Hornby dublo train Edward as toddler

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Edward as toddlerWhen I was very young I can just remember playing in the living rooms of the house. We always had open fires because there was no central heating. I can remember we had a kitchen with a scrubbed wooden table and a pantry there was no fridge or anything of that kind and a gas cooker and I can remember al that so I was just there and about. Certainly when I was a bit older I was lucky because it was a house that had a few spare rooms on the top floor and I had my own quite decent sized playroom where I could develop and play with whatever I wanted to do. We didn’t have television. We had radio and we used to listen to radio. Sunday afternoons in the winter we’d sit around listening Much Binding in the marsh or Down My Way and other programmes that were on the radio at the time and all the children's programmes were on the radio too

Do you remember favourite games. The toys and games you played with?
Not when I was very small. My main kind of toys were firstly electric trains, but I didn’t have those until I was nine and that was quite a big present and thing. Before that I probably had things like bako which was a kind of an early form of not quite Lego, but a bit like that, you could build houses with plastic bits between rods. There was also a lot of making of models and things. I mean certainly making model aircraft out of balsa wood and tissue paper that was kind of treated with a kind of clear dope solution. That was a very big part of my life both at home and at school as well....I would have done it on my own when I was at home or maybe when we had friends in or whatever. At school I would have done it along with a lot of other boys doing the same thing.

And any other family members did you spend time with
We always used to tend to go and see my mothers brothers she had well, several brothers, two of them lived in Bournemouth. One was a farmer and we used to go to the farm He had two daughters one a little older than me and one almost exactly my age. Brenda and Jo was the youngest and we were always kind of friendly as children. He was a great character in fact he had a tremendous sense of humour and to listen to him talk, everyone would just sit about laughing He had a way of telling stories that was very amusing. Just a kind of natural comic. I liked him. And we had another uncle who was an electrical engineer what was then the national grid as it was developed and he lived in Melksham which was one of the centres of the electricity grid at that time and he also had a daughter and a son around my sort age. In fact that was the first place I ever saw television. they actually had this little black and white television that even
had a little kind of curtain they dropped over it when they weren’t using it, which I thought was quite fascinating.

Do you remember what you saw?
Well I remember the very first thing I saw was acrobats. It was a fairly grainy 405 picture and there were these acrobat doing cartwheels and things and that was about it I think. I can’t actually remember what else we saw on their television.
Did you like going to the farm?

Oh, The farm was great You know, at different ages, the cows to get in and the occasional ride on a tractor some old kind of Fords I’ve seen them in museums now and I used to really enjoy the farm and the animals and the pigs and the rest of it also they tended to not have electricity so we had oil lamps and things in some places They did in fact move around they had farms in different places. One of the very strong memories I’ve got is they had a farm in Bristol or rather in Filton next to the runway of Filton aerodrome and I suppose this would be in the late forties, early fifties and I used to watch the Bristol Brabizon taking off, this was sort of early large (pistoned engined) plane which was out of date by the time it was built but I did see it and it was kind of a bit of aeronautical history.



You mentioned religion was that important in your family?
It certainly was, yes I mean I think that the whole family did just support the Church of England. You have to understand that religion in those days also reflected a kind of social background as well. The established church was the church both of most of the gentry and certainly the kind of the upper, middle lower and most of the lower middle classes beneath that there was a kind of another almost social division which was centred around the non-conformist churches of which there were a number in Malmesbury and that kind of social stratification was very strong when I was young and very kind of noticeable in the local community. There were some Roman Catholics but they more seemed to be more associated with their own background particularly Irish people and so on than the other churches but yes, it was quite interesting the way that religion formed some kind of matrix for the social structure.
How did that then affect you growing up?
choirboyWell I don’t know obviously when one’s growing up one doesn’t think much about one’s place in the world I was a choirboy in the abbey Choir in Malmesbury for a few years and wearing a black cassock and white surplus I think’s the right words and a white ruff round my neck (laughing) quite amusing looking I think looking back on it. But that was my part really in it and I went to the services with my parents regularly every Sunday of course Sundays then were very quiet, nothing was open it’s totally different today and what one did was to go to church. Usually they might go to early morning communion but then they’d go to matins in the morning and then we’d go home and have lunch and so on and it was a very.. and we’d play games or listen to the radio or do odd jobs around the house perhaps but basically have a quiet day on a Sunday sit in the garden if the weather was nice things of that kind,quite different from today




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