View Full Version : 50 years of social progress?

13th Dec 2007, 13:34
Subject: SCHOOLDAYS 1957 vs. 2007

Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fight after school.
1957 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up mates.
2007 - Police called, SWAT team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark. Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it.Scenario: Jeffrey won't be still in class, disrupts other students.
1957 - Jeffrey sent to office and given a good caning by the Head. Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2007 - Jeffrey given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. School gets extra money from state because Jeffrey has a disability.Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his neighbour's car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.
1957 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normally, goes to uni, and becomes a successful businessman.
2007 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang. Psychologist tells Billy's sister that she remembers being abused herself and their Dad goes to prison. Billy's Mum has affair with psychologist.Scenario: Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.
1957 - Mark tells teacher he has taken aspirin
2007 - Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.Scenario: Pedro fails high school English.
1957 - Pedro gets extra tuition, passes English, goes to Uni.
2007 - Pedro's cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. Class action lawsuit filed by anti discrimination commissioner against Education Dept and Pedro's English teacher. English banned from core curriculum. Pedro given diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers, puts them in a model aeroplane paint bottle, blows up an ant bed.
1957 - Ants die.
2007 - Local police & AFP called. Johnny charged with domestic terrorism, parents investigated, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated, Johnny's Dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.Scenario: Johnny falls while running during morning tea and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.
1957 - In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.
2007 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in prison while Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.

13th Dec 2007, 13:44
Despite the hyperbole, there is an uncomfortable degree of truth there.

Scenario: 1963: Crabby old Mrs Wishart yells at harmless schoolkids riding their bikes across her footpath. On November 5th, Mrs Wishart's letterbox is blown skywards on Guy Fawkes night. Mrs W is no fool, sees the whole incident from behind her curtains and tells the parents of all those involved. Well, there were only two of us really.

Binos finishes up with red marks on his ass in one of the only times physical punishment was ever handed out in his house.

2007: I'd rather not think about it.

Old bat!

13th Dec 2007, 13:57

I am surprised at the high standard of literacy in that piece since you have obviously cribbed it from the Daily Mail.



13th Dec 2007, 14:13
Oh come on, Bill. At some stage you have to cut loose the party line and accept that not all the good ideas are on the same side of politics. I too hate the eternal "PC gone mad" cries from the usual suspects, but occasionally they have a point.

The attempts to make our society a fairer one have in general been reasonably successful over the last thirty years, at least in terms of bringing to public awareness a lot of things that were previously hidden as dark secrets, child abuse being the obvious example.

But the pendulum is swinging too far, and unless you can bring yourself to accept a little moderation of your views, those views are going to be increasingly ignored. It may give you a nice warm feeling to be a determined and unassailable liberal, but nobody will notice. Like peeing in a dark suit.

I don't want liberal thought processes to go out the window, to be replaced by rabid conservatism. We have just gone the other way in our federal election. But unless the liberals stop occupying the high moral ground and claiming it for themselves without accepting the possibility of another line of thought, they face extinction.

13th Dec 2007, 14:53
Can anyone make a case that indulgence of ill behavior, abandonment of discipline, ceasing to demand performance, or otherwise protecting children from consequences has done society or the children any good?

13th Dec 2007, 14:55
you have obviously cribbed it from the Daily Mail.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAGH I didn't, honest, it was sent to me by someone who I now realise does read it. Thanks for the tip-off I'll never speak to the b*****d again!

13th Dec 2007, 14:58
At the risk of really upsetting the PC Brigade... some will have noticed the current news articles about the "childish experimentation" (the P.C. judge's words, not mine) that six not so young ethnic Australian boys and three ethnic Australian adult males enjoyed with a "willing" 10 year old female of the same ethnic persuasion. Not mentioned in any of the reports I have seen on CNN and the BBC was the fact that the girl had been taken away from her family some years earlier and fostered with a family not of the same ethnic persuasion. She was returned to her family on the insistance of two social workers, who saw her bring brought up by an apparently loving family of a different racial background as unacceptable.

With tin hat and flak jacket very tightly in place, I find myself wondering how many of the "Stolen Generation" were rescued from similar situations to the one this poor unfortunate girl found (finds?) herself in. And how many of that Stolen Generation would be around today - or compus mentis enough - to sue the Government for taking them away from such "childish experimentation".

13th Dec 2007, 14:59
BenThere, my friend, imagine that the question you posed were so phrased in a public opinion poll. Any results of said poll would automatically and correctly be disregarded as tainted by the way the question was framed.

I have no quibble with your basic point, but it has to be phrased less emotively.

13th Dec 2007, 15:01
And Wiley, why post that here when there is a whole thread devoted to it elsewhere?

