the Wetherby Photographic Archive & Nostalgia Experience The memories of former Wetherbyite Tim Midgley
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>>Television

1950's televisionIn order to watch TV then, we usually all piled over to a friend's house who was lucky enough to have one, black and white of course. My pal Alan Geany was one of those lucky people. [Alan now lives in Plymouth] The first advertisement I ever remember on television was a 'Tide' washing powder commercial. I saw this at Alan's - do they still make it? - "Tide's in dirt's out" was the catchphrase. How those advertisers locked into our brains over the ensuing years.

One programme was very popular and we even had a school excursion, by bus, to a television studio in London. I can remember them holding up a board telling us when to clap, which all seemed very phoney, no less today. The school was told that someone had won a prize for collecting so many Aluminium milk bottle tops [Aluminium was expensive still so every bit was recycled]. The prize was to be a week at Roy Rogers' ranch, but for some reason it all fell through, I just remember a great collective disappointment in the school.

There were often tramps seen on the York road. Twice to my knowledge, my father, who travelled home that way from HMS Ceres to the M.Q. gave a tramp a lift home, a meal and a bed for the afternoon, the only trouble was it was always my bed!

>>Virol and other treats

Also out on the York Road, on the left going towards York and before reaching the railway bridge was, we were led to believe, an orphanage. This was a large two-storied building with many windows. It was set back within it's own grounds and was the source of many of the pupils at school. The children often looked undernourished and poorly kept. Perhaps they were refugees from broken homes or abandonment. One boy, I think his name was Arthur, in year II, was daily given a tea-spoonful of 'Virol', a malt extract vitamin B supplement, by Miss Pullen. We all watched this activity with ever hopeful and salivating thoughts that it was our turn next, for we all knew what a treat malt extract was. Medications at home were also preventative, but not as tasty, care of the National Health Service. The awful tasting cod-liver oil on a teaspoon and N.H.S. Orange juice that was very concentrated and came in small thick glass bottles. Babies 'Ostermilk' powder by the teaspoon was an additional treat sneaked from the kitchen cupboard, but don't inhale whilst supplementing your diet otherwise mum would find it all over the larder! In a post-war rationed food environment these were every boy's essential additives to the basic diet.

North Street or the Great North Road was usually fairly quite traffic wise until large 'Pickford' road carriers would inch their way from Northumberland with enormous road blocking structures like giant power station boilers or transformers. We would see the might of British industry slowly wheel past the M.Q. gates if we all went down to see what was causing the blockage. Traffic was held up one way and caused long delays.

Bonfire night, fireworks, great fun until a crackerjack went down my Wellington boot, I couldn't dislodge it, ran, fell over, and made a large gaping wound full of grit on my left knee. I was taken to the naval surgeon at Ceres [a very well equipped dental and medical surgery] where he removed the grit and cleaned the wound, liberal iodine solution but no stitches. The doctor was used to dealing with real war wounds. The huge scar is still there today to remind me.

>>Characters

>>The Polio virus scare

There was no immunisation against it in the 1950's. Mass school immunisation began in the 1960's. We were all warned not to go in the water or drink from rivers etc. In the ensuing years it would be common to have children in school wearing wooden calipers. As with all viruses, polio respected no one.

Summer seaside car trips to Scarborough and Whitby, picnicking by a possibly polio infected stream on the way and splashing through a ford in the car on the way there, what fun, but could have been deadly. There were hardly any cars on the new wide concrete road stretching North West from York.
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