About Larry ( From
Born in Liverpool during 1941 when the Battle of the Atlantic was raging during WW2 means it's probably logical that my Dad was a sailor. A Merchant Navy Radio Operator who while in port during the latter end of 1940 for a brief respite from the troubles at sea, found himself spending some time with my Mum.
Net Result? Yours truly who, due to the German U-Boats that hunted in that raging ocean, never had the fortune of meeting his Father. But then, that's a story a lot of Liverpool Kids could probably relate to.
The transition from nappy to short pants took place in Upper Canning Street (sadly no longer there) and there was a distinct shortage of nurseries for Mum to offload me at, even if she had wanted to, so as soon as I could walk and run, playing on the front step was the thing. Traffic in Upper Canning Street those days was rare, so the street was relatively quiet of traffic apart from the delivery wagons, some of which were still horse driven due to petrol shortages.
Not many people had cars parked outside their house in those days and at home with Mum and me was a black and white cat called Timmy, and an elder brother, Norman, who came home every so often from the Merchant Navy. Although from what I remember this was only a couple of times each year, or whenever the ship he was on docked in Liverpool.
Little did I realise that the family was much larger but I didn't know about these other family members until later on, after we had moved to the corner of Crown Street, at the junction with Parliament Street which was in the Autumn of 1947. That winter saw us in the big freeze and I think coal was still rationed, so what we got delivered had to go a long way. And boy it was cold that year! Images of being sat directly in front of a small fire ( no central heating there?) with a blanket wrapped around me and sometimes a hot water bottle on my lap spring to mind. Listening to the radio was a help as this was the only entertainment and news from the outside world although the overall content of the various stations was fairly limited in those days.
Mum got her coal from Martindales and the men delivered on a horse drawn wagon, and these guys looked fearsome things all covered in black dust, wearing leather topped heavy jackets. They used to hump these 1cwt sacks full of the black fuel off the wagon tossing them directly over the open manhole that lead to your cellar, that's if you were fortunate to have one. 303 Crown Street failed that feature, it was a two-storey flat above a grocers shop so the landlords had thoughtfully fitted a small cupboard under the stairs. Sadly, for the delivery men this meant they had to negotiate one and half staircases just to get the coal in. Now I think of it, they must have dreaded coming to ours although I don't think we could afford more that half a hundred weight each fortnight so maybe it wasn't so bad after all.
Nor did we have running hot water so every thing had to be boiled on the fire in the kitchen, which had a kind of stove and oven at the side where kettle and pot where boiled when we needed boiling water, And bathtime was in a metal thing filled manually in the kitchen from whatever containers could be had.
I think we had a gas cooker at the time but this was a pretty spartan thing with a couple of rings and a small oven. So it was a chunk of bread (no ready sliced in those days) stuck onto a fork and held in front of the fire, (which had been started earlier in the day with bits of wood, newspaper, then holding a shovel in front of the glimmering flame, a newspaper page stuck over it to make it draw, and then hurriedly withdrawing it before it burst into flames!!!)
To be continued...........