13th Dec 2007, 15:03
Sorry, Bino. Been away on a trip. Just saw the other thread after posting. I assume the same or something similar has been said by someone else on that thread?

13th Dec 2007, 15:12
Your critique accepted, Binos, but I didn't intend to be overly emotive, but to simply portray what I perceive has happened to Western society's approach to dealing with its young within my lifetime.

Each of those emotive constraints existed before in great measure, and have been inexorably weakened in our progressive march.

My question, open to discussion, is still: Has it done society or the children any good?

13th Dec 2007, 15:12
Nurries, Wiley. Like BenThere you occupy the other side of the political spectrum to me but I always respect your viewpoints. I would be happy to hear them on the other thread.

13th Dec 2007, 15:19
BenThere, I'd love the opportunity to discuss this over a couple of quiet ones.

My simple answer would be yes; on balance I think it's a fairer, more equitable society, and certainly a more educated one thanks to the internet. But I am totally aware of the downsides, of the lack of respect, of the insistence on rights vis-a-vis responsibilities. Noblesse oblige may well be an ancient concept but it maintains its validity.

I can only repeat that while my basic ideals may tend towards the liberal, I am totally aware of the dangers of the pendulum swinging too far.

Here's hoping that at some stage in the future we can solve all these problems over a few bottles.

13th Dec 2007, 15:23
The origins of this piece look Australian to me: AFP means Australian Federal Police, and though "SWAT Team" originated in the USA, it's used as slang outside the USA too.

Drugging kids for ADHD is (thankfully) not yet that common in the UK... dunno 'bout Dunnunda.:hmm:

13th Dec 2007, 22:57
Scenario: Trying to take photos of your own kid

2007: Council wonk disapproves (http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/1028189_no_photos_of_your_baby_) (Manchester Evening News)

14th Dec 2007, 01:21
Thirty-two (and a half) years ago our first child was born. After being present at the birth I went home and changed (I'd been at the hospital for more than 24 hours - sleeping in the car in the carpark) then returned to visit my wife and child. The baby was in a fish-tank on a trolley alongside the bed, and I picked her up - whereupon a very large nurse rapidly grabbed hold of the bundle from me and announced in a deep (and loud) voice:- "We do not pick up the babies!"
I was chastened, though somewhat disappointed that I was not part of the allowable carers (that was to come later when we escaped from the ward).

This was way before any concern that babies might be snatched from hospitals - it was just the rules that only mother and nurses were allowed to touch the babies . . . (even your own child).

Oh! - and just try to take a photograph of any sort - even still life - in a shopping precinct. Most are now privately operated and the rules say 'no photography any where within the complex' (and it's not because they sell picture postcards like some churches and museums do). It's just the rules and the jobsworths will ensure that you don't break the rules.

14th Dec 2007, 03:20
There was no Golden Days. The old days were dreadful. Social inequality ruled the day. Enid Blyton and her snotty nosed Famous Five toffs were a mystery to most of us and Johnny and Mark didn't shake hands after their bout of fisticuffs. The Black Hand Gang went round the Scrubs neighbourhood and kicked the shit out of Marky's mob later that night. I know. I was there. Study hard and go to university? Hell no! Sending a son to university was a Pools win dream for people like my father. Like everybody else I knew, I had to start work as soon as I reached school leaving age (16) when the tax relief and family allowance were taken away.

Huggy-fluffery has indeed gone too far, but since 1957 we have come a long way and my children have had opportunities that were denied me and my school mates. I've even managed to graduate myself in the meantime. Good times, bad times. The good times are always now and you'd better believe it.

14th Dec 2007, 10:11

AAAAAAAAAAAAAGH I didn't, honest, it was sent to me by someone who I now realise does read it. Thanks for the tip-off I'll never speak to the b*****d again!

Does the grain of truth that attracted you now become invalid because it might have come from a source you dislike?


Social inequality ruled the day.

And social inequality is largely a product of of intelligence, ingenuity, application and hardwork. How else do some people manage to make it from rags to riches?

Plus ca change....

14th Dec 2007, 10:31
Does the grain of truth that attracted you now become invalid because it might have come from a source you dislike?

There was no truth in it for me i.e 'the good old days', I just quoted it for reaction.
I'm with Blacksheep's sentiments all the way.

14th Dec 2007, 11:30
"A gardener is thought to have made legal history after being convicted of racially aggravated harassment for using the word 'pikey'.
Lee Coleman repeatedly used the term, a derogatory reference to gypsies and Travellers, in a drunken outburst over a nightclub entry fee.
Prosecutor Simon Allen claimed Coleman had said: 'I'm not paying you, you pikey.' When told to leave he added: 'She is a pikey, she has nicked my mate's jacket.'"

