we had no Iphone or laptop to pass the time away. All I had was a set of encyclopedia called “The World of Children”, I don’t know who the salesman was who sold them to my mam but he must have been good as every other kid had them.

We weren’t bad, just misunderstood, at least that is what they say nowadays, I mean what’s wrong with having a street olympics where the main event is running through everyones’ gardens using their hedges as a steeplechase, we just had excess energy. And tossing the arrow from one side of the green to the other to see who reached the farthest, so an occasional window was broken, that was Dave Overton by the way with a winning throw.

I spent a lot of time with the policeman’s sons. I won’t name them to protect their identities but they were trouble, John especially. Well one day John and his brother wanted to see the football match between Shildon and Crook but their dad was guarding the gate in case people tried to sneak in without paying. So John persuaded me and two others to cause a diversion by trying to climb the fence, as soon as their dad started to walk towards us they were through the gate in a shot. They saw a great match and I received another clip round the ear for another transgression.

Most of my trouble was caused by those innocent police kids but they were great friends, they moved away soon and I did miss them, but strangely I never transgressed again.