Oral History Interviews

Playing the streets and on building sites in early 60s

Cathy moved house into an estate that hadn’t been completed yet. She may have been about five when she would go out and play on the building sites around her.  This playing on the building sites went on for quite a long time, though this might be just her memory of the time. She played houses / homes. Cathy had an older brother, who is seven years older, who looked after her and when he was older used to give her money to get rid of her. He was always in charge of where she was.

All the girls in the street played together, they’d all moved into the area together. They played 50-50, or release, with the lamppost as the place they had to get back to. They’d play this in the dusk or dark as it was more exciting then. They played ballgames – rounders, cricket, any think basically with a ball. One time she got hit on top of the head with a log because they didn’t have a ball and for some reason they were playing with a log.

She doesn’t remember ever leaving the estate, even when she had a bicycle. She felt it a secure childhood, she was a good child, her dad was quite fierce, so she did as she was told. There was no reason to lay the law down, rules were implicit and she followed them.

Outside her house there was steps and a large landing and she used to play there a lot. She had a dolls cot and everything to do with this out there.  She made perfume from Rose leaves. Mum had a ringer for the washing and Cathy loved putting things through the ringer. Not many bought toys, cardboard boxes was always good. Her dad was good at making things and he made a dolls cot. It is all home made toys and imaginary play activities.

She used to listen to the radio quite a lot, radio with mother. And the whole family would listen to it together, as the radio was on all the time, Always on in the background. Cathy didn’t have a television until she was seven. She went to a neighbour’s house to watch the Coronation. She remembers adverts being very important on telly, so after a new advert her mum who worked in a shop knew she’d get loads of people in asking for the new product.

Cathy doesn’t remember loads of books in the family. Dad was not a book reader, but her mum was. Two doors down from Cathy was her second cousin, she used to refer to her as auntie, and she was an elocution teacher and she had books in the house. She went there quite a bit.

At school Cathy remembers that during break times they always had to go outside whatever the weather. They played, hockey, hopscotch, lots of skipping games, hula hoops everybody loved. Lots of active games. This was possibly primary school games as When Cathy went to the bigger school she thinks really she’d become more self-conscious and conscious of boys and didn’t run around so much.

Cathy remembers singing song they played while skipping. There were lots of different songs sung while skipping, but that is the only one Cathy can remember.

Cathy joined the Guides, the local Methodist church had a guide group. And she was in the cadets before this. In the cadets, on Sunday they would march through Street and into church. She can’t remember if she choose to join these groups, or whether everybody in the estate joined. She wasn’t shy, but she wasn’t a really outgoing person, she was just around and joined in.

As a teenager Cathy was a mod because she liked the style of the scooter and become very interested in boys. Mods were a lot softer then the rockers. She went to the youth club and loved to dance. The mods were more into dancing, so that was a big deal. Cathy moved to Brighton and that had a big mod scene, she loved everything about it. Cathy would have danced seven days a week given the opportunity.

Her dad was very strict and her mum and brother kept things from him, but she doesn’t remember doing this. So her mother knew things, but this information wasn’t passed on to her dad. He had quite a temper and we never really knew how he might react.

As an adult she’d continue her interest in drama. When she met first moved to Brighton she did lots of jobs. Cathy lists some of the jobs she did. The first two years in Brighton Cathy was in Paradise, after the Isle of White, Brighton was very cosmopolitan with people from all over the world. Cathy had a fantastic time for a good couple of years.

Nowadays Cathy enjoys creative writing. She can’t remember her lines so doesn’t do drama so much. She does creative writing in a group.

Cathy’s talks about her impressions of her daughters generation, that they had a harder time.

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