15th Dec 2007, 14:13
And social inequality is largely a product of of intelligence, ingenuity, application and hardwork. Stuff and nonsense. There was no lack of intelligence, ingenuity, application and hard work in our family - tell me how a fluent Latin speaking scholarship winner ended up as a labourer in a chemical works? Because when he reched 14 the scholarship ran out and there was no money to put him through matriculation and on to university. It didn't do to have too many smart alec rag-arses around, creating social unrest. He did become a socialist activist and union organiser during the General Strike, but he's the only card carrying commie b*stard we've had in the family. Dad gained entry into the Stockton Secondary School which later became Grangefield Grammar School, but he went to sea as a RN Boy Signaller at the outbreak of WW2.

I'll grant you there may be summat in what you say; after all, we did get there in the end by keeping at it, but its been a hard slog over several generations. (And I'm still rock solid working class. ;) )

Life's a Beech
15th Dec 2007, 15:10
Indeed it has some truth, but my Dad did manage to go to a good university almost 50 years ago. He was from working-class stock, and his father died when my father was just 17.

However there were still grammar schools and university grants, and before he died my grandfather worked extremely hard in a menial job he hated, and even went abroad away from his family for a long time. I thank my grandfather I never knew for everything I have now. I also thank the Royal Air Force, in which even then an officer was an officer, regardless of the class he had come from, and taught to be so and to mix with all classes. My father came out of all that able to help me to where I am today.

A hard slog over several generations indeed. I suspect my great grandfathers might also have helped in this effort.

15th Dec 2007, 15:29
So is this thread saying that today's un-natural PC climate has about as much relevance and does about as much damage as say the unrestrained brutality of the Victorian schoolroom?

Is it saying the truth lies somewhere in between?

16th Dec 2007, 12:49
Unrestrained brutality of the Victorian school room? What about the unrestrained brutality of the Elizabethan school room of the 1950s? :rolleyes:

tony draper
16th Dec 2007, 13:00
yer but when we left we could all read and write Mr B, some of us could even do that joined together writing.

16th Dec 2007, 15:10
This thread allows of more than the usual exchange of abuse. One can well respond: "Yes. I agree. But ....", and then develop a tangent; rather than the more usual: “You are a .............. [continue as appropriate ... or even inappropriate]”.

Blacksheep is right on the early Elizabethan and late Georgian school brutality. Some from that era look back and say Jollly Good, beatings made me the man I am, Yuk! Yuk!; but I do not. I was quite well-behaved, but no one ever totally escaped the brutality, and there are one or two old b*st*rd schoolteachers I'd like to meet again today for a smack in the mouth.

Then again, how routinely the dear lady teachers in the village school would fix on favourite victims and belt small boys of 9 or 10. How could they do it? What would impel any adult to do what they did? Were they all perverts?

On the other hand, as Dr d observes, we left school able to read and write, unlike the current contributor of 16 to another thread who offers complacency and ignorance. Grammar and spelling are unknown to him. No, I would not "cut him some slack". He is 16, not 6.

Interesting too that Blacksheep sees himself as working class. How do others see him? One smug and self-satisfied contribution, for example, in another thread implies that I am of the “born to rule class”. I wish! But my recent ancestry followed the pattern drawn by Blacksheep.

My Dad’s mother died when he was 8, he was cared for by his widowed grandmother, he left school at 13, got a job as grocer’s delivery-boy, moved to a junior clerkship in the North British Railway, was promoted, and in his late twenties quit it all for five years of University studies funded mainly on faith and selling tea round the doors. You want to know about poverty? Let me tell you. Yes, it was possible to climb, but at great human expense.

From the later generation that [got the chance/ was handed the responsibility] to continue the climbing, much was demanded. In 1953, 36 out of 108 candidates passed in my first degree examination in French. Civil (Roman) Law in 1957 was not so easy: 2 passed out of 21. Today there would be a lynching; but today our 16 year-old uses the grammatical subject “me and my freinds [sic!]”; and recently a Justice of the Federal Court of Canada says that any language is acceptable in her court; any language, that is, save Latin. But Latin is the language of our legal history.

Today Frau Davaar’s students, some of them, tell her they must get an A+ in her German class, not for merit but to get them into Advanced Studies. Sorry, Sweetie! Barking up the wrong tree.

Davaar: Why not say it? Why not? Thank you; I shall: O Tempora! O Mores!

16th Dec 2007, 16:20
Davaar, is not that 16 year old (and his freinds) a victim also of the system of educashun currently in place. If they can "achieve" such grades as to gain entry to college whilst displaying such an abysmal command of the English language, who is to blame?
Yesterday I couldn't spell ingineir, now I are one!

