Tuesday 16 April 2024

The House Where I Was Born

 69 years ago today I was born in this house belonging to my Grandma and Grandad, in Stowmarket in Mid Suffolk..


My Mum was staying with her Mum and Dad for my birth. My dad had been killed in a motorbike accident a few months earlier and the house they had bought to renovate wasn't yet in any condition for a new-born baby.

After that I don't know how or where we lived, but our house was finished for me and Mum, even though there was no bathroom and only an outside toilet  for a few years- which I can just about remember - thank goodness the bathroom was built after a while.

As for Grandma and Grandad's house,  they lived there until  she died in 1988, Grandad died many years earlier. The family moved there in the 1930's (Mum was one of six) when the tiny house they were living in not far away was condemned. These houses in Stowmarket were council houses built between the wars. They were built with a scullery for washing up off the kitchen and there was a built in brick boiler thing in one corner to heat water for washing - heated by a coal fire underneath, the bath stood beside it - with only a cold tap. The indoor toilet was on a half landing and there were steps down to a cellar for coal storage. 
There were two other rooms downstairs although one was never used, and I only remember it because of the pictures on the wall - one was a huge print of J.F Millet The Gleaners -  how and why? The only heating was a coal fire in the main living room.
When the houses were modernised in the late 1960's they turned the 'best' room into a proper fitted kitchen and the scullery into a bathroom.

Mum visited her parents every Thursday............ we were the nearest grandchildren, going on the bus to Stowmarket with me and then me and my sister  when we weren't at school. We would get off the bus, walk down to Grandmas for coffee and then walk 'up the town' for shopping so although we never stayed or visited any other time  I remember the house well. Occasionally we would go into town first and then walk back to Grandmas picking up Fish and Chips for lunch on the way.
 There was a honeysuckle arch over the front door for all the years I remember visiting. 

Back Tomorrow
Sue
 

78 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday 🎉Hope you have a lovely day.

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  2. Your mention of a scullery was what passed as a kitchen for my mum when I was growing up. Like yours, there was a "copper" in the kitchen (gas fired) and it was a tiny room. Just enough space for the copper, a cooker beside it, a sink and a small table where mum fixed the mangle on a Monday! Like your grandparents, we had a room "for best" - the "front room" which was only used at Christmas.

    Happy Birthday. I hope you have a special day.

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    1. I can't remember what was in the kitchen bit of grandmas house - I guess the cooker and a table but I remember the corner copper with the fire underneath in the scullery beside the kitchen

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  3. Happy Birthday!
    Loved your reminiscences.
    Have a great day.

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  4. Happy birthday, Sue! I enjoyed your reminisces. I like driving by my first home (I was born in a hospital) whenever I am in that city. It seems like an anchor to me. That house and that neighborhood (where I lived until I was 10) very much "built" me. I am still in touch with my 3 childhood girl friends, all of us in our late 70s.

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    1. With all my homes being in Suffolk I could drive by all of them!!

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  5. Many happy returns! 🍾 💐

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  6. Happy Birthday hope you have a great day.

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  7. Happy Birthday. I have vivid memories of sculleries and corner coppers producing hot water, wash days with mangles, tin baths on the wall and outside toilets at both our house and my grandparent's house too. Have a lovely day:)

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    1. A corner copper seems like a Victorian thing but this was the 1950s and 60s - how things have changed!

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  8. Happy birthday Sue, my childhood house had the same water heating system, on Mondays mum lit the fire to heat water for the laundry and at the weekend it was lit again for baths.

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    1. My Mum had a washing machine and a mangle - it had to be filled from a tap and sometimes overflowed!

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  9. Have a brilliant birthday and a superb seventieth year!

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  10. Happy birthday. Hope the sun shines for you.

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    1. It's a coming and going but mainly grey day here - again

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  11. Wishing you a very Happy Birthday. This brought back memories of my families housing history, and walks into town.........we probably all walked more back then?
    Alison in Wales x

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    1. It would have been quite a long walk for a 4 year old.

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  12. Happy Birthday, Sue. What wonderful reminiscences and how many changed you have seen and experienced.
    Have a wonderful day. xx

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  13. Happy birthday. You are an April girl like me. I love this erratic weather brilliant sunshine one minute then hail stones the next. Hope you enjoy your day. Regards Sue H

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    1. I'm just longing for more than one day of sunshine in a week!

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  14. Happy birthday to you Sue. Also, a happy birthday to the granddaughter too.

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  15. Happy Birthday!
    We grew up in a different world, didn't we? My mother had a copper but it was only used for the washing, before she eventually got a washing machine. That wasn't plumbed in and had to be filled by a hose from the kitchen tap. How hard they worked! Before the wahing machine, sheets went to the laundry and were delivered back clean and neatly wrapped in brown paper.

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    1. My Grandma - with 6 children must have been exhausted!

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  16. Happy Birthday Sue, have a wonderful day!
    Love your memories and the picture of your Grandparents' house. I'm intrigued by the fence, how do they get in?

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  17. Happy birthday! thanks for sharing your life here - I always enjoy reading about your life. Have a lovely day!

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  18. Enjoy your birthday! Exact replicas of that house stand in a street just a stone's throw from mine.

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    1. Some of the earliest Council houses I think and quite a good size compared to the tiny terraced houses further down the street.

