Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Friday, 7 March 2014

A Boyhood Backyard

Uppingham Terrace, The Meadows, Nottingham.

This is a painting done by my late father, of the place where he lived from about the age of four to ten years. The family moved from here around 1930 when my grandfather Sam, who worked on the railways, was allocated a railway house at Barnsley Terrace, on Glapton Road. All those houses are gone now, as they were demolished in the 1970s and new houses built in their place. Anything with ‘terrace’ or ‘street’ in the address seems to have been re-named ‘gardens’ or ‘walk’, thus Uppingham Terrace is now Uppingham Gardens, and Lammas Street, where Dad was born, is now Lammas Gardens; not exactly gentrified, but a far cry from The Meadows area of old.

Like our Sepia Saturday photo prompt this week, The Meadows suffered from overcrowding and unsanitary conditions during its history. In the 1890s the fields surrounding the city were developed and a rapidly expanding population was crowded into a restricted city area where outbreaks of cholera and typhoid were common. After the 1845 Enclosure Act, Victorian brick terrace houses, shops, pubs and factories were built. By the 1920s, when Dad was born, the scene above would have been a familiar one.

Dad and his siblings and cousins enjoyed a reasonably happy childhood in the area. Dad remembered the gas street lights being changed to electricity whilst he lived there. Around the age of seven Dad was allowed to play out on the street and nearby waste ground, which is where his lifelong love of football began. The area also offered Life Boys and Boys Brigade at Bridgeway Hall, swimming at Portland Baths and River Trent Baths. Dad also sang in the church choir at St. Margaret’s and St. Saviour’s and had a newspaper round at a newsagent’s on Arkwright Street. He was allowed to keep some of his earnings for pocket money, which he supplemented by running errands for neighbours and Nottingham Forest footballers. The proceeds usually went on books.


The picture above shows Dad (centre front) with his mother, aunt, cousins and sister, probably at his aunt’s house in Lammas Street, The Meadows,where he was born in 1921.

Mum also lived in The Meadows; she moved from Tealby Terrace to Woodward Street as a young girl, and it is the Woodward Street house that I remember from my own childhood and early adulthood. I have happy memories of the house and garden, but not so happy memories of the outside lavatory.

Here is the photograph I believe Dad may have used to help him with his painting. I’ve recently discovered that he took a number of pictures during the 1970s of his old haunts and this was amongst them. Clearly at that time it hadn’t changed very much from his memories of the place.






For more stories of backyards, gardens, fences or terraces, go over to Sepia Saturday this week and see how other contributors have matched the prompt picture.

23 comments:

  1. Hello:

    This is a fascinating post. It is always of interest to delve back into the past, especially the relatively recent past, and to see the changes which have taken place, both physical and social, over a period of time. We are amused at the name changes which have occurred when the streets known to your father have been redeveloped.

    Jó hétvégét!

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  2. I'm so glad to see the painting which your father did. You can almost hear the housewives gossiping and the children playing. I have something similar - a painting an uncle did of my grandparent's farmhouse. Somehow they have more feeling than a photo.

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  3. Like you, I am of the back garden generation, rather than the back yard, although my parents were both brought up amongst the back yards of Bradford. Isobel did grow up in an old terrace house with a back yard, although by the time I met her, the outside loo had been made redundant by internal plumbing. She can still remember, however, he father bathing in a tin bath that used to be hung behind the cellar door.

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  4. That's a great painting to have, and perfect for this week's prompt!

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  5. The painting is really great. And it's also nice to have a photo of family standing in a doorway, because of course you had to go outside to take pictures with the film of those days.

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  6. That's a memorable watercolor - even showing the broken windows of the bldg. at the end of the yards. Did you father paint very much? He seems to have had a good talent for it. My father was quite talented with a watercolor brush, but only did a few paintings. Not sure if the reason lay with no time after he left college, or the family's disapproval of such a wasted pastime. Either way, it's kind of sad. I do have two of his paintings hanging in our living room, however, after years of sitting in a scrapbook.

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  7. His pen and watercolour picture gives a wonderful sense of atmosphere. It looks positively spacious by comparison with some of the photos that I've seen of similar accommodation in Victorian times.

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  8. This is perfect for the prompt and it is such a nice painting. I enjoyed learning about life in the area. I do wish cities would stop changing names though.

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  9. How wonderful to have the painting by your father and to me it conveys the essential image of the "back yard" that I remember from myown childhood. Even up to the early 1970's this was the picture too of my husband's uncle's house in South Shields, with the toilet across the yard, though many people were using it as the coal shed after creating an indoor toilet.

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  10. I imagine laundry day was great fun for the kids running and batting the sheets. Or maybe that's just me -- I always liked walking/running through rows of laundry and batting whatever was blowing my way.

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  11. I've looked with streetview at Uppingham Gardens Nottingham and it has an uncanny resemblance with Dutch soulless housing projects from the 1970s. Luckily Woodward Street seems to be still intact.

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  12. The painting looks so cheery compared to the description of the area. It is almost like it was being viewed through rose-colored glasses.

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  13. Oh WOW! What a treasure to have, which is priceless because your father did it.

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  14. Your father was obviously a talented painter. When I see scenes like that it makes me realise how lucky we were to live in a village even if we did not have the facilities that exist today.

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  15. Wonderful that you have a painting done by your father. That's a real treasure.

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  16. A super post and perfectly on theme. It is real artwork from the heart and from a well studied perspective too. You don't say when he did this. Was it much removed from his time there? I like his detail of a cat (or dog?) in the background.

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  17. Your father's painting ties in nicely with our theme, and I enjoyed the back story, with the back garden description as well. But I must say your father had an eye, or excellent memory of his stay there, with all the small detail, that you might expect would stick with a young child, especially the clothes hanging out to dry! So darn cute. He was a master with his brush.

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    1. See I knew it! Wow this was back in 2014!

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  18. I got goose bumps at your fathers painting --- it was just so lovely. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  19. A painting of the old places brings different feelings than a photograph. This reminded me that I've done some drawings of one of our old backyards. Your father's painting looks like it could be an illustration in a children's book.

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  20. When I first saw the painting I thought it was a postcard. It's great!
    My mum is an artist and my walls are rapidly filling up with her beautiful works. Special treasures.

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  21. Wow, the painting really caught my eye. What a talented artist he was! I'd love to see more...

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  22. What else can be said? It's just perfect and I loved it. Less is more and all that but the watercolour is the bees knees as far as I'm concerned.

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