16th Dec 2007, 17:20
I agree, Shack, almost entirely.

My problem with the 16-year old is that he is lippy with it. I did not dump on him, I just asked: Which college? I'd like to know. His taradiddle about “... my English course, prosodic features, semantic fields, graphology and phonology...” shows he can copy words from a syllabus, no more. Come off it, mate. Baloney or bologna. Have you read a book? The pity is, he does seem to have tenacity: plays in the band, I gather, climbs the mountains. Right on. Why is it wasted?

In the 1960s I managed a hall that we allowed others to use, free or for rent. One fellow, an instructor at a prominent Canadian University so he said, proposed to use it for English tutorials. Good. In passing I hoped he would teach some grammar while he was at it. Wow! That provoked a flood of venom. Who the Hell was I? he wanted to know, to offer that comment? I was some kind of lawyer? Right? Huh? Huh? What did I know about anything?

I could have said that despite the fell destiny that took me into law I had flown aircraft, piston and jet, by day and by night, in weather fair and foul, and never broken a single one, and helped take ships to sea, and that his comment was irrelevant. He was of the school that has brought us our 16 year old.

Frau Davaar teaches two types of adult student: (a) military and (b) other. She thinks the military are wonderful: they understand discipline. A vos ordres, mon commandant! Give homework to class (a) and they do the homework Yes, Ma'am. Tell them the objective and they reach the objective, or at the very least try very hard. She takes them from raw beginner to fluency.

Class (b) want an A+ (especially if “disadvantaged", for they are told it is their "entitlement"). That is the objective: the A+, not the ability to handle the subject taught, and there are teachers so weak-kneed as to connive at the grant, because it reflects well on their own performance. Let's hope the rules in the surgical classes are more demanding.

One result for all students is that the standard for an A+ is reduced far below what it should be, and a student who can and does actually reach "A+ so-called" is capable of far more, to which the system does not challenge him or her.

I used to interview applicants for posts as articled students. One claimed to be bilingual, French and English, and also she had spent six months in Germany. Her interview did not go well on the law, so I moved on to a question or two in French. Give her a chance. What a hope! Stunned!

Okay, then! Onwards and upwards. Let’s try the German. Same thing. Turns out that in her months in Germany they concentrated on “culture”, i.e., on having a good time, not study; and not a word of German did she know. What a waste of a chance I could have used when I was sixteen.

Oh Yes, “we” do fail them.

16th Dec 2007, 17:40
One smug and self-satisfied contribution, for example, in another thread implies that I am of the “born to rule class”.But I have never seen that in you, Davaar. Despite your linguistic prowess, the stories you have told in these pages are evidence enough of your origins. This little photo from the website of my home town comes from about the time I left there, so the children would be about ten years younger than I, yet the boy in the middle could well be me. Whatever leg up I may have given our own children, I am still the same raggy-arsed, clarty-faced urchin inside. It is nothing to be ashamed of, but it well illustrates 50 years of social progress. It is a shame that some of that progress now seems to be in reverse.


tony draper
16th Dec 2007, 17:48
Progress indeed Mr B.
I'm the one with the shoes.:rolleyes:

Solid Rust Twotter
16th Dec 2007, 17:56

16th Dec 2007, 18:01
Polished too, I notice. Quite the little toff. (Though I suspect you aren't really ancient enough to be in that photo. ;) )

Over here they call it 'Berjalan Kaki Ayam' - Walking chicken footed... Very apt. But its warmer here than on Tyneside. My Grandad said that going barefoot in summer was quite normal for children in his youth, but the dirt poor had to go 'Kaki Ayam' even in the winter. One supposes they were dead 'ard in those days, though its a fact that two of my Dad's siblings didn't survive long enough to start school and my mother also lost three siblings in infancy. Antibiotics were still to be invented - that's what 90 years of social advancement can mean for you.

"Get out of that drain now, before you catch the fever!"

16th Dec 2007, 18:18
....and what of that girl without shoes, the little one in the white dress? When the kindly fairies gathered round her cradle, what gifts did they bring for her? What was her destiny?

As I look at her I see M***** M***, in my class 1940 to 1945. M***** M*** did have footwear: boy's boots, down at heel. No socks. I can see those boots still.

In 1945 our village school had a visit from HM Inspector of Schools. He asked us questions on geography (How high is Ben Nevis? 4406 feet. Everyone knows that!) and then moved on to the heavy stuff, like "whom". Who can give me a sentence with "whom"?

Wrinkling of brows. Up went the hand of M***** M***. A shadow crossed the face of Mr G*****. Said M***** M***: "Is that the man whom we met?"

