When we still had change from arf a farthing'.....

  Diemmess 16:41 24 Dec 2010

No wish to side track the current discussion about leaving the C.H. on all the time.. or not-
Nearly everyone has CH these days and the topic is the degree of refinement.

What of your childhood memories?

Wartime and coal rationed.
We had a pot boiler, part of a back to back fire.

In the dining room it was an ordinary fireplace while in the kitchen it was a small cooking range.

There was a fire in the sitting room on Sunday afternoons and special occasions (Christmas).
Special (for a guest) was an electric fire or later a paraffin convector.

No bedroom heat and vulnerable water tanks in the roof space smothered in dusty felt.

Bed time, a hot bath and a hot water bottle for some. I found they caused me chilblains and preferred to bury myself under the covers until forced up for air.

The coal varied from precious large lumps of good house coal to small bituminous "Baker's Nuts" which I liked because they would flare and flame with a poke oozing black tar and bubbles of flame like a mini volcano but burned the coal at a disastrous rate.

Central heating ??
That was for public buildings and 2" steel pipes.

  johndrew 16:50 24 Dec 2010

After that 'nice' Mr. Hitler sent one of his bangy things to turn our house into a pile of uninhabitable rubble, we were given a prefab which in many ways was very nice. A stove with mica panels in the doors located in the lounge cum dining room to heat the whole place - which it failed to do.

I clearly remember kneeling on my bed and drawing faces in the frost on the inside of the windows. Makes me really grateful for central heating now.

  Kevscar1 17:03 24 Dec 2010

Bath was in a tin shack attached to the back of the house. Had to go out the back door and into the shack. Absolutly freezing in winter.

  peter99co 17:12 24 Dec 2010

Waste of energy to heat the whole house.
Never had CH and don't expect to install it.

  spuds 17:18 24 Dec 2010

Coal rations, we (and many hundreds more) had to go to the local gasworks with the pram for a bag of coke.

Nearby was a small shop that did a roaring trade in hot mushy peas and warm oxtail or similar soup.

  Forum Editor 17:20 24 Dec 2010

we lived in a big house on an RAF base in Yorkshire. It was bitterly cold in winter, and the house was heated by a big cast iron boiler in a cellar, with coke piled all around to a depth of about three feet.

Every couple of hours in winter my father would delegate - either me (eldest son) or my younger brother would have to go down and stoke the beast, and beast it was; I lived in fear of its great gaping mouth, into which I shovelled the coke and ran back up the wooden steps to safety.

We had those old school type radiators that got so hot you couldn't touch them. I shudder to think of the energy inefficiency of it all.

Now my combi boiler the size of an ordinary kitchen wall cabinet hangs there, purring away softly to itself,and provides all the hot water and heating we need, using far less fuel than the iron monster of yesteryear.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 17:24 24 Dec 2010

Only going back to the early seventies, first house I rented after leaving home, we use to watch the mould climbing the walls and meeting in the middle of the ceiling during winter.

Windows would freeze on both outside and inside.

As a kid in fifties / early sixties bath was tin bath in front of fire in back room, never remember having a fire in the front room.
Bath also got used as a sledge in winter :0)

  canarieslover 17:30 24 Dec 2010

We lived with a railway at the bottom of the garden which in my young days was still steam locomotive powered. To supplement the coal we would walk along the railway picking up the pieces that had fallen from the locos. It was surprising how much you could gather like this as we would often come back with a bucket full. It was only a branch line with trains every half an hour so we had plenty of time to gather between trains. Nowadays it is electrified and part of the main line.

  john bunyan 18:00 24 Dec 2010

A carbon copy of your experience - in N London.. Once, when we could not be bothered to sleep in the Anderson shelter, we had to move to my Aunt's house for a few days as a (luckily unexploded) bomb fell in next door's garden and kept sinking in the mud before it was defused. Broke the window of my bedroom but I did not wake up immediately.
Never missed a day's school even in the freeeze of '47.Skated on the ice at Alexandra Palace pond.

  wolfie3000 18:15 24 Dec 2010

~My fondest memory of winter as a child was the feedies and bank hill,
Feedies were the plastic bags farmers used to keep animal feed in, we used to go up bank hill and sledge down on the feedies.

The hill was the biggest around and took 5 minutes to sledge down it.

Also we had a coal fire in our house, waking up in the morning and seeing mother starting the fire with newspaper, wood and coal, burning my shins as we stood close to it to warm up.

Best toy I ever got for Christmas as a child was Grimlock.

click here

I was a huge fan of Transformers and always wanted one, so was overjoyed to get one.

  Big L 266 17:54 27 Dec 2010


We knew the mother-in-law was coming over to stay - the mice were throwing themselves in the traps!

My favourite Christmas present back in the 60s was a small transistor radio to listen to the pirate radio stations on. We still had grandads old deadweight Philips bakelite valve radio and got wonderful reception on it....ahh what halcyon days of looking at the dial for 'Light', 'Home' and 'Third'!

Big L 266

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