I am starting to think about Childhood in my place #OnePlacestudy #Sticklepath. I would welcome any thoughts and contributions. Why now? We have just celebrated bonfire night and my husband made treacle toffee, an annual tradition from his childhood. For me 5th November was one of the few days in the year when we had baked potatoes, with lashing of butter! The style of celebrations with a small bonfire in the back yard, a home-made ‘Guy’ to raise a few pennies to buy a few small domestic fireworks of my childhood had changed completely pre-covid to dramatic public displays for huge crowds, at enormous cost, raising vast sums for charities. Incidentally did you make ‘genies’ as a child – definitely not to be recommended now – collecting the remaining powder from spent fireworks the next day and creating your own bangers and ‘genies’ of smoke? Do not try this!
I recently acquired some school records from my visit to the Devon archive and some more through an extremely generous genie who scanned some at The National Archive for me. Such an amazing gift of her time and the recent scanning abilities we now all take for granted. I am just starting the new Pharos online course with Linda Newey all about childhood, and have had the benefit of discussions in a small group run by Janet Few based on her book “Remember then” which is a great guide and activator for thinking about the changes that have occurred over the decades of our own and our grandparents lives.
Many schools were formed in the 1870s and luckily centenary guides were often produced in the 1970s – Sticklepath included. In fact the 150th anniversary of your local school may well be approaching fast. (Note I have not yet seen the all important school log book, but many interesting snippets are included in that Jubilee guide). Then of course I bring my own experiences of childhood, bringing up my own children, my experiences as a GP, of living in Malawi and now seeing my grandson develop. Couple that with our ever increasing ability to access detailed records and newspaper articles and to seek free advice from fellow genies on all aspects online.
Doubts often weigh heavy on my mind and it is hard to see what purpose there is in creating yet another snapshot of history, a further dusting off and re-telling of stories from the past. This reflection illustrates my answer. Our individual experiences, knowledge and abilities mean we can not only ‘update’ the presentation but we also bring a potentially unique and valid perspective too. Watch this space for aspects of childhood- coming soon!