M***** M***! Wonderful, and you just eleven, too; not even sixteen and not at college! God Bless You! Over sixty years I have thought of you. How did it turn out for you?

tony draper
16th Dec 2007, 18:35
Burn Street Gateshead 1900,that street was still there in the mid sixties and still lived in,toilet shared by two families in the back yard and a cold water tap in the scullery (as back kitchens where known as then), Aunt of mine lived in a very similar house in a similar street at the time,however they did have a great coal fire.
Incidently she was not very chuffed when they demolished her home and she had to move into a brand new slum called At Cuthberts Village,which in its turn has been demolished,Burn St lasted about 80 years, St Cutherberts Village about 25.

west lakes
16th Dec 2007, 19:02
I was discussing my junior school days with YWL the other day, explaining things like the outside loos, the "strict" disclipline, the boys & girls seperate playgrounds, the "you WILL eat everything on your plate" school dinners etc.
His comment yes disgusting,, ah I said "standards were different 40 yrs ago" no he said in all sincerity "the poor standards in schools nowadays"

There is hope, he is the first to admit that the school system does not equip young people for the "real" world. That's not in terms if disclipline and things but in basic skills to deal with the real world. The only way they can achieve it in many cases is outside the classroom if they have the ethic to do it.

16th Dec 2007, 19:53
West, my daughter started Tae Kwon Do at age 6 and kept it up until she went off to university at 18, with a black belt. Master L** ran the school with firm discipline. Any who remotely approached "making trouble" met with his bleak reproof, a fearsome thing, a disgrace not to be borne. Even as a spectator I would tremble (Was there anything he knew about me?).

Young members had to show him their school reports. If these fell below his standards he would suspend them from Tae Kwon Do until he had evidence of improvement at school.

One might think he was detested. Not at all. The parents loved it. The children loved it. They all knew what was demanded, that it was desirable, and how to go for it. There was order in society. When they moved up from belt to belt there was a ceremony, and they knew they had earned the promotion. Master L**, with his Black Belt and 9th Dan, did not give undeserved, nor deny deserved, awards.

Maybe if he had been tougher with me I'd have got beyond green.

west lakes
16th Dec 2007, 20:03
Interestingly I ran the local scout troop/group for 18 yrs. One thing I discovered was the concept of the line drawn in the sand. Young people (or those that wanted to advance in life) certainly appreciated the non- negotiability of said line.
It was evident, however, that the change in shall we say lifestyle was biting.
I am sure you, and others around my/your age well remember entertaining ourselves when young - with nothing other than our imaginations.
When older I had a bike and certainly at age 15 thought nothing of a full day out cycling around the area (in fact one day we went on a day trip to the Lake District a 120 mile round trip) that led to a weeks cycling & youth hosteling.
Going back to present day youth, the concept, for some, of organising it themselves is so foreign to their experiences that they struggle to decide what to do on a Saturday.

17th Dec 2007, 03:36
...they struggle to decide what to do on a Saturday.Well, there's no kindling to be chopped or yards to be swilled these days. The ABC Minors have been overtaken by the video shop and the roads are too full of traffic to be galivanting off to the Lake District. Personally I never got beyond Richmond or Osmotherly, but the idea of a young lad pedalling a bicycle along the A66/A1 to Scotch Corner in 2007 does boggle the mind somewhat. So, it isn't all Social Progress, that's for sure.

If we'd had central heating, a garden, an entertainment centre and a PS2 or Wii, I do wonder if we'd have bothered going out. Certainly, by the age of fourteen we regularly gathered in Bagsie's shed to smoke Woodbines and play three card brag out of the wind and rain. Saturday was pay day for the Thomas's paper lads and we'd sit in Paleschis with a coffee and play the juke box. On other days when the money had run out we might gather in someone's front room to play rock 'n roll records on the Dansette.

Until we were old enough to ride a motor bike... :E

Loose rivets
17th Dec 2007, 06:52
I've posted this before, but it's so typical of a post war British school that...etc., etc..

Two of these students became airline pilots. Pick them out. Send your entries in...with a five shilling postal order to...Loose rivets, care of the Walton on Naze old boys benevolent society.

The one that's not me, has recently retired after 43 years in the game. (He flew airy-planes as well.)

Strange thing is that I can remember most of these kids names.:(

What the heck am I talking about? On with the motley.


tony draper
17th Dec 2007, 09:12
We didn't hang about either when we left school,most of us left on the friday and started life as a working men(and women) on the monday, one thunk of taking a break year but then thunk nah! starvation and living on a bomb site would not suit,plus being arrested for failing to maintain oneself would have been a tad inconvenient

17th Dec 2007, 10:20
To be fair, though, there were all sorts of free, government-sponsored, overseas vacations available in Cyprus, Korea, Malaya, Kenya, Palestine, and other exotic spots.

tony draper
17th Dec 2007, 10:24
Just missed National Service,but one would have avoided it anyway,being under the Red Duster was considered a reserved occupation.
Strange thing Mr Rivets, Class photographs of that time of sprogs that age all look identical,I swear I could put names to some of those faces,if I posted mine you would say it was the same class just rearranged a bit sitting and standing in different positions.

