I don't know if any one on the Forum knows about this wonderful charity, it enables London children who have never had a holiday to have a fortnight away from the pressures of city life. In their brochure one child was quoted as saying that since his step-brother was stabbed last year his Mum wont let him go out to play anymore, what a life for our young people.
In the early fifties all of our family were sent on them and they were wonderful. It has been going since 1884 and even Alan Johnson M.P went on them..The family I stayed with for a couple of years became good friends and their daughter became my daughters mother in law.. so thanks to the C.C.H.fund I have a grand-daughter with a derbyshire accent!
If you know of any family who would like their child/children to have a safe wonderful time you can refer them by calling the Referral's Co-ordinator
If you can help fundraising 01723 847778
or Volunteering 01273 847772
Or if you are really up for it and have a lot of nonce and energy become a volunteer ambassador who visits referral organisations accross London to get new referrers on board.
An excellent cause, Jan. I hope lots of kids continue to benefit from it. It's one I wasn't aware of, but back in the early fifties I went on a day trip to Hove, organised by what could have been a charity at the time, or maybe even the Council. Like the one mentioned, it was for kids who couldn't have a holiday. My own kids, and even my wife, who is fifteen years younger than me, find it hard to believe how safe we felt back in those days compared to now, when we're afraid to let our kids out of our sight. I remember my Mum putting me on a coach in the Walworth Road, full of other kids who I didn't know from Adam, and waiving me off. When we arrived in Hove the adult in charge would tell us to go off and enjoy ourselves and be sure to be back at the spot for lunch at one o'clock. We would then go off in little groups with friends we had made on the journey. No adults, just us eight year olds. After lunch we would wander off again for a few hours and then get the coach home. No mobile phones in those days of course, to keep in touch with parents or even the adult in charge. Unbelievable!
Your right Chalkey about the freedom we had as youngsters. We had a tenants association and Mum had to pay threepence a week so we could all go on days out. The only one I can remember was Chessington Zoo, the four of us along with all others from the Tabard estate would be dispatched with brown carrier bags full of Spam and Jam sandwiches wrapped in greasproof paper. No drinks because as Mum would have said there's bound to be water fountains there...
As i recall we would all be lined up in the streets and given a coloured ribbon to pin on our clothes to identify the block we were from. A headcount would be taken as we got on the buses. I think on one occasion someone had prepared packed lunches for us so we ate twice that day!
We would all spill off the bus with whoops and hollers and disappear with the warning...don't go over the rails and stick your hands in the lions den, no one warned us about the sealions where one brave youngster had to be pulled up from hanging over the edge by his fingertips..
We were told to be back by a certain time and considering none of us had a watch between us we were.
The only fairground attraction I could remember there was the Ghost Train, and a few roundabouts, no doubt is probably now rivals Alton Towers, but in the fifties it was the sheer freedom of being in the open and seeing greenfields around us.
The last time I went I was about 13, my younger brothers 10 and 8. As my sister was working she was far too grown up and sophisticated to go a 'bleeding zoo again'
In the fifties us c.c.h.fund kids were taken to the station by our mums or had to go to Lady Gomm house near southwark park to meet up. We were never told where we were going though. On one occasion we arrived in Portsmouth and I was collected by a very posh couple who lived in Gosport who had one daughter and they wanted me to live with them permanently, much as I loved the lovely house and the surroundings I loved my Mum and brothers and sisters more, when i got back from that trip all my mates told me off for talking 'posh' amazing what you can absorb in two weeks!
On that occasion my two brothers were placed with someone else. I remember going over on the ferry from Gosport, I think it cost tuppence and bringing them back to Gosport to meet my holiday family. On the way back the ferry which as i recall had no real rails to speak of, juddered against the jetty, my youngest brother shot forward almost in the water I grabbed him and as i almost followed him a sailor grabbed me.
I think my brothers were about 8 and 10. The sailor commented that we were stupid to stand so near the edge and gave me slap on my arm. Looking back he saved the pair of us, so a slap was fair exchange.
Neither the people I stayed with nor the family my brothers were staying with thought anything of sending london children out on their own all day.
We have all these children today with pent up energy and no where to spend it. The schools close down when the population dwindles a bit so they get sold.
The parks would make a very nice site for a new block of flats..but thankfully now days, thanks to sites like these and the knowledge of people power we can go some way to stop some short sighted planners.
Parents naturally worry when the children are late from school because of the headlines that's thrust into their faces every day.
Even so the poverty that the forties and fifties knew had riches far more in the ways of freedom for children..:-(
Jan, everything you've said is so true.
Kids today are better off in so many ways, but can you put a price on freedom?
I used to come home from school, have my dinner and then go straight out playing. "Back before dark," was the only restriction placed upon me. Bomb sites were our adventure playgrounds. We would build camps from the bricks, wood and corrugated iron that was left lying around and then try to knock them down. If there was enough of us we would build two camps and form rival 'armies.' Then all hell would break lose. Anything that could be hurled, would be hurled! The camp that remained standing after one of these awsome bombardments would be declared the winner. Of course there was the odd bump and bruise from a ricochet or a wayward missile or two, but I don't rmember anyone being hospitalised. There was a couple of bomb damaged and derelict houses just around the corner from where I lived. They were niether boarded up, nor fenced off and they were a natural attraction to us kids. I can clearly remember standing on the remains of the top floor of one of these buildings and dropping bricks, which I pretended were bombs, all the way down to the basement. These dacaying, potential death traps, remained an open invitation to kids like me throughout the nineteen-fifties. Health and safety? What's that?
I think the best bombsites/bombed houses were the ones where you would teeter along the floor joists1
Swan street at the borough had a great one, you just avoided the pigeons poo dropping on your 'ead.
and the wonderful fairyland near london bridge station and tower hill lovely cellars, no one worried about being sexually assaulted or murdered, just the odd nail going through your shoes, and if you were unlucky enough to get nailed you never told your Mum because then she would enquire how you got it, so you just bled into your shoe...no tetanus jabs then..
Jan, if we're not careful we'll end up monopoising this site to the anoyance of everyone else. Perhaps we should just write a book and be done with it! (I'm sure we have enough material.)
There was a couple of old air-raid shelters up at the Elephant that we used to visit. Dark as tombs they were. There were some really creepy stories about them being haunted. All nonsense of course, but it was a good 'dare' if a new lad joined the gang.
When I first moved to the Old Kent Road in 1957 there was a derelict building on the left hand side just before the canal bridge that was known as 'the bombed baths.' I can only assume that it was once a public baths that was bombed during the war. Do you, (or does anyione else,) have any info?