How did our ancestors spend their evenings?

  • 29 March, 2008 at 19:22 #500
    Martin
    Keymaster

    [html] I am sat here with all the benefits of modern life, enjoying a comfortable evening; Television; telephone; laptop computer, and many other things we now take for granted.I wonder though, How did our ancestors spend their evenings? Particularly in the winter when it was cold, dark and wet. Did they relax, did they work? In short what was life really like outside working hours?Just wondering….Martin [/html]

    10 October, 2008 at 11:39 #603
    Summers76
    Participant

    Hi Martin, many of our ancestors would have worked from dawn to dusk. In my family many worked on Farms others down the Coal Mines. Some of the children would have also worked with their parents in both of the industries mentioned.

    During winter months, family members would gather around the old kitchen range, feet on the fenders to warm toes…..then grandparents would pass on tales and stories…..or even sing a few songs….pure magic, aahh!! Summers daydreaming as I look at my old family photographs.
    blessings Summers

    14 October, 2008 at 19:41 #604
    Martin
    Keymaster

    Hi Summers,

    Those evenings do indeed sound Idyllic. But were they really? Overcrowded homes, poor heating, poor lighting, and of course the family differences which have always existed to add to any tensions.

    The diary of my GGG Grandmother shows just how hard life was for Ag Labs and their families. She also recounts the effects of alcohol on family life, which were devastating.

    Her sole pass time seems to have been singing hymns and reading the family bible, or books like 'The Pilgrim's Progress'

    Do we look at past times through rose tinted glasses?

    Best regards
    Martin

    23 June, 2009 at 15:52 #605
    Anonymous

    Now I am back in 1944
    The war is still on, the windows varnished and blacked out. The phone on the wall at the foot of the stairs – only used by Dad who only seemed to say "yes" or "no". Our number Windsor 80
    We were a wealthy family, my Dad having started in poverty, left school at 12 yet became, by 1911, by competition with more than 100 candidates, chief executive of the major commercial co of the Royal Borough of Windsor.
    Yes we had a valve radio. I used to go to the Cycle Shop to get the lead acid accumulator recharged. We listened only to the 9 oclock news.
    We played cards (whist, solo etc) of an evening with friends invited round, or sang along to the piano
    We had gas lighting even with the very latest thing – a switch on the wall! But in the cellar, where I "helped" Dad with his woodwork, there was no switch. So you crept down the stone stairs in the dark in trepidation and AT LAST reached the "chain pull" to turn the gas on! But the pilot light was out – you fled up the stairs with the hounds of hell in chase!!!
    Age 5 I made my Mum a sewing box – out of 1/8" wood NAILED together with tiny black nails that I called Witch Nails. She used it happily every day for 30 years.

    Among stores Mum bought to bide us throught the war as a 5 lb block of pepper that lasted until 1952. Also Marie biscuits in their distinctive tins from Huntley & Palmer, Reading. Once the war started the labels were removed leaving only H&P R empossed in the metal – presumably so the Germans would not know where to drop the bombs?

    My dad wanted to retire but they refused to let him. So he used to take afternoons off once a week at the magnificent garden he had created out of part of the Wimndsor Royal Forest, by dynamiting the trees when he was age 60 to make space for lawns and "Kew Gardens" type collections of exotic flowering shrubs, fruit trees and vegetables. I used to cycle up to visit hin later, on my bike.
    The front door of our house was never locked. It had a blast protection in front (for the war) and all the garden railings taken away "to make tanks".
    At our garden I used to collect acorns and got paid 2 shillings a sackfull. Used to make explosives, I later learned.

    A V1 "doodle bug" flew overhead. My bro and I heard the sudden pop-pop stop and SAW the explosion, so immediately left on our bikes to see what bits we could find (collector's items at school)
    Happy days? No, I spent all my days worrying about losing the war. Nobody told me that from 1942 on victory was assured.
    After a visit to church age 5, I asked my Mum "But when the Germans go to church, don't they ask God to make them win too?"

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