17th Dec 2007, 12:46
Loose Rivits, another thing about your class photo... would there be a single school in the UK today where the class was so overwhelmingly Anglo?

17th Dec 2007, 13:46
Loose Rivets. I'm with Mr D. on that, except that the classes at my school were smaller and the teacher was a nun. Also why is it that junior schools all looked the same in the 'fifties?

Wiley. Our class in junior school wasn't "Anglo", it was "Caucasian". We had one lad who's parents were Italian, one who was born in Poland, another from Germany and an Irish girl. We were considered very multi-racial at the time.

tony draper
17th Dec 2007, 13:54
Nuns ? Irish girls? oh boy.:E

17th Dec 2007, 13:57
Yeah, double :E:E:E, well triple.

17th Dec 2007, 15:31
Impressive multiculturalism, S'land, but we had something even more exotic: two brothers from ENGLAND! Can you believe it? Strange beings indeed, and talked funny with it. That was in the entire school, of course, not the one class. They might have been better-advised to put up with the Blitz. In our society all trivialities with the 3rd Reich were discounted by memories of the real enemy, Edward l, and the conclusive debate at Bannockburn, as recently as June, 1314, with Edward ll.

Frankly, I was never quite sure myself about those two: Were they Fifth Columnists?

17th Dec 2007, 16:10
Just to add that (apart from the butch teacher) Loose rivets's photograph would also pass for my school photo.

Thus can historians date photographs reliably merely from the appearance of the style of clothing and hair of the subjects.

I trained at Vickers Armstrong at Elswick (business still there, but now owned by Alvis) and workers there (and at other Tyneside engineering works) in the 60s could move from firm to firm at a day's notice. One could choose for whom (and where in the country) one wanted to work. It was something that my son didn't enjoy in the late 80s / early 90s.

17th Dec 2007, 16:15
Good God - have we children of the fifties become so pigeon holed now that all our school photos are clones one of another? - the scruff, the mothers dolly substitute, the toughy, and the swot - yes indeed - all human life was there - and has largely created the life we experience now.

Where did that accumulation of post war optimism let it go so wrong???

p.s. You two on the back there! Get rid of those ridiculous false moustaches! :eek:

17th Dec 2007, 23:15

Yes they were very probably fifth columnists. Mind 1314 is a bit old, I'm fighting a much more recent battle, the War of the Roses. When my youngest niece was very young she thought that I did not love her as much as her sister as she had been born in Lancashire. She was wrong, after all it was her mother, my sister, who made the mistake and moved there :suspect:.

17th Dec 2007, 23:50
S'land, I think so. One day, there they were; next day they were gone. Special Branch, if you ask me.

tony draper
18th Dec 2007, 00:08
We still have a beef this side of the Pennines agin the House of Lancaster. :suspect:

18th Dec 2007, 00:29
Mr D, my point exactly. As I try to explain to friends here, we did not lose the War of the Roses, we came second. :confused:

18th Dec 2007, 01:57
Pupils were a bit thin on the ground in your 'posh' school Rivets, being Baby Boomers we were 52 to a class, with 4 classes - A, B, C & D.

Of we in Standard 4A, 36 got through the eleven plus, 4B pushed through 11 more while none of 4C and 4D passed even Part One. (Indeed, most of 4D didn't even sit the 11+ as they couldn't read the exam papers.)

Unlike tony's Tyneside, down in South Durham an unemployment rate of >25% meant that not everyone left school on Friday and started work on Monday. That 25% would mostly be the Standard 4Ds who could hardly write their own names I expect. Education was no more perfect in 1957 than it is in 2007... :hmm:

18th Dec 2007, 12:03
36 got through the eleven plus,

Blimey Blacksheep that was a good result.
In my class of '48, of about 60 pupils, I remember only about 5 passing the 11+. They were all the posh kids and mostly an only child. The rest of us were packed off to Sec. Mods. to eventually become factory fodder. I went into 'the print'. After Nat Serv. in R.A.F. decided to stay in ('the print' was boring) left 20 years later with qualifications that enabled me to have a successful 2nd career and now a comfortable retirement enjoying my grandchildren. My 21 yr old grandson has just graduated and has a good job. He finds it hard to believe that I was working a 48 hr. week at 15. For me the 'good old days' are a myth.
I do find though that people of my generation appreciate what they have. Not so, it seems, with young folk today.

tony draper
18th Dec 2007, 12:20
Well some progress had been made by our time Mr G,fifty years earlier you might have been working down the Pit at twelve,
Remember seeing a thing about the time education for the great unwashed was being mooted,great men of the time one would assume to have been a bit more socially enlightened than most were some of its most vociferous opponents,
People like H G Wells D H Lawrence and such,some of HG and Lawrences ideas would have fitted in well with old Adolfs crowd,including setting up camps for the feckless poor the unemployed and err gassing them.

