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Changing tack slightly to another sort of minutiae.. I've been thinking about things closer to home when I was little...

 

We moved into No. 40 Southglade Rd, Bestwood Est. sometime around 1951/2.  I wonder if anyone keeps records of such things. I suppose the 1951 Census would help, but would the Council still have tenancy records?

 

Anyway.. when we moved in.. the house was mostly painted out in typical 'corporation' colours, with lots of Browns, Greens and Creams.  So my Dad set about redecorating .. with a vengeance....

 

He bought a brass blowlamp. This is pretty much the exact model I recall.

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It was filled with paraffin but to get it going you had to pour a bit of Methylated Spirit into a small reservoir under the burner and light it.  This pre-heated the paraffin so that once fired up, it would vapourise and burn well.  The blowlamp also had to be pumped up with a small plunger pump, to force the paraffin out.  The thing worked well enough and Dad set about 'burning' and scraping all of the old 'corporation' paint off all the woodwork. I remember him complaining that the paint was like 'chewing gum'.

  Every so often the blowlamp flame would go out and a cloud of paraffin vapour would puther out of the blowlamp till Dad could get it to re-light.  At other times the jet would get blocked and there would be a lot of cursing and poking of the jet with fine wire to clear it. Small tinplate 'prickers' with wires on the end for clearing the jets were kept in the handle of the blowlamp.

 

I have a very clear memory of wanting to help with the re-decorating and being given some sand paper to rub down the window sill after Dad had stripped the paint off.  It turned out to be harder than I thought..

 

I don't think 'Polyfilla' was around in the early 1950s.  Dad had a box of something called 'Alabastine', which did the same job.

 

Eventually the woodwork was all painted a very modern and trendy 'Mushroom' colour and most of the walls were papered. 

 

These days.. we just use power drills to make holes in walls to fix curtain rails or cupboards.  I remember Dad though. using a small 'Rawlplug Tool'.  This was essentially a miniature version of the sort of impact drill used by Miners to make holes in rock for blasting.  It had to be hammered and turned at the same time, until a deep enough hole was made.  And the 'Rawlplugs' were made of a sort of fibre composition.  This was before everything was plastic.

 

I also recall Dad buying sheets of hardboard which were fixed to the traditional four panel doors to make them 'flush'.  This was all very trendy back in the 1950s..

 

More later..

 

Col

 

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My very first memories are similar to yours Col,........1947/8 moving into Andover road from living at an Aunts where i was born on Leybourne drive,.......recall being in my Pushchair being pushed down Hove road.....behind my Dad who was carrying a huge old Radio,...........then seeing one of my Uncles hammering Lino down and Wallpapering...........Dad was never handy and it was always Mams brothers who did all the DIY........a trait i inherited,and like me Dad never had any tools.........;)

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I still use one of those blowlamps Col,not for paint stripping though,mainly heating up metal or some heavier soldering jobs,great posts from you and Ben about house decorating in the days when we were younger,

 

Rog

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Like the post about the decorating, Col. I have a laugh sometimes thinking back to some of my dad's efforts when I was a kid. I don't know what paste he normally used to hang wallpaper but one day he made up a mix of water and flour and decorated a 'feature' wall, it looked ok when he'd done. Next morning all the strips had fell off and were in piles on the floor. He re-did it with some proper paste and it stuck on, it looked fine again. Next week my aunt and uncle came visiting for tea, unc shook the ketchup bottle so hard the top came off and splattered it all over the new wall over his shoulder.

 

One day Dad painted the front bay window-sill and stood back to admire his work. The old baggage who lived next door came out, looked and said 'hmm very nice'. My dad said 'yes, great isn't it'. No she said, you've damaged my paintwork and pointed to a couple of splashes that had gone on her bit. My dad told her to grow up, so she called her old man out and soon they were all at it hammer and tongs. Dad's favourite paint was Dulux Peacock Blue, I recall our house being very blue.

 

How fashions change, I remember when we had all our traditional panelled doors hard-boarded late '50s like many folk. In the eighties the fashion was to make flat doors look panelled with those kits of stripwood you could buy.

 

 

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35 minutes ago, TBI said:

Dad's favourite paint was Dulux Peacock Blue, I recall our house being very blue.

In the late 60s we decorated our house in Leicester with very bright colours as was the fashion at that time.  We had a blue ceiling in the bedroom and blue striped wallpaper, and the living room had an orange ceiling, yellow and orange flowered wallpaper and the carpet had a dark green background with orange, yellow and bright green 'splodges' on it.  We thought it was great!

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I've split this thread off from 'Minutiae - Bulwell Common and more' because it probably has a life of its own.

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Margie, spot on with your colours, could have been our first house when we were married except for the carpet, couldn't afford one but the through Lounge diner had dark brown Marley tiles which required me to polish them every Saturday morning. I did build a stone fireplace though, trendy coloured stone with dark stained mantel and shelves!

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I absolutely detest home decorating of any kind. Hanging wall paper is an art that I never got to grips with.One of Mrs Cs qualities was her decorating abilities as well as her gardening abilities as well. Worth her weight in gold she is.

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I used a professional decorator just the once, because I was so busy at work and couldn't do it myself. This fella had a great local reputation, charged an arm and a leg and his seams were rubbish. Never again have I used a 'professional'.

