Thursday, 16 April 2015

A Brief Glimpse of Another Time

Watson Street Baptist Chapel, Derby

I have no doubt that my grandparents were a big influence on my interests. I have always been interested in history. Any kind of history. Local history, family history, obscure history. Whether this was enhanced by or directly attributed to growing up listening to their oft told tales, I do not know. One thing that I do know however, is that my maternal Grandad, Len Calladine, is undoubtedly, my inspiration for this blog.
This blog is my "Cabinet of Curiosities" and will represent my eclectic mix of interests. Please check out my other social/political history blog at
I feel privileged to have grown up in the late sixties and early seventies. Our generation had a brief glimpse of a world that belonged to another time. We experienced the tail end of a way of life that our children will never know. I grew up in the old west end of Derby. A world of red brick Victorian terraces. Our first house in Clover Street was knocked down in the early seventies. We had no bathroom, we had a tin bath in front of the fire. Hard to believe now really. I was baptised in Watson Street Baptist chapel. That was also knocked down in the early seventies. A sad fact considering all the buildings of that period which are still standing. I recall the local shops, like Smith`s, Dean`s, Hartshorn`s and Upton`s (always a cut above, well it was on Kedleston Road, I suppose) They were either an aladdins cave of assorted goods, much like Arkwright`s shop in "Open All Hours", or like the old girl`s shop, who sold fruit and veg, over the road from our second house in Leyland Street, very sparsely fitted out. I seem to recall all that was in the shop in the way of fittings, in what must have been at one time her front room, was a rough wooden table, used as a counter and a bit of knocked together low level wooden racking with potatoes, cabbages and a few cooking apples in. I do recall that there was an over-powering earthy smell of soil in there. I can smell it now.
Many will not agree, but for me, one "hardship" our children will not have to endure, is hearing about the “swinging sixties” ! For years it was forced down our collective throats, in overheard conversation, on the radio and on TV. Understandable I suppose, for those who grew up in Austerity Britain. For me though, my interest always lay in that which came before.

Hopefully, thankfully, the "swinging sixties" has raised it`s head for the last time ? I guess our parents were sick of hearing about the war years. Believe me, I know how they must have felt.
My grandad passed away in 1998. I remember with fondness one of our last conversations. One afternoon, just a stones-throw away from where I sit now as I type this. He shared details of his life that I had not heard before. I remember in particular, him telling me that he considered, he had led an interesting life. When my time comes, I sincerely hope that I am able to say the same Grandad.

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