18th Dec 2007, 12:48
Yes, one shudders at some of the ideas the upper class had lined up for the huddled masses.

18th Dec 2007, 13:02
In fact, Adolf was very keen on fitness, hard work, good feeding and opportunities for all. We need only look at comparative pictures of British POW and German POW to see the evidence. That is not to approve of some of his other notions.

A boy a couple of years ahead of me left the village school and was killed underground at age 15, as I recall. He had left school at 14.

That little girl in the white dress in your picture reminds me of Miss ********, of Dundee. What did life hold for that mite? What did it hold for Miss ********?

She and her brother, respectively 10 and 12, were orphaned in Ireland about the turn of the century. Another Dad and Mum took them plus their own brood to Glasgow. Then the D and M went on to the USA; no money to take the other mouths.

Brother and sister parted at the harbour in Glasgow. They never met or heard from each other again.

She walked to Dundee (80+ miles) and got a job as a half-timer in the jute mills, where she stayed until she "retired". She was a tiny "shilpit wee creature" (I trust no one is so unimaginative as to need translation), product of a life of malnutrition. She lived in a "single end" in one of the tenements.

Soon after she quit work she could no longer look after herself. The "home" would take you without money if you had no money; and if you had money they would take you and the money. They too had costs to meet.

Miss ******** had over the decades saved GBP 200.00. She had a bed, a chair, and a "wardrobe", which last she insisted on giving to my mother. How can I find words to express the value of that scrap of cheap wood?

She had never been on a holiday. My mother, who was helping look after her, and helping her get into the "home" (not a bad place, really), said she should first take the GBP 200 and blow it on a holiday; then she would get her in.

"Oh No!", said Miss ********, "Eh couldna dae that! That widna be richt". Tell me about the good old days.

Two here follow my contributions closely and comment eagerly. This time I shall save them the trouble: this comes from Davaar the Pseud, of the class "born to rule".

18th Dec 2007, 16:40
How's this for progress?

Knife At Lunch Gets 10-Year-Old Girl Arrested At School

tony draper
18th Dec 2007, 16:52
Well for some reason the cousins have never been able to get their heads around using a knife and fork in the corrrect manner.
One has a theory that this strange inability is down to their ancestry leaving England before the fork was invented.

18th Dec 2007, 18:00
Could not agree more about "the good old days". At least I was born into a system that gave health care and education. Some of the stories that I have heard from my parents and grandparents make me cringe.

Us babyboomers didn't have it so bad and if the youngsters of today have it better good luck to them.

tony draper
19th Dec 2007, 11:40
Just yacking to SIL about School days and she mentioned the unsurpassed awfulness of School dinners,had a Aunt that used to live beside the central Kitchen where said dinners were created,the unique school dinner smell used to permiate the whole area,I remember they were transported to each school in huge aluminium cylinders that looked like those tubes the cryogenisists freeze peoples heads in for later hoped for revival.
I was lucky in that I only lived a hundred yards from school and because most mums then did not go to work one dined at home, although one did have to suffer school meals on odd occasions ie when mum was pregnant with sis and such.
I also recall that the really poor urchins who were entitled to free school meals were lined up in a separate queue from us affluent sprogs who could pay for the grub,and were marched in behind us.
Shades of the means test:(

19th Dec 2007, 16:25
Ah, the joys of cabbage cooked for at least two hours, iron hard meat (funny, both products were the same grey colour) and semolina with jam (fruit unknown, but reddish colour).

Our school dinners were cooked at the school. The whole bloomin' place stank of overcooked cabbage.:yuk:

19th Dec 2007, 18:25
Mince then more mince, I loved every mouthful.

19th Dec 2007, 18:31
I'm your man. Drop in any time. My mince is renowned.

With my Dad, now, it was his chips. Non-pareil. Unrivalled.

tony draper
19th Dec 2007, 18:51
Likewise ,one does a mean pan of mince,so much so Bro prefers mine to his lady wifes,which earns one some dirty looks from same,"what recipee do you use? how do you cook yours?:suspect: is oft enquired, one honestly answers, "dunno,one just flings things into a pan" :E
Which is a honest answer, one is a good instinctive plain cook, and need no blueprint.