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  19. Your post today reminded me of when we lived with my grandma when I was young I am 67 now. My father was in the Navy and although we went with him all over the world there were times we couldn't so we would live with with my grandma up to 2 years at a time, grandad had died before I was born, in her 2 up 2 down cottage of 3 farm workers cottages in the middle of nowhere in north west England. 2 bedrooms and 2 downstairs. A living room off the front door and a small back kitchen that's all with no bath room, you used a tin bath Infront of the fire and an outside toilet out the front door and past the cottages. There was no back door . We lived there with my mum, older sister and brother and an yo0ng aunt and uncle. I still don't remember how we did it. Used to hate going to the loo it was a seat with a hole and a big bucket under emptied once a week which my brother said had snakes in!. I remember the sight and sound of a car going past at night which was a rarity. The lights shining on the walls and the sound coming and going.it wasn't until the 1970 that they had a bathroom and loo added on to the back of the cottage.
    Su

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    1. Goodness that's a crowd in a small cottage! |The outside toilet that I mentioned at the first home I lived in - was also a bucket and chuck it. When Mum was widowed people offered to help her with things like the loo but she said she would usually end up having to do it herself - not a favourite job!

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  20. Happy Birthday Sue! My grandparents lived in a privately rented house all their married life. The loo (flush type with high cistern) was at the top of the garden and potties were used at night time. No bathroom at all - tin bath in front of the fire - and this was as recently as the early nineties. Reason? Grandad refused any modernisations to the home as he said the landlord would put the rent up! And what was the rent you ask? It was fixed forever at eighteen shillings and sixpence! PatC

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    1. Thank you - we must be over due for a meet up. I keep going into town on a Saturday after car boots and having breakfast in Greggs - getting to be a bad habit!

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  21. Replies
    1. Thank you - the card with a queen stamp arrived OK!!

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  22. Happy Birthday Sue! Best wishes from Rebecca in Australia

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  23. Aww, some lovely memories there. Happy Birthday Sue. ❤️xx

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    1. Thank you. I have clear memories of |Grandmas house even though we only went for a hour or so each week.

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  24. Happy Birthday Sue. We were obviously at the cutting edge of technology, as our copper had a gas ring beneath it!

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    1. Wow! Only big towns had 'Town Gas' and this was way before natural gas of course, so coal for everything!

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  25. I love the memories and the little house looks very sweet. Tell me about council houses though. Who builds them?

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    1. Council houses were built by local councils and rented out . The council took care of all maintenance etc and they were a way for many people to have a home who couldn't afford to buy.
      Now most have been sold off - it was a very bad government plan and people have to rent from private landlords or housing associations

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  26. Happy Birthday, Sue! What a nice way to celebrate by sharing where it all started! As they say, "you've come a long way, baby!"

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    1. I've had the photo in drafts for ages and thought it was a good day to share it!

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  27. Wishing you a very happy birthday. I loved reading your memories!

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  28. I was born in a much much grander house than that. It was a corporation maternity home.
    I remember both my grandparents' houses very clearly, visiting both sets once each week.

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  29. Another orbit completed! May the next be filled with laughter, peace, and good health!

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  30. Wishing you all the best on your B-day. Let the celebration(s) begin. Your grandparents brick house looks like a lovely family home. Visiting weekly with your mother and sister has left you with fond memories. I remember visiting my Uncle and Aunt regularly. My mother was stressed and she'd announce: you can visit Auntie. At about 5 years old, I'd pack a little bag, mother called a cab and off I went.

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  31. Happy Birthday. Nice that the house you were born in is still going strong, like you.

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  32. Many Happy Returns. Nothing like a trip down memory lane! x

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  33. Happy Birthday! I love the tradition that your mom took you to visit your grandmother each week. That doesn't happen nowadays much--after college I was lucky to see my parents, with or w/out my kids once a year.

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  34. Happy birthday!
    This is so reminiscent of visiting my grandparents, maternal in Stowmarket, paternal in Haughley, in the 1960s. My mother's parents lived with one aunt and uncle in a very similar house to what you describe, and I remember my aunt always used rainwater from the butt outside the back door for washing, heating it in the boiler. My father's parents had a council house with outside privacy and my gran used to cook often over an oil stove in summer rather than light the range. She died before the council got around to updating the houses with inside bathrooms, but it didn't seem to bother at all even into her 70s

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  35. Happy Birthday to you! I don’t comment often, but I always enjoy reading about your weekly posts and money saving tips. Cheers to you.
    Bonnie in Minneapolis

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  36. Wishing you a lovely birthday. What wonderful memories of your Grandparents house.

    God bless.

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  37. It’s still Tuesday in Suffolk Sue so I’ve still got time to wish you Many Happy Returns of the Day. You’ll be tucked up in bed by now but I hope your special day was a good one
    My granny lived in Belfast so they were no weekly visits to see her - just the very infrequent sail across the Irish Sea. Similar sort of terraced house owned by the railways - grandad - gone before I arrived- was an engine driver - she was allowed to take over the tenancy after he died

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    1. lol forgot about the time change. 9hrs difference not 11😊

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  38. Still Tuesday in Texas USA Sue, so a very Happy Birthday to you.
    I read everyday and look forward to your posts.
    Love from Pam in Texas.x

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  39. HAPPY (belated) BIRTHDAY! I hope you had a fantastic day.

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  40. I'm behind in reading blogs, so belated Happy Birthday! I enjoy reading about your life and envy it's simplicity at times. You are only 8 years older than me. I get many book ideas from your sharing. And I love the monthly Edwardian Lady plates you display. Don't worry about not having anything to write about. Even everyday life is interesting to me, here in the middle of the USA (state of Nebraska, on a farm.)
    Again, hope you had a lovely birthday.

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