 

I was round at my old ma's this afternoon, telling her about my earlier post about dad's efforts. She asked me if I remembered his tool-box, of which he was quite fussy...I'd forgotten, an old wooden Redferns pop crate. In the bottle sections were his tool set, all old stuff, a hammer, one large screwdriver, bradawl, hatchet, a pair of pincers and a woodsaw which had the old WD stamp on the handle. He'd made a sort of clip on the side to hold the saw which would have struggled to get through butter. He did come home with a new adjustable spanner one day, always wanted a 'stillson' he called it. If dad couldn't do a job with his kit, he'd get the local builders/joiners/plumbers round, firm called 'Rodgers' on the end of Arkwright St. They seemed to be round quite often.

 

We lived in a two-up two-down and I used to share a bedroom with my little sister. We had an attic on the top floor where all the old stuff was kept. When I was about seven or eight I went on a Cubs camp for a week and when I returned, as a surprise he'd put a partition across the attic and made half of it into a bedroom for me. I was so pleased and proud of what he'd done. It was a bit of a wonky wall but this was my personal space until I left home twelve years later.

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Had one of those paraffin blow lamps in my tool kit for many a year, finest lamp ever for wiping lead water pipe joints, much better than the newer gas fired ones as their heat is to concentrated.

 

First lead 'beating' exercise when an apprentice was to take a flat piece of sheet lead, beat into a seamless bottle shape, solder on a brass screwed cap, hey presto meths bottle.

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Fab stuff!

 

To be fair my Dad was a pretty good decorator but not a quick one.  I've inherited that tendency. I get too pernickety for my own good.  I haven't inherited wallpapering though.  I hate wallpaper and did away with the last papered wall in this house a couple of years ago.  Had to skim the whole wall with 'Easi Fill' and rub it down to get it back to a suitable state for painting, but no more paper will cross this portal while I'm in charge!!

 

Thinking of some other changes too.  Walls that weren't papered were either done in oil based paint such as 'eggshell', or were 'distempered'.   This was before emulsion paints became commonplace.  If you look around online, you can still get all of these old finishes.

 

When I wrote the first post in this thread I wasn't only thinking of decorating though.  I was thinking more of the way everything has changed.  I was brought up to learn how to do things and its been both a pleasure and a burden ever since.  As a kid I only had a bike because I went out and scrounged up old bits and put them together to make one.  I had to learn how to do all of the repairs too.  This passed on to my early motorbike days and then to cars. I only gave up fixing cars a couple of years ago, but I still do the odd small task.  In my early married days, if I came home from work in the middle of winter with a broken exhaust, I'd have to set to on the drive with a torch whatever the weather and at the very least do a 'lash up' job to get me through to pay day.  All of this turned into a determination not to pay somebody else to do something I could do myself.

 

Thing is most people were forced to be more self reliant back in the old days.  Mums made lots of clothes and things like 'pegged' rugs.  Dads repaired shoes etc.  I learned how to replace leather heels on shoes and put on stick on soles while I was still at school.  I wonder what happened to the Cobbler's 'Last' and the knives, I used to use.  I can still see the little bottle of black leather dye we used to colour the edges of the cut leather on the heels.  I'm pretty sure it was called 'Radium' Leather Dye.

 

Some other changes.  My Dad had a tin of wood glue that had to be softened by standing it in a pan of hot water for ages.  These days we just buy a tube or a can of something.

 

In the garden, we dealt with things like greenfly by syringing them off using soapy water. My Dad had a brass 'syringe' a couple of feet long which you used to draw up and then spray your soap solution with.  No plastic sprayers back then.  In an old gardening book, I read about using nicotine to kill greenfly.  Just boil up an ounce of tobacco and then dilute the resulting liquor and spray it on.  Earlier this year a maple in our garden was suffering from an infestation and having nothing suitable to hand, I  boiled up a few half smoked cigs that my daughter had left here and sprayed them on.  It worked!  Aphids gone..!

 

Right..  Bed time.. :)

 

 

 

 

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I used to love wallpapering, but must admit to doing about only 3 drops a day so a room would have taken me a week! We now only have wallpaper on one ceiling in the bedroom that was up there when we moved in 21 years ago.

 

"Whoever invented decorating wants f**king, whoever invented f**king wants decorating" 

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Great post again Col,such a lot of memories from my younger days as well,it seems we had to learn these skills as part of our growing up"you'll thank me in years to come"is a saying that springs to mind

 

Rog

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I would like to say a big thank you to the former owners of my house who sometime between 1935 & 1996 decided to superglue woodchip wallpaper to the space under my stairs & then paint it with 5 or 6 coats of gloss paint :crazy:

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They did a cracking job there  Red, never fell off did it !  smile2

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Over the last few weeks I have decorated all the bedrooms, Mrs Red today nipped to B&M & The Range & came back with new curtains, lampshades & bedding, because it did not match, but I have not changed the colour, whats all that about :crazy:

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Don't ask RR it's not worth it. Herself here spent about £50 on matchpots that I can't see are any different to the colour we finish up with - which is the same as before we started - and yes it needed new soft furnishings!

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