19th Dec 2007, 18:58

One's potato scones have attracted favourable notice. The sweet ladies ask: How much of this and that? And how put together?

There are two answers:
(a) the best p.s., mince, tablet (and No, I do not mean fudge), etc., is made by your granny; but
(b) since she is no longer with us in the midst, by me, the ingredients being "some", and the method (i) "Until it is ready" or (ii) "You'll know when".

P.S. I too am victim of thinly-veiled envy. Some of my skills are of late discovery, and I am more and more forced to suggest that I really do not want another woman (have I got that right?) in my kitchen. Any day now I may be into the slaving over a hot stove syndrome.

21st Dec 2007, 03:35
I never suffered school dinners while like tony I lived within walking distance (just under a mile each way - I burned off more than I ate) but when they built the new school I had two terms of school dinners before leaving. I remember the cooks had just discovered shredded raw carrots, which were served every day, along with the stewed cabbage and boiled gristle. I wonder why no-one has mentioned "Frog Spawn"?

Being a Church of England grammar school we all took turns at saying grace before eating. When it was my turn and the head said "BS will now say grace" I simply stood up said "Grace!", sat down and started eating. I got a sound thrashing in front of Assembly for that prank, but it seemed worth it just for the 'street cred' it earned. :hmm:

Loose rivets
21st Dec 2007, 08:10
It's strange being able to remember so much about my childhood. Some things are very clear in my mind.

One is of Harry, who left the most enormous poo on one of the stretcher-like cots that we would kip in during the war. "Oh, HARRY!!!! Oooooooooh HARRY!!! the teacher kept saying. She had no idea what she was going to do with this monster, or the little boy that did it.

Then there was the poor little girl that had the temerity to chalk a word onto a red-brick wall. She was sobbing her heart out -- after school hours, rubbing at the writing with her hankie and spit. No going home till it was gone.

When I moved over to the big school, (11-14 year olds) we had a master for art and English. I quite liked him then, but admire him now. If we pushed our luck just too far, he would suddenly holla and make us put our hands on our heads. We stayed like this until the riot act had been read.

It usually consisted of just what it was like in France during the war, and just how lucky we were. He rode a motorcycle up to the front many times and described it in a way that gave very clear images of the horror. Nobody made a sound while he was talking.

Good type of discipline that.

henry crun
21st Dec 2007, 08:25
I liked Frog Spawn with a dollop of jam in the middle, there was something very satisfying about the way it slithered down the throat.

21st Dec 2007, 12:13
Faggots! I use that word advisedly as it has now been sanctioned by the BBC so moderators... hands off.

21st Dec 2007, 13:02
The things that caused me to honk were the lumps in the mashed potato and Dorothy Dodd who sat opposite me at the dinner table. She was one of those children who had permanent rivulets of green snot running down from both nostrils and across her top lip. This was not just occasional - it was always. Sight of this directly in front of me as I tried to cope with unidentified solids in the mashed potato just caused me to retch - it became a reflex action (though I received no sympathy from the 'invigilators') - one was forced to eat up (there was rationing on food). Any leftovers were collected in large bins and taken off to feed pigs (though I never remember us benefiting from this arrangement in the form of any identifiable pork product). Maybe it was just like the iron railings being removed?

Frogspawn (tapioca?) which resembled wall-paper paste with lumps in was another of my retch-inducing foibles - I've never encountered such slimey dessert since.

Like Tony, we received our meals from a central cookhouse (about seven miles away) in insulated metal containers of the sort used nowadays for storing sperm. Some days the arrival of the food was delayed because of snow affecting the roads. This caused chaos as the main school hall (used for morning assembly and musical and athletic/gymnastic activities throughout the rest of the day) had to be converted into a field canteen using trestle tables and the benches used for physical education activities. Although during fine weather physical education was performed outdoors the dinners were only late in arriving when conditions were really not suitable for vest and knickers activities.

21st Dec 2007, 13:26
And don't forget the 'Dinner Ladies!'

A breed apart, to be messed with at your peril.


west lakes
21st Dec 2007, 13:34
And don't forget the 'Dinner Ladies

My Mum was one of them

A breed apart, to be messed with at your peril

Too true, too true

(but useful for giving small helpings of what I dodn't like & big helpings of what I did:ok:)

tony draper
21st Dec 2007, 13:54
Say what you like the Education system of that time even with the orrible school dinners was not turning out legions of obese illiterates as the present one appears to do,so they were doing summat right.

21st Dec 2007, 14:32
No, we were certainly not fat but
with regards to the standard of education I believe we were taught just enough to get a job, of which there were plenty in the early '50s. There was certainly little chance of further education, other than nightschool, to improve ones knowledge.